My Grandma Mac

My Grandma Mac, my last living grandparent, passed away at the age of 88 this past Sunday. My oldest son and I visited her just a week before her passing. She had had a stroke the previous week, and likely another one just that morning, so she wasn’t completely coherent. Before we left, Big J and I told her we loved her and she said, “Thank you.” We were sadly unable to make it to her funeral, but that moment with her was perfect for me. Below are some thoughts I wrote to be shared at her funeral today in my absence. I wanted to also share them here in her honor. I love you, Grandma. Rest In Peace.


My grandma had the best smile. It was big and wide and highlighted perfectly by her bright red lipstick. It was a smile you didn’t catch on camera very often, by her request, but the few pictures I have with that genuine smile are my favorites of her.


I loved her sharp wit and sense of humor. Even the last time we visited her, just less than two weeks ago, my oldest son, Big J, commented on how funny she was. I’m so glad that was one of his last memories of her because it’s how I will always remember her, as well.


She was a humble woman who didn’t like to talk about herself a lot. When I could get her to share stories from her childhood, from meeting Grandpa, and from raising three boys, I could sit and listen for as long as she would talk. I feel such a connection with her now, living in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, and raising my own three boys. I greatly treasure those anecdotes she shared with us.


Grandma loved her family well. She delighted in her granddaughters, treated my husband just like her own grandson, and had the best hugs and smiles for her great-grandchildren. Of all the ways I knew she loved us, her handwritten letters were my favorite. They usually came along with a newspaper clipping or recipe of some kind that showed she was thinking of us and our particular interests. The last one I received just weeks before her passing. I will hold that letter, her words, and her beautiful heart close to mine forever.

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Straight Outta the Midwest

I received these items to review from Sweet P + Fi.

I’m a Midwestern girl. I was born and raised in South Dakota. I came to Nebraska for college, met my husband, got married, and started our family. All in the Midwest.

We love to travel all over the place, but I just adore life in the Midwest. I love the four seasons, even if they  sometimes happen all in one day! I love being near our family and our Huskers. I love the people, the landscape, the feeling of belonging. The Midwest is our home base.

This new tank top from Sweet P + Fi could not be more perfect as we head into another Midwest summer…

Sweet P + Fi is my favorite online boutique (based out of Nebraska!) because the pieces are fun and the prices are fabulous. This is another one of those great pieces!

The “Straight Outta the Midwest” tank is super soft and flowy – and it’s only $20! Even better – use the code Midwest15 to get 15% off! 

I love a good classic gray tank on its own, but you can always spice it up a bit with a colorful bralette like this teal one, also from Sweet P + Fi!

To complete this Memorial Day weekend-ready outfit, I went with distressed denim, Converse, and an Urban Halo headband! Comfy and cute and ready for some Midwestern family fun – that’s my kind of outfit!

While you’re over at Sweet P + Fi buying your “Straight Outta the Midwest” tank, make sure you check out all of the other great new items in the shop! I just added a couple more new soft tanks to my summer wardrobe! Don’t forget – use the code Midwest15 to get 15% off your entire order!

Where are my Midwest girls? Born and raised here? Recent transplant to the Midwest?

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Pineapple Love

I received this blanket to review. This post contains affiliate links.

I have a long-standing love affair with pineapples.

I just can’t get enough of them. While I do love how they taste, I’m talking more about what the pineapple represents. Many cultures view the pineapple as a symbol of hospitality, placing it outside their door to indicate that visitors are welcome or putting it on their table as a sign of welcome and a gift for guests. I just LOVE that.

I have a pineapple print in my kitchen from All Good Things Collective (formerly Naptime Diaries) with this verse on it:

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:2

The pineapple always makes me think of this verse and seeing it keeps my heart in line with what I want my home to be: a place of welcome, comfort, and love. I want this for guests, but also for my family. Hospitality isn’t just for special occasions and fancy events, but for every day and everyone.

In the summer, we can even take our hospitality outside. I’m thinking poolside or park picnics, and I’m taking the pineapple with me with my new Cents of Style beach blanket!

This is the most fun and festive beach blanket I’ve ever owned! I’m obsessed with the pineapple, but I also love the round shape, bright colors and fringe detail! The soft fabric on the back makes the beach blanket perfect for wearing, as well!

When you’re done sitting on this cute beach blanket for your picnic or day at the beach and the day starts cooling off, you can also use it as a wrap!

I love to wear dresses in the summer, but our evenings can cool off quickly, and so this wrap will be the perfect summer accessory! You can get your round wraps and beach blankets from Cents of Style this weekend for only $15.95 when you use the code STORYTHROW at checkout!

If the pineapple isn’t your thing, there are many other fun designs to choose from, but don’t delay because these wraps will sell fast at this great price! Remember to use the code STORYTHROW to get the $15.95 price + free shipping!

