Guest Post: Velvet Moon Photography

posted on: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm so excited to introduce y'all to a precious blogger/photographer… Breanna from Velvet Moon Photography.  She is one gifted lady!  I can't wait to try out this DIY that she is sharing with us today!  You can find her at the following sites:



Oh Hey :) My name is Breanna and you can find me and my simple little life over at Velvet Moon Photography. 

As a newly wed, I'm currently quite obsessed with 'nesting' in my cozy home. I wouldn't consider myself SUPER crafty, but I do like the occasional DIY as long as it's easy... key word being easy ;) . I recently got my wedding photos back from the amazing Dan at Hatch Photography. Yes, of course I'm going to go get them blown up and framed and canvased and all of that jazz, but I really wanted to have something in my home NOW, like, today kind of now. SO... I went into our garage and put the saw to some old palette wood I picked up off the street (literally). The more rustic the better, I say!

Since I am NOT a 
handy-girl... I used wood glue to secure the palette pieces together. It worked like a charm and was much easier than possibly sawing a screw into my hand by accident :) 

NEXT I printed off the photo I wanted to display on regular paper - it is best to use just plain white regular paper because this will adhere well to the wood. 

After I placed the photo, I mod-podged it on (I used 3 coats, but you could get away with 2 depending on what look you're going for). Mod-podge gives an awesome after effect that I love. It also gave the photo and wood a great sheen which really added to the finished look that I was after. 

Voila! After about 10 minutes of hands on and 1 hour of waiting for glue to dry I have a little something I treasure every day. AND it cost me nothing because I had all of the supplies on hand! 
Be sure to send me your finished DIY's! I'd love to see!


Ice Day

posted on: Monday, February 23, 2015

We have somehow sailed through the majority of winter here in Texas without hardly a sprinkling of snow.  We had a brief five minute dusting a few months ago but it melted by morning.  This morning we woke up to a pretty good covering of ice that the kids thought was snow.  We went with it and they played outside happy as clams for quite awhile!  They didn't seem to notice the pelting ice that kept coming down at random times.
I grew up in the north as a kid (Iowa) and have so many memories playing in the snow. I love seeing my kids creating similar memories… even if they're just a bit different (socks for mittens and ice for snow ;) ).
We ended the day with a late movie and warm Peanut Butter Crunch Cake.  That recipe is coming later this week!  I am so thankful for these days home with my babies. It's something I've always dreamed of!  Hope your Monday was a great one!

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Matilda Jane Pop Up Shop

I'm sure if you've followed along long with the blog long enough you know my love for Matilda Jane Clothing for little girls!  I love how feminine and age appropriate the clothing is! Not to mention it's sturdy and wears so well!  Typically you can only purchase the clothing through Trunk Keepers (women who sell MJ).  But Matilda Jane wised up and knew so many of us were stuck inside due to the cold weather.  They're doing a Pop Up Shop now through February 27th!  Here are a few more details.


Matilda Jane Clothing Hosts Online Pop-Up

Avid fans of popular children’s clothing brand, Matilda Jane Clothing will finally be able to shop the brand’s latest collection directly from the Matilda Jane site.

For the first time this winter season, the leading direct selling company opened its website to shoppers this week, where fans can shop the collection directly from the Matilda Jane website instead the brand’s local Trunk Keepers, brand representatives who host local trunk shows across the U.S.

The brand’s trunk keeper model has contributed to its steady success as a niche retailer, opening doors for women across the nation into entrepreneurial success and creating a strong following of loyal customers across the nation with over 600 Trunk Keeper ambassadors alone.

The items being featured on the site include apparel and accessories for tweens, children, and women with price points ranging from $34 to $110 as the brand revamped its women’s collection early this month and added their very first tweens collection, 435 by Matilda Jane Clothing.

“Matilda Jane’s Trunk Keeper model is at the heart of the brand’s success, however, we also understand the tough weather conditions so many of our customers and Trunk Keepers are facing, and realize these conditions make attending Trunk Shows difficult.  We’ve therefore created a limited edition shopping experience with Matilda Jane.  Perhaps within this e-commerce pop-up, we can serve our regular  customers who are facing winter weather and potentially even reach moms and their children who don’t have the luxury of having a trunk keeper in close vicinity to their hometowns become familiar with the Matilda Jane experience,” says Allison Flatjord, Chief Marketing Officer of Matilda Jane Clothing. 

