Six years ago, I woke up to a chilly Georgia morning.  I probably didn’t want to leave the warm bed to begin the days adventure.  That adventure you ask; packing my entire 4 bedroom house into a moving truck for our move to South Carolina.  It was hard, most of the people who said they were going to help us move bailed on us at the last minute.  I get it, people get busy and things happen.  I put out an SOS on facebook, and we had friends show up to help.  We got my van, a 27ft moving truck, my dad’s truck with a trailer attached all packed full of 99% of my house (the 1% consisted of my ex-husbands workout machine, my dad was not about to move that).   Loaded the kids up into different vehicles after a round of goodbyes to friends and we hit the road.

My dad and I had to go back the next day after we unloaded here for one final load.  I remember the sigh of relief that came from me when we crossed from Georgia into South Carolina on that final trip.  I was leaving behind so many bad memories, and of course a bunch of wonderful ones as well.  I was starting a new adventure in a new town, and it was going to be great.

I remember the weeks leading up to moving were hectic, and I cried a lot.  I knew things would be better once we moved, once we were settled, the kids would have their dad close again.    I could never have imagined everything that has happened in the last 6 years.  I was in a long term relationship where I learned a lot about myself (and alot about how love should be).   I found love – in a man I never would have met if I hadn’t moved.   What’s funny is that Jake moved here a few years before I did, leaving behind his hometown and family/friends to take a job here.  While he no longer has that job, I will forever be thankful for that job since it brought him to the same state as me!   I have a small group of friends that have become like family to me.  I have students who make me laugh all the time, and are like my other kids (ie: they call me Mom!).  I have been blessed with a series of wonderful jobs here at the University of South Carolina, jobs that have given me some super opportunities that I would have never had in Georgia.  I have found a place where I belong.

While I miss my friends in Georgia, this is where I belong.  This is home.


Art Journals by Ellie Claire

Hey friends!

I was given the opportunity to review some beautiful Ellie Claire Art Journals and I am thrilled to be sharing them with you.

First let me tell you how beautiful each of the three of them is.  They are hard cover books, and each has high quality heavy pages inside.   Each books is different in it’s own ways, and I cannot get over how beautiful they are.  Really y’all.  To feel them in your hands, you can feel the embossing and how quality the materials are.   My teenager quickly claimed them as her own, and plans on giving one to a good friend she attends church with as a Christmas gift.

The ones I received are:   Faith & Lettering Journal, The Illustrated Word Coloring Journal and the Illuminate Your Story Journal.

Faith & Lettering – This journal again has a hard cover on it, as well as an elastic pen loop on the spine.  This comes in handy if you are like me and like to use the same pen over and over!   This has guides and tutorials on how to do the beautiful lettering like you see on the front cover.  It is a great place to practice bible journaling, and writing our verses in beautiful letters. Some of the pages even have “traceable” prompts, sort of how you were taught how to write when you were a kindergartner, which I greatly appreciate when it comes to trying my hand at fancy cursive lettering.    It has a fitting bible verse on the back in Ephesians 2:10 – We are God’s Masterpiece.    This journal measures 9″x 7″ (so almost as big as a regular sheet of paper).   Like the others, there are 160 pages in this book.

Illuminate your Story Journal – This journal is done in a soft cream color with a sea foam green accent.  Like the Faith & Lettering journal, it has an elastic pen loop on the spine, a ribbon marker and has an elastic band closure..  This one would easily fit into your purse or backpack as it only measured 6″x 8″.   There are drawing guides, as well as a grid background pattern page.  There are 160 pages total in this book, consisted of basic lined pages for journaling as well as the previously mentioned pages.   Throughout this journal there are fitting bible verses and inspirational quotes, and I love that it teaches you how to do the “start letters” that you often see at that start of passages of scripture.

The Illustrated Word – This journal is unlike the others as it is more of a bible coloring journal, and has forty illustrations from ancient texts that you can color in.   It measures 9″ x 7″, and does not have a pen loop.  The cover is thick, and there are 160 pages in the book.  There is a mix of lined journal pages, as well as coloring pages.  One of the neat aspects of this book is that the coloring pages are accompanied on the next page by the full color original version of the ancient manuscript pages.

If my teen hadn’t snagged these, I would have loved to have kept the Illuminate your Story for myself.  Especially since it is a touch smaller than the other 2, and has pages for journaling as well as “doodling”.  I do like that there is a pen loop, makes it easy to keep up with your favorite pen (you know we all have a favorite pen!).   We did not test the papers in any for bleed through, but many of the reviews I read online do not mention any bleed through in any of the journals.

Chaos and patience

To say things have been chaotic in our house is an understatement.   When Hurricane Michael Blew through, it brought rain and wind on a Thursday.  The next evening Jake and I were going to bed, and he asked me if the floor felt wet on his side of the bed.  I sort of dismissed it because he had just gotten out of the shower, but I went around to his side and felt the floor.  It felt cold – and a little damp  -but not wet.  So I asked him to move the nightstand, so I could feel closer to the wall.  He moved his nightstand and I pressed my fingers into the indention in the carpet – soaking wet.  I quickly ran to my side of the bed and felt under the bed, yep, wet.  An Ulta circular that I had been reading a few nights before that had fallen under the bed was damp to the touch.   I quickly pulled out the items under our bed, including an antique bed frame that belonged to my children’s great grandmother.  Luckily, it was not damaged.

