Styling a Sweater Vest for Spring!

I received this vest to review. I was not compensated in any other way 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!

When I mention the words “sweater vest,” you probably don’t think of spring or a date night, but I’m here to change that for you today! Chadwick’s of Boston sent me one of their boyfriend sweater vests in red – perfect for this Husker alum – to review and I decided to pair it with a dress for an edgy spring date night look!

Chadwicks Vest 1

You can’t go wrong with lots of black for a night out, but I like to add a pop of color to all that black!

Chadwicks Vest 2

A boyfriend sweater vest provides that pop of color without a heavy extra layer on these warmer days. Paired with the black Dressember dress from Elegantees (the dress is currently sold out, but get 10% off your order of anything else with the code “homewiththeboys” at checkout) and my black riding boots, the vest gets a little fun and funky!

Chadwicks Vest 3

And I just adore a fun hat and great jewelry to complete a look! Because I get so much color from the boyfriend vest, I stuck with my black Cents of Style hat (on clearance for $19.95 right now) and tied it all together with a great Noonday necklace!

A sweater vest doesn’t have to be stuffy and it’s not only meant for winter! It’s fun to play with a piece like this to come up with fresh ways to wear it!

Chadwick's Vest Collage

I have teamed up with some very stylish bloggers to share different ways to wear a sweater vest this spring. Each of us are doing something different – how cool! Click on over and see…then come back and tell me how YOU want to wear a sweater vest, like the one from Chadwick’s of Boston, this season!

Shannon with the SIMPLE moms // Ellen with That Chic Mom // Andrea with Momma in Flip Flops // Erin with Home with the Boys // Erin with A Parenting Production // Maria with Very Busy Mama

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What I Wore: PinkBlush

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

I love finding new trendy boutiques online, don’t you?! As a mom, shopping usually involves kids in tow and that is just not as fun, so online shopping has become a favorite for me!

I was recently introduced to a fun women’s online boutique for ladies of all shapes and sizes, including you pregnant gals! PinkBlush is a family-owned boutique with a little bit of everything and it is all gorgeous! When they contacted me about featuring an item, I had the hardest time choosing just one item because I love so many, especially the cute dresses for women!

Ultimately I landed on this fabulous piece:

PinkBlush Floral Shirt Tall

This bell sleeve floral tunic is unbelievably comfortable and so feminine! I’m wearing a size small and it has plenty of room. I also love the length which covers my behind! Yay for long tunics!

PinkBlush Floral Side PinkBlush Floral Up Close

I’ve worn this dressed up to speak for a conference and dressed down on a normal weekday. It’s really comfortable enough to sleep in, but I won’t take it that far! PinkBlush has so many versatile pieces like this that will make you feel like a million bucks, but cost much, much less!

PinkBlush is all over social media with great styling ideas and features from real women just like me! I love to follow them on Instagram at @shoppinkblush and check out the hashtags #pinkblush and #shoppinkblush for inspiration.

Now for the fun: who wants to go shopping at the PinkBlush Boutique?! I’m giving away one $50 gift card to PinkBlush and you could win! Just enter below and tell your friends!

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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!

How about a little What I Wore post to break the silence here? Since it has been so long, I’ll pick a few favorites from the past month or so to highlight!

Common themes: lots of snow (and not the best lighting), vests, boots, and Evy’s Tree!

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maroon top – Cents of Style, vest – boutique, jeggings – American Eagle, boots – Frye, necklace – Noonday, earrings – Nickel + Suede

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Brooke tunic – Evy’s Tree, vest – Swellas, jeans – KanCans (boutique), flats – Tieks, necklace – Beautiful + Beloved

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Janelle hoodie tunic – Evy’s Tree, scarf – Cents of Style, leggings – Costco, boots – Roma Boots

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Nicole hoodie – Evy’s Tree, trapeze dress – eBay, jeggings – American Eagle, lace extender – Amazon, boots – Bed Stu, necklace – Beautiful + Beloved

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Britt cape – Evy’s Tree, striped shirt – H&M, jeans – Target, boots – LAMO, earrings – Paisley & Sparrow

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Sophie hoodie – Evy’s Tree, hi-lo chiffon extender – Grace & Lace, jeans – Cello, boots – Lane Boots, tote – fashionABLE

