Life Hacks for Busy Moms – Grocery Shopping

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As I grow a little older and get a little comfortable in my role as wife and working mom, I’ve come to realize that life has to be simple. Prioritized. I can’t do everything, and my time is so precious, I want to spend it doing the things that are important to me and my people.

That 90 minutes it takes to drive to the grocery store, load my cart and check out, drive home, and unload groceries (not to mention meal planning, which I am terrible at) is time I would rather spend playing in the backyard with my kiddo. Or catching up on chores. Or knocking out a work project. Or (gasp) taking a nap. Maybe taking a bubble bath. Heck, even cooking dinner.

I only go to the grocery store about once a month now. Granted, I have an amazing chef husband who runs by the store to pick up random items that pop up at the last minute, and he does ALL the grocery shopping when we host friends (bless him), but the rest of the time, here’s how I automate my shopping (note: I did not receive any compensation for this post – all reviews are purely my own):

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I have been using Blue Apron for about six months and it’s glorious. Someone else meal plans for me, and every single ingredient is delivered to my doorstep on Saturday morning. Our family has 2-3 meals a week like this, plus lots of leftovers. The downside: meals rarely repeat, so we aren’t creating family food traditions. The upside: I don’t have to mealplan, the meals are tasty and healthy, and we get a lot less take-out. Plus, I still get to crank the music up in my kitchen and cook healthy meals for my family. It’s kind of relaxing.

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God bless Amazon. I don’t know how working moms did it before this life-changing invention. I use Amazon NOW for fresh/cold food items in between our big grocery store runs. It’s great for restocking lunch meat, or apples/bananas, even laundry detergent. They deliver milk, although it’s more expensive, so I reserve that for emergencies only.

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Did I mention I love Amazon? I use Pantry for most of our toiletries (we always have at least one back-up of everything on-hand), cereal, granola bars, apple sauce for Wrenn, and household cleaning items. Just about everything on there is comparable to our local grocery store. Delivery is $5.99, but considering it saves me precious time and gas money, it’s well worth it.

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Occasionally I can find cleaning supplies or toiletries on “regular” Amazon, and with my Prime subscription, delivery is free. Back before Wrenn was potty trained, it was my go-to for diapers and wipes, and I still use it for house-hold items (Lose a sippy cup? Need batteries? Just pull up my Amazon app and I can place an order without ever having to give it a second thought.)

imgresWe have a Braums close to our house, and we use that for milk, bread, basic produce, and meat/dairy. There’s never a line, parking is close, and since it’s so easy, I can buy smaller amounts more frequently, which means less waste. I had never considered Braums until my lovely husband introduced me to it- now I wonder why it took me so long! (PS – their milk is SO cheap!)

And there you go. I free up so much time and brain space by simply pulling up apps on my phone and purchasing items or stocking my cart as I realize a need instead of trying to remember. (Running low on shampoo? let me grab my phone…) And that leaves me with extra time to do fabulous things… like laundry. And cuddling on the couch with my tribe. Even washing my hair.

For more life hacks, check out my post over on the Fort Worth Moms Blog.

And now for a giveaway! I am giving away a FREE MEAL from Blue Apron to TWO of my readers! Comment below with what you could do with the extra time you saved from NOT going to the grocery store, and I’ll randomly draw TWO winners! Deadline to enter is Monday, April 25.

What my toddler has taught me about God’s love

I always tell people that marriage taught me how much I need a Savior, and motherhood has taught me how much my Savior loves me. Suddenly, I see life through a totally different perspective. I look at my child and more than anything, I want her to know that I love her. That’s she’s secure. That she her worth is not based on her behavior or her appearance or anything she can accomplish. She can’t earn my love. I love her simply because she’s mine.

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The following are life lessons I’ve been teaching Wrenn, that are really also teaching me:

It’s okay to be angry, but you still must be kind.

It’s okay to be sad, but you still must be kind.

God loves you even when you make bad choices.

I forgive you, and God forgives you.

