Home Grown

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We move a lot and and we always have to find a way to turn a rental into a comfortable home where our girls can feel safe, happy, loved and encouraged. We work hard to make our home  meet all those needs. At times I must admit I look around our home and think it’s a bit too cluttered but everything , well mostly everything, in our home is helping us develop strong, God loving, beautiful from the inside, intelligent girls.

To do this there are 5 things I always try to build into our home to help build a foundation for our girls.

1. We fill the our home with photos of them.  There are pictures throughout our house of our girls from birth to present. This helps them to know they are part of a family and home. When you have to make a home every couple of years it is very important to own the new space. Knowing  a new place is  your home takes time and having familiar pictures of yourself helps that process move along.

2. We personalize their spaces. I use my Cricut and personalize their rooms with what they like and with encouraging words to help build where they are weak. L is a happy child who at times needs encouraging words to reassure that she is wonderfully made. A on the other hand A knows she’s wonderfully made and gets easily irritated with others and have to be reminded to choose happy.

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3. We surround then with God’s love for them and word of affirmation. If they see, hear and live it constantly then they’ll believe and be it.

4. We display their work and achievements. Nothing can make a child feel better than being able to have their hard work admired by their loved ones.  At one point we had drawings all over our walls, we have  created wall space for their work  in their rooms and showcase a few in our living spaces.

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5. We invite and welcome God into our home. His words are all around us. We speak his promises into our girls, we pray together and give him thanks. We don’t keep our bibles and Christian books high up on shelves they are around us. We read them together we talk about them we make an effort to make Him the head of our home.

We create and buy items to make our home. We don’t spend a huge amount of money doing it. I find great things at places like bargain stores and craft shops. I often will search things on Pinterest and if I can’t afford to buy it then I try to make my own version. I’ve learned you can do anything if you try.

There are no guarantees in life and providing the above does not guarantee anything but we pray that we are providing them with a foundation built on strong self worth and faith. A foundation that will always allow them to have something to stand and grow on. I would love to hear about what you do to make your house a home.

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Shea Moisture Review

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We have been using Shea Moisture products for over 2 years now for my older girl’s hair products. After my 3rd little girl was born we began to use the Shea Moisture Butter Baby products, I fell in love. We currently are using:

  • Baby Head-to-Toe Wash and Shampoo
  • Healing Lotion
  • Eczema Therapy
  • Head-to-Toe Ointment (we use during the Winter)

Our bath routine includes the wash and shampoo and either the healing lotion or eczema therapy. The wash smells great and lathers up and rinse off well. There is no after rinse residue or slick film left in her tub after her bath. The healing lotion is very light and soft. It easily goes on and spreads well, even my little one helps with lotioning her legs. We usually do not use both lotion and eczema therapy together because the eczema therapy is thick, melts in your palms and moisturizes well. Once you rub it on it does appear as if you have oil on your skin but doesn’t feel greasy at all. Our girls tend to get dry and my oldest actually has eczema and I always reach for the Eczema Therapy when I notice flare ups. I’ve also used it on my elbows, and feet. We have used the Head-to-Toe Ointment and like that it’s easy to carry in a diaper bag. It’s very similar to the Eczema Therapy but I think a little thicker. We use it during the winter to get some extra moisturizing during our usually drier skin months.

Price:

The price of most of their items is usually $9.99, which is pricey. However, stores that carry their products often have buy one get one 1/2 off. That’s when I usually will stock up. At that price and even at the regular price Shea Moisture is worth it. Overall JS would absolutely would recommend Shea Moisture’s Butter Baby line.

What’s in it:

What I love most about Shea Moisture is that they use real ingredients and many of their products use organic ingredients. They keep out all the junk your baby’s largest organ does not need. Such as, no parabans, phthalates, paraffin, formaldehyde and add good ingredients such as Africa Black Soap, Agave nectar, Aloe Leaf Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar etc. Shea Moisture also is very conscious about where it gets its ingredients and community affairs. What’s not to like about this company.

Recommendations:

I absolutely would and have recommended Shea Moisture’s Butter Baby to anyone who is conscious about what’s goes on their baby’s skin. This is a good company providing excellent quality products. I’ve enjoyed watching their success over the past couple of years. Part of living the way God intends is to start reducing unnecessary chemicals in our bodies. The largest organ in our body is our skin, so it is essential that we are very selective about what we layer on. If you’re not into If you try it, let me know what do you think.

 

 

 

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  • Note: Shea Moisture did not provide any compensation or products. I’ve used these products and enjoy them.

