Vegas Momcation: New Year’s Eve 2020!

I have long wanted to write a love letter to Las Vegas and now I just so happen to have a blog due at the same time that I am fresh off a trip, so here we go! Vegas is easily one of my favorite places on Earth. There is just an exciting, electric energy about this bustling, colorful, historic city in the dessert that I can’t help but gravitate towards. It is not uncommon to see visitors from all walks of life and every continent, speaking every language imaginable. Whatever is entertainment to you – shopping, gambling, shows – you can just about find it all in Las Vegas! We lived close by when I was younger so I have some early memories of the Treasure Island pirate show, going to the games at Excalibur, and I even went to the Siegfried & Roy white tiger show one time.

Nowadays, my Dad actually lives in Las Vegas. So for me a trip to Vegas doesn’t just mean partying. I know that I am going to get the best local advice on where to go and what to do while I am there. I also know that I am going to get to soak up some family time. This year I spent Christmas at home in Kansas, but I hopped on a plane at ICT just in time to ring in the new year with the rest of my sisters and family in Vegas. Keep reading to hear where and how we celebrated!

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My Thoughts On “A Simple Favor”

I was just chatting with another mom the other night about how there is a point in time where you simply miss out on movies. Your kids are a certain age or your life is in a certain stage where having the time to grab dinner and movie is all of a sudden complicated. You have to arrange child care and practically double your date night budget because of it. On the off chance that you do get to go to a movie, it absolutely sucks when the movie turns out to be bad.

On the other hand, with so many streaming services available I sometimes get overwhelmed at the options and end up watching the same movies over and over. It’s also always been a struggle to find a good family movie to watch all together. Luckily, Disney+ has all but solved that issue.

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Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – 2019!

Over the years, I have come to really appreciate handmade gifts. Both giving and receiving them. It is such a warm feeling knowing that someone took the time to make something just for you and that there is not another piece out there exactly like it. Also, I know my purchase with a small artisan will go further and mean more than with any store. This season, I invite you to sit back, shop, and share these great #handmadeholiday gift options from some friends of mine!

Hand Painted Wooden Ornaments
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Inside My Intentional Kitchen Design

If you follow me online at all then you likely saw my kitchen remodel reveal. We took out an entire wall, so of course the before and after pictures are impressive. But there are alot of other intentional details that went into the design that I want to share with you.

First, a little background on how we ended up in this house. Between the properties we looked at in Texas and the properties we looked at here in Kansas, we looked at about 50 homes. One day before our final go around Wichita my husband sent me a link to a house and said, “this is a good example of a bad house on good land that we could fix up.” Even though it was just supposed to be an example, we lined up a showing. It was our very last showing before heading back on down the highway to Texas. The land itself was beautiful, but the house actually made me cry. It was so much worse than the photos made it look. I think I cried all the way through Oklahoma. However, something about it I just couldn’t leave alone. The opening sequence to one of my favorite shows ends with the phrase, “do you have what it takes to take on a fixer upper?” Well, as it turns out, I do have exactly what it takes to take on a fixer upper.

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Derby Adventures: Summer Edition

The weather has officially turned cooler, my leggings, boots, and scarves have all come out to play, and the calendar is pending dates at the pumpkin patch and other Fall festivals. With Fall already here, I would be remiss if I did not take some time to share about our fun filled Summer in Derby. Derby is a beautiful exburb of Wichita that is the closest town to our farm. This Summer I got to put my marketing hat back on for a bit and help the Derby Recreation Commission part time. My kids were ecstatic that Mom was going to be working because that meant no Summer homeschool! Since it’s only our second Summer here in Derby, we felt like we had the ultimate insider’s guide to some really exciting Summer activities.

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How To: Family Budgeting Tips

If you are connected with me on social media (or read last month’s post) then you know that I had a hard time choosing a topic. I took a poll and a handful of people asked to hear my tips on family budgeting. In all honesty, this was the last thing I wanted to write about. It was on the list because my husband and I had just revamped how we do our monthly finances. At that same time, a close friend of mine also reached out needing a tool to help her and her husband plan each month. Once I knew that so many of you wanted advice in this area, I started asking my close friends and family how they run the finances in their households. I’ve compiled the best advice and have linked to our favorite tools below!

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The Enneagram 6ness Of Me!

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I keep a running list of possible blog topics on my phone. When it’s time to pick there is typically one shouting out at me. This month however I could not decide between a handful of topics. I decided to ask my social media followers to vote on a topic. It came down to a close race between family budgeting tips and the enneagram. I am not quite ready to give budgeting advice so I am going to share with you my enneagram journey so far.

You may be wondering, the enna-what-now? Simply put, the enneagram is a personality test. But in truth, it is so much more than that!

I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing when I first heard about the enneagram. I was a communications major and I spent time working in corporate America, the last thing I needed or wanted was another personality test. I had already taken them all (the letters, the animals, the colors) and this test wasn’t going to tell me anything new.

But, I was wrong.

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How To: Get 4 Meals From 1 Chicken!

As some of you know, a big passion for my family and I is food freedom. What I mean by that is connecting what you eat with what you believe. We believe in God’s perfect design for our world. We believe in the right to grow and consume your own food, free of man’s interference. About a year and half ago we moved onto 20 acres. So far we have raised our own veggies, fruits, chickens, and even a pig. One of my greatest joys is creating a meal with items from our farm.

We know that not everyone can pack up and move to a farm just to get pure food. We are at a point where we want to share our food with others. A question we commonly get is about pricing. We sell chickens for $5/pound. Yes, that is probably more than you would pay at the grocery store. I won’t bother you about why a grass fed chicken is worth more than a factory raised chicken… at least not in this post… but I do want to share why you should probably be buying whole chickens versus buying chicken by the breast or leg. Price per pound, it is simply a better deal!

I am always surprised when I meet someone who does not know how to cook with a whole chicken or how to get more than one meal out of a whole chicken. My family eats one chicken per week and it is not uncommon for us to get a few meals out of each.  Today I am sharing a week’s worth of chicken recipes straight from my kitchen. (Note: I practiced for months with whole chickens from the store before we started raising our own. So, if you are not close enough to purchase one of our chickens you can still totally make these meals).

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Navigating Adult Friendships

Guys, making new friends as an adult is hard. Making new friends as a wife and mother is even harder. I have stayed in toxic friendships for years because it honestly felt easier than cultivating new friendships. In the past, my husband and I struggled to find even just one couple we could both connect with and that was in the same life stage as us. And what about once you’ve made a new friend? Once the “honeymoon stage” has worn off and you’re dealing with real life issues, how do you navigate the complexities of keeping a friendship? It should be easy, but the truth of the matter is that a lot of times – it is messy. I have found that nothing kills a friendship faster than insecurity and a competition mentality. If you choose to be friends with someone, you have to make a conscious effort to love and trust them. No friendship can thrive under paranoia and constant criticism. This week I asked my social media followers for the best friendship advice they’ve been given and the first one I got went like this: “celebrate their wins even when you feel like you’re not winning! It is not a competition but a relationship.” Amen, Brooke!

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Why (Still) Homeschool?

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Do you ever have so much in your head that you’re not even sure in what order things will come out? Well that is me today, so bear with me!

A couple days ago Instagram reminded me about a blog post I wrote exactly one year ago called, “Why Homeschool?” In that blog post I wrote about why we decided to homeschool our oldest, our first homeschool convention experience, and explained how we use Monarch online curriculum. Since then, we’ve decided to homeschool our youngest and I have attended another Teaching Parents Association (TPA) Convention.

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