Guest Post: Catherine from Our Mustard Seed Life

posted on: Sunday, August 31, 2014

I have LOVED getting to know Catherine from Our Mustard Seed Life through my Blog Mentorship Program.  Her family's story is incredible and I guarantee that once you hop over to her blog you'll get sucked in reading.  I know I did:)
She is full of joy and it has been such a blessing getting to know her this week!
You can find her here:


Have you ever uttered a string of words, not knowing the full impact they would have?
Maybe you really, sincerely meant them, but didn't realize how your world was going to be knocked off its rocker as a consequence.

Well, that happened to my husband and I almost 6 years ago when we echoed the words of Isaiah, and prayed, "here I am Lord, send me!".
We were at a place where we told Him,
"whatever the question is, the answer would be, YES!".

I have to laugh a little and shake my head at my 6 year younger self.
I had no idea how life-altering that prayer would be!

The 6 years that followed were beautiful, difficult, stretching, heart wrenching, uncomfortable and at times, a big ol' pile of ashes.
But what He did in those years, prepared us for the "MOTHER of ALL CRAZY YEARS"....the one we are currently living in!
Oh yes, 2013-2014 is going down in the books for our family!

You see, one year ago this month, my husband and I kissed our 2 boys good-bye and hopped on a plane to Africa.
After a 3.5 year long carnival ride, that seemingly showed no signs of ending, we were finally going to meet 2 little girls on the other side of the world, that shared our last name.

{meeting our girls for the first time}

We spent 3 weeks in-country doing our best to get to know our daughters despite the language barrier.
And then, our family of 6 was finally all together on the same continent!
Along with a room full of family and friends.

And, as if adding 2 children to your family is not quite life altering enough, 
six.short.weeks later.......
we boarded a plane to move our family to Malawi, Africa.

yup, be careful what you pray for!

This year has been full of crazies as we have:

transitioned into a family of 6
became students of a new culture
moved onto campus at an orphanage
began new jobs
stumbled through language barriers
fell in love with 79 children we call "our own"
attempted to balance family life and ministry
tackled the learning curve of village life
functioned without our American luxuries (hello, electricity?!)
and began full-time homeschool

And as our year of "nuts-o" comes to a close, we can look back over our shoulders and give
each other fist bumps as we exclaim, "we made it!"

Some days were really hard, some weeks we wondered what the heck we had gotten ourselves into, but now looking back, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. 
Following God is guaranteed to always be quite the adventure........

....and we have decided, we kinda like adventure!

Guest Post- Carmen from Creating My Happy

posted on: Saturday, August 30, 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 Carmen at Creating My Happy.
You are going to LOVE her tutorial that she is sharing today!
Also, head over to her blog and she's giving away a beautiful piece of jewelry! You'd better believe I entered ;)

 You can find her at the following places below:


Hi! I'm Carmen from Creating My Happy. I just recently started blogging about my life as a stay-at-home mom, wife, crafter, photographer, and our adventures in our new home state of Montana. I have 2 rambunctious boys who keep me on my toes - Noah and Alec. We recently relocated to Montana from Oklahoma where we'd lived all of our lives (for the most part - I was born in Mexico but moved at 6 months) so in order to keep us from all going stir crazy this summer and getting out to explore our new town and state we sat down and created a summer "bucket" list. I wrote it all on our chalkboard that hangs above our dining table and we checked off items as we completed them.

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It has been a fun and packed summer from hiking, camping, making popsicles, visiting splash pads, stargazing, movie watching, and more (our town has a lot to offer). One of our last items was to make our yearly stepping stones with the boys' footprints. We actually just started this past year and I plan to continue it until they graduate high school. Eventually I may have to only do 1 footprint because I want to keep them together on the same stone each year and as their feet grow (my oldest is 4 and wears a 12 1/2 already) both won't fit.

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Here is last years stepping stone that sits in my front flower bed. So let's get started on how to make yours!


