Weekend Inspiration

posted on: Saturday, November 22, 2014

We are in full weekend mode over here.  It's the first weekend in a long time that we haven't had anything (hunting, moving, traveling, etc). Travis was a jewel and let me sleep in this morning. I woke up to the sound of breakfast being made.  I had to laugh because I walked into the kitchen to find Eloise sitting in her chair with a pickle in one hand and a cracker in the other.  When I asked what she was doing, Travis said it was her appetizer while she waited for her waffles. No comments over here if that's what it takes for me to sleep in ;) He's a good man.

I thought I'd share a few things that have been inspiring me this week on the internet:

/1/ Mr. Money Mustache//  My sister and her boyfriend came over last night for dinner. He began telling us about this blog that he loved and suggested I check it out.  I've read quite a few of his posts since last night and am excited to dig into some more this evening.  Super great blog for anyone wanting to be frugal and save money!

/2/ Sally Clarkson is one of my favorite authors.  She has yet to encourage and inspire me with something she writes.  I loved this post from earlier in the week about focusing on Christ in our homes.

/3/ This time of year I start to get excited about ordering my new Erin Condren Life planner.  I've been using them now for 4 or 5 years?  They are hands down the best planner I have ever used.  GREAT Christmas gift ideas!  You can order yours HERE

/4/ One of my favorite food groups is Chicken Enchiladas.  Last night I made The Pioneer Woman's version. They are to. die. for.  I did switch up the spices however.  I didn't think that Paprika would be enough so I added in a bunch of Cumin and Garlic Powder to the chicken mixture.  Heavenly.

What is inspiring you on the Internet this week?

Back in the swing...

posted on: Thursday, November 20, 2014

**tap tap tap**

Is anyone still out there reading after my long hiatus?  :)

This past month life has been full and good.  And somehow almost a month has flown by since I've regularly posted.  I'm not sure how that happened. But here we are.  It's been nice… I feel rejuvenated and excited to be back in this space.  I have so many fun things to share with you over the next few weeks.  A few tutorials I've been working on and also a little home tour of our new space.  It has been fun putting this house together. I had mentioned in a few posts back that the the layout of this house is completely different than the old one.  It's not a ton bigger.. just 400 more sq ft. (which is a lot to us!). But it's extremely open, which means less wall space. I've had to be very selective in what goes where which has proven to be a bit of a challenge for me.  Typically I just throw things up on the walls to cover them :)

As I play a bit of blogging catch up here is a bit of what has gone on over the past few weeks…

/1/ this sweet girl is growing like a weed.  She is starting to string words together into sentences.  And precious sentences at that.  Today she told me "dose pitty ee'ings mama". Translation- "Those are pretty earrings mama"  And she tells everyone about a million times a day "I yuv you SO much. You peshus."  Translation- "You're precious" :)

/2/ last weekend I took a solo trip to Ikea for a new couch and chair.  I must admit I was a little hesitant to pick up such big pieces of furniture by myself.  What I didn't realize is that the big pieces of furniture were in pieces in boxes.  You assemble.  Needless to say I didn't see that one coming.  One of the tutorials that I'm going to share with you is how to turn a simple Ikea couch into something that looks a little more high end! Also, the cinnamon rolls at the Ikea checkout… heavenly. I swear they aim fans right at the checkout so that the cinnamon smell draws you in.  If they do, it definitely worked.

/3/ we had a glorious cold front come through last week.  And with it came a dusting of snow. In Texas. It was amazing! I grew up in Iowa and Missouri and have a deep love for all things snowy and cold.  My Texas born babies saw the dusting of snow and asked if they could put on their coats to go out and build a snowman.  :)

/4/ one of the rooms that is pretty much put together is the boy's room.  It is one of the bigger bedrooms at this house so we turned half of it into a play room.

/1/ my big girl has turned into a book worm!  She was challenged at school to read 40 books by Christmas break.  I told her I challenged her to 60 by then. She has accepted the challenge and is over half way through the challenge.

/2/ I was making dinner the other night and peeked into the living room to this scene.  Emma was reading out loud and one by one everyone had gathered around.  Moments like these make me so thankful for the friendships they have with one another.  Best friends for life :)

/3/ our new backyard has been the biggest blessing of this house.  The other afternoon Eloise took her Magnadoodle out and made herself comfy on the back porch.