Matilda Jane’s collections are available online exclusively now until February 27th.  Additional activations include free shipping with special purchase items and direct access to the collections via Matilda Jane’s e-commerce site.

Shop the collection today at and share your favorite Matilda Jane item on social @MatildaJaneClothing.

Blog Mentorship Program

posted on: Friday, February 20, 2015

I had taken the past few months off of my Blog Mentorship Program.  This little guy in my belly gave me a wild first trimester!  I'm finally feeling back in the swing of things and am excited to offer this program again!  Mentorship spots will begin the first of March and there will be a limited number of spots open due to the time I invest into each person.  

If you're newer here a little bit about the Blog Mentorship Program.  It is for anyone who is interested in growing their blog, having a Feature Post, getting to ask me any and every blogging question that you can think of ;) and are wanting to know details on how to grow your blog presence.. then shoot me an email to claim one of the March spots.  We will also be looping in other forms of social media, specifically Instagram.  Email me for pricing as well as all the details:  thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com


Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things Blog wrote up the sweetest review in regards to the Mentorship Program:

"Earlier this year, I participated in Ashley's Blog Mentorship Program, and I can not even begin to tell you what an impact her guidance has made on my online space. She nudged me to do a few things that I knew I needed to do if I wanted to grow my space, but she also encouraged me to look at my blog in a fresh way and think about new opportunities that were readily available.

Yes, since going public, my numbers have grown tremendously; but more importantly, I have become a part of incredible on-line community. Through partnering with other bloggers who have also participated in her program, we have continued to work together to grow and challenge one another in our efforts to create a space that will inspire others.

If you are new to blogging or would simply like Ashley to work with you to grow your space, reach out to her! From the start of our first conversation, she made me feel comfortable to ask lots of questions! She has been incredibly helpful, and I so appreciate her willingness to share her advice and experience.

Prior to signing up for Ashley's program, I had been following her blog for several months, and I find her space to be a breath of fresh air. Her photography is gorgeous. Her family is precious. Her home is inspiring. Her spirit is full of kindness. Her words are overflowing with encouragement. I knew that her beautiful perspective would make an incredible impact on my blogging space, and it is most definitely has."


posted on: Thursday, February 19, 2015

One of my favorite things to collect is quilts.  Old ones and new ones.  I love the stories they tell and the beauty they add to a home.  I have always wanted to quilt…one of those things that is on my bucket list!  My sweet friend Kirtley is a VERY gifted seamstress/crafter/knitter/everything in between.  She inspires me daily with her Instagram feed!  You can follow her over at @kirtleymichelle on Instagram.

Last week we received the most beautiful quilt from her.  She made it specifically for Emma's bed and let me tell you… it is anything short of magnificent.  Her eye for colors and patterns is a gift.  Emma's quilt has peach, light pink, mustard, navy, white and mint in it.  I love knowing that this quilt will be something that will be passed down to Emma's children and grandchildren.  There's nothing sweeter than starting a family heirloom :)

You can find Kirtley at the following places:
INSTAGRAM for her healthy eating ideas (which always inspire me!)

Kirtley is offering my readers $60 off quilts with the code vanillatulip
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Meal Planning: Week One

posted on: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Obbbbviously this delicious burger has nothing to do with meal planning.  Instead if was a moment of weakness today.  This little fella in my belly has me craving all kinds of meat at every hour of the day! But let's talk about Meal Planning.  For the past few months it has been a real thorn in my side.  I seem to go in waves.  Some months I love everything about meal planning. And others I'd much rather just feed them all popcorn for every meal and call it a day.  Too bad we really can't do that…

In an effort to eliminate some of the dread of putting together a meal plan I thought I would start to logging them once a week here!  That way over the next few months I can look back and can have a ready made menu plan done for me!  THANK YOU to my mother for suggesting I keep record of my weekly meal plans. You would think that would have been a no brainer. But obviously I have no brain any more ;)

*we're trying to clean up our eating quite a bit.  Less carbs and more protein/veggies.  I put together six dinners and we usually eat out one night a week

1// Meatloaf, baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli
2// Turkey Tacos, refried beans and mexican rice
3// Turkey Chili with Cornbread
4// Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork served over sweet potato fries (kids had it served on buns)
5//Baked Porkchops, sautéed sweet potatoes and chopped salad
6// Meatballs with Spaghetti, chopped salad and french bread

*lunches usually are the same. Nothing fancy!
1//PBJ and fruit
2//Tuna Salad with crackers
3//Lunch Meat Sandwiches and chips

*breakfasts stay the same usually as well.  My kids devour oatmeal so we typically have that a few times a week.

