posted on: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We've been squeezing every last bit out of summer that we can this week. You know how it is when summer feels like it's been forever long and yet you're not sure how it went by so quickly.  While I love summer days I also love change and new seasons.  This summer has been one of the best we've had as a family.  Full of swimming, vacations and family time. And we ended it with just a bit of heart ache.  In a way I'm ready to move on to a new season for that very reason.

Emma starts school next week and we couldn't be more excited!  While she's off learning I'll be doing homeschool with the boys.  Colt technically could start Kindergarten this year but we've made the decision to hold him back since he is a fresh five years old.  I'm so excited to do a pre-kindergarten with him this year!  His books are ordered and we're raring to go! My weekend to-do is to pencil out what our new schedule will look like.  I'm one of those people who thrive on a good schedule and list.  I don't get upset if the schedule doesn't go according to plan. But I do LOVE making one ;)

We've been making a list a mile long of to-do's we need to do around our little cottage once the weather cools off.  It's funny how everything around your house seems to get run down all at once.  I could use a friend with a green thumb to come help me with my outside yard work.  My thumb is as black as it gets and everything in my front flower bed shrivels and dies.  Part of the problem is half is shaded and half is full sun.  Any gardeners out there with an idea of plants/shrubs that are Texas heat/drought hardy and that can live in sun OR shade?  Or am I just hoping for something made up and magical :)

I've been cooking up a storm lately.  I feel like my love for cooking goes through phases.  Right now it's at an all time high :)  Some recent favorites:  Pioneer Woman's Homemade Chicken and Noodles and the Pioneer Woman's Orange Sweet Rolls. Both are HEAVENLY! And both make gigantic portions.  Be prepared to feed an army.

In the evenings and during the kids afternoons I've been staying busy with my Rodan and Fields business.  We're getting ready to launch into Canada which is an exciting time for our company.  If you're a Canadian and reading this... I would love to tell you more about the business opportunity!  You can work from home and set your own hours... best of both worlds if you ask me! Shoot me an email and I'll send over info! thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com.  And if you're in the United States... equally as wonderful! This business has been such a crazy blessing to our family and so many others. Did I ever think I would be passionate about skin care? Nope.  But there is one thing I know... my skin has NEVER looked better and I have never in my life loved a job so much (obviously besides being a mama!).  I love being able to give people confidence with their skin. And I love knowing that I work for a company that is changing lives.  Our families lives being one of them. If you're wanting to make some extra income from home (no parties involved)...then shoot me an email!  If you're a new reader I have a short Vlog here that I did a few months ago that talks about the business and my story!

Also, if you're in dire need of some great skin care.  Let me know!  I would love to tell you about our products and show you what regimen would be best for you!  thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

Hope your week has been a great one!

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Mini Boden Giveaway

posted on: Sunday, August 17, 2014

We were so blessed to be asked last month to partner with Mini Boden for an awesome Back to School Giveaway! I've partnered with 9 other blogs to show you over 25 different ways to style the precious clothes that Boden has this season. Make sure to enter below for a chance to win a $250 Mini Boden Gift Certificate!

Emma's Outfit// Hotpotch Cardigan, Jersey Printed Tunic, Cord Slim Fit Jeans, Printed Wellies

Colt's Outfit// Big Creature Tshirt, Vest, Cord Baggies, Leather High Tops

Cade's Outfit// Brushed Check Shirt,  Super Soft Tshirt, Slim Fit Jeans, Suede Desert Boots

Back to School With Boden Blogs: The Chirping Moms, A Mommy In The City, Blue Eyed Bride, Style Smaller, House of Rose, Your Modern Family, The Vanilla Tulip, The Little Style File, Bon Bon Rose Girls and I Love You More Than Carrots.

You can find Mini Boden at the following places:
Website (to buy some fun clothing!)

Use the code CHRP and will receive 15% off + free shipping

**giveaway starts on Monday morning!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway


posted on: Saturday, August 16, 2014

I started this blog years ago... just for family.  A way to keep far away family up to speed.  Over the years it turned into something a bit more.  A creative outlet, a ministry, a way to financially help our family, a place to make new friends, a community.

And through the years I discovered so many things.... that through social media, blogging, Instagram... the Lord can be glorified.  For as much evil and darkness that there is in this world and through social media.  There can be just as much good.  

My prayer through my blog is that Christ would be glorified. In every aspect of my life...whether the easy or the really hard.  That through my story, others might come to know the One True God. 