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Taking Aventura to Washington, D.C.!

I am an Aventura Ambassador and received the featured clothing to review on my blog. All opinions are 100% my own.

We took a fabulous family trip to Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago and I have several posts in process to tell you all about it, but today I want to talk about what I packed to wear for the trip!

Picking out clothes to take along was a little bit of a challenge because the weather was going to be all over the place – cool and rainy some days, hot and sunny other days. I also wanted to look nice for all the pictures, but feel comfortable while we walked all over the place all day!

The best solution for me was to pack several great Aventura Clothing pieces!

Day 1 had us touring the Capitol, visiting the Air & Space Museum, and exploring the city on a cool, cloudy day! The Hartwell Hoodie was perfect for keeping me warm and fashionable, even when that giant backpack was weighing me down!

Day 2 warmed up quite a bit, so it was time to pull out the Pilar tank for our trips to the International Spy Museum and Ford’s Theatre! It’s such a flattering tank AND the fabric is so lightweight – I will wear this SO much this summer!

Our third day was another hot one! I was very happy to have this ADORABLE Easton dress (in black) on a warm day of seeing all the monuments with the family! I put a pair of shorts like these Go Anywhere Shorties on underneath so there weren’t any unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions in the wind!

The Easton dress paired PERFECTLY with the black Albany packable sun hat and I was so thankful for it when the sun was beating down on us. I love how I could fold it up so it wouldn’t take up much space in my suitcase, then unfold it with no damage to the hat and wear it once we got here!

Every Aventura piece was easy to pack, came out of my suitcase unwrinkled, and made me feel cute and comfy the entire trip! We’re headed to Utah for a road trip in a few weeks and I know I’ll be taking even more Aventura Clothing with me for our adventures! Stay tuned!

If you’d like to place your own Aventura Clothing order for your summer adventures and get 60% OFF (up to $250 order), leave a comment or email me at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com to get your exclusive one-time use code!

Check out what other busy and beautiful Aventura ambassadors are wearing on the go this spring:

Mary at Real Girls Realm

Shannon at The Simple Moms

Andrea at Momma in Flip Flops

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Getting Ready for Summer with Glow by Nature Made®

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Summer has just snuck right up on me! The kids are just a few weeks away from being out of school and are already making plans for all the fun in the sun! We have vacations planned, races to run, pools to swim in, tennis to play, and so much more. It’s going to be a full summer and I need by body (and mind) to be in top working condition so I can enjoy every minute of it.

As I have mentioned before (many, many times), I am a runner. Two of the things I need most daily to keep my body in its best running form are also two things I need most to be ready for summer: hydration and sleep.

HYDRATION

I had no idea how far off I was on my daily water consumption until I became a runner. Early on, I would feel so sick after races and I discovered it was because of dehydration. Yes, I was drinking a lot on race day, but I was drinking enough on a daily basis. Once I started tracking my water and drinking more, the post-race sickness went away! I take my hydration VERY seriously now.

I feel the same way about hydrating my skin for the summer. With shorts, skirts, and tank tops making their way into my daily outfits, I want my skin to be moisturized and healthy-looking! Drinking water and regularly using moisturizer and sunblock are even more important for my summer skin.

This summer, I’m also taking the Glow by Nature Made® – Skin Moisture supplements. This new line of supplements is designed to help your skin stay moisturized from the inside out.† Glow by Nature Made® – Skin Moisture contains Ceramosides® which help with skin smoothness/firmness/suppleness for adults with dry skin† and help support skin hydration in as little as 15 days for adults with dry skin†. An ingredient in Ceramosides® is ceramides, which help support skin hydration by helping form a lipid barrier within your skin to retain moisture.† That’s a whole lot of technical talk to tell you Glow by Nature Made® – Skin Moisture is your summer skin’s best friend!†

SLEEP

Did you know most professional runners schedule rest just like they do workouts? Sleep is very important for athletes (and every person) because our bodies need time to heal. The list of reasons our bodies need plenty of sleep is long. I can tell when I’m running and exhausted – it does not go well, even if I’m in great physical shape.

Our summers are spent outside. We work hard and play hard. All the physical activity and time in the sun can really drain me! Add to that the fact that kids stay up later and the sun stays up longer…I’m tired just thinking about it! I need my sleep in the summer, so I’m so glad the Glow by Nature Made® line includes Skin Moisture + Sleep!

Glow by Nature Made® Skin Moisture + Sleep contains melatonin to help support sleep.† I take two softgels an hour before bedtime and I have felt a difference since I started taking them!

I am thankful to have Glow by Nature Made® Skin Moisture + Sleep on my side as we head into summer! You can find the whole line, which also inlcudes Glow by Nature Made® – Skin Moisture + Hair and Nail, at your local Target in the vitamins and supplements aisle just like I did. We shop at Target ALL the time, so it’s very convenient to have these supplements at my favorite store! If you shop online, you can receive 10% off at Target.com with promo code: GLOW now through May 27th!

