Avoiding the Holiday Hangover

We all know the holiday hustle and bustle well. The months of October, November, and December are full of reasons to celebrate, which makes them my very favorite time of year.

There is one problem with this being my favorite time of year: I want to do ALL THE THINGS. You should see my Pinterest boards for Fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Full to the brim. And having too many ideas, like I do thanks to the lovely internet, usually leads to doing too many things in an already busy time of year.

I became particularly over-zealous about holiday activities once kids entered the picture. This Advent calendar and that Christmas countdown and all the baking and crafty ideas just had to be done or my kids would be deprived of a meaningful Christmas. Yep, that’s the lie I believed. And Christmas time became stressful, not joyful.

Last year, I wanted the joy back. I didn’t want to come to the end of the holiday season and be glad it was all finally over. It is one thing to pack the season full of memories and another thing to become crazy-obsessed-stressed super Christmas mom who doesn’t take time to savor the season for herself. Memories get lost in the stress.


Avoiding the holiday hangover – where you feel like you’ve been put through the ringer instead of celebrating the birth of our Savior – starts with admitting you have a problem. No, this is not a self-help book, but I needed to wake up and see the stress I was experiencing and causing with all of my good Christmas ideas. Too much good is still too much.

The second step for me was being intentional, and more specifically, intentionally saying no. I adore all of the Advent calendars and devotions that have been created for kids and families. I will probably sharing lots of them with you. But we don’t do ALL of them every year and neither should you. Before the seasons starts, evaluate your options and pick a devotion or calendar that suits the ages and stages of your kids. Because we have two elementary-age boys and one preschooler, we may do two different devotions this year to fit their levels. That’s where I draw the line. Make your own line and stick to it!

Why do I feel the need to be so strict with myself? I’ve found that on my way to giving myself a holiday hangover, I leave no room for what God might bring our way during the Christmas season. I don’t savor the moments because I’m always trying to check something off the list. I want to breathe and notice and celebrate this magical time of year.

As I have been reading through Savor, a daily devotional by Shauna Niequist, I have been struck by the detail in which she can describe seemingly ordinary moments and, in doing so, makes them sound life-changing. All because she was really paying attention and living in that moment. These devotions have led me to see so much beauty in the daily things and I don’t want to lose that in the midst of Christmas hurry. I want these holiday moments to be more vivid, more full of life and joy. I want them to be moments that make me smile when all is said and done.

No holiday hangover for me this year. And you can choose the same. Join me in drawing a line, leaving room for joy, and savoring this Advent season!

What will you + your family do or NOT do in order to avoid the holiday stress hangover this year?


The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Classy Earrings + A Black Friday Deal from April Soderstrom!

It’s time for another installation of my collaboration with Shannon from The Simple Moms! She is a fellow fashion lover, but she is a mom to four girls and, as you know, I’m a mom to three boys! We thought it would be fun to show you how we view style from two different perspectives – a girl mom and a boy mom. Be sure to check out her fabulous post today as well!

Mom Stylin'

I received these earrings to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains referral links.

I’m popping in quick today to tell you about some amazing earrings I just discovered that I know you will love!

I love wearing big earrings, but I can’t stand how heavy they can be! April Soderstrom has a solution with her beautiful featherweight earrings!

Featherweight Earrings

There are so many featherweight styles to choose from, but I adore my rose gold large leaf earrings! Rose gold is my new obsession and I’m finding it everywhere right now! I was so happy to have these gorgeous earrings to go with my new rose gold necklace from fashionABLE!

Rose Gold

They are both delicate, but make a statement at the same time. I’ve already worn this combo several times and I know I will even more through the holidays and beyond!

Rose Gold Outift

You can’t see the earrings in this picture and the quality is not the best since it was dark in the theater, but this has been my favorite outfit to wear the featherweight earrings with this holiday season! They were dressy enough for a holiday event, but I could wear them every day!

Here’s the best part: April Soderstrom is running an amazing deal on featherweight earrings this Black Friday!

2015 - Black Friday & Cyber Monday FW Sale

When you buy two or more pairs of featherweight earrings, every pair will be 50% off with the code “blackfriday” at checkout! That means the large leaf earrings featured above would only be $20! This deal starts Friday, November 27th and runs through Monday, November 30th!

Mark your calendars, set a reminder on your phone, and grab these fabulous featherweights for gifts AND for yourself!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Friday Favorites

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I have been thinking about getting back to sharing some favorite things on Fridays and my friend Crystal gave me a little nudge in the right direction, so Friday Favorites are back and better than ever!