When something’s wrong, stop everything and pray. 

Kind words are not enough. You must also use a kind voice and a kind face.

Our choices have consequences. But I will always forgive you.

God cares about the tiniest details.

Tomorrow is a new day. 

Oh, if only I could remember these truths when I look to my own Father, and think about how much He loves me. Not based on my performance. Or anything, rather, that I could ever do to earn his love. He loves me simply because I’m His.

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Raise your hand if you love cute clothes

Here are things I love: online shopping + cute clothes that are comfy to wear + supporting friends with small businesses.

This is why when my friend Melissa told me she was opening an online boutique, I became one of her earliest customers, and why I wanted to tell YOU about her adorable line of clothes and the story behind them.

But first… check out some of her LOVELY clothes at Simply Bliss!

I own this amazing kimono – it’s funky and also super comfy. It’s kind of like wearing your bathrobe and people telling you that you look awesome. Screen_Shot_2015-10-23_at_11.11.46_AM_large

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And this is the greatest layering tank ever. I’ve got a really long torso and it’s long and stretchy and goes great under everything (I have the white one). I should probably buy a few more since I may or may not wear this 20 times between washes. (Don’t judge.)

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And then there’s this gorgeous top/dress. Right now, I’m pairing it with skinny jeans, but it’s long enough for me to wear as a dress this summer (I’m 5’5″ and it hits about two inches above the knee and is slightly longer in the back to hide my hiney). It’s a tiny bit low-cut, so I wear the white tank under it so my “girls” stay far from view.

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When I wear it, little Wrenn swoons. She tells me I look like a princess (which is kind of how I feel, to be honest). It’s one of those outfits you put on and want to twirl in. Even if you’re a grown-up.

Here are the goodies I’m eyeing for this spring:

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Here’s a little Q&A with Melissa Hernandez, owner of Simply Bliss Boutique. Get ready to love her as much as I do.

12670437_10153422959878030_2218646586075138279_nHi Melissa! Tell us about yourself. 

Well, I have been an educator for 15 years now.  I taught second and fifth grade for nine years, and for the past six years I have served as an Elementary Assistant Principal.  I am married to a wonderful man who is supportive of all my crazy ideas, and we have two beautiful daughters, ages six and seven.  We are joyfully expecting a son in April and can’t wait to see what else God has in store for our family!

What made you decide to open Simply Bliss?

I have always loved fashion, but the real driving force behind this was my desire to set a Godly example for my girls in what they wear.  I find that there are a lot of young ladies these days who are trying to get noticed by wearing skimpy clothing, or having less modest clothing choices than I think is appropriate.  I want to change that.  I want my daughters to see that you can be cute, trendy, and modest at the same time.  So I prayed about it for a long time, had the full support of my husband, and last summer God gave me the go-ahead to start this journey!

I love the story behind the clothing you choose – can you share it with my readers?

Sure!  My mission for the company is Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed in strength in dignity…” Every piece of clothing that is even considered to be in the boutique is something that I would feel comfortable wearing, or having my daughters wear.  If I wouldn’t dress my own daughter in it, I won’t buy it.  And of course, we are always looking for what’s on trend!

What big fashion trends are coming for Spring that we can get excited about?

We are seeing lots of tie dye and ombre, which we love!  Fringe is also something that we started seeing pop up last summer, and it looks like it’s here to stay!  Flowy tunics are very in right now.  It’s such a classy look that’s easy to pull off with a pair of leggings.  I would say these flowy tunics are our favorite looks for this Spring and Summer!

What’s your advice to other women who have a dream to open a business or do something BIG, but haven’t yet made that brave first step to pursue it?

My biggest advice is to pray about it, but get ready to take that first step when you get the green light!!  It is scary, but definitely worth it.  In 10 years it’s easy to think, “Oh, if only I had taken that leap of faith, I wonder where I would be now…” I’m excited that in 10 years I won’t be regretting a decision I didn’t make! Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and pray for you, and then just go for it!


