my one word - 2019 (and a few resolutions)

This post is sponsored by Happy Family Organics but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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2019. HOW???? I have no idea how I’m already writing another New Years post — didn’t I JUST write last year’s?? And I know I say that almost every time I write these… haha! But seriously, it just blows my mind. 2018 turned out to be one of the hardest years I’ve ever experienced — my grandma passed away just a few weeks before 2018 began so much of the year was cloaked in grief. We then went on to lose 5 pregnancies over the course of 12 months, which honestly, just about broke me. It was a year full of loss and sadness, with just a few bright points throughout (which I’m so thankful for). I’m really praying 2019 will be full of joy and light.

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My goals for this year:

— Regular date nights with Matt. Again, we say this every year but we STILL haven’t found a rhythm with them, soo I’m putting it down again haha.

— Lose my last 15-20 lbs (I’ve already lost almost 20!)

— Build my Beachbody business. Diamond coach!

— STOP THE SCROLL. Be more disciplined with when I scroll.

— Continue waking up early to workout and spend some time with Jesus

— Have a baby… or come to peace about not having one <3

— Finish decorating the kids’ bedrooms

— Redo laundry room

— Be more present, especially with the kids. Mentally and emotionally.

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Things I’m looking forward to in 2019:

— Magnolia trip with one of my best friends in February!

— Probable CA trip in March

— Celebrating our 6th anniversary in March

— Our first niece being born in April!

— My 30th birthday in July (!!! WUT)

— Another CA trip for our fam vacation in September

— Oct-Dec, AKA my favorite time of the entire year

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My word for the year (well, actually I have 2 haha):

— CLARITY. I feel like this probably has a lot to do with the whole baby situation. But I’m really praying for clarity this year in general. Clarity in what to do next. Where to go. What to say yes to. What to say no to. Where we spend our time. Our money. How to best serve each other. Be the best parents we can be. CLARITYYY.

— INTENTIONAL. Which kind of goes hand in hand with clarity…but still. These babies of mine… see their little faces in these pictures? They are EVERYTHING. I want to be so intentional about the time I spend with them, the things we do, what we expose them to, what we put in their bodies.

I’m already pretty conscientious about what I feed them but I want to be even more aware of products and ingredients. Which is one of the reasons Happy Family Organics has been my FAVORITE brand since 2014. Not even joking. It’s one of the only baby brands I trust completely. They are organic (which always means no GMO’s), they’re produced without toxic pesticides and utilize sustainable farming practices, which is huge for the environment. The snacks are YUMMY, they’re for all ages (and honestly, my kids love the “baby" snacks” the most haha)! Our favorites are the yogi’s (freeze dried yogurt and fruit snacks), the rice cakes and the fiber and protein soft-baked oat bars! Quick, easy to use on-the-go, and I KNOW that I’m filling their little bellies with good stuff. INTENTIONAL, 1000%.

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Nothing means more to me than loving my people well. Matt, Silas, Verity. They are my world and the best gifts that God ever entrusted to me. I want everything I do this year. My words, my actions, my thoughts, everything… to leave every single one of them better off than when the year started. I have goals, yes. I have dreams, I have ideas. But those all pale in comparison to being intentional, being present and LOVING THE ISH out of my crew. THAT is what will make 2019 a good one. LET’S DO THIS.

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how to holiday with the best of 'em

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Danone and JM Smucker. The opinions and text are all mine.

“How to holiday with the best of ‘em” just felt like the most appropriate title for the season we're currently in. Haha! The two months following Halloween are quite possibly my most favorite months of the entire year — full of warmth and cheer and general happiness. Of course, there’s always the hustle and bustle of buying presents and dealing with crazy uncles at family gatherings and all that... but those things all pale in comparison to the joy we feel at Christmas!! Am I right or am I right??

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There ARE, however, a few things you can do to make the holiday season an even smoother one, so I thought I’d share my favorite little hosting tips here for ya!

1) Load up on the coffee. Offer it to everyone around you haha! Listen, this season is tiring, Y'all. Exciting but tiring. The kids are usually all messed up from daylight savings still, THEY’RE excited about presents and wake up every morning, asking if it’s Christmas yet, there are parties to attend, lights to put up, decor to put out, gifts to wrap, all of it. Now, don’t get me wrong.. those are some of my VERY favorite parts of Christmas!! Haha!! But caffeinating before tackling those things — that’s just some sound advice ;) don’t forget to throw in your favorite holiday creamer to make it extra special. We just discovered 1850™ brand coffee at Target in the Pioneer Blend - Roast and HOLY SMOKES, it’s delicious. Strong, robust flavor, super smooth. I paired it with my fave So Delicious Dairy-Free coconut creamer in French vanilla and it’s basically perfection! I love that they use organic, non-GMO coconuts and have no soy or carrageenan in them!! Huge win. Plus, you can always add a candy cane in for a little extra cheer, too ;)

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2) Keep it simple. Decor, presents, your schedule. I tend to want to do ALL THE HOLIDAY THINGS, but then the season passes by so quickly and I look back and I’m not sure I even really got to fully enjoy any of those things. Don’t be so busy and schedule SO many things that you miss out on the entire point of spending quality time together as a family! 