#thankful tee

thankful tee skirt

How darling is the #thankful tee?! It is absolutely perfect for this season, but really could be worn anytime! You can get this tee FREE! When you make a purchase of $25 or more from Cents of Style today only (11/13/15), you will get this adorable shirt free! No special code is needed, but we do have a few tips for making sure you don’t have trouble getting this deal:

  • Allow the items that are going to be added to your cart on the product page to fully load, then add to cart to trigger the pop-up. If you hit “add to cart” before the page is fully loaded, it may not trigger the free t-shirt.
  • The pop-up will NOT be triggered if you use the “quick shop” feature. It has to be triggered through the full product page.
  • This is limit 1 FREE t-shirt per customer per transaction.

If you’re looking for a way to get to $25 and snag this free tee, I love this #nofilter trucker hat and any of the tribe bracelets!

For the Love

For the Love book

Please, please, please tell me you have read For the Love. Jen Hatmaker’s writing is pure gold – hilarious, heartfelt, inspiring. I laugh out loud every time I open this book and at the same time, I get punched in the face with truth I didn’t even know I needed. The chapter on leggings as pants is the best ever.

Evy’s Tree #12DaysofThanks Sale


If you’ve had your eye on an Evy’s Tree hoodie, now is the time to pay close attention because they have been offering AMAZING daily sales! The daily hoodie on sale is usually between $39 and $59 which is a huge discount from regular price! Every day, a portion of the sales goes to a designated charity – I love how giving they are! The only catch: stock is limited, so you have to act quick to grab the deal when it goes live at 10AM CST. I’m excited to see what goes on sale today!

The Ugly Sweater Run

I think it’s pretty obvious from this pic that my friends and I had a blast at the Ugly Sweater Run last year! We are already signed up for this year and the hats are even better than before.

Ugly Sweater Run Hat

I love this hat so much. Don’t judge me. It’s totally amazing.  The Ugly Sweater Run is a 5K for anyone – low pressure (not chip-timed), hot chocolate “fuel stations,” inflatables, fake snow…just pure fun. There’s one here in Omaha and several others around the country – sign up if there is one near you and we can have cool hats together! Use the code UGLIEST to get $5 off registration!

AWANA Advent Devotional


I was so honored to be asked to contribute to this year’s AWANA Advent Devotional, 25 Reasons Why Jesus Was Born! The whole project is amazing and I can’t wait to read through it in the days leading up to Christmas. The best part: this devotional is FREE! You just have to sign up here to get your own copy!

What is on your favorites list this week?


The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Classic Black Flats Made Even Better! (Giveaway)

I’m really excited to bring you the first installation in a collaboration with my friend Shannon from The Simple Moms! She is a fellow fashion lover, but she is a mom to four girls and, as you know, I’m a mom to three boys! We thought it would be fun to show you how we view style from two different perspectives – a girl mom and a boy mom. Be sure to check out her fabulous post today because we are BOTH doing a fun giveaway!

I received these shoes to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.


I am not a heels girl. I can hardly last more than an hour in a pair! Flats + boots are my best friends when it comes to footwear and they work best with my busy mom lifestyle.

I’ve had one pair of black flats for years, but they weren’t my favorite – not very comfortable, a little big, and very plain. They were just sitting in my closet and I was missing classic black flats I could actually wear.

Ja-Vie Flats to the rescue!

Black Flats Giveaway

Ja-Vie Flats was a new brand to me, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with them! The story of how they came to be was the first thing to love:

Natalie and Eric are high school sweethearts,who have been together for over 18 years.  When pregnant with the couples’ first child, Natalie had a very difficult delivery and could not walk for several months due to severe pelvic bone separation. She was literally walking in pain for months. It was during this time that she and Eric saw the opportunity to make pretty, comfortable flats using socks!! “I couldn’t find pretty flats that were comfortable enough to wear day in and day out” Natalie said. Being a fashion girl, she didn’t want to sacrifice looks for comfort.

Leveraging their expertise in R&D/supply chain, they spent two years developing a better shoe and finally perfected the prototype. They named the brand “JA-VIE” – after their 2 beautiful children Javier and Viera.

Isn’t that so wonderful?! I didn’t have a difficult delivery, but I remember my feet begin very uncomfortable during pregnancy and I wish I would have had Ja-Vie Flats! I DO have my own pair now and they are magical for so many reasons!

Black Flats Sitting

The actual Ja-Vie flat is amazing. The knit lining is made of 100% soft, breathable cotton, the insole features leather padding for great arch support, and the jelly outsole makes them durable, flexible, and slip-resistant!

