Category: Everyday Life

winter wardrobe staples, deal of the day sites, and my favorite coffee recipe

Happy Friday to all of you!

WE MADE IT! The weekend is among us!

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That ecard makes me laugh every single time.

Luckily, weekends are truly a break for me. (shameless brag approaching…) Andy really is absolutely amazing at helping me on the weekends with the girls. Sunday I always take a nap which is THE MOST ROMANTIC THING HE DOES FOR ME (and I mean that in a good way) and he’s good about tag teaming on the weekends. I will say that this comes with time too because when the girls were smaller and more needy it was much harder for him to deal but now that they are older he is quick to give me a break. So hold out hope moms of infants, it gets better!

I’ve been thinking lately about my wardrobe and beginning to clean out the things I just don’t wear and keep holding onto for some reason. I thought I would share some of my staples right now with you.

1) I bought this anorak before I went to NYC and it has been worn more than any other coat/jacket this winter so far. We haven’t had many insanely cold days so I have been layering and wearing this lightweight jacket more than anything else. It looks SO GOOD on and is so comfy and hangs exactly right. Added bonus- it is long in the back and covers the butt. It is currently on clearance so grab this deal if you need an anorak/rain jacket/light jacket. (side note, i hate this pic of the jacket bc who really ties the ties!? so below is a picture of me wearing it!)

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2. I went a little boot crazy this year and here are the three I live in. They are all so so so comfortable and I am so glad I found these. I have wide calves so it is always a struggle but thank God for places selling wide calf boots!

Avenue Sochi Suede Boot in grey

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Strappy Riding Boot in Brown from Torrid

****FAVORITE SHOE OF LIFE****

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Saldana by BareTraps

(I got mine at DSW but these are on sale!)

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3. The sweater coat. I’ve looked for the past year for the PERFECT sweater coat but could never find one. Then I got on HauteLook the other day and I SAW IT AND FELL IN LOVE. But I was still nervous about the fit. So when it came in and fit PERFECTLY I almost fainted. It is the absolute most gorgeous and soft and comfy sweater coat ever ever ever and amen. I shall never take it off. Unfortunately I just realized this is sold out, but just google tribal sweater coat to find something similar!

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Okay, speaking of HauteLook – I am in love. They are a deal of the day type sight (kind of like zulily but more “high end” but equally good deals. ALSO MIGHT I ADD MUCH BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE AND YOU CAN RETURN EVERYTHING. I won’t ever order anything from zulily again because their sizes are always off and you can’t return anything.)

The best part is they have beauty deals too! Great brands for up to 80% off. Amazing! I am seriously impressed with this site and would suggest it to anyone. They messed up my order because the color of the sweater coat I order ended up being sold out and so they sent me a really nice email explaining that they failed and they were sending another color but if I didn’t like it I could send it back for free and get my money back. I was impressed with their initiative and the way they contacted me. PS- I ended up loving the color!

Now I will leave you with a recipe for my favorite treat these days. I was missing Texas and decided to make my favorite drink from Paris Coffee – the Mexican Mocha.

Tiffany’s Version of MEXICAN MOCHA

  1. Put one packet (or two scoops) of hot chocolate in the bottom of your mug.
  2. Add one packet of truvia or whatever sweetener you would like.
  3. Pour in desired amount of coffee on top of hot chocolate. Stir.
  4. Add a splash of milk
  5. DRINK THE HEAVEN. Pretend you are with your best friends in coffee (yes that is a thing)- Caroline and Cassidy. Send them a text telling them how much you miss drinking coffee with them.

 

HAPPY FRIDAY! What items are you loving in your wardrobe these days? What is your favorite deal-of-the-day website? MOST IMPORTANTLY, what is your favorite coffee/tea treat?!

apologies from the kindergarten fairy

Mornings are hard in the Harris house.

As you all know, I let Rory choose all her own clothes. 99% of the time it works out beautifully. I don’t care about the other 1%- she can just look crazy for a day.

One thing I’ve always been adamant about is that the girls wear tennis shoes to school. I think it is important because they can run and play better and I don’t have to worry about their feet hurting.

The problem is that Rory has now determined that she cannot walk in tennis shoes. Only cowgirl boots.

SHE SIMPLY CANNOT WALK WITH TENNIS SHOES, PEOPLE.

So every morning I wake up and this is how the next hour goes:

Rory (waking me up): MOOOOOOOOM WHERE IS MY PINK TUTU/PURPLE DRESS/WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO WEAR ???????????

Me (yawning): Hang on baby, I will be there in a second. Let me just wake up.

Rory: I NEEEEED IT NOWWWWWWW. *sob wail sob sob ALL THE SOBS*

It never fails. That is how I wake up every single morning. Lovely, yes?

Heaven forbid that whatever she had decided to wear before looking at her closet or drawers is dirty and in the washing machine.

HEAVEN. FORBID.

You will never hear the end of the sobs.

This morning was a battle. She woke up too early and got dressed and did her hair. I told her to put her tennis shoes on and THE WORLD ENDED.

It was rough.

So I did what any good, honest parent does…

I created the Kindergarten Fairy.

Yeah. You read that right.