Now y’all know why I love Melissa, don’t you? Let me also add that Melissa is one of those women who LOVES other women. She is the founder of my beloved supper club, and I watch her cheer other women (including me!) on as they pursue their God-given dreams. She’s just… well, she’s the best. I love getting to watch her pursue her dreams AND bless women at the same time! It’s fun to support women like Melissa.

Melissa has offered a discount off my new favorite dress/tunic just for my Texas Lovely readers! Just use the code TEXASLOVELY at checkout for 15% off the Tiered Tank Tunic in Ivory. And get ready for your new favorite top.

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Happy Shopping! (And if you find Melissa through my blog – would you let her know? You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook.)

Disclaimer: Simply Bliss gave me the Tiered Tank Tunic in Ivory for free in exchange for a review. The other 82 things I have from them (I may be exaggerating only slightly) I purchased with my own money. All opinions are my own.

Today is my due date, but my arms are empty

We suffered a miscarriage over the summer. It was awful and painful and so very sad.  My husband and I mourned together, and then kept on going, because that’s what you do. God has given us tremendous grace and peace over the past few months.

We got tattoos to remember our baby. I think about him (or her) every single day. We hit what would have been the halfway point, and I thought about what my growing belly would have looked like. We would have had a gender reveal party, and I know little Wrenn would have been so excited about being a big sister. We would have prepared a nursery, and fretted over how Wrenn would adjust to a new baby. We would have planned ahead – I would have planned to be out on maternity leave and away from work, we would have cleared our schedules for the spring as we soaked up the wonderfulness and pure craziness of those first few weeks with a newborn in the house.

Our sweet Truett Lennon would have been due today, March 12. March should have been a month of celebration – of holding our new child and inhaling that sweet baby smell. We would be exhausted from lack of sleep and round-the-clock nursings and sitting around all day staring at our tiny wrinkled darling.

But he’s not here. My arms are empty. Our schedule hasn’t been cleared. We aren’t making adjustments and Wrenn isn’t a big sister. Instead, I’m left with a hope that I will one day see my precious child in heaven. Until then, I will grieve and thank  God for the comfort he provides me every day. Including today.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pens and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakuk 3:17-19

Free Prints: Blessing people is just FUN

When I chose to shut down my shop last year, it was to give myself more freedom – more breathing room – to experiment creatively. To just… create. And I have had such a fun time.

But I still have a few passion projects that I love to support, which is why when a friend told me that she was hosting an IF:Gathering session at her house last weekend and that she needed some scripture prints for her guests, I jumped at the opportunity to bless them.

Texas Lovely .. Grace upon grace Blessing people is just FUN.

Not to mention I love anything that has to do with ministering to women, empowering them to be better moms and wives and friends and Jesus followers through the truth of scripture. And I love any excuse to fill your home to the brim with people who need love and safety and good old-fashioned hospitality.

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And so, I wanted to bless YOU too, my dear readers. Each gal at my friend’s event received a 5×7 print of both scriptures, and I want you to have them too! Just click here and here to download them, and feel free to share. My only request is that you DON’T sell them or mass-distribute them, and that if you repost them on your blog or Facebook account (which I would LOVE, by the way) that you give me credit and link back to my website. Deal? Deal.

XOXO, Bethe

5 Tips for hosting a dinner party that won’t make you lose your mind

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A few people have told me we’re crazy for wanting to host 200 people in our home this year. Yes, we’re definitely crazy. But hosting people in your home doesn’t have to be stressful or even a very big deal, and it’s the easiest way to make someone feel loved and welcomed and cared for. And who knows, you might even get a few belly laughs in during dinner, if you’re lucky.

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Focus more on creating a welcoming atmosphere than a Pinterest-perfect home.

