31 Days // Morning Quiet Time

There is that sweet time.
Right before the house starts to stir and pitter-patters run about the halls.
The sun drips in through the windows and I prepare my heart for a full day.
A day bursting with endless chatter, crumbs, dirty faces, fresh air, and lots and lots of wet kisses.

-Wet kisses from little faces are the best kind.
They give without the expectation of receiving anything but reciprocated love.-

Quiet time.
A time to calm my mind and focus on my one goal for the day.
Hear me- One goal.
Lavishing love on my kids all to bring glory to the God who created such love.

To live simply and sweetly,
the goal of the day must be clear.
Whether your kids are with you all day, or whether they hail a bus bright and early,
the one main goal for each home should be to love without expectation.

So simple, yet at times, seemingly difficult.
That is why my best days always begin with quiet time.
Basking in the presence of the One who makes all things new.
The One who trains my mind and my heart to think and love in a way this world can't understand.

Simple and Sweet Living  Quiet Time

31 Days to Simple, Sweet Living

I decided to take a challenge.
Writing every day, for 31 days.

This will be somewhat difficult since I will be out of town later this month,
but I am not going to let that hinder me from putting my thoughts on paper
for the remaining days.

I am joining up with The Nester, and many other bloggers, to participate in this challenge.
It sounds so easy... blog for 31 days in a row about the same subject,
but I feel like it is going to prove difficult for me.

My topic is one that I feel I try to abide by most of the time.
Sweet and Simple living.

I don't like a chaotic life.
Some love the thrill of busyness and lots of to-dos,
but I sink like a rock when I have a calendar full of pen marks and highlighter scores.

I like to enjoy slow, quiet mornings with my kids.
Productive and soul thirst quenching afternoons,
and evenings filled with sweet giggles and lots of daddy time.

I want to capture little moments and dwell on them for a little while.
I like to savor the now and not wish for the future to come too soon.
It is simple.  It isn't glamorous.
It is about leaving the chaos behind and soaking in the sweetness of the day-to-day.

You can click the button on my sidebar for easy access to my 31-days series.

Links to the Series:
Day 1- Intro
Day 3- Routine
Day 8- Take It In
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20
Day 21
Day 22
Day 23
Day 24
Day 25
Day 26
Day 27
Day 28
Day 29
Day 30
Day 31

I hope you enjoyed the Living Sweet and Simple Series!

Fall Frenzie Giveaway

It is Fall... finally! 
This is hands-down my favorite season (until spring rolls around).
I love the fashion, the weather, and the change of scenery.
I am so excited to be a part of a 

Fall Frenzie Giveaway!

I am partnering up with 18 other adorable bloggers...

...to bring you an amazing giveaway to celebrate Fall! The best part of this giveaway? There are NINE amazing prizes which means there will be NINE winners which also means your chances are pretty dang good in winning one of them! The first prize will be a $300 VISA GIFT-CARD to use for whatever the heck you want (I know, awesome!), as well as these eight fantastic gifts...

...from our eight fantastic sponsors (please go check out all of these sites, you'll love them!)

You want to enter? You can do so right here...
One of the nine winners will be chosen via Instagram as well. How you ask? Post about this giveaway using one of the pictures of the Fall loot above, and make sure you hashtag #fallgiveawaysarewhereitsat because that is how we will be choosing the winner.
May the luck be on your side!
Thank you to all of the sponsors and bloggers. You all rock.


Android Phone Photography

I don't want to come across as someone who actually knows what she's talking about when it comes to phone photography.
With that said, I wanted to share a few apps that I have really like when using my Galaxy.

So many of the "good" apps out there are for IPhone users only.
I always feel bummed when one of my favorite bloggers or instagramers would mention the app they used on a certain picture, and then I would discover it was for I-users only.
So, after a lot of trial and error, I landed on 3 android apps that I think are great at editing my smart phone pics.

1.  The first Android app that I love is SnapSeed.
It has a wide array of options when editing.
It does take a little tinkering to figure out how to use it and what your favorite settings are, 
but once you get it figured out, it does a great job.
Another bonus is that it is FREE!

2.  The second Android app that I like to use is PhotoGrid.
It has quite a few different variations when putting multiple pics together in a collage.
I like to edit my photos in Snapseed first and then upload them to Photogrid to make my collages.
It is FREE as well!

3.  The third Android app that I use is Retro Camera.
This allows me to put different filters on my pics to give them a vintage look.
I use this the least out of all three, but I still find a place to use it when I want a "worn" look to my pics.

Keep in mind that every person has certain preferences when it comes to their pictures.
If I am getting professional pictures taken, then I certainly want them to be crisp and sharp.
When I take pictures throughout the day, showing little snippets of what life is like for us, I prefer a rugged, grainy look.  If you notice the graininess... that is my personal preference, not the app creating that look.

I hope these few apps will help you fellow android users edit your phone pictures.
I use my phone so much when it comes to capturing my day, and it is nice to be able to edit and publish them straight from my phone.


Do you have an android app that you love when editing?
Share in the comments so others can, hopefully, find more apps to use!!!

Schooling with my Homies...

I have had several people ask about our curriculum and what our mornings are like during the school year, so I will try to get that blogged soon. 
Maybe a video of our morning showing clips here and there? Interested?
I am bad about having several posts one week, and then a major break the next.
Sorry about that... I am going to try and be more consistent when it comes to this space.

Liam has always wanted to be a part of our school morning.  It doesn't matter if I have activities or just paper with crayons... he wants to be involved. 

I have been sneaking into Baby G's room almost every morning to snap a picture of her in her sweet slumber.  What is better than watching your own babe sleeping?  Not much in my book.  Thankfully, she has been napping during most of our morning school time which helps out tremendously.

