Bible Journaling with a Devotional

Earlier this year, I got my first journaling Bible and I love it! I'm a natural doodler and I am a bit of a creative personality, so exploring my faith while being able to nurture my creative side has been a lot of fun for me.  I have been working through a few short devotionals this summer and wanted to show you how those devotionals have flowed into my Bible journaling as well.

illustrated faith, truth, bible,

Every month, I have been getting these Illustrated Faith Devotional kits delivered to my door and I love them! I want to show you how I have been using my 14-day devotional and all it's goodies in conjunction with my Journaling Bible to dig deeper into the word.


Planning a Teenage Girls Room Makeover

When we bought this house, there was one bedroom that was much larger than the rest. We promised that each of the kids would get a turn to have the room. The current occupant of the room, my oldest son, is moving out in a few weeks and heading out of state to college. For the past year my daughter has been scheming her new design plan for her room and it's starting to become more of a reality.  I wanted to share her design plan with you. I'm really excited about it!
wallpaper, silver accents bedroom redo


Open Your Child's Eyes to Poverty- 5 Ways You Can Get Started

I'm raising three white children in a middle-class home in a suburb of Seattle, WA. We live in a gated neighborhood where there is nary a sign of any real want. Sure, we see tents along the highway in the city where homeless camps have been set up and we pass by, make eye contact and smile at those men and women holding signs at the intersection, but how do we really help our kids grasp the reality of poverty when we are so far removed from it.

Several years ago, I read a quote by Shane Claiborne, in his book Irresistible Revolution that says "the problem is not that American Christians do not care about the poor. The problem is that American Christians do not know the poor"

How true is this! We care when we know. When we hear about true need and crisis, American people are quick to step up and help when they can. But how do we get to know the poor and the needs of those in poverty?

Poverty in America looks very different than poverty in developing and third world countries. My hope is that our children will have a larger worldview that includes people to the ends of the earth. So how do we open our children's eyes to poverty? I'm sharing five ways today that I hope will help you know where to start.

parenting, world vision, africa, uganda, homelessness, poor


Embroidery Hoop Chandelier {What I Made in My Thrift Store Challenge}

A few months ago, a team of bloggers decided to get together for a thrift store challenge. The challenge was set to get paired up with a blogger who would send you a box of thrift store find(s) under $15 and you had the liberty to create whatever you wanted to create with those items. In case you missed it, you can read more about the challenge here.  

Today, I'm going to show you what I created with one of the items in my box. It's a project I've been wanting to make for quite some time. I'm so glad the challenge finally gave me the kick in the pants to make this embroidery hoop light. I love how it turned out and it's been a great addition to our back patio on our warm summer nights.

outdoor lighting, thrift store challenge, orb light

How to Clean Your White Converse {or Canvas} Shoes

I recently picked up a pair of white converse shoes at a garage sale for $2. They were filthy dirty but my 14-year-old daughter insisted that I buy them so that we could match since she has a pair of her own. Who can say no to being a "twinsie" with their teen daughter? Not me, that's who. So I picked the shoes up in the hopes that I could revive them from their dingy dirty state that they were into a clean looking white pair the way God intended. Or at least, the way Converse intended them to look.

converse, toms, keds, whiten shoes,

It's hard to get a really good look at the before and after, but I think they cleaned up really nicely. In fact, I'm pretty darn impressed with myself and wanted to share my tricks with you.  It's nearly impossible to keep white shoes looking white for long, so if you own a pair of white canvas shoes, this cleaning technique may be your new go to.

magic cleaning solution to whiten shoes


Maui, Hawaii with Kids-My Top Picks for Things to do on a Budget!

I've had a few requests for me to recap our recent family trip to Maui. We took all three of our kids {15, 12, and nearly 9} for 8 days on one of my favorite islands. I'm no stranger to Maui. This was my third visit in 18 months, however, I don't usually bring the family with me! I was excited to take them and show them around.

Maui, Hawaii: Top Picks for the Family on a Budget

family travel budget vacation

My favorite part of the island would have to be Wailea. Probably because I know it the best.
When I was only 17, my parents took my brother and me to Hawaii and we spent three weeks hopping from island to island.  I remember loving Maui then! 

One of my favorite memories is when my brother {who was 14 at the time} and I wandered down from the beach that we were sitting at {it's now home to the Four Seasons-though there was nothing there on our visit} and stumbled on one of the most amazing resorts that I had ever seen.

