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What I’m Loving {August 2014}

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!

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…

Evy's Tree Josie Evy's Tree Lizzy

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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Ballet Flats + Bracelet + Scarf = Under $25 from Cents of Style

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 one whale of a sale from Cents of Style for Fashion Friday - I think you’re going to love it! Today only, you can get not one, not two, but THREE items for less than $25 shipped and let me tell you how!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

The deal starts with a pair of ballet flats and a bracelet.

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

The flats are super cute, open-toed, and come in gray or sand colors – great neutrals to go with everything!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

For bracelets, you can choose between two different cuff styles in a total of ten different colors!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

Put a pair of shoes and a bracelet in your cart and you COULD stop there. Just use the code LOVELY101 to get the ballet flats and bracelet for just $20.95 and free shipping!

OR… You could also add on this lovely scarf to your order for just $3.99!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

This will pop up as an add-on item when you are ready to checkout! The scarf comes in four different colors! Just remember to use the code LOVELY101 at checkout and all three items – ballet flats + bracelet + scarf – will be yours for less than $25 shipped! And this sale is for TODAY ONLY!

Happy shopping and happy weekend!

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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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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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Be a Hunger Hero

I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

There are hungry kids in underdeveloped and third world countries. While I’m not ok with it, I’ve accepted this fact. I’ve told you about it here. I’ve mentioned the ways Compassion and many other wonderful programs are feeding the bellies and souls of these hungry children in Africa and Asia and Central America.

There are hungry kids here in the United States as well. Somehow that is harder for me to swallow. Hunger across the ocean has become ok to talk about because we have some distance from it. When I hear about the 16 million American children living in poverty and lacking nutritious meals, I don’t want to believe it. In this rich, extravagant country, I can’t bear the thought that a child in my own city could be going without dinner tonight or suffering from malnutrition. But it happens. Right here in America.

I’m not going to just be about making sure the hungry kids in another country have their needs met. I want ALL children, everywhere to have their basic needs met, at the very least. That’s why I’m joining Champions for Kids for the “Be a Hunger Hero” campaign.

Let’s start with the core values of Champions for Kids because that is where they got my attention:

All children should have: someone who cares; a place to belong; a hope for tomorrow; and provision for their journey. All children.

We can help all children and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as shopping at Sam’s Club during the month of August!

hungerheroes

Throughout the month of August, Champions for Kids, Tyson Foods, and KRAFT Foods can help you “Be a Hunger Hero” at Sam’s Club by purchasing any of these products at Sam’s Club, Tyson® Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets {5 lb bag}, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner {7.25 oz} 12 pack, or CAPRI SUN Juice Drink Variety Pack {40 pouches} and help feed* a child in need.

Be-a-Hunger-Hero-logo_white

And we’ll be talking more about being a Hunger Hero on Twitter today! I hope you’ll join us to spread the word and maybe even win some prizes!

Join The #HungerHeroes Twitter Party

  • What: The Motherhood is joining Champions for Kids, along with Tyson Foods, Kraft and Sam’s Club, for a Twitter party to spread the word about hunger relief.
  • When: Thursday, August 21, 2014, at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT
  • Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #HungerHeroes hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP right here!
  • Hashtag: #HungerHeroes
  • Prizes: Five prizes will be given to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 Sam’s Club gift card!
  • Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann
  • Sponsor: @Champions4Kids

Chat with us on Twitter, shop at your local Sam’s Club – do what YOU can to be a hunger hero for a child today!

*4 oz. of protein, 6 fl. oz. of CAPRI SUN, and/or 2.5 oz. of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinners

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They’re Speaking a Different Language, But I’m Still Listening

The Star Wars obsession in our house has reached full throttle. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Star Wars, especially the original three episodes. Han Solo is my favorite. Who is with me?!

The boys, however, have taken liking Star Wars to a whole new level. They want to watch it all the time. They check out books about it at the library. They play Star Wars games and play with Star Wars Legos and have lightsaber fights with the pool noodle lightsabers I made for Little J’s Star Wars birthday party.

STAR WARS EVERYTHING.

So when we sat down to watch The Empire Strikes Back, I wasn’t just getting Luke + Leia + Han + all the droids. I was getting full commentary on every ship, weapon, planet, and character that came in to view on screen. My brain just about exploded. I know the boys get their ability to talk for hours from me, but OH MY GOSH.

I will fully admit here that I wanted to tune them out for much of the movie. I don’t really care whether Chewbacca is using a Bowcaster gun or the stormtrooper’s BlasTech E-11 blaster during the battle at Cloud City. Are you impressed with my knowledge there?! All from my boys. And I think I can recognize an X-Wing from a Tie Fighter, but I don’t mind if I don’t know all the names of the other ships.