 

Spring

20140423-012209.jpgIt took awhile but Spring is finally here and here to stay. Ole Man Winter did not want to leave. He even made a quick return in the April and then again in May!  I  enjoy experiencing all 4 seasons but when February arrives winter should be heading out the door. I was born and raised in Miami, Fl winter isn’t suppose to last more than 3 days.  Since moving from Fl to states with actual seasons, I look forward to enjoy each one but there’s something about thawing out. The anticipation of warmer weather, bright sun, longer days, beautiful colors, flowers I could go on and on. I love Spring.

Nothing welcomes spring more than a beautiful wreath. This one may look familiar, it’s my Mardi Gras wreath with a few little changes. I use to have a spring wreath until a bird decided to make it the base of it’s nest. It was really quite amazing. Our wreath was so wonderful a bird wanted to call it home. Unfortunately, we had to evict her. A nest on the front door we used to enter the house was not the best location. Ok, back to spring.  This is the time when we take the time to clean out, simplify, shed our winter coats and prepare for the all the wonderful activities warm weather brings. Before I get to enjoy relaxation I must do some organization.

This year with a baby in full movement mode and growing like a wild flower. Toddler growth equals a surplus of baby clothes and baby gear. We won’t even talk about the growing 8 and 6 year olds. If we could live naked, not eat and keep all junk mail and school work at school our home would be 95% cleaner. Since those aren’t viable options spring cleaning is the only other option.  I’ve been busy getting my spring to do list ready. As of now it includes cleaning up my home, finances, body and spirit.  I also really would like to plant a garden with the girls. I am horrible at growing plants but failure is not an option. Truth be told my spring list is a revamp of my New Year list, ha.


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  • To clean my body: work out and eat better
  • To clean my home: I really like the idea I found on a few organizing blogs that suggest cleaning
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    room a week. A room a week seems reasonable and not as stressful as cleaning an entire house.
  • To clean my spirit: I am trying to let go and let God. I am trying to grow into the life He intended.
  • To clean my finances: we are budgeting and keeping track of all our pennies. Our goal is to one day be debt free.

Sure all of this may have to be added onto a summer list but at least there is a list and this Spring I will start. Spring, the season where God wakes the hibernating, bloom flowers from dry dormant stems and branches. The season where we witness the renewal and rebirths. It’s the season that brings hope for a new start a clean start. Happy Spring cleaning!

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Mardi Petit (Small Tuesday)

20140423-010032.jpgWe recently moved to Baton Rouge making this our first Mardi Gras. Well, technically not our first, my husband and I went with friends while in college. Needless to say after leaving I had that “been there done that feeling. I never imagined we would be living here and living through Mardi Gras season. Yes, this year I learned that Mardi Gras is not an event but a season.

I really wanted the girls to experience Mardi Gras but not “really” experience Mardi Gras. We were very happy that we were able to enjoy the season without exposing our girls to the “adult” side of Mardi Gras. I made a cute wreath, Audrey made a personal fable/fairy tale float for school, we had King Cake, went to parades and got tons of beads! We even used a few beads for a little decoration.

It’s difficult sometimes trying not to join in secular activities and living in Louisiana, Mardi Gras is everywhere (even in schools)! With a little work and planning we were able to give our kids piece of the experience. We made sure to tell them the reason behind Mardi Gras and explained that just because God forgives us does not mean we have to sin on purpose. Also that you never have to wait for a holy period to repent, God is always listening. I am a firm believer that a Godly lesson can be taught in every experience. I’ve been blessed with the ability to think quickly on my feet and take advantage of most opportunities to teach my girls about morals, values and expectations.

We are very thankful that Baton Rouge takes time to cater to families, it made planning for and enjoying “Slim Tuesday” just as enjoyable as all those who took part in Fat Tuesday.

When living in a new city, find out the mom connections, they always have the best suggestions on family friendly places and activities. Look for:

  • local Parents magazines
  • facebook pages for moms in your city.
  • MOPs (mother’s of preschoolers) groups
  • local churches

Here are some of our Slim Tuesday fun.

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Wooden letters, hot glue and Mardi Gras beads.

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The Prince Frog float.

