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Let Me Introduce You to My Hair’s Best Friend

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!

I have had more compliments on my hair in the last few weeks than I can remember in a long time. Not bragging, just stating the facts.

Curly Hair

While I’m flattered, I thought it time to reveal the real star behind these great locks. Let me introduce you to my hair’s best friend…

Hair's Best Friend

A curling wand. The Hot Tools HTBW1852 Curly-Q Tapered Nanoceramic Curling Iron, to be exact.

One of my best friends is a hair stylist and she knows the goods for getting great hair, so this was an amazing gift she gave me last year. My hair is stick straight and does not normally hold curl well, but with this curling wand, the style will last for a couple days, only needing a few touch-ups!

Curling Wand

The secret is the high heat, which also makes it slightly dangerous for a klutz like me. And that’s why you MUST wear the glove that comes with it. Just think of it as a nod to the late great Michael Jackson. You can even listen to a little “Thriller” while you curl if that floats your boat.

I would do a video, but I think I might kill myself trying to demonstrate this all. Or at least subject myself to serious burns. Pinterest has all sorts of more professional curling wand tutorials and I pinned some on my Style: Hair board. I leave the step-by-step videos to them. But rest assured that if I can do it, you can do it!

I can give you these few tips from my stylist best friend…

  • Spray your hair with a light hair spray before your curl, then section off the top and work on the bottom first.
  • Second or third day hair works GREAT for this.
  • Small sections of hair will give you tighter curls. Larger sections will give you loose waves. I go somewhere in-between usually.
  • Wrap the section of hair around the wand away from your face in the front. Further back in your hair, you can mix up the direction of wrapping.
  • Spray after your curl to set everything.
  • I shake my hair a little after I’m all done curling to give it a little more body.

My hubby loves the “beachy wave” look and I love how long it lasts – win-win! And it’s less than $35 for my hair’s best friend – worth every penny and more!

Have you tried a curling wand?

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Let’s Talk About Socks, Baby!

A post about socks? Seriously?!

Yeah, I know that’s what you’re thinking, but just hang with me here and you’ll see why I think this is worth sharing with you.

First of all, I didn’t know how much people could love socks until I met my husband. He just loves the feeling of a brand new pair of socks. I did NOT get that at all. Until I started running. Then I discovered just how magnificent the right pair of socks can be.

I can’t remember how I first heard about Mitscoots, but being a person who loves to purchase products that give back, I loved hearing the story behind Mitscoots…

WHILE VOLUNTEERING ALONG THE STREETS OF AUSTIN, TEXAS CIRCA 2008, WE DISCOVERED THAT RIGHT AFTER FOOD AND WATER, THERE WAS NO GREATER REQUEST AMONG THE LESS FORTUNATE THAN FOR A CLEAN PAIR OF SOCKS.

I was just floored by this. I had no idea how important socks were to those living on the streets, but it totally makes sense to me now why socks would be requested so often. Socks make me feel comfortable, warm, safe.

Mitscoots logo

Mitscoots is taking this lesser known need and doing something about it… and then some.

FOR EVERY PAIR PURCHASED, WE GIVE AN EQUAL QUALITY PAIR OF SOCKS TO SOMEONE IN NEED AND TAKE PRIDE IN EMPLOYING THOSE LESS FORTUNATE TO GET EACH AND EVERY PAIR OF OUR SOCKS PACKAGED UP AND READY TO GO.
MITSCOOTS ARE SOCKS WITH A MISSION:  GET + GIVE + EMPLOY

Not only does your purchase of Mitscoots socks provide socks for someone in need, but your purchase also helps to employ a man or woman who was without a job before they connected with Mitscoots. I get really excited about this kind of model.

We haven’t even talked about the socks yet! Mitscoots sent me two pair of my choosing to try out and I L.O.V.E. them both! The socks are 100% American made – just another reason to love everything Mitscoots is doing.

