The Summer Scene 2017

Hard to believe that summer is already half over.  Just like every year, I swore up and down that we were going to take it easy this summer…not do to much.  And just like every year, we’ve managed to pack it completely full yet again!Our summer started with a lot of gardening.  Rita’s Roots is amazing.  Rita herself comes out once a month or so and helps us clear out, spray for bugs, replant, etc.  And our garden has never looked better.  The kids love helping out…we’ve currently got okra, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, garlic, potatoes, kale, and tons of tomatoes.  I make salsa almost daily, and luckily my kids can’t get enough of kale chips.And we have the most beautiful Caprese Salads for lunch every day.  The yellow tomatoes are much sweeter than the red…YUM!These little guys helped us with our kale overload earlier this summer.  We borrowed them from our friend Mr. Paul’s farm for a few weeks to help socialize them so they can find forever homes.  But we may have bitten off more than we could chew with three bunnies….they eat and poop ALOT!  Meet ‘Camo,’ ‘Chillax,’ and ‘Oreo.’  They loved escaping out of their bin in order to play in the dollhouse and climb all over Lincoln.Jayna tried her hand at swim team this year and loved it!  She regularly placed 1st in Freestyle and in the Freestyle Relay, and usually got 3rd in backstroke.  We’re still working on Breastroke and Butterfly so she can rock those next summer.  I think Millie will be ready for swim team next year too….she finally got strong enough this year to swim across the pool without stopping!

Lincoln looked on (next year, Buddy!) as the girls went to Vacation Bible School and Cheer Camp again this summer too, before we headed out for a three-week long vacation!First stop was a house (and boat) rental for a week at Lake Keowee.  This is our absolute favorite place to vacation “locally”…just a few minutes away from Clemson and less than an hour from Greenville, it’s the perfect combo of lazy lake days and fun excursions.  We rented a big house with three of other families from the neighborhood….not quite as extravagant as our New Year’s Eve Vacation with 15 families last winter, but still fun!We spent all day, just about everyday out on the boat; cruising, tubing and waterfall-hunting.  Perfection.  And Lincoln apparently just needs a speedboat in order to take a goooooooood nap.  He fell asleep on those windy rides every single day.  The evenings were spent eating ice cream and playing board games…perfection!

Straight from Keowee, I drove the kids down to St. Augustine for a week with MomMom and GP while I flew out to join Dave in Las Vegas for a week.  There, I went to the spa, hung by the pool, and people watched mostly.  When Dave wasn’t in his workshops, he was at the craps table….breaking even (luckily!).Meanwhile, the kiddos were taking over St. Augustine.  They just love the pirate tours, the lighthouse and the beach.  And now that they’ve met a friend who works at the Alligator Farm, they have gotten to go behind the scenes there as well as Marineland….where they’ve made new friends with the dolphins and Galapagos Tortoises!  I don’t think they missed us at all….Although Dave had to go home to work, I went back to Florida to pick up the kids….and my parents…and we continued on to Ft. Myers on the Gulf Coast to my sister’s house for a few days.  Loo is about to have a baby in a few weeks, so we decided to spend the 4th of July with her and Doc.While we were there, we also threw her a surprise baby shower.  All of her friends and family live far away, so my mom organized a virtual baby shower on Facebook.  She had all of the invitees send gifts to her, and we wrapped and brought them with us to Loo’s house.  And while she was down at the pool with Lincoln one morning, us girls decorated Loo’s condo and prepared for the surprise shower!  She opened all of the gifts and we showed everything live on Instagram and Facebook so that everyone felt like they were there in spirit!It was a huge success and we all had fun helping Loo set up all of her new baby stuff to get ready for Baby “Bean.”  And it was double fun for me, because there is nothing more fun than being pregnant at the same time as your little sister!!

That’s right!  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that we are expecting another Baby Boy this November!  We are all surprised by the news, but couldn’t be happier about our growing family!  It’s yet another reason why I’ve backed off on so many blog posts too…be sure to follow me on social media @Palmettos and Pigtails to follow along with the rest of our summer adventures!Here’s to a relaxed and completely boring rest of the summer!

