Petite Lemon {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Melody, comment #88, has been selected as the winner of this giveaway. Congratulations – an email has been sent your way.

I’m a sucker for personalized shirts.

I’d have family uniforms with our names on the back if my hubby would let me.  I think it all goes back to those matching red Christmas sweaters we wore in family pictures with our dogs (yes, they matched too) before we had kids. This is where I don’t insert that picture because I value my relationship with my spouse. Ahem.

When my newest sponsor, Petite Lemon, said they were going to send a Little Sister shirt to our little sister, we couldn’t wait! Look how cute. She may be turning six soon, but she’s my baby and I’m going to personalize that child as long as I can. We chose this cute Lil Sister baseball shirt with friendly owls. It’s a super soft adorable shirt!

I also LOVE Petite Lemon’s birthday, name and special occasion shirts:

Colorful Number Girl Tshirt

Playful Doodles - Big Brother Tshirt

I Love Dad Boy Tshirt

This great company also does personalized posters, growth charts, and more!

So fun! Today, Petite Lemon is offering a $100 gift card to one lucky winner! 

Go look around and leave a comment on this post with what you love.

This giveaway will end Tuesday.

Decorating Cookies: A Family Review

The UPS man handed me a package and before he could tip his brown hat, I was holding Bridget’s new book, Decorating Cookies.

I opened it and my heart flip-flopped. It’s stunning and yummy and I was overwhelmed with emotion (and hunger). I love watching dreams come true. I also love cookies. It’s a complicated bag of emotions.

Ten minutes later, my “old” next door neighbor was at my door with her signature pink box of cookies for our Mercy House volunteers. (And suddenly, we have a peak in volunteer interest). I hugged her tight.

I introduced y’all to Bridget back in February of 2009. It’s an awesome story.

So, about decorating cookies. I have become an expert at eating cookies (and hiding them from my children), but I’ve never once tried to make them. If I had a baking blog, it would be called I AM NOT A BAKER. Subtle, I know.

But when I took this picture, I knew I had to try.

And let me tell you, I don’t know if I’ve ever been more intimated. My family was encouraging, but I think they had pretty low expectations. I mean, seriously, who could blame them. We’ve eaten Bridget’s “mistakes” for years AND WE COULDN’T FIND THE MISTAKES. So, yeah, the pressure, it was heavy.

So, I got the supplies and ingredients and read her very detailed, clear instructions written for people like me (but also written to the gifted bakers out there).

I could’ve just served the dough. SO yummy! I was surprised at how simple and easy the recipe was. I did forget the egg and added it in last (I bet Bridget is dying reading that!) And while I’m confessing, I learned the difference between wax and parchment paper. You can read more insightful commentary at I AM NOT A BAKER.

I loved the part in her book about cookie decorating with kids. Wait until you’ve got everything ready before you call them in. My daughter helped me more, but my younger two were all about licking the beaters once they cut out a few.

We decided to go with pumpkin cookies because most real ones are mismatched, lumpy and unique. Seemed fitting.

While the cookies baked (loved all the helpful how-to’s on keeping cut-out cookie shapes and dipping cutter in flour), I called in the big guns to help me mix up the colored icing. It calls for meringue powder. I’m an adult now.

I just love the way a man looks in the kitchen. Delicious.

Tinting Royal Icing is fun and hard work. But starting a maternity home in a developing nation might be less intimidating then icing the cookies. My hand shook and my writing was wobbly. At one point my husband said, “Let me try” in that tone that said “I will show you how to do this.”

He looked up from his work and said, “I really respect Bridget.”

After outlining the cookies, we flooded them. That’s how the professionals talk.

And then this happened:

I can never refer to myself as a professional again.

Moving on.

We ended up with a lumpy, bumpy pumpkin patch.

It was a super fun experience and the best thing about it?

THE COOKIES.

Once they dried, we ate them. The respect level in this house went way up. My kids fought over the last one! (Well, I hid the last one, but you probably already knew that!)

Not so bad for a first try, eh?

So, *go buy this beautiful book (seriously you will not believe the picture tutorials) and make some family memories! It will make an awesome Christmas gift! It’s only $10! 

