Art Works for Your Kids!

Omaha has so many amazing things to offer for families! At the top of that list is the Joslyn Art Museum. Thanks to a grant starting last year, museum admission is now free, with the exception of the featured traveling exhibit.

We’ve always loved the Joslyn, but our love has grown with the addition of Art Works, a 1,500 square foot interactive space where kids can experience the visual arts!

Art Works

Art Works features nine stations where kids can paint, draw, build, and create art of all kinds! This permanent space offers new experiences with each visit as stations are updated to go along with current museum exhibits! During our latest visit, the focus was on Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers!

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The digital painting stations are a big hit with all of the kids!

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Double J would paint there with real brushes (and no mess) for hours – every mom’s dream! All of the boys enjoyed this, especially when they realized they could email me their creations, like this one:

Masterpiece

Isn’t that fun?! They were so proud of their masterpieces and my inbox filled up quickly!

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The portrait station is super fun! You can use the mirror to draw a self portrait or the transparent side to draw a portrait of a friend! Or just draw around the oval like Double J.

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I personally love the pottery station where kids can draw on vases with dry erase markers! It’s brilliant! The station has photographs of ancient pottery for inspiration. I think I enjoyed drawing on these vases as much as the kids did!

But the biggest hit with all of us was…

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…the stop motion animation station! Seriously – this was SO MUCH FUN! The station has two computers with two different backgrounds and tons of figurines to use.

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The boys were so creative once they figured out how to put together a movie. I love this exposure to an art form they wouldn’t normally experience! They were also able to send their finished videos to me by email so we can enjoy them over and over.

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I haven’t even touched on all of the great stations in Art Works – sketching, wooden building blocks, and lots more! We’ve been twice and will be going back frequently to create and explore. And remember – it’s FREE! If you live in the Omaha area or you’re visiting, make sure you take your kids to the Joslyn for all this interactive art fun!

What kind of art does your child enjoy? Which stations would they like at Art Works?

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post and I was NOT asked to write this post by the Joslyn Art Museum – we just love it and I wanted to share it with you!

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DaySpring Clearance – Extra 40% Off!

I have included affiliate 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!

Wow! I haven’t posted about a DaySpring sale in a while, but this one is just WAY TOO GOOD. You seriously can’t miss it.

Through Sunday, April 19th, all DaySpring clearance items are an extra 40% off with the code 40CLEAR at checkout! EXTRA 40% OFF!!!

DaySpring Clearance

Let’s look at a few of my favorites that I hope don’t sell out before you have a chance to buy:

Redeemed - Inspirational Wooden Letters - Set of 8

These Redeemed Wooden Letters are the perfect mantel or ledge decor! The set is just $11.99 during this sale!

I Am His - Makeup Bag

I’ve had this I Am His makeup bag for years now and it is still the best. I get compliments on it at the gym and holds SO much! With this sale, it is only $7.79!

Chevron Block Printed Clutch - Plum

The Chevron Block Printed Clutch is part of DaySpring’s gorgeous JOYN collection, handcrafted in India and helping to empower men and women of Northern India with the assets, skills, and knowledge to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Get yours for only $7.19 right now with the code 40CLEAR!

Jen Hatmaker - 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

You can even get Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, for just $4.49 during this sale! Grab a bunch to read with some girlfriends – it is definitely thought-provoking!

There are SO many great items in this clearance sale! Check it out quickly before your favorites sell out! Remember to use the code 40CLEAR at checkout!

ALSO…

DaySpring is having a fun friendship sale! They have handpicked 20 of the top gifts for friends and they are now buy one get one FREE! You’ll find a selection of jewelry, home décor, mugs, journals and more. This sale will last through 4/19.

About shipping…

The free shipping threshold is now only $25! For any $25 non-clearance purchase, free shipping will automatically apply to any US order! Ground Shipping is now a straight $4.95 for US Ground Shipping.

I think that’s all! You are now free to go shop your heart out with these fabulous DaySpring sales and PLEASE come back to tell me what you bought! It’ll be like we’re shopping together!

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I Was Not a Runner

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve said it, when I talk about running, people still say to me, “I could never do that. I’m not a runner.”

Three years ago, I was not a runner either.

I was NOT

Not only was I NOT a runner, I really hated the thought of it. It made me flashback to gym class and the required mile and always finishing near the back. It made a little fearful because of my mild asthma. Looking back, I probably hated the idea of running most because I just knew I would fail.