In my little sleep, not quite woken up haze this morning I turned to Rory and said to her:

“Rory. You talk about kindergarten every single day. I know you absolutely cannot wait to go to Kindergarten. But let me tell you a little secret. There is a Kindergarten Fairy and she watches you to see if you are ready for kindergarten. If you pitch fits over things as silly as tennis shoes and if you don’t obey your mom and if you don’t treat everyone with kindness, she will know that you aren’t ready for kindergarten. Wouldn’t that be awful if she told the school you weren’t ready?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Her eyes were huge. She absorbed every word. She shut her mouth and wiped her tears.

I don’t know what came over me. Every single time she pitches these fits I calmly say to her, “Rory, you can cry all you want and be miserable. That is your choice. You get to choose if today will be a good or bad day. But I am your mother and what I say is final.”

I guess today I was tired and not prayed up. Therefore I lied to her and told her there was a Kindergarten Fairy.

And it worked.

GO FIGURE.

So, my apologies from the Kindergarten Fairy. I hope this is not a thing that trends and then suddenly becomes a THING where people outdo me with their fun ideas.

If you are one of THOSE MOMS who overdo it and are incredibly fun and creative, PRETEND YOU NEVER READ THIS. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT do the Kindergarten Fairy in your home if you are going to make fun surprises from her or make pixie dust or give toys to the kids.

THIS IS STRICTLY A TOOL TO MANIPULATE YOUR CHILD TO ACT THE RIGHT WAY.

If you make it into something magical, I will personally track you down and slash your tires.

Are we clear?!

In other news, Rory did her own hair today and I couldn’t be more impressed. How does she just know how to do these things?

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She may drive me to another level of crazy that I had to create a mythical creature (sounds better than a lie), but she’s still my most favorite almost-5-year-old fashionista.

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walmart, bowling, Golden Globes, and Monday mornings.

My favorite thing about my new town is the fact that I don’t have to go to Walmart if I don’t want to. BUT I will say we have a great Walmart here so its kind of a win-win. I don’t have to go, but if I do it isn’t too bad.

On Saturday Andy and I went to Walmart together because we had to get our oil changed. It went especially well and I couldn’t believe how great the kids did. The key is to get two buggies so they can’t touch each other. The other key to success is to let Andy do most of the grocery shopping with one child while I shop the beauty aisles with another. WINNING.

Then we went to the check out line. While waiting for Andy to meet me to check out, we had two different people talk to us.

The first one was a nice lady who leaned in close and said, “Hiiii sweet girl! You are just too cute!” Annnd apparently she spit when she talked because Ryder leans away from her and gives her THAT look and says, “Why you spit in my mouph?!”  I COULD HAVE CRAWLED IN A HOLE AND DIED.

The second person was a little old lady. She had a walker and couldn’t have been less than 92 years old. I’m not joking at all on this. She stopped to talk and held her little hand out. Ryder says to her, “wait, I’m not a toucher.” The lady laughed. Then she told her, “I not talk to strangers.” After telling her it was okay since I was there she said, “So you a grandma stranger? Why you walking with that? You a old grandma today?”

The child has NO FILTER. None. Luckily old Grandma Stranger had a great sense of humor and thought she was cute.

After our Walmart trip we went bowling with the Dixon’s. We had the best time. I was a little worried because y’all know how Andy is when he’s bowling… but there were no issues. haha! Rory had me in tears from laughing because she was so prissy when bowling. I got video so you can see it. It was so hilarious. She would have bowled all night too. I couldn’t believe her stamina. Oh. Who am I kidding. Rory is the queen of stamina.

Also, Amber and Bill have the sweetest baby ever, Lucas, and my girls are madly in love with him. They cannot get enough. And now they pray every single night for a baby in their family. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO TO GET THEM TO STOP. hahaha

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Yesterday I cleaned out our room and closet. I put up 7 loads of laundry I had avoided putting up all week last week. It felt so dang good to have a fully cleaned and organized room. I’m hoping to keep it that way. I love escaping to our bedroom during rest time and at night but it is hard to escape if we have it as the catch-all.

Then I watched the Golden Globes. I will say this: I have loved the GG for so long and it has become one of my favorite award shows because it is so much more casual and usually HILARIOUS. But this year I basically just felt “eh” about the whole thing. I think the joking about North Korea is getting old. Margaret Cho got on my nerves being on there so much. I just think Tina and Amy are funnier than that and that the whole thing was a miss on that part. I did LOVE George Clooney’s speech. I mean, Andy has never used “alchemy” when talking about me which I feel is a disgrace.

I will say I absolutely loved all of the silver dresses last night. Is it just me or are they totally inspired by the late 90s/early 2000s. Except much more chic and much less punk. My favorite in silver were Julianne Moore, Salma Hayek, Ellie Kemper, and Reese Witherspoon.

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Here is the vlog I did over the weekend, enjoy! (Side note: I need to figure out how to be able to change the screen on the videos because this is not a pretty look.)

Favorite Products 2014

Well I recorded another vlog and I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to post it. My camera messed up and I took it back since I had just gotten it. So for this video I recorded on an old video camera we got awhile ago. It obviously isn’t that great of quality so I just didn’t know whether to post it. I ended up posting it but it is definitely not a “proud vlog moment” its more of a “I freaking filmed and edited this forever and I’m so not gonna trash it”.

Obviously this is my favorite beauty products of this year. I only mentioned the things I “can’t live without” but there are so many more products I wanted to mention!

