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What I’m Loving {August 2014}

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These “What I’m Loving” or “What I’m Into” posts just make me smile – I love sharing what I love and I love reading what others love! I have a whole lot of new loves this month, especially as I’ve been planning my fall capsule wardrobe which will debut mid-September! Eek! I’ll try to keep this short…

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Evy’s Tree – Luxury hoodies from the lovely Amy, mom and designer extraordinaire. I will be living in these this fall. Seriously cute and insanely comfortable. So amazing that I have THREE of them in my fall capsule wardrobe.

Fix My Eyes

“Fix My Eyes” by For King and Country – I want to hang the chorus of this song in our living room as our family’s motto. And the actual song is super fun, too. The boys all have it memorized and we sing it at the top of our lungs together in the car. They also put on the best live show.

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Ballet flats – Like my friend Crystal, I am NOT a heels girl. Ballet flats + boots are my thing. The two kinds of ballet flats I can’t live without are from The Root Collective and Tieks. I’ve shared about The Root Collective before and I’ll be telling you more about Tieks soon. The Root Collective just released their new fall line of flats this week – GORGEOUS. Use the code FALL14 to get 20% off right now through September 7th!

Revelation Wellness

Revelation Wellness VIPtv – I’ve told you about Insanity, T25, and the 21 Day Fix, but THIS is what I’ve been looking for all along. Alisa Keeton has created a fitness program centered around the most important thing to me – Jesus. Revelation Wellness has workouts of EVERY level and each one is focused on worship and the Word. I can’t get enough of it. I’ll probably do whole post on it next month. VIPtv is just $10/month, can be played on any device with internet access, and you will LOVE it. If you sign up, just enter my name – Erin from Home with the Boys  - where it says, “How did you hear about us?” We’ll both be entered to win a free year of VIPtv when you do!

What I'm Loving August 2014

Caribou Coffee – This isn’t the nearest coffee shop to me and mine doesn’t have a drive-thru, but it’s still my favorite. Yes, it is worth the drive AND getting my kids out of the car to go grab a Turtle Mocha or Iced Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha. My coffee heart belongs to Caribou.

TV: So You Think You Can Dance, My Big Family Renovation {full series marathon on HGTV next Thursday!!!}

Books: Finishing up the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren

Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy {loved it}, Lego Movie {hilarious}

Last, but not least… 

Labor Day Sales – A long weekend and fun sales – enough said! Here are a few of my favorites:

 What are you loving this Labor Day weekend? Make it a great one!

 Linking up to Leigh’s What I’m Into post! Lots of fun posts to read over there!

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Crazy Tennis Fans

So, I haven’t had much time to write lately…can you tell?

BUT, the 2014 US Open Tennis Tournament started this week and my friend Sami and I had the crazy idea to do a draw challenge, kind of like March Madness but with tennis!

And just to prove our choices were in before the tournament started, Sami and I both did a video sharing our thoughts and brilliant picks. You can find her video right here.

You can watch mine below. It was done impromptu. At night. And I ramble. So you’re welcome – this is the REAL me. If you can’t see the video below, click here to watch!

Any other crazy tennis fans like Sami and I out there? We think ESPN Tennis should take us along to a Grand Slam to give the fans’ point of view. You would watch us, right?!

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4 x 4: Get to Know Me Before Declare!

Next week is the Declare Conference in Dallas and I am over-the-moon excited to be attending and speaking this year! Some of my very favorite writer friends will be there and it has been WAY too long since we’ve seen each other. And since I know no strangers, only friends I haven’t met yet, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of new friends while in Texas as well!

And to make us a little less like strangers and more like friends when we finally do meet in person, I’m linking up with the Declare 4×4 posts to share more about myself! Enjoy!

Family Standing 2014 blog

4 things about me

I’ve been married to The Hubby for 11 wild and crazy years which have led to us being in his last year of residency right now. LAST YEAR, PEOPLE. {cue angels singing} He is my best friend and such a hottie.

