Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Six

Life has been good in our little world.  We've beens soaking up every bit of summer and sunshine we possibly can before baby number five gets here!  We have several friends who are BEYOND generous with their swimming pools, which means we've been pool hopping all of July.  I'm certain there's nothing better than floating in a cool swimming pool when you're nine months pregnant in the Texas heat :)
The past few weeks have been filled with all sorts of events.  I had my 31st birthday, one of my little sisters got engaged, Travis' grandmother passed away and sweet Colt turned 6! All of those events happened within a two week span of one another.  Just a tad crazy!
My prayer was that baby five would stay in just long enough for me to celebrate Colt's birthday with him.  I LOVE birthdays and love celebrating each child on their special day!  His one gift request was a remote control monster truck and also "anything that looks awesome".  We started the morning with his favorite… pancakes, bacon and orange juice.  And then we all went out in our jammies to watch him drive his new monster truck and to try out his walkie talkies :)  We spent the day at the swimming pool and had dinner as a family at Chuck E. Cheese.  Before he went to bed that night he came to Travis and I with a piece of paper he had drawn on.  It was a picture of a little boy with a happy face and hearts above his head.  He told us it was him and that he had the best birthday ever :)  
I love being a mama to my babies.  They are such a blessing.  I still can't believe we're going to be adding another precious little one to the crew any day!  

"The fundamental mission of motherhood now is the same as it always was: to nurture, protect, and instruct children, to creat a home environment that enables them to learn and grow, to help them develop a heart for God and His purposes, and to send them out into the world prepared to live both fully and meaningfully.  It's up to us to embrace that mission as our own, trusting God to walk us through the details and to use our willing mother's hands as instruments of His blessing"- Sally Clarkson




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bedding Game Changer

One of my favorite parts about blogging is getting to share some great products with you the reader.  I never write a review for a product that I don't believe in. In fact, I've actually had to email companies before letting them know I wouldn't be able to write an honest review after using their product.  I know that when I read other product reviews on blogs I hope that the review is 100% honest!  With all that being said… I want to introduce something to you that has truly been a game changer for our family!

My boys sleep on bunk beds which can be a beast to make!  Not to mention I felt like they always looked super messy even after they were made.  It had gotten to the point where I had cut a queen sized quilt in half to make smaller quilts to fit the bunk beds.  But they still hung down and looked rumpled 99% of the time.  

This is where the game changing part of the boy's bedding takes place.  We discovered Beddys bedding which has been INCREDIBLE!!!!  The way it works is that it's all of the bedding in the form of a fitted sheet.  You simply slip it on the bed and you're DONE!  When it's time to make the bed or get into it, you just zip down the top.  

My boys were BEYOND excited to get into their "sleeping bag beds" as they call them :)  And you know it's cozy when they ask if it's time to curl up for naps.  Mark my words that has never been asked before ha!  

When it's time to make their beds in the morning they simply get out of bed and zip it up.  I love walking past their room to see freshly made beds that look VERY put together!  

Also, mom to mom…when it comes to washing them… it's a BREEZE!  You just toss it into the wash on cool and then throw it in the dryer on tumble dry low.  Once they're washed just slip them onto the mattress and you're good to go!

The last thing I have to mention about this bedding… my boys are SLEEPING better and longer with it.  If someone would have told me their kids slept better because of a certain type of bedding I would have thought you were crazy.  But my husband even pointed it out after a week of them sleeping in their Beddys Bedding.  They're going to sleep faster AND they're sleeping in longer.  I honestly think it has to do with the fact that they're tucked in nice and cozy all night long instead of rolling around in messy blankets.  Seriously… GAME. CHANGER.

Beddys RARELY does coupon codes anymore but they have generously offered my readers $35 off!
Just enter thevanillatulip at the checkout!  That code will expire on July 31st.  

If you have any questions regarding the bedding I would be more than happy to answer them! Just leave it in the comments below :)

You can find Beddys at the following sites:






Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Technology

We are in full summer mode over here but gearing up for a new school year is definitely on the forefront of my mind.  This past year we had an incredible experience with public school but have made the decision to return to homeschooling in the fall.
My parenting style definitely tends to steer my kids away from any sort of technology.  Call me old fashioned… but I prefer them to read books and play as opposed to video games and tv.  And while that lifestyle is great, I think it IS important that they learn how to use a computer correctly.  Not to mention there are so many incredible educational opportunities that can be used through a computer!  I have my own personal laptop that I use for work but always get a bit nervous when the kids use it.


We discovered the brand new exclusive HP Pavillion 17" Notebook from HSN ( it goes on sale 7/18!) which is a PERFECT family friendly computer!  I can't rave enough about this computer!  A few of my favorite features…

+The giant 17" screen.  This is a MUST with so many sets of little eyes trying to see the screen.  Each child has been given a set amount of computer time each day. But that of course doesn't stop the others from wanting to see what their siblings are learning.  I love that they don't all have to peer over each other's shoulders to see what is on the screen.  Also, we've watched one movie on the HP Pavillion 17" Notebook and we were all able to see the screen at once!