We rode the water elevator, went down water slides and floated through the lazy river. That is, until we got stopped for not having guest bracelets!

That resort was The Grand Wailea and though the resort has grown a bit, it really hasn't changed too much in nearly 20 years. Staying at The Grand Wailea was top priority for me, but the prices are crazy expensive!

We felt like one night was more than enough and really all the budget would allow. And quite honestly, after all the fun we had in 24 hours, one night was plenty. The kids will even tell you that.

A few tips if you are staying at The Grand Wailea Resort:

1. Bring your own floaties and water toys. 

The resort charges a ridiculous amount and doesn't provide any floats, even for the lazy river, which for some reason is sort of shocking to me.

2. Ask the bell hop if any boogie boards have been left behind.

Sometimes they have and you are free to use them for your stay.

3. Have on hand lots of $1's.

I've stayed at a lot of upscale resorts and I expect to tip for service, though on this visit, I felt like the valet, bell hops and service staff lingered longer than they should have for a tip.
Long enough that my husband literally felt uncomfortable.

4. Use the free bikes for the most amazing bike ride through Wailea and Makena.

This has been one of my favorite things to do in Wailea, though a resort that caters to families doesn't offer bikes for kids, which is sort of unfortunate.

5. Be prepared for sticker shock!

Fruity drinks from the super fun swim up bar can run you around $22.

If you are staying in Wailea, don't miss out on walking the coastal nature trail. It's a gorgeous walk along the beach and by the resorts. I've seen some amazing things while walking this trail.

Some of my favorite were the huge stingrays playing by the rocks for hours. They looked like sharks in the water.

Some other fun things to do for free in the Wailea area of Maui:

Take a drive to the black sand beach {Naupaka beach} and play in the tide pools. 

Spend some time at turtle town 

Take some time to explore Keawala'i chruch built in 1832.

Drive through the lava fields to La Perouse Bay

There is some great snorkeling at Ahihi-Kinau reserve though the parking isn't great. There is a super delicious Jawz fish taco truck almost always parked outside of Big Beach. I recommend the fish tacos, but if you are visiting Maui with kids, I don't recommend swimming or using Big Beach. It's fun to look at, but the waves break incredibly hard on the shore and people get hurt there nearly every day.

We always make it a habit to stop at Lapart's ice cream at the Shops at Wailea.

And you can't go to Hawaii with out getting shave ice. I recommend Ululani's in Kihea.

The final week of our trip was spent at a condo in Ka'anapali with my parents.

What to do on the Ka'anapali side of Maui:

Bring your own food!

In true frugal form, I found a large suitcase in the free box at a garage sale, and loaded it up with 50 pounds of food and not enough bottles of sunscreen {our family of five went through a bottle of sunscreen a day}.

We paid the $25 check bag fee, but left the bag at the resort for our return trip home.
The savings we got from packing food justified $25, but not $50 had we brought the bag there and back.

Some of the food I brought were bagels, English muffins, peanut butter, jelly, pizza sauce, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce,  cream cheese, crackers, block of cheese, shredded cheese, tortillas, and lots of snack foods like beef jerky, nuts, chips.

The ice packs I packed with the cheese worked great on our 6 hour flight to the island.
And while at the resort on the first night, our small hotel mini fridge held the cheese that we brought just fine.

I have stayed in Ka'anapali before and remembered a few things from my stay. One thing was how much wetter this side of the island is than the south side. There was rain nearly every day, but it was quick rain usually. The longest it rained was a half an hour and it was still fairly warm.

I also remembered how much I loved Kapalua bay.

We spent at least four of our days at Kapalua and snorkeled with turtles every single time.
I liked that the bay was protected by two reefs on the ends forming a cove. It was very calm for the kids. There were shady spots, and lots of sand too.

We also tried Napili bay and black rock beach

Napili bay is another coved bay like Kapalua perfect for first time snorkelers and kids. When we snorkeled at black rock beach, we had to watch out for cliff jumpers and if was far too crowded for my liking, though we did see some pretty awesome fish and sea turtles.

It is fun to head to black rock beach just before sunset and watch the cliff dive ceremony. I love the Kapalua coastal trail! It's an easy trail with amazing ocean views along the way. You can start at Kapalua bay and end at the Ritz Carlton. It's a great place to watch the sunset. And weddings.
In a single night we saw four weddings!

