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A Peek Into May at Our House

Every month in 2019, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into the previous month. I thought this would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our month and recap some of the highs and lows and special memories of the month.

It was Spirit Week at Kaitlynn and Silas’ school and they had so much fun planning their outfits. This was crazy sock day and Silas wore peanut butter and jelly socks while Kaitlynn wore movie popcorn and Sprite socks.

You can .

Silas made a tornado simulator (just like Kathrynne’s) for his Science Fair project. He worked so hard on it and did the lion’s share of the work himself.

He just needed our help with putting the simulator together and doing some of the research for his report and board (since he’d never done a school project quite at this level before).

Kathrynne and I flew to Utah for me to speak at the Everything Food conference. I love it when it works out for me to take one of my kids with me!

I loved getting to speak on one of my very favorite topics — . After taking almost two years off from doing any conference speaking, I said yes to some opportunities again this year to see how it would feel to be back on the road.

We created some very clear boundaries of what I would say yes to in order that I wouldn’t completely exhaust myself (like I did unintentionally back when I was traveling and speaking a lot more!) and y’all, I just LOVED being back on the road getting to speak again. And I came home fired up and excited for the next speaking event — yay!

I’m excited and hopeful that I’ll continue to find it life-giving because I so love getting to meet you all in person. It’s one of my very favorite things! (Psst! If you’ve asked me to speak at your event in the past few years and I’ve said no, go ahead and ask again because I just might say yes now that I’m in a better place with more capacity and better personal boundaries!)

She’s 14 and she loves hanging out with me.

I don’t say this to gloat, because just between you and me, I’ve made a ridiculous amount of mistakes as a mom.

I say this to push against the commonly touted belief that the teenage years are awful and hard and miserable. That you just grimace and hold on and try to make it through.

Honestly, yes, there are challenges. Yes, it’s like learning a completely new dance…

It’s letting go and seeing your child no longer need you like they once did.

It’s giving your teen space to learn and process and make mistakes.

It’s listening a lot more and instructing a lot less.

It’s realizing she is growing wings and, much as I want to, clipping her wings to selfishly keep her close to me will only hurt us both in the long run.

It’s a new dance and some days I misstep. But I’m loving it and so grateful for these beautiful years.

Mamas of littles, don’t dread the teen years. I’m here to tell you that, so far, they’ve been pretty amazing!

After we got back home from Utah (which was absolutely breath-taking, by the way!), I took Kathrynne and a group of her friends to see the new Avengers movie.

We went to TopGolf for Silas’ birthday.

10 years ago, I gave birth to this high energy, insanely extroverted BOY!

He brings so much life to our home and he is friends with pretty much everyone he meets. (Oftentimes, we’re out somewhere and he’ll holler out to someone he sees that he kind of knows from somewhere. I’ll be all, “Who is that?” And he’ll respond with something like, “Oh, I met him once at the park two years ago.”)

But despite his incredibly outgoing personality, I love that he is still very much a Mama’s boy.

In fact, one Sunday recently, he was telling me about how one of the men on stage has grown kids in multiple countries (he had read his bio in the church program.) I said, “Maybe that will be you all someday.” He gave me a shocked look and was like, “Never, Mom! I have to live close to you!”

He has decided he and his wife will live on our street so he can come spend time with me every day.

I love this boy so much! Being his mom has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.

TopGolf rolled out the red carpet for his birthday — including banners, a birthday card, a shark dressed up, and free Injectable Donut Holes.

One of the highlights of May was getting to interview our pastor on the podcast. Have you listened to his episode yet? It was one of the highest-downloaded episodes yet.

Kathrynne had her 8th grade banquet at school in May. It was such a special time of the teachers speaking words of blessing over each of the students and commissioning them as they move up to high school.

I posted this on Instagram:

She doesn’t like me to talk about her or share her pictures much online. And I 100% respect that.

But y’all, I wish you could meet this girl. (Warning: Sappy proud mom post forthcoming…)

She’s wise beyond her years. She has the most caring heart for others. And I so often look at her and think, “How did I get to be your mom?”

I have watched her step outside her comfort zone and step out in bravery in big ways this year. I’ve seen her wrestle with her faith and wrestle through difficult relationships.

She’s made mistakes and she’s owned them and asked forgiveness. She’s come alongside kids that are being made fun of and stood up for them. She’s befriended those who are struggling. And she’s worked really hard in school, too.