When my husband started running in January 2012, I was eight months pregnant and there was no way I was going to be working out with him. But I was inspired by him. He, too, was a not a runner, but just started small and was running a 10 mile race within a few months. More importantly, he had greatly improved his health and seemed to be loving the change. Simply put, I wanted what he had.

I had our third son March 7, 2012 and I started the Couch to 5K program on April 16th.

I still didn’t consider myself a runner for a quite a while, but April 16th is the date everything changed because I took the first step…literally.

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There was nothing magical about my journey towards becoming runner, but it was miraculous and it continues to be so. Other than asthma, I had no major health conditions holding me back, but I was not in good physical shape and I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. Most of my roadblocks were mental and I had to work hard to get over myself.

As I look back now, the key to going from a running-hater to a runner for me was going SLOW. I’m not talking about my pace, although it is important to take it easy as you get started. Going slow for me meant giving my body time to adjust to this new lifestyle. Couch to 5K was a great way to force myself to go slow. It taught me to keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps.

My First 10K3

I ran three to four days every week. I had a husband who supported me and we both made sure we got our workouts in. I had a friend who I texted for accountability. Some days felt easy and some felt incredibly hard, but I just kept going.

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I ran my first 5K in July of 2012, just over three months after I started running and I think that’s when I realized: I was a runner. Some people think being a runner means you are fast or you run long, but that’s not true. If you run, you are a runner. And that’s what I am now.

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Three years later and I’m training for my eighth half marathon. My longest run was 16 miles, just this past weekend. I’ve done countless other races because I LOVE the atmosphere and the clear goal. I have the best running friends and it is a special treat when I get to run with The Hubby, even though I know he’s slowing down to stay with me.

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There are countless things we would never experience in life if we used the same excuses we use for not running. What if I never sat down to write this blog because “I’m just not a writer?” Or didn’t get up in front of that group to share my story because “I am not a speaker?”

It’s true: running is NOT for everyone. There are medical conditions that sometimes prevent it. I have a dear friend who would love to run, but her doctor has advised her not to because of knee and shin issues. But she is finding other ways to be physically active and I’m cheering her on in that.

It saddens me, however, to think of all the people secretly wishing they could be a runner when their mind is the only thing getting in the way.

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Running has brought me freedom. It feels like therapy. It is a great escape. And it has proven to me that I am stronger than I ever imagined, both physically and mentally.

As I celebrate this third anniversary, I am beyond grateful that I started running when I was a not runner. It is the most important part of this story for me and it really did change everything. I think it could for you, too.

If you’re interested in reading more about my running journey, check out these posts:

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What I Wore

I have included affiliate 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!

It’s still Wednesday as I’m posting this, so I’m getting in on the What I Wore Wednesday action!

Just a few pics of me this week and a couple bonuses…

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We had the loveliest spring day last week and I was all over it was a new sleeveless tunic from Zulily and my fabulous new Sseko Designs sandals! {Get 10% off your own pair of Sseko sandals with the code homewiththeboys} I have a feeling this outfit will get LOTS of wear this spring. The lovely jewelry is from 107 Market Street!

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I caught a glimpse of a cute maxi dress from Old Navy online this week and then I saw it was on MAJOR sale that day only, so it became my Easter dress! It was a little chilly Easter morning, so I threw on a shrug and paired it with my Saltwater Sandals – delightful and comfortable! Don’t my guys look devastatingly handsome?! And that’s my mom looking super springy in her yellow cardigan! It was so great to have her + my dad here for Easter!

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The sunny spring weather left us this week and rainy weather moved in, so I’ve been living in comfy clothes.  That means I have worn Evy’s Tree every day this week. No shame. The Hubby and I were giving our “we need a vacation” faces on Monday. Yes, we do. On Tuesday, I was excited to get this new book in the mail because I love everything Jon Acuff writes. And my hoodie matched the cover – how fun!

Now for some little man style:

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Big J put this church outfit together himself and he was very proud of it! He has never chosen to wear a tie before – I’m not even sure where he found this one – but I like his style!

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Then there’s this guy. Trying to start a new fashion trend: boots as pants. I think it will really catch on this spring.

I can’t top that last pic. Good night.

For more fashion fun, check out the What I Wore link-up at The Pleated Poppy!