Coco-everything- oil

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I love coconut oil. Love it so much I have to say it twice, I love coconut oil! I started using it 2 years ago, mainly for cooking but as time passed I found more and more uses for coconut oil. It truly is an amazing item. A quick google or Pinterest search will quickly give you all the ways you can use coconut oil. You can even find research about all the benefits find new health benefits we are discovering about coconut oil on Coconut Oil’s website. There are so many benefits to using coconut oil. Research is showing that coconut oil is :

  • reversing Alzheimer’s
  • showing positive results form people with diabetes
  • boosting metabolism
  • helping lose weight
  • killing bacteria

Tips:

When buying Coconut oil make sure it’s high quality. I keep multiple jars, 1 for cooking and 1 for personal use (i.e., lotions, diaper rash treatment). Look out for sales. Coconut oil can be pricey at times,  Vitacost and Amazon usually has good deals.  Coconut oil is truly special. If you haven’t started using it start now, I promise you will fall in love with this amazing item. It has become a must have in our home.

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My Valentine

20140215-123304.jpgThroughout the year my husband and I stay on our girls about everything. We are consciously trying to raise specific type of ladies. So, when the time comes to treat them, we well I, usually do a little more than usual. These are the times when being a craft hoarder comes in handy. It’s during these busy times (I’m now working full time again) when it pays off to have a good stash of craft items to get you through any spur of the moment crafting task.

I really hadn’t thought much about Valentine’s Day and much like most of the country on Thursday my brain went into high gear and this is what we ended up with. Treats for our Sweets. Weather and time made us miss both daddy and donuts and muffins and mommy so this was a great opportunity to make it up. We had breakfast treats (along with fruit) candy and cards from daddy, and new gymnastic leotards (I had them so just turned them into gifts).

What I had in hand:

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  • ribbon from 2 years ago
  • heart plate we used when the girls brought treats to preschool (they are now 8 and 6)
  • candle that was around the house
  • table runner I’ve had for while
  • balloons and helium from a leftover tank from our Summer birthdays
  • our family center chalk board (50 cent yard sale frame)
  • washi tape I had in my school bag
  • bags with chalk board label. This was a recent purchase and I wasn’t sure what I would use them for. Didn’t know I would need them so soon. I think it all came together nicely.

It was a great surprise for the girls, we had a difficult week (bad weather, difficulty at school, full moon) and this was a sweet way to end it.

If you’re starting out  and you are not sure what to get, here are a few essentials you can slowly get to start your own hoarding collection.

  • hot glue gun: (don’t buy the small portable  one you’ll end up buying a bigger one anyway)
  • ribbon: ribbon makes everything prettier; red, white, yellow, green and blue will cover every season and holiday20140215-123327.jpg
  • washi tape: these are sometimes better than ribbon they stick and peel right off
  • sharpie pens: perfect for writing great notes
  • scissor: a good pair that you use only for your crafts and leave it in one place. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked the “where are the scissors girls” question.
  • double sided sticky tape runner
  • chalk board or an empty frame: these are great for writing about your event or to frame printables.

The most important thing to remember about crafting is that what you create is yours. Don’t let Pinterest and the professional scrapers scare you from enjoying things you’ve created. If I can do it you can too.

What project are you going to start?

Quick Shout-Forward

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When in the Sticks…

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Part of our family’s way of life is moving every few years and once we moved one season just to move again the next. No, we are not in the military my husband coaches college football. The fans don’t realize how the coach’s families lives revolve and evolve based on football season. It’s a love hate relationship for me. Love the season hate being a married but single mother during the season.

When we started on this path 11 years ago, I hated moving. I was born and raised in Florida and I had to leave my entire family. I dreaded every move. Well, a lot can and has changed in 11 years. Now, when the time comes to move, I know for sure it’s God’s work and his plan. Our family now seeks His guidance and try to look for the positive with every move. Moving is also  stressful for our kids.  Our family tries to turn a move into a new adventure. We  turn moving into a learning experience and try to make learning about a new place, culture, geographical area as exciting as we can. We let them know that we can make anywhere home, as long as we are together. They may not know it now but our moves will help them deal with fear of the new and unknown. I pray that that our moves will allow them  to go anywhere their dreams desire.

So, when in Rome The Sticks… and here in the Red Stick (Baton Rouge) they celebrate Carnival season and Mardis Gras! I didn’t even know Mardis Gras was so big throughout the state I thought it was a New Orleans event, boy was I wrong.

It all begins in January starting with enjoying King Cake and celebrating on through the end of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). I’ve learned that many people take down Christmas decorations just to put up Mardi Gras decor. So, when in the Sticks, if they decorate then I must as well. I figured a  Mardi Gras wreath would be perfect.  While the kids were at school I made a quick (well not quick) stop at Hobby Lobby. I found these adorable wreaths that were way too expensive (Mardi Gras items were not on sale yet). When it cost too much, might as well make it for less. While there, I remembered the girls talking about King Cake (it’s part of the curriculum in French class)  and of course making a wreath turned into a surprise for them. Decorations and King Cake, great way to end their week. I love rewarding them for working hard and report cards were just sent home the day before. It all turned out well.

