Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites

TGIF, y'all!

It's finally Friday, and in the spirit of such an exciting weekday, I thought I'd do a little sharing. Instead of telling you a list of things I love about my children, ways they drive me crazy, or why I am so dedicated to the chickens living in my yard, I am doing something new. Today I want to share a handful of actual products I have been loving lately. Without further ado, here are my very own Friday Favorites:

NUMBER ONE I am not a beauty blogger by any stretch, but I've become passionate about skincare in my 30s. I have always washed my face and moisturized properly, but I wanted to kick it up a notch. One new product I'm loving is the Pore-Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask by Clinique {most of my beauty products are Clinique due to their very gentle nature}. I got a sample of this, and will dedicate my dollars toward a full-size soon. I have used it once a week, and it makes my pores almost disappear and my skin feel like a dream. Seriously good stuff.

NUMBER TWO Another favorite is a lipstick line I've been using. Also by Clinique {see?} are the Lip Pop Color + Primer and its matte counterpart. I've never been much of a lipstick girl, but this product is changing things. The texture is super hydrating and the colors are bold and bright in one swipe. The shades I have are here, here, and here. I also have a sample of Cherry Pop, which is a great true red. My favorite, however, is Cute Pop. It's a perfect plum color, just right for everyday wear. Unfortunately, I wore it once and it broke. When I went to exchange it, they were out. We will be reunited someday soon, though. Try them out. Do it.

NUMBER THREE The temperatures are dropping and this list needs some autumn. Aside from candles, the only product I regularly get from Bath and Body Works are the hand soaps. At last purchase, I tossed a fall-inspired scent into my basket - Sunlight + Apple Trees. It was a guess since it's an odd scent combo, but it is wonderful. I'm not into pumpkin and cinnamon, but this one has my hands and home smelling all kinds of seasonal. If you do like the regular fall scents, they have a great selection going.

NUMBER FOUR It's planner season! For me, at least. With a new school year comes all sorts of spring dates and events I need to jot down, and nowhere to jot them. That's why I am proud to announce the arrival of my 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner. Last year I told you all about why I chose it. This year I went with the Mid-Century Circles pattern and stuck with the vertical layout. I was so happy to start planning. It's the little things, right?

Just so you know, these little links do nothing for me but provide Friday shopping ease for you. Because I like you. Let me know if you try any and subsequently love them. Are you already a fan of anything I've shared? Do you have any products you think I should check out? Jump into the comments and we'll chat.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nature Walk

I walked outside this morning to load up my crew, and did an about face when the cool air hit me.

I pulled on a heavier sweater, and as we drove down the highway I watched the temperature drop from the upper 60s to fall territory. There's a spicy batch of chili in the fridge and the nights are just about hot tub ready. While our trees are still a fresh green, it's nice to walk outside and not immediately sweat. The air smells crisp and clean and dare I say it: I think summer is just about gone.

Nathan's science class is studying autumn, and they have been taking nature walks around the school in search of seasonable items. His teacher encouraged the kids to try it out at home, too. We couldn't find many fallen leaves, but the acorns and pine cones were plentiful. I also took a few minutes to document this point in the year when summer gives up. From Halloween decorations I most definitely didn't put up to the last petunia blooms, here's what our late September looks like:

How are you enjoying the cooler temps and changing seasons? Let me know!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No More Tonsils

Rule #1: Popsicle requests shall not be denied, day or night, rain or shine.

When you leave an outpatient surgery center with a prescription for your favorite treat, it's not so bad. Owen had his tonsils and adenoids removed before the sun came up last Friday. As terrified as we were going into it, we knew it needed to happen. The doctor suggested this procedure the second she watched the kid breathe. He also wakes up 516 times a night and saws logs inbetween, so Jonathan and I jumped right into the "this is for the best" camp.

When we made it to triage the morning of the surgery, Owen the Brave let his nerves show when a handful of doctors and nurses began explaining details and giving us a laundry list of what to expect afterward. When he slipped on a green gown that practically swallowed him, it was time to say goodbye. Tears rolled down his face and burned my eyes as I left him sitting in the anesthetist's lap. The half hour that followed was especially long.

When the doctor called us back to give the report, however, I exhaled. Owen did a tremendous job, and actually followed orders with zero tears and lots of hugs. After he took a few minutes to wake up, we turned the corner to the recovery room to the sight pictured above. Tiny Owen half asleep, chomping an orange Popsicle, and happy to see us.

Owen was an absolute champ. Every nurse we talked to was impressed with his courage, and made sure we knew to give him all the Popsicles he wanted. We made it home before lunch and got Owen settled in for a week of healing. While we were away, my mom and Nora made sure our kitchen was stocked with cold treats, delicious drinks, and a rainbow of Jello cups. They also made sure Owen had a bundle of get-well balloons.