/4/ even big girls need naps.  It does my heart good to see her slow down and rest :)

/1/ this was the first day of the cold snap from last week.  The white fluff on their clothes is not snow… it is feathers from a pillow our dog got ahold of in the yard.  And pay no attention to Eloise's pouty face. She was just miffed a Cade for bumping into her ;)

/2/ it truly looked like it had snowed in our back yard. Our dog was most definitely in the dog house for that little stunt.

/3/ one last hurrah in an empty room.  This was right before the mattress company brought our bed over.  Would y'all believe that we had been sleeping on a Full bed since we've been married?  It's been great… I honestly didn't know what I was missing out on. Until now.  We went from a full to a King…and it. is. heavenly.  Also, go straight to your Target and snag some of their flannel sheets.  Needless to say, I don't ever want to get out of bed in the mornings now. :)

/4/ a little down time at the salon getting my hair done.  My sister spoils me.  Free highlights and giant hot cocoa.  She is a keeper.

I hope your week has been a great one! Enjoy your weekend!

Hello Shiso

posted on: Sunday, November 16, 2014

One of the things I love most about blogging is getting to share some of my favorite shops with you!  Hello Shiso sent over a little box of hair clips for the girls to try out.  I will be the first to tell you that I have tried my fair share of hair clips.  What we have run into the most with an average hair clip is that they slip out.  Emma wore all three of these hair clip styles to school last week and we give each one an A+!

You can find the clips that Emma is wearing here:

Hello Shiso has a super cute selection that y'all need to check out!
You can find them here:

And just a fun discount… all orders over $50 get Free Shipping! You can't beat that!


posted on: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's been over a year now since I joined Rodan and Fields as a Consultant.  My story started with me using the products. And not because I was on the hunt for skincare, but to support my sister-in-law. It quickly turned into me loving the products. They cleared up my acne (which I had struggled with since I was a young teenager) and kept it that way.  Fast forward to last year, I realized I could share about the skincare I had fallen in love with and help my family out financially.  Over the span of a year I have grown my business to where it is bringing in a full time income.  All while being home with my kids and working while they're sleeping.

Most of you have heard that story.  But what I love is that while yes, our family has been blessed because of Rodan and Fields, so many others have too. I love hearing from my customers about how much they love their skin.  How confident they feel about their skin after using R+F.  And I love that my team is full of women who are achieving their dreams and goals with this business. I have women who are stay at home moms wanting to bring in some extra income. I have women in college who want to bring in extra income around a busy school load. I have women who are full time career women who fit this around busy work and family schedules.  And their "why's" are all different. Some are in it to pay off debt, others to make ends meet, others to fund their shameless shoe fund.

We're not a party company…which was a big deal for me.  Being a Consultant with Rodan and Fields is built around relationships and sharing great skincare in your day to day life.  When you join you're not thrown to the wolves in figuring it out :) I will help you start up your business and give you my best practices and tips to get you off to an amazing start.

And if you're looking for incredible skincare…well we've got you covered there too! We have products for everyone and every skin type.  Wrinkles, sagging skin, dark under eye circles, acne, rosacea, sensitivity, sun spots, discoloration…you name it and we have something for it.

All of our products as well as Kit to become a Consultant have a 100% money back guarantee. Which means you can try the business or the products risk free.  If you decide neither one is for you, then send everything back for 100% of your money back. You can even return empty bottles.  That right there speaks volumes of how confident R+F is in their products and business model.

I'd love to tell you more about the products or the business.
My email is: thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com


posted on: Monday, November 10, 2014

Box by box we're slowly unpacking. It never ceases to amaze me that while I truly felt like we lived with less how MUCH we truly have.  As I'm unpacking and putting things away I'm really questioning, "do we really need this?"  I've whittled down clothes, knick knacks and all around stuff.  There have been a few times where I've debated getting rid of everything. Kidding… kind of. ;)  

The new house has a completely different layout than our old house.  Square foot wise it's only 400 more feet than our old home. But the way the new house is laid out makes it feel so much more spacious. The dining room, kitchen and living room are all open to each other. Which makes my heart so happy to see everyone while I'm cooking dinner.  My favorite part about the house… the backyard.  It has been such an incredible blessing.  The kids have been outside from morning until evening.  The Lord has been so good to us.  It truly is more than we ever deserved.

I'm excited to share the rooms with you as I get them put together.  Normally after a move I'll have had pictures up on the wall and everything in it's place by now.  This time around I'm taking it a bit slower. Being more conscientious about what goes where.  

I'm off to bed… a very tiny bed.  We've played musical mattresses/beds with this move and it left Travis and I with a twin mattress (long story). So he has been sleeping on the couch and I have had a tiny twin mattress on the floor.  Tomorrow our king bed is being delivered. I may never get out of it. Just a warning.  Hope your weekend and Monday were a great one!  Over and out!