Mitscoots Performance

Of course I picked out a pair of their performance socks to try for running. The Margaret is a white, low-cut, moisture-wicking sock and it is currently my favorite sock for running! The fabric is breathable and lightweight, but also strong and supportive. And they have a little green detail on it and green is my favorite color, so there’s that…

The other pair I’ve been sporting is the The Linda. Well, I haven’t been able to wear them as much as I would like because it is summer and it is HOT, but I just adore these polka-dot beauties. I knew the nights would get chilly around the campfire at the lake over the Fourth of July, so I was giddy about packing these socks! They are fun and well-made and you need a pair.

Mitscoots Linda

Maybe you wouldn’t normally spend this much on a pair of socks, but I know high quality running socks can be $12 a pair or more, so I have no problem paying $13.99 for pair that will also give back to the community AND employ someone. I think Mitscoots socks would make a great gift for the athlete in your family or a fun girlfriend gift just because!

I was given two pair of Mitscoots socks to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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Schlitterbahn: Something for Everyone!

If you’ve watched the news or been on social media at all in the past week, you’ve heard about Verruckt. It is the world’s tallest water slide and it is set to open to the public today at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.

Verruckt is taller than the Statue of Liberty and that is just NOT my thing. I know plenty of thrill seekers who are dying to give it a try, but not me. And I’m happy to tell you, whether you’re a daredevil or a mama to littles, our visit to Schlitterbahn this month showed me there is something for everyone there!

Our whole family loves the water, so making a waterpark a part of our vacation was a no-brainer. A few other waterparks were considered, but ultimately eliminated because most of the rides and attractions had height requirements our little munchkins didn’t quite meet. That’s when Schlitterbahn caught The Hubby’s eye.

Entrance

Welcome

Although there are several “big kid” slides and rides that require riders to be 48″ or taller, Schlitterbahn is very family-friendly and we spent over six hours at the park and had more than enough thrills and fun suitable for all of us!

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For the littles, there is the Kinderhaven + Wyandotte Express train area…

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And the Pirate Ship at Henry’s Hideout {with heated water!}…

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You can step things up from there but still relax with the Kristal River lazy river…

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For a little more excitement, the King Kaw Rapids were a favorite for all of us. Just thrilling enough for the older boys, but safe enough for 2 1/2 year old Double J to enjoy with us riding in the child seat of a tube with a life jacket on. We all went back to the rapids several times!

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The Torrent River Wave Pool was tested out by Little j and The Hubby before we all decided to give it a whirl and this was another favorite! Much like the King Kaw Rapids, it was fun and safe for all of us!

Big J and The Hubby had a blast on the Storm Blaster ride, and there are much larger slides like the Twister, Cyclone, Black Knight Tube Slide, and of course, the brand new Verruckt.

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We attended the park on a Tuesday and it was busy, but not crowded. We were able to do everything we wanted with very little waiting. Schlitterbahn allows you to bring your own food + drink in, but also offers several food + drink options inside the park. We rented a locker to keep our stuff safe while we had fun and highly recommend this.

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I absolutely LOVE that life jackets and tubes are available free! On the website they say these are available in limited quantities, but there were always plenty when we needed them!

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I won’t lie: Schlitterbahn is not cheap. Thankfully, Double J was free and we got a discount for buying our tickets online. I was a little nervous about paying that much for a place we knew little about, but after a day there, I would do it again in a heartbeat for a special experience the whole family loved! I talked to a local mom who has a pass they use all summer long – if we lived in the Kansas City area, I would definitely get a pass as we would all want to go back often!

Lounging

Boys entrance

Couple park
Full park

Family entrance

If Verruckt has you excited about Schlitterbahn, then go for it! But if the opening of Verruckt made you think Schlitterbahn is for the older crowd, I’m here to assure you everyone from the littles to the bigs to the adults in your group will love this waterpark!

Does your family love waterparks? Have you visited Schlitterbahn?

This is NOT a sponsored post. Schlitterbahn has no idea who I am or that I’m writing this. We just loved our experience and I had to share!

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Most of the pictures in this post are from our new GoPro HERO 3+ camera {affiliate link}. There is no way I would have used my nice camera at the waterpark and we had a blast taking underwater pictures, videos on the rides, and not worrying about the camera getting ruined! SO MUCH FUN! If your family loves the water and loves to record their adventures, this is the camera to use! I love it so much, I’ll probably do a whole separate post on it!