Although we heard a collection of tonsillectomy horror stories from the moment this surgery went on the calendar, I have been pleasantly surprised. He's actually eating well, he's had energy to play, and he is doing an amazing job of taking his pain medicine around the clock.

Side Note: Waking Owen for medicine every three hours has cemented the fact that we're done with newborns.

We are only five days out from surgery, and I know it could get worse before it gets better, but I am just glad it's done. My brave little dude did a great job, and hopefully we will be reaping the benefits soon. Keep Owen in your prayers for his continued recovery. He's already itching to get back on the soccer field and back in his classroom {we have been practicing popcorn words every day, promise}. Here's hoping those days are right around the corner.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Guest Blogging: Kindergarten

Today I'm over at Arkansas Women Bloggers sharing insight from my favorite primary school kid.

We have officially gotten over the school year hump of progress reports and summoning the courage to get in the cafeteria line {it was pancake day and it was worth it}. Owen has been tackling his first year of formal schooling like a champ and while he'll admit sitting still is tough, he loves kindergarten. From the incredible books to the playground friendships, he soaks up every second. The September writing prompt for my favorite blogging group is learn and I was pleased to snag a spot. Because it's his story, I let Owen do part of the sharing. That may or may not be considered cheating, but I think they let me slide this time.

Curious? Click HERE to find out the best parts of Owen's kindergarten day. Leave a comment, too, if you're feeling especially nice!

It may still be one million degrees, but it is technically fall, y'all. I wish you a terrific Thursday. Go eat a pumpkin or buy a scarf or jump in some leaves. 'Tis the season, after all.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer Night Snapshot

We're still sweating through this Arkansas September, but we're savoring the late-summer nights.

Around the time Jonathan gets the pots and pans and burners going for supper {hashtag blessed}, I grab my trusty basket and head out to cut the ever-growing okra and collect eggs. Typically when I'm about halfway across the back yard, I hear my name. I look back to find a mess of curls yelling, "Mommy, wait for ME!" I wait, and she helps by making sure none of the chickens get too close.

Later in the evening we {or just a few of us} will head through the kitchen doors to watch the clouds turn hot pink as the day fades. I like to snag a little more fresh air before the mosquitoes descend. Last night we got a call from Owen's fall soccer coach, and found out his first practice is tomorrow. Of course that brought the soccer ball into the mix. Let the record show the chickens were unwilling participants.

Today I thought I'd share some photos snapped during a few recent late-summer nights. This yard may not be much to many, but I am so grateful to call it ours.

{Can you guess what's happening here?}

Happy Wednesday, y'all. Take it slow today, and savor the moments you have.
How are you enjoying these dwindling summer nights?

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Monday, September 12, 2016

The Growing Room

There may still be tiny rocket ships on the bottom bunk, but this is no baby room.

This Saturday my family spent the day crammed into the boys' asparagus-green room {actual paint color}. The two babies who lived here when it first housed a twin bed and a toddler bed have grown into two students who have outgrown the space. We didn't have the time nor energy nor funds nor desire to completely redecorate, but we thought the addition of desks would spruce it up a bit.

Also, Minecraft posters. That totally upped the cool factor.

Now Owen and Nathan have two homework areas positioned where neither can see nor touch the other, featuring lamps with USB ports and bright orange chairs. To make room for these pieces, much purging took place. To my surprise, most of it was done by the boys.

They jumped into the hand-painted toy box Nathan received for his first birthday and started discarding toys left and right. I saw a three-legged horse named Lucky that had been buried since we moved. I saw stuffed animals that collected more dust than memories. I saw Legos that had been missing from a set since the box was opened. The boys whittled the toy stash down to where it all fit {semi-comfortably} in the closet, and the toy box is out.

{This is a terribly off-focus picture from 2008, but cue the awww.}

I would say it's a little sad to see this room go through so many transitions in the almost seven years we've lived here, but it would be a lie. I love watching these kids grow up, and I love a clean slate. Cleaning out kid rooms is agonizing to me {shout out to Jonathan}, but it sure feels good when it's done. Now I need to stock those desks with paper, pens, and fresh crayons to unleash the creativity for which we've made space.

I know this room will keep changing over the years {and may not always sport a very green coat of paint}, but I am eager to see what it becomes, and what becomes of the boys who live there.

Happy Monday, my friends. Outgrow your comfort zone, and keep going.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Oily Mom

You've seen these #oilymoms all over your social media for years, right?

Moms rubbing various oils on their kids to cure a cough or morph them into angels who don't throw the remote at the TV when it's bedtime. Like me, you scoffed. Don't lie, you did. I thought nothing of it until a close friend started talking them up {*ahem* Ting's Mom}. I also saw a handful of friends in my town shouting the praises of their beloved oils. I got curious. I sent a local buddy a message and she sent samples. Non-toxic and might help me sleep? I gave it a whirl.

