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Change...

I don't like change much.  There are times when it is welcomed with open arms-for example, exhibit A pictured below.  I will take that change any day of the week.

blanket: c/o Mirabelle Lane

I have been blogging for quite some time now.  I am not sure how long, but it has been a couple of years.  I love my little bloggy-neck-of-the-woods a little more every day.  It is such a sweet place for me to archive my family in each moment, and to connect with other ladies like myself.


The change I am not that into is the kind that disconnects us.  Most of my readership follows via GoogleFriendConnect (the little box that says "follow" in the right sidebar of my blog).  That is going to disappear in a few days (like 4 days!) and you will no longer see my blog in your feed.  But, we can fix that!


I would love for y'all to follow The Quick Journey in the future, and the best and easiest way is to use BlogLovin'.  I love it and use it for all of my blog reading now.  Here is a link for a step-by-step tutorial (with pictures!!) to help you navigate your way through the process. 

Thank you for following and keeping up with our shenanigans. 

xxLiz

Sunnies and More

I am full of great giveaways lately.
I am giving away a pair of Proof shades over at She {hearts} It today.  
They are a $200 value!


Go enter to win!!!

xxLiz

Butter your Body!

One of my college friends is being featured on She {hearts} It this week!
She and her family have adopted one sweet little boy and are raising funds to adopt another child in the future.

All proceeds go toward supporting this special cause!

There is also a giveaway happening... Orange-sicle ORGANIC body butter! 

body-butter

xxLiz


The Important "Stuff"


As parents, Mark and I sometimes forget to remember the important stuff.  
We get caught up in providing this perfect childhood for our kids.


We constantly remind ourselves that they have everything they need.
They have parents who love them, pray for them, and spend time with them.
They have a home and food to eat.
They have siblings to play with every day.


How quickly deception rolls in and makes me think that they need more stuff to bring contentment.
I fall for it every time, even as an adult. 
I need something more than what I have to make me happy.
In the end, all it does is spur greed and collect dust.  


That is the hard part of living in this fast paced, techno-world.
It steals the simplicity of just living, and creates the desire to want what we see.


We are striving for contentment around here.
A mindset that works toward appreciation of what we have and not a mindset of wanting.
I find that when we enjoy our blessings, life tends to slow down.
We aren't chasing the next thing.
We soak up the time we have and don't wish it away.

xxLiz


Father's Day // In Pictures

I love celebrating Mark.  The only problem is that he is my banker.  So, how am I supposed to buy him anything without him knowing?
Tips anyone???

We went to Cabela's on Saturday so the kids could shoot at the pretend shooting range (it was out of order- whomp, whomp).
One of Mark's presents was a BBgun for the kids.  I totally killed three birds with one stone with that gift.  Mark was just as excited as the kiddos to get home and try it out.  
Here is the father/spawn pic from Cabela's. 

we have a pretty princess*a deer in headlights* and a cheese ball

Oh, the joys of trying to get a good picture on a Sunday morning.  Why does every "picture worthy" holiday fall on a Sunday?  I rush around to get everyone looking sweet and then try to snap pictures right before we waltz out the door.  It never seems to pan out for us.  

Exhibit A, below:

"What's that, daddy?  You want me on the other side?  Okay... here I go." - Liam

Lovely smiles from three out of four.  *sigh* (she is still so stinkin' cute- even crying!)

And now, Daddy and G are smiling and the other two are admiring the baby.  *sigh, again*

Yay!  A great picture... except, mommy is out of focus.  Good Job, Mom!

Yep, that's it... never got a great picture of the four.  I decided that they were perfect the way they were.  That was truth in pictures.  Life here is crazy and fun and sometimes there are tears.

I did get a good shot of Mark and Guinnyth together for her first Father's Day.


I love how much Mark has grown since God blessed him with these kids.  He is so much more than I could have hoped for in a father.  I never doubt that he will work down to the bone to provide and give his kids just enough.  He spends time teaching them and forming amazing relationships with them.  
One day, they will realize just how blessed they are to have a dad that chooses them every day.

