Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thrifty Thoughts

I am just going to be flat out honest with you.
Thursday has snuck up on me this week!
I've had baby on the brain and didn't have a thing prepared for Thrifty Thoughts.

No biggie though.
Because last week (once again!) you guys had some AWESOME link ups!!
I seriously am loving reading your posts:)

So for this week I thought I'd just post a few of my favorites!
turned this brown shelf she found in someone's trash into a new shelf for her bathroom.
I LOVE this!
shared an awesome Chobani Greek Yogurt Pancake recipe.
She makes a huge batch on Sunday and then freezes them into
 individual little packs to use throughout her week.
I am most definitely going to be doing this!

Jenny from French Press Mornings
shared some free printables that she made!
She shares a new free printable every Wednesday.
Free artwork for my house... yes...I do believe that is as thrifty as it gets:)


Link up your Thrifty Thoughts post below!
Remember it can be anything!
A favorite thrifty recipe, a thought, a project...
whatever you do that helps to save a little money!

Please add the button to your post so that others can join up with us :)
the vanilla tulip- thrifty thoughts

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


We're in that weird waiting phase now.
Just waiting on this sweet little girl to make her grand appearance!
It's a good feeling...
knowing that everything on the list has been checked off.

While we wait we've been...

eating Quaker dinosaur egg oatmeal for almost every breakfast. 
Who doesn't love digging for dinosaurs first thing in the morning?!

enjoying the crazy weather...
air conditioning and shorts yesterday....
heater and winter coats/hats today...

making our favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies...
playing playdough...
and eating the said oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

How has your week been?
What have you been up to?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hospital Must Haves

I thought I'd share with you what's in my suitcase packed and ready for the hospital.
I know each woman is different on what she prefers to wear in the hospital.
I do love a good hospital gown but I also like to put on somewhat normal comfy clothes.
My rules...everything must be soft and loose.
Because heaven knows the last thing I want on my body is something tight and restrictive.

Here's what I've got for this hospital trip:

-Black Sweatpants/Yoga Pants: The looser and softer the better.
I always stock up on several pairs of these.

-Soft Cardigans: I have a few cardigans packed...nothing fancy. One is a jersey material and the other is a soft knit.  Sometimes hospital rooms can be a bit chilly and I love having something to easily slip on.

-V Neck Tshirts: There's something comforting about a soft v-neck t shirt! Just like the pants...the looser and softer the better.

-Comfy Socks: I always like to buy myself a new pack of socks for the hospital.  Something about putting on a new pair of socks always makes me feel like a new woman!

-Slippers: Whenever I walk around my hospital room I always like to have a pair
of slippers to easily step into. It helps to keep the bottom of
my socks clean on my trips to and from the bathroom.

-Faux Diamond Studs: Just a little bling to make me feel somewhat put together;)

Hospital Pack List

I also like to splurge on a fun new shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
That first shower after you've given birth always feels like heaven.
And new bath products make that little slice of heaven that much better!
 I always bring my own bath towels too.
The little comforts of home can make the hospital not seem so sterile and cold :)

And my last hospital must have is that I bring my own pillow as well as a fresh pillow case for every night.
Nothing better!!! :)

What are some of your favorite things to bring to the hospital for yourself when you have babies?!

-this post is sponsored by-

Monday, January 28, 2013

Memory Keeper: January 28th

-In case you missed last week's post I've decided to jot down little memories every Monday.
I have a terrible memory and want to make
 sure to document even the littlest moments so as not to forget them!-

The weather has been unseasonably warm here this past week.
Low to mid 70's in January is fine by me!
After Sunday afternoon naps we loaded up the kids and
 headed to the lake for a long walk and some fishing.
We made sure to hike the hilliest hills in hopes that it would encourage Elle to come out. it is Monday and I'm still pregnant :)

On Saturday Travis had to work so the kids and I made a quick last minute trip to the city.
Target, ChicFillA and Starbucks were our three stops.
We made it home just in time for naps.
I love little outings like that with the kids.
I love having my little group with me at all times:)

I've been nesting like a crazy woman this past week.
It never ceases to amaze me how God gives my body the extra spurt of energy that it needs at the end.
I spent two hours on Saturday night organizing the kids clothes.
Jammies in sets, clothes in specific piles and everything labeled.
Out. of. control. nesting.

