Vacation: Part Two of Three

posted on: Sunday, July 20, 2014

We're back from our week long vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama! It was hands down one of the best family vacations that I have ever been on.  We rented a large house with four other families.  There were twelve kids total...all under the age of 10.  Each family had their own bedroom and bathroom.  We ended the week wishing it was longer...which is always a good sign that it was a great vacation!

Some of the highlights of our trip.....

+beautiful weather every day but one. We had a rainy day mid-week which was actually nice.  It gave everybody a chance to rest from the sun and regroup!

+my youngest sister who is in college went with us for the week to help with the kids. Talk about AWESOME!!!  I always joke that she's better at being a mom and a housewife than I am (even though she is none of those things).  She was such a huge help to me!

+spending time with our dear friends.  I am so thankful for the families that we went with.  They're the kind of friends that you feel comfortable being around, that love your kids like your own and that feel like family.  I celebrated my 30th birthday while we were there and they all made me feel so loved! Also, it should be noted that the guys had a tacky Hawaiian shirt contest on the night of my birthday party.  They were definitely festive looking:)

+seeing MULTIPLE sharks on multiple days.  Not even kidding.  The first time we spotted one it swam right behind one of our friends who was fishing in waist deep water.  In the exact same place that we had been boogie boarding earlier in the day.  *shudder*

+during the afternoons Travis would take the kids inside for afternoon naps.  While the kids rested all of the moms and my sister would head out to the beach to lay out AND to boogie board ;)  We couldn't get enough haha!

+my brother and I share the same birthday.  Just a year apart (he's older).  His family was down in Gulf Shores the same week we were...just vacationing with my sister-in-laws side of the family.  It was SO much fun getting to spend our birthday together!  We went out to dinner to celebrate and had some of the best seafood I have ever eaten!

+on the way to vacay we stopped half way and spent the night at a hotel.  On the way back we made a last minute decision to drive the whole way.  We left at 5am and pulled into our driveway a little before 7.  SUCH a long drive but the kids were troopers! We stopped half way in West Monroe, Louisiana at the Duck Dynasty shop and then ate a nice long lunch at Cracker Barrel.  It was the perfect mid-drive break!

 photo 5745c35d-c94f-45f2-b963-f01b9053bdff_zps1080bab7.jpg  photo 1004977e-aa4a-4f90-a70d-8db5ee2368a5_zpse27b2252.jpg  photo c4712722-5909-403e-9c57-c5baf3121e30_zps9586aff3.jpg  photo f5808e97-f59d-439e-8b40-fc856758c2dd_zpsbdb106c8.jpg  photo daa83620-f6d4-4e58-8baa-7eafa40fccc6_zpsa6f9be2a.jpg  photo 6f4b632b-96ca-4ed1-a9eb-511a3fe45db9_zpsc49d8551.jpg

Vacation: Part One

posted on: Monday, July 14, 2014

Our vacation is under way and we are having the time of our lives!  Thought I'd do little updates here for the grandparents ;)  We've been doing nothing but play on the and repeat. Be back in a few days with more pics!

 photo febf3457-43fc-4060-a91f-debb4c9c691e_zpsbceeede9.jpg  photo fe9891b5-9b4a-429b-9c38-6630ac8ac834_zps12e5a3a0.jpg  photo bf9c1359-9162-498c-badc-8b46643b4ee1_zpsab3a072e.jpg  photo 0ff2c22b-b83e-4b06-9bd5-c8ffec804fc0_zps69067597.jpg  photo 32d100dd-a9dc-436a-a9a2-3e52432f0078_zps5528b6f5.jpg  photo bba9f321-2d20-42b7-95eb-04438e702229_zps7d33a047.jpg  photo f3174854-5f53-48cd-8d4f-a3081a019b41_zps97456164.jpg  photo 9eb94437-2a4f-44bd-a2ab-96a47cff75d1_zps30e27d1a.jpg

Guest Post: Haley from The Hobson Homestead

posted on: Thursday, July 10, 2014

At the beginning of this year I decided that I was going to start a blog mentorship program.