3) Speaking of presents, maybe this is the year you try out the 4-gift rule! We’ve done it this way since the kids were born (so this will be our 5th Christmas doing it, plus birthdays) and absolutely swear by it. We buy 4 gifts for each kiddo — something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. That’s it. It’s super flexible, super open-ended and SO MUCH FUN!! You can actually really play around with the gifts you choose in those categories and it doesn’t feel like you’re limited at all! Plus, this way every kid gets the same NUMBER of presents (even if the gifts inside vary based on where they are in life) and honestly, it keeps us from over-buying! We have to really stop and think about each gift we’re giving and we aim for stuff that encourages imagination and play (instead of toys that are used once and then discarded).  Give it a try (and then tell me if you do)!!

4) Open your home. There are a lot of people out there who don’t have family nearby or don’t have anywhere to go for the holidays.  Be aware of who they are — identify them and reach out! I love family traditions and having that special time with JUST us (and we should have some of that, for sure!!) but I also don’t want to be so tied down to the expectations that I miss opportunities to invite people into our homes and lives. You never know what a small gesture of kindness can do for someone’s heart. 

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5) Keep electronics out! Make a basket for everyone to put their phones in. Encourage people to talk. Play some Christmas music in the background. Set out a game to keep hands’ busy. Make sure YOU set an example and aren’t constantly scrolling when people are around (preachin’ to myself here haha)!! These moments are over so quickly, this time with family and friends and our babies.. let’s not waste it on social media. Take your pictures, post your well wishes and then put it away and engage <3

6) Let people contribute. This is a hard one for me — I’m a LITTLE BIT of a control freak haha! And I really do like things to be/look a certain way. BUT doing it all myself is not only incredibly stressful, but it also takes away from someone else’s joy in helping! Talk about a lose-lose, y'all. Holidays don’t have to be perfect (again, preaching to myself haha) — it really, truly is about being together. It’s about people. Investing in others’ lives. Community. Those are the things that stand long after we leave this earth... those are the things that matter. Let’s not miss the main point in the midst of the busy. People. People matter most.

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I’m so excited for this Christmas season. I’m excited to put some of these things into practice in my own life and really take time to stop and slow down and adjust my focus. I cannot wait to see how these small changes make such a huge difference in “how we holiday” this year and I hope they help you, too! Also!! Don’t forget to download the Cartwheel app and save up to 20% on participating coffee and creamers from 11/11-12/22. You’re gonna need it ;)

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Love,

B

cleaning with kids -- three tips to getting it all done (and staying sane)

This post is sponsored by Bona; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Friends! Especially friends with kids! Let’s talk cleaning. Because if you’re a mom, you know that cleaning with kids is basically an oxymoron. You clean, they destroy. You clean, they mess up. You clean, they pour everything out, and so the cycle continues haha. I keep telling myself that one day, the house WILL be clean and quiet and I’m going to hate it, so I just keep trying to soak in the sound of little feet running around.

BUT that doesn’t mean I stop cleaning haha! Cleaning is actually super therapeutic for me.. I don’t love it and it’s hard to get started but once I do, I’m here for it. Cleaning, purging, decluttering, it’s all just so good. Walking out to a dirty kitchen in the morning or crumbs that stick to my bare feet as I stumble around making coffee or sticky spots that remind me I have mopped in a week or so… those things increase my anxiety like you wouldn’t believe. They cause me actual physical stress haha!

So here are a few things I’ve found helpful while trying to keep a house with young children:

1) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We found a great deal a few months back and hired a maid service to come 2x/month and clean the entire house… and it is GLORIOUS. I still have to clean on the in-between weeks, but honestly, the maid service has take a huge load off my shoulders. It just helps to make sure the house never gets unmanageable. You know what I mean — when it’s so far gone that you’d rather just burn the whole thing down because you don’t even know where to start?? Yeah, that. It doesn’t happen anymore! Having the service just keeps everything on a schedule and makes it easier for me to keep up with my own cleaning. My husband is in real estate and works long hours, I have two toddlers, a blogging business, we host a bible study at our home once a week, we’re very involved with our local church, etc. We’re BUSY (and I’m sure you are, too) so if you can swing it, I highly recommend hiring help. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it all, it just means you’re choosing to use your time more effectively! Also, PS: our maid services uses our Bona mop when they’re here to do the floors haha! That’s how good it is!

