Friendships

Lets talk friendships. I have been going through a little soul searching on this topic lately, and what better place to express it then out in the blog community. I personally enjoy a smaller group of friends rather than a large one. I like to entertain one or two couples at a time rather than an entire party. I love to make connections with people on a one to one basis. At the end of the day my best friend is my husband. He knows me in and out and I always feel happy, confident and safe with him. I know that I can trust him with everything and he is always my biggest supporter.

On a female side of things I have a best girlfriend with whom I have been friends with for 16 years. We have been there for each other through marriage, pregnancies (as luck would have it we were pregnant with both of our kids at the same time), moving, heartbreak, joy, loss and everything in between.

I have a few great friends that I have met through my kids that I absolutely adore. We are at the same point in life, and how much easier is it to get through those school issues and pre-teen dramas when you have a girlfriend to analyze it all with. I also happen to have the world’s most amazing sister in laws that I couldn’t love any more.

But at the end of the day, or week or some crazy months one thing stands out. As my kids get big and I get more busy, I have been finding it so hard to connect with the same group of girls that maybe even 3 years ago would have been my main support group. It gets to be very difficult to invest in relationships outside of your partner and kids without really jeopardizing them. I will only have a few more precious years with my small family before my kids go off and start a life for themselves. And although it may sound selfish I want to spend the most amount of time I can making memories with my husband and children.

I have learned that I can allow myself to have my husband be my best friend. After all he is the only one out of all the people in this world that I have vowed to love and cherish for all time. I don’t need to feel like it’s not “normal” for me to want to be home, or not be with girlfriends all the time. It’s OK if my free time is spent with the same people that I spend it with when I’m “busy” . I have learned that just because I don’t have a group of 10 girls that I am always out and talking to that doesn’t mean that the few friendships I do have are any less valuable. It is different for everyone. I admire the large group of girls that all have connections to each other and seem to make time for everyone. As for me personally at this point I am just so grateful for the few deep connections that I do have, they are all I need to feel fulfilled.

Love, XoXo Julia

 

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Express and Lunch

It’s that time of year when everything seems to be going in hyper speed. End of the school year, dance competitions, beginning of sports, tons of work and of course all those beautiful days that you just want to soak in as much as you can. In addition to all the wonderful adventures and memories that summer holds, we have been blessed to buy land and build our forever home. The excitement is too much for me to even express. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be possible, but good thing our God’s plans are so much grander than our silly little dreams. I’ll be documenting the building process through the blog and Instagram, but for now all we have is a large piece of dirt and a blueprint.

I went shopping with my girlfriend this past weekend and got the cutest outfits for summer. Most of my shopping actually happened at Express. I don’t buy a ton there so I was surprised I had found so many cute and simple things for summer. Here are a few of what I scored on their Memorial Day sale.

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I have been eyeing this dress since I saw it on Instagram a few weeks ago but I had no idea it was at Express. Imagine my excitement when there it was. Of course I snatched it up! I also got a few pairs of jeans. Even though I was shopping for summer clothes, I always buy jeans if I see a pair (or 2) that I like.

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Love the distress on these jeans and the fit couldn’t be more perfect.

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I have been excited about trying the frayed bottom jeans. I think I may have to trim the fray just a tad for it to work for me.

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This shirt is so soft I bought it in two colors!

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This shirt is perfect with jeans, shorts or jean skirt. I got mine in a pale pink and cannot wait to wear it.

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This soft tie front shirt is super cute with some high waisted jeans.

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Also grabbed these Guess sandals for more casual days.

Now that summer is officially here I have been working on re vamping my grocery and meal planning ideas.  I love Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain .My family loves her Sesame Orange Chicken along with many other favorites.

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My kids also love tacos, so we usually have them about once every 2 weeks or so.

And the best is when you can sneak in a mini lunch date with your love on the patio with a delicious spread like this one.