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Bucket List for Mamas

When I was in college; single and kid-free; I was an adventurer.  I went away on weekend getaways.  I tried unknown foods at trendy restaurants.  I did study abroads in South Africa.  I was spontaneous.  I showered regularly.  A true daredevil.

And now, I’m happily married with three adorable children and a dreamy life in suburbia.  I love it, I truly do.  But man, a lot has changed.  Instead of tracking rhinos in the African brush, I’m attempting to avoid stepping on Legos.  Instead of “pre-gaming” for hours before going out around 10, I’m asleep on the couch in front of  the sofa before my first rerun of Gilmore Girls ends.  Gourmet restaurants are now Chick-fil-A’s and sushi has turned into leftovers off my kid’s plate.

And I wouldn’t trade one second of it.  But maybe I need to raise the bar a little.  So I decided to make a bucket list for mamas.  Some goals that we can strive for in the near future.

Bucket List for Moms

A Bucket List for Mamas

Eat your own food, by yourself {and preferably not chicken nuggets!}

  • A guilt-free Spa Day
  • 5 Minutes of Complete Silence
  • Read an adult book
  • Shave without awkward questions
  • Shower without an audience
  • Not be a human jungle gym for one day
  • Two words: Bubble Bath
  • Read a book on the beach
  • Nap….a glorious nap
  • Grocery shop without bribing with cookies and balloons
  • Fold laundry without any “help,” while watching Bravo
  • A clean house for more than 15 minutes
  • Adult radio station
  • Drink coffee while it’s still hot
  • Sleep in
  • Leisurely stroll through Target without 12 potty breaks
  • Eat candy without having to hide in the pantry
  • A Date Night that goes later than 9 pm

And the list goes on….I know that in about 16 years, I’ll be able to do all of these things again.  But I also know then all of the lovely “little kid” meltdowns moments will be gone forever.  Maybe I should make a bucket list of things to savor about my littles before they grow up…

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One Day at a Time

Hi there!  Remember me?  I know, it’s been months…I’ve missed you!  Life somehow has gotten in the way lately, and blogging has had to go to the back burner.  Or maybe off the stove completely.  I’m so humbled by those of you who have reached out to me….I don’t even know you, and you were worried about where I’d gone!  I’m still here…hanging on by a thread sometimes, but here.

