Taking Stock

posted on: Sunday, October 19, 2014

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Making: I'm on the hunt for the perfect mint colored paint. Once it's found I plan on painting a dresser that has been decorated with permanent market;)
Cooking: I made a huge batch of meatballs this afternoon. Half for dinner tonight which was BBQ style. And half for later this week…thinking I'll turn them into some stroganoff mushroom meatballs?!  
Drinking: water. Who am I?!  I've been trying to cut back on Dr. Peppers… I'm down to one every few days.  Baby steps folks
Reading: "Out of the Spin Cycle" by Jen Hatmaker. SO. SO. good.  My MOPS group is reading it for this semester and it is such a light and easy read.  The chapters are short but I put the book down always feeling so encouraged as a mother!
Wanting: nothing.  
Looking: at new couches.  Our poor couch has seen better days.  I'm on the hunt for something that is slipcovered, durable and comfy.  Any suggestions? Preferably a more modern look.
Playing: I Spy with the kids at every. single. meal.  One of our favorites :)
Wishing: that my laundry pile would magically fold itself. 
Enjoying: a chocolate custard sunday with peanut butter and heath bits
Liking: this blog post from Shanna Niequest and this post from Wynne Elder. Both so encouraging.
Wondering: how it's possible that my baby has magically turned into a toddler.  She is starting to string together words.  We have all been cracking up at the things she has started saying!  Her newest phrase when one of the kids picks on her or bothers her… "you're ruuuuuude!"
Loving: the cooler mornings, the pumpkins on my porch, the four sleeping little ones tucked into their beds in the next room, my man sitting next to me on the couch, the excitement of the upcoming months.
Hoping: for a smooth transition over the next month… more to come… but we sold our house!
Marveling: at how the Lord's goodness in our lives.  We are so blessed.
Needing: a haircut 
Smelling: we have our windows open and the smell of someone's backyard fire is drifting in. Smells like fall!
Wearing: a plaid shirt and jean shorts
Noticing: the giant pile of packing boxes in the corner that are begging to be filled!
Knowing: that 5:30am will come sooner than later… I am proud to say I've slowly turned myself back into a morning person.  Is it possible to be both a night owl and an early bird gets the worm kind of person?  I love both.
Thinking: about holiday baking.  Specifically pies! Making a list of ones I want to try. Do you have a favorite?
Feeling: hopeful.
Opening: packages. 
Giggling: with Travis about the funny stuff the kids did today.  There truly is never a dull moment around here!
Feeling: so thankful.  We have been blessed with so much. 

Weekend Happenings

posted on: Sunday, October 12, 2014

The weather has finally cooperated and glory be it FEELS like fall!  Saturday a cold front blew through… dreary skies and a bit of cool rain came with it.  I know gray weather isn't for everyone.  But I can not get enough of it!  After being hot all summer the cooler temps have me feeling recharged!

The majority of our Saturday was spent catching up around the house, watching football (there were some great games on!), running errands, LONG naps for everyone and then a trip to the Pumpkin Patch followed by a BBQ dinner out.

October is hands down my favorite month of the year.  I love that with it it brings the anticipation of November and December.  Is it just me or does the thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas make anyone else GIDDY?!  I saw a picture on Facebook earlier today. It said there are only 11 more Fridays until Christmas. Ee!  

How was your weekend?  We're gearing up for a busy week… a few exciting changes are happening for our family this month.  More on that in a few weeks! Hope your weekend was a great one! 

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Le Tote

posted on: Friday, October 10, 2014

I have been so excited to write up this post to share with y'all! This post has actually been a few months in the making :)  I've been partnering with Le Tote and wanted to share my personal experience about their company.

What Le Tote is, is an online boutique with a bit of a twist.  You pay a monthly fee of $49 and you in turn receive a boutique in a box.  And not just one box!  As many as you can receive and ship back within a months time!  You have the option of keeping and purchasing the clothing. OR you can wear what was sent and then ship it back later!  So basically you're getting to rent clothes.

Last month I went to Atlanta and knew I didn't want to purchase an entire wardrobe.  I was able to wear several tops as well as a jump suit that I had gotten in my most recent Le Tote box.  As soon as I got home from Atlanta I popped them back in the shipping bag and sent them back to Le Tote.  I did not have to purchase the clothing! 

I absolutely LOVE this concept!  When you log into your account you are able to add items into "My Closet".  This gives your stylist an idea of what to send to you in each box.  At the very beginning you will fill out your sizes, style preferences and then fill up the imaginary closet with different items.  I have been pleasantly surprised because my stylist actually picked out a few items that were not in My Closet.  And the items that were sent were not something I ever would have picked out myself. BUT… I loved them!  

A few details about Le Tote:

+Unlimited Totes (boxes) each month
+Switch it up by sending back as many times as you'd like in a month
+Each Tote typically contains five items.  Three clothing items and two accessories.
+If you like something in your Tote and want to purchase it. Then just keep it and don't send it back with the other items that you are returning.  It will be deducted from your credit card on file.