 

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Heavenly Soft Breadsticks (Bread Machine Recipe)

I love carb-loading. The Hubby and I look forward to Thursdays + Fridays each week because we get to stock up on carbs for our weekend long runs. It might be my favorite part of race training.

Carb-loading is tricky business. It is not adding a whole bunch of carb calories to what you’re already eating those days. Carb-loading is upping the ratio of carbs in your diet on those two days leading up to a long run.

Our favorite way to carb-load: heavenly soft breadsticks.

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Oh my. We already have every Friday designated as homemade pizza night, so adding breadsticks to the menu makes sense. These breadsticks are SUPER easy to make and absolutely delicious! We’ve been making them for years and they never, ever disappoint!

After seeing these pictures, I’m sure you’ll be ready to down some of these carbs yourself, so I’ll share the recipe.

You’re welcome.

The best part of this recipe for me is the use of the bread machine to make the dough! God bless bread machines. I love throwing everything in the machine and letting it do all the work of mixing and rising and kneading!

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A few notes since I’ve made these a gazillion times:

You’ll need to start the process about 2 – 2 1/2 hours before you plan to eat to allow for the bread machine time, extra rising after they are cut into sticks, and baking.

I have had this (affiliate link) Oster Breadmaker since we got married 12 years ago and it still works perfectly! I mostly use it for the dough setting because I still like baking bread in the oven.

Breadsticks Pizza Cutter

A pizza cutter works like a dream for cutting the strips from the dough! I wish I would have figured this out years ago! SO EASY!

Breadsticks Butter

The recipe calls for bread flour, but all-purpose flour works just as well. I have always used extra virgin olive oil, so I can’t tell you how other oils would work. If you try another oil in the recipe, let me know how it turns out!

Who is ready to make some breadsticks?!

Heavenly Soft

Bread Machine Soft Breadsticks

  • Yield: 24 breadsticks
  • Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 3 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour will also work)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed, making a well in the flour for the yeast. Select “Dough” setting. Push start. (don’t skip that last part)
  2. Read a book, watch some TV, go for a run – let the bread machine do the work!
  3. When the dough is completed, roll it out on to a floured surface into a 10×12 inch rectangle.
  4. Cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide. (I would also cut them in half as they ended up very long.)
  5. Give each strip a twist and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Preheat oven to 375º.
  7. Let breadstick dough rise for at least 20 minutes or more if you have time.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and/or Parmesan cheese.

I think I may need to try these as dessert breadsticks next time! A little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top instead of garlic or cheese?! Yum!

How would you eat these delightful bits of heaven?

 

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April Goals

I have included affiliate 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!

Getting a bit of a late start on posting goals for this month, but that won’t stop me! March was kind of crazy, so I need my April goals to give me direction and a big push!

Here’s what happened with my March goals…

MARCH GOALS

Finish three books - I actually finished more than three books! I was a reading machine this month! Books I finished in March:

Celebrate my favorite March days - Check, check, check! Two birthdays and St. Patrick’s Day were celebrated well!

Launch a fun new project – We got this MOB Society project going and are tweaking it to make it even better right now. It will be public this week!

Run 90+ miles and keep pushing through training – 125.2 miles. That’s right, I totally crushed my goal and had my highest mileage month ever!

Get my OWN newsletter going – It just didn’t happen…moving it to this month!

Be present - Removing Facebook and Twitter from my phone really helped with this goal! I felt like I was offline more this past month than I had been in a long time. I also chose to write less on the blog and not stress about it. As a result, I have lots more to write about now! I’m not sure if I’ll put those apps back on my phone – I like how it felt these past few months!

And now for this month…

APRIL GOALS

APRIL GOALS

15-mile long run – This Sunday. Pray for me.

The newsletter, seriously - I WILL get this done this month.

Get outside – We are all SO MUCH happier when we spend time in the fresh air. The boys actually want to get outside more this year, so my goal is to join them, even if I just take my book or writing work with me!

Reach a new rank with doTERRA – I’ve had my sights set on a new rank for a while, but just haven’t had the time to really work to get there. This is my month! If you want to host an online  or local class for me and earn some free oils or just learn more about the natural solutions that essential oils provide, let me know! I would love your help to hit this goal!

Keep on reading – My list of books to read + finish this month:

Your turn: what goals did you accomplish last month? What are you hoping to accomplish this month?

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What I’m Into: March 2015

I have included affiliate 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!