I’d love to blame it on Flowertown Festival.  But in reality, I was super prepared this year, and did very little last-minute prep (usually I’m up late the whole month before doing last-minute inventory).  The festival weekend was beautiful and successful…and after a few rainy and slow years, it made me appreciate my crafty side of life again!  So…. if Flowertown isn’t why I went M.I.A……what happened?!?!In a nutshell, life has exploded.  I started working part-time for our church.  Y’all.  We LOVE our church.  Our faith has grown so much since becoming members, we’ve made an incredible tribe of friends and our kiddos are loving learning more and more about Jesus every day.  We found our place once we got involved.  Dave helps out with all things technology-wise and has an awesome group of Godly men that he meets with weekly.  And I have been helping out with curriculum and weekly logistics for the church’s kiddos for about 5 years now.  So I feel incredibly blessed to know officially be on staff and be even more involved with our church community.  They are doing great things in our little corner of the world, from feeding hundreds of people each week from our food truck to building an actual church building to allow more people to worship with us and learn about Christ.  And our kids’ ministry has exploded with over 100 kiddos in our program every. single. week.  Crazy!  And so exciting!The staff I work with is just incredible.  I’ve never been around such a creative, hilarious and Godly group of people…and I have the privilege of hanging out with them for a few hours each week.  I love my new job.  However, life with me working even for a few hours outside of the home each week has been a transition.  The hours I normally spent blogging and sewing have been re-dedicated to church stuff and meetings, so I’m learning how to structure my days….again.And let me tell ya, life didn’t slow down any to accommodate any of these changes.  Lincoln is a full-blown preschooler now {where did my chill toddler go?!?!}…with his own opinions on everything and a vocabulary that has exploded.  His little “certainly” and “you bet I am” quips keep me in stitches.  He runs, jumps, and climbs on everything he possibly can, but  doesn’t hesitate to pause for a snuggle.  The day before Easter he fell at the farm and busted his head open.  5 hours in the ER and 6 stitches and 8 staples later, he was a miniature Frankenstein….but back to his old self.  A week later, he got everything taken out and you’d never know about the gray hairs he caused me that week!Millie is finishing up kindergarten, and has absolutely blown me away with her reading skills.  This second half of the year something must have clicked because she has turned into quite the bookworm!  She pretty much has two modes…..dramatic and hilarious.  Everything is a big deal and possibly the end of the world.  So, she might as well talk in funny voices and do silly dances!  She is rounding out her school year with the first of many sleepovers and the start of gymnastics at the YMCA.Jayna blew through second grade this year…acing everything on her report card.  She was one of literally a handful of kids in her school that tested into the Gifted and Talented Education class for next year, and gets to attend the GATE summer program.  She’ll be doing chemistry, computer programming, and other STEM stuff for two weeks this summer.  Softball started late this spring and so we’ve been having 2 practices and 2 games a week.  Which would be fine except that swim team also has started 4 days a week so we pretty much live at the ball fields, at the pool and in the car every evening.  We have yet to master the art of carpooling (or family dinners, for that matter), but it’s moved to the top of my list because….well, something’s gotta give.  She and I have had some great mother-daughter dates this spring, including going to the Secret Keeper Girl Show.  If it ever comes to your town, I highly recommend it for your 7-10 year old….it’s a live Christian show that focuses on modesty.  It’s really well done and a really fun mother-daughter time!As for Dave and I, we have been in constant travel mode lately.  St. Mom Mom has come to corral the children a couple of times as Dave and I jet to conferences and business trips, with the occasional trip to Orlando as well!  We joined a few of our neighbors to head to Disney for the “Dark Side” Half Marathon….a Star Wars themed 10K and half marathon, which Dave ran two days in a row.  I am so proud of him-a 10K and then a half marathon the very next day!!  Then, all six of us headed to Universal Studios for a day of rides, Harry Potter and Butterbeer.  Although we love doing Disney with the kiddos….there is something to be said about that place during an all-adult weekend too!

So there you have it….a few things we’ve been up to the past couple of months.  We have a few more things up our sleeves, including a massive rearranging of the house.  More on that later! Thanks for checking in….I’ll be back soon!

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{From the Archives} DIY St. Patrick’s Day Bubblegum Necklace

I have a confession.  I have become an online shopper.  I say that like it’s taboo.  My thoughts immediately go to a childhood friend’s mother…who I would catch watching HSN in the middle of the night, phone and credit card in hand.  But I guess it isn’t strange at all nowadays…even downright thrifty, with the online coupons and daily deals sites.  I’m even an affiliate at zulily.com, Jane.com, and Pick Your Plum.  And let me tell you, it’s dangerous.  They have really cute stuff on there.  Stuff you didn’t know you wanted or needed.  And you better get it now, because it will be gone in the next five minutes and you will never see it again.  Ever.  But this marketing strategy has worked like a charm on me because I have purchased more items online this year then I have in stores for the past 5 years!

 One of the items I’m seeing over and over on these online sites is bubblegum necklaces for little girls.  They are big, chunky, brightly colored round beads that have patterns on them, and are hung close to the neck.  Like, a little girl version of the southern pearls.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

And online, these silly things are like $14.99.  Nope.  I figured there had to be a way to easily make them on my own.  And with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, it was the perfect excuse to make some bright green ones.  Lincoln will have his DIY Shamrock tee-shirt, and my girls will have their own Leprechaun Pearls {I’m officially coining that phrase…}

Leprechaun Pearls cost about $4 to make for a total of 4 DIY St. Patrick’s Day Necklaces {with many materials left over at the end too!}, and take about an hour and a half including baking time.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

You’ll need:

An old cutting board {that may get stained from the clay}
A sharp knife
A shallow dish {for rolling balls in glitter}
A jelly roll pan
Some ribbon or yarn
Some glitter
A paperclip
Parchment paper or foil to create and bake on
Sculpey Clay {or other oven bak clay} from craft stores

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

Your clay will come in packages that have four rectangles in them.  Cut those apart with your knife, and then divide each rectangle into four smaller pieces.  Each of the smaller pieces is how much clay you will use for one bead.

