Happy Birthday Sprout!

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Little man turned TWO on April, 11th. We celebrated him with family, trains, nachos, and cupcakes! He is such a sweet spirit who loves well and plays hard. He is a chatterbox and tries his best to keep up with his big sister. I’ll do a 2 year old post soon! We decided to keep his 2nd birthday party small, to be honest all he cared about was a cupcake so just a family party was the way to go! Thomas the train is his current obsession so a train theme was a foregone conclusion. His Bebe had a train shirt made for him and we decorated with banners, balloons, and giant trains made of poster board. 

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I found this super cute train banner on Etsy in Kelly’s Cottage Shop. We used crepe paper streamers and red and blue balloons from Dollar Tree (who doesn’t love the Dollar Tree!). Lot’s of Choo Choo Sprout’s Two signs were around and another banner that read Sprout Station.

The cupcakes matched the theme of course. Sprout had been saying for weeks that all he wanted for his birthday was a brown cupcake, so we made all his wishes come true! Chocolate cupcakes with green icing. I used Hershey bars and black gel icing to create the tracks and found these mini Thomas, Percy, and James trains at Dollar General.

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We fed everyone lunch at the party with a nacho bar and mixed fruit! Super easy and everyone was able to customize their dish. My favorite ways to eat nachos, are to build them on a baking sheet and broil them for 2-3 minutes to melt everything together. They are DELICIOUS!

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After eating we played outside a lot and the big kids finally convinced Sprout to open presents. It was a great day celebrating our little man. I can’t believe he will be a BIG brother before he turns 3…well in less than three months really :) I have no doubt he will love baby girl fiercely. Happy Birthday sweet boy!

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He Lives! Happy Easter!

“Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again. And as He stands in victory, sins curse has lost its grip on me. For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious love of Christ!”

– In Christ Alone

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One of my absolute favorite worship songs. We had it sung at our wedding and it brings chills to me everytime I hear those words! Happy Easter, friends! I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating our RISEN savior. We are so thankful for the hope that comes from the empty tomb!

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We have had so much fun celebrating the weeks leading up to Easter with friends and family. Lots of crafts, baking, egg hunts, reading the Easter story, and teaching our kids about God’s biggest sacrifice for us.

We had fun with neighbors throwing paint filled eggs at a canvas (more on this soon!)

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Ate up bunny cake and bunny pancakes.

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 And hunted sooooo many Easter eggs!

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We hope you had an Easter filled with hope and assurance of God’s love for you!

Finding Financial Confidence

This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust. All opinions are my own.

Growing Financial Confidence

C.O.N.F.I.D.E.N.C.E. What does confidence mean to you. I remember being 7 or 8 years old and incredibly shy. My mom still jokes about how I wouldn’t go up to the counter at a fast food restaurant to ask for ketchup….there isn’t even a risk they would say no, but I was scared. I can still be that shy little girl sometimes when I am forced into conversation with folks I don’t know, but the years have brought confidence. Successes in high school, like reciting ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in front of my peers…in college, like being the activities chair for my sorority, and even this blog and the fact that you fine folks read it continue to build my confidence. I see this shyness in Chickadee when she is encouraged to talk to a stranger and I am determined to gently build her confidence so by the time she is 7 or 8 the folks at Chick-fil-a gladly hand her ketchup when she asks! 

As I shared on Friday, 2017 is going to be a BIG year for our family! Not only are we adding a sweet baby GIRL to our crazy crew, we are also going to be adding a new car (minivan advice, anyone??), probably a new HVAC (both upstairs and downstairs…boo), and we are considering getting new hardwood floors. There are a lot of financial hits on both the need and want list, and to get any or all of them accomplished stress free it is important to be in a place of financial freedom. This blog and the small income it has made over the years has truly helped get my family in a place of financial freedom. We have been able to live on III’s income from day one and save my teaching salary (when I was working) and also this blog’s income to set up our “egg-nest.” It was invaluable when buying our last car and being able to write a check so that we didn’t have to worry about a monthly payment. It also afforded us the opportunity to buy a house and put down 20% to avoid extra fees as you are trying to build up your principal. Not worrying about a sizable mortgage or car payment are two major accomplishments that helped up to grow financial confidence. And we are very thankful to be in a place where we can hit both our needs and wants. But it takes work and constant focus on where our money is going to continue to be in such a position.

April is Financial Literacy Month, and I’m once again teaming up with Suntrust’s onUp Movement to encourage y’all to take positive steps towards achieving financial confidence. I encourage you to ask if you consider yourself financially free? If so, what positive steps can you continue to stay financially free? If not, what steps can you take today toward being financially free?