Here’s a little rundown of the things I was loving in my favorite month of the year…

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Spring cleaning – We’re getting rid of things like a boss around here and it feels SO GOOD. I know we have a long way to go, but dropping off a van full of donations to our local mission was a great start!

Greenair Spa Vapor diffuser – The Hubby gave me this cute new diffuser for my birthday and I adore it! It’s small and easy to use and only costs $30. The kids love the changing light colors on it. I love that it makes our whole house smell great! My favorite spring blends so far involve geranium and lime! Let me know if want more info on ordering your own high quality oils at a discount!

Running outside – Thank the good Lord that spring weather has arrived and I’ve been able to do long runs outside several weekends in a row! To make it even better, I’ve been able to run with friends, too! I ran my longest run ever a few weeks ago – 14.11 miles! Spring, I love you.

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Sseko Designs sandals – These have been sitting in my closet waiting for warm weather to arrive and it is finally here! I love them even more than I thought I would, especially because they are my favorite color in the world. I’ll be sharing all about them in their own post soon (with a discount!), but I couldn’t keep from telling you about them now.

Sewunet Tote

Sewunet Tote from fashionABLE – I carry my Mamuye tote EVERYWHERE with me, but I’m thinking I need to add this new canvas + leather tote to my rotation! The ivory is gorgeous, but the olive color would be much safer for clumsy me! I love them both. Which color is your favorite?

Anything from Symbology Clothing – Ethically-made clothing with ELEPHANTS on it?! I was in love at first sight. First with a tunic, and now with an emerald elephant button down. If elephants aren’t your thing, no worries. They are plenty of other gorgeous patterns to choose from, including zebras and florals.

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Young adult fiction series – I’m addicted. I devour them like Dove chocolate. Here are the ones I’ve read and loved most recently: the Divergent series, the River of Time series, the Glamorous Illusions series, and I just started the Remnants series. Read them all. Please feel free to feed my addiction with more ideas.

Katherine Reay books – Both Dear Mr. Knightley and Lizzy & Jane were just delightful! I loved the characters and the hints of Jane Austen here and there. I hope she’ll write more soon!

MemoirsTina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling…I’m loving reading thoughts from these funny ladies. They are definitely uncensored and use colorful language, but their books have made me laugh and had some great bits of wisdom woven in!

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The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – So. Hilarious. It’s by Tina Fey, so of course I loved it. Hurry up and bring us more, Netflix!

Sherlock – I am not a fan of crime shows, so I’ve hesitated to start this, despite the rave reviews from my friends. I watched the first episode yesterday and today while I ran and I’m already hooked. You were all right. It’s my new treadmill show.

March Madness – We watch some Husker basketball games throughout the year, but March Madness is where it’s at. We all filled out brackets. We watched a few teams practice when they were in town. We have been glued to the amazing games and loving every minute of it! The Hubby already has our family bracket championship locked up, but I’m still so excited for the Final Four! Who’d you pick?

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I feel like I could go on and on with things I’m loving right now, but I’ll save some for Friday Favorites, a link-up my friend Crystal hosts every Friday! I’m linking up to What I’m Into with Leigh for now and I hope you’ll share some things you are into as well!

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The Divergent Series: Insurgent

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Summit Entertainment. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Just a few months ago, The Hubby and I saw Divergent for the first time. I had not read any of the books at the time, so it was all new to me. And I loved it. I immediately picked up the first book and read through the entire series very quickly. I have SO MANY THOUGHTS on all of it, so let’s have a book club about some time, ok? I’ll add that to my list…

Since we JUST saw the first movie, we were fortunate to not have to wait long to see the second movie and I was positively giddy about it opening around my birthday! The Divergent Series: Insurgent was released March 20th in 2D, Digital 3D, IMAX® 3D and RealD™ 3D – basically any way you want to see it in the theaters! The movie did not disappoint – made for a great date night!

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This second installment of the series (based on the book series by Veronica Roth) is full of action, excitement and suspense, a lot of heart and emotion, intense stunt work and visual effects – all great things to watch on the big screen!

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photo credit: Lionsgate

I’m actually not writing to review the movie today – I have all sorts of thoughts on book vs. movie – but I do want to share a few things that stood out to me in watching these films.

