Several months ago I received an email from a sweet reader who had lost identical twin daughters. Aubrey and Ellie had been born 4 months early and passed away a few weeks later. In her email, she told me about a conversation she had with her sister over a cup of tea, where her sister made a comment about wishing she could put something in Rachel’s tea to make her feel better. What started as a few words of love resulted in Teamotions tea, which I have had the pleasure of tasting.

I can tell you that it is the best tea I have ever had, and I told Rachel I would be glad to mention a giveaway she is doing on her blog today because I liked it so much and thought you all might as well. You can read more about the ingredients and the goal of emotional well-being right here on their site. I think my favorite is the vanilla earl grey but honestly they are all so good…

Head over and enter…you will love this stuff…:)


So I just clicked on my blog and noticed that all the posts that had lots and lots of your wonderful, sweet comments are now showing only a few people’s. I just wanted to let you all know that they are safe and sound but we are in the process of moving my blog to wordpress and are still working out some kinks with Disqus, so I think it has temporarily eaten them. There were so many kind words on Audrey’s Birthday and they mean the world to me. The fact that you all choose to connect with me this way is so important that my blog designer has spent the last several days trying to figure out how to transfer them over (there were about 44,000 comments from 2008 alone, I believe, so you can imagine how difficult it has been to move them….). As of right now we have saved all of your words but we haven’t figured out how to transfer them.

I know you all aren’t losing sleep over this, but I just wanted to mention it in the event that you were curious what had happened. I will keep you posted on all of it, and I can’t wait to show you all my new design and introduce you to the fabulous woman who has been working her tail off behind the scenes :)

Hope you all are having a fantabulous day and I will write again soon!

This is some BIG news, folks.

I cannot believe it….I have been given permission to advertise something that I am absolutely out of my mind excited about. I don’t have any idea how long they will leave this deal up, and I PROMISE you will not regret this purchase. I may be slightly biased, but this CD is amazing. And also, ummmm….notice that they all look a little slimmer? Well, I don’t know what the combined total of weight loss is but they have been working hard to get healthier and last I heard Amy had lost about 85 pounds. Allan and Todd have also lost a ton and have been really good about maintaining…it’s hard work but I know they would all say they are feeling like a million bucks.

Where was I?

Oh yes. The limited time offer. I love sounding like an infomercial.

If you click right here, you will be redirected to a page that will allow you to pre-order “Hope of the Broken World” for $10!!!!!!!!!!! That is a deal and a half, seriously.  I don’t know how long they are going to leave it up because I believe there are limited quantities at this price.

It will ship the week of August 23rd…it is SO, SO good, y’all. And just in time for a Mother’s Day gift (you can give a little certificate saying it is coming to her in a few months) or just because you want a great CD. Go! Hurry! I’m so proud of my hubby and so honored to share his amazing gift with you all.

Love to everyone!!!

Miss Maggie

Several months ago I had the pleasure of having “Miss Maggie” stay with me for the night. We stayed up late after a delicious Mexican dinner and chatted in our pajamas by the fire. I wish she lived closer because I can see us doing this a lot. One of my favorite parts of blogging has been having the opportunity to connect with so many great people. My kids basically threw a tantrum when they realized Miss Maggie had left, and since then they have asked about a dozen times when she is going to be coming back. It didn’t hurt that she had made them each little individualized gifts :)

You all might know Miss Maggie by another name….Gussy! She has a fabulous online business making bags and all kinds of fun gear like this:

When she was here I was lamenting the fact that she didn’t have diaper bags and other fun baby gear in her store, and she told me she had actually been thinking of starting to carry them. Well….good news :)

Here is the latest from Miss Maggie…the diaper & wipe wristlet! Isn’t it adorable???

I love her stuff. Such great choices in pattern and color and they are just distinct. I always get comments when I’m out with something she made. And of course I am always more than happy to send customers to my pajama friend, knowing they are just going to be delighted with their new gear.

I want to give you all a chance to enter to win some of her precious stuff, so click here to hop on over to my giveaway blog and enter to win a $75 gift certificate to Gussy Sews!!!


When we decided to move, it was a given that the house contract would have to include a few provisions.

In particular, there were two trees that we would take with us.

We waited until fall to move them because we were told that was the best chance of a successful re-planting.

And up until a few days ago, we held our breath, sneaking a peek out the windows every so often.

Wondering if it would bloom in its new home.

So imagine our joy when we saw this…

Today would have been Audrey’s third birthday, and we are celebrating her as we continue to watch her bloom in the unlikeliest places. We love you, precious girl.