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Love, XoXo Julia

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It has been a heck of a week. Feels like I’m running on a hamster wheel and obviously not getting anywhere fast. And then I look on my calendar as to whats to come, and a sense of panic comes over me. I have a very bad habit of taking on too much. For some reason I have convinced myself that I can do it all, plus add in a few other things for good measure. I go go go and then one day I just run out of gas and boom my engine blows up. Like my analogy there? So I am trying to figure out a way to still do it all but without all the mental craziness that goes along with it. If any of you super moms have advice on this please please share it with me!

Buuut the show must go to so, unto the Friday Favorites this week!!! I mean I still have favorites even on weeks when I lose my mind.

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Shay’s over at MixnMatchMama’s recipes never disappoint. I loved this on a busy Thursday night!

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It is supposed to be low 70’s this weekend and that makes this girl super happy. I am so excited for fall clothes, fall smells, fall leaves…just all this fall.

 

I put on a long sleeved shirt and booties this past weekend for a dinner out. It was still too hot, but for the hour I did have it on, I loved it!

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This man right here..I am so grateful that I get to do life with my best friend.

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I am loving these 90 Degrees leggings/yogas. They wash perfect and are super comfy for all those workouts and spontaneous trips to the grocery store.

 

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Don’t know that this is a favorite…but I am putting it on here for my own accountability. I need to get my stuff together ya’ll. It has been a very fun summer full of great friends, lazy pool days and tons and tons of food. I am making an exercise plan and meal plan to start in the next few days. Hoping to get back down to my ideal weight within the next month or so. I am thinking of doing updates throughout the week, but haven’t fully decided how I’m going to do it yet. I’ll keep you updated.

Well that’s all for this week. See you Monday for the weekly wrap up!

Love XoXo, Julia

 

Back to School (School Supply Edition)

Back To School Logo - Funny School ImagesWell it’s that time of year again when us four take the kids’ supply list and starting marking things off. Since Lanna, my oldest, is starting Middle School this year (don’t know how that happened, but that’s a whole different blog post),she has been all about re- inventing her style. Although Braden who is going into 4th grade isn’t as picky as her, he does like to have an input on a few things . I decided to let my little ones help me narrow down their favorite items for the upcoming year.

Her Picks

 

Lanna is loving this one. The style and pattern are more neutral and the size is functional. It is definitely a far cry from the princess ones a few years back.

She fell in love with this design a little while ago. After walking around with it, she realized the size wouldn’t really suit her needs for school.

 

His Picks

We love Under Armour for almost all of Braden’s sporting equipment so this choice shouldn’t surprise me.

 

Office Depot® Brand Stellar Notebook, 8 1/2" x 11", 3 Subject, College Ruled, Assorted Colors (No Color Choice), 150 Sheets

We love these college ruled notebooks. I think it keeps the writing neater.

How cute are these Yoobi Double Ended Colored Pencils

I found my lunch packs at Marshalls but I couldn’t link those, but these are the same ones I use for my kids snacks.

 

And these for the actual lunches. I love the different compartments in them.

THERMOS FOOGO Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 10-Ounce Food Jar, Charcoal/Teal

I am buying both of my kids a thermos this year. I am going to order these ones, but since I haven’t ever used them before I can’t quiet give you a good review.

Well those are some of the basics, minus the hundreds of pocket folders, thousands of sharpened #2 pencils and of course the many options of highlighters. We still have so many things planned for the rest of the summer that the realization of back to school hasn’t quiet hit us yet. It will though, and when it does this mama will probably be a hot mess.

Love XoXo, Julia

 

 

 

 

 

The Jones Family Meets Chicago

This family trip to Chicago was on a total whim. In the beginning of summer, we had no plans to leave the state with kiddos for a trip, but I am so glad we did. I was browsing on the Internet about fun family vacations in Minnesota and Chicago came up (yep def. not in MN). I looked into it more, asked David his thoughts and 24 hours later our hotel was booked and I started packing. We didn’t tell the kids until the night before, because we happen to always surprise them when we take family vacations unless it’s more than just our family going.  Settle in for a picture and fun overload!

On Monday morning we got up, had breakfast, finished up some work and we headed out.