Le Tote has generously offered you readers 50% off! Use the code TheVanillaTulip.
Go here to sign up!

I thought it would be fun to walk you through some of the pieces that I received…
I absolutely ADORE these two pieces of jewelry that I received!  A simple necklace and bracelet that I have found myself wearing daily.  Here is how I paired them for our date last night!

Here are a few of the tops that I was sent.  Some of them I wasn't too keen on… they were a bit shorter in the front than I prefer.  I'm more of a long shirt type of gal.

I loved this last set of shirts that I was sent!  Dressy enough that I could wear out and yet casual enough that I didn't feel weird wearing them in my day to day.

Let me know if you end up trying Le Tote! I have had the best experience working with them.  Going shopping is a feat these days with four little ones. To have a boutique box sent right to my doorstep has quickly became one of my favorite things!  Have fun shopping from home!

++this post was sponsored by Le Tote.  All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help to make this blog possible!

Bloggers+Shop Owners!

posted on: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

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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 (October and November) 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 11,700+ 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!  Happy Wednesday!

This week

posted on: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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October… I have a feeling it's going to be the 31st before I can even blink.  My goal for October is to simply slow down just a bit and to soak it in.  Our plates seem to feel a bit fuller than usual.  There are a few changes happening around here and of course life in general.  With my daily to-do list I've started adding in things that might otherwise get put on the back burner. Such as… make caramel apples :)

Travis had been gone the majority of last week on a work/hunting trip.  Which meant it was just the kids and I.  We spent the majority of our free time park hopping (one day we tried 3 different ones…the kids slept well that night!), eating treats (caramel apples and ding dongs anyone?!) and taking lots of naps.  While we functioned just well without him here I have never been so thankful to see him!  Hats off to you single parents.  That is hard business!

My sweet friend Annie sent over a precious bear hat for Eloise last week.  I can hardly look at the picture without wanting to smooch those cheeks!  I adore this hat because not only is it soft but it's incredibly thick and sturdy! Annie has just a few more available in her shop.  Head over here to snag one for your own little one :) http://www.annieloohandmade.bigcartel.com

This week my goal was to use my crockpot as much as possible.  It really is such a genius kitchen gadget.  I have never used it for breakfast before until this week.  So far we've had Pumpkin Oatmeal. On the menu plan is Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and then Banana Bread Oatmeal.  The Pumpkin variety was good… but a bit dry.  I'm going to tweak it a bit and give it another try next week.  Honestly, crock pot meals can be a bit tricky while you figure yours out.  Some are hotter than others…which makes cooking time and liquid quantities vary.  Have you tried a great breakfast crockpot recipe lately?

Hope you're enjoying your first week into October!

Weekend Adventure

posted on: Friday, October 3, 2014

Last weekend all four kids, my sister and I made the journey up to Nebraska for a family wedding. I had debated leaving the day before and driving a few hours before stopping at a hotel. But decided last minute to just plow on through.  We left at 4:30 on Friday morning and arrived a little after 4 that afternoon.  We did the same thing on the way home on Sunday.

While it was a crazy long drive… it was surprisingly not so bad!  I'll be sharing some of my traveling tips later in the week.  With our family living so far away I feel like we've for the most part mastered traveling long distances with kids!

What made the trip completely worth it was seeing my grandparents and relatives who live in Northwest Iowa.  It was such a sweet time getting to introduce them to my younger two.  Even though it was a whirlwind of a trip, I left with a full heart.  There is nothing sweeter than family.

I am just now playing catch up from last weekend… it feels good to have nothing on the agenda for this weekend!  What's up for yours?!

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posted on: Monday, September 29, 2014

I don't know about y'all but I am the WORST about printing pictures off and framing them.  There has been a spot above my kitchen table that has been in desperate need of some TLC.  This is where Framdbridge comes into the picture (no pun intended).

//Their Story//
"We founded this business so souvenir posters, antique maps, beach trip Instagrams, diplomas, baby announcements, flea market art, and anything that’s special to you could be easily custom framed, shipped, and enjoyed. We are the bridge to your wall. Welcome to Framebridge."

I chose to go the route of printing off my Instagram pictures. I did it by simply downloading the Framebridge app.  I gave them permission to pull from my Instagram feed. Chose my pictures, my frame and the kind of mat I wanted.  Then checked out.   A few days later my frames arrived on my doorstep completely ready to hang!  What's funny is I thought "well, I'll have to wait a day or so because I have to get to the store to get some nails to hang the pictures."  Framebridge thought of EVERYTHING.  Each frame came with it's own nail in a cute bag.  

I ordered 14 prints for my wall. I had mis-measured a tad and could only fit six frames across.  So I hung twelve frames on one wall and two on another wall.  I love that while we eat dinner our pictures are great conversation starters.  We love to talk about the story behind each picture that was printed off. 

Framebridge is offering all readers 2 Instagram Mini's (this is what I have!) for $50.  Both are now available on the website and the app (which I used).  Offer expires October 31st.  
Code: 2INSTA50

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