Organization? Not my strong suit…

I have been trying so hard to get my life to feel a little more organized. At other times I haven’t felt as much need, but with a house full of kids and all the other curve balls life keeps throwing us, I feel like we need some better systems. I have bought a couple simple things, like a mail organizer thing where I can put all our mail so it doesn’t take over the counters, and an updated calendar that has all of our different stuff on it. I have been on a mean cleaning streak and am so aware of my shortcomings in this area. I feel like we are all making progress though, and it’s bringing a different calm to our days. Well, most days anyway.

We are also trying to do a little bit of a food overhaul. I have started to see how tied (I know, you’re all like…really, Ang? Just now figuring this out?) my kids behavior is to what food they are eating. Kate in particular. She has had a few REALLY hard weeks and I finally broke down one night and told Todd I was going to lose my mind if we didn’t figure out a way to make it easier. So, I pulled sugar out of her diet (for the most part…she still gets treats every now and then but we are much more conscientious of it). We are giving her snacks every hour and a half to keep her blood sugar up and we are making sure she is getting a lot of protein. I don’t want to speak too soon but I will say that we have seen a HUGE difference in her behavior. Her impulse control is better and she seems to be happier. She gets so frustrated when she has a tantrum, and she always realizes later that it was a bad choice and will come and apologize about it, but this seems to help on the front end. I have also had to be a whole lot more intentional about seeing the signs that she is starting to get out of control and I have learned to pull her aside and redirect without letting it get so far that she can’t pull herself out of it.

She is not an easy child to parent, but she is incredible. Every night I just pray I will know how to love her without breaking her will and her heart while I try to help shape her into a Godly woman.

It can be so, so hard. If you think to pray for my patience, it would be much appreciated :)

I wanted to share this with you all because there are a couple of simple things I have started doing around the house that have really impacted us. One thing I am TERRIBLE at is meal planning (and grocery shopping, and cooking. But I am the most devoted fan of the Food Network ever. Irony is my BFF). I think I love cooking shows because it’s all so organized and all the stuff is prepared and pretty. This is a little silly but I decided I was going to start a new meal system so that I would be better about cooking. Don’t laugh at me, because you might like it for yourself!!!!

First, I make a list of what I am going to make that week, and then if they are recipe cards from magazines  or printed from the internet, I make a little index card. The front has a picture of the recipe on it and the back has all the directions. Want a picture? Good. Because I am about to go all Pioneer Woman on you.

So, then I get all the ingredients (except for the dry stuff, which I set aside in the pantry together and pre-measure if it makes sense) and put them in a tub like this with the cute little picture on the front. I can fit four across the fridge shelf. I even chop stuff beforehand if it makes sense to do it.

 Then, when it’s about time for dinner, I just pull out the bin and go to town.

As I cook, I use the little plastic tub for all the trash so it stays nice and neat. You know, like on T.V.

I’m just throwing these in because I’m pretending to be Ree.


Annnnnnnd, VOILA! I did it in about half the time it would normally take me because it was all waiting and the clean up was a breeze.

And bonus, everyone said it was delicious. This is huge.

So, it’s a little thing but the bin system (I haven’t made up a fancy name yet…) is working out wonderfully for me. I even called Todd the other day to ask him to get started on dinner and told him to just grab it out of the fridge and follow the directions. He called me back 15 minutes later and told me he thought I was a genius. So, you can make great food and be called a genius.

I’m like three sentences away from an infomercial here, friends.

But, before I sign off, I have one more “organizational thing I love” to mention (that name is copyrighted, so please give me credit if you choose to share these nuggets of wisdom).

I was on Jess’s (Jess’? I hate the apostrophe after an s. It stresses me out).

I was on Jessica’s (better) blog (she just updated it and you have to hope over and see how great it looks!) and read about this incredible (FREE!) program you can download. I’m just saying it has changed my life. You will LOVE this if you have kids old enough to get the hang of it. Basically you spend a few minutes setting up a list of their mandatory/optional chores and you assign a point value to each. They get their own little log-in and they can go in and check the boxes when they have completed the task. Once they have enough points, they can purchase things (it is linked to Amazon and they pick what they want beforehand so it is sitting in their “shop” until they have enough to buy it). You can also do any kind of reward you want if you don’t want to do the Amazon thing. They can also “save” money or “share” it and you set up whatever charity you want to link it to, and then it sends you an email when the child has donated points. You can send your kids little notes of encouragement and they can write back…it is precious. My children are SUPER motivated, and my house looks phenomenal. They are jumping at the chance to help with stuff because it’s so fun for them…LLLLOOOOVVVEEE this little tool. For the record, I am not being compensated to stalk this company. I just stalk by free will.

So, I hope these little tidbits are helpful, and I would LOVE to hear any tips you want to share for how you keep your lives organized and running smoothly….anyone? Please?