I Got it from my Mama

IMG_6587This girl is quick witted, tender hearted and the love of my life. I want the best for her, but I can’t always afford to give her everything she deserves. I shop smart and this is how we afforded this darling outfit.

The white graphic t-shirt I purchased at The Children’s Place – $4.99

Blue hombre plaid shirt and the rhinestone accented jeans were both bought at a thrift store for $0.99 x2 =$1.98

Blue bandana scarf used as a headband from Walmart fro $0.99

Grand total -$7.96

Shop ahead.

Shop the sales.

You got this mama!

 

Ellaray’s Thrifty Threads

img_6781Don’t believe you can dress your kid to be on trend and on budget?

Here is the breakdown of this cute outfit:

Leopard print dress: $3.99

Faux fur vest $5.99

Cap: Last years clearance at Walmart $1.00

Aqua leggings: The Children’s Place $5.00

Nine West boots: $4.99

Necklace and watch: Gifts

Unless noted everything was bought at a thrift store.

 

 

End of the School Year Blues

Only a few weeks left till the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. To say that I am counting down the days would be an understatement. The weather is warming up as I delightfully pull my summer wardrobe from the back of my closet to the front. My toenails are painted a cotton candy pink and the sun lingers a bit more each day begging me to stay out and play just a bit longer basking in its warmth.

With all the wonderfulness and warmth of summer surrounding me it’s no wonder why the last few weeks of school are like a warden breathing down my neck telling me to get back in my cell. I don’t want to pack one more lunch, sit in anymore carpool lines or help with any homework. I JUST DON”T WANNA! I want to go out and play.

I feel the school year is very similar to being pregnant. At the beginning you are so excited practically oozing with joy. As the newness wears off you begin to get a little squirmy. The last month seems to take an eternity How is it possible to cram a zillion days into that last month? Then you give birth either to an adorable bouncing baby or in my case summer break and you forget all about that last terribly long month.

Are any of you mama’s feeling this way? I can’t be the only one who has dipped into the depths of despair during this last LONG month. Hang in there summer break is on the horizon. We will make it! We will sip lemonade outside and watch our little ones frolic in the sun. We will. YES, we will!

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Sunday Prep Day

I like to be prepared as I can be for the week ahead. I would love to say I do this because I am an ultra organized person but in all honesty it is because I don’t function well in the morning. It takes about 3 cups of coffee to get me moving. Which means yes, I’m the mom in the carpool line with bedhead and wearing a coat that covers up my pajamas; much to my children’s dismay.

I start by making all of my kids and hubby’s lunches for the next day. This provides for a smoother morning just in case we accidently oversleep. It doesn’t however guarantee they wont forget to grab their lunches on the way out the door to work or school. This happens more often then I would like, but by lunch time I am fully caffeinated and appropriately dressed so that I can drive their forgotten lunches up to school.

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Next I steep enough tea for the week. This is mainly for my husband and I. This week I made orange mint green tea. Once you learn how simple it is to make some fresh energizing tea ahead of time you will feel more creative about making your own flavor combinations. Next week I’m going to try steeping my tea with cucumbers and strawberries. Keep the tea in the fridge and it stays fresh all week.

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Now to the baking. I try and offer a healthy breakfast option that my family can just grab and go. I bake three varieties of muffins and or breakfast cookies. This is what I tried this week; healthy zucchini muffins,  carrot cake oatmeal cookies and applesauce oat muffins. The applesauce oat muffins were hands down my family’s favorite. I always double each recipe and freeze the extras. I individually wrap each muffin and then put them in a freezer zip-lock bag.

Hopefully these ideas will help you out if your morning are anything like mine.

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My Favorite Shortbread Cookies

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These cookies are to die for. Melt in your mouth and have you begging for more type of cookies. The cookies I made today are lightly sprinkled with colored sugar but these cookies are extremely sturdy and perfect for frosting.

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Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 pounds of unsalted butter, softened (the higher quality of butter the better the cookie, I use Challenge butter)

2 Cups powdered sugar

2 pounds and 4 ounces all purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla or almond flavoring

In a mixer blend the butter and powdered sugar together. Add the salt and vanilla then gradually add in the flour. Mix only till combined. Do not over mix. Divide the dough in 2 equal parts and wrap in saran wrap. Let rest for about an hour.

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This dough is so wonderful to work with. I lightly flour my counter top and just use my hand to press the dough out to 1/4 of an inch thickness. Use your desired cookie cutters and then place on an ungreased baking sheet. For the above cookies I used and egg wash (1 egg white mixed with 2 T. of water). After I brushed the egg wash on the cookies I then sprinkled the tops of the cookies with colored sugar. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Once they have cooled for at least 2 minutes the cookies can be removed from the pan.

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Hope this recipe will become a family favorite.

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Grace

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We all want grace, grace from our friends, family and spouse. The question I want you to ask yourself is, do you allow yourself to give grace to others and yourself?

There are two areas of my life where I feel giving grace is a struggle for me. The first area is with my children. I do a fairly good job of giving them grace in their everyday life. I give them grace to learn at their own pace, to make mistakes and to fail. Where I struggle is giving them grace to find their own place in this world and to make their own path. We all have visions of what we want for our children and who we think they should be. The truth is they are only a part of us, not an exact replica.  I don’t think life would be as interesting with 4 mini Gretchen’s. I have a Samantha, a Caleb, a Logan and an Ellaray. They are all unique and very different from myself and each other  Letting them explore and forage in this great big world is hard for this mama bear. I want to shield them and guide them; as a parent should, but I often want to over guide. I forget that they are learning to be who God made them to be. They may not turn out who I thought they would be but they could turn out be someone even better. I hope I am able to give them grace on their journey.

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The part of my life that I yearn for grace the most is with myself. As a mother I am continually racked with guilt and worry. The loop of thoughts that continually run through my brain daily and nightly go something like this; did my Ellaray get enough to eat, I forgot to tell my oldest daughter to never park by a big van for fear of being a target for kidnapers or are there tidbits of advice I’ve neglected to tell my sons about how to treat a lady. It’s enough to drive one crazy. Sometimes I imagine that a padded room at the sanitarium is being prepared for me and how I long to just take a nap there where there is no noise or responsibilities. Alas though I am a mom, and these struggles are not unique to me. We all struggle with these thoughts. I encourage you to give yourself grace in this area of your life. Moms we are human! I know that’s novel idea. We will fail. We will forget things, even important things. It’s ok you can wallow in your failures and forgetfulness but only for a moment then accept grace and move on from this.

I pray that I will continually learn to accept grace into my life along with being able to give it abundantly to others.

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