While the whole Divergent series was targeted towards young adults, I found myself very intrigued by the story line. We all find ourselves wondering where we fit in. We all want to believe we are doing the right thing, but what do we do when that conflicts with what someone else thinks is right? I’m definitely not a teenager, but I connected with the journey of Tris as she tries to find her place, overcome evil with her gifts, and above all, seek the truth. I think her flaws made her even more relatable to me.

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photo credit: Lionsgate

The Divergent Series: Insurgent is a movie teens and adults can both enjoy! The theater was packed with people of all ages when we saw it which always makes for a fun experience! Check out this trailer:

 

Get your tickets to The Divergent Series: Insurgent and enjoy a thrilling movie this weekend!

Have you seen The Divergent Series movies? Read the books? Let’s discuss!

Warning: spoilers may appear in the comments!

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My Morning Wake-Up Call!

I bet you think I’m going to talk about my early-rising three-year-old.

Maybe coffee was the first thought to cross your mind.

Both of those answers are a major part of my waking-up time in the morning. I can never quite predict my little guy’s wake-up time, which definitely makes the morning interesting. And coffee is always, always a part of my morning bible time. Nothing can replace that smell, that taste…

I’ve found something, however, that gives me a wake-up call like nothing else. The best part – it’s natural and healthy! It involves this dynamic duo…

My Morning Wake-up Call

Peppermint + Wild Orange essential oils work in amazing ways on their own. I’m a big fan of both scents individually, but when I combine them, it’s like magic.

So how do I use this duo? It’s REALLY simple.

Are you ready for this?

I put a drop of each – just one drop – in my hands. I rub my hands together and then rub them on the back of my neck. The feeling is so cool and invigorating and would probably be enough on it’s own. After rubbing it on my neck, I also cup my hands over my mouth and nose (not touching my eyes – ouch!) and inhale the smell several times.

That’s it. I’m a new woman after this peppermint+ wild orange process, whether it be in the morning (which I do every day) or in the mid-afternoon when I hit a wall.

I wasn’t kidding about the simplicity. I almost feel silly writing a whole blog post about this, but there was no way I wasn’t going to share with you!

 

What gets you going in the morning or when you need an afternoon pick-me-up?

 

I use doTERRA essential oils and highly recommend them. You can find out more here and please email me if you have questions!

I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly.

 

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What I Wore: Birthday Edition!

I have included affiliate 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!

That’s right! It’s my birthday! Today! 34 and better than ever!

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My guys have all kinds of fun planned for me and I got a free birthday drink at my favorite coffee place, so it’s a great day! Because it’s my birthday, I decided to wear a new shirt that combines three of my favorite things: fair trade, elephants, and the color green! This button-down top is from Symbology Clothing and those darling little dots are actually little elephants! Did I mention it’s GREEN?! I was head-over-heels immediately.

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This was the day before my birthday when I was feeling a little blah. Instead of wallowing, I threw on a green tee {yes, green again}, a comfy cardigan, and my favorite scarf from fashionABLE, and embraced the gloomy, rainy day while counting my blessings! fashionABLE just released the ABLE scarf in two more amazing colors and you can get 10% off your order when you click HERE!

And since this is the birthday edition, I had to share my lovely new outfit from my in-laws for my birthday! They gave me this gorgeous Steve Madden sweater (the softest fabric ever) and a matching scarf! Aren’t they beautiful?! These pieces are just perfect for spring, especially paired with my cotton v-neck Everlane tee, white jeans, and The Root Collective flats!

The rest of the week was pretty casual…

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The boys and I went to watch NCAA tournament teams practice Thursday afternoon and it was FREE! So much fun! The weather was nice enough that we didn’t need coats, but there was still a chill in the air, so I wore my Evy’s Tree Lizzy and everyone thought I was there to cheer for Oklahoma State!

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I have fallen in love with a pair of leggings. Seriously. I found these Under Armour Ultimate Leggings on clearance at the outlet store and I never want to take them off. I wore them all day Sunday, including on my walk with Double J. It was such a sweet one-on-one time with him!

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This week was the one year anniversary of my friend Breena’s son going to be with Jesus. In his honor, Breena started Garment Collective, an ethically sourced, redemptively made women’s clothing line with a Zero Slavery standard. I wore my Redemption For All tee this week in Zekey’s memory along with my Evy’s Tree Ashley hoodie. Keep an eye on Garment Collective as they move forward – I know you will love everything they do!

And now I’m off for more birthday celebrating, including dinner with The Hubby and a MASSAGE! See you later, friends!

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

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