Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lookin' Good, My Friends

Oh, Noonday, you make my already good lookin' friends look even better!

Speaking of Noonday, my spring calendar is FILLING UP FAST! 
If you'd like to schedule a trunk show in Mississippi, please let me know. I'd LOVE to come style you and your friends! And based on the few sneak peeks I've seen of the spring line, get ready girls! It looks AMAZING!
And if you're NOT in Mississippi, no worries! I know some of the most amazing, world changing girls ever across the country who would love to come and help you host a show!

And if shopping online is your thing, you can do that too. 
Here's the magic link to the Noonday goodness. 

Here's hoping your Thursday is the best of the best. 
We're up to our eyeballs in My Little Ponies at my house. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Heart Just Aches

I have been struggling lately.... a lot. 
The desire to be back in Africa is overwhelming this little heart of mine. 
I'm really having a hard time finding contentment where I am right now. 
I just feel called so strongly to be there and to help there that it makes it hard to be here
If you  had told me two years ago that I would literally sit and cry some days because I so badly longed for Africa, I probably would have laughed at you. I at least would have made a funny face. 
But now I do. I long to be there so badly that it literally makes my stomach hurt. 
I honestly spent the better part of my birthday in tears because the words HEADED TO AFRICA are nowhere to be found in my 2013 planner.
 I checked.

And we have some plans, this family of mine. 
God has confirmed time and time again that this is what He wants for us. 
But there's still a major roadblock. 
Can you please pray that a.) God will move that roadblock or b.) God will give me more patience? 
Because my supply is looking pretty slim these days. 
And it's really, really hard. 

And no, Mom, these plans don't include moving across the ocean. You can rest easy. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Seriously Amazing

You know those people who totally inspire you to do and be better? 
Me too. 
And although we've never met, Rebecca Kuntz is one of those people for me. 
Today's her birthday (happy birthday, Rebecca!), and she's doing some pretty amazing things to celebrate turning twenty. 
Here is her story: 

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca Kuntz I am 19 years old and a sophomore at DePaul University majoring in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies with a focus on African aid/development. After graduating high school in June 2011 I hopped on a plane to Ghana, West Africa to volunteer with a non profit called Light for Children for 3 months. Light for Children envisions a future where children in Ghana have healthy, happy and productive lives which enables them to realize and pursue their full potential. During my stay I lived with a local host family, ran a sexual assault prevention program, taught at a free summer school, worked in orphanages, sought sponsorship for HIV positive children, filmed and photographed, produced my own documentary film, and most of all, fell in love with Africa and service. My eyes were opened to the beautiful children of Ghana and some major issues they were facing. I met hundreds of children who all expressed a want and a need for a place where they could have access to computers, books, extra curricular classes, but most of all, a safe space where they could learn. 


I came back to the US in September 2011 and started college, but my dreams for this "safe space" grew. After a year of planning, dreaming, and compiling ideas with Light for Children, we finalized plans for the Education Center. This is our dream. 

1 page info

On January 28th, 2013 I turn 20 years old. For past birthdays I've asked for cameras, laptops, iPods, clothing, and shoes. But this birthday is different, I don't want any technology or fashion items, I only want one thing.
I want to fund the ENTIRE Education Center construction. This is my birthday wish.


Here's how WE're gonna make it happen: The physical structure of the Education Center will cost $20,000 to build. This builds the foundation, walls, roof, doors, windows, porches, toilets, and offices. $20,000 will get the building in tip-top shape and ready to install electricity/internet and computers and books and such. $20,000 is A LOT of money. But I know that together we can do this. We can build this Center and bring so much hope and opportunity to this community. The math behind this fundraiser is very easy. simple 20dollars How long will the fundraiser last? The fundraiser will last for 20 days, from January 28th to Feburary 17th. (The PayPal donation account is open, so you may donate before the fundraiser officially starts!) This means that I have to raise $1,000 per day to reach the goal of $20,000. Where can I donate? You may donate through PayPal below.
If you would like to write a check, please make it out to "Rebecca Kuntz" with "20for20" in the memo line, and send it to: Rebecca Kuntz 5332 Fair Elms Avenue Western Springs, IL 60558 For more information, photos, and blog posts visit
impossible priscilla auntie bee tina isaac

Told ya she was amazing. 
Help her reach her dream? 
Fingers are crossed for her birthday wish to come true!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Get It

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or here, then you may have noticed that I haven't said much about the recent events in Connecticut. 
And while I realize it's been a while, I can guarantee that to the people directly affected, it feels like it was yesterday. 