I remember being a brand new blogger five plus years ago and trying to figure out how to navigate everything was overwhelming and took a lot of time.  I've learned a lot since then.  Lots of trial and error.  I thought it would be fun to start up a mentorship program for that very reason.  For bloggers who are just getting started and are looking to grow their readership.  Each mentorship runs a week long. If you would like to apply shoot me an email- thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com.  

This week's Guest Post is from Haley from The Hobson Homestead

 You can find her at the following places below:


Hi there. I'm Haley from The Hobson Homestead, a little blog I started 4 years ago that began as a place to post Paleo recipes but has transitioned into a place where I detail my pregnancies and this season of life with little ones. I'm mom to the rowdy boys, ages 2.5 years and nearly 1 year, and will find out the gender of the little one growing in my belly in just a couple weeks.
We weren't expecting Baby #3 quite so soon, but God has a way of perfecting things, and we couldn't be more excited to welcome this new little one into our family in December.
I'm not going to lie; I don't think it will be easy breezy having a brood so close in age. Most days, my house is a mess and my boys are even messier. It seems like bathtime ends with at least one of them crying, and managing it all by myself at night while my husband runs his Crossfit gym has me praying for patience.
But I'm learning that while I can't always change my circumstances, I can change my attitude. I've grown so much over the past year, discovering just how freeing it is to relinquish control.
God humbles me daily when it comes to this mothering gig. Just when I feel like I've got my act together, I mess up or things happen out of my control. By no means am I perfect, but my heart is in the right place and I'm willing to learn.
Blogging has become a journey for me. Sure, I often use it as a digital family scrapbook, but blogging also helps me to look more introspectively and work through my own feelings, something I often tend to ignore.
When I'm not taking care of babies (which is rare), you'll find me WODing in the gym, blogging, cooking healthy meals or satisfying my sweet tooth by baking.

Banana Pancakes

posted on: Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Last week I was shopping my pantry for dinner and ended up coming up with this Banana Pancake recipe.  My kids gave these a thumbs up and asked me to never make "normal" pancakes again.  They were SO GOOD with butter and a little syrup drizzled on top!

 photo adfc15ea-ed8e-4cdc-b3e4-5344cc9c3abc_zps77989126.jpg

*this was enough pancakes for our family of six

3 Cups flour
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinammon

Mix your dry ingredients together.
Then add:

3 cups milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 large banana mashed (you could use two small bananas if you wanted)

I added a splash or two more of milk to get my pancakes the thin consistency that I wanted.
Rub your griddle/pan with butter and then pour on the pancake batter.


Riffraff Favs

posted on: Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just a few of my favorite pieces from Shop Riffraff this past month!

I LOVE this dress!  It's hard to find a white dress that isn't see-through.  This one passes that test with flying colors.  I also love the length of it. Not too short which makes picking up little ones doable :)

Oh this top.  The week I got it I wore it four days in a row.  I put a simple white bandeau top underneath for a little more coverage.  It is a BEAUTIFUL top and so light and flowy!  This particular top is sold out but I was just looking at the Shop Riffraff site and they have several ones that are similar in stock!

If you're not already follow Shop Riffraff on Instagram @shopriffraff
They are currently located out of Fayetville, Arkansas 
but will be opening a new Dallas location this month!

To get 10% off of your order use code
at the checkout!

Also, don't forget you get Free Shipping on EVERY order!

Dream come true

posted on: Monday, July 7, 2014

After the kids were tucked into bed tonight I plopped down on the couch next to Travis.  I mentioned that I was so tired after our day at the pool.  And that led the conversation to how awesome it was that my "job" today was to take the kids swimming.
I had always dreamed about having lots of kids and staying home with them.  It makes me smile looking at pictures of our day seeing that dream has become my reality.  The Lord is so good.
These days are long and busy ones.  Somebody is always needing something, there's always a mouth or bottom needing to be wiped, there's always a mess somewhere in the house and it seems like there is always a crying or fussy child. Oh, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  The messes, the chaos, the loudness... it's so beautiful to me.
Before I had my babies I would pray that they would come to know Christ.  That they would have a deep desire for Him.  I underlined this verse in my Bible and have prayed it over each child...