Hope you enjoy it, I promise the next one will be better! I’m on the hunt for a good camera to film with!

 

2014 Beauty Favorites: Things Mentioned

Hair:
Aussie Three Minute Miracle Conditioner Treatment
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe
Skincare:
Clarisonic Mia2
First Aid Beauty Face Polish and Moisturizer
Philosophy Purity
100% Tea Tree Oil – suggested by my friend Emily!
Nails:
Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish in Red Red Wine
Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Up the Ante
Makeup:
Dr Brandt Pores No More Pore Refining Primer
BareMinerals BareSkin Foundation
Maybelline 24 Hour Metal Tattoo
Naked2 Basics
CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara (NOT WATERPROOF)
Benefit They’re Real Mascara
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
Tarte 12 Hr Amazonian Clay Blush (MY LOVE LANGUAGE)
Revlon Colorburst Crayons, Lipsticks
Maybelline Color Elixir LipGloss

closure.

Two and a half years after moving, two separate moves, two realtors, and one person who screwed us out of thousands of dollars later… WE FINALLY SOLD OUR HOUSE IN TEXAS.

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I can’t even express to you what it feels like to have this weight lifted. It feels like approximately 117,000 lbs lighter. Having two house payments for 2 1/2 years has been beyond stressful. I am so beyond thankful to finally have this chapter closed.
And yet.
I couldn’t help but shed a few sad tears along with the tears of joy (and believe me, when we signed those papers I cried with relief like a baby).
This beautiful house that we lived in at one of the best times of our life sold and officially ended our time in Texas.
We closed on the house January 31, 2010 after living in two hotels in Oklahoma and Texas for two weeks after moving from Louisiana. We moved in the first week of February. Rory was born February 12. To say that time was crazy would be an understatement.
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We brought our precious Rory home to that house and oh, how I wish I could spend one more day just me and baby Rory. She was the best baby on earth. So easy, so perfect.
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Around 10 months she started not sleeping. I remember those long nights and days. That house saw all the hours with me.
It was there that “the bish” happened and I realized just how much of a stinker Rory was going to be.
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Then just 15 months later we brought our precious Ryder home to this house.
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I don’t think I slept more than an hour a night for so long. And that isn’t an exaggeration. I’d be up with Rory and Ryder all night. I have no idea how I made it through that.
And it was in this house that we had so many phone calls with cardiologists after we discovered Ryder’s heart defects. I remember vividly being in that cold doctor’s office and hearing her describe all the many defects and procedures we would have or hopefully not have. All I could think on the way home was how I could not wait to get into my house with the girls. This house was safe and I needed that safety to comfort me.
That home saw a lot of heartache and tears as we fought hard for our Ryder to grow and try to avoid open heart surgery. Those walls could tell you of prayers that last hours and of prayers that were simply pleading with God to miraculously heal her heart so she wouldn’t have to endure that surgery. It could also tell you the peace we felt when we realized maybe there was just never going to be another way and that surgery would save her life and hopefully the lives of others.
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That house was with us through ear infections, sleepless nights, open heart surgery recovery, etc. It was our comfort zone for many battlefields.
It also held more joy than any house could possibly hold. So much laughter over milestones and funny things our beautiful, perfect children did every day. It saw many firsts: smiling, rolling over, crawling, first teeth, pulling up, walking. I will never forget how Rory pulled up on the couch one night and then literally just ran across the room. There was no typical toddling from her- she just straight up ran. And I will never forget Ryder and her hilarious “scoot”. She would scoot all over that house on her bottom, it was the cutest thing.
That house saw lots of monthly photo shoots for Rory and Ryder, our very first “sister pics”, and two first birthdays.
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It held a lot of Sunday school get togethers with amazing friends. They were our rocks, our prayer warriors, our extended family.
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That house also invited friends over for play dates for tired mamas to drink coffee and have adult conversation. (This picture is actually from Kayla’s house but its the only one with all the kids.)
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It was in Texas that I learned the most what true friendship was and that house helped nurture those friendships through fellowship.
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Andy and I grew more in our marriage than ever in that house. We fought and made up, our poor sleep-deprived selves were sometimes too quick to anger, but luckily we learned to forgive and show grace in that house.
We will always cherish our time there and will never forget bringing our babies home and enjoying them so much in that home. I’m so thankful for our time there, it was the most growth in every aspect of my life that I’ve ever had.
I hope it brings the next owners as much joy as it did us.
 
(And maybe one day I will tell the tales of the other occupant of that house…. oh yes, we think it may have had a ghostly visitor.)

a new low.

We had one of those glorious weekends and I was super sad to see Andy leave for work this morning.

Friday I met my friend Amber at a local jump place for kids. We weren’t sure what to expect and were pleasantly surprised. It was a huge space and had the best prices I’ve seen on these sorts of places. Best of all we were practically the only ones there. We got there about 1 and stayed until 4. The children were worn the heck out. Rory keeps saying it was the best day ever. Amber and I sat and talked and they played so well together. I feel like we are going to have lots of play dates there in the future.

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Saturday I slept in (!) and got ready for my work Christmas party. That’s right, you heard me. Amber and I decided to go get pedicures and lunch. Then Amber came up with the brilliant idea to call it the Christmas party because everyone else gets them so why not us stay at home moms? I feel like this is a tradition we will continue every year.