I've been absorbing it. Taking it all in. Trying to make some sort of sense of it. 
Trying to understand. 

And while my heart breaks for the families of those with lost loved ones, my heart also breaks for the teachers, both those who survived and those who did not. 

I remember my third year of teaching. 
That year our training emphasis was on the students who are really hurting and the safety of our school. 
We talked about, we researched it, and we watched the Columbine footage. 
Not the news footage or a documentary of sorts, but the actual footage from inside the school on the day of the infamous Columbine tragedy was played for all of us to see. 

And I knew. 

As a teacher, it's hard not to love your students. 

The government tells us it's wrong. 
As teachers, we are supposed to find the perfect balance between caring for them for up to eight hours a day as their own mothers would and not crossing the line. We are supposed to wipe their noses, dry their tears, and help them with their struggles. We are supposed to comfort them, encourage them, and nurture them.

But we aren't supposed to love them. 

Thanks to a few teachers gone rogue, the rest of us risk great judgement if we use the word 'love' and 'my students' in the same sentence.

But all of the good teachers I know break this rule. 
We DO love them, often times as though they were our own children. 

And that year, I had the most exceptional group of students that I will ever have. 

And I loved them. 

So while the principal talked to us about the importance of 'having a plan' in times of distress and 'the right thing to do' at the first threat to us and our students, I clearly remember not having to think about what I would do;

there is no doubt in my mind that I would have done whatever I had to in order to protect my students, even if it meant risking my life. 

These precious kiddos were a part of my heart. 

I invested everything I had into them. 

I considered them family.

I would have been willing to go to war for them.

I loved them unconditionally.

I respected them.

I related to them.

They were my kiddos.

And to this day, seven years later, they are still a huge part of my life. 

I still love them. 
I would still do whatever I could to protect them. 
I would still sacrifice whatever I had to for them.
They are still my kiddos.

And while I realize that I have not been directly affected by the tragedy in Connecticut, it's the stories of the teachers that make it most real to me.....because I get it. I understand their hearts and their desire to protect those they love. I relate to them.

And I so truly respect them. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Confessions 101: Nothing But the Truth

Confessions 101: 

1. I never (repeat never) get ready before taking Libby to school. This means I drive in my jammers and pray like crazy that I don't have a wreck and am forced to stand on the side of the road in slippers and a t-shirt circa 1995.

2. So we made Hollyn give her pacis to Santa. Talked it up for months. And then she got the flu the week of Christmas, so we let her keep one in exchange for our sanity. We vowed that it would magically disappear after New Year's Eve. Here we are, January 24th, and I can't take it away. Not because I'm sentimental or don't want to hurt her feelings (it is, in fact, in her best interest to NOT go to kindergarten or college with a paci in her mouth), but because I need sleep. Terrible, I know.

3. If I am at home and do not need to be somewhere within an hour, you can guarantee that I am in my jammers. I can't stand to get dressed and sit around. If I'm showered and dressed, I feel an overwhelming urge to get out of the house.

4. One night in college, I was having a really bad day. By 'day', I mean month. And my best friends, in  an attempt to make me feel better, asked me what they could do, what would make me feel better. My answer? The beach. So we loaded up, drove all night, spent breakfast in the sand, and drove back. True story.

5. At the age of thirty-three, I still eat spaghetti-o's on a regular basis and turn up my nose at broccoli ...and brussel sprouts....and asparagus....and lima beans....and salad...and a lot of other things.

6. When I see a daddy loving on his little girl, it makes me long for something I never had. Not in a jealous kind of way, but in an 'I truly hope she realizes that is special and appreciates it' kind of way.

7. My car? We bought it on E-bay. For real.

8. In my opinion, watching 'The Goonies' while sipping on a fountain coke is an ideal Friday night.

9. I am genuinely disappointed when I finish a good book. While reading the last Harry Potter book for the first time, I literally forced myself to take a thirty minute break before starting the last hundred pages. I just didn't want it to be over....I still don't want it to be over.

10. I like my music loud. Real loud. Like you can't hear over it to have a conversation kind of loud. And apparently Libby likes her music that way too. Whoops.

11. Sometimes I seriously wish I could wear my daughters' clothes. They are just so darn cute. Totally not fair.

12. The other night I dreamed I went to the movies, met Katie Holmes, and became her bff. It was awesome.

13. Sometimes I just don't cook dinner. Instead, we eat like scavengers on whatever we can find. I like to think of it as 'creative dinner-ing'. This may or may not be the case in my house tonight; I'll never tell.

14. I can talk to you for hours on end about Africa, orphan care, and the poverty crisis, but ask me about reality television and I will just smile and nod. Ain't nobody got time for that.