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Addyson hoodie + belt – Evy’s Tree, lace extender – Amazon, leggings – Costco, boots – Roma Boots

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Makenzie hoodie – Evy’s Tree, tank – Target, jeggings – American Eagle, boots – Frye, necklace – Greenola, earrings – Paisley + SparrowKuhfs Collage

sweatshirt tunic – Target (clearance!), leggings – NikiBiki (boutique), boots – Target, earrings – Nickel + Suede, Hampton plaid cuffs – Kuhfs

Have you heard of Kuhfs? They are a fun, unique accessory that can dress up your boots, pants, jeans, or leggings! I adore plaid, so this Hampton style is just perfect! I attached them to these boots quite easily and then can remove them to add to the bottom of my jeans when I want! Kuhfs has lots of adorable styles for every taste – check them out!

FYI: I’m much more consistent about posting over on Instagram – have we connected over there yet? I’d love to have you!

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A Chocolate Lover’s Toffee Blondie

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Nebraska Furniture Mart. I was compensated for this post, but all ideas and opinions are 100% my own.

I know most chocolate lovers would reach for a brownie before a blondie, but this one may change their mind! I am a die-hard chocolate lover and I am delighted to find chunks of delicious chocolate inside of a buttery cookie dough. While everyone else is going all death-by-chocolate with triple chocolate brownies (which I love as well), I want the chocolate to be the star, not the everything of my dessert.

Blondies On Plate

And let’s talk about toffee. Toffee is my love language. Well, actually gifts is my love language, but toffee is one of my favorite gifts, so there you go. If we’re talking about me feeling loved, chocolate and toffee are a good place to start.

Chopped Chocolate

Now, not just any chocolate will do. I love all kinds of chocolate – milk, dark, white, semisweet – equally, but different occasions call for particular kinds. For this season of love, I prefer dark chocolate by itself and milk chocolate in my dessert!

Blondie Chocolate

Look at those glorious chunks of chocolate! Swoon…

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Nebraska Furniture Mart is in the mood for chocolate, too! They are partnering with Frigidaire Gallery and See’s Candies to give chocolate to YOU! From February 3rd thru the 16th, Nebraska Furniture Mart is offering a free box of See’s Chocolates with any Frigidaire Gallery purchase. Also during this time, NFM is offering 36-month financing for Frigidaire Gallery products, which are ALL on sale. New appliances + free chocolate = lots to love!

Chocolate Bars

With all this love going around, I have to share a dessert recipe to celebrate! And of course, it includes that yummy See’s Candies milk chocolate!

CHOCOLATE LOVER'S

A Chocolate Lover’s Toffee Blondie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8-12 oz. See’s  Candies milk chocolate (4-6 bars), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9 x 13 in. pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugars with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer or by hand. Add eggs and vanilla, scraping the bowl as needed to combine all ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and kosher salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. If mixing by hand, add the dry ingredients in several batches, mixing in between. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks and toffee bits.

Spread the dough evenly into the greased pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Cooking time will vary with oven and elevation. Let the bars cool completely in the pan before cutting. Makes 24 bars.

 

How do you like your chocolate this Valentine’s Day? What is your favorite chocolate dessert?

For lots of yummy chocolate treat recipes, check out the Gallery of Sweets here!

 

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Valentine’s Day Style with SoloHope!

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!

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

Mom Stylin'

I love a good reason to get dressed up. And I really, really love red. Valentine’s Day is the best of both worlds. This year, I’m adding one more love to my Valentine’s Day style: fair trade jewelry!

View More: http://ashleystephen.pass.us/solohope2016

The Red Cheer set from SoloHope is THE perfect set to add a pop of red to your Valentine’s Day outfit. I love the jewelry and I love the story behind Solo Hope!

SoloHope’s founder, Emilee, fell in love with the people of Honduras on a missions trip at age 16 and, on her subsequent trips back to the country, learned of the need for many women to provide for their families as well as the lack of jobs for these women. Emilee dreamed up a jewelry design, partnered with these women as artisan designers, and started selling the jewelry here in the United States. And SoloHope just keeps growing! I love it all.