*Amazon affiliate

 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Light

When I was a teenager, my parents took a stained glass class. It was random and sort of embarrassing as a kid, but they became experts on fitting broken pieces together to create a new beautiful picture. Then it was cool.

They would come home from their time together with bandaids on their fingers and art in their heart. One-by-once pieces of their work begin to show up in our house. A stained glass rose hung in the kitchen window, glistening glass angels on the Christmas tree.

All these years later, I love seeing these pieces of art still hanging in my parents home. I didn’t know then I would see myself in the broken pieces, I didn’t know God would use the shattered remnants of my life to create a brand new picture. I didn’t know he would use my brokenness to let his light shine thru and reflect Him.

I think that might be one reason I love Matthew West’s new album so much. God used the broken stories of people to change Matthew’s life and his music reflects this so well.

The story behind my favorite song on his new album Into the Light is “Forgiveness.” Get ready, it will move you. I promise.

Did you cry?? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Matthew West’s new album Into the Light. Available today.

What story is God writing with the broken pieces of your life?

EMI Music sponsored this post. But the love of music is all my own.

How to Get Your Kids to Do the Laundry

We have a very special, how should I put it, ceremony for our children when they turn 8 years old in our house.

They get their first laundry basket (Just for you! Yay! Look at the pretty white basket!) They are given several tutorials on the fine art of waiting-until-you’re-out-of-socks-and-then-stuffing-as-much-as-you-can-in-the-washer.

It’s a beautiful event and brings a tear to my eyes. I always hope God will call one of my offspring to a deep love for laundry. It would be a much-appreciated ministry in this house.

I originally thought this “bestowment” of a chore would mean less work for me (ah, selfish ambition). It doesn’t really, but my kids are wear less clothes, because they want less work. A win-win.

When I introduced my kids to our new washer and dryer, it was love at first load. “Look how big the tub is!” they cried. “I love the tune it plays when you open it!” My kids rejoiced because this wasn’t a gift just for mom, it was for the whole family. They were a bit disappointed that it didn’t come with a fold-it-sloppily-and-stuff-it-in-your-drawer feature, but we can’t have it all.

I still monitor my kids in their weekly washing experience, especially since they are still in the ketchup-sleeve, drink-spilling stage. Come to think of it, I may still be in that phase of life. I depend on my Maytag Bravos XL washer to help me stain-fight. I was in a hurry the other day and I forgot to remind my daughter to pre-treat the food stain. I was really impressed the barbecue sauce came out of my daughter’s top.

I realized after all these years of looking for help with laundry, I finally have caring assistants. They are sleek and excellent at what they do! Welcome to the family, Maytag Bravos washer and dryer! Make sure you check out these resources:

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a #MayTagMoms Dependable Laundry Ambassador through mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.

This is Worship {Toby Mac Release Today}

We were cleaning and cooking and jamming.

Music blaring, Toby Mac’s music,  good for the soul and cardio.

It’s why he’s our favorite, from our 5 year old to the oldest 41 year old in the house (my hubby), his music makes us dance.

And dancing is good. Especially if you’re doing chores…

My little one was spinning around, hands in the air, and she stopped mid-turn and said, “Momma?”

With one hand on the broom, the other lifting the rug, “Uh, huh?” I answered.

“Is this how you worship?” she asked with her hands reaching, foot tapping, swaying.

I straightened to see her arms raised. My heart in my throat. “Yes. It is.”

“Good. Because I really like to worship God,” and then she started spinning again.

I could hardly choke out the words, “He likes it too, honey.”

As Toby’s “Me Without You” blared, at that exact moment, I wanted to bow down and worship. It’s just like a child to lead us, isn’t it? Watching her spin felt like a worship tutorial. The stress and “to do list” suddenly didn’t exist and I was at complete peace.

Worship looks different for all of us, but whether we dance, stand, bow, jump, spin, sing, we need to keep our eye on Him. It makes everything else okay.

I’m excited to share Eye On It, Toby Mac’s brand new album releasing today! It’s fabulous. It has a little bit of everything and you will love it! Check it out here.

And stay tuned this week for an super awesome giveaway!!

EMI Music sponsored this post, but all the opinions and dance moves are completely mine.

