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.



Ellaray’s Thrifted Threads

Check out this darling outfit,

This entire outfit from bandanna to Converse tennis shoes cost about $10.00. The t-shirt came from a sale at the Children’s Place for $4. The bandana was at Walmart for $1.00 and everything else was thrifted. 

You can create a stylish wardrobe on any budget. 

My Favorite Shortbread Cookies


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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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.


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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When Kids Subconsiously Conspire


Me after I hit the trifecta



I have 4 amazing children. Samantha, an independent and responsible woman who is married and out of the house with a daughter of her own. Caleb, a tender hearted teddy bear and lover of football who is enduring last year of high school. Logan, the epitome of a stereotypical boy, rough and tumble, yet a hard worker and very organized. Logan is in his last year of middle school. Lastly, there is Ellaray, a spirited 7 year old who loves anything pretty and would talk and sing 24 hours a day if she could.


I am blessed beyond belief with the honor of being their mom. That said, as parents we all have hard days with our kids. Mainly it is just one of the kids that might be acting out or struggling with school. I take that kid aside talk to them and try to get to the heart of the issue all while making it clear that their present behavior is unacceptable. This is a part of parenting. It is an expected part and what I signed up for when I became a mom.

This being said occasionally I hit the trifecta. Yes, a trifecta would be great if I was betting on a horse race but when you have a trifecta with children you win the pot of meltdowns, pigpen behavior and  bad grades.

One morning this week I hit the trifecta. The day started out with a daughter who refused to get out of bed, then piddled around getting dressed. After nagging for an entire hour a few meltdowns (from both her and I) we finally managed get out the door.

Emotionally exhausted from this mornings ordeal I poured myself a cup of coffee. I was hoping to bask in the quietness of my home as all the children were now at school only to discover that apparently my youngest some had gotten into the maraschino cherries the night before. This was evident by the sticky ruby colored goo dripping of a good portion of my counter tops. On closer inspection I discover this syrupy liquid on the fridge, floor and even inside the silverware drawer. I could feel my blood start to boil. No one was home so I had time to compose myself and think of a proper punishment.

I took my cup of coffee and sat down on the computer to check my emails. Just some time to myself to get focused and calm down after a hectic morning. Then I clicked on an email from my oldest sons school. He was is danger of not graduating. He apparently has just given up on school, a sever case of senioritis. At this point there is no calming me down yet I have hours before anyone comes home from school.

I went to my dry-erase board and scribbled the new house rules that included earlier bedtimes, TV restrictions and food etiquette that was to be required in this home, in other words; if you messed it up clean it up (wouldn’t this would make a great quote for a rustic sign).

By the time I had everyone picked up from school I was much calmer and was able take each child aside and talk to them and encourage them to in the right direction. By the end of the day I was just exhausted having to lay down the law with each child in hopes of detouring their behavior. It rarely happens that all three of the younger ones are disobedient simultaneously, but when it does happen I am convinced that they all conspired to do it purposefully all at once just to drive me mad.

I just want you to know that as parents we are all in this together. No matter how adorable yours and my kids look on our Facebook page and Instagram feeds, we all have our days where we struggled to keep our sanity as parents. Hang in there moms and dads. I’m hanging in there right along with you.

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21 Years

IMG_1518`Twenty-one years ago today I became mother. I was not even twenty myself. I wouldn’t have believed it if you told me then that two decades after I gave birth to my first daughter that I would have not one but four amazing kids, who despite my shortcomings and at times poor life choices I have managed not to screw them up to much.

Over 20 years ago I brought my day old baby girl home to a trailer. Not the nice kind of trailer, like a double wide on acres lush green pasture but a few pieces of metal thrown together with car tires on the roof to keep it from blowing away. My daughter weighed over 6 pounds which in itself was a miracle as we were so poor my meals often consisted of popcorn and cherry Kool-Aid. I was so naïve that when the doctor told me I was due on January 26th I fully expected her to make her grand entrance that day, and she did. Not one of my other children were considerate enough to come on time.

If I could talk to my 19 year old self, I would tell her that “you are stronger then you could ever imagine”. I would tell her to give herself the gift of forgiving herself and others and the grace to move on and learn from her mistakes.

Twenty-one years ago my life was forever transformed as I entered into motherhood. At that time in my life I didn’t know a lot, what I did know with great certainty was that children are the greatest gift life has to offer. Happy birthday, Samantha. It is an honor to be your mom.



Gretchen Anthony