Black Flats Shoes

A really fun bonus feature: these flats are machine washable! How cool is that?! Just remove the leather insole, put the shoes in a laundry bag, and wash on cold. Let them line dry, re-insert the insoles, and they are ready to wear!

A special note about sizing: Ja-Vie Flats are standard European sizing, so take a look at their sizing chart for help in choosing a size! I wear an 8.5 in tennis shoes and went with a 39 in these flats. They are just right with a little room to spare. I may have been able to do a 38, but I’m afraid they would have been a little tight in the toes.

Black Flats Full Outfit
With over 20 colors + styles to choose from, I had a hard time picking out just one, but I knew I desperately needed wearable, comfortable black flats, so I picked the black/white baby dot flats. They are so wonderful and I will be wearing them whenever the weather allows!

I know you want your very own pair of Ja-Vie Flats now, so I’m giving away a pair of your choice! Just enter below to win!

And don’t forget to visit The Simple Moms for another to chance to win! Follow The Simple Moms on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great fashion + family fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

What I Wore

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’m lying in bed sick as I type this, so forgive me for being brief…or thank me if you prefer fewer words! I’ll make it up to you tomorrow with an awesome giveaway you will definitely want to win!

Here’s what I wore this week…


cardigan – Noelle Mae Boutique, black tee – Target, black skinnies – Old Navy, necklace – fashionABLE, boots – Frye


Brilla hoodie – Evy’s Tree, lace tank + extender + jeans + ankle boots – Noelle Mae Boutique, necklace – 107 Market Street


striped tunic – Zulily, vest – Noelle Mae Boutique, red skinnies – H&M, boots – Cents of Style


faux leather jacket – Wilson’s Leather, buffalo check shirt – Target (last year), jeans – Noelle Mae Boutique, shoes – Ja-Vie Flats

That last picture includes a hint at tomorrow’s giveaway! I can’t wait to share it with you! See you then!

I’m linking up with What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

5 Ways to Win the Day On a Snow Day!

I was compensated by Nestle for this post, including product to review. I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson! All opinions are 100% my own.

It’s going to happen. I just know it is. The boys are in school this year and we live in Nebraska, so we will have a snow day and I want to be prepared.

We used to homeschool, so a snow day meant a normal day of school for us, but all of that has changed this year. If the boys are home for a snow day, we won’t be doing any school work! Since snow days could pop up unexpectedly, I’m making a game plan right now so I’m not caught off guard looking for something fun to do!

When coming up with a game plan to win the day on a snow day, consider your child’s interests and activities you find fun as well! Snow days are a chance for us to enjoy unexpected extra time with the kiddos and great memories can be made.

Here are five ways we’re planning to win the day on a snow day!

Snow Day

Get Outside

We’ve had a few snow days that were just too cold for outdoor play, but as long as the wind chill is not dangerous, we’ll be playing in the snow! Now is the time to make sure everyone has snow gear that fits, sleds are out of storage, and all the supplies for snowman building are on hand. I finally bought myself some real snow boots this year, so I’ll bundled up playing with my boys!

Warm Snacks

There is nothing better in this world than coming in from playing in the snow to enjoy hot chocolate and warm cookies. I feel all cozy and happy just thinking about it right now! Stock your pantry with hot chocolate packets and make some cookie dough to keep in the freezer – this will leave more time for fun when that snow day arrives.
Jack's Pizza Snow Day Art

Art, Art, Art

Our kids love to draw, paint, color – just about anything artistic! They could spend hours being creative and that sounds like a perfect (mostly) quiet activity for a snow day. Before the cold and snow arrive, I’m checking our art supplies to make sure we have plenty of paper, paint, crayons, etc. We also have several great drawing books, like this one from Ed Emberley, that I save for days like this as something special to do. Art time can be for Mom, too! Adult coloring books are fun and relaxing – this is one of my favorites!

Movie Time

We are a family who loves to watch movies together. We often snuggle up on the couch, turn on the fireplace, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a good movie. This sounds like the perfect snow day activity to me! And sometimes we pair movie time with an…

Jack's Pizza Snow Day Picnic

Indoor Picnic

Our boys get super excited when we put a blanket down in the living room and have an indoor picnic. It’s a simple thing, but they love it so much! They also love pizza, so I have my freezer stocked with Jack’s Pizza to pull out for a snow day picnic in the living room.

Jack's Pizza Snow Day

Jack’s Pizza is a great choice for a snow day because it is easy to make, delicious, and a great value – what more could you want?!

Jack's Pizza Snow Day Pizza

It is made in the Midwest with 100% real Wisconsin cheese and a preservative-free crust, so you can feel good about gathering around a few Jack’s Pizzas on a cold, snowy day!

