After a weekend filled with family, food and maybe a little shopping, I am so happy to introduce you to the sweet and genuine Kristin from LuBird Baby.  She is a crafty mama with a big heart and a brave spirit.  I love how she is making a conscious effort to slow down and remember the silly, simple and fleeting moments of her everyday.  Spend just one minute over at her blog and you will learn something new and feel truly encouraged by each thoughtful word.
I heart Kristin.  I am sure you will too.

Hi everyone!
I'm Kristin,
wife to my awesome husband Aaron,
Mommy to Mackenzie (almost 3) and Wesley (15 months),
and the girl behind Lu Bird Baby.
It's so good to be with you guys today and share a glimpse into my my crazy, fun life.
Some days I feel like my life needs

an easy button
(definitely would have been nice when I was trying to clean up this, this or this).
a rewind button
(for those times you said or did something you wish you could take back).
or a fast forward button
(ever waited for 3 hours in a line at the dreaded DMV with 2 hungry kids? Bad news.).
But right now more than anything my life needs a
slow down button. My babies are getting too big too fast.
In the past couples months Wesley has gone from a baby to a rambunctious little boy
and Mackenzie has gone from a toddler to a little lady.
Since I haven't come up with a real life slow down button
I thought I'd make my own virtual time capsule.
My snapshot in time.
The things I want to remember about this time in my life
Here goes...

Mackenzie and Wesley's special bond. They have a unique love/

hate relationship. Luckily most days it's more love than hate.

Mackenzie's love for all things girly.
If she had it her way she would wear a dress every day.
My little lion.
Wesley "roars" at us all day long and thinks it's the funniest thing ever. It's pretty darn cute.
My silly, lip gloss loving girl.
She makes me laugh at least once a minute.
Family days at Disneyland.
The kids favorite rides are Dumbo, the Carousel and It's a small world.
And of course seeing all the characters.
Mackenzie's favorite hang out spot is behind the cushions of our couch.
It's also her favorite place to hide toys from a certain little boy.

Living next door and sharing life with our good friends, The Weeks.

The kid's favorite movie. A hilarious and awesome kid's worship VHS from when I was a kid. They would watch it over and over again if I let them.

This adorable pouty face. Look at that lip..have you ever seen anything more pitiful.

Never being able to get enough of God's life giving Word, The Bible. I don't know how I'd be able to get through a minute, let alone a day without the Lord. He is so, so good.

Mackenzie's love for her baby dolls. She always has one (or 5) with her. Always.
Wesley's love for balls.
And anything dangerous.
He's such a boy.
Mackenzie's sweet, energetic, caring heart.
She's such a good friend and big sister.
And she's pretty much always happy.
Except when she gets hurt.
Which is at least 5 times a day.
She's super clumsy.
I have no idea where she gets that from :)
Wesley is such a mommas boy.
He loves to be held and cuddled.
Our adventures in gardening. It didn't exactly go as we planned but we sure learned a lot.
Everything that goes along with preparing to move and plant a church in New Zealand in 15 short months.
The excitement, the fears, the answered prayers. The delicate balance between work and play,
being a mom and a business owner,
and not setting unhealthy expectations for myself.
The Lord's been teaching me a lot about keeping first things first
and living for heavenly things instead of earthly ones.
Well there it is.
My list of random but special things I don't want to forget.
Hope you enjoyed a little snapshot into my life!
What are some things you want to remember about this season in your life?
And head over here to find out some new big news I just revealed on my blog!
Definitely another thing I want to remember about this season of life.

Pile the family in the car and together shop for supplies to fill your Blessed to Bless Bags.

I know that just the planning has already changed and softened our hearts.

Nicolle put it so beautifully, and brought me to tears when she shared her recent experience of handing out simple, but thoughtful sandwiches and the bags:

i want to feed everyone that is hungry.
i know i can not do that, but i can do a little.
i asked these men their names because i think sometimes they are just "no ones" to us.
their mamas gave them names when they were sweet little babies.
i think of my own sweet baby boy.
i hope that somehow these men can find their way back.

Are you crying yet?

Because I sure am.

I feel like we need to give out the bags even more than the people we give them to will need them.

You will be surprised at what actually you will receive.  

