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Dear Mushka,

Coffee Date 4/29

This was a busy week in our house! My main man had a birthday on Monday so we celebrated him big time & we have a DM photo shoot tomorrow, which means lots of prep work. I'm so grateful for both!

Other things...

I had the privilege of reading this ahead of time and writing an endorsement-- and of course I jumped at the chance. I'm such a fan of these books and the author of this one in particular. We loved it! Here's their site if you want to see all that they offer. 

Scriptures to face Mother's Day when it's hard for you. A wonderful resource! 

On our kids' shelf this month as we learn together. We love this series, too! 

Okay, and I added this one to their May shelf, also. So cute. 

An adorable square frame for cropping your 8x10 art prints into. I love the way it changes the look and adds to a gallery wall. 

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Coffee Date 4/22

With another boy on the way (four!) I keep thinking about how wonderful sons are. For example, my oldest recently picked these daffodils from our yard, placed them in a cup by my mirror, and said "these are beautiful just like you, Mama." It's true-- little boys adore their mothers and I couldn't be more in love with their precious selves.

Other things...

Do you still read blogs? The only one I check consistently anymore is this one. I've been following them for so many years, I'd miss them in my weekly read! 

From a comment on one of their recent posts, I learned that most cities have a place to donate furniture/ home goods to local refugees. (A Google search is a great place to start- just add your city to the end of this search. ) I'm always tempted to make a quick Goodwill drop off, but will try to do this next time! 

Has anyone else discovered these "Conversations with my period" on Instagram? They get funnier each time I watch them haha. It's just so real

This recommendation comes at the hand of my husband, who can't stop chatting about this alarm clock. It gets brighter as it gets closer to your set wakeup time and has bird chirps as the alarm noise. You may love it, too! 

I officially thew away all the kid water bottles that have rubber straws (they just get chewed on) and replaced them with these for our littlest guys. Inexpensive, effective. Done. 

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Coffee Date 4/15

I'm currently in Atlanta with my friend Crystal, buying lots of clothes for her online women's boutique. She lets me tag along on this work trip every few months and it's the sweetest bit of girl time. Such a gift! (Thank you, Robert, for keeping everyone alive back at home. xx) 

Other things this week...

1. Well, since I mentioned Crystal, I should mention these pants she recently released. I've been living in them and will be able to stretch them way over this baby bump come Summer.  So comfortable!

2. Did anyone else start playing this album on repeat around Easter? It's just hymns and has filled my soul with such joy. Give it a listen!

3. Judges is the second book of the Bible I'm studying this year, and so I turned to one of my favorite resources. I have yet to read a book in this series I didn't love, and this one is proving to be no different. Add it to your cart if you'd like to dig in a little more! 

4. It's almost pool weather (yay!) so I grabbed my first maternity bathing suit. I saw a friend wear it last year and was so happy to still see it in stock. Love it! (I grabbed a large for plenty of room to grow but could wear a size down for non-maternity, too). 

5. With another little one on the way, we'll be playing musical rooms around here and moving our oldest two in together. This is my inspiration picture, though we probably won't start adjusting anyone until later Summer. 

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Coffee Date 4/8

This has been a busy week! Between celebrating our Risen Lord and then celebrating our favorite little two year old, we've eaten a lot of good food, seen a lot of family/friends, and partied hard. I need a nap ;) 

Other things...

I just finished this book after looking for a light, easy read. I really enjoyed it! Would make a great vacation book if you need one. 

Speaking of books, my friend Gretchen's book just released and I'm thrilled for her. She believes in and lives out of the Gospel so beautifully-- I know her words will overflow with grace and truth. 

I made these cupcakes for Easter and they were a hit. The icing was delicious! Going on our to-make-again list!

We bought this years ago but a friend just saw it in our mudroom and promptly grabbed one for her house, too. We use it almost daily around here-- I think it's saved a lot of shoes from serious stink! 

On the note of favorites, I just reordered this for the ninth time (according to Amazon). I'd say that's a favorite for sure! It's waterproof, which makes it extra good for pool weather coming up. 

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Coffee Date 4/1/21

We just got back from a little family trip to NYC (you can read more about that here) and are quieting our hearts to focus on Easter weekend and all that it means as a follower of Christ. I love that it falls during the beginning of Spring, when we plant seeds into dark soil and then watch life rise up. It's only by the power of Christ that we experience new life anywhere- praise Him! 

Other things...

A helpful guide to Easter in real time based on scripture. 

I often forget to use essential oils in our daily life, but last year I was desperate to help a child with allergies that could not be controlled with over-the-counter medicine and found this article. I immediately put it to use and noticed a change right away. They may help you, too! 

It's time for me to make our DIY laundry detergent again so I thought I'd re-share the recipe here. It's easy, inexpensive, and effective. Done. 

I've always been a fan of Expressie nail polish for its super quick dry abilities (seriously, I paint my nails and can change a diaper two minutes later!) but this color is extra good. It feels Spring-y and happy without being too bright. 

Last minute, I grabbed a $50 coat on Amazon before our NYC trip because I needed something warm + rain repellent + would fit over my growing baby bump. This one exceeded my expectations! (I grabbed a M)

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NYC WEEKEND WITH KIDS

We just got back from a trip to NYC with our 6 & 4 year old and had the best time. Here's a little recap of our trip with some tips for traveling with to the city with kids! 

Day 1: 

We flew into NJ and took a taxi to our apartment. Some friends generously let us stay at their place while they were out of town so we were in the Tribecca area, which is very residential and family friendly. I'd recommend this area with children for sure! Lots of playgrounds, other kids around, and a Target if you need something crucial. 

We grabbed lunch at a local diner, which is always a winner for kids. Basically anything they want is available. Check! 