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Armed With Truth: Wearing the Word!

I am very passionate about the Word of God. I think more so right now than at any other point in my life. It is Truth. It is my lifeline. It is my hope and sword and shield.

I am equally passionate about my boys knowing the Word of God for themselves. The older boys each have their own Bible and when they have a question about a verse, we get the Bible out and look it up. And we’ve made memorizing key verses a priority – hiding the Word in our hearts, if you will.

Scripture music has been a favorite way to memorize Bible verses, and now we’ve added a new favorite way to keep important verses close by…

Armed With Truth 2

Armed with Truth is an awesome new company designing temporary tattoos with Scripture as their focus! And they weren’t just created with kids in mind – Armed with Truth tattoos can be worn by anyone!

Armed With Truth 1

The basic Scripture tattoos come in packs of 10 based on themes such as fearless, identity, and missions for just $9.95. The ones we’re sporting here are from the kids pack!

Armed with Truth 5

The awesome graphic tattoos, seen above on my foot and below on Little J’s arm, are part of the designer series which come with two of the same tattoo for $4.95-$5.95.

Armed with Truth 6

We have received so many fun comments from people since we started wearing them! And for me, it has been a great way to keep the Truth I need to remember right in view at all times. I really needed that Philippians 2:3-4 reminder often during the days I was wearing it! I also wore one during my half marathon this weekend to remember all good gifts – health, strength, joy – come from Him!

I know you want to get your hands on your own tattoos for your family, so hop on over to Armed with Truth to pick out your favorites! And then enter our fun giveaway for $15 to spend in the Armed with Truth store!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AWT blogger*I received these tattoos as part of the Armed with Truth blogger program. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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Surprised by Motherhood

My dear Lisa-Jo wrote a book. Surprised by Motherhood. It is her journey of never wanting to be a mom.  Of losing her own mom. Of South Africa and the Ukraine and the United States. Of becoming a mom. And of being surprised by all things motherhood, especially the wonder of it all.

I was surprised by motherhood, as well, but in a very different way.

I always wanted to be a mother. As a child, I enjoyed holding babies and taking care of the younger kids. My sister and I even fought over who got to hold the newest baby cousin and for how long. I started babysitting at an early age, partially because of the money, but also because it was fun for me. Even in high school, I was voted “would make the best mom” in my senior class. And I loved that.

I worked at a daycare. I taught elementary school for five years. I really thought I had motherhood all figured out and was ready to tackle it head on. When Big J was born, motherhood felt exhausting, but still pretty natural. He got older, we added siblings for him, and then I got my surprise.

“It was like discovering a superpower – becoming a mom for the first time. It has led me to believe that motherhood should come with a superhero cape along with the free diaper bag and samples you get when the hospital sends you, otherwise defenseless, home.”

Motherhood is hard. Way harder than I ever imagined. And I don’t think it is all the kids’ fault. I know it’s not. I think I was surprised so much by motherhood because it made me confront just how selfish I am and how much I’ve always wanted to be in control. Yep, motherhood will mess with all those things in a big way.

“I didn’t know I was selfish until I had kids. I didn’t know I was angry and quick to keep a list of wrongs done to me, of slight slights, of everything I felt entitled to and was happy to demand.”

But motherhood is also hard because I love these sons of mine more than I knew was possible. I want so much for them. I feel like I should never stop praying for them. All the emotions I feel towards my children and magnified because of the great love I feel for them. My boys can be the cause for great joy, great sorrow, great frustration…all in the same day. Lisa-Jo says, “Sometimes you don’t realize you have a temper until you have kids.” And, “Nothing can hurt as much as the fears we carry for our children.” This could not be more true.

Boys Looking Up Blog

If I’m being real honest here, I have always been terrible at follow-through, especially with long-term tasks. Motherhood is definitely long-term and NOT following through is not an option for me, so I am being stretched and grown in unimaginable ways. Some days the stretching hurts, but when I pause long enough to see God at work, I feel and see so much more clearly…

“With this boy wrapped in my arms, this flesh and blood and bone that I had grown in my womb, clinging to me, I understood what the God parent feels for me. To die for this love – yes, it made sense.”

