Friday, June 14, 2019

Happy Friday & Blogging Announcement!

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you've enjoyed a wonderful week!  Ours has been filled to overflowing with activities, projects, and family time.  Life is good and I'm doing my best to cherish each and every day of it!

It's hard to believe that my oldest is prepping for her final year of high school while my youngest will be moving on into her high school years this fall.  It's never been more clear to me how quickly time passes!  As I attempt to savor every precious bit of my oldest daughter's final summer break before she graduates, I've decided to devote the next several weeks to savoring this sweet season offline.  

I plan to return sometime in August and will be sure to share all the summer goodness to come when I do!  Also, after all the sweet comments I received recently showing interest in the (long overdue) return of my Trip Report Tuesday blog series, I'm happy to share that I will begin adding fresh new pixie dusted posts here each Tuesday when I return to the blogging world!

I truly appreciate your readership and friendship, dear ones!  I hope to see your smiling faces and kind comments once again when I return!  If you haven't already, I've love it if you'd take a moment to subscribe (direct links can be found below), that way you'll be notified when my next post is published!

Much love to you all, along with wishes for a splendid summer!

Join me in the adventures to come!
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Friday, June 7, 2019

Five Loves on Friday // Lake Okoboji, Birthday, Aladdin, and Scrumptious Summer Suppers!

Happy first Friday of June, friends!  I hope your month is off to a lovely start.  We enjoyed such a summer-y sweet celebratory week and I'm looking forward to sharing the highlights of it with you today!

*This week's loves are listed in chronological order. :)

One  //  Our Annual Trip to Lake Okoboji

Godfather's Pizza at the lake is the best way to start off a day in the Okoboji area!

The view during our lovely post-lunch stroll to do a bit of shopping

Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum

The girls enjoyed their traditional game of checkers in the old "Okoboji Store" replica inside the museum.

Some cute windows to peek at while doing some window shopping :)

One of my favorite shops to visit in the area is Barn Swallow.  This charming store has multiple levels of fun finds and whimsical pieces that set my heart a flutter.

For several years now "Little One" has had the tradition of choosing an addition to her "Beanie Boo" collection while visiting Okoboji.  Here are this year's picks...

Beach Time

The water here is so clear!

My sand castle building cutie and her masterpiece

Dinner at a Family Favorite
Okoboji Store

We love dining at these tables that overlook the lake.  Watching boats pass by, feeling the breeze, chatting, and chowing on yumminess always makes for an incredible evening!

We started off with cheese curds.  Then we all moved on to delicious burgers and fries with the exception of our youngest who opted for her forever favorite, chicken strips.  My burger was topped with white cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, store sauce, and my favorite addition - a sunny side up egg!

It was such a beautiful day together as a family!  I'm forever grateful for the memories made during great getaways with my loves!

Two  //  Birthday Eve Date Night

My parents invited our girls over for the evening while my nephew was staying with them.  Jason and I used this opportunity for a fun in-car picnic at our hometown lake with his favorite New York style pizza.   Yum!

Three  //  My Husband's Birthday!

Jason turned another year older, wiser, and more handsome this week.  We had such a wonderful day celebrating him.  His simple birthday requests included fettuccine alfredo with broccoli and cheese texas toast and chocolate chip cookies to munch on during a family game night.  It doesn't take much to make him happy and he makes us oh so happy each and every day!  Couldn't love this Birthday Boy more!

Four  //  Aladdin

We saw and loved Aladdin this week!  Aladdin is my all-time favorite Disney animated film.  I will not give any spoilers about the live action version in case you haven't seen it yet, but will say that I cried through every song that was from the original movie.  It was like my favorite animated film had truly come to life right before my eyes!  My heart was so full as I watched it thinking about how much I loved the movie as a teenager and how back then I would have never imagined that one day I would sit in a theater watching a live action version with my husband and children sitting beside me.  Jason mentioned after the movie that he could tell I was very happy while watching it.  He was very right.  I look forward to buying this when it's released and watching it again!

Five  //  Grilled Goodness

This photo probably doesn't fully show the deliciousness that was the grilled chicken sandwich I savored last night, but let me tell you, I am so glad that "grilling season" has arrived!  My hubby's grilled chicken breast on a sandwich with all the fixings including a happy helping of great value chicken sauce made my taste buds sing!  By the way, the chicken sauce I'm talking about can be found at Walmart.  It's a Great Value brand Chick-Fil-A -ish sauce and it's so good!  I hope your plates have been filled with simple scrumptiousness too, friends!

Thanks so much for visiting today!  It means so much to me that you took time out of your day to stop by my nook of the blogosphere!  Hope you'll say "Hello" below before you go!

for High Five for Friday
AndreaErika, and Narci 
for Friday Favorites

Join me in the adventures to come!
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Friday, May 31, 2019

Let's Chat // What's New and May Favorites

Happy finale Friday of May, friends!  I didn’t intend to only post on the first and final Fridays of this month, but sometimes living life and loving on those dearest to us takes precedence over capturing and sharing it.  This month has been challenging, yet beautiful.  There have been many things that brought me to my knees and even more reasons to praise the God who is continually working all things together for my good and His glory.  We’ve seen prayers answered, needs met, and the faithfulness of God in all things great and small. 

Today I thought I’d write a post in Mix and Match Mama’s “What’s Up Wednesday” format as that should allow me to sum up what's been going on here since we chatted last.  


We kicked off the week celebrating Memorial day with hot diggity dogs, waffle fries, and sweet corn on the cob.  It felt like summertime on a plate!  Midweek we celebrated Princess' Half Birthday with the dinner of her choice from Firehouse Subs.  Today we will be enjoying one of my favorite lunches of the year, Godfather's Taco Pizza at Arnold's Park on Lake Okoboji!  Yep, it's road trip day and scrumptiousness  by the slice is just one of many things I'm looking forward to enjoying with my family today!