You can also find a few great places off of the bay for cliff jumping. Though jump at your own risk!
There are a lot of coral reefs and the swims to a place to get out of the water can be long.

When the evening cools, I would recommend going into Lahaina to shop around. You can watch the surfers and boats at sunset.

You can also pick up your shave ice at Ululani's. Since we had a condo, we didn't eat out much.
Though I would recommend trying Ono tacos.

We also picked up the most delicious fresh guacamole at The Farmer's Market. We had a fairly low key vacation in Maui. We didn't plan any excursions or activities and every day, we played it by ear.
I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make when traveling with your kids to Maui is over scheduling.

There are lots of activities you could do, but while you are busy doing those, you may be missing out on the amazing little things, like building a sand castle on the beach, or snorkeling with sea turtles.
And those activities don't cost you a dime!

Did I miss anything? Would you add any tips for traveling to Maui? I would love to hear them!

A Complete Collection of Summer Beach Reads

I love to read. I must confess though, with the distraction of my smart phone, I tend to read more articles and less books. Though with the longer summer days and vacations planned, I do like to have a list of books that I know that I will love. You know, sometimes you take a risk on a book and it pans out, other times, not so much. I wanted this complete list to be the kinds of books that you would ask your girlfriends to give you on Facebook and then devour because they were just that good.  Are you ready for it? Get ready to make your own list! I promise you, these are some good ones!

book recommendations, books to read


University Themed DIY Cornhole Game

This is a sponsored post by Homeright. All opinions are 100% my own.

This past year has been filled with a lot of excitement for our family. Our oldest son spent the year looking for and applying to universities and after a few visits and lots of prayers, he decided that Baylor University in Waco, Texas felt like home to him. After our visit to the Baylor campus, we did what any Fixer Upper fan would do and we hit the Magnolia Market and Silos {in case you want to go, here are 5 things you need to know before your Magnolia Market visit} and while the store was filled with eye candy, we ended up having the most fun, just hanging out playing cornhole on the lawn. 

I happened to mention to Aidan that if he decided to go to Baylor, I would make him a cornhole game for his graduation party, since cornhole seems to have not hit it's popularity out in our parts of the world just yet.

So a few weeks before his party, my husband and I got started on making a DIY cornhole game board for his graduation party complete with university logo and handmade university colored bean bags. I've got a few tips for you if you want to make your own cornhole game as well.

corn hole, Baylor university cornhole board game, official rules, sic 'em bears, baylor bears


Personalized Handmade Muslin Blanket and How to Cut a Large Image

New babies are the absolute best aren't they? It's so hard sometimes to remember how small those babes are when they are first born, such teeny tiny little hands and feet! My newest niece was born last week. Sweet little Lottie James. She's baby girl number three for my brother and sister in law and she's got plenty of hand me downs so I thought she needed a little something personalized just for her. I made a muslin swaddle blanket {like I did for this project}, and used stretch heat transfer vinyl instead of normal heat transfer vinyl. Read more and I will tell you why.

personalized baby blanket with bible verse


Money-saving Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

Though it seems like summer has just started, it is not too soon to begin thinking about back-to-school shopping.  Beginning this task early will ensure that you are able to get organized, take advantage of coupons and sales and will allow you to spread out your spending through the summer. We have detailed some fantastic money-saving tips to help you spend less and get more for your money.   
school supplies how to save money on going back to school

Thrift Store Challenge!

If there is one thing I like, it's a good challenge. Especially when that challenge involves shopping at a thrift store and creating something new out of that item.  There is a twist! This challenge requires you to purchase an item for another person, send it to them and see what they create. That means a box showed up on my doorstep of my supplies, all purchased at a thrift shop, ready to see what I could create from one of those items. 
upcycling, repurpose, thrift store, recycle

How much fun is that?! Come check out what I sent and what I received as part of the blogger's thrift store challenge.

Easy to Make Painted Rock Cactus Centerpieces

Inside: Fun and easy painted rock cactus centerpieces.