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The trip was super easy and fun until…

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Girls, I didn’t realize the traffic this city had. Goodness, I was not prepared. Now I’ve been in  rush hour traffic in MN plenty of times, but this was a whole different world. It was quiet funny because our GPS would say 30 miles left=1 hour and 40 min left.It was crazy. I am clearly not a city girl.

 

We got to our hotel. We stayed at the Radisson Blu. The location was perfect and the hotel was absolutely beautiful.

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We settled in and within 15 minutes were ready to explore! First stop, the Pier.

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The walk to the Pier was only a few minutes away and the weather was perfect.

We walked along the pier until dusk so we could get on the Ferris wheel to see the skyline at night.

 

And then it was time. You all I am so scared of heights. Terrified. This was a bid deal for me. Lanna took a pic of my boys excitement and mine well….you can tell what I’m feeling.

The view was gorgeous. If I didn’t look down I could handle it. Although I would have been just fine with it going around once, it went around 3 times.

Me after. I made it. This girl was my biggest cheerleader. I just adore her.

Afterwards we took one of one of those bike taxis back to our hotel. My  kids thought it was the absolute coolest thing!

The next morning we ventured out to the Shedd aquarium. The line was a bit longer than I would have liked but the aquarium did not disappoint!

 

We saw so many sea creatures it was absolutely crazy! Watched a 4 D Movie, saw a dolphin show and pet the stingrays. On the way out there was a limo and said he was having a slow day and offered us an amazing deal to take us to lunch. He ended up driving us to our destination later in the night as well. My kids were being ecstatic because of course this was another great first for them!

For lunch we told him we wanted something away from the tourist spot he took us to Gino’s East. Wow it was so delicious the service was super fun! The entire restaurant is covered in people signatures. So we had to leave our mark a well. They waiter handed s a sharpie and we went to find our spot.

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In the midst of everyone else. It ha David, Julia, Lanna and Braden Jones. We had made our mark and eaten our deep dish so we went back to take a quick rest before our Blue Man show later that night.

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The show was so much fun! It was hilarious, which I did not expect. Our family loved it!

The next day was or last day so started off right with room service, another first for the kids. I was so happy that my kids got to check off so many things off their “bucket list”. Their excitement was contagious!

And with our tummies full we started the walk on the Magnificent Mile. Our destination American Girl and Lego Store. But First the Candy Store.

Yay we made it!

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And just when we thought Chicago couldn’t be any more special this happened. Meet “Taco”

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Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was of course “The Bean”. At this point we are all tired and hot…in case our faces didn’t give it away.

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We had booked an architectural boat tour at sunset with fireworks at the end but we had a few hours to spare before we had to head out. Radisson Blu had an outside pool on the 3rd floor and you were surrounded by high rise buildings as you are swimming. My kids loved it!

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed off to the boat tour. It was fantastic. It was such a cool learning experience. Our tour guide knew so much and even my kids were fascinated. At the end they had a fire work show. Loved it.

The next morning we had breakfast and drove back. I am so grateful that we had the chance to experience this city as a family. We didn’t really plan too much and had no expectations going there and everything just fell into place. It was absolutely perfect. Love my little family so much!

Love XoXo, Julia

Perfection

Hey to you all!!! I got inspired to write the following post because of something that my daughter said  to me (leave it to my 11 year old to make me question life). After thinking about it for awhile I decided to take it to God, because lets face it if I don’t take it all to Him, I end up a HUGE mess.

The other day Lanna said “mom, why do you have to have everything perfect?” Now at first I kind of felt bad. I mean here is my 11 year old questioning why her mom has such issues. Why is that we never leave the house a mess. Why does every single room have to be picked up. Why does all the laundry have to be done and not one dish in the sink. Why do her and her brother have to look presentable and behave with manners…..etc. I mean I could see her struggle. I could understand that she just wanted to run around filthy with dirty clothes and just throw things wherever she wanted because well ,hey why not. I started to feel guilty that my issues with cleanliness and appearance were making my kids miss out on life. And then just when I was sure I was failing as a mother and wife, God showed me the truth.