Friday night we went out for pizza.
It was a sweet time.
The kids were on their best behavior (miracle!) and were just loving life.
The big two are going through a kick right now where they like to get Cade to say new words.
He's such a little parrot these days.
They were belly laughing over the words they were making him say...
he was loving being the center of attention...
and I caught Trav's eye as we smiled and laughed at the kids.
I love living life with my best friend.
Love knowing that we're in it together in raising our little group.
I love knowing that was our last little pizza outing before we're a family of SIX!

Hope your weekend was a good one too!

Blogher-Dinner Faster

Dinner time.
Those two words alone can cause any busy mom's blood pressure to rise.
I'm sure we've all been there.
Frantically scavenging through the fridge and cupboard for something to whip together.
And when all else fails there's always fast food or delivery pizza!

As a stay-at-home mom to three (almost four) little ones I have found
that my time in the kitchen needs to be well thought out and planned.
Whipping up a dinner when it was just my husband and me used to be no big deal.
We could eat later and there was no rush.
But now when five o'clock rolls around my kids are asking when and what dinner is.

One of my favorite tricks to making sure we have a warm meal every night is by having "back-up" meals.
Because let's face it.
There are some days that don't go as planned.
You might get home later than anticipated,
company might pop in when you should be prepping for dinner, you might have a child who is extra clingy and needs extra hugs, etc.
Having a back up plan is key when it comes to getting a nice meal on the table for your family.

This is where my favorite kitchen appliance comes into play.
My deep freeze.
I was gifted this beauty this past year.
And let me tell you... it is life changing!
I have extra meals stored up for the nights when I am in a pinch or just too tired to make something.
And let me add, you do not need a deep freeze to have back up meals!
Throw some in your normal freezer!

Here are a few of my favorite tips when it comes to building a nice little "back-up" stash of meals.

When you are making your menu plan for the week, plan at least one meal that would freeze well.
Then buy enough ingredients to double your meal.
On the night you prepare your meal make a separate pan of it that you can freeze for another night.
And voila'!
A backup meal, just like that!
It doesn't take that much more time.
Just thought to purchase the extra ingredients and a few minutes to make an additional pan.

There are plenty of great dishes that can be frozen.
Some of our favorites are: lasagna, baked spaghetti, chicken enchiladas, beef enchiladas, pizza rolls, beef and barley stew, baked ziti and homemade chicken pot-pie.

My one concern with freezing my meals was that they would taste
 like they had been frozen and would be freezer-burned.
There are several great ways to prevent these problems from happening.
Before you put any meal in the freezer, it is so important to make sure it is wrapped correctly.
If your dish can fit in a freezer bag I would highly recommend
spending a bit more on a name brand freezer bag.
It will make all the difference!
If your dish doesn't fit in a freezer bag, then you will first wrap your dish in plastic wrap.
This will add a little bit of extra protection from the cold.
Then wrap it thoroughly in tin foil.
It is extremely important to make sure you remove all excess air
to ensure that your food tastes fresh when reheated.

Once your food is wrapped and ready for the freezer, make sure you label what it is as well as the date that you put the dish into the freezer.