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The Red Cheer set – a necklace, bangle bracelet, and earrings – is part of the Luxe 2.0 collection just launched this winter. Each piece is beautifully handcrafted in Honduras with pine straw and thread. It is the perfect blend of fun + glam. Can you tell how much I love it?!

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I went for a dressier look with this fabulous asymmetrical dress, red skinnies, and short black boots. You can’t go wrong with black and red on Valentine’s Day!

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I also wore this set out on a more casual date night with The Hubby last weekend with a white button-down and distressed jeans. I changed up the length of the necklace by doubling it over and tying the ends with ribbon around my neck. If you want just a little pop of festive red, this is the way to go!

My friend and fellow fashion-loving mom, Shannon, is styling the In The Rough necklace from SoloHope over on her blog today – you have to check it out!

Blowing Kisses Blog

We’re sending a little Heart Day love from SoloHope to you! Use the code VDAYFORMOM to get free shipping on your order until Valentine’s Day! If you want your pieces by Valentine’s Day, make sure you order now!

Do you have Valentine’s Day plans? Dressed up or more casual? How would you wear the Red Cheer set?

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What I’m Reading in 2016

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 really, really love to read and it is one of those things I wish I had more time to do. Reading makes me feel more alive and gets my creative wheels turning. I need reading in my life. We have to schedule our priorities to make them happen, so I’m putting reading on my calendar this year and keeping books near me at all times to fill in the gaps of the day.

I’m also making a plan of what I want to read. I have SO many books on my shelves waiting to be opened and new books are coming out every week. I feel like if I make a plan for this year, I will hopefully stick to it more closely and cross off a whole lot of books on my “to-read” list!

To help me in starting my list of what I’m reading in 2016, I decided to take the 2016 Reading Challenge laid out on by Anne Bogel on her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and here’s what I came up with:

What I'm Reading in 2016

a book published this year

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch – Kristen is an honest, godly voice that I respect so much, especially her thoughts on service, marriage, and parenthood. Her first book, Rhinestone Jesus, was beautiful, and I need to read these new words from her about children and parenting. This is a topic our world so desperately needs to address.

a book you can finish in a day

Four: The Transfer by Veronica Roth – When I finished the Divergent series, I meant to read the follow-up novellas telling the story from Four’s perspective, but I just forgot! I know I can tackle at least one of the four novellas in a day.

a book you’ve been meaning to read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – It’s true. I’ve never read the Harry Potter books. I’m not really sure why, but I think it’s time.

a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – My parents gave me this book for my birthday last year, but I’m including it in this category because I mentioned it to our local librarian and she raved about it! I’ve already started in on this novel and it is fascinating.

a book you should have read in school

Night by Elie Wiesel – When I was looking at lists of books I “should” have read in high school, I thought maybe I had read this one, but after reading more about it, I guess not! I know it is a heavy subject matter, but I do look forward to reading this autobiographical account of the Holocaust because of the history and importance of remembering.

a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – I am giddy to read this series for many reasons, but most of all because my nine-year-old son can’t WAIT for me to read it. It was originally recommended to us by Ellie Holcomb at her concert Big J and I went to together. He devoured all four books in the series and is now just waiting for his mom to catch up!

a book published before you were born

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer – I see this book quoted all over the place and I love every quote I’ve seen shared. And it has been sitting in my Kindle library just waiting to be read, so this is the year!

a book that was banned at some point

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – The Hubby says I need to read it. The end.

a book you previously abandoned

A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester – I didn’t abandon this book because I didn’t like it. Life just got busy and it was forgotten. I really like what I had read so far, so I’m excited to read the rest! God has put hospitality and service forefront in my heart and mind this year and this book falls right in line with that calling.

a book you own but have never read

Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle – Melanie’s books always make me laugh out loud and I know this one will be just as humorous! I just love the way she writes, and I’m can’t wait to read her take on friendship.

a book that intimidates you

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – I know it’s funny I’m intimated by the book upon which one of my favorite movies is based, but I just haven’t been able to tackle it yet! I think it’s my own mental block, but this year I WILL overcome! Actually, this is the first book I’m going to “read” as an audiobook because everyone is raving about listening to books. I’ll let you know how it goes!

a book you’ve already read at least once

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I read this entire series in the summer between seventh and eighth grade. I’ve been thinking about reading it again as an adult, so I committing to it this year because of this challenge!

