adelyn's christmas program

First of all::

We hope you are having a wonderful Christmas :)

Adelyn had her preschool christmas program at the beginning of this month.
{the little boy next to her is one of her BFFs :) he is the sweetest}
It surprised me how hard it hit me that she's old enough to be in a Christmas program and how awesome she was!
I was laughing/crying through the entire thing. It was just so cute.
I may be a little biased...
Just a heads up, I recorded the entire thing, so the video is about 6 minutes long.



homemade moisturizer

Okay, so stick with me here.
For YEARS, I have been using different moisturizers for my face. For YEARS I haven't found ONE that I liked enough to purchase multiple times.
In college, I developed issues with breakouts and I have sebborhic dermatitis that flares up by my nose sometimes. It's annoying.
During nursing school, one of my classes had a discussion about ingredients that are put into moisturizers and cosmetics that can actually speed up aging and dry out your skin (isn't that counterproductive with moisturizers?)....and parabens, which mimic the estrogen hormone and can reek havoc on your body....among other things.
I started using Arbonne last year and it reallyhelped my dermatitis, my face wasn't breaking out as much. I liked the lack of "ick" ingredients....
but the stuff is expensive and I felt like I was constantly applying lotion to my face. It was always so dry.
Then I started using Jenuinely Pure based out of Ames, IA....loved it, but the shipping made it ridiculous.
It clicked one day....why couldn't I try to make it myself without all the extra stuff and cost??
I started researching...mostly blogs is what I could find.
I decided to try oils for day and then blend and oil mix with raw shea butter at night.
Love. It.
I know, you would think isn't the oil greasy?
If you're using the right oils, it absorbs into your skin...leaving it soft, not greasy or oily.
There are different oils you can use for different skin types.
People, my skin tone is better. My skin looks brighter. My skin is soft. I put on the oil mix (about dime-sized) after I shower or wash my face....I don't feel like I need lotion the rest of the day. It's awesome.
My mom even commented when she was out here that my skin looked great. :) That was wonderful. thanks, mom :)
I have had hardly any breakouts and I haven't fought the dermatitis battle in a long time :)
The shea butter at night is okay...I think, when it's gone, I might just do oil at night too because it definitely takes longer for my skin to absorb than just the oil.
SO....for daytime, here's what I've been using (I didn't measure, I just mixed into a little squeeze bottle I had)
sweet almond oil for the base
a few drops of Vitamin E
jojoba oil (it's also a carrier oil, so helps my skin absorb the oil mix faster)
2 drops lavender essential oil
That's it! No icky fillers or chemicals.
Plus, it takes forever to use up! I've been using the same mix for 2.5 months and am barely halfway through the bottle :)
 For night time I used the same oil mix, with a little coconut oil and some raw shea butter. I stuck it in the food processor and blend blend blend :)
That's it.
Okay, so my resources::
The best breakdown I could find was this blog post.
She did a great job summing things up....which was great because I was starting to get a little overwhelmed.
Then I found this blog post by Crunchy Betty.
She is one I started following and going back to as another resource.
I found my ingredients mostly on amazon and Mountain Rose Herbs.
Let me know if you wind up trying it...
happy experimenting ;)
PS::I do still use Arbonne cleanser because that's what I had left....but I'm looking for a cleanser like it (or Cetaphil) that cleanses without stripping my face.



a party and a visit

Earlier this month, my mom and Grandma came out for a long weekend and for Mason's birthday party. Since his birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, we had it the Saturday before :)
It was so much fun. We had a mixed CARS and Toy Story theme going on..
The cake was from Super Target's bakery...it was yummy :)
I made car and cowboy hat sugar cookies for favors.
Mason was overwhelmed between the people and gifts....the poor kid didn't know what to do! :)
On a more important topic...my mom and Grandma came for a quick visit. It was so amazing to see them and it was so incredibly sad to say goodbye.
I miss our families so much everyday, but having them come visit and then having to say goodbye again is like itching off a scab and having it hurt all over again.
(graphic, I know, but it's the only way I can describe it!)
We had a wonderful time with them while they were here...
thank you both for coming!
we love and miss you!