Roll the 4 small pieces into balls.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

If you want, divide the small pieces in half and combine two colors gently.  When you roll it into a ball it will create a marbleized effect.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

Roll some of your balls in the shallow dish of glitter.  Roll the ball with glitter in your hands again, so that the glitter is gently pushed into the clay {this will prevent a glittery mess each time your daughter wears her necklace}.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

So pretty!  If you are a little OCD like me, make sure you have enough of each design to create some pattern for your necklace.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

Open one end of your paper clip, and use it to poke a hole in each bead.  You want to move the paperclip around inside the hole to widen it enough for your ribbon/yarn to go through.  There shouldn’t be any hole shrinkage in the oven.  Spread all the beads out on foil on a jelly roll pan {a cookie sheet with edges}.

Bake for an hour at 275 degrees.  Let cool completely.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

Measure your ribbon around your daughter’s neck, and then add about 6 more inches to the length….you can always trim it after the beads are on.  Fold the ribbon in half to find the middle, and working your way from the middle, lace your beads.  I laid all mine out in order beforehand.  I highly recommend tying a knot in between each bead, to keep them in place.  Also, you may want to use a lighter to seal the ends of your ribbon to prevent fraying.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

And that’s it!  SO pretty!  The beads should be really hardy…my girls have dropped their necklaces several times and we haven’t had any breakage.

{Leprechaun Pearls} DIY St. Patrick's Day Bubblegum Necklaces

The project was a hit because even the little ones could do it {with a little help rolling into balls}.  The little boy next door even came over and just made “marbles” instead of beads.  Obviously, these will be choking hazards so keep ’em away from kids under 3!

We are excited to make more of these in different colors!
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17 Appropriate Consequences for Poor Behavior {and the Bible backs it up!}

It may not seem like it, but unfortunately, we are a family that yells.  Dave and I try to keep our cool, we try to “seek to understand” before losing said cool…but nine times out of ten, we end up yelling at the kiddos.  Hey, it happens right?  But our knee-jerk reaction to their mistakes is an automatic time-out, loss of privileges or the occasional spanking.  Very seldom do we take the time to stop and think about appropriate consequences that “fit the crime,” let alone scripture that backs it up.Crime LogoI find myself often searching online for creative, natural and appropriate consequences that can be backed up by scripture.  Not only do I want to correct the behavior, I want to give my kids the “why” as well.  So I found a couple of sites, in addition to some of the methods we use, to help create a little cheat for us parents.  Here are the other blogs that I found that had some good suggestions {please check them out!}:

House-wifery

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Raising Arrows

Meaningful Mama

I can’t promise that I will keep my cool or always remember these scriptures.  But I figure if I have a go-to place where I can find appropriate consequences {that’s also Biblical} for a common childhood behavior, then hopefully it will be a teaching lesson as well as correct the behavior.

 Destruction of Property:
{Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”}
Consequences: Clean up the mess, as well as doing chores for the person whose property was affected, earn money to pay for item

Arguing or Fighting with each other:
{2 Tim 2:24 “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”}
Consequence: Sitting face to face with each other, holding hands.  Apologize for harsh words, ask for forgiveness and come to a compromise on the argument.

Bragging:
{Proverbs 27:2Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
    an outsider, and not your own lips.”}
Consequence: Apologize, and list 5 things for which they are thankful

Whining and Complaining:
{Phillipians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” or Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”}
Consequence: Loss of privilege, having to be last in an activity or do extra work {depending on what they were whining about}, or list 5 things they are grateful for

Mean or Disrespectful Words:
{Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”}
Consequence: Letter of apology, with kind words in it

Laziness:
{Deut 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”}
Consequence: Start the task over again to complete

Lying or Deceit:
{1 Peter 3:10 Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”, Proverbs 17:4 A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.”}
Consequence: Letter of apology

Gossip:
{Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.”}
Consequence: Apology and set things straight with people they gossiped to