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When I got back Andy says to me he wants to take a drive and really there”s not much more in life that I love more than a good adventure/drive. We loaded in the car and stopped at a gas station with approximately $27 in change to get a few snacks. It took the girls a good 30 minutes to decide what kind of junk food they wanted. I mean, you should’ve seen them. Their eyes were huge taking in all the options. It was hilarious watching them go from one candy bar to another. And in the end, they both decided on the plain Jane Hershey’s chocolate bar. Go figure.

I made the mistake of getting a 44 oz $1 coke and there may or may not have been hot fries involved. This will be important later.

Andy started driving and about 15 minutes from our house we ended up at the Ocoee River and I’m all HOW DID I NOT KNOW IT WAS THIS CLOSE TO US?! We drove and took in the beauty of the river and the mountains while it was gloriously silent in our car thanks to children who fell asleep. Andy and I talked and laughed and it was so refreshing to feel reconnected after a crazy work week.

We ended up at the Ocoee museum or info center that was the main 1996 Olympic view point. We all got out of the car to walk around and see the place. We may or may not have crashed a wedding.

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At one point Rory started to tear up. When I saw a few tears falling I asked what was wrong and she says, “Everything here is just so beautiful. I can’t believe God made all of this!” So therefore I started to cry because THAT IS THE MOST PRECIOUS THING I HAVE EVER HEARD.

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As we walked back towards the museum the urge hit me and it hit me hard. I don’t know if it was the soft trickle of the river or what but that’s when I realized the 44oz drink was probably a bad idea. But dang those fries were so hot and I needed to drank after I ate them. Probably another bad idea. (BTW. I only drank 1/4 of the drink and was still regretting it which is a testament to my bladder size. You’re welcome for that info.)

I get up to the building and ask someone in the wedding party where the bathrooms were so that I wouldn’t be wondering all through their event. The lady groans loudly and says they are all locked because apparently the museum is closed Nov-Feb. She thanks me for reminding her that she needed to pee and dances off to try to forget about it again.

Y’all. This is when the pain starts. There are people all around and no place to hide and I’m FREAKING OUT because after two children THERE IS NO WAY IN HADES IM GONNA BE ABLE TO HOLD IT.

That’s when I realized….

I have a toddler potty in my car.

And on that fateful day of 12-13-14, I, Tiffany Harris, put that toddler potty in the van, closed the doors, and hovered like I’ve never done before. In the parking lot. In the middle of a wedding. In the middle of the day.

The heavens opened and angels sang a beautiful song in my head and it was about that time that I realized that I AM IN THE BACK OF MY MINIVAN PEEING INTO A TODDLER SIZED TRAINING POTTY SHAPED LIKE A TURTLE.

It was a new low, people.

I don’t know if you’ve seen my butt ever in my life but you should know it has never once been called “small”. I mean, my dad called me turtle butt when I was still in diapers. Let’s just say, I’m pretty sure every big butt song has been written about mine, okay?

So there was a moment when I prayed aloud fervently, “Lord, work a miracle today and let my aim be accurate and let this tiny potty not overflow. If you do this for me I will never drink a 44oz coke again.”

He heard my prayers, friends, and I was blessed enough to not pee in my pants thanks to the toddler potty in my car. Hallelujah and amen.

Of course, it couldn’t stop there because Rory and Ryder also used it after me. I mean, that thing is a blessing I tell you.

Andy was, how do I say?, mortified.

He would probably like you all to know that he did NOT use the potty that day with us. He doesn’t know what he’s missing though.

After all that craziness we went down to Georgia to my cousin Jessica’s house and had pizza and let the kids play. The girls love playing with Bree’s 1747282 “big kid” toys. The highlight was the concert put on by them. I mean the Canjo played by Ryder, the keyboard by Bree, and singing by Rory was such a blessing to us. It did make me realize that Andy and I will win the awesome parent award come Christmas morning when two little stinkers open up their karaoke machine and Frozen CD.

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Sunday morning we went to church and witnessed every person in Cleveland with the sniffles and/or talking about someone in their family having the flu. So that wasn’t stressful or anything. They had a big Christmas program we really wanted to go to but seriously, attendance was shockingly low that morning thanks to sickness so we decided to call it a pajama day the rest of the day. It was SO cold and there’s nothing better than a lazy Sunday afternoon.

In fact, now that the kids are “older”, I go into my room every Sunday and take a good 2-3 hour nap. Pretty much every single Sunday. I tell Andy that nothing speaks to my love language more than him letting me have that nap on Sunday’s. And I mean that whole heartedly. It blesses me in ways he will never know.

Last night Rory and I went to target to get a few gifts and she was so funny. She insisted on getting things that would make any woman slightly more fashionable. She loves a good accessory.

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It is so hard to believe that it’s only a week and a half until Christmas. Oh I am so looking forward to Christmas with our families, but most of all a few days here at home with absolutely nothing but playing with our new toys to do.

Happy Monday! And if you’re thinking of saying “yes” to that 44ozer just remember that you may hit a new low after.

things I learned this week

1) You actually CAN remove an entire bottle of black fingernail polish from carpet. 

10846473_10101442754530416_2536877993080646163_nBless. I have no idea what came over the little heifer but apparently when I blogged the other day about a simple Christmas, she lost her dang mind.