Guest Post: Control Freak Chronicles

posted on: Sunday, November 9, 2014

One of the things that I love most about blogging is being able to connect with other women, bloggers and shop owners.  I love teaming up and showing off what other people have worked so hard to create!  I'm coming up on a full year that I've been doing my Blog Mentorship Program.  It has been such a blessing in my life getting to know so many of you on a deeper level.  To hear your why's and passion behind your blogs is an inspiring thing!

I have decided to offer a few other options for the next two months (November and December) besides just the Blog Mentorship Program.  Here is what I will be offering:

+Blog Mentorship Program: I am still going to be doing this! Just scaling back a bit!  I will be doing 2 Blog Mentorships a month.  On a first come, first serve basis!  In addition to the Mentorship Program you will receive a Feature Post, side bar ad, shout outs/advertising on Facebook and Twitter. Email me to claim your spot. thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

+Shop Owners: I will be offering three different options for you!
   1. Feature Post about your shop/products
   2. Group Post with other shop owners (this will be monthly)
   3. Instagram Shout Out (I have over 14,300+ followers over there) for your shop

If you would like more information on any of this feel free to email!  thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com.  I look forward to working with you and helping you get the word out about your blogs and shops!  


If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I am struggle with organization.  It's definitely something that I have to work on and that doesn't come naturally.  So you'd better believe I love reading posts from people who are organized. It helps to motivate and inspire me:)  I encourage you to head over to Amy's blog, The Control Freak Chronicles.  She is Guest Posting over here today about the birthday party she put together for her daughter. Some great tips and cute ideas!

You can find Amy here:


Happy First Birthday Anya! The milestone of your child's first birthday is as much a celebration of them as it is a parenting win. We survived the first year! We celebrated Anya's first birthday party this past weekend with a fun Little Monsters Theme. I'm not a princess type of gal, perhaps Anya will be some day, so I wanted to do something different for her first birthday party theme. Sticking with the time of year, I took in the Halloween holiday and put a kid friendly spin on it including lots of fun bright colors. I had so much fun pinning, planning, and crafting for this cute party. Festive parties are all about the details, and that's what made Anya's party so much fun! Take a peek into our fun festivities and the little details that made it so memorable. HOMEMADE INVITATIONS Control Freak Tip: Don't be afraid to ask for help. My mom and I tag teamed invitations.

photo(2)  P1130987

Little Monster Favors

CF Tip: When hosting a fall party, use pumpkins and a sharpie for signs instead of paper. Bonus, pumpkins were from my father in law's garden.

  Little Monster Treats

 CF Tip: Homemade Monsters. Homemade favors can save you cash, plus everyone appreciates a gift made with love. My mom and I tag teamed these frightful friends. Patterns can be downloaded from various websites, mostly for free! This was a Pinspiration favor for sure. Search for Felt Monsters on Pinterest for more ideas and details.

  Adopt a Monster

 CF Tip: Little odds and ends are always fun. Oriental trading can be a great site for non sugary goodies. I knew most of the little monsters attending the party would have already scored a lot of candy on Halloween so I went for some non edible treats: Pencils, Bendable Monsters, Play-Doh, etc.

 Little Monster Favors


DESSERT TABLE CF Tip: The most coveted meal of the party day, dessert! Displaying your dessert creates decoration for the party and having a variety of treats is appetizing to both eyes and tummies.

Dessert Table  Dessert Table Closeup

 Monster cupcakes and Smash Cake purchased for the party.

Monster Cupcakes  Monster Cupcake Closeup 1 Monster Cupcake Closeup 2 Monster Cupcake Closeup 3 Monster Smash Cake

 CF Tip: Make some of your own desserts. This will help offset the cost of only having professionally made treats. And again, ask for help! My mom and mother in law both made cookies, which was a huge help. I made Oreo Truffle Mummy Cake Pops, they are so easy to make! Pictured below are the Oreo truffles and ricotta cheese cookies, hands down the most delectable desserts ever! (Go with desserts that match your party theme)

Oreo Truffle Mummy Sign  Oreo Truffle Mummies
Ricotta Cheese Cookies

ACTIVITIES With Little Monsters attending, I wanted to make sure there were things for them to do! First fun activity was to come in your Halloween costume, super fun for kids, super cute for the adults.