 

Are you taking the reading challenge? What is on your list to read this year?

 

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3 Ways to Wear Short Western Boots

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!

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

Mom Stylin'

Shannon and I are back with our first style feature of 2016 and it is a fabulous one!

I stumbled across Tecovas Boots on Twitter a few weeks ago. Being a boot lover, I was immediately interested and it took me about two seconds flat to know I needed a pair!

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What makes Tecovas so unique?

Tecovas is the first western boot brand dedicated to selling top-quality, handmade boots at honest prices by only selling them directly to customers. I can tell you this: I have shopped high quality leather western boots in the past and the prices are way up there. Tecovas has brought those sky-high prices down with their approach!

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Tecovas also focused on three things in their extensive development process: comfortable fit, custom leather, and classic style. They want their boots to be the most comfortable boots you’ve ever worn and I think they nailed it!

There are two Tecovas styles for women. The Jamie is your traditional cowgirl height and the Penny is a shorter western boot. Both are available in Bourbon, Midnight, and Desert. I have been wearing my Midnight Penny boots every chance I get because they are so stylish and comfortable!

Here’s a few ideas of how to style your short western boots:

3 Ways to Wear Short Western Boots

Everyday Comfort

Tecovas Comfy Outfit

Yes, it is cold here in Nebraska. I am living in warm clothes, like this sweater tunic and skinny jeans. A comfy outfit is pulled together quickly with the Penny boots which work perfectly with tucked in skinny jeans or leggings!

Coffee Date or Girls’ Night Out

Tecovas Girls' Night

This is what I would wear if I was meeting someone for coffee at Stories Coffeehouse (my favorite in town) or going out for Mexican with my girlfriends! I’m late to these style trends, but I’m digging ponchos and big floppy hats now! Better late than never, right? Instead of tucking my skinny jeans in, I cuffed them above the short boots. This will be a great option for spring when the windchill isn’t below zero like it is at this moment!

Date Night

Tecovas Date Night

Date nights are my fave. I like to get dressed up for date night. Faux leather leggings are a super fun date night option! They pair like a dream with a sweater dress and the Penny boots! I can’t wait to try them with a few fun, flirty dresses for spring date nights.

You’re in love with Tecovas Boots now, aren’t you?! Shannon shared her styling for the Penny boots today, so check out her post!

We adore this new company and they want to bless one of you with a $100 gift card for your own pair of boots! Head on over to Instagram to find out how to enter!

Which pair of Tecovas Boots would you buy if you won this giveaway?

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Knowing God by Naming Names

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!

We take names very seriously in our house.

The Hubby and I pored over the meanings and bible verses as we chose names for our three sons. We prayed, asking God to guide us in choosing each name, and He answered each time. In our dining room, a print hangs on the wall with the first and middle name of each boy along with the bible verse that goes with that name.

A name holds so much. In our society, your name is your identity. When people know your name, you feel valued and important. You feel known.

My kids get this feeling. When they started at a new school this year, hearing another classmate call them by name, inviting them to play at recess or sit with them at lunch, was a huge victory.

God wants our kids to know Him in this way. He wants them to know His NAMES (yes, plural) and to call out to Him with those names. And I believe when our kids know the variety of names by which we can call God, they will know Him even better. As it says in the Bible:

Those who know your name put their trust in you. —Psalm 9:10

Knowing God helps us, and our kids, trust Him better. That’s a pretty awesome reason to get to know His names, right?!

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What names of God should you share with your kids first? Let’s start with these:

Immanuel

This is a name we hear a lot around Christmas time, but I like to keep in my mind year round. “Immanuel” means “God with us.” Before my kids know about all the ways God works in their lives, I want them to know He is always with them! Because God is with us, He can be all the things we need Him to be in our lives.

Rabbi

Jesus was often called “Rabbi,” which means teacher. I understand not all kids have a good relationship with their teacher, but I’ve always connected with Jesus as a teacher and my kids do as well. He is not here to scold us, but to teach and guide us through His Word. The best teachers lead by example and we see that holy example all over the Gospels.

