A Little Free Library Ribbon Cutting

The Little Free Library- An adorable free program for neighborhoods...take a book....leave a bookI LOVE our neighborhood.  Not only do we have fantastic neighbors, sidewalks that go for miles and a resort-relaxing pool, but our community events are to die for.  In a couple of weeks, we’ll host the Southern Flame BBQ festival….blue grass music, picnics, and BBQ contests.  Last weekend we had a ribbon cutting ceremony for our newest neighborhood amenity.This neighborhood installed a little free library by their playground for kids to borrow books!This neighborhood had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party for their Little Free Library unveiling!This neighborhood installed a little free library by their playground for kids to borrow books!Down by the treehouse, next to a bench nestled in some flowers, is a Little Free Library.  It holds about 25 books for children that are rotated out occasionally.  The kids can ride their bikes through the neighborhood and to the farmhouse {our community center} to borrow or return a book whenever they’d like.  Or they can sit on the bench and read while siblings play in the massive treehouse that is also there.This neighborhood had an adorable ribbon-cutting ceremony {complete with oversized scissors!} for their Little Free Library unveiling!Checking out the bench by the Little Free Library in the neighborhoodOn Sunday, our neighborhood had the official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Little Free Library.  We arrived early, so the girls got chosen to use the ginormous scissors to cut the ribbon.  They were thrilled!  And because our Little Free Library has been registered, we are now apart of a huge community of neighborhood and local Little Free Libraries...very cool program, that anyone can participate in.  Check out all the different types of structures on their Pinterest Page.This neighborhood installed a little free library by their playground for kids to borrow books!Since we have several parks and green spaces in our neighborhood, I wouldn’t be surprised if more Little Free Libraries started popping up all over!  I’m hoping for one with adult fiction next.Neighbors and local businesses donated books to be borrowed at this adorable neighborhood's Little Free Library. So cute and such a great idea!Natalie Daise from Gullah Gullah Island told stories and sang songs at this precious neighborhood party celebrating their new Little Free Library!Our Community Association did a fantastic job with the reception following the ribbon cutting ceremony.  Chick-fila was sweet enough to provide some yummy snacks for everyone, and Natalie Daise from Gullah Gullah Island on Nick Jr. came and told some fantastic stories. It was a lovely was to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon!Chick-fil-a donated goodies and lemonade for this adorable Little Free Library unveiling party!Oh my goodness, I wish I lived in this neighborhood with sidewalks, green grass and farmhouses!!!

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Mom Hacks You’ve Never Seen Before