She got a chair out of my room and pushed it into the bathroom and climbed to the top of the hutch where my fingernail polish lives and proceeded to paint her entire self, the carpet, etc with the black polish.

Not gonna lie here- mama was ANG-A-RY. Whew. It took me a while to calm down off that one. I took this picture to send to daddy which devastated her because she didn’t want him to know. Her punishment was that she had to wear the fingernail polish all over herself which was basically the equivalent to electric shock therapy. She hates to be dirty. The second part of the punishment was she had to empty her piggy bank to pay for cleaning supplies. Also devastating.

In case anyone needs to know- a good mix of alcohol and acetone-free nail polish remover and cold water will get the polish out of carpet.

2) Taking the girls to the mall is part stressful, part wonderful.

I decided to take the girls to the mall because we have a few gifts left to get. There were some stressful times with Ryder who has serious issues of needing to touch EVERYTHING in the stores, but it was actually quite a wonderful few hours just walking around with them.

Rory’s obsession with fashion is probably the best thing I’ve ever seen. She was in complete awe over every single window display. I totally teared up big time watching her think about each outfit. She would say to me, “Mom, I’m going to need some tall socks like that to wear with my boots and skirts”, or “Mom, I wonder if they have fancy dresses like that that FLARE OUT in my size.” YES. FLARE OUT. Where does she even know this stuff from?! She had the biggest smile on her face. I told Andy I was going to take her all alone with me to the mall soon and let her be able to really look at clothes and take her time enjoying the beauty of them.

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I also learned that Rory is a pretty good photographer. Look at this picture she took of me and Ryder. It cracks me up so hard.

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3) Leaving the toddler potty in my car was the best decision of life.

We had so many errands to run yesterday and the girls both needed to pee. Well, HOW EASY IS JUST GOING IN THE MINIVAN?! They thought this was hilarious. And no public restroom germs!

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4) My children are a bit strange at times. 

First example would be last night when I was taking a bath and Rory would not leave me alone. “But I just want to watch you, mom.” UM, NO HONEY THAT IS STRANGE. (PS don’t you love how even her pjs are accessorized?!)

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Second example would be Ryder and whatever the heck she does at night. Rory laid all her clothes out for this morning and apparently Ryder was up for who knows how long and put Rory’s entire outfit on herself over her nightgown. Like WHY?! ha

IMG_60085) I have the best mom friends in the world. 

I have had a hard mom week. Ryder is just testing every single fiber of my being. In fact, while I was trying to write this she got out a tube of my $36 mascara and put it all over her face.

And then when I showered she dumped an entire thing of black eyeshadow on the carpet in her room.

I AM LOSING THE WILL TO MOTHER, Y’ALL.

So I posted this picture on Instagram and I got an outpouring of love from the sweetest friends in the world. I’m so thankful for mom friends who rally around other moms who are struggling. Some days are just hard. Really hard. This week has been just a week where I have felt so beat down.

But I have friends that build me up and I just couldn’t be more thankful.

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(cried a lot of tears after reading that ^ one)

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HAPPY WEEKEND! WE MADE IT MAMAS! I am going to be getting a pedicure with a friend tomorrow and I CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT BREAK!

sometimes things are weird in Tiffany world.

Today marks day two of detoxing the children from a week in West TN with family. It has been so fun and not stressful at all around our house.

On opposite day.

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Yesterday Rory literally said to me, “Well I will just call my grandparents and one of them will come let me live with them.”

So precious.

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Therefore she got no TV and no scooter time.

Which BY THE WAY is probably more of a punishment for me than it is anyone else. I love their two shows per day. It sometimes gets me through the day with my sanity still in tact. I mean, don’t you dare tell my children this, but about once a month I take a 15 minute power nap while they watch their shows. SHOCKING.

Speaking of SHOCKING…

After 5 years of buying diapers and pretty much two years straight of potty training the children (because my lovelies aren’t the easiest to potty train and take forever) we can finally announce that WE ARE DONE WITH DIAPERS.

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I was so worried since we would be out of town and going here to there last week that Ryder would regress and we would have to start all over again.

But I was determined. After one or two accidents she got the hang of going anywhere and everywhere. Which just goes to show that when forced to either crap your pants and get in trouble or bite the bullet and go in the potty, biting the bullet is much easier.

The funny thing about Ryder that is way different than Rory is that she will go in the bathroom and do her thing and you never ever know. She is quiet about it and wants complete privacy.

Rory, on the other hand, DOES NOT KNOW WHAT PRIVACY MEANS. She tells you details of every bathroom visit and will walk in on you no less than 27 times if you are trying to go.

She also has a weird problem called “I REFUSE TO LEARN TO FLUSH THE TOILET”.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone into the bathroom to discover a load floating in there. And sadly, not just at my house.

Everywhere we go Rory likes to leave a little present behind. I have had to take up the habit of checking the bathroom everywhere to make sure no one else finds it. She could care less where it is either. When we came to check out the apartments and went into the model apartment Rory pooped so large it took up the entire toilet. And she just left it. Thank the Lord I went in there and couldn’t miss the smell. That would’ve been terrible if someone else would have found it.

Children are weird.

And speaking of weird…. (man, I’m good at the transitions today)

I’ve had my fair share of weird over the past 29 years of my life, but yesterday was one of those days where I thought- SERIOUSLY? I can’t even understand.