I’m a boy mom, through and through. Big J is 8, Little J is 6, and Double J is 2. Our house is loud and chaotic and full of Legos and just as it should be. I don’t really “get” this boy thing all the time, but I sure do love them!

In my “former” life, I was an elementary music teacher and loved every minute of it. I worked in the best small community and also coached junior high volleyball and helped direct the high school musical. It was my dream job and I am so thankful for the time I had there.

After years of HATING running, I gave it a real shot in April of 2012 and have loved it ever since. In just over two years, I have ran four half marathons with the last two being under two hours! I never in a million years would have thought I would be a runner, but here I am! And I love encouraging other women in their running journeys! {Anybody want to run with me on Friday or Sunday morning?}

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4 endearing quirks

I am LOUD, especially my laugh. You’ve been warned.

I don’t eat cheese, but I’m a huge Cheesehead {Packers fan}.

I’m a little obsessed with personality and strengths tests and exercises. I love finding out more about myself and the people I work with so we can work better together. StrengthsFinder is my favorite so far!

I can’t wait to wear these cowboy boots in Texas.

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The last time I saw Brooke in person – Double J was 6 months old! Excited to be reunited at Declare, but sad Amanda won’t be joining us!

4 things about my writing/blogging

I started blogging in 2008 when I was becoming a stay-at-home mom for the first time. The blog was supposed to be a way to share our family life with friends and family far away, but it has definitely morphed over the years!

Writing was never something I had on my list of dream jobs, but as I look back, I used to write stories with my friends starting in elementary school and I wrote for our high school newspaper. God knew how to lay a framework for writing without me even realizing it. Now I can’t imagine going even a few days without writing something!

I have a few magazine articles coming out in late 2014 and early 2015! I love the topics and the magazine I’ve been writing for and can’t wait to tell you more when they come out!

I co-founded The MOB Society for mothers of boys with Brooke in 2010 without ever having met each other in person! We’ll both be speaking at Declare this year AND we get to room together!!!

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4 of my favorite things

Football. It’s so close I can taste it… Go Huskers! Go Packers!

Popcorn. Air-popped with real butter or popped on the stove with coconut oil are the best.

Tennis dates with The Hubby. Yes, he usually beats me, but we’re pretty evenly matched, so we have fun and get a great workout…and then go eat yummy food in our sweaty tennis clothes!

Fair trade/ethical fashion. I love knowing my purchases are making a difference.

*****

Well, that was fun! I cannot wait to get to Dallas and share the weekend with a whole lot of Jesus-loving women who want to follow Him with wild obedience and declare His Name to the world! If you’re coming, make sure you let me know and say hi if you see me!

I will be speaking on Friday about affiliate marketing and how to handle it ethically and still make money! I would love to have you join me if you’re interested!

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Links I Love & a Nickels for Nets Update!

 

We’re over halfway through the month, so I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing with our monthly mission raising Nickels for Nets!

I am so proud of Big J and how he has been committed to asking people for nickels and telling them about the mission of Sweet Sleep – at taekwondo, the library, church, and everywhere we go!

As of Friday, we had collected $21.20 and our neighboring city friends had gathered at least $30.50 for a total of $51.70! That means SIX NETS have been sponsored so far! Woohoo!!! Let’s keep it rolling for another 12 days! How is your collecting going?

Nickels for Nets Box

Now, for a few things I’ve loved around the Internet this week…

*Simple Mom’s posts on writing a bookThe Big Picture and The Nitty Gritty – bookmarking these for someday…

*4 Steps to Casting a Godly Vision for Your Son – Ooh, this is a good one from Heather, relevant for sons AND daughters. It’s had me thinking a LOT.

*Amanda’s Armor of God series is Totally. Awesome. I’m storing up these ideas to use with the boys after Lent and Easter!

Happy weekend everyone!

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Too Busy Living Life To Write About Life!

Well, hello again!

Yes, I am alive! Yes, we are doing well! I just took a little unscheduled break here as life at home picked up and some exciting things were happening in other areas of this online space!