You see I am always doing things with my kids. Always. We have spontaneous water gun fights. We have random days of picnics, bug hunting, dirt dragging days. We have constant adventure and laughter. We have popcorn fights, play do making, canvas drawing days. We have days that are quiet and we have days that are loud. And all this days are filled with pure joy for all of us. So no I realized that my kids aren’t missing out on anything.

I get up 3 hours before my kids every morning to make sure that everything that needs to be done in the house is done before their sleepy heads wake for the day. I make sure that I don’t have laundry piles on the floor so they can spread out their legos and art projects. I make sure that the dishes are always clean so that they can have breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks without searching the kitchen for dishes. I make sure that the rooms and closets are organized so that they can find all the toys they need to be as creative as they want. You see my root for perfection is my love for my family.

It hit me like a ton of bricks, what God had said to me. He let me know that the reason why I strive for perfection, even though I know its unattainable is because I am completely and without a doubt in love with my LIFE. I am smitten with my husband so of course I want to be the best supportive wife I can be. I adore my children, so of course I want to be the most involved loving mother I can be. I am in awe of the beautiful home my husband and I are creating so of course I want to be keep it clean and organized at all times.

After reflecting on my daughters question “why does everything have to be perfect?” The answer is it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I want to make sure that I give one hundred percent to every aspect of my life. I am grateful beyond words to God for giving me this life and I want to give Him my absolute best.

Thank you for reading!

Love, XoXo Julia

Life Around Here

Hey everyone! I know I have been completely behind on posting, but I am back for good, without any further interruptions. It has been feeling more and more like spring around here which makes this gal very happy!

We have had a wonderful past week!!! Tons of family time, silly time and some organizing time. I mean basically heaven for me 🙂 There has been a lot of chess games at my house. Braden is really enjoying winning…..me. Now my problem is that when he says “check mate” I don’t actually for sure know that I am losing, I am just trusting him on my loss. I think this is why I am his favorite opponent.

You know it's an intense game when he is standing

You know it’s an intense game when he is standing

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Goodness I love this little man!!!

I stopped by Lanna’s school on Friday to bring her an early Birthday lunch. She was excited and of course there was tons of girl chatter at the table. I am beyond grateful for the friends that Lanna has. They are the absolute sweetest and most kind girls.

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Her best friend joined us in for a selfie!

We were back at Buck Hill on Friday night once again. I didn’t take any pictures because after the 8th week there I figured I had enough!!! Lanna’s friend ended up coming over after and staying the night. Those girls are so cute. They let Braden hang out with them the whole time. There was also an hour (maybe 2) of this..

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Saturday morning Lanna, My mama and Myself went shopping. My mom wanted to take Lanna shopping for her birthday. While we were at it my mom and I both got a few cute things for spring.

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Shopping outfit ready!

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3 Generations and Nordstrom

My best friend and I had our two girls 2 days apart. It was amazing. Our boys are 4 months apart. There was no planning involved, however being pregnant with your bff is the funnest thing. Her daughter was celebrating that Saturday. So while the kids swam her and I got some much needed friend time. There is nothing like having a friend that knows your true heart! I am so very thankful for her friendship

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The girls being silly.

And then it was Sunday!!! My baby girls Birthday. We snuck in her room like we do every year and burst into “Happy Birthday”. I can’t believe 11 years has gone by. I just simply don’t know where they went.

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She is excited for her to be 11 and him well…scared would be a correct word haha

She wanted to do brunch at our favorite breakfast/brunch place. So off we went. She did end up ordering off the adult menu as she has been wanting to for so long.

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We took a nap (because if you wake up at dawn on a Sunday you need a nap). And then we were off to her birthday dinner with her aunties and grandma. We decided to just do something small on her actual birthday seeing as she was having a large friend party the following weekend. And she wanted something a “little” fancy so we went to the “Cheesecake Factory” and it was perfect.

We are on our way to eat....again!!!

Sending a pic to grandma!

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This sweet little angel was there too

This sweet little angel was there too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love XoXo, Julia

Wednesday Link-Up

I am linking up again with some amazing women to let you know whats going on around here!