I took Rory to school and kept hearing this strange noise. But I have a 3 year old and a 4 year old so strange noises are frequent in the car.

I take Rory all the way to school, go to Target, and come home. When I get home and open the door to get Ryder out of the car a large orange cat jumps out like, “what? I’ve been here all day.”

And I just stared in wonder and then went along my day because, sadly, this crap is just normal.

Except then last night we went to dinner and on the way home I got out to get the mail and up from the back of the van comes the cat again trying to get out of my car.

AM I BEING PUNK’D?! Because once was strange enough but twice in one day having a large orange cat escaping my car is JUST TOO MUCH.

Where did this cat come from?! I’ve never seen a cat. Did we bring it home from West TN? I AM SO CONFUSED.

Well. That’s all the poop and weird cat stories I can muster up for one day.

I mean. I’d hate to use them all up today because I know you all so look forward to poop talk on the blog every time you click the link.

HA HA HA.

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

We Choose Virtues (product review)

There are times in life when you wish you would’ve heard of a product or a way to do something A LONG TIME AGO. I recently had this experience.

I started following We Choose Virtues on Facebook a while ago, but never got around to purchasing the product. A few months ago I got the opportunity to get the product and review it.

Oh.My.Goodness.

In just a short amount of time I have seen some major changes in not only my children, but in ME.

So what IS We Choose Virtues?

We Choose Virtues is a way of instilling character in our kids in a simple and inspiring way.

I have had a lot of talks with my mom friends about how HARD it is to teach things like contentment, patience, gentleness, self control, ETC. To me, contentment is something I have had the hardest time trying to understand how to teach. 

That is exactly why We Choose Virtues is the perfect match for my family and any other family struggling with out to teach these virtues to their young children.

Let me set up the Family Kit and how it works for you:

– There are only THREE rules. I think this is so important because young children don’t respond well to tons of rules. The three rules are Obey, Be Kind, Be A Helper. That’s it. And yet, it is all you need.

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– 12 Virtues. There are twelve virtues and each have an easy “catchphrase” to help children be able to understand what the virtue means easily. There is also a memory verse for each virtue!

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Here are two examples of the Virtues – these are the virtues I’ve been working the hardest on in our home because WE need it:

 I am Content. I have my “WANTER” under control. I am NOT… bored, greedy or always wanting more and I don’t beg or whine. “I have made myself calm and content like a young child in its mother’s arms. Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child.” Psalm 131:2 (NIrV)

 I am Gentle. I speak quietly and touch softly. I am NOT… rough, harsh or loud and I don’t destroy things or hurt people! “A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NIrV

(Whew. WHO DOESN’T NEED TO LEARN THESE VIRTUES?! I know I need to work on them just as much as my children.)

– Everything is set up as a positive experience. There are rewards and encouraging words. I love that it uses the Caterpillar, the Butterfly, and the Magnifying glass as examples for the virtues. Each of these have a catchphrase too that helps us to show examples that our kids understand easily:

Caterpillar: “I don’t have to stay the way I am! I am born to change, and change I will!”

Butterfly: “I will choose to use virtue, and become strong and beautiful on the inside!”

Magnifying glass: “I will never stop looking for virtue in YOU!”

The Family Kit includes:

  • Parenting Cards (these are “teacher” cards for families)
  • Virtue Flashcards for Families (play games and memorize easier with these cards!)
  • Kids Virtue Poster
  • Three Rules Poster
  • Butterfly Awards (downloadable)
  • Family Character Assessments (downloadable)
  • Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Pages (downloadable)

So how do we like the product? We love it.

Rory is at the stage where she is soaking up all the information like a sponge. I can see her little wheels turning and thinking about virtues and whether or not she is choosing them. Sometimes I literally see her stop and think and then walk way before she does something she knows she shouldn’t do. And she is also reminding Ryder to be gentle or whatever too. Let’s face it. Ryder is a threenager and is having a bit of a harder time than Rory. But she is still loving it too.

Ryder loves the coloring pages so much. She creates personalities in her head for the characters and colors them accordingly. I love that they send you a file so you can print the coloring pages out an unlimited amount of times.

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I think one of the very best parts to me is that it is teaching ME to choose virtues too. It has reminded me that I can tell them to be virtuous all day long but if I am not SHOWING them virtues in my actions it is a waste of time.

And GUESS WHAT, Y’ALL?!

My readers are getting 15% off anything in their store! Just enter this promo code at checkout: VIRTUE15 for 15% off anything in their store!

But they are having a special Black Friday through Cyber Monday too! The promo code is HOLIDAY30 for 30% off anything in their store. (Only one promo code per order.)

I love that they have family kits, children’s church kits, homeschool kits, etc! You just cannot go wrong and they have so many choices! If you do purchase the product, please tell me what you get, I would love to know! I have several friends who use We Choose Virtues in their homes and all have rave reviews!

 

*I received this product as compensation but, as always, the opinions are my own. I would never lead you astray, dear readers!*

Girls Trip to NYC 2014

About 6 or so months ago a group of friends were texting and joking around about how we needed a break and would love to go on a girls trip.

This seemed far fetched because how on earth could we possibly manage to get FIVE husbands to agree to let all the wives go on a trip to NYC at the same time?!!!!!!!!!