To make the wreath: I used the foam wreath but next time I will use the wire. My first time around  I wanted something super simple and floral pins were perfect. The hardest part was picking out the details.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • foam wreath

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  • 2 rolls of 15ft of ribbon (I wanted it full) I used burlap (so in)
  • floral pins
  • 1/2 yard of a different ribbon (length depends on how long you would like it to hang)
  • any embellishments you like on your wreath. I used a little saxophone and a mask.

Take your wreath, burlap and pins. Pin the first piece of burlap and gather going around pinning from the backside. It’s that simple. I did the same thing on the top to cover any green foam.

When you are done, place your ribbon and embellishments where ever you like. I loved the end product. Now, I’m  not sure I want it outside! I guess I’ll be making another soonThis was very fast and easy. If I can do it I know you can too.

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The tradition is whoever gets the baby buys the next King Cake or throws the next party. The King Cake is named for the the 3 Kings and the baby is baby Jesus.

How was the King Cake, very sweet! The girls and my husband really enjoyed it. They enjoy sweet things a little more than I do. It would have been perfect with a lot less icing and no food coloring (everything in moderation). In the picture you can see the little baby.I love the wreath, but the best part of this craft was having my girls come home from school and seeing their surprised, excited faces. Their exact word “mommy you are the best”!

 

Now that we have a wreath, ate King Cake and have some decorations up I can proudly say “Laissez les bon ton roulet” (Let the good time roll)!

 

 

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2013 Got it Done List

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This is the time of year when we all stop and reflect on what we’ve accomplished, what we wished we would have tried and what we will push off onto next year.

This year I must say I’m proud of myself, I got a few things done! I became a stay at home mom (SAHM), I started painting/repurposing  furniture, I cooked and baked (maybe a bit too much), I worked on my blogs, I made it to a few pounds less than prebaby weight (yay me) and I no longer just a morning and bed time prayer, I now find myself praying throughout my day! Sure I did other things too, like keep my kids healthy, my marriage strong, but these were new things that I was really afraid to tackle. I didn’t do it alone my family and 3 very patient friends helped me out through it all.

Here are some of my projects for 2013! To see some more checkout my video: Got Done set to Mandisa’s These Days, my favorite!

 

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This new year I have a few paint projects (now that I’ve learned from my mistakes), a few all natural products to create, new recipes and crafts to try, definitely blog more, run a 5k and finally hit my ideal weight 9 years and 3 babies later. No, not resolutions just things I want to “get to”. If by chance I don’t finish something, God willing, there will always be next year. Please make sure you put Joyful Shouts and Shout SL Therapy on your to visit list throughout the new year for details on how I completed all my projects and speech-language information.

What is on your New Year Get to List?

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A New Year

NewYearJSA year ago today I didn’t have a clue where we would be living, what I would be doing or how my new little baby would be like. Only things I was sure of were that we more than likely would be moving to Louisiana and that it didn’t matter what it took, our family would be living in one state under one roof. So, as a family we stepped out on faith, prayed, prayed and prayed and today we are here. Today we have a beautiful 1 year old with a very strong personality. We are living in one state under one roof. We made it, He kept us. He kept us together, clothed, fed, healthy, safe and faithful. He kept us despite just one income, He kept us.

Now a new year quickly approaches and again we do not have any idea where we will be this time next year. We don’t know if I will find a job here, if my husband will find a new job (that’s always a possibility in college football), if I will be able to find a good place for our baby to go to, if I find a job. I can go on and on with the uncertainties that this new year will bring but I won’t. What I am absolutely sure of is that we will step out on faith. We will surrender all uncertainty unto Him. We will pray and we will listen for His answers. If things get difficult we will cry out His name and again we know He will answer, it may not be instant but He will answer. He always answers.

Despite the uncertainty, I am excited about this new year. I am excited about experiencing  what where He will take us and the blessing we will receive along the way. This new year I won’t be making any resolutions. My plans and goals are pretty much what they have been for awhile, to simplify our lives, enjoy the moment and to work towards the dreams He has placed in my heart.NewYearJS2

Yes, this new year may bring many changes but what I know the one thing that will not change is my faith that my family will be taken care of. We maybe tested along the way, but our faith will remain. In our home we are resolved to follow His lead.

I pray that this new year will bring you and your family strength in your faith and joy in your spirit. Happy New Year!

What are you resolved to keep the same this New Year?

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