Happy Father's Day (a day late) to all you awesome dads!

xxLiz

Mirabelle Lane on She {hearts} It

 Mirabelle Lane is being showcased on She {hearts} It today! 
ML is also giving away an adorable snuggle blanket of the winners choice!!!


I love Guinnyth's blanket and so does she!  
It is perfect for a baby or toddler.  It is small enough to not be a risk to a baby, but big enough for an older child to enjoy!

xxLiz

On Having my Hands Full...

My kids are my life- literally.
I don't do a lot of socializing at this stage in the game... I play farmer or ponies instead.
When I run my errands (30 minutes away) I take my little people with me (unless my lovely parents watch them).
I make my grocery list and get all my groceries in one haul.  Living a short distance from town means that I have to be organized and get my errands done in one big trip.  That also means a great deal of patience on my part, and obedience on my kids' part.  


I enjoy the times when I get to make solo trips to town.  It is much easier.
With that being said, there are moments when I am alone that I wish I had the chaos of my crew.  
I love having my kids with me.  I get to work on their character and the Lord works on mine.  

I think people are accustom to seeing families with one or two kids.  That is the norm and is the perfect family size for some.  We have been blessed with three kids (I would take more... ahem- hubby!).  


During our busy mornings of errands, I have Guinnyth strapped to me in the wrap, Liam in the cart seat, and Ella hanging on the front of the cart.  The cart is usually piled high with things that I have been checking off our list as we stroll from aisle to aisle.  The funny thing is that at *almost* every turn, I hear, "Wow!  You sure have your hands full!"

Some don't mean anything by the comment.  They just aren't used to seeing a mom with her three small children shopping, I guess.  Some though, definitely have a derogatory slant to their tone.  I have never once sat, looking at my life, and wished one moment away.  I have never wished that I could go get a real job and leave my kids for someone else to care for.  


I have had several mothers ask how I respond to that question.  
I usually smile and say, "It is a good full."  
I have waited a long time to have my hands this full. 

My hands are full of blessings.  Those blessings increase my patience by the day.  
Those blessings require me to stretch.  I have to offer kindness and gentleness when my sinful nature would rather snap and fuss.  


I would love to start a movement.  A movement where moms don't feel exasperated by their kids, but see struggles as a growth opportunity.  Where the person at the store doesn't look at a mother with "her hands full" and feels sorry for her, rather blesses her and encourages her.  Motherhood is tough- no doubt about it, but it shouldn't be a burden.  Motherhood should grow the mother and train the mother the same way the mother is to train and grow her child.  

There are sometimes growing pains, but afterwards we can reach to heights we couldn't reach before.  
Here's to being encouraged in this journey and to "having our hands full!!"

xxLiz

What do you say when you hear this comment?  I would love to know!

Easy Tips for Eating Real Food on a Frugal Budget

I gave you guys a few ways that my family saves money in order to eat real foods.
I have found some other fantastic ways to cut costs and enable us to eat foods that are good for our bodies.
Some of these I have tried and some of these I am in the process of implementing. 


1. Inquire about paying less for older produce at the store.

So many stores just pitch the old {but still edible} produce because consumers won't buy it.
We search until we find the perfect onion or batch of strawberries {why not?  i search, too, with prices the way they are!}.  I have contacted my local Hy-Vee about this.  I am hoping they will allow me to either take the outdated produce, or charge me a lesser fee.  We shall see!

Check out this great post for more information!

2.  Meal plan, Meal plan, Meal plan!

I don't live by a big grocery store, but we have a wonderful local store that supplies us with everything we need... except organic.  I make one big trip every two weeks to grab items that I cannot get at the local grocery store.  I ALWAYS have a list with me.  I organize my list according to what part of the store the items are in: Dairy, Meat, Produce, Toiletries, etc.


grocery list
With my list in hand {and usually my three kids} I hit the store and buy only what is on my list.  This keeps the impulse buys at bay.  It saves a lot of money in the long run!