2) Get the kids involved! I get it, sometimes that’s more stressful than just doing it yourself. Especially when they’re THIS young. Trust me, I can’t wait until my kids hit 7-8 and can really take over some of the big chores like loading/unloading the dishwasher, bathrooms, etc. haha! BUT they’ll never learn (and probably won’t WANT to do chores when they’re older) if we don’t start now. I’m terrible at this sometimes — it just goes SO much faster if I do it myself. However, I’m trying to get better at finding small things, little responsibilities I can give them throughout the day. We are a family and that means EVERYONE needs to contribute! So far, these are the things I’ve found that work best with ages 2-4:

  • transferring laundry from washer to dryer (they stand there and I hand them the wet clothes)

  • cleaning up their toys (sorted into the right containers and put away in the toy closet)

  • mopping the floors (Silas LOVES this one — especially because he can pull the handle to spray the cleaner out! We have been using the Bona mop for about 6 months now and absolute love it — it’s gets the floors cleaner than any other brand we’ve tried AND it’s safe for kids and pets, which is huge for us [the kid part].)

  • vacuuming (we have a cordless vacuum, so Silas can actually operate it and does a great job! Another fave of his)

  • unloading silverware from the dishwasher (both kids do this one — they’re not quite old enough to do the cups/plates but getting them started on small stuff hopefully preps them for the big stuff)

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3) If having the kids help is just too much right now, set a timer and do it at night.If you’re anything like me, coming out to a dirty house in the morning just starts the day off on the wrong foot. I would much rather set a 15 min timer right after the kids go to bed, do a quick clean, declutter, pickup and then relax the rest of the night. What Matt and I do during those 15 min: clean the kitchen from dinner, set the dishwasher to run during the night, pick up any stray toys, mail, and anything else that’s gotten piled on the dining room table, finish putting laundry away, place the throw pillows back on the couch, etc. It’s just a general tidy.. quick and easy and for whatever reason, the timer really helps. Little things like that really help control the chaos and keep it from getting so overwhelming. I’m much grumpier when I’m overwhelmed haha!

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I hope these tips were helpful, friends! I’m always so curious to see how other people run their households and cleaning schedules — I’d love to hear from you! Do the kids help? Do you do it yourself? Have you hired a service? Comment below with your answer!

Love,

B

be YOU!

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Osh Kosh B'gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Y'all, I just can't believe it's the middle of August and school is about to start (or has already started!) for everyone. Like, what?! I swear summer goes by faster and faster every year, so insane. 

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But I DO have to say this fall is extra special for us because it's the first year both kids will be attending the Mother's Day Out morning preschool program near our house! Silas will go 3 mornings a week, from 9am-1pm and Verity will go 2 mornings a week, also from 9am-1pm. I seriously don't know what I'm going to do with all the free time haha! I haven't been completely alone on a regular basis in almost 4 years, sooo... HELLOOO naps and coffee and quick errands and brunch with friends and and and and... need I go on?? ;)

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Of course, as grateful as I am to have some alone time this coming year, I am sooo gonna miss having these sweet babies around 24/7!! Like, I want to cry when I think about it haha. But that's motherhood though, right?? Desperately needing a break and then feeling super anxious to get back home and all be together again. It's such a wild ride haha.

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Needless to say, I've been running around like crazy, getting everything ready for the first day of school (x2). Backpacks, lunch boxes, lunch containers, new clothes, new shoes, the whole 9 yards, y'all! So I was super excited when Osh Kosh reached out about working together on their back-to-school campaign this month, because, hello, welcome to my life right now! Such perfect timing!! And I love the message behind the campaign: BE YOURSELF! I loveee helping Silas learn and realize that he was created so unique and so special and that he should never be anything other than himself!

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He's also really started to get into fashion and always wants to make sure his clothes "match". He seriously lays out his entire outfit the night before and then begs to get dressed first thing in the morning -- it's truly the cutest thing I've ever seen haha. We loved picking out some awesome pieces at Osh Kosh that can all mix and match (you know how I feel about capsule wardrobes!!) for both kids and, of course, the quality can't be beat!

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Okay, I know this is a long post but before I end this, a couple things to note:

- Osh Kosh is running a back to school sweepstakes from 8/22-9/5! Fans should share their BTS photos featuring Osh Kosh. You can enter by tagging you photo with
#firstdaysweepstakes to win school supplies for their school/classrooms. They will have 1
grand prize winner ($10K in school supplies and $500 OKB gift card) and 10 runner up prize
winners ($1K in school supplies and $100 OKB gift card)!

- I'm including a coupon at the end of this post -- take advantage of it while finishing up all your kiddos' clothes shopping! Yay for saving money!!

- If you don't know where your closest Osh Kosh is located, click here to find your nearest store:

https://www.oshkosh.com/find-a-store?cm_mmc=SocialMedia_OKBG-_-Blog-_-Ongoing-_-EA

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Here's the coupon, friends! And I want to hear from you! Are you done with all your back to school shopping??! If not, what's left on your list? 

Love,

B

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