We decide we cannot do anything that night and go to bed.  The next morning, we begin the task of moving the mattresses of our king sized bed, and then the bed frame.  My husband pulled back the carpet and our worst fears were realized.  The floor was soaked out a good 2 foot and seemed to be isolated to under our bed, which was why we never realized it before.  We then moved the dressers, bed frame, mattresses, nightstands to the room that we were supposed to be prepping for baby girl.  The cedar chest and lounge chair were pushed into the bathroom.  He then kicked me out of the room as he realized that the carpet padding was moldy.  He ripped up all the carpet, padding and threw it out the window (easiest way to get it downstairs!).  He then began cutting away the drywall trying to decide where it was leaking from.  In doing so, we discovered some of the studs were rotten from continued water exposure.  At this point I’m pissed because our inspector never noticed anything, but then again – neither did we.  There was no damage to the drywall that we could see, or the carpet.

To contain this post some, Jake cut out a portion of the sub-floor that was rotten.  It was so rotten in a spot that was under our bed, that we are surprised that the bed hadn’t sunk into the floor.  It also helped explain why since we moved into that house, I cough and wake up stuffy every morning.  The worst of the sub-floor and wall damage was right behind and under my side of the bed.

A few weeks ago, my parents came to visit for the weekend and they were able to replace the rotting studs & floor piece, as well as the rotting sub-floor.  Mama also helped cut the drywall straight from where Jake had just ripped it out.  Hopefully within the next 2 weeks we can get someone in to fix it (based on a chimney inspection from last year we *think* we know where the damage is coming from), for a reasonable amount of money.  We aren’t made of money, and are still in some ways playing catch up from when Jake was out of work all summer.  I just want our bedroom back too because we are on the “downhill” slide towards when baby girl arrives, and we have NOTHING set up for her.  Her room still needs painted, her crib put together and I just want things set and done so I’m not scrambling last minute!



Hillsong – Can you Believe It? Review

Every once in awhile I get to do a cool review for something for my kiddos.   I was recently asked to do a review of the Hillsong Kids “Can You Believe It?” DVD.   I gave it to my 9 yr old daughter to listen to while she cleaned up her room, and when she came back downstairs she said “mama, I love it!”.    Hillsong is known for their fantastic worship music, which we listen to a lot in the car (thanks to our local His Radio station), as well as is the basis for many of the songs we sing at church.   The DVD has songs such as “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” and “What a Beautiful Name”.   Oceans is hands down one of my most favorite Christian worship songs, and I always say it is my “calming song”.
There are also some new songs such as “Heaven is Our Home” and “As the World Shakes”.  It is a fabulous collection that teaches kids about God in a fun and interactive way.


I could hear her singing one of the songs on the way to school this morning, and I wish that we had the CD for the car!  I think it would make a wonderful Christmas gift for her (or any kid really).     I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to give their kids music that teaches them more than just about alot of things they don’t need to know at a young age (like what you hear on your local Pop and Country radio stations).   You can purchase the DVD, CD or iTunes or listen to it on Spotify here;

Hillsong believes that teaching children to love God and others takes place in both the home and in the church.  For this reason, they seek to partner with parents (kids first and greatest teachers) to equip the with great resources such as this.   Hillsong United started as a worship band in 1998, part of Hillsong Church and their youth ministry.   The group has released 11 albums over the last 20 years.  You can find many of their videos and songs on YouTube, as well as their website:


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Essential Oil Diffuser for your car!


We had such a success with the first go around, that we decided to do it again!  Jake and I are doing a bulk buy of these amazing little car diffusers! We each have one in our cars – his has peppermint in it and mine has orange! Each comes with 6 felt pads so you can interchange what oils you want to diffuse! The front opens with a small hinge and you can replace the pads as needed!

Pictured on the left is the rose gold diffuser.  The grey looks almost identical, but the drop & leaf logo in the middle is solid grey.  They are lightweight, and easy to move from vent to vent should you desire.  I was even able to put it in the top vents of my minivan (in the ceiling) with some thieves one morning to help combat the germs that my daughter brought home from school!

These make such amazing little stocking stuffers for just about any age, from the newly driving teenager on up to your grandmother!

Each car diffuser set is either $25 or $30 depending upon which oil option you choose:

$25 car diffuser set includes:
*Choice of Car Diffuser (rose gold or grey)
*Choice of Essential Oil (pick from Orange, Lemon, Lime, Lemongrass or Tangerine)
*Christmas gift wrap available upon request!

$30 car diffuser set includes:
*Choice of Car Diffuser (rose gold or grey)
*Choice of Essential Oil (pick from Peppermint or Spearmint)
*Christmas gift wrap available upon request!

Prices above also include first class shipping to you (or priority mail if you order 3 or more!)