Once you complete this you should have all the supplies for the following years ready except the concrete mix. With our recent move I had to buy new plant holders which cost me $4 for all 3 of these at Lowes.


Spray your plant holders with WD-40 (or if you don't have any of this use cooking spray). This will help the stepping stones slide right out.
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Add your concrete mix to your bucket and then pour the water a little at a time until you get a milkshake consistency. If you add too much water just add more concrete mix. IMG_0804

Pour or scoop out the mix and fill your mold. Using my plastic trowel I smoothed the top. I let the mix settle for a couple minutes before moving onto the next step. IMG_0805

Footprint time! If you want to avoid the mess you can wrap your kiddos feet in plastic wrap or lay a piece over the top of the concrete. I just had them dive right in and kept my water bucket right next to us to rinse their feet in after.


Before the concrete dries (it dries quickly) add your tiles and push them into the concrete. Then if you have the stone stamps use them next. I add both boys names and the year. If you don't have the stamps you can always use a sharp pencil to write into the concrete. Because the boys love to help I always make a small one for them to decorate all by themselves! They of course help with mine but they like to have one that I don't help with - they go crazy with the tiles! IMG_0823

Let these dry for 24 hours in the molds then flip out and leave them about of the molds another day. IMG_0860 IMG_0875

I went ahead and painted the footprints using acrylic paint just so they would be more visible and did last years as well especially since the concrete matches the rocks in my front flowerbed. If you place these in grass or woodchips I think they'd be fine without painting. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and feel inspired to make your own soon. Stop by the blog and say "hello" and see what we are up to!    

September Blog Mentorships

posted on: Thursday, August 28, 2014

This picture has nothing to do with blog mentorships... it just makes me smile:)  We get asked on a daily basis if the boys are twins.  Looking at this picture solidifies WHY people ask that:)  I just adore them!

I am wrapping up my month of August Mentorships.  I can not wait to share a Guest Post with you this coming weekend from a very special blogger. Her story is one you'll want to read!  

September began to fill up before I was able to get this post out.  I currently have two spots left before I am closing down the September Mentorship spots.

If you are interested in growing your 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 last spots.   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."

Back To School Clothes

posted on: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Emma and I had the best time gathering some fun back to school outfits over the past few weeks.  We were so honored when Matilda Jane asked if they could send over a few outfits for Emma to review.  If you've read the blog long enough you know that we LOVE Matilda Jane over here!  Their clothes wear so incredibly well and they are precious to boot!

If you've never heard of Matilda Jane they are a company that originally started at local art fairs in Indiana and now employs over 500 Trunk Keepers across the country in over 45 states and 467 different cities!  It's an interesting model because not only is it very organic in its inspiration and design, but it connects women across the country through its trunk keeper and community-based platform.  You can either be a fan (or a "Jane" in Matilda Jane terms) by hosting a trunk show or become a trunk keeper yourself!  Either way, you can find your local trunk keeper by typing in your zipcode on

You can also find them here!

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Outfit Details:

Perfect Day Lap Dress, $46 on

Pretty Pear Lace Socks, $12

Best Friends Collar Tee, $34

Hold the Phone Skirt, $44

Crochet Lace Socks, $12


Emma was also sent the sweetest little necklace for back to school from Jilly Bean Jewelry.  A few weeks ago we picked out a Bible verse for Emma's school year.  A verse that would always be impressed on her mind.  The verse is Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you, wherever you go."

Jilly Bean Jewelry on Facebook sent her this tiny gold necklace with the numbers 1:9 engraved in it for her Bible verse.  This is such a special little necklace that we will always cherish!  You can find Jilly Bean Jewelry HERE.
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Tiny Closet Office+Summer Sale

posted on: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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I love this little corner of my room.  This little space used to be the strangest closet.  It is ridiculously shaped as well as so narrow you couldn't hang any adult clothing in it. What ended up happening is it came to be the closet where all the stuff that didn't have a particular storage place would go. Aka: the junk closet.  