Do you meal plan?  I'd love to hear what you're planning! Are there any websites that you find inspirational when it comes to meal planning? One that I LOVE is my friend Jenny Collier's blog.  She has a Six Week Healthy Meal Plan that is all set up pretty complete with a shopping guide!  GENIUS!

Hope your Tuesday was a great one!

Motherhood and the Battle

posted on: Sunday, February 15, 2015

  If you were online a few nights ago you might have caught a post I had written on motherhood.  It was up for all of five minutes.  You know when you write something and it just doesn't come out quite like you were thinking it would?  And you feel the Lord stirring in your heart to just wait… to write later on the topic.  So here we are again.
  He's been moving in my heart the past few months…regarding motherhood.  I receive emails from so many of you wanting advice and thoughts.  And to be quite honest I feel quite inadequate to answer them.  You would think that I have things figured out after having four children and another on the way. But I don't.  I get asked all the time, "how do you do it all?" when people find out we're having another baby.  And I can honestly answer back that "I don't."
   But what I do know…while I may not have it all together, while my laundry is piled up to massive proportions, while I lose my patience and want to poke my eyes out from frustration… there's no other job in the world I would rather be doing.  Being a mom is the greatest honor and blessing. The Lord has entrusted us with precious eternal souls.  It's our job as their mama's to stand by them. Even if we don't know what the heck we're doing (the majority of the time!?).
  I don't want to fill this blog with parenting advice and do's and don'ts. Because the fact is, we're all so different. We all are in different stages of life and we all have different views.  Some of you co-sleep…some of you are strict about babies being in their beds.  Some of you only eat organic…others are all about Captain Crunch and getting by (insert raised hand over here).  Some of you love a schedule…others thrive on zero schedule.  That's the beauty of how the Lord has created us.  All so completely different.  And while we all may parent completely different… I think we can all agree that motherhood is HARD.  It's sleepless nights, dying to self, digging for patience you don't think exists, lots of tears, frustration, fatigue, embarrassing (ohhhhh it can be embarrassing), the biggest dose of humble pie that ever existed, confusing (can I get an amen!?), constant and so many other things.  And while it's all of those emotions and struggles… I think we can all agree that… it's worth it.  All of it.
  I want to make this a place where you leave feeling encouraged and understood as a mother.  Over the next few months I'm going to be asking several women who I look up to as mothers to guest post.  To share their struggles and thoughts on motherhood.
  I know motherhood for me has been one that has stretched and grown me in ways I never imagined.  The mom I was when I had just one child is completely different than the mom I am now.  With one I was the queen of scheduled nap times and making sure we stayed to a strict schedule.  With four you quickly learn that they won't wilt and die if they skip a nap. In the past seven years I've learned to relax and to be flexible.  Hallelujah for that because heaven knows that kids are anything but predictable ;)
   I think that the devil loves social media and how it can make us feel as moms.  Inadequate, like we don't measure up and boy oh boy does he throw heaps of guilt our way.  Guilt for not having perfectly decorated bedrooms, for not serving our children a million servings of fruits/grains/veggies a day, for not having elaborate outings planned… and so on and so on.  Not to mention the feelings of not being good enough.  Not fitting in with the "cool moms".  That's just gross. All of it.
   Let's not let him have the victory and steal the joy from motherhood.  I can imagine he loves to prowl on mothers… we're tired and our job is constant.  He knows exactly where to get us.  For me it's finding my just made bed in disarray, toothpaste smeared across the sink like it's finger paint or a whole bag of rice poured all over the kitchen floor.  He gets a kick out of that you know.  My anger and frustration. My yelling.  And that's exactly where he wants me.  Feeling defeated and like I'll never be enough or caught up as a mother.
  I want to encourage you (and myself!) tonight… to remember that Christ has already won this battle.  The victory is ours.  What an honor and incredible responsibility HE has called us to as mothers.  He has entrusted us with His precious creations.  Let's not listen to the lies that the world feeds us…that we're not good enough as mothers and that we don't measure up.  Let's listen to the TRUTH that He gives us.
  Here's to a new week my friends.  Dig into His Word first thing when you get up.  Fill your mind with His promises and use it as armor throughout your day.  He has called us to something incredible… you can do it!

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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