Want one or more? Click the link below and fill the form and I will send you an invoice. I will order these on November 15th!

Car Diffuser Sign-Up Form!

Swagbucks Fall Bonus

All throughout November you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before December 1st, 2018. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

3. That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned over $250 amazon gift cards over the last few years.  It is super easy, and it helps me so much with budgeting for Christmas gifts!


bumpdate – update

I figured it was time for a small “bump date up date”!

We had a 20 week ultrasound on October 29th, and were able to see little miss again.  Boy is she stubborn!  She didn’t want to wake up to roll over, so the first part was spent taking measurements the tech could get.  Then the tech pressed harder on my stomach (which actually hurt like hell!), and baby was finally rolled onto her side.  She had her hands around her face a lot, and we got one cute photo of her fingers curled next to her head.   Natalee slept with her hands on her ears when she was born, so I think this baby may follow that lead!    We actually have a more in depth ultrasound in mid-November to check her heart out in more detail.  This is normal for people like me, who were born with a congenital heart defect.  It’s just a precaution.  Her heart looked great in this last ultrasound, all 4 chambers present with full walls, no visible holes or defects.

The tech estimated that baby girl weighs about 11 ounces (16 ounces is 1lb).   As for me, no weight gain, and I can imagine that I have actually lost weight.  My weight has been consistent since I got pregnant, which is a good thing!    We have another normal doctors appointment before Thanksgiving, and then another one will be scheduled shortly after for a glucose test and to get my Rhogam shot.  Totally NOT excited about either of those things!

WW: Pumpkin Patch

Our realtor invited us again this year to their family fun day at the local Clinton Sease farms here in Lexington.  They have all sorts of stuff from hayrides, a corn maze and a pumpkin patch.  We did not attempt the corn maze this year, but we did let the kids do the giant slide, ride the giant tricycles, play corn cobb toss (think cornhole), and of course – get pumpkins.

The kids (and Jake) for the most part picked out some fantastic pumpkins, including Jonathan’s monster 32lb pumpkin!

(nearly) two months later….

Have you ever seen Spongebob the cartoon, when they fast forward time they say something like “five minutes later….” in a weird voice.  Imagine me saying “two months later” in a semi weird voice – because that’s how I feel about this blog.

I write constantly in my head, almost daily.  When I am in the shower, or on my commute to and from work.  I don’t know why other than just being busy that I struggle with getting the words out of my head, to my fingers, to the keys on this keyboard – I just do.   I think every blogger goes through this.  I worry that “no one is reading that”, and “wouldn’t it be easier to just let go” – and every other self doubt that hits me at least once a week.

A little update on our lives the last month and a half or so..

Kids – Katie is doing great in her senior year, and just finished up submitting multiple college applications last week.  I am so proud of her!!  It was a stressful time for her I’m sure, but I cannot wait to see the acceptance letters roll in.    Jonathan seems to love middle school so far, and learning the trombone for his instrument.  I will admit that I was a little worried that he wouldn’t take to learning music easily, but he has proved me wrong and can currently play the Star Wars Imperial March.   Natalee is doing fantastic in school, and recently completed 35 laps in her schools boosterthon fun run.  She is also thriving in her new afterschool program.

Jake – going back to why Natalee is now in an afterschool program……….Jake found a job!   He works at a local country club at their golf course and so far seems to enjoy it.  He spends most days completely outdoors, on a lawn mower.  He says “I get to work, put my ear buds in, mow grass and no one bothers me – it’s great”.   I know the winter months he won’t have all that mowing to do, so we’ll see what else he learns about or remembers from past golf course jobs.   The golf tour season came to a close, and he did not compete anymore.  The one tournament he was scheduled to play in was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.  So, now he is playing a lot of golf (free rounds are a perk of the job), and working on his game in preparation for next season which begins in March.

As for me – working everyday, getting into the ebbs and flows of the semester.  I am 19 weeks pregnant now, and baby girl is growing bigger daily.  I do feel her kicks and rolls, especially at night when I’m laying still.   We have another appointment tomorrow, and another ultrasound next week for her anatomy scan, to make sure all is well.  In addition, we are having a fetal echo done in November to check her heart – which is necessary due to my congenital heart defect.

I am making a conscious effort to do better at this blog thing….even if it’s just me getting the words out of my head.

back to school

The kids have been back in school since August 21st and I think by now we are mostly in a good routine.  Katie of course drives herself to and from school, Jonathan rides the bus and Jake drops off/picks up Natalee daily.  Natalee gets that privileged as she is on “school of choice”, going to a school outside of the one our neighborhood is zoned for.  She was able to stay at the school she has been at since 1st grade!   Jonathan rides the bus because he is now in middle school!   He is taking band, and we recently had to go rent a trombone as that is the instrument he has chosen to play!   Natalee has decided to join the chorus, and is a little nervous but I think she will do great!   Katie is in the depths of trying to figure out colleges, scholarships and all that stuff that comes with being a senior.


I think this year will be a good one for them.  Learning new things, and getting to spread their wings a little with extracurricular activities!