My most valuable tip in being financially free is, KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING. In a world of credit cards, Paypal, and immediate access to cash it is easy to spend spend spend without tracking that spending. The most invaluable part of our finances is our budget. III is an accountant, so he has created a very detailed Excel spreadsheet where we input receipts on a weekly basis. This allows us to know exactly where every dollar is going and doesn’t allow us to spend money we don’t have. It also causes us to categorize needs verses wants. All of our needs, tithe, and saving goals are hit first…then comes the wants. Every month we pay off credit cards. Try and figure out a way to not let your debt grow. Financial confidence will grow your self confidence. Start today!

Head on over to SunTrust’s OnUp website today for more stories, tips, and tools to start your patch to financial confidence. SunTrust wants to motivate people to move past their worry and focus on financial confidence. 

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  

The onUp Movement is 1 million strong…and growing. onUp is about having the confidence to move forward one smart step at a time.

Join now and start building your financial confidence today.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

#PartyofFive

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Y’all, I don’t know what took me so long to write this post. Maybe it’s that sometimes I am still a little shocked until I get gut punched in the belly button… But we are beyond thankful and excited to be adding a baby GIRL to our crazy crew this summer! Oh.my.goodness. We are blessed to be able to soak in the miracle of life once again, and so very grateful to have another tiny baby join our family. I will take all the advice for adding a third baby to your family and bonus points if they help us handle 3 little ones 3 and under!

A few thoughts on baby #3…

I’m almost 25 weeks along as of today. I am looking at it as less than 14 weeks to go for my own mindset! I’ll have a scheduled c-section since both Chickadee and Sprout were breech resulting in sections, however I’ve never made it to the planned date. We are praying the 3rd time’s a charm!

This pregnancy has been a tougher than my last two. First, we had some scares early on. Then, I have been absolutely EXHAUSTED (could be the baby, or could be that I am chasing around a 3 year old and almost 2 year old). But I have yet to get that 2nd trimester energy. Thankful for naps!

Also, since Sprout was born at 34 weeks I’ve been getting a progesterone shot in my hip every week to help baby girl cook for as long as possible…that means weekly doctor visits since 16 weeks.  

Y’all know we love nicknames around here…first came Chickadee, then Sprout…we’ve been calling this little one Poppy and it might have to stick because we don’t really have any front runners in the girl name department. All suggestions welcome!!!

The kids are excited. Chickadee gets it this go around, so it’s been fun having her share in our excitement. She talks a lot about how she used to be in Mama’s tummy like Poppy. She is going to be such a little Mama and is practicing a lot with her baby dolls. As for Sprout, I’m pretty sure this baby will rock his world. 

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At our anatomy scan the nurse wrote down the gender on a little piece of paper and slipped it in an envelope. I dropped it off with a sweet friend in our neighborhood and she made these amazing cake pops so we could all find out as a family (including grandparents on FaceTime). We were shocked to find pink inside. For absolutely NO reason, I had convinced myself this baby was a boy. 

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Thank you for all of your love and support over the years as this little DIY blog has also documented our growing family. We have loved having you along for the journey and are looking forward to what this next chapter holds as we become a #partyoffive. Happy Friday!

 

Cupcake Liner Flowers

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EVERY day Chickadee asks me if we can do an art project. The girl gets her love of crafting honestly and she acts on that love every day! Sometimes we just color, paint, or draw with chalk. Other days we do something elaborate and most days it’s somewhere in the middle. These cupcake liner flowers are definitely something in the middle. Requires more than coloring in a coloring book but SUPER easy.

I happened to have everything on hand, and my guess is you would too. 

Supplies: Empty water bottle, ribbon, straws, mini cupcake liners, pom poms and glue

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As most crafts with 3 year olds are, this one is pretty self explanatory but I’ll still share a little. Chickadee did a lot of cutting which game her some fine motor/scissor skill practice. On the back of each of the liners I drew lines with a crayon where I wanted her to cut and she created the petals.

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I used hot glue to attach both the pom pom and straw. Chickadee has had some practice placing things on dobs of hot glue, but if you aren’t comfortable Elmer’s old faithful will work too! Just make sure you give it plenty of time to dry before placing in your “vase.” The vase is simply an empty water bottle with a ribbon around the top. I cut my straws at different lengths to add some different heights.

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These flowers turned out SUPER cute and we used them to help decorate the plate, cup, utensil table when we had some friends over last weekend for an early Easter brunch and egg hunt. Gotta practice hunting those eggs before the big time church hunt! I made two pretty tasty breakfast casseroles that I’ll share soon!