Essential oils cannot cure all that ails you, but if you're like me and wary of constantly medicating yourself and your family, it might be worth a try. Today I want to share my favorite oils because it's Friday and I like you. This is not an ad and I'm not going to try to sell or teach you anything. I'm sure you have a Facebook friend ready to give a lesson or make a deal, though. I use Doterra because that's what my friend sells, but I know Young Living is great, too.

Anyway, if you're interested, these are the oils that have impacted me the most in the few months I've used them. I am not a doctor. Results may vary.

  1. Lavender. They say this one can literally cure anything, but my favorite use is sleep. I diffuse it right by my head every night, and I can honestly say that I wake up less {except when Owen comes in, but that's a different story}. It smells incredible, it soothes itchy bug bites and eczema, and it makes a delightful bath. This is the only oil I've run out of and repurchased. If you start anywhere, maybe start here.

  2. Peace. This is the reason I bit the bullet. I can get... tense? That's probably something you've picked up on if you read here. I was a skeptic, but this oil is described as a reassuring blend and my brain was in need. And it works. I put it on my wrists, back of neck, and behind my ears every single day.

  3. Peppermint. This is slowly replacing the number of Tylenol bottles we empty. I'll pop some medicine if the headache is intense, but I'll also apply peppermint to my forehead and temples to lessen wait time. It's cool, tingly, and fast. Jonathan swears by it for headaches and Nathan says it helps him focus at the piano. Whatever works?

  4. Breathe. We diffuse this when anyone has a sniffle and it does seem to help. I will also rub it on the bottom of the boys' feet to help them breathe at night. We haven't completely given up on NyQuil, but this is an excellent addition. Also? It smells like Christmas.

  5. Melaleuca. Like Lavender, this is another one I reach for often. Melaleuca is simply tea tree oil and its benefits are great. I personally use it for toenail issues {TMI} and to clear oncoming pimples. I wouldn't be so blunt about these specifics if it didn't work.

I bought the big starter kit, so there are still unopened oils. I will try them, though. They may not be total cures, but there seem to be big benefits in those little bottles. And when it comes to keeping my head on straight, I'm willing to try. Now I think I'm going to slip on a little more Peace and see if I can convince a grouchy three-year-old to nap.

What about you? I know someone reading this has jumped into the world of oils. Tell me your favorites in the comments, and suggest a few more for me to try! Have a happy weekend, y'all.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016


"I have a lost tooth!"

Owen has been saying that for months now, set on matching a classmate's toothless grin. He gets lost and loose confused, though, so this is typically a fib. Hellbent on getting one out, he has wiggled them daily to see if one would budge. Earlier this week, there was a budge.

An itty bitty baby bottom tooth looked a bit askew in Owen's mouth. He asked why his tooth was sideways and I told him it was starting to get wiggly. Those brown eyes grew to three times their size and welled with tears. He immediately started asking if it would hurt, if it would bleed, if he has to go to the dentist, and if he can still have chocolate milk. We managed to quash those fears. Then he ate tortilla chips in the car.

Driving home from my parents' house Monday, Nathan uttered two of the worst road trip words: "Owen's bleeding." Panic struck us all as Owen used his blankie to dab at his gums. Whether it was the chip or just a wiggly tooth, we'll never know, but the panic didn't stop. Owen obsessed over his tooth, ranging from enthusiasm about a Tooth Fairy visit to sheer terror of the unknown. I have a feeling he didn't talk about much else at school Tuesday.

Jonathan and I both asked whether we could just pull it out, as the tooth was barely hanging on. {Okay, Jonathan asked and then I asked Jonathan to ask again. Tooth pulling is disgusting.} The worried kid finally decided it was going to come out on its own, and lo and behold that's exactly what happened.

When I rolled him over in bed this morning, my gut instinct was to ask about his tooth. He sat up with an odd look on his face. "I think my tooth fell out and I swallowed it." When I saw the gap in his mouth, I think my face betrayed me because tears started to fall from his eyes. Not two seconds later, I spotted a tiny white tooth on the sheet. It indeed fell out of his mouth in his sleep, and waited patiently in bed. Kind of gross, but still: easiest possible outcome.

I have a feeling this was a hot-button topic in kindergarten today, too. At least his fears are conquered now. And he's no longer afraid of eating, which is a plus.

When the lost tooth was still a loose tooth, Owen discussed the legend of the Tooth Fairy with his sister. Nora said she thinks the Tooth Fairy will bring Shopkins when she visits. Owen said he hopes she brings $100. Nora reminded Owen that she brought Peppa Pig a coin.