My boys, however, care deeply. They love learning about Star Wars and they love telling me about it. Most of the time, they sound like they are speaking an entirely different language, but I’m still listening.

Listening to Your Kids

I’m still listening when they talk on and on about Star Wars because I want them to know THEY matter to me. Star Wars isn’t my whole world, but these boys are, and I can show them just how important they are to me by just listening. I can look them in the eye and ask questions when I don’t understand. Their handsome faces just light up when I ask them to explain the droids to me or on which planet everyone has now arrived.

I’m still listening because I want them to keep talking to me. I want to listen when they talk to me now about what matters so they know I will keep listening as they get older and the things that matter to them change. It may be Star Wars now, but some day it will be friendships and peer pressure and deep faith questions and even girls…so not ready for that. 

On the nights where I think we’re just settling down for a relaxing family move night and I, instead, get an earful about jedis and padawans, I am committing to listening and letting them know they are heard.

Listening to Your Kids 2

Keep speaking that strange language to me, boys. I’m still listening and I always will.

What do your kids talk to you about that you just don’t “get?” How do you make them feel heard in these situations?

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Vote for the New fashionABLE + ALT Scarf AND a Sale!

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!

Let’s start with the sale because I don’t want you to miss it…

fashionABLE is having a sweet end-of-summer sale! Some of my favorite scarves are up to 45% off right now! The Alem in gorgeous strawberry red is just $18! That is CRAZY! This sale will run as long as supplies last, so get yours now!

And now for the contest…

Would you like to help to pick fashionABLE’s next scarf design? Here’s your chance!

fashionABLE-+-ALT-Vote-for-your-favorite-square

 

Over 100 designs were submitted in the fashionABLE + Alt design contest and it’s been narrowed down to these three GORGEOUS choices. Check them out close up for yourselves, along with the name of each designer…

fashionABLE-+-ALT-Design-Contest-Scarf-1 fashionABLE-+-ALT-Design-Contest-Scarf-2 fashionABLE-+-ALT-Design-Contest-Scarf-3

I really do love them all, but I’m partial to the grey one {in the middle} because I think it would look rocking with a plain black or pain white tee and skinny jeans! Get your vote in by Wednesday, August 20th at midnight CST!

Tell me: which scarf are you voting for?!

{I’ll still love you if you don’t pick the grey}

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Interrupted: Annoyed, Flustered, Blessed?

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 received a copy of this book to review, but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve treated many of the life changes in the course of our time as a family as interruptions. Job changes, moves – each has been a blessing, but I regret to say, at the actual time of each interruption, I treated them more as the world treats interruptions – annoyed, flustered, not thrilled.

Hatmaker_Jennifer_Author_photoI greatly enjoyed reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker, but it did ruffle my inner feathers a bit. I know that was her intention. Or His intention, actually. And when I saw the title of her book, Interrupted, I’ll admit that it got all up in my business…before I even read it.

Who wants to be interrupted? Interruptions mess with our current plan, the flow we’re in, our vision for life. Notice how I did not mention God in that previous sentence at all? Interruptions usually frustrate us because they aren’t part of the plan as we see it.

It’s been a struggle for me to see God in the interruptions as they happen. I pout and complain and lament the fact that I was comfortable and happy with the way things were. But I’ve learned God doesn’t want me to be comfortable. And I’m learning to see Him at work, even blessing me, through a change in plans I didn’t see coming.

“It dawned on me that Jesus was asking me not to do more of the same but to engage a different charge altogether.” (p. 18)

God had already begun the process of interrupting my life right now before I started reading Interrupted, but the book has definitely been a catalyst for rethinking the way He keeps us on our toes. I really thought one thing was the “next thing,” but He took that plan, shook it up, and something entirely different came out.

“The problem with Christian segregation is that God asked us to be on mission with Him, sent us to some group of people somewhere, and wants us to minister to them in a way that meets their needs by speaking their language.” (p. 202)

He has asked me to serve + minister to a certain people group. It looks nothing like Jen’s calling. But it is still uncomfortable for me to step out fully into this mission. I need Him to take on this interruption. He wants us to NEED Him to fulfill our calling.

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Interrupted is actually the prequel to 7, which I read first. Jen has a way of tackling really hard, really important subjects with equal parts honesty, grace, and humor. The humor makes it all a little easier to swallow. Without it, I may have found her books too heavy, but as they stand, I have learned so much about loving Jesus and loving the world through Jen’s words.