I know that people say it makes them sad to see their kids growing up. On the one hand, yes, I’m sad knowing that she’s going to be in HIGH SCHOOL in the fall (how did that happen??). On the other hand, I just love stepping back watching her grow up and grow into all that God has called her to be.
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We love you, Kathrynne, and we’re so proud of you and grateful to be your parents. ❤️

P.S. I took this picture at her 8th grade banquet. When I looked at it afterwards on my phone, it literally took my breath away! I know she’s growing up, but I sometimes don’t realize just how quickly she is until I see a picture like this!

And the same day, Kaitlynn had her 7th grade formal. I loved getting to do her hair for it.

She’d been planning for months what she was going to wear and how she was going to fix her hair. I just love how much she loves beauty.

Cute Summer Tops

Her favorite part of her outfit was her shoes. She ordered multiple different pairs from Amazon to try out (with free returns!) before she landed on these. She’s so different than me in so many ways (hello, I’m all about comfortable shoes!), but I love the life and creativity she brings into our home.

I loved getting to have one of my childhood friends and her family come over for dinner on their roadtrip in Tennessee.

Kathrynne won a special math award for her class at the end of year awards ceremony.

We kicked off our  challenge! Want to join us? Here are the details:

As our kids get older, we cherish our time together all together as a family more and more. With this in mind, our family committed to be intentional to do something fun all together as a family every day for the next 100 days.

I’ll be documenting it here on Instagram stories as a way to stay accountable — and maybe to inspire your family to prioritize family fun, too.

It doesn’t have to be something expensive or complicated. You know I’m all about keeping it simple! For instance, it could be something like taking a family walk or having a family basketball game.

Want to join us? Here’s to a fun summer filled with memories!

“What is the most important thing to remember?” I asked him on the drive to his last playoff flag football game.

“No matter what happens. No matter if the other team creams you. No matter if they have amazing plays & they block & intercept everything you throw. No matter if you miss every rushing opportunity. No matter if everyone is frustrated with you. No matter what, you get to choose how you respond.”

We talked about how to respond with graciousness in the face of defeat. We talked about how the most important thing was to represent Jesus in everything you do.
Then we prayed together & my little quarterback & rusher went out to lead his team in the biggest game of his life so far.

They were playing against the undefeated team. This team was good, really good. I knew that the game would likely be brutal.

But Silas went out and led his team with a quiet confidence and grace — and they WON!!! Then they went on to win the championship game, too!!!

Here’s the thing: Sure I was the insanely proud mama hollering & yelling for my boy on the sidelines. But this wasn’t about the scoreboard so much as it was about the character that my boy displayed.

For an entire year, my prayer for him has been that he would have a gracious, humble spirit. That he would learn to submit to leadership. That he would use his incredibly strong personality for good. That he would rather be kind than right.

He’s struggled a lot with this. There have been a lot of conversations, prayers, & lost privileges.
But the past few months, I have seen so many answers to those prayers on the football field…when a call has been made that he didn’t agree with, when his coaches asked him to do things he didn’t want to do, & when his team lost.

He’s had opportunity after opportunity to be kind rather than right, to be gracious even when he wanted to be angry.

It might have just seemed like two Flag Football games on Tuesday night with 9 & 10 years olds. And yet, for me, it was about so much more than that.

Mamas, keep praying for your strong kids. Keep having the hard conversations. Speak life. Believe that God can use their strength and stubbornness for good. Don’t give up!

Some days, parenting is amazing. Other days, it’s just plain hard.

One night in May, I had come up with the idea for us to take a picnic dinner to Fort Negley for our  activity for the day.

Instead of excitement over my idea, the response was more like if I had announced that we were going to go spend 3 hours cleaning toilets.

There were bad attitudes and rolled eyes and whining and fighting all the way there. When we got there, there was more complaining, “This looks so boring!” “Why are we doing this?”

Then, as soon as we started down the trail, two children had a big fight and we had to separate them for 30 minutes so they could cool down.

Inside, I was irritated and thinking, “Why are we even bothering to try to do fun stuff together?? Let’s just go home!”

But then I heard that phrase that has become my mantra for parenting, “Lean in and love.”

I walked with one child and said to them, “I know you’re really upset. I’m sorry.”

This opened the door for them to share their heart with me. Frustrations they were feeling over their sibling. Frustrations they were feeling over situations in life. And I just listened.

When they were finished, I said: “You know, I’ve felt like that a lot, too.”

This child looked at me with surprise: “You have?? You don’t ever seem like you are frustrated like this.”

We ended up having a really beautiful heart-to-heart talk together on the trail where I shared some similar feelings I’ve felt recently and I was able to not give answers or solutions, but to just show empathy — which was what they needed.

