Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Tea Collection: Destination Australia Sale!

Tea Collection children's clothing has gone down under with their new spring and summer collection!  Time to visit the land of kangaroos and koalas.  Yes, there are each of those cute tees on high quality fabric, my kids picked them as their favorites already!
















Right now is a great time to stock up and save with their Buy More, Save More event.  Buy 3 items and get 15% off, 4 items for 20% off and 5 or more items for 25% off your entire order* using code KOALALOVE.


Besides the awesome graphic tees there are fun twirly skirts and dresses!

Auto Updating Promotional Banner

And don't forget Easter is coming next month, check out these beautiful dresses for spring!  This year I might not even need to add a sweater to it with it being so late in the season.


There are plenty of fun things for boys here as well.  Creatures that inspire!


This sale runs March 21st through March 26th.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

*Non-Tea branded items are not included in the sale, nor are clothing sets or a specific few pieces marked Global Archive.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Five

People keep asking me if I miss my children being little. No, no I don't. I like them just the way they are right now. I will admit it IS pretty crazy that the twins are five now, but looking back at these posts from when they were born feels like a lifetime ago.

I just went to my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower on Saturday for their first baby. It will be fun to have a baby niece nearby, but I guarantee you I'm not one of those people who always has to be the first in the room to hold the baby.

Anyway, the girls are SO looking forward to having a baby cousin nearby since they aren't getting a little sibling.


Some days I get kids that will smile for a picture, some days I don't. These were taken a few weeks back when I needed portraits to submit for something and the lighting was just right in my dining room.

You'd never guess from these pictures, but Joy is quite the silly bug. I guess it just depends on the mood by day (or hour). And really she was being quite cooperative for these pictures, which I didn't really want silly!


She is very independent and knows what she wants and why. Or where. Or how. I think she's going to be a bit particular, a little like her oldest brother. Things have an order to them. In this she also follows directions very well and has learned how to color quite neatly within the lines. She's very proud of that skill.

At times like this I struggle a little to come up with ways they are different. They each have their own personality for sure, but they like to do most of the same things and are together almost 24/7. So for as much as developmentally kids go through things at roughly the same ages, that's what we have here. If we ever wonder if they are identical I think this always reminds me that they most likely are. (No, we haven't had them tested, but it's highly likely that they are)



Poor Hope is my toothless girl. After these were taken she even had to have one more on the top removed from the trauma a year ago because it had gotten infected as well. She does pretty good at crazy 5am dentist visits and isn't too traumatized by the actual events.

She goes about her days singing quietly almost all the time. And always reminds Daddy when he forgets his glasses before leaving for school.

They go back and forth being clingy still when I leave them at preschool, but away from me I hear that Hope is a bit more reserved. It's like if she knows I am in the vicinity she is fearless. But even sometimes in the grocery store she will hide her face from someone we know. We're still working on not just running away ahead of Mama though.

For the most part though, these are THE most outgoing (and loud) children you've ever met. They will hug anyone I even have a casual conversation with!


For all their clinginess in the mornings I think they are really enjoying preschool. They're learning their letters and numbers and at their conferences last week I was surprised to find they can each count almost up to 50 without missing a number!

We have lots of interesting conversations in the car about the weather and the things we see as we drive to and from school and all around town for errands.  One really cool part about having cousins living on the other side of the world is this giant wall map at church where we can point out every week where they live.  And where my penpal Amy lives.  And where Sweden is that Mommy went to 18 months ago.  I love geography so it's really fun that they like it too.


The twin bond is still very strong between these two.  They do occasionally do things apart from each other, but more often than not you will find them doing the same things.  If one is coloring, the other will eventually join in.  If one is playing with the dollhouse, very soon the other will be there too.  In some ways, when Noah (usually) plays with one of them that introduces competition into the relationship.  They do have their squabbles, but for the most part they get along better than most siblings I've seen.