3. Know what needs to be organic, and what will still be acceptable non-organic.

I would love to be able to eat organic 100% of the time.  But, we can't afford to do so.  I feel like in order to be good stewards of our money, we need to make the best choices as to what to do with it.  There are some items that I will only buy organic.  There are some items that I will let the "organic" label slide and just buy the regular item.  
fresh fruit and veggies
Items I try to buy organic 100% of the time:
*chicken
*frozen/canned corn
*grapes
*apples {anything containing apples- apple sauce, dried apple chips, etc}
*eggs {I buy cage-free... usually from Azure}
*cucumbers
*potatoes
*milk {I usually buy organic for the kids and Mark and I drink regular milk with no added hormones}

I don't waste my money buying organic...
*pasta and other starches
*onions
*avocado
*breads
*cheese {unless, I buy through Azure.  Then it is organic as well}

Do some research and find what items are important for your family to buy organic and which ones you can skimp on.

4. Garden... fresh produce!

We are tending to our second annual garden this year.  I am so excited to see what produces.  We only have tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, and watermelon.  I hope to gradually grow more yummy produce each year, but this is what I felt like I could handle this year.  


With just those few items, we get to have salsa, pickles, zucchini breads, salads, etc. at just a fraction of the cost... and organic!  We are picking strawberries this year, too.  I plan to make freezer jam and strawberry toppings for pancakes and waffles {goodbye maple syrup!}.

I hope those little tips help you to keep within your budget and still eat well!

xxLiz



Falling For Friday {Link Up}

Yay!  I got asked to be a guest co-host for the Falling For Friday link up.  I am super excited to share a few things that I think are worth "falling for" this Friday.
***
Besides falling for this little lady every day, I am totally in love with her head wrap.
I am so excited to showcase this lovely head accessory on PS. I Adore You on June 20!  


I totally fall for this dirty face... smitten.


The big dude below... I fell for him years ago- he's pretty dreamy.
Lately, I have fallen for the sweet t-ball player and her need to have her hand on her daddy. 
The comfort she feels having him close by- so sweet.


What are you falling for this Friday?

***
FFF_ANNOUNCEMENT


Welcome to Falling For Friday, THE place to come link up all the fabulous things you are totally obsessing over each week. Whether it be some brilliant new handmade goodness, a totally inspirational blog, or a little video that made you practically pee your pants... whatever it might be... we want to see it! We all love sharing those things that just make us drool, so consider this your formal invitation to join Dawnelle and Kelly each and every Friday!


Rules of the Road
1. Please be kind, follow blogging etiquette and follow along with all three hosts via
GFC, Blog Lovin', Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... your call!
We just don't want you to miss any of the goodness!!

Kelly at Westover Manor
Dawnelle at Just Dawnelle


2. Please link to a specific post, not your main URL.

3. Lets make it a party! Click around and visit 2-3 other blogs!
Be sure to let them know you stopped by.
Let's make some new friends!
Because, really... who doesn't love a new blog friend, right?!

4. Grab a button and link back to the party so we can spread the love around!!
(Text links are great as well!)

5. Please keep linked posts related to your finds for the week.

6. Give us a shout out via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest...
The larger the party the more fun for everyone!!!




My Heart Grows With Her {9 months}

She is growing... like crazy!
She crawls like a wild woman and is practicing her "pull-up" skills.
She hasn't quiet mastered it yet, but it won't be long.


Forget the baby purees... she is all about self-feeding.  
I love it.  I love watching her little fist grab the bites and the delight in her eyes when
she likes what she's eating.
She is my first baby to not like broccoli.  She likes peas and green beans, though.



She babbles all day and loves to involve herself in her sister and brother's games.  
She chews on everything.  Her six teeth need a workout and I think more will pop out before her first birthday.
She leaves her headbands on for about 5 minutes and then she pulls them off.
Her sister had a head full of hair to put clips in- I guess Guinnyth will just be the bald
chick with no headband. 



She sucks her thumb... and holds her hand while she's doing it.
I am pretty sure it is the cutest thing I have seen in a really long time.
She melts my heart.