Shhh... don't tell anyone.  But I'm not.  I've tried and tried.  But alas, a golden, flaky, buttery, perfectly baked pie crust holds no power over me.  I appreciate the work, the care and the artistry that goes into the making of one.  But that is as far as it goes for this girl.

Cobbler, however is an entirely irresistible, unconventional, sugary, crumbly, ice cream topped temptation that I am powerless against.

So if by chance you aren't a pie girl either, make what I look forward to most at the end of our Thanksgiving day meal.

{Basically you are making the pumpkin pie without the crust,
baking it halfway so it sets a bit,
adding the cake mix cobbler topping,
then baking it again to brown the cobbler part and finish cooking the pie part.}

Today I am so excited to introduce you to the sweet and encouraging Jenni.  She is a never ending source of encouragement, inspiration and laughs.  I love the way she mothers her beautiful children so intentionally.  She is raising them to think outside of their lives.  To give.  To be servants.  Texas is so lucky to have her.  If only it wasn't so darn far away.
So today, as we head into Thanksgiving, Jenni has a beautiful, affordable and easy project to help your family document all of the many reasons to be thankful.
Thanks Jenni!!!  I heart you!!!  Not just because you sent me a stack of VIA coupons either.

When Julie asked me to guest post in her Monday series I replied asking if she sent the email to me accidentally. I'm not kidding.  Julie was one of the first blogs I stumbled across a few years ago and her transparency warmed my heart.  As we would banter by email back in forth in the wee hours of the night, I knew it was no accident that I found her blog...I'm pretty positive everyone who reads her blog is nodding.  I in all my nerdy theatrics knew we were kindred spirits, she my Diana and I the ever awkward Anne.

So now that you know I'm a night owl, adore Julie in a non stalker way, and have an affectionate connection to Anne of Green Gables you may want to know some less random stuff too. I love Jesus.  I am married to my high school sweetheart, Randy and have two children Caleb and Isabella whom I am blessed to stay home and home school.  I love to blog (although my ability to do it often may challenge that), sew, craft, and coupon.

I love Thanksgiving and I am not a fan that it gets lost between Halloween candy and Christmas trees on the retail radar.  I also love to decorate on a budget.  So while looking for a way to craft with my kids, be purposeful with teaching them gratitude, and not have a craft that looks like a kid's craft when it's all said in done, I came up with our Thankful Tree. (Note: I love macaroni necklaces as much as the next Mom, but I'm not necessarily donning it for a night on the town if you know what I mean.)

Like I said I love to decorate on a budget, as in if I want to decorate it needs to be on a budget.  Therefore The Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot are my friend.

Here are your supplies:
- small bucket, container, or flower pot
- small square styrofoam cube
- small bag of moss
- paper leaves hole punched with ribbon or twine
- 5-6 small twigs/branches
- glue gun

Step 1: Glue styrofoam to inside middle of container.

Step 2: Insert branches in styrofoam.  After you are satisfied with how it looks, pull them up and apply hot glue in holes and return branches to secure them in styrofoam.

Step 3:  Glue moss sparingly to base of container around styrofoam.  Once completely covered, apply another layer of glue and remaining moss.  One small bag should be sufficient to cover entire base of small container.

At this point your tree is finished, unless you would like snazz it up a bit.

Step Snazz It Up: I wrapped random branches in red, yellow, and brown craft leaves.  I then cut a scrap piece of burlap and frayed the edges.  I secured the burlap to the outside of my container using twine and then covered it with a wire ribbon in Autumn colors, tying it into a bow.  Next, I hand wrote 'Give Thanks' on a metal garden marker and stuck it in the styrofoam, centered to the bow.  Lastly, I added a mini pine cone and and an acorn at the base of the branches to finish it off.

Once you have assembled your Thankful Tree it is time to give thanks.  I keep our paper leaves in a metal  tin next to our tree with a marker.  Each evening we talk about our day highlighting what we are most thankful for and write down one thing we are thankful for and add it to to the tree.  By the time Thanksgiving rolls around your tree is in full bloom and you can spend time that day being thankful by reading all your leaves!  And don't forget to save the leaves so that you have them to cherish over the years.

Julie is definitely written on one of MY thankful leaves!

Jenni, you for sure need a place on my thankful leaves as well.