When hosting people in your home, THINGS DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. I’ll repeat: THINGS DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. I have been “about to get” curtains for our living room for 2.5 years now. Nobody cares. Our breakfast nook has been converted to a playroom, so my beloved table/dishes on display have been replaced by a plastic kitchen and 82 tutus in a dress-up bin. Nobody cares. There are no winter flowers in my front flower bed. Nobody cares.

Don’t wait for your house to be perfect to invite people over. Screw Forget Pinterest. Just be you – it’s going to put your guests at ease. Trust me.

Keep the food simple.

Mr. Right is practically a chef, and we used to make the most elaborate dinners for people, but it also meant we were both running around like crazy people prepping the meal, timing everything right, and making sure everything was perfect. Even grilling was a huge pain, because Mr. Right was stuck outside, away from our guests, while he cooked. It didn’t leave a lot of time for actually hanging out with our guests.

Between you and me, it was also a little stressful. And expensive. And it might have caused an argument or two (who us? never!).

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About a year ago we decided to stick with simple meals – most of the time – like soup and chili during the winter and cheese/meat trays during the summer. Mr. Right salvaged and then stained a giant serving platter (it’s gorgeous) that is perfect for our summer smorgasbord, and he usually garnishes our soups with fresh herbs from our garden and serves it with homemade garlic bread. Don’t worry about impressing your guests with fancy food – serve something that will allow YOU to enjoy the evening as well.

Divide and conquer, and don’t forget to crank down your air conditioner.

Mr. Right and I have been doing this so long that we have hosting down to a science. Here’s how it works: Mr. Right picks up the groceries (bless him) and prepares the food. I set the table, make sure the house is picked up, wash dishes while he cooks, and act as his sous chef if he needs any help. Dinner parties are less stressful because we know who’s going to do what, and we both do tasks that play to our strengths. An hour before our guests arrive, we just kind of fall into line, both working to get everything ready.

Oh, and it may just be us, but whenever we have people over, all those people make our house seem warmer. So, about two hours before your guests arrive, crank down the air conditioner or open your windows and cool down your house. Trust me.

Find a simple way to spoil your guests.

Even though I have freed myself from the bondage of Pinterest, I do love to spoil people and let them know that we are honored to have them in our home. For me, it means always putting out cloth napkins and pretty placemats on our table. We don’t do fancy dishes, and we drink out of mason jars, but my table still looks pretty and “special” when my guests sit down.

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Another way I make things special is by putting out jars of cold water on the table so our guests don’t have to get up for a refill. It’s a trick I learned from my favorite restaurants, and is a tiny way for me to show my guests that I put some thought into their visit.

If we’ve got flowers or herbs growing in our garden, I’ll throw some in a bud vase and stick them on the table (no tall flowers that could obstruct your view and conversation), but if not, I don’t stress about it. We also turn on music before our guests arrive so that the moment they walk in the door, things feel homey.

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Just start.

The first step to hosting 200 people in your home is to invite someone over for dinner. And then another, and another. We’ve had 14 people over (including one weekend guest) in January, and would have had four more if our kiddo hadn’t gotten sick for a few days. None of the dinners have been fancy, or elaborate, but all have been so. much. fun.

Just give it a try – make your first invite – and see how much fun you can have. In fact, you can start by inviting me over for dinner… (hint, hint).

Why we quit teaching ESL

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Mr. Right and I started teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) just a few months after we got married. We thought God was preparing us to go to the mission field and this was a way to get some extra training. To serve together. To do something we were both passionate about.

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And as most of my friends know, it became a great love story between us and our ESL students. Five fabulous years of friendships, of meeting students from all around the world. We taught people from Mexico to North Korea, from women who had come from huts in Africa with no schooling, to doctors and lawyers with advanced degrees that were worthless in the United States. I always took the beginners – my favorites – and with each student, my worldview grew a little bigger.

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During the Ebola outbreak, we had a student from Liberia, and had to have serious discussions about what it might mean if we were ever to be exposed. We decided it was more important for us to be welcoming and trusting  and LOVING to that student than to fixate on the risk. We wanted to be her safe place.