These days I’m being surprised by finding new ways to enjoy motherhood. Much of this comes from knowing that no mom thinks her job is easy. There is great relief in that knowledge.

It also comes from learning more about the amazing boys God has given us and the ways He in which He has connected us. I feel like a student all over again. And I’m making my strengths work for me – being silly and dancing more, communicating more effectively with the boys, finding ways to be positive during the rough days.

Surprised by Motherhood

If you were sitting near me when I started reading this beautiful, transparent memoir of motherhood, you would have been passing me Kleenex after Kleenex as I related so closely with Lisa-Jo’s words, despite our very different stories.

And I’m needing a Kleenex now as I write this and realize just how I needed to hear her real, nitty-gritty, wonder-filled motherhood story. How every mom needs to read the ups and downs of someone else’s motherhood story to realize just how brave and not alone they are. Lisa-Jo gets it. She gets me. She gets us, moms.

Congrats, Lisa-Jo. Your newest baby is just gorgeous.

Surprised by Motherhood is available TODAY! Yes, TODAY! Order now!

 

*I received a copy of this book to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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That Pesky Love Idol

I mentioned Jennifer Dukes Lee’s Love Idol back at the beginning of Lent. I had just started reading it and even the first few pages spoke to something I’ve struggled with, well, for all time. I like to be liked. I like to be heard. I wouldn’t always call myself a people-pleaser, but the applause and approval of other humans often edges out the approval of the only One who matters.

“I knew what the Bible said about me, but I measured my worth by other barometers – the mirror, report cards, and my performance among peers – even if it broke well-established moral rules.”

Reading Love Idol has been like therapy for me. With each chapter, I identify with another piece of Jennifer’s story – the striving for good grades, the saying “yes” so you don’t disappoint someone, being wrapped up in what others will think and riding the roller-coaster of their reactions.

“We ache to live our Christ identity more fully, instead of living a life yielded to our approval ratings. It is not a popularity contest. It is not a materialistic chase for medals, money, or Twitter @mentions.”

Unfortunately, the approval-seeking has been my default for so long. It’s a pesky love idol to shake. Pesky, but not impossible.

Preapproved Blog

As part of my Lenten journey this year, I gave up looking at my blog statistics. I did a lot more writing from the heart, not for numbers or comments. It felt a little bold and scary, but also felt like it was less about me.

“God’s Word compels us to choose the Holy Trinity, not the self-centric trio of Me, Myself, and I.”

Can I tell you what I love about Jennifer’s message so much?

Love Idol

It isn’t about denying any praise or compliments that come your way. It’s Jesus and our hearts. It’s about refocusing. And all of this leads to freedom. I need that daily. 

“When you and I no longer rely on praise or approval for our performance, we find new freedom: We can enjoy affirmation without craving it.”

The whole idea of being pre-approved? I’ve plastered those genius little signs on my computer, my bathroom wall, my planner. I can’t write anything that will make Jesus love me more or less. My appearance on any given day has no weight in His eyes. There is no planning or scheduling or working my way into a better place in heaven. I am and always have been pre-approved by Him.

“I yearn for us all to know the deep, deep love of Jesus – that it would be enough, that it always has been enough, and that it’s a love that can never be over matched by anything or anyone in this world.”

Love Idol is marked with many underlined passages and stars in the margins. It bears the soul of its writer in such a way that I felt as though we were confessing and story-sharing over coffee. It spurs me on in my desire to be less about me and ALL about Him. It will be in my nightstand for a long time as I continue to let go of my pesky love idol and hold tight to the love of my Savior.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you join the Love Idol Movement on Facebook! So inspiring!

 

I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own! All quotes are from the book!