Parenting isn’t easy.  Between tantrums, gum in hair, back talk and lost homework, it can be a downright nightmare.  Luckily, we are all in the same boat, and willing to help each other out!  Here are some of the neatest Mom Hacks that I’ve seen in awhile.  Sure, there are a ton on Pinterest, but these are some ones even I haven’t seen before!Mom Hacks : A New Collection of Genius Ideas to Save Your SanityIf you have kids under the age of six, you know the love-hate relationship that us moms have with markers.  Sure, they make it easy for the little ones to color, but for some reason, more marks end up on their hands than on the paper!  And Heaven-forbid they get their little paws on permanent markers!  But if they do {and somehow bypass the walls for their skin…} here’s how to clean permanent marker off of skin courtesy of Kids Activity Blog .Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! How to clean permanent marker off of your kidAnd while we are talking about grubby little hands {and germy little mouths!}, let’s think about all of the plastic toys you have with intricate parts.  The crevices of Legos are impossible to wipe clean….so why not throw them in the washing machine?  Getting’ By tells you all the details on how to de-funk the millions of blocks that you’ve accumulated.Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! How to clean mass quantities of small plastic toys.Whether its specific chores, their library book, or to brush their teeth, kids forget a lot.  I love this idea for reminder bracelets from Kids Activity Blog.  I think my kids would have bracelets up to their armpits….Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! Reminder bracelets to get it done!There is nothing I dread more than the words “cup or cone” in front of my kids.  Inevitably, they’ll want the cone.  But thanks to the buffet of toppings that are now offered at most ice cream places, odd are that a marshmallow will be available to stuff down in the point to prevent drips and make ice cream a little less messy.  Thanks One Good Thing by Jillee!Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! Marshmallows are good on top of OR underneath ice cream!I’m not sure why broken crayons are so elusive, but they manage to avoid being cleaned up at all costs.  They somehow roll under tables, against baseboards and into piles of other toys, hiding out where no one can find them.  That is, until your TWO YEAR OLD enters the room and immediately spots the broken blue crayon and proceeds to color on every surface available.  There are lots of ideas out there for crayon removal, but The Prairie Homestead posted the first one that I had seen using essential oils.Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! An all natural way to clean off crayon!I LOVE this idea for kids when they get in trouble.  And the combination of chores as well as kind actions is fantastic.  A new way to ground your kids from Lynette’s New Hobby.Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! Discipline your kids while cleaning your house!This tip is actually an oldie but goodie for our household.  Since we love going to Disneyworld, we have used this Liquid Band Aide Tattoo idea from The Paper Mama several times.  In fact, I need to add it to my all-inclusive Disney packing list for our next trip!Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! Use liquid band aide to protect an emergency phone number on your child.I feel like sparklers are not just a 4th of July or New Year’s Eve novelty here in the Lowcountry.  It seems like every backyard get-together, every beach bonfire, every block party that we’ve been to, have kids making their mamas nervous with sparklers {it’s not just me, right?!?!}.  I love this idea to protest little hands from sparks from I Love to Dream, Do You?Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! Because kids love sparklers and moms don't need any more gray hair....I regularly soak and disinfect our bath toys.  The idea of the inside of them never really drying out totally grosses me out.  But We Love Being Moms hot glues the holes in her new toys closed, so that water doesn’t get inside in the first place!Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! A no-brainer for keeping your bath toys safe!I have been lucky enough to have avoided splinters so far, but with three active kids, it will inevitably happen.  This tip from Pop Sugar‘s roundup is definitely one to save!Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! Getting splinters out without a fuss!I spotted this photo from @mcgaritydotme on Instagram , and was enthralled.  What a simple way to keep toddlers entertained while you cook dinner.  My almost two-year old loves sticking them through the holes, but is equally enthralled with the pipe-cleaners bending and staying in that shape.  Just keep an eye on the ends of the pipe-cleaners though, as the wire is a little sharp.Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! How to keep your kid busy for more than three seconds.Have you ever wondered why there were folds around the necks of infant onesies?  Or did you just assume {like me} that they were to accommodate your big-headed kid?  This genius video from Tiaras and Prozac shows you exactly why they are there….and then you will wonder how you’ve survived every diaper blow out up to this point.  Mind. Blown.Brand New Mom Hacks to save your sanity! The Onesie trick you never knew about!So there you have it,  some new Mom Hacks to make life, just a little easier.  Got any other ideas?  I’d LOVE to share them, so leave a comment {or even a link to your post or picture}!

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Sunday Scripture: Fruits of the Spirit

We’ve been working through many challenges in our house lately.  Sass, lying, anger, indulgence, greed, meanness.  And some of it is the children!  Today’s Sunday Scripture literally jumped out at me when I was perusing Pinterest this week.  Someone I follow must be dealing with the same challenges, because all the sudden I was staring at an entire Pinterest feed of various images of the same verse.  And games, and Bible lessons, and devotions.Sunday Scripture: Fruits of the SpiritYou can download a copy of this Sunday Scripture print from               Sincerely, Sara D.

Needless to say, I re-pinned half of them for a rainy day…my whole house needs a little reminder to practice all of the fruits of the spirit.

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CeraVe Five Minute Face Routine

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CeraVeSkincare  #CollectiveBias

So, it’s not any secret that I have never been one to really fuss about my appearance or go to any great lengths to take care of my skin.  I’m more about function and comfort over style.  But now that I’m getting ready to hit the big 3-5, I’ve got to start buckling down on my skincare.  Buuuuuuut…..I also have three kids under 8 to get ready for school in the mornings, so I literally have maybe 5 minutes to get myself ready before someone is crying about sock seams or spilling cereal all over the kitchen.  So today I wanted to share with you my secret to a five minute face.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareNot only do I have some fine lines and wrinkles, but I also am prone to eczema and skin cancer runs in my family.  So, needless to say, I am big on lotion and sunscreen!