Poor Manners/Decision Making:
{James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”}
Consequence:  extra work, do the right thing with an apology

Poor Self Control:
{Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”}
Consequence: After calming down, apologize to those affected

Selfishness:
{Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”}
Consequence: List things they are grateful for, find items to donate, community service

Stealing:
{Ephesians 4:28 “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.“}
Consequence: Return items, additional work, write Bible verse

Tattle Tailing:
{Matthew 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”}
Consequence: Copy verse, they lose the item they were tattling about, apologize and use words to talk it out

Discontentment:
{1 Tim 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” }
Consequence: List of things they are grateful for, loss of 1st world privilege {tv, toy, iPad}

Dirty Words/Cursing:
{Ephesians 5:4 “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”}
Consequence: cleaning

Disobedience:
{Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”}
Consequence: Proximity to parents, extra work/mundane tasks to practice obedience

Hitting/Physical Behavior:
{Titus 3:2 “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”}
Consequence: Hugging, holding hands, along with an apology

I hope some of these ideas help your children to correct their behaviors, while also learning the importance of their actions.  If you have any other creative ideas for appropriate consequences as discipline, please share them in the comments!  Remember that these are just some ideas that I’ve compiled…be sure to adjust consequences depending on the severity of behavior, age of the child, and appropriateness in general.  Not every situation fits into a mold!

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 I’m linkin’ up this week!

Fearlessly Creative Mammas

 

 

 

 

Sunday Scripture: Work

I have a new job!  Well, really it’s nothing new….just “official” now.  For the past 5ish years I’ve been handling the curriculum and logistics for the kids’ ministry at my church.  I do all of the social media, compile all of the weekly lesson materials, and do the scheduling of all of our kids’ volunteers.  I love it!

When we first started going to our church, we just attended.  We loved the services, music, and general feel.  But it wasn’t home.  Yet.  But then, our pastor {who was one of our very good friends, and even married us}, kind of threw us into realms of volunteering.  At first, we resisted….Dave doing the technology piece {slides and such} during worship, and me helping out with the kids areas.  He didn’t really feel like being the IT guy for church when that’s kinda what he does all week.  And I was burned out from teaching and thought I wanted nothing to do with kiddos on Sundays.

But after a few weeks of settling in and then taking ownership of our new positions, we began to feel more connected with people in the church.  The senior worship staff, the band, the set-up crew.  And for me, I was getting to know kids and their families on a personal level each week.  The senior staff has done a fantastic job of making us feel like we are absolutely indispensable…which makes us even more responsive and responsible in our positions.Sunday Scripture: Work .... a new job and a familiar callingI don’t have a link for today’s Sunday Scripture…beautiful though, isn’t it?

And after 5 years of running the backside of the kids’ ministry team, I’ve finally decided to take on the role part time for the church as an “official” staff member.  My duties won’t change, although my workload will slowly increase as our ministry gets larger.  But now, I’m part of a team.  It’s been a long time {8 years!} since I’ve worked for someone else and been a part of a staff.  And although there are just 7 of us in the “official” capacity, I’m excited to be a part of the backbone of our awesome church!  #BetterTogetherSC

Have a blessed week!

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Sunday Scripture: Temple

“Your body is a temple.”

How many times have I heard this snibbet of a Bible Verse?  It’s sprinkled all over the Pre-Tween Christian parenting resources that I’ve been scouring recently…especially the ones on how to talk to our kids about their bodies and sex (Can you believe it’s almost “The Talk” time?!?!).  So, that’s what I associate that verse with.  Sexual morality and respecting our bodies.  But then, the rest of the verse….

“So glorify God in your body.”

In other words….

Sunday Scripture: Temple {How are you REALLY treating yourself?}

Sunday Scripture Image is from The Daniel Plan book

There are so many other ways to take care of this physical vessel God has given us.  And although I don’t usually do New Year Resolutions, the start of each year does make me contemplate what my priorities should be.  And this year, this verse really resonated with me.  Maybe it’s because I’m once again running a Biggest Loser Challenge on Facebook; my mind has been wrapped around creating nutritional and physical challenges, as well as motivational and accountability ideas for everyone participating.