First, for the “real life” stuff…

The Hubby spent four days working noon to midnight shifts in the ER. Yikes. I. MISSED. HIM. But two days off were the reward at the end of that not-so-fun streak!

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We’re glad to have him home and he’s glad to be around when we’re all awake!

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Big J was invited to test for his next Taekwondo belt! He started Taekwondo in November and has really enjoyed it. I love the mix of fun and discipline these taekwondo lessons have been for him! The test was a combination of physical skills and memorization of the Taekwondo oath and tenets. He did SO well at his test, but we won’t find out the results for another week or so! We are proud of him either way!

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Double J started clapping this week, so all day long I just want to play pat-a-cake and find new ways to make him clap because it is TOO CUTE. And Little J has us in stitches with his funny voices, dramatic reading of books, and all-around craziness. The older boys also started AWANA at our new church and are already loving it!

I was able to witness a miracle as dear friends who were on the brink of divorce renewed their vows over the weekend. There were some major tears as we watched God redeem what seemed beyond hope. Nothing is beyond hope with God. I was blessed and honored to be there. Praise the Lord that He still works in mysterious and wonderful ways!

My local Bible study started up again last week, and this time around we’re reading Desperate! We hadn’t met since November and I missed those girls! I’m really looking forward to our regular meetings again, especially talking about coming alongside each other in our motherhood journeys! I also has a blast at our church’s ladies’ craft night! Everybody just ate and chatted and worked on their own creative projects – loved it!

And then there is this blog-o-sphere…

Today, I’m posting over at the Tommy Nelson blog with a fun way to get those younger kids actively involved in Bible stories! After being stuck inside on below-zero wind chill days, this activity has helped us get some crazies out more than a few times! And it involves animals, which the boys loved! Head over there to check it out!

But the majority of my computer time has been spent working on behind-the-scenes details for the new site, Raising Hearty Boys! As most of you know, I’m the co-founder of The MOB Society {for mothers of boys}, and we’re in the middle of some major expansion right now! In January we added Boy Dads: In the Trenches of Fatherhood to our network, which is now Raising Boys Media! Raising Hearty Boys is set to launch next as a place for parents to find all things food and fitness related for boys! I have always loved to cook and bake, and exercise has become such an important part of our family life, so I am thrilled to be serving as editor for this new site! I’ll post more details as the launch date approaches!

And last, but not least, I’ve been working on my God-sized dream. If you’ll remember, part of my dream is to do what God is calling me to do while keeping Him and my family prioritized. As I sit down to write this post, I realize just how many times in the past week I’ve chosen time with Him and time with the boys before getting online or sitting down to write. It feels good. It feels right. And I have a lot more inspiration to draw from when the time to write comes! What a blessing!

That’s a full plate right there, but life is good! What’s been on your plate lately? How can I pray for you?

 

 

 

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Where I’m Going From Here…

Now that the 31 Days series is over, I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s up next for me and this blog!

The 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Challenge with Crystal and Laura and myself starts today! I may post about it from time to time, but my main role will be Twitter cheerleader {use hashtag #disciplined21} for all you lovelies joining the challenge and tackling a mega-project! Mine involves an e-book. I’m scared. Hold me. {You can still get your ebook and start with us!}

What I Wore Wednesday will be returning and I’ll be sharing a little more about fashion as a mom in a fun new place. Stay tuned…

I’m getting ready now for Truth in the Tinsel! If I don’t start now, I will be frantically trying to gather supplies in the midst of the already-crazy holiday season. I’m trying to prevent that with all I am. I’m also printing out the brand new Truth in the Tinsel printable ornaments to use on the days when a craft just isn’t going to happen. Have you seen them?! SO cute.

I’m revisiting and reworking my mission statements. Thanks to Kat, I have a mom mission statement that I wrote over two years ago, so I’m going back to it, praying over it, tweaking it, and working on LIVING. IT. OUT.