 

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What I Wore: Uncommon Goods

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I like fashion. A lot. Getting dressed – a full outfit – each and every day is one of my ways to take care of myself and put my best self out there for my family. But if we’re just going to be home all day, I like to be comfortable. And warm. Wearing something like this…

Uncommon Goods Outfit

Flannel shirt, comfy jeans. Fall + winter perfection. And while I spent the day at home, a little jewelry was in order because I have a new favorite bracelet and I want to wear it all the time…

Uncommon Goods Bracelet

That gorgeous bracelet right there? That’s from the lovely people at Uncommon Goods, a company all about unique gifts at great prices. I could spend hours over there looking through all the beautiful accessories and home pieces, but the handmade items at Uncommon Goods are really where it’s at. And when I scrolled past this bracelet, I didn’t need to look any further.

Uncommon Goods Handmade

The Love Birch Cuff, handmade by Nancy Nelson, is just the right mix of glam and casual for me. This week I wore it church and at home. It works for jeans + a flannel or with a date night dress. And it celebrates the blessing that is my best friend, partner in life, husband. That’s my favorite part about it. Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure my kids can’t break it. Solid brass for the win! {You can order it with or without personalization}

The handmade section of Uncommon Goods is treasure chest of beautiful gift idea, and even includes a recycled items section! How adorable is this necklace from the recycled collection?!

Mother Nestling BirdsI mean seriously with this Mother Nestling Birds necklace. So gorgeous and meaningful!

You’ll find so many things to love at Uncommon Goods! You HAVE to go look around for yourself! Send a few links to your loved ones for gift ideas – you will get the best, unique presents ever!

Have you had a look around at Uncommon Goods yet? What caught your eye?

 

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

*I received this bracelet to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

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Say Goodbye to Survival Mode!

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!

My focus this year is on vitality. In all areas of life. No longer just surviving, but rather living a full, energetic, passionate life. Choosing a word for the year is not just about having it there to motivate you – you have to do something. And while I was wanting to leave survival mode behind, I needed a plan to jump start my year of vitality.

That’s when Crystal Paine’s newest book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, came into my life.

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I often love the concepts presented in non-fiction books like this one, but I have a hard time finishing them. I get overwhelmed by all of the things I should be doing and put the book away before applying any of the concepts.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is a totally different story. I felt like Crystal was telling my tale of being overwhelmed, easily distracted, and just plain tired. As a fellow mom of three little ones, reading about Crystal’s path out of survival mode provided me with a lot of hope!

And along with hope, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode serves up nine strategies for moving forward with intention and life! My favorite strategies are along the lines of time management because that is where I struggle most. A few of my favorite tips:

Record what you do every half hour for 2-3 days.

I actually did this and WOW. So much wasted time here are there! But even just the act of recording what I was doing with my time made me be more intentional. I wanted to make better use of each chunk of time and I stopped doing a few unnecessary things that were showing up too often on the list!

Use those five minutes here and there.

Crystal includes a great starter list of things you could get done in that extra five minutes you have here and there instead of mindlessly surfing Facebook. I’ve started my own list to hang on the fridge to remind me that I own my time and can make it work better for me if I don’t waste it!

Set focused work time.

As an easily-distracted person, I have a hard time using time wisely. I have too many open windows in my browser. Multi-tasking is often my enemy and the thief of some of my vitality. I’ve been scheduling my days better since reading this book, and my writing time has been a lot more productive. Focused work time also means my time with my family is more focused as well.

These were my biggest “aha” moments, but Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is so much more than this. You’ll also find Crystal’s help to:

  • feel healthier and more energetic by setting priorities and boundaries
  • eliminate stress with savvy management of your time, money, and home
  • get more done by setting realistic goals and embracing discipline
  • rediscover your passions—and the confidence to pursue them

I don’t know many women who WOULDN’T benefit from reading this book, trying Crystal’s strategies, and finding life beyond just surviving! I am grateful to Crystal for sharing her life in such an honest and inspiring way and I am thrilled about the direction Say Goodbye to Survival Mode has me moving in for 2014!

SPECIAL, LIMITED TIME OFFER:

To celebrate the release of her book this week, Crystal is offering a collection of amazing prizes for those who buy the book. Simply go to www.GoodbyeSurvivalModeBook.com now for details. And there are lots of special giveaways every day this week as well! You can also pick up the book anywhere books are sold, including Amazon.

Are you in survival mode? What area of your life could use a new strategy?