Last month, we celebrated my son's high school graduation with a little Tex Mex taco party. He's leaving the Seattle area and heading to the great nation of Texas to attend college, and while we were visiting colleges on our college tour, he fell in love with Tex Mex. What's not to like really? I couldn't think of a better theme for his graduation party, so I created these painted rock cactuses {cacti?} as centerpieces that we used around the party. They cost me next to nothing to make and look great. It's an easy DIY craft you can do and I promise, even the blackest thumb can't kill these plants! 

rock cactus centerpieces


8 Tantalizing Truffle Recipes

If there was one dessert I had to pick to eat for the rest of my life it would probably be truffles. I love the way the chocolate melts in your mouth and the flavors are strong and creamy. I've got 8 tantalizing truffle recipes just for you to try. I'm going to try a few of them myself!

chocolate truffle recipes, oreo truffle recipe, fudge recipes,

The Best Baby Laundry Tips

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their Versatile Stain Remover, all opinions are my own.

It's been a few years since I had a little one at home, but my sister-in-law is preparing to welcome her third baby girl in the next few weeks. Those sweet little ones are adorable but they bring with them a whole lot of laundry! Heck, even as they get bigger the laundry never slows down, but there is something sweet and special about washing little onesies and miniature size pants that your hand couldn't fit in that makes laundry sort of fun. 

In the middle of a full on kitchen remodel {and general home upheaval}, I offered to help my sister-in-law wash up some of those hand me down baby clothes for her new baby girl.  I thought that I would put together the best baby laundry tips to help you in case this is the stage of life that you are in.

wash baby clothes, oxiclean, baby laundry stains, how to remove baby stains

Story Book lunch baby shower

Story Book Theme Lunch Baby Shower

On our 15th wedding anniversary, my brother and sister in law gave us the best present.
A new baby niece named Adilyn Joy.
A little over a week later, we came to celebrate this new little one with a storybook baby shower.

Adi joins her 21 month old big sister Bri in the family.
She's the 13th girl cousin born in the past five years.
This after a 25 year long streak of only boys!

This child has LOTS of hand me downs, and my sister in law felt like she didn't really need more baby stuff, just an opportunity to come together and celebrate this new life.
As any mom knows, you can never have enough books, so that is the theme that we went with.
And boy was it fun!

It all started with these custom library invitations.
The full tutorial can be found here.

library catalog invitations

I used the print and cut feature on my Silhouette for most of my projects.
A print and cut tutorial can be found here.

I was able to google most of the images that I used and saved them in my pictures to be used in my Silhouette software for the decorations.  
A tutorial on how to use any image with your silhouette can be found here.

We had Jack and Jill water,
Once Upon a Time straw flags
and Pinkalicious punch

We had a "Guess How Much" guessing game to see how many Hershey's kisses were in the milk bottle.

guess how much I love you

 The dish ran away with the spoon, so we only had forks and knives!

dish ran away with the spoon

It was a beautiful day so we were able to enjoy my in-laws back patio.

I found this Humpty Dumpty for $1 at a garage sale.
I think he was a great addition to the decor.

It was fun pairing food with the books.
My sister in law Esther did an amazing job with the food.

We had a Little Red Hen bread and cheese plate

The Three Little Pigs pigs in a blanket
three little pigs in a blanket

Peter Rabbit crudites and The Very Hungry Caterpillar fruit salad

peter rabbit crudites and very hungry caterpillar fruit salad

Green Eggs and Ham sandwiches and deviled eggs
green eggs and ham dr. suess sandwiches and deviled eggs

Eloise finger sandwiches
eloise finger sandwiches

and Goodnight moon PB&J
goodnight moon peanut butter and jelly

 I used an old nursery rhymes book, tore out the pages {no book is safe around me!}
and made book covers {4x7} to hang as a banner.
I cut out stars and small ribbons to hang on the banner as well.

No party is complete without a dessert table

baby shower desserts

We had Goodnight Moon Pies
good night moon pies

A selection of "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" cookies
if you give a mouse a cookie dessert

And Blueberries for Sal blueberry crisp that my mother in law calls blueberry yumble.

It was quite the spread!

The best part about waiting until after the baby is born for the shower 
is that the guest of honor gets to join you!  
Here is sweet Adi with Grandma.
They have the same color hair!

We played a few book themed games and enjoyed the company and the sunshine!

The winner of the games took home Mary Mary Quite Contrary flowers

Here is the new mama with a little help from big sister.
Opening up books for the new baby.

No book themed shower is complete without bookmarks.
Each attendee went home with one to remember the day.
I also made custom book plates for the little lady.
It's always nice to open up the book and see who the book is from, 
even if it is just a handwritten message inside.
book theme baby shower book plates and custom book marks
We had a fantastic shower and a beautiful day!
We are so happy to welcome little Adi into the family!
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