Peacock and Mom  Cowgirl and Fish

Chalkboard pumpkins were easy and fun. Unfortunately the weather didn't allow for this outside, but we brought it in to our garage. I spray painted pumpkins with chalkboard paint and left chalk for kids to pick and decorate the pumpkins.

Chalkboard Pumpkin 

Otherwise Little Monsters were content playing with toys in the house

Little Monsters Playing 

FOOD I'm a fan of homemade food, but I know that's not always possible, again ask for help. Between myself, my parents, and my in laws, we were able to provide a tasty homemade spread. Here was the menu:
  • Pulled Pork (crock pot)
  • Crock pot Mac n Cheese
  • Tortellini Soup (crock pot)
  • PA Dutch Chicken Pot Pie (crock pot)
  • Hot Apple Cider (with Aspen Mulling Spice in a crock pot)
  • Salad
  • Veggie Tray
  • Fruit Tray
  • Homemade Hot Bologna
  • Deviled Eggs (Halloween Spider Themed)
  • Taco Dip
  • Variety of Chips
To allow for more space in the house we put the spread in our garage. We hung paper lanterns from Oriental Trading to make the space a bit more festive. (space heater to keep it warm and a candle to keep it smelling like Fall)

Food in Garage 


 My mom and I goofing around.

Mom and Amy 

Cake time, complete with birthday bib from Mainely Mary! She has super cute stuff check it out.


ACE_5183ACE_5191 ACE_5197 ACE_5200

 Costume change post cake, borrowing another little monster's hat.

Traveling with Kids

posted on: Wednesday, November 5, 2014

If there's one thing I feel like I have finally mastered it is traveling with kids.  All of my family lives out of state. The nearest driving distance is 8 1/2 hours away. We never fly, always drive.  I thought it would be fun to put together some of my traveling ideas and tips when it comes to driving long distances with little ones.

//Start them young!  All four of my kids have been going on long car trips since they were itty babies.  Perhaps do shorter road trips to get them used to being in the car.

//Make it an adventure!  I think you can look at road trips two different ways.  As something you dread doing OR as something that is going to be fun.  You as the parent will set the tone for the trip.  We love to talk up our trip the week before.  Get the kids excited about the drive, the treats, the places we'll see, etc.

//Snacks…and lots of them!  One of the things that I have found to be a huge time sucker is finding drinks/snacks along the way.  The day before we go on a road trip I'll pack a large basket filled with snacks. I'll also pack a box of ziploc baggies to divvy up the snacks (if they're not already pre-packaged).  I also pack a small cooler with drinks.  It not only saves us time but also money!

//Running Breaks.  When we stop to take potty breaks I am very intentional on where we stop.  I always look for a place that has an area that the kids can stretch their legs. Preferably somewhere grassy.  After we have all gone potty I'll take them to the area to run around, stretch, do jumping jacks, etc.  Basically any sort of fast moving activity that will make them a bit winded:) That way when we get back in the car they have gotten the majority of their wiggles out.

//Bag of toys and books.  I pack one small bag of toys and books for the little two (who sit in the middle).  The big kids are responsible for packing their own small bag.  This might include action figures, plastic animals, matchbox cars, etc. The big kids have free reign of their bags.  The little two are passed a toy one at a time.  Typically the toy they have gets dropped to the floor at some point. So when we stop I make a point to gather them all back up and put them back in my bag.  If you just pull out one toy at a time you will be surprised at how much time you can buy!

//Magnadoodle.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Magnadoodles!  Crayons and paper can make a bit of a mess (we bring those too), but I've purchased several Magnadoodles and they buy me hours of driving time!

//Books on Tape.  You can either purchase these online or get them from your library. My kids love listening to any sort of book on tape or kid's show.  A few favorites are Adventures in Odyssey, Patch the Pirate and GT and the Halo Express.  Patch the Pirate and GT and the Halo Express are ones that I grew up listening to. I love them because they have some great songs that help with Scripture memory!

//Pillow and Blanket.  Each child is allowed to bring one pillow and one blanket.  I think it's so important that they have something cozy that they can curl up with!

//Set a schedule.  Even though we're in the car I try to set a bit of a schedule that revolves around our normal routine.  So if I know we're going to be driving all day long our schedule will look like this.
Morning: Toys, magnadoodles, snacks, books
Lunch: take a pit stop, eat, stretch.
Naps: after we stop for lunch I'll make sure everyone has their blanket/pillow and then they all curl up for naps or quiet time.  The big kids know to get out a book and the little two always fall asleep. We'll put on some quiet music during this time.
After naps: snacks and either a movie or a book on tape.

What are some of your traveling tips with kids?!