I also have a mission statement for how I take care of our home thanks to Sarah Mae’s 31 Days to Clean. It’s been tucked away in a binder, but I’m pulling that out again because I need to read those words more often!

And God has given me the gift of a clarified vision for this little blog space. I am praying I follow that vision with every post!

Oh yeah, and I signed up for a half-marathon. On Thanksgiving morning. With The Hubby. And it’s a TRAIL run. Who is this woman, seriously?! Please pray for me…

How about a few of my favorite pics from the last month just to wrap this up nicely?

Baby brother being loved on {and wondering what is going on?!} at the pumpkin patch!

Big J trying out fall soccer.

My Avengers trick or treating at the hospital.

Pumpkin faces and silly faces.

My first 15K this past weekend. Small race, but this was good enough for first in my age group!

So, friends, how was your October? What are you looking forward to in November?

 

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Dear Me…

A letter to my 16-year-old self, inspired by Emily and her “Dear Me” post

**There are some awful pictures of me in this post. Seriously AWFUL. Consider yourself warned.**

Dear Erin,

This is your 31-year-old self writing to give you a little glimpse into the future. I have just a few things I’ve always wanted to say to you if I could and Emily invited us to do just that, so here goes…

It’s ok to have boys as “just friends.” I know you think about this A LOT. Not having a boyfriend doesn’t make you any less wonderful. You will find out later many of those just-friend boys were actually intimidated by your intelligence and talents. {Yes, they actually admitted this!} And I’m really happy to say that you will never compromise either to get a boyfriend.

Enjoy those friendships now, be yourself, and stop fretting about dating. In six short years, you will marry a super hot guy who is also your very best friend – someone you could spend every second of every day with and enjoy it! {And he’s not threatened by your smarts either because he is super smart.}

Oh, and he was at music camp with you this past summer but the two of you never met. Remember that guy who sang “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables?” Yeah, him.

Speaking of boys, you’re going to have three of them. THREE.

Your love for sports will be very useful. Star Wars and Legos will rule your life. And you will love being a boy mom. You probably are already thinking that, aren’t you? {In two years, you will be voted “Would Make the Best Mom” in your graduating class.}

That girl who loudly passed judgement on every other girl wearing something from Target? Ignore her. Target is THE place to shop now. All you Target shoppers back then were ahead of your time. Way to go. And that girl probably shops at Target now as well. {She also got a lot nicer after high school.}

You have a great group of friends right now. They will continue to make your high school time tons of fun and won’t lead you into any trouble. Stick with them and don’t wander off when the seemingly “cooler” crowd looks your way. These friends are the real deal. And you’re having way more fun with them than you would with anyone else. They are a blessing from God in many ways.

While we’re on the topic of God, you don’t know Him very personally yet, do you? Sure, you go to church and you pray occasionally and you do everything you “should do.” That’s all good, but it’s not the same as relationship. And stop judging others in your head – the ones you think don’t “do all the right things” religiously. It’s not about that.

You don’t know Jesus well yet, but you will. You will fall deeply in love with Jesus before you fall in love with a guy and that’s exactly how it should be. {Well, you’ll THINK you’re in love before that, but you’re not. Trust me.}

Also, being in your thirties is awesome. Sounds so old, doesn’t it? But honestly, at 31, you will love Jesus more than ever, adore your family, have amazing friends, be in the best shape of your life {Yes, you CAN run more than a mile without dying!}, and be finding your way as a writer {did I just write that?!}. Signing up for newspaper your senior year will actually come in handy later on down the road, even if you do strongly dislike the teacher!

Unfortunately, you’ll still be a little scatter-brained and battle acne {ugh}, but you will realize neither of these is the end of the world. Most things aren’t.

Be nicer to your sister. Let her borrow your clothes because you will want to borrow hers before too long.

Spend more time with Mom and Dad. They are really great, fun parents and people in general. Learn from Mom’s great heart for hospitality, even in a small house, and take notes from Dad on how to really bless people. That man knows how to listen to what people really want and need.