Jason's mom, aunt, and cousin came for a visit on Tuesday.  During our time together my family's Yosemite hike, visits to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, and the time we were featured in an official Disney Vacation Club video all came up in conversation.  Reminiscing about these memories lead to re-reading blog posts here, and watching old vlogs on my hubby's YouTube channel, Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat.  I love looking back on vacation memories just as much as anticipating new ones that are just around the corner!  More on that soon! ;)


Since I'm covering so many other things in this post, I'm going to use this space to share a super simple something that I've been loving, my new phone lock screen:

This reminds me to not to spend my time and attention (unintentionally) gazing at a handheld glowing screen.  

I had a YouTube recommendation for a clip from the Rachael Ray show that covered cell phone addiction.  Her guest created this screensaver (along with a couple others) and has them available for free download here.  Since doing so I have noticed it's helped decrease my screen time.  After all, what I want to pay attention to isn’t found on my phone.  Smartphones are helpful tools for many things, but also highly addictive.  I desire to spend my time and attention wisely and intentionally.  Anything that helps remind me of what truly matters is “love" worthy in my book. 


This has been one full month, friends!  We tackled one home project and have moved on to another.  We've spent much of the month in prayer and care for one of my dearest family members.  Thankfully we know a lot more know than we did a few weeks ago and are hopeful that she'll recover fully and feel much better soon.  My immediate family spent a whole lot of time in a different type of doctor's office, each at our own appointments with our new dentist.  We've begun making preparations for one daughter to get braces and the other Invisaligns.  Even sweeter smiles are just on the horizon!  What I'm currently smiling the most about is the completion of our tenth year of homeschooling!  Hip, hip, hooray and three cheers for my sweet and studious daughters!  Would you like to hear the first thing my soon-to-be Senior did the day after wrapping up the school year?  She went to the library to check out a stack of Korean and Japanese language and culture books.  Her love of languages and drive to learn as a hobby makes my heart smile.  As for my other sweet student here, Little One, she's not so “little” anymore.  She’s officially a high schooler!  Pass the tissues, please and thank you.  She looks forward to devoting more time to her passion of creating original animation this summer.  


Not a thing.  I am overjoyed that summer vacation has arrived and am looking forward to savoring every sweet little bit of it! 


I've finally started putting together Trip Report Tuesday blog posts from our cross country family road trip to Disney World last fall.  These past several months flew by in a whirlwind and I don’t want to let those precious memories from our travels to go undocumented.  Anyone interested in reading those future posts?  If so, please say so in the comments section below!  Knowing you're anticipating them would motivate me further as I move forward on recapping our adventures throughout the Midwest into the sweet South, and of course, our time at Disney!


Summertime is on my mind! I'm excited for...  A carefree schedule.  Sitting poolside with a good book and a cold glass of raspberry lemonade while my girls swim.  S'mores and messy chocolate smiles.  Fireflies and starry nights.  Vacation (...all I ever wanted, sing it with me, friends - vacation, time to get away).  Picnics at the lake.  Family walk and talks - fresh air and conversion with my loves always does my heart good.  Less scrolling, more living.


You guys, I have a new YouTube obsession!  I came across a gem of a YouTuber that has the absolute cutest style, a darling personality, and a heart for the Lord, her family, and making her home a haven for them that I wholeheartedly admire and appreciate!  At this point I think I've watched nearly all of her videos.  When you're watching someone's Christmas Home Tour in May you know you're hooked on their channel!  I highly recommend you check her out too!  Here’s a link to the video sweetness:  Sugar Pie Farmhouse

My favorite movie of May was Avengers Endgame.  I'll give no spoilers, but simply say that I thought they completed this movie series perfectly!  

Speaking of movies, plans to see Aladdin were foiled by a severe storm forecast this week, but I can hardly wait to see it soon!

As for what I'm currently reading, I just started Pray Big by Alistair Begg and am loving it!  


I've been on a J.J. Heller kick ever since Mother's Day.  (She has so many songs that tug at my mama heartstrings.)  Other than that, I've been listening to an eclectic mix of everything from Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on vinyl to BTS and Coldplay via my Amazon Music app.  


I broke out my summer wardrobe last week.  It's been all shorts, cute/comfy tops, slip-on flats, and sunnies ever since. 


Celebrating my hubby's birthday weekend!  As previously mentioned we’re taking a day trip to our favorite in-state destination, Lake Okoboji, today.  Saturday is gloriously plan-free and Sunday is Jason’s birthday!  It’ll be the 22nd birthday I’ve celebrated with him which is mind blowing. We’ve been together over half our lives now and I couldn’t be more grateful to God for blessing me far beyond what I deserve with the man of my dreams and reality.  My heart still skips a beat when he holds my hand.  He's a fantastic father, a hardworking and humble hubby, and loves and serves God and our family well.  I'm awe that his mine forever and always!


We are taking a family vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota!  I grew up vacationing there and Jason and I took our girls there every couple years when they were small.  Our most recent trip was in 2012 though and our youngest barely remembers it.  Clearly it's time to return and create some fresh new memories!  I can hardly wait!


I think that’s just about everything!  If you actually read this entire post I wish I could reach through the screen and pass you a warm brownie along with a sincere thank you for caring enough to stop by and “catch up” with me today!  

Thanks so much for popping by my corner of the blogosphere!  I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below before you go.  Don't be shy.  Please say, "Hi!"

for High Five for Friday
AndreaErika, and Narci 
for Friday Favorites

Join me in the adventures to come!
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