 

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Praying for Boys

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!

This is a very significant month if you’re a boy raiser like me. This is the month my dear friend Brooke’s book, Praying for Boys, is released!

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Nothing has impacted the way I pray for my boy more than Brooke’s words, starting with her ebook, Warrior Prayers, and now Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most.

God connected Brooke and I several years ago via the wonderful worldwide web and through that divine appointment, The MOB Society was born. I am so thankful to be on this boy-raising journey with her because, though our boys are roughly the same age, God has given Brooke a passionate heart for praying for our sons and wisdom beyond both our years as a mother from which I draw much strength and inspiration.

“Raising boys brings one adventure after another, but we’re losing the beauty and importance of training up godly men. Our boys need faithful Christian parents now more than ever. We can choose to rejoin the war for the hearts of our sons…today.”

Praying for Boys includes the original Scripture-based prayers from Warrior Prayers, but it is so much more than that. Brooke shares many personal stories that any boy mom or dad could relate with, as well as wonderful stories of the faithfulness of her grandmothers in their own journeys of raising boys.

“Remember mama, God hasn’t asked you to win the battle for the hearts of your sons. He’s only asked you to fight.”

I don’t know what I’m doing raising boys, but God does. When I try it on my own, I find only frustration and feelings of failure. When I bathe my sons {and my own motherhood} in prayers, there is hope in Jesus. And I don’t even have to have the right words because Brooke provides them aplenty in Praying for Boys.

“If their knees are ever to bend to Jesus as Savior, their hearts must bend first. This is the place of a mama’s prayers.”

This book has joined Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys as my go-to manuals for raising strong, godly men. It will stir your heart. It will move you to action. It will get you on your knees, right where God wants us. I’m doing it for these guys.

Praying for My Boys

I could not be more proud of Brooke and this book and thankful for her following God’s call to write it. Well done, friend. I needed this and I know so many boy raisers will find it to be just what they needed as well.

Praying for Boys: Asking God for What They Need Most releases January 7, 2014, but you can pre-order it now just to make sure you get it as soon as it is ready!

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The Berry Patch

I feel it necessary for you to know about my friend Renée’s amazing Etsy shop, The Berry Patch, before you go any further with your holiday shopping.

I’m convinced she can make just about anything crafty, but she totally rocks at sewing. And our family has benefited from her talents many times.

She made these ADORABLE shirts for the boys a few years ago…

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I’ve sported a couple skirts made by her for fun races…

Irishman Finish Strong

M2M Team Sparkle Skirt Photo Crop

And now I have this super fun shirt to wear on Husker game days…


Berry Patch tee

I don’t have to tell you how cute the design of this chevron pocket long sleeve tee is because you can see that for yourself. But what you can’t see is how unbelievably comfortable and soft the shirt is!

Berry Patch tee close

Of course I picked a Husker-themed shirt, but Renée can put together one in your favorite colors, whether team-related or not! I know I will get a lot of wear out of this shirt even when it is not football season because it is so cute and comfy!

Berry Patch infinityShirts and skirts aren’t the only things you can find at The Berry Patch! One of her most popular items right now is the infinity scarf! She has stripes, chevron, and all sorts of colors. They are also available in child sizes! {Seriously, go check out the pics of her sweet little girl in the kids’ infinity scarves pics.}

And speaking of child size, she has some fun dress-up dresses for girls, superhero capes for boys, and cute burp cloths! You can cover all the kids with gifts from The Berry Patch!

So here’s the scoop on ordering from The Berry Patch

1. If you’re looking to do a custom order, such as a pocket tee like mine or something you see on her Facebook page, just use the “Contact Shop Owner” button on the left side of her Etsy page!

2. If you would like to order a Christmas gift, you must place your order by this Friday, November 29th! You may place orders after Friday, but they are not guaranteed to be ready in time for Christmas!

Don’t forget to like The Berry Patch on Facebook because they are always posting new designs and fabric, including the ugly Christmas sweater infinity scarf! Love it!

Which Berry Patch design are you loving the most?

 

Thank you to Renée for providing this great shirt for me to review! I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

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