Lately, I have been indulging in Rudabegga's Cold Brew.
I don't like super sweet drinks.  I prefer black coffee, so this works perfectly for my taste buds.
It has flavor, but not sweetness.  

And, then there is this character.  Always keeping it real.  He loves his giraffe glasses.
I like them, too.


Would you be interested in a short video of our morning school time?  Yes? No?



It's sweet...
sharing my day with these three little people.

I leave in a few weeks to spend a brief amount of time with some of my girl friends from high school.
The friendship we all share is one of those that, even though we haven't talked in months,
when we get together we spend hours giggling and loving one another as if no time had separated us at all.
It is going to also be a time for us to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet.

I must say, even though I am super pumped to spend time with my gals, 
I have a crazy amount of anxiety about not being with my kiddos and my hubby.
Actually, very rarely do I feel like I need a break from my life.
I truly love the calling God has given me.

I am not going away because I feel like I need to "get away" from it all.
I am taking this trip because I feel like it is important to invest in friendships, as well as invest in family.
We are all scattered about these days, and this past year has been pretty hard on our friendship(s)- 
not seeing each other at all.

I have a tendency to put all my eggs in one basket.
To place all my stock in my family and the relationship(s) we have with each other.
Sometimes, it is important to place our focus elsewhere, for just a moment, and nurture other things.

I guess this is my way of giving myself permission to love and enjoy my girls.
Permission to not feel guilty leaving my day-to-day at home and letting someone else love on my kids.
Permission to relax and breath a little deeper...


When Your Heart Grows

When there is just one, it is pretty easy.
I'm not saying that I didn't have my struggles when all I wrangled was Ella.
But, when I just had one- I thought I knew it all.
I was quick to mentally correct the other mothers I would see "doing it all wrong."

As my family grows, I find more and more that mothering perfectly isn't attainable.
That my previous judgements of others were unwarranted.
They really are different- kids.
Methods have to change from child to child.
That means that there is a considerable amount of trial and error that takes place with the addition of each little one.
It has been a blessing to discover not one mother- not one- has it all figured out.
It is such a relief to know that I don't have to be perfect.
I get up and breath in each new morning and strive for simplicty and sweetness.

Little moments that help me make it to the next moment, to the next, to the next.
The best part is that there is perfection woven in amongst all the error.
Sometimes the perfection is now... sometimes it's in the next moment.
Either way, I just have to be patient and wait for it to come.


It is easy to get distracted by the day-to-day, and to forget how twelve years ago, this day forever changed the landscape of our nation.  This was the first historical milestone that I felt connected to personally.
I was watching The Today Show the morning of the attacks.  The first crash had me wondering how an accident like that could have happened.  How could a plane accidentally crash into one of the tallest buildings in the world?

Then, with my eyes glued to the screen, I watched the second attack live.  I was completely numb.  I knew that the second plane meant that things were intentional.  My understanding beyond that was pretty limited, but I did know that things had changed.  

Today, I thought about that day several times.  How lives were changed- forever.  How our nation would recover, but would never be the same.  It also had me wondering...
When our Savior went to the cross, was it evident to massive amounts of people watching,
that the landscape of eternity was forever changed?
Do we, even now, grasp the magnitude of what the Cross means?

I can say one thing for sure about September 11, 2001.  
That day showed me, with 100% certainty, that the only true and unwavering security available to us is that which is found in the only True and Living Savior.
I pray that my hope is never on the things of this earth that can so quickly fade and be taken away.


My prayers tonight will be for those who lost loved ones on 9-11, and for those who continue to sacrifice for my family and yours.  

Archiving Moments

Every so often, I grab my camera and carry it around with me for part of the day.
I love getting non-posed pictures that depict what life is really like in our home.
I don't want to forget the little things that make my days so special and sweet.
Guinnyth needs her quiet time.
She needs time to explore and learn, but many times, she is drawn into her siblings' imaginative play. 
She loves being close to her sister and brother.

Usually, Liam is smothering her, but on this day I had to get some shots of Guinnyth interrupting his playtime.
He was chatting about tractors and combines, pretending to leave his house to go work in the field.
Apparently, she was going to help him in his field. 
He couldn't get out the door without her.
In case you were curious, almost every day he wears his tie.
His boots are becoming an every day staple as well.

Our little dancer.
Ella spins and twirls at least several times a day.
She loves to dance and is quite serious about perfecting her arabesque.
Today, Guinnyth couldn't resist- she had to be a part of the dance show.
Ella without hesitation, grabbed Guinn's arms and began dancing with her.
Eventually, it ended in a tickle session which Guinnyth can't get enough of.

It's the little things that bring life to our home.
The giggles, the imagination, the little voices...


Sounds of our Home

We have a rhythm in our home.
Our days are all pretty much the same.
The kids wake up and watch a show while I get up and moving.

Slowly the house starts to wake and get noisy. 
Breakfast usually happens right away. 
Liam is always hungry first thing in the morning.  Maybe it's a boy thing.
Getting dressed, making beds, and brushing teeth is soon to follow.

We usually start school around 9 o'clock.
We settle into the schoolroom until we are finished.
By then it's snack time and all the littles are huddled around my legs as I dish out a snack in the kitchen.

The morning gets finished off with a marathon of  "Mommy & Daddy" playtime by the big kids where I hear little voices calling each other "Liz & Mark" while tending to their imaginary household chores.  
Sometimes, the baby joins in as well.  Usually, I find her sneaking off to a quiet place to play independently.

Mornings are such a sweet time for me.  
I love the slow pace we have set in our home.