The “Rachel” haircut will never turn out for you the way you want it. Don’t worry – Rachel will change her hair many, many times before the show ends. And you will cut your hair very short your senior year. It will be a LONG road to grow it back. and much patience will be required. Deep breaths – you can handle it.

Keep studying and practicing and working hard because it will all pay off in the form of scholarships and a job you love and great life experiences.

But don’t stop having fun and being silly just because that one boy called you an airhead one time. Your outgoing, bubbly personality is one of the things people love most about you.

Don’t let worry about things you can’t control consume you. I know you lie awake in bed at times thinking about all the bad things that could happen. Give them to Jesus and let Him carry them. They are not your load to bear.

Your life from where you are now to where I am now won’t be without its valleys, but God will put just the people you need in your life at just the right time. You will look back and know He was with you all the time.

You have so much to look forward to – enjoy every moment!

Lots of love,

Erin

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This post was inspired by Emily Freeman and her new book Graceful for teenage girls. I don’t have a daughter to pass this book on to, but having worked with middle and high school girls as a teacher and youth group volunteer, I know how very important it will be to so many young ladies in those awkward years of self-discovery. Thank you, Emily, for ministering to those girls! And you can read lots more “Dear Me” letters linked up at Emily’s blog today!

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What I Love This Weekend

This week, I joined a fantasy football league with The Hubby and some friends for the first time. Then I set up one for girl bloggers as well. And the season has barely started and I think it is totally fun already! Anybody else doing fantasy football?

Also? This guy turned six months old yesterday.

How did that happen? Oh yeah, I blinked.

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Some of my favorite finds this week…

Living and Active: A 5 week fall challenge from Clare at Peak313 to get fit both physically and spiritually! Join me!

Two Small Words That Make a BIG Difference in Parenting: Includes a great prayer for moms at then end. I need to print it out and pray it often!

50 Uses for Baking Soda: That Jen is a genius.

On Writing: Finding Time and Making It Happen: This is my life right now. Great tips from Jessica about life as a mom and a writer.

Have a wonderful weekend! Go Huskers!

 

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What I Love This Weekend

Double J started rice cereal this past week. I totally love this look on his face at his first taste! He actually gobbles it down quite easily already!

Other things I loved this week… 

A Case for Letting Boys Be Strong – It is so hard to let go, but Brooke is so right! I want to raise strong, confident men for the Lord!

Putting Off and Putting On – Don’t just tell your children to stop bad behavior!

Summer outdoor essentials for babies and toddlers – Great advice from a family who practically lives outdoors!

Looking for a mentor? I’ve got a 40 minute session with your name on it! – A wonderful giveaway from one of my favorite authors, Sally Clarkson. I really shouldn’t tell you about the giveaway because I really want to win, but I like you!

Summer Olympics Family Fun PackWhat’s in the Bible? puts together another awesome resource and it’s FREE! Did I mention you will be entered to win prizes just by downloading this fun pack?! {And you still have time to get any DVD for only $10 PLUS 20% off when you click here to purchase!}

Be blessed this weekend!

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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What I Love This Weekend

I read this verse earlier this month as part of a She Reads Truth Bible reading plan and I can’t get it out of my head. I think God is trying to pound it in good, so I made up this little printable to help that process along! When I feel wronged in some way or get upset over something the kiddos have done, I need to take a deep breath and recite this verse a few times to help me proceed in a godly manner!

Need James 2:13 as a reminder for yourself? For your children? You can click here to download the PDF and print it for your home!

Other things I’m loving this weekend…

*A Kind Wife: Joy shares why chores should not be your top priority!

*She Reads Truth: I’ve been following along with their Bible reading plans through the last three session and I love starting my day this way! The readings are short but challenging and the community is wonderful!

*Why I’ll Never Be “The Skinniest” And Why I’m OK With That: Clare hits the nail right on the head discussing why a FIT body is better than a SKINNY body. Love her and how she inspires healthy living!

Wonderful weekend wishes to each of you!

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