I did a little research and found out that your skin contains ceramides, which help your skin retain moisture {like a moisture barrier}.  As you get older, your ceramides start to break down and not retain as much moisture, causing dry or irritated skin. CeraVe helps replenish the vital ceramides healthy skin needs.  Rather than just moisturizing the surface of the skin, CeraVe products release their ingredients slowly.  So over the next 24 hours, your skin is getting hydrated, nourished, repaired and restored.

But best of all, my sensitive skin is loving that CeraVe is non-irritating, fragrance-free and most are non-comedogenic {doesn’t block your pores!}.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareAnd just for you, I’m gonna share my five minute face routine using a combination of CeraVe products and my own make-up.

Ok, if you are like me, you probably forgot to wash your face last night.  So you definitely  need to start off with the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, which will clean off all of yesterday’s dirt, oil and make-up.  I keep a soft washcloth that’s saturated in warm water at the ready, in order to speed up the rinsing process {and avoid the water drips all over the counter and sink!}This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareNext, I use the CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50 to moisturize and protect my face for the day. I let it soak in for a few minutes while I brush my teeth, use the  CeraVe Moisturizing Cream on the rest of my body, and get dressed.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareThen, for my {secret} last step, I mix a dollop of my liquid foundation/concealer with CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion.  So as I’m applying another lightweight sun protection, I’m also covering my face with foundation.  This also helps cut down on the amount of foundation that I use.  I like to go over my face quickly with my foundation brush as well, to make sure there are no streaks and everything is applied evenly.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareThen, mascara, lip gloss and go!  The whole “routine” takes me about 5 minutes, which includes dressing myself!  And I know that not only am I presentable for the day, but I’m also helping out my skin in the long term.

You can find CeraVe products at Walmart, who has these three items on Rollback until 5/9/2016…they are each only $9.97 until then!

  • CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
  • CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

The Hydrating Cleanser, Foaming Facial Cleanser, and AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion are on the face care aisle, and the Moisturizing Cream is located down the skin care aisle. The CeraVe sunscreen can be found on the sun care aisle.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincare

Get a get a $2 off coupon for any CeraVe product!

Find out more about CeraVe on their social networks:

What’s your secret to a 5 minute face in the morning?

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A Garden Story: Part One

I’m not sure how well you know me, or how long you’ve been following my blog, but you may remember that we are wanna-be farmers.  Our dream is to someday own some land, renovate a little farmhouse, grow our own veggies and have a few farm animals.  But for now, we just need to master our little yard garden!  Our tiny garden at our old house was FANTASTIC.  Then we moved and took a year to settle in and build a fence.  But the first year we had our  garden at our new house, it did great.  More tomatoes than I knew what to do with.  But every season since then, our garden has produced….but been kinda pathetic.A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenWe couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong.  We bought all of our veggies from Lowe’s and planted them in March each year….nothing.  So when a friend told us about a local company who specialized in edible garden planning, we pounced on the idea.  Rita herself, from Rita’s Roots, came out to the house to assess our garden.  She had tons of handy tools to test our soil and check our sunlight situation.  Then we filled out a little questionnaire about our fruit and veggie preferences.A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenShe even helped us come up with a “Phase 2” and “Phase 3”  for our master garden plan, including a second garden on the other side of our yard {where there’s full sun}, fruit trees and edible landscaping for the front of the house as well.  The whole process was really easy, and she taught us to much!A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenThen, Rita came back about two weeks later, with literally a truckload of dirt, tools and seedlings.  While I played photographer, Dave and Rita planted our garden!

Apparently, our mistakes in previous years were buying less-than-ideal and not-region-specific plants from Lowe’s, not fortifying our soil {ever}, and planting everything in one weekend {rather than during the appropriate months!}.  Whoops.A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenSo now our little garden is on the mend!…Stay tuned!

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Eight Years Down, Forever to Go