 

*For adults with dry skin. ¥ 70 mg of Ceramosides®    ‡Biotin may help support healthy hair, skin and nails in those that are biotin deficient.†

†These statements have not been evaluated by Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent any disease.

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Dear Son, Be The Good

I received this shirt to review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

Dear Son,

Yesterday you turned 11 years old. That just seems so impossible and so wonderful to me at the same time. You are my firstborn, the one who made me a mama, my mini-me in your love for history, learning, and the Packers. We have our differences, but we’re also alike in enough ways that we both “get” each other and butt heads often. I try to remember that God can and will use your stubbornness for good, so that’s what I’m praying for you every day.

This morning, the day after your birthday, was a little rough. I always hate the day after my birthday because it’s “just another day.” I can tell you were feeling that, too. But it doesn’t have to be. We have a choice every single day. I want you to choose to see the good around you and be thankful for it. And I want you to choose one more thing.

I pray you will choose to BE THE GOOD. This world has enough people waiting around for good things to happen for them. You don’t have to be those people. There are so many opportunities for you to be the good this world needs.

Smile at someone. Look for people who need a helping hand. Pray for a friend. Do something nice for your brothers. Find an injustice or cause that moves you and get involved in changing it for the better.

For as many things as there are going wrong in our world, there are as many (or more) ways for you to make a positive difference.

I know you love Jesus, and every good thing comes from Him. Stay connected to Jesus and not only will He help you see where you can shine some good, but He will also give you the strength you need to keep doing good for His glory.

Be the good, son. I’ll be right beside you doing the same.

Love, Mom

*****

Whatever you want to BE, the “Be Series” from Cents of Style will help you get and stay inspired!

All of the “Be Series” tees are just $15.95 with the code BESTORY this weekend! So many choices – there is literally a shirt for anything you want to be! I love all of my Cents of Style tees – great quality, soft, and so stylish! Grab your favorites while they’re on this amazing sale!

 

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Supporting Your Kids During Standardized Tests

Oh, boy – it’s standardized testing time. Is it for your kids, too?

Our school puts a big emphasis on standardized tests, but they also do so much to ensure kids are prepared for them. While it’s a big deal, my kids have felt pretty calm and relaxed about the actual tests because they’ve been practicing and studying in class for so long.

I know every kid reacts differently to standardized tests, but every kid needs our prayer and support leading up to and during test week. They just need that support in unique ways!

I’m over at the Tommy Nelson blog talking about ways to get your kids through standardized testing, however they might feel about it!

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Soft Spring Layers from Aventura!

I shared my first experience with Aventura Clothing last summer and I’m excited to tell you I will sharing lots more as I was chosen to be an Aventura Ambassador for 2017!

I love Aventura for many reasons – family-owned business, use of eco-friendly fabrics, great styles – but I was most drawn to Aventura because they celebrate the active life I want to live with my family and make great clothing to go on those adventures! I have so many fun pieces to share with you, but today I’m focusing on a couple of must-have pieces for early spring.

Here in Nebraska, early spring is still quite chilly. Long sleeves and layers are a must. I want my early spring pieces to keep me warm, but also have a soft, light quality that fits the season.

The first item to fit this spring wardrobe need for me is the Sonnet Hoodie!

I will always choose a hoodie and distressed jeans for an every day look. The Sonnet Hoodie comes in beautiful colors that make this casual outfit perfectly cute! I love the spiced coral hoodie paired with darker red sneakers!

The unbelievably soft fabric of the Sonnet Hoodie made this an instant favorite for me and the button-back sleeves keep you cool when the temps warm up.

If you’re looking for a layering hoodie that can be removed or added easily, I highly recommend the Hartwell Hoodie! Can you ever go wrong with a gray hoodie? The answer is no. The hoodie is classic, with great stitching along the zipper to give it extra pizzazz! I could wear this over a sundress or yoga pants – so versatile!

In both outfits, I’m also wearing the Bienne layering tank. It is so comfortable and the ideal piece for those shirts that are just a little lower than you would like. I also wear layering tanks because they allow be to active without showing any extra skin around the middle! I’ve tried LOTS of layering tanks, and this is one of my favorites ever!

I can’t wait to share more great spring pieces and accessories from Aventura with you – THE HATS! Stay tuned for lots more Aventura, including some fun giveaways!

I have teamed up with some other fabulous bloggers who are pumped up about getting outside in their new for spring Aventura clothing as well. I’d love for you to take a peek and tell me what you like from them, too!

Before you go for the day, click on over and see what they are wearing this month! Talk to me and tell me what YOU are liking…either from me or them. I’d love to hear from you!