I hope we get Peppa's fairy tonight. Happy Wednesday, y'all!

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Monday, September 5, 2016

The Football Kickoff

There was a bit of a rivalry in the high school stands Friday night.

There was no post-game rumble. Opposing band members didn't shout rude comments across the field. No one stole anyone's nachos, as far as I know. The only heckling my ears picked up was directed right toward me by Owen.

"Mom, maybe your team got more points but the score thing won't move."
"Hey, we have 46 points now, why do you only have 14?"
"MY team is the best team. They get a score every single minute!"
"In YO FACE, Mom."
"Can we leave early? We already know who the winners are..."

As I mentioned in my Friday post, an in-family rivalry came with the return of football season. The town we live in is known for its football program, and with good reason. They are frequently state champs and they turn their kids into football-crazed fans as early as possible. Apparently it's the third week of kindergarten nowadays. However, I stuck with my own hometown colors.

{Happiest football fans on the home side.}

We sat on the home side in my parents' section amid a sea of eager Hope fans. I haven't been a student at this school in more than 14 years {shocking, I know}, but once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat. I donned red and made my orange sons sit on the wrong side. They were confused as to why our town was sitting across from us, and why no one would cheer when their team scored. Nathan's attention turned to concession food, but Owen made the most of it. As the guest point total began flipping ever upwards, he made his allegiance known.

I have a feeling he made his hometown proud tonight.

He and Nora did spend a bit of time picking out Hope players they know from church and trying to get their attention. They are local celebrities, after all. Each time a player spotted Owen waving frantically, he'd laugh and shake his head at the speck of orange in the home stands. We lasted through halftime and had a great time together {despite the final score}.

We were all on the same page Saturday, though. We watched the Arkansas Razorbacks game with friends and the comforts of home. I like watching football, but the best part of this game was the food. We traded squished hot dogs for a buffet of our own invention. My favorite meatballs were a hit {throw cranberry sauce, chili sauce, and pre-cooked meatballs in the crock pot} and we feasted on Jonathan's famous meaty cheese dip. We also had homemade guacamole and a handful of beverages you can't buy at a high school.

Fun, football, and five-year-old heckling: a great start to the season! Did you and yours gather around the football field and/or living room this weekend? Are you enjoying today's weekend extension on the lake? Are you simply sleeping in? I'm working today, but we did snag a pool day yesterday.

If you have the day off, enjoy it! Happy Monday/Labor Day, y'all.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Dear September

Backpacks and footballs and heat, oh my! It's September, friends.

It's that lovely time of year when fall fanatics turn their calendars, grab their scarves and pumpkin spice lattes, and head out in 100-degree weather. I am in no rush for pumpkin time, but I do like the fact that September should leave cooler than it came. School routines are firmly in place and the idea of spending time beneath Friday Night Lights does sound enticing. September always has its highs and lows and this particular one is no different.

YAY: We're only wrapping up Week Three, but this school year has been wonderful. Nathan says fourth grade is the best yet, and he lives for art class and GT. He's already gotten to play a round of dodge ball with his principals. What's not to love? As for kindergarten, Owen is obsessed. He says his favorite class is "instruments" and he loves writing numbers. He hates the weekend because there is no school, and he does not want to discuss Labor Day.

BOO: Owen was absent last Tuesday. As you can imagine he was displeased. We were further displeased when our ENT said he needed his tonsils and adenoids removed. Obviously, I'm terrified about this. His poor breathing has resulted in sleepless nights for years, though, so I know this will be a good thing. I'm worried about his week-long recovery later this month. He's devastated about missing an entire week of school.

YAY: Tonight marks the return of school colors, band shows, and extra-large nachos. The Bauer Boys woke up this morning psyched for the first pep rally of the season {Owen, mostly excited about the first bus ride of his life}. Football is king in southwest Arkansas, and in my sleepy little town in particular. Tonight our team plays my hometown team, so we have a house divided. 

BOO: My garden is done. Finished. Kaput. Other than the okra, everything is dead {or ruined by bugs, weeds, and general disinterest}. The lush landscape I blogged about in July has met its demise. It's always sad to see a see a season close, but now I must decide whether we stare at a blank patch until spring or commit to fall crops. I'll just keep picking okra and see if inspiration hits this month.

YAY: CYM starts back next week! Jonathan and I lead the youth group at our church, and it kicks off next Wednesday. I have spent hours researching hilarious games, team-building ideas, and inventive ways to encourage prayer. I love setting up our meeting room, then opening the door to eager teenagers. Watching these kids grow in faith pushes me in mine, and I can't wait to get going.

There's a snapshot of our month. There's good, there's bad, and there's a week of Owen eating ice cream on the couch. I'm prepared, though. Bring it on, September.

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