It’s our anniversary!  Eight whirlwind years ago, Dave and I tied the knot.  It’s hard to believe it’s only been eight years, but yet it’s flown by.It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe’ve brought 3 beautiful children into the world, mourned the passing of 3 grandparents, lived in 3 different homes, payed off 6 different cars, been to 8 weddings, visited 9 states and 1 other country together {Jamaica on our honeymoon!}, taught 6 Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Classes, belonged to 2 churches, kissed 14,673 times, been skiing twice, and have officially made the switch from fried to smoked turkey on Thanksgiving.It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe’ve accomplished a lot.  In only 8 years.  And we’ve had a blast doing it all.  We are perfect partners, best friends, and fantastic parents {if I do say so myself!}.It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe got engaged while skiing {for the first time together} at Beech Mountain with some friends in January of 2007.  Dave totally surprised me during an evening stroll after a day of skiing, with a gorgeous diamond and a gazillion promises while we stood on a cliff overlooking the valley.  Perfection!It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe got married on April 12, 2008 and had our reception at Magnolia Plantation on a rainy afternoon.  Our photography package was terrible and kind of before digital photos were mainstream, so you’ll have to come visit me in order to flip through our wedding album.  The weather sucked, but ask anyone…we had one heck of a party!It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonHappy Anniversary, Babe…..here’s to a million more! Love you!
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Sunday Scripture: Songs

As much as my kids beg to listen to Kidz Bop or Taylor Swift, we are pretty much an old school country and Christian radio kind of house.  I’m occasionally a Classic Rock fan while I sew, but songs about smoking in the boy’s room aren’t exactly what I want the kiddos singing along to.  But luckily we have a couple of awesome local Christian radio stations that the kids have literally grown up listening to.  I get choked up watching them dance and sing along to all of our favorite praise music.

So when I found this image of this lovely Psalm for this week’s Sunday Scripture…it literally struck a chord.

Sunday Scripture: Songs

I like most of the music on the Christian radio stations, but some of the songs resonate with me more than others…

Here are the songs that are just speaking to my soul this week:

“Call it Grace” by Unspoken

“Breathe” by Jonny Diaz

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” by Matt Redman

What’s your favorite song?

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How to Kid Proof Your iPhone

I’m not sure how, but my kids are better at working my iPhone than I am.  Even Lincoln, my one-year-old, knows how to swipe and tap enough to find my photo album on my home screen.  But with that seemingly built in ability, comes the ever-growing threat of accidental deletion of pictures or in-app purchases.  I just want my phone to entertain my kids so I don’t have to…is that too much to ask?  Ok, ok, I’m just kidding, as my kids get little to no screen time…but there has to be a way to kid proof your iPhone a little, right?

How to Kid Proof your iPhone on any screen or appImage courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So I did a little research and found the solution.  Did you know you can deactivate parts of your iPhone screen so that your kid can’t delete or go to a page he’s not supposed to?  I took some screen shots to show you exactly how to do it.  It’s a bit of a process at first, but I’ll show you how to  make it a shortcut so all you have to do is hit your “Home” button three times to activate the control.

Here’s what you will need to do JUST ONCE {to get it set up}:

1. From your home screen, click on your “Settings” button {it looks like a gear}
2. Scroll about halfway down and click on “General”
3.  Scroll about halfway down and click on “Accessibility”

4. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen.  Make sure that it says “Guided Access” next to “Accessibility Shortcut” {see at the bottom of the lefthand picture above}.  This is what makes the controls turn on when you hit the “Home” button three times….it’s a shortcut.

5. Just above “Accessibility Shortcut” you will see “Guided Access”.  It should say ON, but click on it anyway, and then make your screen look like the picture to the right above.  You’ll also want to click on “Passcode Settings” and set a password for yourself…I kept mine very simple and easy to remember.

Here’s what you will need to do before your child uses an App.

1. Open the App or screen that you are wanting to control.  For demonstration purposes, I chose my “Pictures” App and then chose a specific picture inside.  Lincoln likes to look at photos, and can scroll by himself, but often ends up deleting or editing by accident!

2. Click on your “Home button” 3 times in a row.  A little box will pop up quickly that says “Guided Access Started.”  Click on the “Home button” 3 more times and it will ask you for your password.  Put it in.

3.  The screen above will pop up.  Any areas that you want disabled on your screen, circle with your finger.  As soon as you circle it, it will turn into a gray box to show you the area that is disabled.  Use the X to delete the area if needed, and the white balls in the corners will adjust the size of the box {keep it as small as possible!}.  When you are done, click on “Resume” at the top.  Your app is now ready for your kid to use!

4. If you want to turn off the gray boxes {and make those areas clickable again}, hit your “Home button” 3 times again and enter your password.  Then click on “End” in the top left corner.  You are Ending Guided Access.  From now on, every time you open that particular App {in my case, My Photo Album App}, just click your Home button 3 times in a row to start Guided Access.  If you need to adjust your gray boxes, just click Home 3 more times to enter your password and edit.