I’m not crazy about ice, wind chills, and dangerous roads, but these ideas still have me excited for our first snow day of the year! We will be ready for family fun as the snow accumulates!


Snow day or not, our lives as moms are BUSY. Even getting food on the table for dinner can be a challenge. This week, I’ll be talking with Jack’s Pizza for a Twitter party to share an easy way moms can win the day. Join us for the fun and you could win! Here are the details:

  • When: Wednesday, November 11 at 1 p.m. CT
  • Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #RealCheeseRealLife hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite: http://vite.io/themotherhoodchats
  • Hashtag: #RealCheeseRealLife
  • Prizes: We will be giving away four prizes to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 Visa gift card. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only. See official rules.
  • Hosts: @TheMotherhood, @TMChatHost, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Hope to see you at the party – maybe you’ll be one of the big winners!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

State Necklaces – BOGO FREE!

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

One of my very favorite deals EVER from Cents of Style is back and better than ever today!

COS State Necklace Gift

These gorgeous state necklaces are buy one get one free today only (11/6/15)! You get two necklaces for $19.99 and shipping is free when you use the code STATEOFMIND2 at checkout!

COS State Necklace Collage


Find the place of your birth, the place where you grew up or where you went to school, your favorite place to visit, or the place where your heart belongs. These state necklaces also make thoughtful gifts for friends & family! Get some Christmas shopping done today!

Custom State Necklace

Here’s how the deal works:

  1. Add a state necklace of your choice to your cart today (11/6/15).
  2. When added to the cart, there will be a pop up for the option of a second state necklace for FREE!
  3. The coupon code will bring the price of the state necklace down for $19.99 at checkout.
  4. The FREE necklace is limit 1 per customer/transaction. Only 1 free necklace will ship with each order.

COS State Necklace LA

I am crazy excited about this deal because it is the lowest price Cents of Style has ever offered for the state necklaces! I wear mine all the time and I know you and your loved one will adore yours, too!

Which state necklaces will you be purchasing today?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Sharing Music for the Holidays! (Giveaway)

This post is part of the #ShareTheHolidays campaign with Omaha Performing Arts. I received two free show tickets. All opinions are 100% my own!

Nothing gets me in the mood for the holidays more than music. Once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music is playing in our home 24/7. As a music teacher, I made it my personal mission to make sure all my students knew just about every classic Christmas song under the sun. Now I do the same with our children and I even made a printable for families to use for learning a Christmas song per day during December!

The Christmas music lover in me is THRILLED with the holiday lineup from Omaha Performing Arts this year! Just take a look at this amazing schedule:

  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour – Sunday, November 15, at 7:00 PM, Orpheum Theater, Slosburg Hall.
  • Vienna Boys Choir – Christmas in Vienna – Thursday, November 19, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall.
  • Cyrus Chestnut Trio – A Jazzy Christmas Wednesday – December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Center, Scott Recital Hall (1200 Club performance – a night club setting).
  • A Celtic Tenors Christmas – Wednesday, December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall. 
  • Michael McDonald – This Christmas, An Evening of Holiday & Hits – Friday, December 4, 8:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.
  • Joyful Noise – A Gospel Christmas featuring Salem Baptist Church – Sunday, December 6, 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.

Yes, please. To all of the above!

To go along with these wonderful holiday events, the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign runs November 1 through December 31 at several Omaha venues, including the Orpheum Theater and Holland Center. People attending concerts at these locations can bring non-perishable food items, which will benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland!


The Hubby and I will be heading to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour next weekend! I can’t wait to hear his take on holiday music and I can’t wait for a date night with The Hubby! I think this calls for a fun holiday dress, right?!

We would love to have you join us for the Brian Setzer Orchestra on Sunday, November 15th, so we’re giving away two tickets! Just leave a comment with your favorite Christmas song and I’ll pick a winner this Sunday evening at 9PM CST!

Which of these shows would you most love to see?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

What I Wore

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’m actually NOT writing this week’s “What I Wore” post at the very last minute! It’s a November miracle!

Can we talk a little bit about fall weather? We had the loveliest week of highs in the upper 50s and I was wearing all the fall things – plaid, hoodies, boots. Heaven. Then Monday came and we shot back up to 80º. What the what?! It’s NOVEMBER, people! I’m starting a petition for temps to not reach above 65º after the first day of fall. Who is signing it with me?

