July 14, 2017

Summer Happenings {Berry Picking}

I love summer! Around our parts, it is very short, hot and humid. But those days we savor every minute and try not to complain about the heat. We go berry picking every year. Starting with strawberries, then raspberries and blueberries. They are in abundance in upstate New York, which we absolutely love. This year strawberries weren't very good considering all the rain but we are looking forward to canning some raspberry jam and eating tons of blueberries. 
We went later in the morning which turned into a muggy and hot afternoon. It wasn't all that popular with kids who wanted to get outta there asap. But nevertheless, they had fun. It's so sweet watching them discover things. Abbie was so excited finding all the ripe blueberries and caught on very quick that only blue ones are yummy. She wasn't a fan of raspberry picking because leaves a bit prickly. Jonathan was a great sport, while I was carrying Abbie around, he picked quite a few berries on his own. I was so very proud of him! 
Although I am very goal oriented person, I try to relax and enjoy kids and see it for what it's worth. Of course, we didn't pick many berries but we enjoyed our time together and the kids learned too a few things too. Hope you get to enjoy some fresh picked berries this summer too!

July 12, 2017

What It Takes To Keep Marriage Going Strong {Love and Marriage}

Back in the year 2006 CE brand new 18 yr old was beyond happy to get her own phone. She bragged about it at her youth group. She was giving it to one of her girlfriends when a boy sitting right next to them memorized it on the spot. That night he texted her and kept her guessing for a while who he is. She had no clue that this handsome, older guy liked her. They talked for a while on the phone and texted ridiculously sweet and mushy messages. Then they went out on a date. He says it wasn't a date but he did pay so, it's official - it was a date. She liked him. He liked her. And it began. Love story of a lifetime.
Our story.
We dated for 9 months before he proposed and another 5 months of engagement. Then on a gorgeous summer afternoon nine years ago we got married. It was the best decision we ever made.
Fast forward a bachelor degree, blog, house and two kids later we are nine years and running.
Newlyweds have asked us, what keeps it going? What does it take to have a solid marriage? One word. Commitment.
I mean it. It's not the lovely fuzzy feeling, it's not the physical attraction, it's not the financial stability, it's not even religion. It's you.
How much do you want it?
In the last nine years we've had some awesome highs and very low lows. The lows, of course, no one talks about. But don't fool yourself. Behind every pretty Instagram photo and family Christmas card is a story of forgiving, loving and committing.
The commitment to our family, to my husband, to our kids and to our life no matter what. No matter if I'm feeling 'in love' or simply living next to each other. The commitment to never give up on each other.. The commitment to lead and to follow. The commitment to put in the work when it requires and to let go when you must. The commitment to grow together and to love each other. The commitment to honor the vows and never look another way with desire for someone else. The commitment to love the Lord our God and obey Him. The commitment to bring out the best in each other and support each other. The commitment when you don't feel like doing it, but you do it anyways. 
The commitment to us. 
Of course, it sounds simple but that's exactly what it is.
Anything we want in life takes work, perseverance and commitment. It's no different with marriage. In fact the success of a marriage depends on our ability to do the mundane tasks over and over again without ever thinking to give up.
Marriage takes choosing to love that person no matter what. It's a choice. Every single day.
Some day I must choose to look beyond the ugly and choose that person again. And again. And again.
It's not easy. I will probably want to give up. You will want to give up too. Someone else's marriage will look like it's doing amazing,  and my isn't. But it's not about them. It's not even about my spouse. It's about me.
What will I do?
What I do regardless of what he does. My response to who he is my own and cannot be excused by who he is. Only because someone is mean, I do not have the permission or the right to do the same.
We teach our children to be nice and kind to strangers, not to answer back with impolite word but somehow we forget to apply it to our own marriage. 
So, if I'm responsible only for myself and not how the other person acts, I must train and learn to behave myself. I must learn to walk with the Lord and love Him with all my heart before I attempt to change or point out faults in another person. I must learn to be the person God wants me to be and walk that walk every single day. 
I choose you darling, every day. I choose our life and our love. I choose to commit and never let go.
Happy anniversary dear.
I love you.

July 11, 2017

3 Reasons to be Prime Member on Amazon

We love Amazon. There isn't a week, or a few days that go by that we don't get something in the mail. We buy everything from faucets to toilet paper. Yep, my husband found a great deal on toilet paper and ordered a huge pack. Ha! And here are 3 reasons why.

The shipping is what gets me. Only 2-days and you will have the product you want at your door step. Most items Amazon sells are their warehouse and that's millions of products that are available to ship like now. For example, I needed a one piece bathing suit. That means, get a babysitter, go to the mall, try million things on, see nothing fit, return home very disappointed and still have to cook dinner. Instead I scouted the site and found a few I liked. Read the reviews and ordered them. They arrived in 2 days I tried them on and picked the one I liked most. They rest went back. DONE! 