By the time we headed for the car, everyone was laughing and joking and in much better spirits.

It wasn’t the family evening I envisioned and I don’t think the kids will be begging to go back any time soon! 😉 But I’m so glad we didn’t turn around and leave when we got there (like I seriously considered doing!)

Maybe today you’ll find yourself in a similar situation — whether it’s deal with defiant toddlers, difficult teens, frustrating co-workers, or just dealing with someone with a bad attitude. Choose to press in, press through, and lean in and love. ❤️

Silas and Kaitlynn both made the honor roll! They’ve worked really, really hard for this and we were super proud of them!

We loved getting to have a big group of friends over on Memorial Day weekend for a cookout!

I just loving opening our home (or our backyard, as was the case this time!) to friends — new and old!

We took a fairly impromptu road trip at the end of May to hit three states we hadn’t all visited yet: Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

A little family football game at a rest stop!

We went to IKEA for the first time ever… and I’m sorry to say that I was underwhelmed.

Minnehaha Falls was incredible!

We had such a great time on our trip and I have so much more I want to share about it that I plan to do individual posts on the things we did in Madison, WI and Minneapolis, MN. (Sadly, it was raining the entire time we were in Iowa so we didn’t get to do much while we were there.)

Look for those posts coming soon — hopefully next week!

Hallmark Christmas In July Movies Schedule

Love all things Christmas and Hallmark Channel? Get ready for the Hallmark Christmas in July movies marathon!

{Psst! Looking for creative ways to save for this year’s Christmas budget? Read our post on How to Fund Your Christmas Budget in Just 15 Minutes per Day! Or check out our post on 10 Easy Ways to Earn FREE Christmas Gifts.}

I’ve never been a huge fan of Hallmark movies, but I know a TON of our readers are! So I wanted to make sure all of you knew about Hallmark’s Christmas movie marathon going on this summer! 😉

Hallmark Christmas in July 2019

If you love Hallmark Christmas movies, mark your calendars!

Starting on July 12th and running through July 28th, will be running 24-hour movie marathons of their most-watched and most-loved Christmas movies!

Plus, there will be one new movie that has never been aired: A Merry Christmas Match. You can catch it on the night of July 13th.

Check Out the Christmas Movie Lineup!

If you’re curious which Christmas movies will be featured during this two-week Hallmark Christmas in July marathon, you can !

And since the movies are running all day and night long, don’t forget to set your DVR for all your favorites. 🙂

And I’d love to hear which Hallmark Christmas movies are your favorite!

Are you excited about the Hallmark Christmas movies marathon? Let us know in the comments!

Brigette’s $82 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

Aldi

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.59

1 Gallon 1% Milk – $1.59

1 64-oz carton Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.65

1 24-oz carton Cottage Cheese – $1.59

2 jars Pasta Sauce – $1.70

1 pkg String Cheese – $1.65

2 12-oz bags Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $3.50

1 2-lb pkg 85/15 Lean Ground Turkey – $3.98

1 2-lb pkg 80% Ground Beef – $3.76

1 16-oz pkg Deli Turkey Meat – $2.85

1 canister Quick Oats – $2.29

2 boxes Honey Nut Oats – $2.30

1 38-oz jar Ketchup – $0.95

1 loaf Sandwich Bread – $0.59

1 Seedless Watermelon – $2.89

1 large carton Organic Spring Mix – $3.49

1 3-lb bag Gala Apples – $2.99

1 pkg Baby Bella Mushrooms – $0.89

1 6-ct pkg Applesauce Cups – $0.99

1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $2.89

2 pkgs Zucchini (3.45lbs @ $0.79/lb) – $1.72

2 pkgs frozen Broccoli Florets – $1.90

2 pkgs Riced Cauliflower – $3.78

2 4-ct pkgs Corn on the Cob – $3.38

1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $1.89

1 bag Mini Cucumbers – $2.29

1 Cauliflower – $2.29

1 Broccoli – $1.29

1 bunch Bananas $0.79

3 cartons Blackberries – $2.67

1 pkg Raspberries – $1.19

1 10-lb bag Russet Potatoes – $3.49

1 pkg Grape Tomates – $0.99

2 dozen Eggs – $1.56

1 16-oz carton Egg Whites – $1.69

1 pkg Rice Cakes  – $1.45

Total: $76.50

Harris Teeter

1 pkg Eckrich Sausage – $2.50, used (doubled) – $1.00 after coupon

2 Larabars – $2.00 – used (doubled) – $1.00/2 after coupon

5 Chobani Yogurts (one got eaten on the way home :)) – $5.00, used $1/5 Chobani Single-Serve Yogurt and Non-Dairy Products, exp. 6/22/19 (SS 05/19/19), receive $1.00/4 rebate from  – $3.00/5 after Coupon and Rebate