WFMW: Kiwi Crate

We are big arts and crafts people at our house. What can I say? We love white glue.

But our summer hasn’t been typical and it’s been hard to squeeze in crafts. That’s why when Kiwi Crate asked if we wanted to try out their craft box, we jumped at the chance. Well, that and because we hadn’t located our moving box labeled CRAFT STUFF.

My favorite two things about the Kiwi Crate: 1. Everything you need is included to make two really great projects for two kids. Can I get an amen from mothers everywhere? 2. Easy to follow directions that are easy to follow. I just watched, snapped some pictures and looked for boxes labeled “Dinner.”

Sisters making windsocks:

I also love that with double the supplies, my kids are still using the leftovers.

And what’s really cool: monthly crafts for kids is available at Kiwi Crate on a subscription basis. When you sign up, ($19.99 a month with free shipping, other options available too), you receive theme-related items to make 2-3 projects (crafts, science experiments, or imaginative play) every month, recommended ages 3-7, but even my big kids added their own twist to the crafts.

 

So, even if you’re not a “crafty mom,” you can do awesome crafts with your kids without ever having to leave the house for supplies! You can also choose the sibling add-on option for extra materials to be included.

Kiwi Craft is offering my readers a special coupon to receive 25% off your first month. Use code WeAre25

Make sure you check out their Facebook page too for great deals and ideas.

Disclaimer: Kiwi Craft sent me a project to review and compensated me for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Children featured in this post were not paid to have fun.



And Then the Guy With the Mullet Made My Day

When I got the call, I waited and anxiously peered out the blinds like Mrs. Kravitz.

And if you’re too young to remember Mrs. Kravitz, don’t tell me, m’kay? (as I pluck a stray gray hair)

I pulled out my camera and Mr.Mullet Delivery Guy laughed and said, “You’d be surprised how many moms take a picture of their new appliances.” Only a mom would understand another mother’s joy over a new Maytag Bravos XL washer and dryer.

But I didn’t laugh because stain-fighting is a serious matter. May God bless laundering mothers everywhere. Amen.

Our new laundry room has been bare with a growing laundry pile.

I shoved boxes created a nice pathway for the washer and dryer to be installed.

And then I finally met my two new girlfriends.

It was love at first wash and dry. I fired these babies up before the delivery truck was gone.

I love the purr of these machines. This high efficiency Maytag duo is amazing! The washer capacity is huge and more than enough for our dirty laundry piles. The dryer is so quiet. They also both sing a little ditty when you open the door and that just makes me happy.

Make sure you check out the Maytag PageMaytag Facebook, and Maytag Twitter

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a #MayTagMoms Dependable Laundry Ambassador through mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.

Suddenly, I’m Longing to Do Laundry

You know those women who love washing and drying and folding their laundry into neat little piles and delivering it happily into drawers and closets throughout the house?

I am not one of them.

I don’t hate laundry, it’s just not stress-relieving for me to do it. Plus there’s my dryer issues. A few years ago, my 15 year old washer died. The dryer was still working, so we have we’ve been mismatched for awhile and lived to tell about it! A couple of months ago, it started shredding straps to tank tops and bras, which is pretty inconvenient and rude.

We proved we were rednecks and duct taped the broken plastic  to keep it going. I’m not proud:

But I’m not complaining, I got a whole new appreciation for “doing laundry” last summer in Kenya. We took one suitcase for our whole family for 3 weeks–I was all “we’re going to live like the people” and we hand-washed until my hands were red and chapped.

People, I am not always smart.

[Next week we’re taking four for the family.]

Because I’m a quick learner.

This week (in between selling our home and trying to find a place to come home to after our trip to Kenya), I was chosen to be a Maytag Ambassador. I might have screamed a little when I found out I’m receiving a Bravos XL washer and dryer to review. My kids were all “did we find a place to live??”

“No, but momma’s getting new laundry machines!”

When my kids turn 8, they get a big fat laundry lesson, so I wasn’t the only one squealing!

I’m so excited to be a part of this program because if I know anything, it’s dirty laundry! I can’t wait to share my reviews with you over the next few months.

P.S. We found a house just in the nick of time!

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a #MayTagMoms Dependable Laundry Ambassador through mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.