Colossians 1:9-10, "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."

Emma has been asking so many questions the past few weeks about Christ and heaven.  This past week she came to me at the pool and said that was wanted to ask Jesus into her heart.  It was one of those moments I don't want to forget.  We talked about what this decision meant over the next few days.  And on July 3rd she made the decision to have Jesus be the King of her life.  Just writing that brings tears to my eyes.  My prayer for my babies is that they would shine His light in this dark world.  And July 3rd is just the beginning for Emma.  Seeing her child like faith and excitement for what Jesus has done for her...there are not even words to express the joy that it gives me.

The Lord has changed my life forever.  I know without a shadow of a doubt where I'll go when I die.  I know that I was a sinner and that Christ died on the cross to save me from that sin.  If you have questions about what this all means please email me... I would love to tell you more.  thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

 photo 8c819687-0ba1-47b7-bc1f-165f58864f53_zps7fc469aa.jpg  photo c0d367ee-05aa-4908-8a2f-9ed850be1293_zpsd58bc8eb.jpg  photo de93f0c4-7043-43c6-ac55-f2915dc52f4e_zpse60e1148.jpg  photo 6433a603-41c9-4528-ad05-23cad6066928_zpsb044db4f.jpg  photo e6fe51ae-1afb-4a0d-a7ec-cf9110beb522_zps6c0936b4.jpg  photo 9086d8bb-137b-4be0-99c4-8affcd428a8a_zps4126d12b.jpg  photo 453e58b5-bfe7-4b8a-81a2-fed1d8b7bb6e_zps8d182085.jpg  photo cca286ae-7faf-4793-85f6-be91b841986e_zpsafc95dc2.jpg  photo ae89305f-aff2-486b-b2d2-27ae2f9232ad_zps0104cc61.jpg  photo 5b7d56ac-c658-4fb0-9ee1-dd6ff7595d01_zps04088a26.jpg

Blog Mentorship+Ad Space

posted on: Saturday, July 5, 2014

 photo 4c08cc6f-863b-4f2d-a04e-bd1bd86db696_zps1260b09f.jpg

I love blogging.  I started six years ago when my oldest was a baby.  At the time I didn't know anyone who blogged.  I began my blog as a way for my out of state family to stay up to date with what our little family was up to.

Over the years the look of my blog as well as the direction has changed a bit.  What started as strictly a way to update family turned into a place to record our story. I love being able to look back at what our family was up to, what food we were loving, the places we had been.  To see how my kids have grown, to remember the stories behind the photos, to see the Lord's faithfulness and to see how I've grown.

I've came so far in these past six years in my own personal blogging journey.  A few years into blogging I made the decision to change the name of my blog as well as to make it something a little more than just our family blog.  I spent many late nights researching ways to grow a blog, how to do HTML coding, working on blog posts. Lots of late nights and coffee.  And over time it grew.  And what I discovered is that as it grew so did the opportunity to meet new friends along the way.  Who would ever have thought that some of my dearest friends are women who I met through blogging over the years.

About half a year ago I realized there was a need for beginning bloggers. I was receiving quite a few emails a week with questions regarding thoughts on blogging, how to get started, beginning HTML coding, etc.  Which is why I started my Blog Mentorship program.   All the hours that I spent learning and researching I've compiled into this Mentorship program. I'm an open book and I love being able to answer the questions I wish I could have asked someone years ago!  It has been such a fun half a year working with women on growing their blogs.

I took most of June off with my Mentorship program to get into the swing of summer. I have two spots left for July and am offering them at a discounted price.  I am also starting to book into August if your July is already full.

If you're interested about the details of the program as well as for pricing/dates send me an email at thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com.  I would love to have you!


If you are interested in Ad Space or having a Featured Post I am offering these for the month of July as well.  They are discounted prices since July is already under way. If you are looking to grow your blog or business these would be for you! Shoot me an email thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com for pricing.