This past week has been a very hard one for our family.  We had a special announcement that never got to be made... we were expecting sweet baby number five.  I was still very early in my pregnancy... just a few days short of six weeks.  We had known for two and a half weeks about this little one.  Last Sunday I knew something wasn't quite right.  A trip to the dr. on Monday confirmed my fears.

I had never experienced a miscarriage before.  The sadness that you feel is a strange and aching one... mourning over the loss of your baby.  A little one you will never get to hold or kiss.  A life that you love more than you ever thought possible.  But through all of that sadness and aching... there is one thing that I am certain of.  My Lord is there to hold me sustain me... to strengthen me.  He is my Rock. He is my Shelter.  

Through the week I had a handful of girlfriends and my mom texting and calling me.  The common thread among all of these women was that they too had miscarriages.  They understood the hurt and the ache.  One thing that my mom told me that is so true and so wise is.... no matter how many kids you already have... no matter how early the pregnancy was... it's okay to be sad. It's okay to mourn. Because it was a LIFE.  A precious life that is gone.   

To you mothers who have been there... who are going through it now... who may in the future.  Cling to Jesus.  I am so thankful for His promise to us... eternity spent in heaven with Him.  My heart is at peace knowing that my Lord is holding my sweet baby in heaven.  He is good. And He is so faithful.  So faithful.  

If you don't know who Christ is... if you're not sure where you'll go when you die... be certain.  Know without a doubt.  I serve a God who has changed my life forever.  I would love to share that same hope and assurance with you.  My email is thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com.  

This song has blessed me so much this week.  I pray it blesses you as well. 

"When I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay.

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You"


posted on: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A few weekends ago I met up with some of my Rodan and Fields girlfriends for a weekend retreat.  We stayed at the Four Seasons and it did not disappoint!  One of the things that has surprised me most with my business is how many women there are out there that are able to have VERY successful R+F businesses yet they're able to continue doing things they love.  For me, that is being able to stay home and be mom.  For another friend, she is able to continue working her full time job that she loves. She uses R+F to fund her love for horses and riding.  For another friend, she is able to work a full time job and is doing R+F to pay for other things like a new house and an upcoming wedding!

We are all so different and yet have one common goal with this business.  To make a difference both financially in our own families lives but also in the the lives of our customers.  It makes me so happy to see customers who finally feel confident with their skin.  I know first hand what it feels like to feel self-concious about my skin.

If there is something that you are financially wanting to achieve I want to encourage you to look at Rodan and Fields.  We're expanding into Canada NOW. So if you are in Canada or know somebody up there...then this is incredibly exciting news!

Maybe you're trying to make ends meet or are wanting to pay off debt.  Maybe you want to pay for your child's private school or private lessons.  Maybe you want to fund an adoption or a special ministry.  Maybe you want to have some fun money just to go shopping.  Whatever your WHY is.... this is a job that can help you get there.  And what I love most is it's a "job" that can fit into any area of your life.  Even if it's just a few minutes a day.  We aren't a party company, so you're not having to take time away from an already busy schedule to throw parties.  This was HUGE for me!  If you have a phone and a computer/laptop you are set!

Last month was my one year anniversary with Rodan and Fields and I had a month long special going. I have decided to extend that special THROUGH the 15th of this month. I wasn't able to get everyone's questions answered in time and wanted to honor that special through the 15th!  Also, anyone who joins my team by FRIDAY will receive something else on top of that. And believe me when I tell y'all it is GOOD:)

If you would like to know more about this business and the products shoot me an email:
thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

I would love to tell you more!

+my sister-in-law and me
+the group of girls I went to Napa with earlier in the year
+meetings poolside