15. I'd rather eat dirt than have my picture taken.

16. Three years ago, I had a conversation with a friend. She asked me where I'd want to go if I could go anywhere. Africa didn't even enter my mind. In fact, I distinctly remember thinking NOT Africa. My how things can change.

17. I honestly hate my hair. We're talking true detest here. It's horrid. So on the rare occasion that someone tells me she likes it or that it's great, I momentarily question her tastes..and perhaps her sanity. And no, that's not my real hair in the picture at the start of this post. But I kind wish it was.

18. Handwritten notes, coffee, and meaningful conversations pretty much sum up my love language.

19. I played John Mayer, James Taylor, and The Beatles for Libby while she in my belly. She now loves all three. Coincidence? I think not.

20. I'd rather wear a t-shirt, jeans, and my green Converses than just about anything else. You can keep your heels and skirts. I'm perfectly content dressing like a teenage boy, thanks.

Enough about me. Now it's your turn. I'm a t-total funk today, and comments make this girl H A P P Y. Leave a confession in the comments. Do it for me. 
Feeling brave? Leave your name. 
Not so much? Leave it anonymously.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Keepin' It Simple: The Party Edition

So, it's no secret I love a good party. 
I typically start planning birthday parties for my girls MONTHS in advance. It's neurotic, I know. 

I have just always loved the idea of a day that celebrates YOU-- your life and who you are becoming. 

So, I slave away and pull out all the stops. Need proof? 

Here you go: 

The trick to throwing a good party? 
Knowing your limits and using what you have!

While I am that mom who will stay up all night cutting my baby's little first year faces into circles and making sure the sprinkles look just right, I am NOT that mom who blows my budget on a party. 

If you look closely through these posts, you'll notice that I recycle. I reuse. I am the Dollar Tree's biggest fan. I make everything that I possibly can. I see it as a personal victory when I can get by with paying $50 total for a whole afternoon of memory making for my little one and her kiddos. 

I think so many people are intimidated by birthday parties because they think they have to fork over their child's college tuition in exchange for some favors and a fancy cake. 

If you look at my posts again, you'll see we don't do cakes-- we do cupcakes. They're cheaper, easier, quicker, and usually less messy. Also, I am more comfortable making cupcakes than real cakes.
 Again, using my gifts. 

And the trick to good favors? 
Incorporate them into your activity!

Libby's cake party? Take home cake they decorated with cake box. 
Hollyn's cookie party? A bag of homemade cookies. 
Libby's paint party? The owl they painted at the party. 
Libby's camping party? Thanks again, Dollar Tree. 

So, for Hollyn's third birthday party last week, I stuck to what I know and kept it simple. 

My girl wanted pink. Easy enough. 

Simple cupcakes dressed up a bit with a little quick and easy Pinterest project. 

Some cake batter dip (dyed pink for the occassion), some brownies, and some cupcakes-- Hollyn's three favorite food groups--- all made an appearance. 

Some balloon decorations and one cute three year old, and we were set. 

Simple as pie...the premade, add some water to this box of mix and pre-made shell kind. 

Need some party inspiration? 

So the lesson for today: 

Keep it simple. Keep it easy. Don't blow your budget.It's supposed to be a party, not a stress fest

Here's hoping your Wednesday is the bee's knees. 

And the Noonday Blog Train is still rolling. 
Check out yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's posts (which will be up tomorrow...obviously). 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Guaranteed to Impress Your Kiddos

Am I the only ones who hates the stretch of time from after school until dinner? 
My kids fuss more during these two hours of the day than during all the other hours combined. 

But not today. 

Today they played like little angels while I patted myself on the back for remembering this little 'keep 'em busy' trick. 

The best part? I am 90% sure you will have everything you need for this in your kitchen at this very moment. 

Here's what you'll need:

-a small bowl or shallow container
-milk (can even be expired-- win/win)
-food coloring (whatever and as many colors as you'd like)
-toothpicks (or uncooked spaghetti noodle)
-a medicine cup or the cap top of a bottle drink
-some liquid detergent (any brand)

Simply fill the shallow container with milk and wait until it stops moving from having been poured.
 Drop a few drops of food coloring randomly throughout the container. 
Dip the toothpick in the detergent and touch it to the food coloring. 
The results?

The colors literally shoot across the container, making your kiddos oober impressed. 

A magical world of color goodness, guaranteed to both impress your kiddos and give you a few minutes of peace and quiet during the afternoon witching hours. 

Seriously, my girls played with this for THIRTY MINUTES. 