 Above is another example of the gray boxes on an actual game App.  Since the App has screens that change, I had to get a little creative…See the gray box on the left side of the screen?  It looks like there is nothing to control there, but in actuality, that is where the “In App Purchase” box pops up…so I disabled the BUY NOW area.  I also ended up making my gray boxes much smaller to just cover the icon…If you leave them too large, they may cover up a game option or answer on another screen.

Although I only have a couple of simple games on my phone for my kids, I went ahead and spent a couple of minutes setting up Guided Access for each app.  So now they are all ready for my kids to use {just hit HOME three times!}.


 Hopefully this tutorial on how to kid-proof your phone helps save you money from inadvertant in-app purchases, and saves your precious photo memories from being deleted or edited!  Please click  below to share and pin!

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Sunday Scripture: Healed

Happy Easter!  Savor this weekend {and spring break} for the time with family, the spring air, and the general sense of renewal.  But always remember the real reason for the season….Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Pinterest

I can remember as a kid, having mixed emotions about Easter.  I loved the candy and egg hunts, but couldn’t understand why more people weren’t sad in church.  I fixated on the gruesome details of the Easter story…the betrayal, the torture, the death, the depression and sorrow.  It was not until I was an adult did I figure out that although all of those parts were essential, they were just the beginning of the story.Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Moritz Fine Blog Designs

I realized that the most important part of the story is that it all happened for us.  Jesus dying on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice…and allows all of our sins, mistakes, and transgressions to be forgiven.Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Zulily 

{This is an affiliate link, which means if you click it and buy something, I get a percentage of your purchase. Thanks!}

While I was looking for an image for this Sunday Scripture verse, I found hundreds.  I literally could not decide which one to use.  And I loved that I found it on canvases, teeshirts, screensavers, iPhone cases, and coffee mugs.  The reason why I love that?  Because it should be a daily reminder for all of us.  It’s what our faith was built on…the most important thing ever.Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Fresh Farmhouse on Tumblr

I hear people’s stories all the time…about how they think their past {or present} is so terrible….how could God love them enough to forgive them?

Easy peasy.  He already has.

So, again, Happy Easter!Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: @powertochange

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{From the Archives} Swim Lessons for Little Fish

Happy Thursday!  I thought I’d do a little throw-back today in honor of Spring Break and our pool opening!  I stumbled across this post from July of 2012, our first summer in this house, with a community pool…and the first swim lessons for Jayna!

It’s amazing to look at how empty the pool is in these pictures as well…we only had about 30 houses in the neighborhood back then….we have over 300 now {with only a fraction of the neighborhood built out so far!}  Needless to say, the days of having the pool to ourselves, is over.

So enjoy my little trip down memory lane….

As y’all know, Mom Mom has been with us for the past week.  We had a wonderful visit!  It’s always such a treat to watch the girls interact with her.  Even though she lives a gazillion miles away (Jayna’s measurement!), each time she picks up right where she left off!

This week was no exception.  Mom Mom was able to step into our routine right as Swim Lessons were about to start!  Actually, I believe this is the fourth week of lessons, but Jayna has really been hit or miss with them.  She loves the water and desperately wants to know how to swim….she just can’t relax and get out of her head enough to actually do it!  Until….this week!  Having Mom Mom around to “show off” for really made a difference in her confidence levels.A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!She is in a class with four other kids about her age, and they have Ms. Phoebe (the instructor) and Mr. Aaron (a high school helper) showing them how to correctly do the strokes.  And they do it in the deep end with noodles!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!Since the start of swim lessons last month, Jayna can swim under water, with freestyle-stroke arms for about three strokes before popping up for air!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!And Ms. Millie is right behind her…. I discovered this week that Amelia loves to swim in the pool too!  She kicks her legs and only drinks ‘some’ of the salty pool water….A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!And she loves “jumping” in from the side of the pool!  I count to three and she takes a deep breath….and dunk! She comes up smiling and says “Tada!” everytime!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!She made the funniest faces when she took her big breath on the count of three!
A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!And then she would ask for “more.”  Over. and over. and over…A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!We love that Mom Mom was able to capture all of these pictures (usually I’m by myself at the pool with them, so no time for pics!).A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!We loooooooove the pool!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!

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