Jehovah-Jireh

“Jehovah-Jireh” is a name for God that means “God will provide.” I love this name because it is something we can be on the lookout for as a family. When we talk about God as our provider, we are also opening the eyes of our children to watch for how He shows up to provide in our lives. Whether it comes through meeting financial, physical, or emotional needs, I want all of us to be on alert for the care and faithfulness of God. He provides for each one of us, sometimes in unusual ways, but always abundantly and graciously.

We also think of God as our Shepherd, Comforter, Healer, Father, and Friend. He is the Great I Am. The names go on and on because He is everything we need and more. If you’re looking to share more about the names of God with your children, you will love I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God by Diane Stortz. This book, available for pre-order right now, offers bible stories, prayers, and devotions all centered around the names of God. It is perfect for family devotions or for your readers to enjoy on their own!

What names of God do you love?

 

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I’m Still Here!

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I haven’t left you! I promise!

Can I tell you something? Life has been busier than I anticipated since the boys went to school, which seems so backwards, but they are all good things keeping us busy!

I wanted you to know I am still here and will be posting at least once a week (Lord willing), so don’t go away!

Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to:

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The MOB Society

You may or may not know I am the co-founder of The MOB Society with Brooke McGlothlin. We have been doing lots of behind-the-scenes work lately to better serve moms of boys and encourage them as they raise sons to love the Lord. We even met in Kentucky for a day to seek the Lord and plan out all of 2016. A lot of my work-from-home time is going to the MOB and I’m excited about how God is moving there! If you’re boy mom or know a boy mom, check us out on Facebook and the blog. Fun things are on the way!

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Operation Christmas Child

I had the wonderful privilege of traveling to Minneapolis in early December with women from my church to serve at the Operation Christmas Child shoebox processing center. We have been packing boxes as a family for years, so being at the processing center and seeing thousands of boxes get their final send-off to kids around the world was really emotional for me. We worked there for six fun, exhausting hours and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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Dressember

If you follow me on Instagram, I don’t need to tell you about Dressember, but here’s a quick recap for the rest of you. I wore a dress every single day of December to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking. Even though I fell way short of reaching my fundraising goal, it was a wonderful experience. The fundraising is actually still open, so if you feel led to give, just click here to donate!

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The Newsroom

We are HUGE Aaron Sorkin fans. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve watched The West Wing in its entirety. Yes, all seven seasons multiple times. And now Amazon Prime has his HBO series, The Newsroom, streaming free. Four episodes in and we are hooked. Let the binge-watching continue! If you want to try Amazon Prime Video for FREE for 30 days (and I think you do), just sign up here!

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Christmas

We had an awesome Christmas break. Lots of family time, traveling, celebrating, wonderful memories! Happy sigh…

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Running

I could write a book about all of our running adventures from last fall. It was super fun! But here’s what I’m focused on now: running my very first marathon in May. Yikes and yay, all at the same time! I’ll be running the Fargo Marathon and doing it to raise money for The Mercy House. I look forward to sharing this journey with you because it is going to be a doozy!

So that was all really random, but that’s just a little of what’s been happening here! I’ll leave you with one last thing, a peek at my word for 2016, with more to come on it later…

4. Erin M- One Word 500x500 lower gHow was your Christmas? What have you been up to lately?

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A Giveaway with My Most Generous Friend!

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!

If there’s anyone in the blogging and social media world who is more generous than my friend Crystal, I haven’t met that person yet. She is always thinking of others, blessing people, and being an encouragement every step of the way!

I check Crystal’s Friday Favorites post every week and usually find that we’re loving many of the same things. We’re cool like that. And because we love so many of the same things, we’re hosting a fun little giveaway this weekend!

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Crystal and I will be gifting one of you a brand new copy of Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver, a beautiful Hallmark greeting card autographed by Dancing With the Stars own Julianne Hough (yep – seriously), a set of Hallmark Crown Collection Christmas movies (MY FAVORITE), a year long subscription to Relevant Magazine, an art print by Hey Emily Thomas, a pair of Vi Bella earrings, and a few other goodies that might just make their way into the prize pack.

Just complete the giveaway widget to be entered! A winner will be chosen at random on Monday!

 

Which part of this giveaway would you be most excited to win?!

 

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