Do you have any idea what I can accomplish in an uninterrupted half hour? 

Try it. 
Love it.
Thank me later. 

Here's hoping your Monday has been fan-freakin'-tastic in every possible way. 

And what do YOU do to keep your kiddos entertained during this time of day? 
Please share your tips and ideas in the comments. 
The mama in me will be oh so grateful. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Word to Your Mother

When you have two little girls and a certain level of natural,
 unavoidable sibling rivalry in your house 365 days of the year.....

And your girls have this one thing they both love to do....together....that puts the rivalry to rest......

You go with it. 

Even if makes your kiddos look their belong in a Vanilla Ice comeback video. 

Here's hoping your weekend was top notch and free from sibling blah blah blah. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lovin' Lately

I've been doing a little of smiling here lately. 
Here are of few of the reasons why: 

This Etsy shop. My friend Leita is so stinkin' talented. Anyone gettin' hitched soon? Check her out!

This super cute child's journal. I'm thinking Libby needs this, yes?

This song from T. Swift's new album. Makes me wanna shake my junk, if you know what I mean.

This awesome shirt. I'm totally diggin' it.

This amazing post from the talented Jen Hatmaker. Love her.

This fantastic blog...this mama is so inspiring.

This lipstick. It makes my lip feel like butter. And I mean that in the best possible way.

This nail polish. Color of choice? Au natural.

Rewatching all the Harry Potter movies.... and the fact that my mom has recently hopped on the HP train. Welcome aboard, Mom.

Borrowing Libby's new Kindle Fire when she's sleeping. I may just have a future at the Brave version of Temple Run. I'm thinking I may go pro any day now...

The fact that I can't get enough globes in my house. Seriously-- have one stashed in your attic? Send it my way. I'll love it all day, every day.

What are YOU loving these days???? 

Oh, and a little THANK YOU before I go: 

- Thanks to all of you who follow me on facebook. Hit the 200 likes mark yesterday. Wowzers. 

-Thanks to the seven mamas who have already signed up to guest post during my I AM THAT MOM series, coming your way the first week of February. Get excited. These women are all kinds of awesome. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


This journey called motherhood--- constantly changing, constantly evolving. Filled with long, sleepless nights, two tons of graham crackers, and no personal space for mothers everywhere. 

The one thing that makes me feel better on days when I'm dripping in peanut butter, couldn't find time to shower, and swear that if I have to watch one more episode of  'Backyardigans' I may just leave and never come back? 
The fact that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. 

For the past two years, I have done a series called I AM THAT MOM, where moms just like you share about who they are as a mother, what matters to them, their successes, failures, tips, tricks, WHATEVER they wish they'd known before they became moms. 

Here's you chance to guest post on this little blog of mine about YOUR experience as a mom. You can share whatever you want to about your story. And YES, everyone has SOMETHING she can share, something that would encourage another mother out there who is struggling with the same things day in and day out. 

The I AM THAT MOM series will run the first week of February, and I'd LOVE for YOU to participate! 

Simply leave a comment here if you'd like to guest post during my I AM THAT MOM week with your blog address and e-mail (unless it's posted on your blog, in which case I'll be happy to get it from there). 


Now let's hear it.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Power of a Purchase

It's the start of a new year. 
People are throwing out resolutions left and right, making plans to eat better, exercise know the drill. 

Well, I'm making plans too.....plans to SHOP.
That's right-- the girl who would literally live in a t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops everyday for the rest of her life is excited about shopping....

What's the catch, you ask? 

Well, I've discovered that I simply cannot get enough of shopping when I'm
  shopping with purpose. 

There are so many places out there offering GREAT products that give back. Fair trade products are becoming all the rage, and for once-- I LOVE the rage. 

In case you missed it, last Friday I was featured on The Next Step, talking about fair trade and fashion.

Here's a little ensemble I threw together:  

shirt: Wear Love
necklace, earrings, bracelet: Noonday Collection
black bracelet: 147 Million Orphans
Shoes: Toms (not shown, obviously)

Seriously, it's so easy to make purchases that have the power to make a change for so many great causes, and while I'm totally partial to Noonday Collection, here are some other awesome shopping options, all of who are hoping to give your purchases the power to make a change for the better for someone else in this world: 

One Mango Tree

Mata Traders


Radiant Cosmetics

The Mighty River Project

No. 41

Other awesome fair traders: 

What is YOUR favorite place to shop for items that give back? 
Have you blogged about fair trade or purchases with power lately? If so, please leave a link in the comments-- I'd love to check it out!

Here's hoping it's dry where you are....I feel like Mississippi is about to float away any second now.