I found myself desperately needing a place in our home that I could call my own. A place that I could not only run our household out of, but also a specific area that I could run my Rodan and Fields business out of.

We ended up taking off the closet door, painting the inside of the closet white and then putting two large pieces of wood in the center for a desk area.  It turned out exactly as I was picturing! Just like anything in a tiny house my space had became a catch all over the past few months.  I 
was able to spend a little time organizing my tiny office this afternoon. It took all of 10 minutes...and makes me wonder why I didn't get around to doing that a little sooner:)

While I was organizing I realized I had quite a few extra Rodan and Fields goodies stocked away.
I thought it would be fun to do a little Back to School special! If you've been debating ordering products now is the time to do so!

Anyone who signs up as a Preferred Customer and purchases a regimen BEFORE August ENDS will be given their choice of a Sunless Tanner OR Daily Body Moisturizer (both a $24 value). BOTH of these products are some of my favorites from R+F! AND you will also receive 10 days worth of our Night Renewing Serum. 

This serum will leave your skin literally feeling like silk! The Night Renewing Serum contains a potent, proprietary blend of peptides and retinol to visibly improve skin texture and firmness and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Retinol, favored by dermatologists for decades, improves skin texture and minimizes the appearance of pores. Shoot me an email for more info on our products and to order! thevanillatulip (At) yahoo (dot) com

We have products for everyone and every skin type. Wrinkles, sagging skin, acne, scarring, brown spots, redness, sensitivity, dark under eye circles and more. These products have truly changed my skin which is why I am so passionate about sharing them! All of our products and tools have a 60 day return policy. Which means you can try the products for 60 days. And if within that time frame you aren't entirely pleased, then send them back (even empty bottles) for 100% of your money back. It's risk free to give them a try! Email me for more details thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com

And if you've been intrigued by the business, I would love to chat more with you about it.  If you're wanting to bring in some income that can fit around your already busy schedule...then this would be for you!  Shoot me an email and I'll get you all the details:)

Hope your day has been lovely!

First Day

posted on: Monday, August 25, 2014

Today was a big day in our house.  A wonderful day!  Emma went off to first grade and Colt and Cade started their own school at home.  Things look a bit different than they did last year with all four of them at home.  It's a big adjustment but one that we feel such a peace about.  It's interesting to see how the Lord changes your heart. As a family we've decided to take our schooling year by year...child by child.  Colt will be doing most of the same Kindergarten curriculum that I did with Emma last year.  And Cade...well... bless him. He's not a bit interested in shapes or colors.  At dinner tonight Travis asked him what his favorite color was that he learned about today.  His response, "my favorite color is a triangle". ;)  We've got a long road ahead of us with that little fella... he is as rough and tumble as it gets! Like a big teddy bear:)

We were all so excited to pick up Emma after her first day.  Her report of how it went.... "this was the best day ever!"  Such a relief to hear! I am so proud of her.  My prayer is that she would be a little light for Christ in her school.

I'm excited to share this week a bit more about our back to school week.  But for now... I'm off to get us around for the morning!  Hope your weekend was lovely!

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Homemade Playdough

posted on: Saturday, August 23, 2014

This past week we found ourselves inside a bit more because of the Texas heat. We spent one morning last week revolved around homemade playdough.  After breakfast we took a trip to the store for the supplies, came home and made it together and then the kids spent the rest of the morning playing with it.
I LOVE this recipe! It's one that my mom made for us growing up.  It's super easy to whip up and saves wonderfully in a plastic bag!  I tripled this recipe and it made enough for my older three kids to have a good amount each to play with.  Have fun!

//Homemade Playdough//
1 C. Flour
1/2 C. Salt
1 Tablespoon Alum (this can be found in the spices section of your store)
1 C. Boiling Water
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Combine your dry ingredients and mix.  Add boiling water and stir until mixed well.  Add your vegetable oil and knead until smooth. Add your food coloring and knead until mixed in.