 Blanket: c/o Mirabelle Lane

I am coming to the realization that I should be planning a first birthday party.
I am at a loss.  I don't really want this year to be over yet.

xxLiz

Any birthday themes that you love and would like to share with me??? Please? ;)






How do you get your husband on board?

We eat clean at our house... 90 % of the time.  
It is a priority for me.  I have never let my kids have pop, and they only have juice on very special occasions.   For us, it is water and milk.  They snack on fresh fruit and veggies, instead of fruit snacks.  They are all small changes that we made years ago.  I absolutely do not judge those who do not choose this "lifestyle."  I totally get why it might not be appealing, but for us... it is important.


Many wives struggle to get their hubbies on board with the whole "eating clean" scenario.  The men want their chips and cookies.  They want their Pepsi and Mt. Dew.  Just so we are clear, my husband still wants all of those things.  I guess I am a little stubborn in this area.  I do the shopping... I decide what goes in the cart.  I do the cooking... I decide what gets put on the table.  I feel like I am making the best choices for us, and so I have no guilt about it.  

With that being said, we have made baby steps.  About 9 years ago I started really shopping for organic groceries.  Then, a few years ago, I began milling my own wheat.  Lately, I have been working on cutting out all processed foods and snacks.  It is more work, but the payoff should far outweigh the cost.  


Mark and I have an understanding... he is adamant about not having alcohol in our home.  Friends and family are not even welcomed to bring it. Period.  I don't argue this point- I respect it.  I am the same about the food/drink that goes into our kids' bodies.  I am passionate about taking care of our bodies.  Mark (although he doesn't always like it) respects me on this point and doesn't fuss too much. 


My biggest piece of advice is to take baby steps.  And, to explain little tidbits of information you gather with your spouse.  When I would read something that concerned me, I would bring it up with Mark, but I wouldn't make it a hot debate.  I just let him know it was on my mind. 
 He would be happy eating Doritos and drinking Dr. Pepper all day long, but he doesn't buy the groceries.  So... he's outta luck (unless it's his birthday). 

xxLiz 

Little Bow & Arrow {Review & Giveaway}

Happy day, y'all!
I thought I would start with a little bit of eye candy... the cutest little 9 month I know!
Not only is she easy on the eyes, but she also has a sweet deal for The Quick Journey readers!
Keep reading...


Guinnyth was begging me for a pair of arrow print leggings.  She thought she just had to have some.  Lucky for her, Little Bow & Arrow had the most adorable pair of arrow print leggings.  And, they had a pair that was just her size (just like baby bear).
***
Little Bow & Arrow is a super cute shop that offers baby and toddler leggings to boys and girls alike.
There are popping colors, on trend patterns, and geometric prints. 


What is so special about leggings?  I'll tell ya- leggings are so universal.  You can pair them with a sweet T, or put them under a dress or skirt.  They are also a perfect clothing option for little boys.  Slap on an adorable pair of legs with a button down and a slouch hat- you are good to go!

 

Little Bow & Arrow hand stamps all their fabulous leggings.  The nice thing about that, is you will have a unique pair of leggings just for your little one!


Here is the suh-weet deal:
One special reader will receive a pair of leggings for their little one!
To enter: use the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The deal doesn't stop there...
to get 30% off use code: QUICKJOURNEY30

I hope that adds a little sweetness to your day!
xxLiz

Visit Little Bow & Arrow:

Child Labor

Ahhh... staying at home can be overwhelming.  It can be messy.  Literally.
I like to be tidy.  I like things to be in their place.  But, life isn't tidy.  Life is all over the place.


I get busy.  I let stuff go around the house.  Then, I am left with a sink full of dishes, toilets with all sorts of boy-toddler "misses,"  and a laundry room screaming for attention!  


What would my life be without the mess?  I would not be me- I would be a different version of me.  I love that I have messes to clean up, and toys to trip over.  I waited a long time for that first mess-maker to arrive and shake my world to its core.  It is okay to live in the mess sometimes... to relish the mess... to be in awe over the mess.  The mess is worth it!

xxLiz