Quiet Evening+This and that

posted on: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The other night Travis had to work late which meant it was just the kids and I until bedtime.  We had spent the day at the pool so all of their energy was gone. Can I get a hallelujah? It was one of the most peaceful evenings we've had to date.  The boys were playing animals, Emma was crafting and Eloise kept moseying around from room to room.
I can feel the end of summer sneaking it's way towards us.  Last week the kids and I made a paper chain counting down the days until school starts.  In my mind we were going to make a lengthy chain and I was a bit shocked at how SHORT the chain ended up being.  We're excited about a new stage of life we're entering into.  Emma will not be homeschooled this year.  We are so excited for what the Lord has in store for her this year.  It was important to us that she fills her little heart and mind with Scripture so we've been memorizing a new verse every few days.  We've picked out a special verse that will be her own special verse that she can always have ready.  More on that in a few weeks! In the mean time we plan on sneaking in every last bit of summer we can!
And while Emma will be off to school we will be homeschooling Colt this year!  It was really important to me that my kids have a solid foundation in reading and math.  Obviously they can get that anywhere they go. But to be able to work one on one with them for a year worked best for our family! We went to the bookstore last week and Emma picked out her first chapter book.  She hasn't put it down and will finish up her last chapter tomorrow.  It makes my heart so happy to see her curled up in various places around the house reading to herself.  It's just the beginning of something wonderful!
We've been organizing and moving things around this past week.  I'm sure you're thinking...what's new?! ;)  One of the things that I have found is how when you live in a tiny place you are constantly rearranging and changing things around to fit that moment of life.  In the kids room they have two giant closets.  Over the summer we emptied out one for a secret fort for the kids.  I just moved all my clothes in with the kid's stuff.  But as we're gearing up for a big school year we've acquired a bit more clothing...which means back to the other closet we go!
In a nutshell that's what we've been up to this past week.  Squeezing in summer, crafting, quiet nights, reading, back to school shopping... these days are so precious and sweet to me.  I want to remember to savor every minute.  The quiet ones AND the chaotic ones! We are so blessed!
Hope your week has been a great one thus far!

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Guest Post: Megan from This Beautiful Truth

posted on: Saturday, August 2, 2014

I have LOVED getting to know Megan from This Beautiful Truth over the past week during our blog mentorship time.  Her blog is refreshing and will leave you feeling encouraged.
I'm excited about her post today... I think that anyone who is a mom can completely relate to the season of life that she is in.
ENJOY and make sure to follow her in the following places!



Hi, I'm Megan - lover of Christ, wife to my worship leader husband Brandon, new mom to my 9-mo. old miracle daughter Liv and soon-to-be Ugandan son.  I also work part-time as a pediatric oncology nurse and blog over at This Beautiful Truth about motherhood, infertility/adoption and living simply with my family.  I would love for you to stop by and say hello!

I've been thinking lately about this idea of seasons in motherhood.  I'll admit, this wasn't something I fully understood until I became a mother.  I don't think you can truly know how different your life will be until that sweet, tiny babe enters the world and forever changes yours.  I sure didn't.

Before she was born I remember thinking things like, "I will still do the same things I do now, I'll just bring my baby with me, and she can sleep in the carseat".  Sometimes that does happen (although for us not the sleeping in the carseat part!), but I have learned that oftentimes I need to say no to things, because it just wouldn't be the best thing for Liv or for us right now.

Many times these things I'm saying no to are good things.  To be honest, sometimes it does feel a little like we mothers with little ones miss out on some really fun things - we definitely don't have much free time anymore and sometimes it can be lonely.  I also have struggled with feelings of guilt at times, because others thought I was being silly by saying no or didn't understand my reasons.  

On the flip side though, I am always gently reminded that this is only a season in my life, one that will be gone long before I'm ready.  I would not trade letting my newborn sleep on my chest all day, rocking my baby to bed, or holding her in the video venue at church for the first 6 months of her life for a thousand 4th-of-July firework shows.  Besides you all know that taking your baby to 10 pm fireworks would not be fun for her or you ha ha.  Now I am in no way saying that we shouldn't get to go out on dates or do fun things - we absolutely should - and we need to!  I am just saying that the Lord has encouraged me that saying no to some things is good and healthy and okay.  I know everyone doesn't always understand or may think I should be doing more, but that's alright, because I know I'm right where I need to be - pouring into my family in this season.

I love this season of motherhood I'm in.  Having a baby was not an easy road for us, and as sappy as it may sound, it truly has made me cherish and enjoy every moment.  The more mobile she becomes and the more she changes daily are such a bittersweet reminders that these baby days won't last forever, and that being her mom is a special calling and truly a place of ministry in itself.  It hasn't always been easy, but I have never once regretted going part-time at my job, leaving gatherings early when I needed to, or saying no when I just didn't feel it was right for us right now.  It is my hope that we can all give each other grace, understanding and encouragement no matter what season of motherhood we may each be in, because that's how the body of Christ should love.

August Mentorships

posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

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I am beginning to wrap up my month of July Mentorships.  It has been such a great month getting to know the women behind the blogs and shops that have been featured over the past few weeks!

I am gearing up for the next round of August Mentorships. I have decided to only take a handful in August since we will be focusing on back to school!

If you are interested in growing your blog, having a feature post, getting to ask me any and every blogging question you can think of ;) and are wanting to know details on how to grow your blog presence.... then shoot me an email and I will send you the details!  thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

Again, I am only offering a small handful of spots for August on a first come, first serve basis!

Look forward to having you!