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During the Arab Spring, we had students from so many of the countries on the news. Egypt. Syria. We taught folks from Iran and Iraq. We had a Palestinian student who was thrown out of his home by a Jew. We had students who had experienced harrowing escapes, who had lived in refugee camps, who had been separated from their spouse for a decade, or who were still waiting for their children to gain access to America. We taught Christians and Muslims and Hindus and people of religions I had never heard before. I adored them all.

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We saw it all, and we loved them all. We saw students go to college, get jobs, gain the confidence to speak English in front of others. We dined in our students’ homes and hosted them in ours. We had students get baptized – we saw whole families get baptized. It was amazing, y’all. And for five years, it was exactly where God wanted us. We were in love. We were fulfilled.

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But ministry – as in life – happens in seasons, and we sensed that God was calling us to a new season. Mr. Right started teaching in our Sunday School class, and we started finding ourselves saying “no” to many things we wanted to say “yes” to, because we didn’t have the bandwidth to do everything. We can’t do everything – and we should never try to do everything. We have learned through experience that we can only be “all in” on one thing at a time.

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About a year ago, God brought us an amazing couple to serve, and we began to sense that He was working out a transition for us. That our beloved ministry would be safe with these new people who loved our students just as much as we did, who loved our teachers just as much as we did. Who had fresh ideas and passion. We, on the other hand, were growing tired, and feeling a longing to do something else. To take a break. To love people in a different way. Five years is a long time when you count it as about 40 Wednesday nights a year – 200 classes total. We taught as newlyweds, then through morning sickness, then through job transitions and raising a toddler. It was time for a break.

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I read The Best Yes and For The Love this year, and both books talked about how saying “yes” to one thing is saying “no” to something else. And that’s what staying with ESL would do for us – it would keep us from what God has planned for us in this next season, and it would keep the people whom God has raised up to lead from having the opportunity to do so. As Jen Hatmaker so eloquently said this week, “If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s probably a no.” Man… Jen Hatmaker and I are soul sisters.

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And so, that’s why we have chosen to take a break from ESL. As I told the pastor at our church who is over that ministry, I wholeheartedly believe I will be back. I just need a break. God has other things for me to do right now, and He has raised up our replacements. It’s the greatest way to leave a ministry – to pass it on to someone else who will love it as much as we do.

{For all of my ESL posts, click here.}

How I broke my foot… like a huge dork

IMG_7026So here’s the grand story of how I broke my foot…

On December 30, I was taking out the trash and stepped off the half-inch step-down between our garage and our driveway, rolled my ankle, and fell straight to the ground. It hurt, but I sort of do things like that all the time, so I figured I’d be fine after the initial shock wore off.

Wrenn saw me gasp in pain as I went down and came running over.

“Mama – do you have a boo boo?”

“Yes, mama has a boo boo.”

And then she reached out, laid a hand on me, closed her little eyes, and prayed, “GOD, HELP MOMMY TO FEEL BETTER!” with as much conviction as I’ve ever seen anybody pray.

And then she opened her eyes and anxiously asked, “Mommy, do you feel better?”

Oh sweet child, I love your spirit. And no, mommy didn’t feel better. But it was still the kindest prayer ever.

As the minutes passed, my foot started to hurt worse. I was pretty sure it was broken – but I’m also no wimp. I was in the midst of my annual “It’s New Year’s so I must organize my whole house” project (it’s a thing, y’all), so after sitting down for 15 minutes, I was back up, organizing every drawer and closet in my house, and prepping for our New Year’s Eve party the next day.

The following day, I cleaned the house, decorated for the party, took Wrenn for her first haircut (bless), went shopping, and then came home and an hour before our guests arrived, I cried to Mr. Right because MY FOOT HURT SO MUCH I COULDN’T STAND IT. But not enough to run to the doctor, because, hello, we had a party to host. Pass me the Advil, please. (I’ll admit – I mostly just wanted some sympathy from Mr. Right.)