You're not quite done yet!
Now comes the fun part --
Making a list of all the meals you have placed into your freezer.
This is such an important step.
All of those yummy meals will do you no good if you forget what you have stored away.
Make a list to keep by your freezer.
It doesn't need to be fancy.
Just write down the name of the dish, as well as when it was placed into the freezer.
When you take a meal out to use, make sure you cross it off your list.
This will also give you a good idea of when you should be making more meals to restock your supply.
And that's it!
Here's to planning ahead and making our lives easier as busy families!
Now go and freeze some meals!
This post is part of BlogHer's Dinner, Faster editorial series, made possible by Land o' Lakes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Group Sponsor Post

Today I would like to introduce you to some of my blog sponsors!
You can find their ads to the left of the blog.
They are a FANTASTIC group of women!!!
I thought it would be fun for you to get to know them a little better.
I asked them to share three random things with you.
Long or short.
Make sure to check out their blogs once you've read their answers!
Happy Sunday!
1) Ok this is pretty obvious to the majority of my friends and if you live near me then you already know this. I LOVE to Purchase with Purpose. It is probably one of my most favorite things. It can be anything...T-shirts, Hats, Necklaces, Bracelets, Shoes, Bags, Headbands, Baskets, Wine.... You get the picture. I am a sucker for all things cute that give back. That have a purpose behind it. A purpose bigger then boosting the economy through mass produced clothing and accessories that the big department stores carry. 85% of my closet is filled with these items. And if it is your birthday or something you better count on receiving something Fair Trade. Something that has a STORY behind it. I Love it! To find out about some of my favorite places to Purchase with Purpose visit this post here.
2) I am an introvert. Not around my friends really. But in groups of more then three. I get really awkward and sweaty. When it is my turn to talk in a group, whether it be life group, a dinner party or just a large get together, I instantly get hot and start sweating and I forget EVERYTHING. I cant speak normal and I forget all my words. Its embarrassing really. I love to travel alone, eat alone and shop alone. Which is extremely difficult with a house full of people. When I tag along on my husbands business trips one of my favorites things to do is walk around the city (Chicago, NYC, SanFran) alone. I love it! Its peaceful and so relaxing. My extrovert friends don't get me. I love the quiet and noise gives me anxiety. Which is weird because I have boys! HA!
3) I love to paint and do crafts. It is like the best and cheapest therapy around. I love the feeling of accomplishment when you sit back and can say "Yeah...I did that!" and actually be really proud of your hard work. I am a craft supply junky. I have tons and tons of yarn (I am learning to crochet and I am LOVING it), I have paint coming out of my ears and I have a stock pile of stamps. Stamps are my newest obsession. Who knew you could do so much with stamps! We are created in God's image. Our creature. He is so creative. When I look around at all the different kinds of people, plants, animals and other living things I am always in awe of His vast amount of creativity. Since we are created in our creators image I feel like we all have that shared sense of accomplishment when we have completed something we have created. Ya know. I love it.
1. I'm left handed, but can do a lot of things with my right.
2. I have an 18 month old son whom I absolutely adore and get the privilege of staying home with husband is a high school head football coach
 1.I love to read but hardly do anymore. I need to change that.
 I eat ice cream with a fork. Spoons weird me out.
2. I have an addiction to buying new journals and notebooks.
3.I have lot's of blank or half filled journals because I find a new one I love and move on to it before finishing the one before. I need to change that too.
1.I only dated my husband six months before he proposed and then got married four months later and will be celebrating our ten year anniversary this May!
2.I hate milk. Like it grosses me out to even talk about it so moving on. I receive grace upon grace daily by a God who is so good, even though I'm underserving but I'm thankful, I have a grateful heart.
 1. i love peanut butter turkey sandwiches.
 2. im a mama to 3 little ones.
3. i am terrified of rollercoasters.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Baby Gift Giveaway-CLOSED


I'm beyond excited for this giveaway!
Some of my all time favorite handmade shops are giving away some great goodies!
One person will win everything!
Good luck:)
Mishmash Clothing
-Choice of Hat from their shop-
Gussy Sews
-Your Choice of Large Zip Pouch-
(perfect for keeping things organized in your diaper bag!)
$26.50 value
-Your Choice of Petti Romper-
$27 value

-Surprise Elephant from their shop-
$38.50 Value
Lippy Brand
-White Knot Hat-
$12 value
To Enter:

Mandatory Entry:
Winner must be a GFC Follower of The Vanilla Tulip to enter.
(not sure how to do this? Click here for instructions)
Leave a comment letting me know you follow!

Additional Entries:
(Leave ONE comment for EACH thing that you do!)
(THIRTEEN additional entries are possible)

- Tweet about this giveaway and leave the link to your tweet in the comment
-Post a picture with details of the giveaway on Instagram and leave your username in the comment
-Post a Facebook Status with the giveaway and leave a comment letting me know you did so

-Like The Vanilla Tulip on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did so
-Follow @thevanillatulip on Instagram and leave your username in your comment
-Like Little Hip Squeaks on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did so
-Follow @littlehipsqueaks on Instagram and leave your username in your comment
-Like Gussy Sews on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did so
-Follow @gussysews on Instagram and leave your username in your comment
-Like Chubby Baby on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did so
-Add MishMash Clothing to your Favorites on Etsy and leave a comment letting me know you did so
-Add Rabbitsmoon to your Favorites on Etsy and leave a comment letting me know you did so
-Add Lippy Brand to your Favorites on Etsy and leave a comment letting me know you did so


 One winner will take all!
The giveaway runs January 25th through February 1st.
The winner will be announced on February 2nd!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thrifty Thoughts- Curtains

You guys!
Last week's round of Thrifty Thoughts was so much fun!!!
There were some GOOD tips!

Some of my favorites...

Steph from Living the Young Life loves to have guests over.
She was in need of more plates so she found exactly what she needed at Goodwill!
My kind of girl:)

Bekka from The Dutch Letter is a single gal (and my little sister...she's awesome:) ).
She loves soup but when she would make a pot most of it would go to waste since it was just her eating it.
She shared her Taco Soup recipe as well as the tip for bagging it up into individual portions and freezing it.

 Amy from He Graces shared her SUPER detailed shopping list.
I loved this!  She broke everything down into a monthly, bi-monthly and 3-6 month list.
Absolutely genius and so organized!
I was so encouraged this past week by each one of you.
I love that while each one of us is different we all are wanting to achieve the same goal.
To be wiser with our money and how we're spending it!

Today I thought I'd talk about curtains.
I love how they can make a room feel complete.
The only problem is they can be super expensive.
My budget for decorating is small.
Honestly I don't even have a budget for it.
Whatever I can save from groceries or other areas is my "decorating budget".

I was wanting some striped curtains in my dining room.
I found a pair of curtains that I loved on Etsy.
Black and white horizontal stripes.
A set of two was $240 plus $18.50 shipping.
That kind of money for curtains is most definitely not and probably will never be in my budget.

Fast forward a few weeks.
I was browsing Urban Outfitters website under their sales.
I came across the exact striped fabric that the curtains were made of.
The only difference was it was green and white stripes. was a duvet cover.

It just so happened that the green and white stripes matched really well with the decor I already had.
And here's the best part.
The duvet cover was on sale for $20! Regularly $79.
I bought the only size they had. Twin Extra Long.

When it arrived I hung it up with clothespins to make sure it would be the correct length.
And it was!
All I did to make it into curtains was cut it in half.
Then stitch up the open sides.
And make a hem at the top for the curtain rod to go through.
Simple and cheap!


Don't forget to link up your ideas on Instagram as well!
Make sure to use the hashtag #tvtthriftythoughts.
I LOVED Jennifer's idea that she shared!
Doesn't it look cozy and inviting?

"I finally made my coffee bar/station! Instead of buying a new table 
I used a console table we already had! I'm pretty much loving it!"
Link up your Thrifty Thoughts post below!
And add the button to your post so that others can join up with us!
the vanilla tulip- thrifty thoughts


 Happy Fifth Birthday to the sweetest girl I know!
I love you Emma Kate!!!

{Five year old breakfast of choice...Lucky Charms and Orange Juice}

What do you want to be when you're older? I want to be a Mama!

How many babies do you want? 18

If you could go anywhere where would it be? To an ice-cream place.

What's your favorite food to eat? That's a hard one...I really like all foods.

What is your favorite color? That's a hard one too! All colors.

What is Daddy's job? He's a football player.

How old do you have to be to drive a car? 18.

How old is Mommy? 3 1/2

How old is Daddy? 20 I think?

{She had a manicure and pedicure this morning...complete with a delicious beverage and snack}
What is your favorite thing to play? With my new Barbies!

What is your favorite kind of fish to catch? It's big with whiskers...a catfish.

What is your favorite animal? Ponies and Unicorns.

What's your favorite song? Oooo Little Drummer Boy.

Who is the President of the United States? Jesus.

What is your favorite chore to do around the house? To watch Cade.

{72 degree weather on her birthday...perfection}

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Listening to: A mix between Kari Jobe Pandora Station and Shania Twain Pandora Station. 
A good combo;)
Planning:Oh my. Planning everything?!? I'm in full nest mode over here.

Wishing: For a baby delivery sooner than later! 
Thinking About: What we're going to have for supper. I'm leaning towards breakfast for supper. 
Pancakes and eggs!
Craving: Chinese!  Specifically Crab Rangoon (or cream cheese wontons)
 with that red sauce to dip them in.
Looking forward to: Being a mom to four little ones!!!

Smelling: A mix of Creme Brulee candle and Gain laundry detergent (it's laundry day).
Working on: Decluttering and organizing closets ONE last time before Eloise gets here.  I think I've gone through them two times already. But I keep coming across more "stuff" that needs to be donated or thrown away.
Watching: Downton Abbey Season 2! Are you into this show? If not I HIGHLY recommend it!

Feeling: Little Eloise's heel poking out of my right side.  :)
Making me happy: Life in general right now.  This time leading up to a new little person is always one of my favorites!  The preparation and anticipation...nothing beats it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Memory Keeper

Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat with the babies. 
Their little squinty eyes...the promise of a new day...being surrounded by my tiny friends.
We have a song that we sing every morning at breakfast.
A made-up little diddy.

"It's gonna be a great day! A great day! A great day!
It's gonna be a great dayyyyy! Hallujah Praise the Lord!"

The big two sing it at the top of their lungs.
Cade only sings the word "day" at the appropriate times.
And at the very end of the song we all do a fist pump with a loud "woooo!"
They're a funny group when it comes to breakfast food.
Perhaps a bit spoiled.
I love making hot breakfasts... pancakes, french toast, muffins, etc.
I bought a box of multi-grain cheerios this past week.
I hadn't slept well the night before and was having a slow start.
I suggested we just have a bowl of cereal for breakfast.
 It tickled me when Colt said "cereal!? What a treat!!!"
And Emma deemed it the best day ever since we were having cheerios.
The boys relationship lately reminds me of two little bear cubs.
They're constantly tangled up rolling around.
I love watching their little flailing limbs and hearing their tiny laughs and growls.
Bear cubs.
Each night before bed the big kids and I read a chapter from a book.
Our current read is "Little House on the Prairie."
I'd say it's been their favorite chapter book we've read so far.
Every one of our family members has been renamed.
Travis is Pa, I am Ma, Emma is Mary, Cade is Baby Carrie (poor thing),
 Roland our dog is Jack and Colt is Albert (from the tv show).
They have taken the name changes seriously.
Especially Colt.
When he prays for us at meals or bedtime he refers to us as Ma and Pa.
As I sit here typing up this post little Eloise is busy moving around in my belly.
Some sort of little body part (I'm thinking her heel) keeps poking straight out.
I love rubbing the little bump that keeps popping out!
It's a miracle to think that in just a short time that little heel will be in my arms!
I treasure being the mom to my three (almost four!) babies.
The other night I was in the kitchen after supper.
I had just finished cleaning up from supper and had started to make a batch of cookies for the next day.
Trav had already bathed the kids. 
They were running around the house in their jammies.
Their bare feet pattering on the wood floor.
Colt ran into the kitchen and asked what I was making.
When I told him cookies his little face lit up and he dashed off to tell Emma the great cookie news.
I loved the look of excitement on his face. 
I loved knowing that the promise of homemade cookies can bring them such joy.
I loved knowing that everyone was cozy and safe.
That they were clean and in warm pajamas.
We are so blessed.

Moments like those are ones I want to remember and savor.
Simple memories.
But ones that are special to me.
I am so thankful to be home with my kids.
Savoring each moment...not missing anything.
The Lord has been faithful and is so good to provide.

One of the things I love most about having this blog is that it's been such 
a great way for me to remember little moments.
I've decided that every Monday I am going to do a post called "Memory Keeper."
For my own sake.
Moments I don't want to forget.
One of my goals this year was to take my role as "memory keeper" more seriously.
Not just taking pictures.
But making sure to write down even the simplest memories.

Hope your weekend was a good one!
Just a little blog reminder...
Thursday is another round of Thrifty Thoughts!
Make sure to get your posts ready!
And on Friday is the huge baby gift giveaway!

Happy Monday friends :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Baby Favorites and a Gift Guide

If you've been following the blog long enough you'll already know how much I love handmade!
 And there's nothing I love more than buying handmade for baby gifts (and for my own kids!).

Little Eloise will be here in the next few weeks.
I thought it would be fun to show you a few of my absolute 
FAVORITE handmade shops specifically for little ones!

Since she's baby number four I have a fairly good idea of what items I use the most of and what I needed.
I knew I wanted a few nice blankets, a few nicer outfits and a cozy hat.
I've covered all these bases below!

I would love to know what some of your favorite handmade shops are for baby?
Leave the shop name in the comments below.
I'd love to check them out!

Happy Nesting and Happy Shopping :)


-Make sure to check back on Thursday... several of these shops plus a few more will be joining up with me to have a HUGE baby gift GIVEAWAY! It's going to be good -

I have this sweet little elephant propped up in the corner of her bassinet.
I love that it's her first stuffed animal :)
Rabbitsmoon shop is FULL of precious and unique stuffed animals and pillows!

I love being able to swaddle my babies in soft blankets.
Little Hip Squeak's blankets are PERFECT for swaddling.
Not to mention I'm in love with the customization :)
I absolutely ADORE Amy's shop!
She carries blankets, customized blankets, burp clothes, baby hats, bibs and more.

Since Eloise will be born in what can be Texas' chilliest month I knew I wanted a soft knit blanket.
This beige and white striped blanket from Pavla Knits is incredible!
The perfect amount of thickness and softness.

 I've covered my favorite swaddling blanket and my favorite knit blanket.
And now for my favorite lounging/cuddling blanket!
I love that one side is made of soft minky.
It's the perfect size for Eloise to lay on top of.
And it's also the perfect weight to cuddle her in when I'm 
wanting a little something more than a swaddle blanket.

These burp rags from The Posh Pea Boutique are perfection!
They're shaped to cradle around your neck (or your babies).
The other thing I love about them (besides how cute they are!) is that one side is a soft chenille fabric.
Love that I can wipe Eloise's little face and not have to worry about using a rough fabric.
I'm telling can't go wrong buying these!

Oh my...where to even begin with this little outfit! :)
It is seriously the cutest thing I have ever seen!
Krissa's shop is FULL of precious little outfits like this one.
The outfit is soft and beautifully made.
I think the mustard ruffles and little lace detailing are my favorite!
Incredibly SOFT.
That's this little outfit in a nutshell!
I am dying to put Eloise in this little outfit!
I'm super picky about what I put my newborns in.
Nothing scratchy or rough.
This outfit is anything but!
The beautiful color and pattern are the cherry on top!
I was wanting a special outfit for Eloise to wear when she met her brother's and sister.
Does it get any cuter than this!?
This little gown and hat from Lippy Brand are beautifully made!
And...of course they're super soft;)
Head over to their will start drooling over the beautiful and unique little outfits!

I was wanting a fun little hat for Eloise to wear while we're out and about.
How precious is this little turban hat!?!
It's super soft and beautifully made!
Little Loves Designs also carries other hats as well as precious headbands.