Then we walked down to the Hudson River/ Pier 65 area. There you'll find views of Lady Liberty, New Jersey, so many boats, and lots of playgrounds to explore. We could have stayed here for hours! It's a really dreamy area. 

For dinner we grabbed a slice of pizza and looked at the One Trade Center building. We didn't go inside on this trip, but it's pretty incredible. Just practicing walking on the right side of the sidewalk was enough for our kids haha

Day 2: 

Robert ran out and grabbed us bagels (Zuckers) for breakfast and brought them back to the apartment. 

Then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. It's a really cool experience and great for kids! In DUMBO, our boys threw rocks into the East River and climbed all over the playground there. We grabbed a quick bite and then took a ferry back across to Manhattan. I'd love to do the Staten Island ferry in the future. 

We rested each afternoon, which was helpful with little ones. They watched a show and played with Legos while we read or sat out on the patio. 

That evening, we took a Subway to Bryant Park. There was still free ice skating going on and lots to look at. The library was closed due to COVID, but they got to see the lions and run across the stairs. We had dinner at Shake Shack (which we have & love in Nashville, but it started in NYC so it felt extra special). 

Day 3: 

It was a rainy day so we grabbed brunch at Sarabeths (the pancakes are truly amazing) and then headed to the Museum of Natural History. There was so much to see, most of it really entertaining for even young ones who couldn't read. They loved all the bones and animal replicas! 

We were starving when we came out so we walked the Upper West Side looking for lunch. Jacob's Pickles is a favorite of mine in this area, but the wait was too long so we ended up at Jake's Dilemma. It was a bar but had great food. 

Central Park would have been next on our list (it's right across the street from the museum) but it was still raining so instead we headed back home for a movie evening. Night at the Museum was the perfect pick since we'd just been in the museum! 

For dinner, we ordered Chinese takeout and pretended to be locals ;) 

Day 4: 

The boys were really hungry when they woke up so we grabbed quick bagels again and I made a note get breakfast groceries for future trips. 

Then we took a subway up to Central Park, where we strolled and climbed the giant rocks and found lots of playgrounds and considered the zoo (not this trip) and just enjoyed Spring in NYC. It was our boys' highlight for sure- they're already talking about our next trip back. 

For lunch we ate street hot dogs and then got Sprinkles cupcakes. They're really the best cupcakes I've ever had (Nashville, bring one back!) Then, Robert gifted me and my Godmother who we brought along with us an afternoon to shop and play without little ones while he took the boys back to the apartment to relax. For dinner they got Chipotle (sometimes something familiar is best) and we got Los Tacos-- the best. Somewhere in there, we also got Waffled and Dignes in Bryant Park which are worth a try. So yummy!

Day 5: 

We had an early flight so we woke up, packed, cleaned up, and headed to the airport. We brought our boys' iPads for a movie on the plane and they did wonderfully. 

For our first trip with kids to the city, it was a dream. I think the key was scheduling in time to play on playgrounds each day and building in some rest time. They couldn't shop or eat at nice restaurants, and Broadway was closed due to COVID, so we enjoyed low-key activities and had a great time. Thank you, Lord, for this gift of a trip! 

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Easter Favorites

Leading up to Easter:

In our family, we start the Resurrection Eggs 12 days before Easter. Each day, we open one egg and read the story behind it (provided in the booklet). The next day, someone tells the story up to that point and then adds an egg. It provides a great visual and also verbal practice! The book, Benjamin's Box, is a wonderful addition here. 

 

You can also walk through Holy Week, which is from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday (March 28-April 4).

For little ones, we like the Baby Believers board book. 

For slightly older children, we love the Jesus Storybook Bible. Here's a reading plan to follow through Holy Week. 

A paper chain countdown, coloring pages, and other crafts are also wonderful ways to make the week come alive. A quick Google or Pinterest search will pull up lots of ideas. We're going to try some of these this year. 

 

For even older children (and adults), you can follow a "real time" guide through Holy Week with appropriate readings. Like this one!

New to us this year are the "Story of the Cross" books from Creation to Revelation. I think they'll help us tell the story as well as a sweet activity! 

On Easter Day:

We want to keep Jesus the focus of our Easter Sunday so we try to keep all gifts and play focused on His great name! We usually gift our children a new book that we snuggle up to read at some point during the day. 

 Here are a few of our favorites:

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Coffee Date 3/11/21

We decided to go to NYC in a few weeks (we're taking our boys for the first time!) so this week I've been dreaming about that trip. I cannot WAIT to introduce our boys to my favorite city! It will be so good for my soul. I'll be sure to take you along via Instagram stories when we go. 

On that note...

I checked this book out from the library, among others, as we prep for our trip. It's about the history of NYC and is beautifully illustrated with maps on each page. My kids enjoyed it, but I was the most enthralled. I'm off to check out more of this author's work!

I also bought my first pair of this brand's sneakers. Everyone who has them (including my Dad and husband-- they both have multiple pairs) says they're the most comfortable thing. I figure a trip to New York is a good reason to have a wonderful pair of walking shoes. (I went for a slip on version!)

Unrelated, but did you know you can buy this soup at the store? And it tastes exactly the same as in the restaurant. (I mean, who is surprised? It's not like they're making it from scratch back there). It's made for a quick and yummy lunch around here when I need one!

I've been waiting for the release of this book and am thrilled it's here. I'm trying dahlias for the first time this Summer and have a feeling I'm going to be hooked!

Lastly, this thing is amazing. I'm not usually a kitchen gadget sort of person, but I bought it in an effort to help my 6 & 4 year old make their own hearty breakfasts and we've all enjoyed it each morning. I'll show you it in action in stories this week! (It also comes in a single version if you don't need the double.)

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