The last time we went to the doctor they had reached the 85th percentile on the growth charts.  For being at the 25th percentile when they were born they've caught up and passed "average" for kids their age.  I'm not surprised since the rest of us aren't small either.  It will be fun to see if they continue to stay in this range or even get farther ahead of the growth curve like the boys are.  They continue to stay very even with each other although Joy is slightly heavier (she eats more!) and has a half size bigger feet.  Joy: 48 pounds, about 44 1/2 inches and size 12 shoes.  Hope: 45 pounds, about 44 1/2 inches and size 11 1/2 shoes.


I love these girls and can't wait to see what they do and become as they get older!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Tea Collection End of Season Sale!

Now is your last chance to get Tea Collection's destination Japan pieces on super sale!

Today and tomorrow only take an extra 25% off already majorly reduced prices!  Kids had a growth spurt while there's still 2 feet of snow on the ground? *raises hand*  Get something to tide you over for the next couple of months at a great price!

Valid Wednesday and Thursday only use code 25FORYOU at checkout for an extra 25% off.


All of destination Japan is on sale and they've included some new things this time around.

Auto Updating Promotional Banner

What are you waiting for?  Go check it out!




The sale runs February 8th and 9th only.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Book: The Mark of the King

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

***

I'm not sure how to do this book justice without giving away half the plot!  It's a time period in history that I haven't read much about, well, outside of Regency England.  This book takes place during the first 4 years of the settling of New Orleans.  I've been to New Orleans once and the gulf coast.  I can't imagine what it would be like with no infrastructure, trying to survive with help from France months away by boat, if they ever send it.

Love, betrayal, treason, you'll find it all in this book and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.  Green does a good job of filling out the setting just enough to put me in it without going over the top and the characters were well thought out and in depth.  Some of the plot might be a little over the top, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction so maybe things like this really did happen.  Either way, it was an intriguing read and I'm glad to have another snipped of history brought to life.


***

Read other reviews or purchase your own copy here. Or click on the graphic to win a copy!




Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.

I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Alaska: Glacier Time

On Wednesday we finally picked the perfect day to take a trip out to the Matanuska Glacier. (It's seriously highway robbery to get in through the private land in front of it though)


The view of "their" mountains before we left.


It was about an hour and a half drive to get to the glacier and the scenery along the way was simply stunning.


You drive high along the hillside opposite the glacier before going down to it so you can see some of the sheer size of it. 


Four miles across and 27 miles long.  Much of the front of it on the left side is actually ice, but covered by the silt and gravel that the glacier has churned up.


The glacier moves about a foot a day, but enough falls off at the front end that it is fairly stable in it's location.  We felt a piece of it shift while we were walking out on it! Spooky!


This is Shalom, and froggy had to visit the glacier with us!


Distances are deceiving... it probably took us a good 10 minutes to walk from this photo to the glacier edge.


At the edge, a lot of the ice is covered with dirt and silt.  But you can see the clear solid ice through it!


David juggling rocks...


All of these rocks have warmed in the sun and melted themselves down into the top layer of the ice.


Checking out a hole in the ice.


The guys got a lecture from Dahlia about letting kids get too near holes... safety first!  We all (except the girls) had these Cat Trax things on our shoes that made it much easier to walk on the ice.  The poor girls had to just be held up as they walked.


Family picture on the glacier!  If we go to Glacier National Park in the future I think the kids might be a little disappointed...


There were many of these holes, most not big enough for anyone to fall into.  You can see the amazing blue color down in the ice though.


Our lovely hosts!


We were on the very front edge of the glacier and it's so choppy that we couldn't climb up on top like I thought we were going to.


Boys on the ice!


These two photos (above and below) are taken looking back towards the parking lot, and from the parking lot respectively.  You can see that we are on the glacier, but in the photo below, where we were standing is very much at the bottom and front.


Let me just straddle a crack for fun!


Checking out how cold that ice water really is!


The boys were drinking the water pouring off here.


This is us, in front of one little piece.  To your right, the rest of the glacier was easily 4 to 5 times this tall, just what we could see!