Basically the trick is to be married to the best husbands on earth. *shameless mushy plug*

We hopped the first flight Thursday morning. To say we were giddy would be the understatement of the century. I’m pretty sure we said, “OH MY GOSHHHH I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING,” 230923023 times.

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I ended up next to Trace Adkins in the security line. It was so not fair because my phone was in my purse going through the scanner.

I may or may not have stared weirdly as he took his belt off.

He said, “how are you today?” in THAT VOICE and I pretty much went to into 15 year old melt on the ground mode. WHY IS HIS VOICE SO …. sexy? (I cannot believe I’m saying this on my blog.) After we had our clothes back on – HAHAHAHAHAHAH- meaning from TSA craziness, I tried so hard to rush and get a picture with him. But I couldn’t get my phone in time and I wasn’t about to run to another terminal and bother him. So here is your picture:

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Unfortunately I apparently used all my celeb sightings on him. In the Nashville airport. Sigh.

Ahem. Back to the trip.

After a crowded ride on the NJ transit, we arrived in NYC. It was a drizzly day, but still beautiful. Two of the girls, Rachel and Jinny, hadn’t been to the city yet and I don’t think I will ever forget turning around to see their faces react to seeing the buildings the first time. It was absolutely priceless.

I’m going to break this up into days. This will probably be a long post because I just don’t want to forget anything. So, you were warned. Another disclaimer- these are all cell phone pics. Which look much better with Instagram filters and I don’t have time to do all that. Don’t judge the quality.

Day 1: Pizza, One World Trade Center, WTC Memorials, St Paul’s Cathedral, Century 21, Republic, ABC Kitchen.

Our first meal was pizza because, hello, NYC!

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After the best pizza ever* at John’s Pizzeria at Time Square (the Margherita pizza is where it is at, y’all), we headed downtown.

(*I still think Lombardi’s in Little Italy is the best pizza on earth, but John’s was delicious too.)

 

First we stopped at the “Little Chapel That Stood” or St Paul’s Chapel. Apparently it is the time of year where they repair all of the churches in NYC. I was so disappointed because of all the scaffolding that blocked the beautiful little church.

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Probably one of the most significant things we have experienced happened on the first day. We went down to see the new WTC and to see the memorials. As we were standing there in awe of the beautiful water memorial, a man walked up. I saw him walking by the names, glancing at them… and then just as he was about to walk by it caught his eye- a certain name. Jean Destrehan Roger.

We couldn’t take our eyes off of him. He stood there tracing the name with his fingers. His expression was a mixture of happiness and sadness. There was a sad smirk on his face as he stood over the name. We all stood there crying. It was one of those things that was so hard to watch, as he clearly loved the person behind the name, but it was impossible to look away.

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Jinny took this beautiful picture and we all cried when we saw it.

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One World Trade Center is insanely impressive. I lack the words to even express it properly. It was cloudy and we couldn’t see anywhere near the top. And in the middle of these massive downtown buildings there are beautiful trees that border these gorgeous memorials. It was truly breathtaking.

IMG_3577_3 IMG_3588_2_2 IMG_3597_2 IMG_3598 IMG_3600_2We headed over to Century 21 to try and detox our emotions and Y’ALL. I have always been such a huge C21 LOVER and I don’t know what has happened since the last time I was there but IT IS NOT THE SAME. Everything was so expensive. It was insanely crowded. I couldn’t even handle it. It isn’t the same C21 I fell in love with years ago.

That night we headed to Chelsea for drinks and dinner. We went to a bar/restaurant called Republic before our dinner reservations AT TEN PM, and it was such a good place! The food looked delicious and I fully plan to go eat there next time I am in NY.

IMG_3608_2We headed over to ABC Kitchen for dinner. Y’all. Y’ALLLLLL. First of all, you need to book a month in advance for a table. So just FYI.

Secondly, BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE. No but seriously. I decided to go all out and get the lobster. One of the best decisions ever. It was AMAZING. I got the salted mashed potatoes as a side and, also, best decision of my life. I literally almost licked the bowl. And my plate. DEAR MERCY it was so good. The apple orchard martini was so delicious too.

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Basically, if you go to NYC you MUST go to ABC Kitchen. You will not regret it.

Day 2: Chinatown, Little Italy, Katz’s Deli, Broadway, Times Square.

Just short of seeing NYC for the first time, the next best thing for someone to experience in the city is Chinatown. It is the most hilarious and crazy place ever. I feel like I can’t even describe the lengths these people go to just to get us a fake Louis. Watching someone experience it for the first time is pretty priceless. I’m glad you got your bag, Jinny!

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After Chinatown we roamed little Italy and NoLita and who knows where else looking for a cheesesteak place that had 4 stars. We walked about 20 miles to discover that it was closed. SO WRONG. Luckily Katz’s deli (famous from When Harry Met Sally) was on the same block. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.

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We went to Times Square and got in line at the TKTS booth for tickets for Broadway. Doesn’t the guy in the back look happy?

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We got all dolled up to go see Chicago. I mean. FANCY.

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So. Chicago was extremely disappointing. We all had seen the movie and loved it. So we figured the musical would be 100% better. So here’s the deal. The stage stayed exactly the same the entire musical. There were no costume changes, no props, nothing. The singing was good, yes. But we all expected so much more out of such a long-running, highly praised musical.

Even so, jazz hands are totally addicting.