Free returns. Like I already said, you can order a bunch of things, try them on and pick what you want. I love the fact that there are many different designers and price points on Amazon. Also, they have more then enough no brand, cheaper items. If there is something I'm looking for, I first look on Amason knowing that if anything doesn't work out, I can always return it without any hassle, which give me and my husband a pieces of mind. 

All the movies, TV shows and music. We don't have Netflix and the only movies that we watch on a Friday night or a rainy day are on Prime. And there are quite a few. Any time, anywhere on your computer, phone or TV you can watch or listen to the huge selection of videos. I love the fact that I can rent something as well if it's not available with Prime subscription but trust me there's enough.

Swim Suit (runs true to size and I love it!) 

Almond Oil is the only moisturizer I use all over my body. 
That's how I prevented stretch marks during my pregnancy.

The most adorable sandals that I ma or may not have ordered. 

The cutest summer dress ever! (notice it's lined which makes wearing it a breeze)

My favorite tea! Yum! 

Honestly, the best car seat for kids transitioning from carrier to booster. It lasts for a long time and has few reclining positions forward facing as well. Our daughter loves it. 
The best toy in the world! My 4yr old and 2 yr old love to play. They have so much fun building it and destroying it together. Honestly, if you buy any toy, this is it. 

Our kids love puzzles and these are so cute! 

Most amazing and captivating toy! 
Pre-K Learning best tool! 


June 29, 2017

{Simple Celebration} Independence Day

Happy Independence Day weekend. I know the 4th is not until Tuesday but who are you kidding thinking that you will be actually doing anything remotely productive Monday. Even though I love following different accounts on Pinterest and looking at all the incredible parties, I always wonder how long and how much energy did it take for them to set it all up. Yes, it comes easier to some people but in the end, people will remember the conversation, you demeanor and maybe the food. Pretty much no one will remember what your set up was the next year. Except maybe those who pay very good attention to the details.
I do like to make special occasions pretty and inviting. I always make birthday parties cute and interesting, so this 4th of July we are thinking about having a few people over and enjoying the time together. 
I really didn't want to spend too much money on all the decor so I pulled out stuff that I have and got patriotic plates and napkins. Everything turned out be under $10 at my local ALDI. Talk about being budget friendly! If you want to order something similar I place links under the last photo. Don't over think it and use what you have, and remember to enjoy yourself!

Have a happy 4th of July!

June 26, 2017

5 Things My Kids Taught Me About Life

Her Boots (also love these) //  His Boots (he still wants another pair)

When I had my first boy, Jonathan, life changed. Dramatically. Everything from what time we went to bed to what was on TV changed. I was determined to be the best mother - to teach them, mold them and guide them where to go. But one of the things I didn't expect is to learn something from those little people that we brought into this world. So here are 5 things I've learned from my kids

1. Be In The Moment. How many times we are too preoccupied with life or stuff to just enjoy simple life's pleasures. Like Rain. I mean, seriously. When it rains, my kids get excited because they get to go splash in the puddles and carry their umbrellas. They forget that it's wet and dirty, they just enjoy the splashing and stomping into giant puddles, getting wet and dirty. Life is full of moments that are enjoyable and it's up to see to see them.

2. Enjoy The Small Things. Getting rain boots in the mail was the highlight of their week. From picking them out to seeing UPS truck pull up to our house, everything was so fun. Then getting to go and explore outside right after the rain, it was simply joyous occasion. They were happy with the little things like rain boots and puddles.

3. Get Carried Away. As adults we like to rationalize things and put a limit onto how much is a reasonable amount of fun. Even I get myself caught saying, "that's enough now", but why? There should never be enough laughter, fun and joy. Kids don't think that at some point they had enough laughing and playing. They would rather crash on the floor while playing, then go to bed. Getting carried away with things you enjoy is the best you can do with your life.

4. Let Others Join The Fun. My kids always ask me to come and play, or go climb trees or jump puddles with them. They never hesitate inviting our neighbors to pool parties or to our backyard to play. They simply want to spread the joy around them. They don't think that this person isn't good enough or they don't fit some social standard - they love people for who they are. Bring others into your life and see what surprising treasure you may find in those relationships. Maybe it requires you to step out of your comfort zone, give someone a call or invite them into your home. You will never be sorry for doing more, but you may regret not doing enough.

5. Look For Extraordinary in Mundane. The day we went outside for a walk around the neighborhood, was a rainy, gloomy, windy and cold day in the middle of June. We were stuck inside all morning, kids wanted to go play but it was raining non stop. The moment it stopped we hopped outside for a quick walk. Half way through it started to rain again. There was nothing really exciting going, but we just made do with what we had. They enjoyed themselves in the small window of gloomy and boring. Life is what you make it out to be. You can be in the most picturesque place in the world and not see it, yet someone can be in the dead of winter and recognize beauty of it all. 

So today, try to be a kids again, and you will see how much more joy you will find in your life! 
Thanks for stopping by.