Shannon from the SIMPLE moms // Erin from Home with the Boys // Andrea with Momma in Flip Flops // Mary from Real Girls Realm // Karen with Play Outside Guide // Amber with The Closeteer // Megan & Wendy from Long Story Short with Megan & Wendy

Aventura Spring Looks - Blogger Collaboration

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Tunics in Spring are a Lovely Thing!

I received this tunic to review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

I will freely admit that spring is not my favorite season, but there are still many things I love about it! I’m happy to say goodbye to wind chills and hello to spring rain. Icy roads can go away and make room for new growth. By this time of year, I’m also happy to put away the dark plaids and heavy sweaters in exchange for flowy, flowery, bright spring clothing!

While fall beats spring as the best season of all in my opinion, March is my favorite month. Our youngest son was born in March (8 days late – I think he just wanted a March birthday). St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday. The Hubby and I started dating on March 17th. And tomorrow, on March 25th, I will turn 36 years old.

Yep, I just admitted my age on the internet and I feel no shame. At 36 years old, I feel more beautiful than ever. I am stronger, healthier, more confident, and, most of all, secure in who God made me to be. Part of this confidence has come from embracing my talents and personality. Another part has come from finding a style that fits me and my lifestyle. I don’t feel stuck in a box. I wear what I want – things that are modest, that work with my active lifestyle as a boy mom, and that help me feel beautiful.

Tunics have been one of those items for me. I can throw on a tunic with leggings or jeans, for every day or a date or church, dressed up or down – I always feel good in a tunic. And I have a new favorite tunic from Cents of Style:

The Staci V-Neck Babydoll Tunic is everything I want in a tunic – flattering, long, and available in lots of colors.

This steel gray is a great spring color because it has a hint of blue/purple and pairs perfectly with floral accents! I think I also need this tunic in the lovely olive color! I usually wear a size small in tops and this is a small in the Staci V-Neck Babydoll Tunic.

There is much reason to celebrate today because this tunic and another lovely tunic are on sale from Cents of Style for just $19.95 this weekend! Just use the code TOPSTORY to get your tunic – or many of them – for just $19.95 each + free shipping!

How do you like to wear your tunics? What are some of your other favorite spring styles?

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4 Additions to Your Day for Better Health!

This post was sponsored by Nature Made as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

My life has completely changed since I started running five years ago. Before running, I only thought about my health when I was sick or when I wanted to lose weight. Now, taking care of my body is one of my top priorities. If I don’t keep myself healthy, all of the other important things in my life suffer – my family, my friendships, my ministry. Staying healthy is not a selfish thing for me. It is vital to me being the best wife, mom, friend, business owner, and more.

Most of us know that maintaining a healthy body includes eating right and exercising regularly. These are two very important components, but those two things alone aren’t enough. There are many other simple additions to your day that will maximize the health and performance of your body so you can keep up with your busy life!

just add water

How many of you are drinking 64 ounces of water a day? It might not be enough. You should actually be drinking half your weight (in pounds) and even more if you’s sweating during the day! Proper hydration will keep your body systems functioning at their best level!

just add stretching

Sore muscles don’t just need rest – they need to be stretched and massaged to prevent injury. Just as you make time to exercise, plan for recovery for your body as well. Since I added regular yoga, foam-rolling, and massage with a foot ball and massage stick, I’ve noticed that my legs are better able to bounce back after a hard workout. Stretching is also very relaxing, which is always good for my overall mood and health!

just add sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is your body’s chance to heal and recharge. YOU NEED SLEEP. I don’t know what your schedule is like – you may work late into the night or have to get up at the crack of dawn to take a child to a practice. Look at your life and find time for sleep. Set an alarm to tell you to go to bed, if needed!

just add vitamins

It is vital to your overall health to support, not sabotage, your immune system. Eating the right foods will help with this, as will vitamins and supplements. Choosing a vitamin like Nature Made® Immune Health: Vitamin C Softgels helps me stay at my best and keep up with my active lifestyle. I trust Nature Made® because of their commitment to quality as shown by being the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand! You can find their vitamins and supplements at your local HyVee, like me, or other trusted retailers.

Nature Made® wants to help you stay motivated in making your health a priority, so they are partnering with Men’s and Women’s Health on Facebook to give you and your friends so many fun prizes! Visit the Nature Made® Facebook page through April 9th to find all the rules and enter giveaways for prizes including Blue Apron, Lululemon and Sephora gift cards, as well as FitBits and a one-year membership to Nature Box!

To top it all off, Nature Made® is giving away a SPA VACATION! This spa vacation grand prize includes a 4-day/3-night trip for two to the Red Mountain Resort in Ivans, UT – doesn’t that sound heavenly?! Through April 9th, you may enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize by visiting their sweepstakes page and clicking where indicated in order to complete and submit the registration form for one entry into the Grand Prize drawing! Do it now before you forget!

What will you add to your day to improve your health?

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