What we are eating this week…

It’s been a pretty simple week for us. Some Tacos , Some Quesadillas, Some Home Made Mac & cheese. Tonight we will be having a Broccoli and Cheese soup. Yuuuum. It is delicious.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!:

What I’m Reminiscing About…

Between Lanna getting all dolled up on Monday for dance class and her turning 11 on Sunday I am definitely reminiscing about this sweet time…

What I’m Loving…

I am loving BLOGGING. It has been super fun  and I have already connected with such amazing ladies.

What we’ve been up to….

I have been re-organizing, re-decorating, re-styling…really my whole life. My husband is going on his 2nd snowmobile trip this week so it gives me just enough time to purge everything and get everything ready for him to hang up when he gets back 🙂 I will have lots of before and after images coming soon.

what I’m Dreadng…

Bedazzling my daughters dance outfits. 1000 Beads have to be meticulously put on by next weekend. If you are assuming that I have been procrastinating on this, you would correct. I have found every excuse as to why I can’ do it including the one above. But I think am just going to have to suck it up one nigh this week and get it all done.

Working On…

My house, My office, My closet, Me….pretty much just working on all areas of my life. Sometimes you just need a full life face lift!

Excited about…

My baby girl turns 11 on Sunday. I am so excited to celebrate her and the amazing young lady she is turning out to be! We are doing a small family dinner on Sunday and then doing a friend party the following weekend.

Watching/Reading

I love me some reality drama…

One night David and I stumbled on this little old time show on Netflix and got addicted. We watched the first 2 seasons in under 2 weeks and then to just our luck the 3rd season has started and is on demand on our cable network. It is totally not my usual “go to” but I totally love it.

 

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Ive read this one already but doing a little freshening up!

And because Shay recommended this one I will be starting it, because lets face it I am all about French anything.

Listening to…

I’ve been on the Demi Lovato station lately. It’s just fun, upbeat, encouraging music…

 

Also this is always on repeat. Clearly my music genres vary!

What I’m Wearing…

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Lots of mixes of this!

This weekend…

 

Eeek can’t believe my baby girl will be 11!!!

Next Month

March is a busy one. We have so many birthdays in the family. But the most important one is this man’s right here!!!

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We are also planning on a ski trip a couple of hours up north with the family but seeing as the weather keeps getting warmer and warmer we will have to see!!!

What else is new…

Just the usual!!!

Love XoXo, Julia

 

 

Weekend Re-Cap…Random Edition

So I know that I am a day late on the weekend re-cap however I do have a good reason. On Friday afternoon, my mom called me and said that she received a call after her mammogram appointment to come in and have further imaging done. Needless to say we contacted the imaging department and made the first possible appointment which happened to be yesterday early morning. I dropped the kids off at school, drove 30 minutes to pick up my sweet mama and dad and another 30 to her appointment. We checked in, put on her robe and waited for them to call her. Now my mom is an emotional woman just as I am, but I think being faced with what may be cancer took over and all I could see was her strength and faith. Although I didn’t want to, we did contemplate what the next step would be if it indeed was cancer. We both agreed that it was not a death sentence and if this is something that was put upon her that between God and the doctors we would fight this thing. Finally the radiologist came and took her to get more imaging. Then again we waited, and waited. I think waiting is the worst part. Your mind gets away from you. You start thinking things that you know you shouldn’t be. You start questioning things that you know God already has covered and in the end you are upset with yourself because you should know better (or that’s how I am anyways). Finally they came back out and told us “they have no concerns”. I thought her and I were both going to leap out of our chairs and hug this poor radiologist. They said that although there is some sort of tissue they do not believe its a concern but she will have a mammogram in 6 months rather than a year. Thank you Lord.  So, that was my Monday morning and what a great morning it was!

Unto the weekend re-cap!

This is the first year that our whole family is into winter sports. Braden and I do skiing. David and Lanna have taken up snowboarding. At our school they offer a skiing/snowboarding club for 6 weeks on Friday nights for 4th and 5th grade. It has been amazing how much Lanna has learned! Since she is there every Friday, we have been joining her. On this past Friday her 5th grade had a ski/snowboard field trip and then right after her club started. All in all that child was out for 9 hours on the hill. She was sore the next day! David wasnt feeling well, so after I picked up Braden from school he wanted to go out there since he had one of his friends out on the slopes as well.