1 pkg Sargento Mozzarella Cheese – $1.89, used $0.60/1 Sargento Reserve Series Shredded Natural Cheese, exp. 7/29/19 (SS 06/02/19) (doubled) – $0.69 after coupon

Total: $5.69

Grocery Total for the Week: $82.19

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Cereal, Oatmeal, Fruit, Scrambled/Fried/Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Smoothies, Yogurt, Toast

Lunches

Deli Meat Sandwiches, Blackberries, Cucumbers x 2

Peanut Butter on Rice Cakes, Cheese Sticks, Apples/Applesauce, Mini Peppers x 2

Leftovers x 3

Dinners

Barbequed Meatballs, Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes, Make-Ahead Butterhorns, Broccoli

Grilled Hobo Packets, Watermelon, Tossed Salad

Out to Dinner (Overnight Trip to the Beach)

Cheese/Veggie Pizza, Easy Italian Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

Taco Cheese Baked Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Peaches

Venison Burgers on Homemade Buns, Corn on the Cob, Mashed Cauliflower, Peaches

Leftovers

Gretchen’s Grocery $53 Shopping Trip and Menu Plan for 5

Aldi

5 lbs Potatoes – $1.99

2 dozen Eggs – $0.58 each

2.24 lbs Green Grapes – $2.13

1 pkg Tilapia – $3.39

1 Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.95

1 pkg Fruit Squeezies – $1.49

1 Half & Half – $1.59

1 pkg Frozen Chicken Breasts – $5.99

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $1.19

1 loaf Bread – $1.39

1 gallon Milk – $1.49

1 Grape Jelly – $1.65

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.49

1 pkg Peaches – $1.78

1 pkg Fruit & Grain Bar – $1.49

1 Cantaloupe – $0.99

1 pkg Oyster Crackers – $0.79

Total: $30.95

Dillons

1 Annie’s Cocoa Bunnies Cereal – Marked down to $1.79

1 box Kroger Applesauce – Marked down to $4.99 (My toddler loves these and they are so perfect when we are on the run, so even though I’d already bought some at Aldi, I snatched these up for this great price!)

1 bag Kroger Flour – $1.59

1 Cucumber – $1.50

1 Kroger Shredded Cheese – $2.69

2 General Mills Cereal – $1.79 each, used – $1.29 each after coupon

3.08 lbs Bananas – $1.51

2 Stoneyfield Yogurt – Marked down to $0.50 each, used 2 – Free $0.50 overage!

2 Birdseye Frozen Veggies – $1 each

1 pkg Kroger Drumsticks – $3.68

2 Green Bell Pepper – $0.50 each

Used

Total after coupon and rebates: $22.63

Total for both stores: $53.58

Menu Plan for This Week

We have a ton of lettuce from our garden this week that I will be using. 🙂

Breakfasts

Cereal, Toast, Eggs, Fruit

Lunches

Cheese Quesadillas, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Tossed Salad Bar, Cheese/Crackers/Veggies, Applesauce/Yogurt/Grapes, Leftovers

Dinners

French Toast, Eggs

Date night (The babysitter will be making Mac & Cheese for our kids.)

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

Baked Chicken Drumsticks, Steamed Peas, Homemade Bread

Burritos (from the freezer), Rice, Cantaloupe

Grilled Chicken and Tilapia, Mashed Potatoes, Biscuits

Ground Beef & Gravy over Noodles, Fruit Salad, Steamed Corn

Calvert Homeschool Giveaway | Enter to win $1,000 in homeschool curriculum and $1,000 in cash!

If you’re a homeschooling family, you don’t want to miss this Calvert Homeschool Giveaway!

{This giveaway post is sponsored by . Read our .}

Calling all homeschooling families!

Through June 30th, you can head over and enter the HUGE for a chance to win $1,000 in homeschool curriculum AND $1,000 in cash!!

Calvert Homeschool offers self-paced learning for students and seamlessly integrated teacher manuals for parents. Colorful print curriculum is available for grades K-2, and interactive online courses for grades 3-12 allow parents to customize learning for each child.

To celebrate the legacy of Calvert Homeschool and to mark the launch of , Calvert is hosting its !

One lucky person will win both $1,000 in Calvert homeschool curriculum PLUS $1,000 in cash!!