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We stumbled into an Italian restaurant off times square and it was … eh. The waiter was a jerk face. That’s all I can say about it. Ha.

Day 3: Mood, Rockefeller, 5th Ave, Central Park, Picklebacks

Saturday started off with a trip to Mood from Project Runway. Jinny was in heaven!

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Then we headed up to Rockefeller, 5th Ave, Central Park, etc.

It was really neat to see the tree at Rockefeller being put up! We had no idea how much went into it. On the side you could see tons of branches waiting to be put in to fill it up.

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And here we go again with the scaffolding at all the churches in NY. I was so sad they didn’t get to see St Patrick’s without it. There was even scaffolding all over the inside of the church. It was so frustrating to me!

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Obligatory Tiffany in front of Tiffany’s picture:

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We spent some time in FAO Schwarz and then grabbed some lunch and headed to Central Park to eat and see some of the park. It was so stinkin’ cold Saturday so we didn’t spend too much time but it was seriously so insanely beautiful. I’ve never been to NY in the fall and it was absolutely the prettiest I’ve ever seen it.

We had a lunch buddy and I wanted to put him in my pocket he was so cute.

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We also saw some people filming and we ran into the actors at a coffee shop and asked what they were filming and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the film. It is an independent rom-com if I’m remembering correctly.

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I’m telling you- NY is so gorgeous in the fall!

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Some of the girls went shopping and some went back to the hotel after Central Park. My feet were KILLING me and I was so dang tired (and also running low on the moneys) so I went back to the hotel. But we saw Macy’s with the beginnings of their Christmas decorations. This “believe” on the side of the building made me all teary-eyed and excited for Christmas!

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For dinner we ended up splitting up and going to two different places. Emily and I were really wanting some good Thai food so we headed to Peak Thai on 49th and 2nd Ave (they don’t have a website so I gave you the address!). It was SO DANG GOOD. The place is small and intimate so this isn’t a place to bring 20 friends, but a great date night.

Which is basically what Emily and I had, a great date night- HA!

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We asked two different people to take our picture. They both were not great photographers. Ha!

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We met back up and went to a little bar after dinner and ended up at an SEC meetup. Unfortunately it wasn’t any of our teams but it was still fun to see other SEC lovers in the city.

After they left a group of about 30 young Koreans came in. They looked 12. For reals. But apparently they were 22. They were so precious and young. We had to leave because we just couldn’t chill next to tiny infant babies.

One of the highlights of the trip was watching one of the guys from the group go to lean on what HE thought was a wall but was in fact a curtain…

and he literally flew across the place he fell so hard. I mean, he seriously committed to leaning on that faux wall. I still cannot stop laughing about it. It was a really fun night! This picture cracks me up every time I see it.

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*picklebacks not pictured*

Sunday we slept in and got everything packed up and ready to head home. We were all ready to see our kids and so tired from all we packed into our time.

We headed down to Chelsea Market first. I’m so glad we did too because that place was seriously amazing. Next time I’m going to dedicate several hours to the market for sure. I would mark it as a must do for a trip to NY.

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We went downtown after the market to the Financial District. We saw Wall Street and the bull.

Now listen.

This was my first time seeing The Bull. Want to know what it looks like in real life?!

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That’s right, folks, it is COVERED with people so much so that you can’t even see it. Jinny had to fight off several people to get a picture with it.

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Note: more scaffolding.

IMG_3871We were so burnt out by the time we made it back to the hotel that we decided, after some convincing from the bellman, to cram into a standard car taxi to go to the airport. Oh yes we did. It was a clown car up in there. The driver was hilarious. Actually, we took a grand total of only 4 taxis the entire time we were there and all of the cab drivers were so fun and sweet. Being southern, we obviously talked their ears off. We learned that one was NOT a baseball fan, another was moving back to Haiti with his wife of 30 years and 6 kids after being away for 20 years, and the last one had a strong opinion about Chinese drivers. IMG_3880Y’all. As I was recapping I wanted to cry that the trip was over. I had the best time and hope we can make this girls trip a yearly thing. It was a dream of a long weekend. NYC is the PERFECT girls trip for anyone looking for a place to go with girlfriends!

Thanks for such a great weekend Emily, Jinny, Rachel and Alexis!

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——

I thought I would end this with a few little tips about heading to NYC if you haven’t been before:

– PLAN AHEAD. It is so important to get reservations made a month in advance (or more for some places) and to plan your days out. The only thing we didn’t do well was planning our meals. Next time we will have all the meals nailed down before we go. Go to Open Table to make your reservations!

– Immediately get a metro card. The subway can seem scary, but it is THE BEST. Seriously, my favorite thing about NY is the subway. Download the CityMapper app on your phone and it tells you EXACTLY how to get everywhere. From walking to the nearest subway, to which train to get on, and then walking to your destination after getting off the train. Sometimes you have a little trial and error, but you can always hop on another train at the next stop. Don’t waste money on cabs, people! The subways system is AMAZING.

– If you aren’t sure which way to go on the street, ASK. Us southerners have heard crazy, UNTRUE things about New Yorkers. We never had a person act rude to us when we asked for directions. Now, I wouldn’t ask too much because that would be silly since you have a phone that can tell you, but sometimes our phones would act weird and I just needed to go one block over but I wasn’t sure which way. So I always asked someone and it saved a lot of time and extra walking.