trick or treat

Let me just say that growing up, we didn't go trick or treating. This has never bothered me and I understand why my parents made that decision...but let me tell you, I think I was more excited about costumes and candy than the kids were ;)
 I made Nick pull out some of his cowboy gear and I scrounged in the closet for what could pass as western wear :)
{we stopped by to see Steve and Cindy and she took this picture for us (thank you!). The "creepy baby" is actually her childhood doll...and is actually quite sweet, but I get that on Halloween, baby dolls can be on the creepy side :) }
Mason was supposed to be a bum, but he turned out more farmer-ish.
There was much drama behind the "whiskers".
Adelyn wanted to be a princess (surprise surprise), so she picked one of her dress up outfits, I braided a crown and sprayed some glitter. BAM. good to go :)
Our friends, Jeremy and Meghan, invited us to join them at her Mom and Step-dad's for their annual Halloween shindig (thank you!)  ;) with her family...it was a blast! So many kids. Adelyn and Mason were in kid heaven. I didn't take any pictures, though....so I don't have any of the fun costumes the kids were wearing :)
Going door to door was so much fun. There were so many people and it was neat seeing all the different costumes!
I'm already excited for next year :)



pumpkin patch

Saturday we hit up the local pumpkin patch with the kids and some friends. Thank you, Jason, for taking pictures! :) It was HOT, people...not my idea of pumpking patch weather....but it is what it is at this point :) Anyway, the kids had fun and we got to spend time with some awesome friends ;)
First off, how much do you want to snuggle her???
Baby fever intensifies 10-fold everytime I am around her...
 ...don't get too excited, family....I'm h*** bent on waiting another year.... ;)
 The kiddos loved the hayride. Major flip-outs occured when we got to the horses.
Matt and Nick walked along side the train...so thrilling :)
We don't get family pictures very often, so thank you!



day trip

This weekend we took a daytrip to the mountains. In my opinion, we don't get out here nearly enough :)
It was so much fun, and I LOVED the cool, crisp air!
{view on the drive up}
{pit stop at Hospital Rock for lunch and some exploring}
We usually go to the General Sherman trail and just walk that to the General Sherman Sequoia, but we shook things up this time and tried a new path....Crescent Meadow. It's our new favorite :)
It's a few hundred feet above General Sherman. It loops around a meadow that is surrounded by giant Sequoias. So amazing.
We did find a fallen Sequoia that stretched across the meadow, and we may or may not have--but definitely did--cut across the meadow on this beast of a tree. I mean, how many people can say they have used a giant Sequoia as a bridge?? :)
With the short cut :), it took us about an hour and 15 minutes to make the Crescent Meadow loop.
The bears were out eating acorns from the trees...we did see one walking on the road while we were driving up :) Adelyn was pretty pumped about that and wanted to bear hunt the rest of the day :)
We had so much fun! I cannot wait to get back :)

{Addy was out....Mason was chatting on and on about Daddy's hat}



gateway women's retreat::september 2012

In September, I got to getaway for a weekend. It was wonderful ;)
I went to the women's retreat through our church. It was at a camp. In the mountains.
I didn't get nearly enough pictures :)
I made new friends. Deepened friendships I already had. I am so thankful to have such amazing women placed in my life :)
On another note....Meghan and I drove together. I drove in the mountains. For the first time. I usually make Nick do it because I'm just chicken. I always have visions of us careening off the side. Yup.
...but we didn't go off the edge...it was fun, actually...poor Meghan :)

some of the wonderful ladies :)
this picture shows that I am no longer able to stay up until the wee hours chatting...then get up a few hours later! ;)
I roomed with Meghan and Monique.
Aren't they beautiful??
 Meghan, Jacynda and I with our awesome magnet boards :)
such a cute idea!
 okay, this picture will forever cheer me up....one of the ladies freaked out Jacynda the first night with this fake tarantuala thing...
my group of ladies :)
view from the lodge
What a blast the weekend was! I'm already excited for next year! ;)




the parent rap

have you seen this??
it's awesome.
I wish I was this cool and creative ;)
You will not regret taking 3 minutes to watch this, I promise.



decorating for fall

I love decorating...season, holidays, just because...
I had our fall stuff out on August 31...I couldn't wait :)
I try and get every section of the house....
even the bathrooms need a little love, right? :)
p.s....that soap is vanilla chai scent....so yummy :)
this little guy now lives at the built-in desk in our hallway....he has a pumpkin spice scentsy cube in his head :)
I've added and rearranged a few things since taking these pictures :)
someone gave me some amazing little owl candles (aiding my owl problem) and I got some cute little pumpkin candle from Target (BEFORE I went on my "no Target in October" fast) :)
how do you decorate for fall? Or do you not even bother (which used to be me!)?