+ The Bang and Olufson Built In Audio. I think we can all agree most laptops/notebooks have some pretty wimpy audio.  You find yourself turning up the volume as high as it will go and find yourself wanting to turn it up even more.  The sound on the HP Pavillion 17" Notebook is INCREDIBLE!  In fact I have found myself having to turn it down a time or two!

Another neat feature about this computer is that you can choose between five colors which is fun!  Silver, white, blue, red and purple.  I went with silver so that it would match the rest of my kitchen ;)

A few other neat facts about this computer… it has touchscreen capabilities (SUPER fun for the kids to use with their programs), it comes with the new Windows 10 Operating System, it has Lifetime Tech Support (AHHMAZING) and it has a ton of storage.

This particular model is exclusive to HSN and will be available on 7/18 (my birthday!) for $699.95. Obviously purchasing a new computer/laptop isn't always in the budget which is why I love that they offer a Flex Plan to help split up your payments.  With six payments of $120 they will ship the laptop to you right away so you don't have to wait for the laptop to be paid in full before you are able to use it.  It's like lay away but better since you get the product shipped to you right away!

You can read more about the HP Pavillion 17" Notebook here.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Collectively and HP, however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


Monday, July 6, 2015

The Fourth

In past years we've planned our Fourth of July around gatherings with friends and family.  This year we opted to celebrate with just our family and to make it as low key as possible.  It was such a refreshing day from start to finish! Our day was filled with a yummy breakfast, Fourth of July Parade, long naps, evening grilling and some local fireworks.
It reminded me a lot of the Fourth that we celebrated 6 years ago…when I was pregnant with Colt :) I love that I'm due just a week past what I was with him.  In a way it felt so good to celebrate the Fourth and get that crossed off my list of "to-do's" ;)  It means we're just one step closer to meeting our sweet Cash here in a few weeks!  
Hope your holiday weekend was a safe and wonderful one!



Friday, July 3, 2015

Glazed Lemon Poppyseed Bread

I love sweet breads of all varieties!  This Lemon Poppyseed Bread is a winner!  Whatever you do don't skip out on the Glaze at the very end!  This recipe makes enough for two loaves of bread.  One for now and one for later ;)


Glazed Lemon Poppyseed Bread

//INGREDIENTS

For the bread….

3 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/4 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Milk
2 TBS  Poppy Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

For the glaze…
1/4 cup Orange Juice
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 TBSP Melted Butter

//DIRECTIONS

1/ Preheat oven to 325
2/ Mix all your bread ingredients together.  Pour into 2 greased bread pans.
3/ Place in oven and bake for around an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean
4/ This part is where you can do either/or.  I prefer not to take my bread out of the pan to glaze.  You definitely can do that however before you glaze! Just put it on a cooling rack before glazing. 
5.Combine all your glaze ingredients into a small pot and heat to boiling. 
6. Pour glaze over the top of the bread

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dress Up + Costumes Express

One of the things I love most about having little ones is seeing their imagination run wild when they put on dress up clothes.  All four of my kids LOVE dressing up and have since they could walk.  Princesses, super heroes, pirates, animals, cowboys, snowmen… you name it and they have loved pretending to be it!

It has been raining cats and dogs here over the weekend which meant that we were inside the majority of the time.  It couldn't have been a better weekend to partner up with Costumes Express! They are generously giving away a $100 to one lucky winner! Details below :)




Now for the giveaway: One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card to shop Costume Express. You can enter using the Rafflecopter below. We're excited to host this giveaway with 8 other awesome blogs! Be sure to visit their sites to see the fun ways their children dress up.  By visiting all of the blogs, you'll have a chance to see over 25 of the costumes currently available from Costume Express.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 19, 2015

Soft Melt-In-Your-Mouth Peanut Butter Cookies


This is my favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe that I've been using for a few years.  It's a little bit of a different texture than the other Peanut Butter Cookie recipe I have saved.  This one isn't quite as dense.

I'm still on the hunt for a REALLY chewy Peanut Butter Cookie recipe so if you have one I would LOVE to try it!  This recipe makes a very light and soft cookie.  Very melt in your mouth :)


Soft Melt-In-Your-Mouth Peanut Butter Cookies

1 large egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
granulated sugar, to criss-cross your cookies with

Beat together butter and peanut butter until well combined.
Add sugars and beat until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix just until blended.
Chill your dough for at LEAST an hour before you bake them.

Roll dough into balls.
Dip a fork into white sugar and make a criss-cross pattern in the top of your cookie.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Do NOT overbake!
I pulled mine out while they still looked a bit raw.
Let them sit on your baking sheet for a few minutes to finish cooking.