And after we took this photo the boys walked over to where the ice turned into a small lake.  What they didn't know was that the water had essentially melted out the ice under the edge so under their combined weight it broke, dumping them both into glacier water!  Dahlia was there to grab them out and they must have been treading water hard because neither was wet above their armpits, but they said they never touched the bottom!  You can see that most of us are actually in shirtsleeves because it was such a warm day thankfully, even the air blowing across the glacier was warm, but they were cold then!



Boys: let us push this rock over!

There were some amazing patterns where the ice had fissured and the silt had flowed down into the cracks.  Try to blow this photo up and look carefully.


Views on the way home!


Just a mile or so before we got back to their house there was another moose spotting!  This one had a baby with her, but it was hiding from my camera.


And then just as we were getting the kids to bed (yes, at 11pm) I saw a giant shadow outside the window and this owl landed on top of the tree just off their deck.


All the nature is pretty awesome in Alaska!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Giving and Overspending

Today has now become fashionably known as "Giving Tuesday".  Where, after we've all blown all our Christmas cash on Black Friday and the newer Cyber Monday, we stop and think, "Hey, maybe I should donate to some poor people too".

Ugh.

I have so many thoughts about this I don't even know where to start, and I'm preaching to myself here too.  I bought a lot of "stuff" this last week.  Things that were on sale and I'll use for the rest of the year, but still, that's a lot of expendable cash going to things that will in the end, just be consumed.

We Americans are such a consumer society and if we're not careful it consumes us too.  All the time spent shopping, and then organizing, cleaning, and finally purging.

Now I have kids, and they grow and so need new things, but still, we have too much.  I'm trying to be a bit more mindful of what we have as I stretch that buying to another child, but it's so easy to pick up things here and there and before you know it, mountains of things overwhelm your home.

What if we flip this on it's head? 


I wish Giving Tuesday could come before Black Friday.  You know, give some away, before we spend every last cent on ourselves?  It's kind of a Biblical principle after all!

I started thinking about the various organizations we've given to this year, or in the past.  My inbox got flooded in the last few days with most of them so that made it easy to summarize.

There truly are so many worthy causes out there, but may I suggest starting with ones that are close to your heart?

For us, that means people.  But it also means programs that benefit people long term, things like reforestation by The Eden Projects, who also provide jobs for people who have been devastated by that deforestation.

It means donating to organizations like International Justice Mission or Freedom Firm, who are actively working to rescue men, women, and children from all kinds of slavery.  Or my personal friends, the Besks, who work with Go Zoe in Thailand.

It also simply means donating to organizations that are working to bring people out of poverty and hard places.

The Preemptive Love Coalition working with displaced people in Iraq and Syria.

Compassion International working with kids in poverty all over the world.

Kiva, making micro loans to help those in poverty help themselves (and they pay you back directly, or you can choose to re-invest that money over and over again).

Sister Connection, sponsoring widows in Burundi as well as helping them become self sufficient through micro financing.

And finally, one of my personal favorites, Village Schools International, working in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia WITH villages to build their own schools and provide education that is otherwise unavailable to almost all of these kids.

~

Many of these organizations have matching grants going on today that will allow you to double your impact.

Whatever you choose, will you think about how you could give out of your bounty to make the world a better place?  What are your favorite organizations to support?

I receive nothing for telling you about these organizations, I just think they do really good work!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cyber Monday at Tea Collection

This is the rest of the sale you've been waiting for at Tea Collection!  Cyber Monday sales are 30% off everything Tea branded online for two days only with code YETIPARTY.  Also you get free shipping on any size order!


You'll find the best deals in the sale section, but 30% off anything is still a good price.  Check out the line of holiday dresses for your little lady, or button down shirts and sweaters for your little man.

Auto Updating Promotional Banner

I love Tea for multiple reasons, but over the years their quality has sold me.  They don't pill or stretch out of shape after many washes.  And Tea has a relationship with all their manufacturers to make sure they have good working conditions for their employees.  Honestly, this has become one of the biggest selling points for me as I become so aware of how people are treated in other countries.


For the girls, play ready dresses


For the boys, classic looks that are still fun


Happy Shopping!

The sale runs November 27th and 28th.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.