Make sure to stop by Jenni's adorable blog and say hello.
Then visit her brand new Etsy shop,  Ragamuffin Beauties.  This Texas gal has been busy, busy, busy, making pretties that would be perfect gifts to give and treats to keep.

Be THANKFUL this year  for all that is abundant in your life.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34


Jenni, you for sure need a place on my thankful leaves as well.

Make sure to stop by Jenni's adorable blog and say hello.
Then visit her brand new Etsy shop,  Ragamuffin Beauties.  This Texas gal has been busy, busy, busy, making pretties that would be perfect gifts to give and treats to keep.

Be THANKFUL this year  for all that is abundant and beautiful in your life.

This is my life.
This is happiness.

What else can I do but laugh when this little life of mine is just plain crazy?  Laugh and then blog about it, of course.

Come with me on a little journey to the local mall.

Scene:  I had been painting and cleaning all day.  Two of the girls have been sick and grumpy and needed to get out of the house, get over of their bad moods.  An impromptu trip to the mall food court/ playplace was in order.
Off we went.
Dinner commenced without incident.  Mongolian BBQ for the grown ups.  McDonald's for the littles.
Fun fact: I have convinced my kids that I am allergic to McDonald's. They believe me.  When we are out together they never even ask for it.  Brilliant.  Scheming and lying?  Yes, but brilliant, none the less.  They only get to eat it when there is another edible option for me, i.e. the food court.  Or, when their much too nice grandparents cave in and take them.

But back to the story, I found out that not only was there a brand new H&M, but it was an H&M WITH KIDS STUFF, YO!!!!!!!
That is happy news in these here parts, especially considering that I haven't been to the mall in so long that I didn't even know one was coming, much less already open.  I don't know who was more excited, me to go to H&M, or the girls to go to the playplace.

Jason hung back to get a cookie from Paradise Bakery.  You see, I am halfway through a self imposed 40 day sugar fast.  Considering the fact that I haven't murdered anyone yet, it is going very well.  But to sit alongside someone eating a delightful cookie, would for sure send me over the edge.

The big girls were walking and I was pushing (not-so) Bald Baby in the stroller, towards the elevator and off to the happy lands of a new store and indoor slides.

Suddenly, a guy blocked our path.
He looked at the three girls and I and exclaimed:  "Three girls!!!!!!!  Poor you!!!!!!"
(Which by the way, MAKES ME CRAZY.  That is a whole rant in itself.)

It took me a second to figure out that he was the guy working at the curling iron/ flat iron kiosk and was hunting for some prey excited to share his wonderful products.

Why is it always some skeevy dude that works there?  I'm fairly certain that he doesn't use a curling iron, nor do I trust a guy that uses a flat iron.

He looked me up and down.
In my sugar free, messy bun, no makeup, paint under my fingernails, glory.
With three impatient kids in tow.

Skeevy Dude:  You don't always look like this do you?  (Lots of big hand motions pointing out my various issues.)
Me:  (Silent.  Staring.)
Skeevy Dude:  Like, maybe sometimes do you something with your hair?  Maybe style it?  Do you have a flat iron?
Me:  Yes. (Gritting teeth.)
Skeevy Dude:  Come over here.  My flat iron is so much superior to yours.  It will make it easy for you to actually care how you look.
Me:  No.  (Peer over his shoulder.  See the elevator nearby open.  Fetch my children.  Scurry away.)
End Scene.

That my friends, is a surefire way to not sell anything to anyone.

Although, I totally need a new flat iron, and I heard that those are amazing....  But for now I will never know.

In my attempt to continue to avoid the laundry, I listed some signs in the shop.
They need new homes, before I get mad at them and take them down to the beach for a big old bonfire.
Don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind.
Sunset.  Pedro's burritos.  Hooded sweatshirts.  Cozy fire.  Sounds sort of fun, right?

Too much crafting makes one a bit crazy.
Save me!  Save the signs from imminent doom!

Besides, I think my mailman could use a little bit of a workout.  He has had a good long break from schlepping packages off of my porch.

P.S.  Just because you couldn't come to The Queen Bee Market, doesn't mean you can't have the special Queen Bee pricing.   Buy two signs and save.  Yay!  {Excluding the Days Until chalkboard sign.}  The difference will be refunded via Paypal.

Coming soon....
Headbands, beanies, pins, clips, dresses.