My two cuties! I am so happy these two are as close as they are!

My two cuties! I am so happy these two are as close as they are!

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Braden and his friend Blake ready to hit the slopes

 

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When we first got there to meet Lanna she was in skis. She and her friend decided to see how it would feel to switch. She liked her snowboard better!

David and I had made plans a while back to go Go Kart racing with my sister in laws. So after all the snow fun I raced home to pick up my hubby and we were off to the races. Let me tell you what I learned: I absolutely stink at going fast. Pretty sure a snail could have passed me up. We raced twice and I was last both times. My goal was to get out of there alive. Not sure this is “my” thing but it was definitely a blast…once I wasn’t moving anymore hehe.

IMG_1007[1]  Love this man!!!

 

 

 

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I am such a shortie next to my gorgeous model sisters!

 On Saturday, I don’t know how but I convinced my hubby to venture out to Home Goods on a weekend morning. Not sure what came over him but I wasn’t going to question it. When we did our fireplace in the living room we needed to buy a small cabinet of sorts to put our cable box and a few other components. Well it’s been 5 months and I was tired of seeing it all on the floor. So the goal was to find something for that space. Originally I came home with this one…

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I thought It matched our mantle/beam perfect.

Well it matched too perfect and didn’t look right to me.

Also we decided we needed two so it balanced the fireplace.

So we finally loaded this one back up and went hunting for a different one.

He may not say it but David loves to haul all my stuff in and out until my mind is set haha

Anyways… we walked away with these two beauties…

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But of course I am not sure about them and that is why they still have tags on them and the components still on the floor.

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I cant decide if they look like a good pop of color or if they look completely out of place. Any input is greatly appreciated!

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Got this lamp because the recessed lighting is a bit bright in our living room. Plus I couldn’t resist the iron and bulap mix!

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And scored this little thing for all my kids coloring necessities!

.That afternoon Braden and David went to go work on their snowmobile machines while Lanna and I spent time with this sweet little miss.

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I mean isn’t she the most precious angel!?! We had the absolute best time spoiling this girl

Sunday was…

And Monday got here faster than expected as always!

Lanna has been in dance since she was 3. However this year is her first year doing “competition” dance and let me tell you that it is definitely different. She absolutely loves it and it gives me such joy to watch her do what she does. Now gluing 1000 gems on costumes doesn’t bring me as much joy but hey it’s a small price to pay. Because they have to wear special makeup, her teacher Mrs. Jenny asked if Lanna wanted to be the model for the makeup. Here she is getting all dolled up, fake eyelashes and all.

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I didn’t get an end picture but she looked so grown up, I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me a bit sad.

Hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!!!

Love XoXo, Julia

Friday Favorites!

Short week this week and it’s going to be in the 50’s tomorrow…I mean has spring sprung early or what? I am doing my first ever link up with my absolute favorite bloggers!

 

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These two are my absolute favorite of course! The were playing dress up with mine and Davids clothes. What was NOT my favorite was the fact that Lanna could fit into nearly almost all my clothes and all my shoes. How did that happen?

 

Shay @mixnmatchmama has THE best recipes. I am always trying something of hers. This week we had her “Baked Queso Tacos” and let me tell you they did not disappoint.

I am a total book worm. My current favorites are Liane Moriarty and Elin Hilderbrand for a light read. I am determined to read every singe one of their books….only have a few left.

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I also love love anything to do with Parisian style and culture. Ive read many books but I keep Jennifer L Scott’s “Madame Chic” collection on my nightstand because 1) they look pretty and 2) to remind myself that even folding laundry should be done with style and grace, because lets face it I need that reminder a lot!

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Since (hopefully) Spring is arrving early I have been itching to spring clean, give some rooms a face lift and try out a few new styles . I am on Pinterest over load looking for Inspiration. We have a love/hate relationship.

On Tuesday the girls shared their favorite Pins. I just have much too many. But this one pin makes me a bit happy and excited.

!.:

Have beautiful weekend everyone!

Love Xo, Julia