For now, I will forget the too-warm fall temps right outside my door and relish in these fall outfits from the past week:


Green plaid shirt – Target, black skinnies – Old Navy, necklace – Greenola, mid-calf boots – Frye, tote – fashionABLE


Nicole hoodie – Evy’s Tree, Mothers of Boys tee – The MOB Society, tank top extender – Noelle Mae Boutique, leggings – Costco, rain boots – Lands’ End


Corinna top – Stitch Fix, jeggings – American Eagle, boots – Target, necklace – Noonday


Dress – DownEast Basics (Zulily), denim jacket – GAP, mid-calf boots – Frye, necklace – Greenola


Nicole hoodie – Evy’s Tree, Kelly snowflake socks – Mitscoots (use code HWTB20 for 20% off)


Nicole hoodie – Evy’s Tree (yes, again – I live in this one!), KC tank – Scheels, lace tank top extender – Noelle Mae Boutique, leggings – Costco, Hunter boots – Costco


Melissa button top + military vest – Noelle Mae Boutique, jeggings – American Eagle, riding boots – Lands’ End, chevron necklace – Beautiful + Beloved


Evergreen Sophie hoodie – Evy’s Tree, infinity scarf – Cents of Style, jeggings – American Eagle, boots – Lane Boots


beanie – Mitscoots, my jacket – Old Navy, his jacket – Eddie Bauer

And let’s just top it all off with this:


Every girl needs a crown, right? Especially when her team wins the World Series!

Happy Wednesday, friends! And don’t forget to check out the “What I Wore” linkup over at The Pleated Poppy blog every Wednesday for tons of fashion inspiration!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Hoodwinked: Truth + Motherhood

I received this book to review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are 100% my own. I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

God has been putting the word “true” in front of my face a lot lately.


It started with a new theme for our women’s ministry at church and I didn’t even know I needed to hear it. But the word served as a wake-up call to all the lies I had been believing. And the truth I was missing.

Many of the lies I’ve believed have been about motherhood. I feel inadequate. Every bad choice my child makes feels like a big flashing arrow pointing at my mistakes. Seeing another mother who seems to enjoy her children all the time brings on feelings of guilt for the times I don’t enjoy my own.

The enemy seems to know how to get under my skin the most in this area. I need more truth spoken into my life as a mom. And I have a book in my hands now that is bringing that truth.


My dear friend Ruth Schwenk (The Better Mom) teamed up with the amazing Karen Ehman to write Hoodwinked for moms just like you and me. The tagline says it all: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off. In other words, I’m ready for this book to kick all that junk I’ve been believing about motherhood straight out of my head!

If you know me, you know I’m not a big fan of “parenting” books. There is not one formula that works for all families because we – moms, dads, kids – are all so unique, and I don’t like books that claim to be that one way to “succeed” as a family.

Hoodwinked is not one of those parenting books I dread. Instead of making me feel guilty for not doing this motherhood thing one particular way, Hoodwinked points me to life, freedom, and most importantly, truth in motherhood.

Hoodwinked Recipe

I wanted to share with you just a few pieces of truth that stood out to me in this honest + encouraging book:

“Do not tether your identity to the choices of your child—whether stellar or stupid. We are not our child’s choices.”

Didn’t I just mention this earlier in this post? I’m still working on letting go of the lie behind this one, but this line was exactly what I needed to hear.

“On the one hand, we worry that we are ‘just a mom.’ On the other hand, we think being a mom should be the most fulfilling, most rewarding, most thrilling thing EVER! All. The. Time.”

This quote made me laugh out loud, but it also hit me deeply. I don’t struggle with the “just a mom” thoughts very often – probably because there is never a quiet moment to think – but I definitely have wrestled with the second part. And if motherhood doesn’t feel AMAZING, I must be doing it wrong, right? WRONG. Motherhood is not all hugs + smiles + happiness and that is ok!

“Parenting is a tightrope that requires walking carefully between patience and pushing. No child’s timing is the same.”

I needed this reminder as our kids have entered school this year. They handle school and friends in completely different ways. Each day feels a little different. I can’t follow one formula and expect the same results every day from all of our children. The tightrope is such an accurate description of how we must pay close attention to the needs of each child, balancing out waiting and pushing, moving forward and pulling back.

Moms, I feel like so many of us need to dispel these myths that have taken root in our heads as we walk through motherhood and Hoodwinked is an amazing resource to lead us to truth!

Hoodwinked is out now, so go order your copy! You will love it! Hoodwinked also has a companion bible study with a study guide and six sessions on DVD! Wouldn’t it be great to discover these truths together with other moms? What are you waiting for?!

If you’d like to connect more with the authors, check out Ruth and Karen on Facebook, and follow “thebettermom” and “karenehman” on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

What lies or myths have you believed about motherhood? How do you cling to truth?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook