Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What I Wore Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It's been a busy week and I haven't had too much time in the mornings to take pictures so only a couple of pictures this week.


I love, love, love this Lily Bop dress!  I have received so many compliments on it.  One of the reasons that I chose this one was because I could wear it the rest of the summer and could put a sweater on with it for the winter.


This shirt is one of those shirts I put back in my closet because I didn't think it looked all that great on me.  When I wore it however I had several people say they liked my shirt.  I guess I am going to have to rethink the idea that it doesn't look good on me.  And of course I had to go with the cheetah print ballet flats, they are my favorites!!!


My jewelry this week was from Rocksbox.  I love this subscription service and plan to do a full review soon.  One of the things I like the best about it is as soon as they get information from the post office you have dropped off your package for return they send out your next set.  It's only $20 per month, you can cancel at anytime and if you use my code you can get the first month absolutely free.  Just use code "STEPHANIERBFF15" when signing up!

I am linking this post up to:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Holding On Through the Hard Times

It was the phone call that as a wife you never want to receive.  That phone call came in the afternoon on March 5, 2008.  My husband had been in a car wreck, and was headed to the hospital.  They didn't tell me how bad it was, they didn't prepare me for what I was about to go through, they just said come to the hospital.  So with my four kids aged 5 to 15 in tow I headed to the hospital.  I told the young man at the desk who I was and who I was there to see.  He was so young, he couldn't have been more than 20.  He came around from behind the wall, I was sure he was going to let me go back to see my husband but instead he wanted me to go into a little room off from the emergency room,  That's when my heart dropped.  That's when I realized this was bad.  So I did what any rational wife who sees her world crumpling around her would do.  I refused to go in.  I would not go in that little room.  I could not go in that little room.  It was not going to happen.  They had to get someone out there right now who could tell me what was happening.

So they sent out a chaplain.  A chaplain?  I didn't need a chaplain!  The chaplain then proceeded to tell me that the doctors were working on my husband and they did not know if he would make it.  How could it be?   They tried to once again direct me to that room.  That room where they wanted me to go where they were going to tell me that bad news.  Where I would be out of the way.  Where I could sit alone with my kids and think about what had just happened.  I would not go in that room.

I went out and sat in the emergency room waiting area with everyone else.  There was a nice lady who offered my kids a bead set that they could play with.  My youngest daughter made her dad a necklace and asked me to give it to him when I saw him, which I did.  I am so thankful for that necklace.  To me it is a physical memory of that day and a reminder of the kindness of a stranger.

My husband made it.  Among his injuries he had three broken vertebrates in his neck, broken ribs, a bruised kidney and liver, a punctured lung, and a traumatic brain injury.  It was long and hard recovery.  One that is still not over.  One that has resulted in more surgeries than we care to count, and he is now on permanent disability.  We lost so much.  We went through our small savings quickly.  We bought groceries with gift cards given to us by friends, sold our newer cars, and once were only able to make our house payment because of  an unexpected check that came in the mail.  There were lots of prayers, lots of scary times, and lots of times when you knew we were only making it through because God was providing for us.  One day I may write of everything that went on during that time but that time is not now.

We prayed a lot during those days.  I mean a lot.  We also thanked God for each blessing He sent our way.  We glorified Him even for the smallest of things.  We were thankful.  Many asked us how we could be so positive during this time.  It was because we knew God was with us.  This could have easily broken our faith in God.  We could have easily questioned why us and why God let this happen but we didn't.  Instead we allowed it to grow our faith in God, and we allowed him to bless us.

For us so much good came from this.  My husband who worked 60-70 hour weeks was able to spend time with his kids.  Kids that he loved but didn't know because he worked so much.  Our marriage was falling apart at the time of this accident.  But through it all God repaired our marriage.  And most importantly God gave us a testimony to share with others.  A testimony that we have repeated time and time again, making sure God is glorified each time we give it.  God is good. God is faithful.  And if you allow Him to God will take you through that bad time and use you for good on the other side.
Sometimes it easy to get caught up in our hard times.  We can't see past the pain, the hurt, and the disaster that we see around us.  You might feel abandoned by God, or that your prayers are going unanswered.  Your body will ache with the pain that your heart is feeling.  But this is when God is working the hardest on you.  This is the time when He is pushing you to grow, watching over you the way we watch the plants in our garden grow.  He is with you in that hard time, in that time that feels the darkest, but He has a plan.  We need to have faith in those darkest moments that He has that plan in place and that He is preparing you for the plan.  

As Romans 8:18 states, "The pain you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that is coming."It's when we doubt him, when we don't have faith in him during those hard times that we are not holding up to our end of the bargain.  When we doubt Him, when we question His love for us in those hard time we are not letting Him do His work in us.  

He has promised us that He will never leave us.  Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us, "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you: he will never leave you nor forsake you."  So in those hard times it is up to us to hold on to His promises and remind ourselves through the hard times that there will be blessings.  

I am linking this post up to:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Menu Plan Monday, August 22 - 28, 2016

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I always forget how busy back to school time is for us.  We are busy, eating out a lot, and eating at home even less.  This week is one of those weeks where several of our meals will be eating out this week.  Here's what I have planned for the meals that we are eating at home this week.

Monday - Eating Out

Wednesday - Sesame Soy Salmon, Brown Rice, Asparagus

Friday - Eating Out

Saturday - State Fair

SundayPaleo Chicken Parmesan (leftover from last week), salad

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Product Review: AYL 4-in-1 LED Flashlight

We have a hard time getting quality flashlights around our house.  We recently reviewed the 
AYL 900 Lumens CREE XM-L2 LED Tactical Flashlight and was blown away by it's quality, so when we had the opportunity to review this AYL 4-in-1 LED Flashlight we were happy.

This is a great flashlight and one that I have actually been carrying in my purse.  It's small, it only measures about 6 inches long.  However it is really powerful.


One of the things I like about this flashlight and the reason I carry it in my purse is because it extends to reveal a safety light.


This extended light can be a solid light or it can flash red if needed for a safety flasher.

Another thing I like about this flashlight is the magnet on the bottom of it.


I did receive this flashlight for free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions in this post are my own and are not affected by this.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Homemade Popsicles Using Jello

Growing up I would spend the summer with my grandmother and she would always make homemade Popsicles in the old Tupperware Popsicle molds.


The Popsicles were generally made with Kool-Aid packets and a ton of sugar but they were always so good.  These Popsicles have sugar in them too, and while we are trying to cut back on our sugar intake I make exceptions for occasional treats for the kids.  


When I was offered the opportunity to get the IceWabanga Ice Pop Molds for free in exchange for my honest review I remembered my grandmother's homemade Popsicles fondly.  And while we didn't have Kool-Aid in the house to make the ones she once made we did have several boxes of Jello.  


I chose to use the Blackberry Fusion flavor but you can use any flavor that you wish.

For these Popsicles you will need:
  • One box of Jello
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/3 cup cold water
Because the Jello mix will start to gel quickly it is important to have all of your ingredients ready before you start.  The cold water is also very important because if it isn't cold they will not sit right.  My grandmother taught me a trick when I was younger, she would meausre out the water and then place it into the freezer until it was ready to be used.  This way the water stays cold.


The first thing to do is to get your Popsicle molds ready for use.


One of the things I like about the IceWabanga Ice Pop Molds is that the base and the Popsicle molds have grooves that hold the molds tightly in place.  This makes pouring the liquid in easier and keeps the Popsicles from spilling over while you are putting them in the freezer.


The next step is to mix together the Jello and sugar into a bowl.  I used this bowl because it has a spout that makes it easy to pour the liquid into the Popsicle molds.


Next add in the boiling water.


Then add in your cold water.


Once everything is mixed completely pour the liquid into your molds.


Once the molds are filled put the lids on them and place them in the freezer.  It will take about five hours for the Popsicles to freeze.

When the Popsicles are frozen and ready to eat  run the mold under hot water for a few seconds before trying to remove the cover.  The hot water will release the Popsicle from the sides of the mold.


I loved these IceWabange Ice Pop Molds.  They made making the Popsicles easy.  The quality seems to be good and I plan to use them quite often to make treats for my kids.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Product Review: Ocean View Full Face Snorkel Set

It's funny how things work sometimes.  My son loves the water, we have a pool in our backyard, and he spends most of his time in it.  In addition to that he enjoys snorkeling at the lake.  A few weeks ago, he came to me and told me that he wanted a full faced snorkel set.  He had been researching them and had found a few sets on Amazon that he liked.  Much to my surprise the next day I was offered the opportunity to get this set for free in exchange for my honest review.  I think I was as excited as he was to get the opportunity.

This snorkel set comes with a full faced snorkel mask, adjustable flippers, a mesh carrying bag, and a Go Pro Mount for the face mask.  This set is made out of high quality materials, and I do believe it will hold up quite well over time.

When ordering it is important to pay attention to the sizing.  There is a size chart that shows you how to measure your face to get the correct sizing.


The face mask has silicone padding where many other masks have rubber backing.  This makes it very comfortable to wear.  It is anti-fog, and adjusts easily.  The viewing window for this snorkel is larger than many snorkel sets, which is a huge bonus.

This mask has a ball in a breathing chamber that moves up and down while you are breathing underwater, which allows you to breathe as normal underwater.  The only downside we did find to this mask is that when you flip upside down under the water it allows water to come into the face mask.  When you come up from out of the water, the mask does drain immediately.  This isn't an issue if you just go under the water and snorkel like normal.

The fins adjust easily, and will adjust from a shoe size of 7.5 to 12.5.  They are easy to get off and on as well.  I liked that they have a split in the middle, which makes them easy to navigate with under water.  We also liked that these fins are very light weight, and do not feel clunky when you are wearing them.

We were really pleased with this set and highly recommend it.  

What I Wore Wednesday - August 17, 2016

I can't even begin to tell you how much inspiration I get from reading other What I Wore Wednesday posts.  The added knowledge that I am sharing my outfits also challenges me to change up my wardrobe and not get it the habit of wearing the same old outfits all the time.  Now if I could just get better pictures I would be doing great!

This outfit made me laugh this week and is the perfect example of how I shop everywhere and mix higher end pieces with lower end pieces.  The dress is from Wal-Mart while the shoes are Coach.  The necklace was a necklace that I received through LeTote and ended up purchasing.


Shirt - Humble Chic Women's Iconic Chiffon Tank Top White LG Semi Sheer Scoop Neck Sleeveless Blouse, White (Similar)

Shoes - Guess

The necklace and earrings are from Rocksbox which is a jewelry rental company.  It's $20 a month and you get unlimited exchanges.  I am loving it so far.  And if you want to try Rocksbox for a month for free use my code "STEPHANIERBFF15" at sign up to get your first month free.

Necklace - Unique Vintage

I get sooo many compliments on this necklace set and the picture doesn't do it justice at all!


Sweater - Amazon
Jeans - Gap
Shoes - Michael Kors
Necklace - Altar'd State

This outfit might have looked better with different shoes but it was Sunday afternoon and I was going for comfort!  These shoes are sooo comfortable!


This was probably my favorite outfit this week!  I love maxi dresses because they are so comfortable while looking dressy!  I love comfort!

Dress - Similar
Sweater - Target
Necklace - Similar
Shoes - Etienne Aigner

I am linking this post up to:

What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy


Sydney Fashion Hunter

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Unit Study Roundup

We are huge unit study fans and I have posted a few of the unit studies that I have put together on my blog.  As school starts back for the year the views on those unit study posts have spiked.  So to make it easier I thought I would do a round up of our favorite unit studies that can be found on my blog.

One of the first unit studies that I posted was our Alligator and Crocodile Unit Study.  

This unit study is probably better for preschoolers and younger elementary school students.  It's full of living books, a muddy experiment and crafts.

Another unit study that is targeted for preschool to younger elementary school students was my Butterfly Mini-Unit Study.

This study also uses living books, and crafts.  It really made learning about butterflies fun for the kids.

A unit study that we recently did that is targeted more for upper elementary to middle school aged students was Apples to Oregon.  This unit study incorporates activities that include copywork, language arts, science, history, and even math.