quick post

I have loads of pictures hanging out on my camera....but I don't feel like uploading them. I'll get to it eventually.
It's October. It's 97 degrees outside. Ridiculous. I'm not a heat fan if you haven't figured that one out. Give me cool, crisp temperatures. I do like that winter here is like fall in Iowa....but I'd be okay, if it started in September instead of December-ish.
The kids are great.
Adelyn is loving preschool. Everyone in her class is her "best friend". Including the teachers. She is an ultimate girly girl. Always in dresses and skirts. It's like pulling teeth to even get her to consider shorts/pants/leggings at this point. She's discovered nail painting....she's always sporting a pink or a glitter polish....she has started insisting on a necklace when we leave the house.....definitely Miss Thang.
Mason is moving out of his toddler stage and is more a little boy. I can't believe he'll be TWO in November!
He has a few trucks and tractors that are big enough for him to push...he zips around the house and crashes into everything. On purpose. Watch your shins and feet. I have a bruise to prove it.
He flips out whenever he sees a bus, truck, or tractor while driving. He adores anything CARS and Toy Story. He is all boy.
It's been so crazy to watch them grow into their own little personalities and decide their likes and dislikes. I can't believe how amazing they are :)
My husband is awesome. He works so hard. He is the best dad....the kids ADORE him. :) I love him. Need I say more??
I am so thankful for the incredible friendships we have been blessed with! I feel like over the summer we really got close with some people, and since our Small Group started, we have gotten to know even more amazing people. I love our friends. Out here, they get to be our family too...lucky them ;)
I get homesick about every week still :) I don't think that will ever stop.
We had MOPS this morning. What a blessing that has been! I have met so many amazing women and made some great friends. I've gotten more involved with that this year too.....loving it :)
The mentor mom for my table is Judy. She's from Iowa (!!) she's been in California for over 20 years now, but she grew up in Newton and taught school there for a while. She moved out here in her 20's...she was actually the mentor mom for the table I was at when I first started going to MOPS....and we were assigned together this year! I'm pretty stoked...she's fantastic!
Mason is napping.
Adelyn is going down next....then I'm going to skip the housework and read a book outside. Maybe in my swimsuit....because I can ;)



burlap wreath

 I love me a good project :)
I have adored burlap wreaths for a long time, and our front door was desperate for a little spruce up.
I found one on pinterest (surprise!) that I like, so I went for it....
I loved it so much that I wound up making a smaller one in a darker burlap for my fall mantle ;)
CLICK HERE for the tutorial I used.
A few notes::
I used 2 yards of burlap for the larger wreath because I cut 5x5 squares instead of the 4x4 that she used.
I did smaller squares for the small wreath, and that took about a yard :)



crockpot chocolate lava cake

This recipe is SO easy and SO amazing that I made it twice in less than 24 hours :)
I tweaked it a little after the first time, so I'll share my "tweaked" recipe and then give you the link to the original :)
Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake
1 package chocolate cake mix (any kind) prepared according to directions
1 small package chocolate instant pudding prepared according to directions
12oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pour small amount of cake batter into bottom of slow cooker. Layer half package of chocolate chips. Pour over rest of cake batter (slowly, so the chips don't rise to the top). Layer more chocolate chips over cake batter. Slowly pour in prepared pudding. Layer remaining chocolate chips.
Cook on "high" for 2-3.5 hours (depending on how your crockpot cooks....mine was done in 2.5 hours)
Cake will be done when "lava-y" bubbles on top :)
Serve warm with ice cream.

how mine looked when it was done
The only "tweaks" I did were in how you put it in the crock pot. The original way was for all the choc chips to be put in after you put in the cake batter and pudding....but I thought the bites where it was just pudding and cake were too bland....spreaking the chips throughout gives it a little more kick :)
Try this. You won't be disappointed :)

original recipe



preschool (!!)

 My baby went to her first day of preschool yesterday...
I am so proud of her!
She had a blast and is ready to go back on Wednesday. :)
really, Mom? enough with the pictures.
Walking in, she was beyond excited....she kept tripping over her feet because it was like they wouldn't move fast enough ;)
at this point, she was ready to go play...I was definitely on her nerves :)
Nick took Mason with him to the field to ride in some tractors :), so I had the morning to myself. I got all of my cleaning and some laundry done. Go me :)
I was sick to my stomach thinking about my baby girl being in school. Where did the last 3 1/2 years go?!
I know Mason and I are going to have some great one on one time MWF form 8ish to 3ish (thankfully, she doesn't have to be there right at 8am and I can pick her up sooner if I need!) when she is at school...but she has been my constant companion for the last 3+ years! It's so wierd when she is gone for the day...
We are so proud of you, baby girl! We love you so much! :)



midwest trip::krispy kreme and playtime

Tuesday morning, we met Ardyce and Uncle Terry and Aunt Kathy at Krispy Kreme.
So yummy.
It was super hot and ridiculously humid while we were back, but we managed to spend quite a bit of time outside :)
My brother, Jake, was awesome with playing with the kids :)
When Noah came over, he and Adelyn  built a fort
Nick is a rockstar at Barbie play ;)
 my mom and stepdad's neighborhood is full of young families with little kids...specifically girls.
Adelyn was in heaven...
Adelyn ADORES her big cousin, Noah.
He was pretty patient with her ;)
She followed him everywhere.

 swimming with dad is fun too :)
Mason loved diving down this slide at the park
 love my mom



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