If you’d like to join our challenge, head over to our Facebook page {Biggest Loser 2017} and request to join…we’ll get you all set up!  But hurry!  Registration ends tomorrow… Monday, January 9th! 

Sunday Scripture: Temple {How are you REALLY treating yourself?}

Sunday Scripture Image found on A Merry Life, but originally tagged from Peak 313

And now that my feet are healthy again, I’m back in full swing at Bootcamp.  Where the emphasis is strength, power and endurance.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m really hoping that the weight loss piece will also be in there.  But I’m ok with focusing on the long-game.  Now that I’m done having kids, and I’m getting closer to *ahem* middle age, I’m more concerned about keeping my body and mind as healthy as possible for the rest of my life.

Emphasis on “mind” as well.  I’m fully aware of how busy life is, and how thin I am constantly being stretched.  So part of this Sunday Scripture is also my reminder to take a break.  Do something that gives me joy.  Rest.  Take care of ALL of myself….so I can be a better servant to God, my husband and my kids.  Cuz we all know that if Mom’s down, the whole house is down!

Have a blessed week!

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A New Year’s Challenge!

Happy New Year!  Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday break.  We had a blast with a ton of family in town.  Then my parents took the kiddos for a few days so Dave and I could work on a few house projects.  And, I’m working on a special project this year that I’m really excited about….more on that later!

But, I just wanted to share with you that Dave and I are once again hosting a New Year’s Biggest Loser Challenge.  It’s open to EVERYONE!  And it’s only $25 to play.  There will be weekly challenges and motivation….I’d love for you to play along with us!  Here’s the link to sign up, we’ll be starting on January 9th!

Biggest Loser 2017 Challenge {Facebook Group}New Year's Biggest Loser Challenge 2017!  Join the challenge and make a change!And in case you need some other motivation or ideas, here’s the link to one of my most popular posts from when I WON a Biggest Loser Competition and lost over 30lbs in 15 weeks.  There’s some worksheets on there, and some of my diet and exercise examples.

Let’s start the new year out right and start making some changes!

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Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I wish you a New Year full of joy, hope and peace!  See you next year!Merry Christmas Card 2016

Christmas Trees on the Square

We have thought about moving many, many times.  But when it comes down to it, our friends and our town are completely irreplaceable.  We live in a small town.  Not tiny, for sure…and definitely sprawling by the minute.  But it’s still a small town.  We have only lived here for 12 years, and yet we see people we know all day long when we are out and about.  I love that.  Even though I’m not so keen on the chit-chat, I like knowing my neighbors.  I like that my kids will “hang out” in areas where adults know them.  You know, eyes everywhere!A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.And as for the atmosphere of the town itself…couldn’t be more perfect.  You get off of the interstate and pass by the required Target, Cracker Barrel, and Lowes.  But drive another mile down the road, and you’re transported to a one horse town {with a lot more traffic….}  The center of “downtown” is called Hutchinson Square.  It’s a little park surrounded by an old fashioned theatre, Mom & Pop shops, antiques and coffee shops.  At one end is the railroad tracks, at the other is Town Hall, with a big Christmas Tree in front.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.In addition to weekly Farmer’s Markets, Third Thursday {wine, shopping and entertainment}, and seasonal parades, there is a huge Christmas party to celebrate the lighting of the town Christmas tree.  And the other “Christmas Trees” that surround the park, sponsored by local groups and businesses.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.I put that in quotations because some of these groups get very creative in their interpretations of a Christmas tree!A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.F3 and FIA are two workout groups that are huge in our town.  Dave is one of the leaders of F3 {the guys version}…they work out, hang out, and pray together-for free.  Daily.  In multiple locations.  It is by far the best thing that has happened for Dave in a long time.  Not only is he healthier and stronger, but this group of guys has provided him the Christian fellowship that has made him such a great role model in our house and in our community.  F3’s tree is a great representation of their group,  They work out with very little equipment….mostly tires, cinder blocks and telephone poles!  And every guy that shows up for a workout gets a nickname.  Dave is “Picasso.”A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square. Hope you enjoyed taking a little tour of our Christmas Trees on the Square!

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