And now I’ve learned how important interruptions are in my life. Interruptions are actually blessings because they are God showing me He loves me and has a specific plan for me He doesn’t want me to miss. I just need to be interrupted to see it.

I would love to hear about a blessed interruption in your life! Leave a comment telling me one and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Interrupted! Giveaway will close Wednesday August 20th at 9PM CST!

P.S. Have you been watching the Hatmakers on My Big Family Renovation on HGTV?! It is THE. BEST. New episodes: Thursdays, 10PM CST. Catch the reruns if you’re not caught up – trust me.

 

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Let My Private Life Be the Proof Of Your Love

I’m surrounded by men and women making a big difference in this world. Rescuing women and children from human trafficking. Running maternity homes in Kenya. Creating sustainable income for men + women living in poverty. They have taken God’s call in Isaiah 61 and acted on it. Their lives are proof of the love of Christ.

As I have read their stories, shared their stories with you, tried to find “my” place and way to help, I have also been swept away by thoughts that I needed to prove my love for Christ for all to see. Yes, my heart to serve is there, but so is my people-pleasing side and that desire to have my good deeds known.

Yep, confession time today. I want to help those in need and I’ve wanted people to notice.

God started to break that in me this weekend. I was suffering from choice paralysis. I had a good ugly cry on a friend’s shoulder, wanting to just forget all the suffering and need I had heard about and start over. I asked Him to tell me exactly where He wanted me serving. And He did, but He wasn’t done there.

After returning home, my church held a worship + prayer night, and God spoke. At a prayer station were the words of “The Proof of Your Love” by For King and Country. Being one of my favorite songs of the past year, I glazed over the words at first and headed back to my seat. I started to write something in my journal and this came out instead…

Let my PRIVATE life be the proof of Your love.

Just a few days earlier, I had felt a gut punch in the ballroom of a blogging conference because I didn’t know WHO to serve. Now I was feeling it because God was telling me HOW to serve.

Private Life

It’s not that serving in the public arena isn’t important. I know you hear my heart there. The sharing of causes and the blogging trips and all of that is needed and important. People need to know of needs and how they can help. That is why I love to tell you about organizations like Compassion and fashionABLE and so on.

But Jesus wants my attitude, my behavior, my actions that only He and maybe my family sees to be the REAL proof of His love. If my life in private, in the walls of my home, doesn’t reflect His love, the rest is just a show.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

This is what He is speaking to my heart: “If you’re struggling to show my love in private – in your heart, in your home – let’s focus there first.”

The truth is, for me, it can be a lot easier to love those I am NOT in constant contact with every day. I am a very social, outgoing person who loves connecting with lots of people. But I end up giving the best of me to online communities, charities, even this blog, TRYING hard to prove my love for Christ in a very visible way. Then my husband and children get my leftovers, which usually means tired, irritable, less-than-joyful Erin. God is calling me to reverse that.

And now for three steps on how to make this happen…

Oh wait, I don’t have all the answers. I’m just processing this word He spoke. I think it looks like intentional time, being present, continuing to soak in His Word and listen expectantly for His voice, but there is no three-step process because He works differently in all of us. But I do want us all to let this sink in and motivate us to love better in our everyday, not always looking for places to love that people will notice.

I’m convicted today, but also hopeful. I hope you’ll join me in making our private lives the proof of His love first and then letting Him shine outward from there.

 

A more lighthearted side note: We get to see For King and Country in concert this weekend! I’ll be singing this song at the top of my lungs with them, knowing just what it means for me!

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Summer Book Club for Moms Check-In #2: The Promise Box

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!

Well, this should have been posted at the end of July, but I was lost in conference session planning and magazine article writing and…forgive me?!

Summer Book Club for Moms

We’re continuing on with our Summer Book Club for Moms featuring a great series by my friend Tricia Goyer! All of the details are right here and you can still join in! Just check-in on the appropriate post for each book and we’ll wrap it all up at the beginning of September with a giveaway for one person who has read and checked in for all three books!

Promise Box

Whenever you are done reading The Promise Box {before August 31st}, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the book and answer one or both of these discussion questions if you’d like! I love honest discussion, but let’s remember to keep it positive and encouraging to one another!

Here are the questions you can consider when leaving your comment…

1. The Promise Box is set in a small Amish community in Northwestern Montana. What do you like best about the setting?

2. How are Lydia’s eyes opened once she starts reading notes and Scripture verses from Mem’s Promise Box?

Happy discussing and happy reading! See you back here for check-in #3 on or soon after August 31st!

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