I stood on my foot through the entire party, and the next morning (New Year’s Day) was at the urgent care office near my house when it opened getting x-rays. Indeed, I broke my foot (my fifth metatarsal) and will get to wear a fabulous knee-high boot for about six weeks. But I’m also going to live – no surgery. Praise the Lord.

The boot is kind of annoying, but not really a huge deal. After birthing a baby, this broken foot is about a 3.5 on a scale of 1-10. And there’s some perks: I never have to worry about finding matching shoes, or even matching socks… there’s no pressure to wear heels (not that I wore them anyway)… and the boot is a great conversation starter with strangers.

What stupid way have you hurt yourself? I’d love to hear your story in the comments, so I don’t feel like I’m the only one.

My New Year’s Resolutions

I’m such a perfectionist that the past few years, I’ve chosen not to do any New Year’s resolutions, simply because I didn’t need any added pressure. I’m really good at setting goals and then beating myself up if I don’t hit them. I don’t need a calendar to add to it.

But there’s something fresh about this new year – I’m in a place where I have the time and bandwidth to DO. And my heart is hungry, so I have chosen two resolutions – themes, really – for my 2016.

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It’s no secret that Mr. Right and I have a deep love of hosting people in our home. We both did it separately before we met, and it’s one of those wonderful things in common that God knew we needed in a spouse. In early 2015 we were both really rocked by reading Bob Goff’s Love Does (buy it now!), and made a commitment to bringing people into our home just to love on them. We want our home to be a refuge to others, a place of peace, a place without judgment or stress. A place where they can leave the hard things of life at our doorstep and just walk inside and experience LOVE.

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In 2016, our goal is to host 200 people in our home. It sounds like a big number, but it’s really not. I’m pretty sure we hosted 200 people in our home last year, so this is nothing new, but I am so excited to actually track it this year with a guest book, and to be even more intentional about setting aside time in our schedule.

In 2015 we easily had 90 people in our home, simply between a Halloween and New Year’s party. There was another month where we probably hosted 40-50 people at casual dinner parties (we were VERY tired after that month – but happy). We tend to have people over about once a week, so if we have 50 people attend our annual Halloween party (which we usually do), that leaves just 3 people a week. That’s just one dinner a week, which is something we have already prioritized. Add in another party (man, we love parties), and we’ll tip the scales well over 200. It’s totally doable.

And how great, at the end of 2016, to say that 200 people got to experience love in our home? That for a few hours, they got to be spoiled, listened to, fed. What a wonderful way to spend a year.

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This year I took a personality test and my results said that I am in the ninety-fifth percentile for creativity. Not talent, mind you, but creativity. I wake up in the morning with an urge to create, and I go to bed at night dreaming of what I can make the next day. I love it – it’s in my bones. And so for 2016, I want to have a special focus on creating. Particularly, I want to try new things with sewing (and possibly host a sewing retreat – more details to come), practice my calligraphy and hand lettering, and do more writing.

Speaking of writing, Mr. Right has gifted me with a writing retreat in February – three days away at an Air BNB, just me and my computer and hours and hours of uninterrupted writing time. I can’t wait.

In 2016, I want to create simply for the sake of creating. I want to enjoy the creative process, and not be limited by a need to be perfect or even good at something, but to just try. To try and fail and to laugh about it and try again. To not worry about an end product, but to learn something in the process. Speaking of learning, I have enrolled in a website that offers online tutorials in just about everything under the sun. Learning and creating are an inseparable couple.

And in a nutshell, that’s my 2016. Hosting and creating. I know God has some adventures and challenges headed my way, but as I venture out into the unknown, it’s good to have a focus, isn’t it?

15 Toddlers on New Year’s Eve

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When I got Wrenn out of bed on New Year’s Eve morning, I told her that we were going to have a big party at our house that night, and that all of her friends would be coming over to play.

“Will there be cookies? Candy cane cookies? With SPRINKLES ON IT?”

Girlfriend knows that anytime we have a party, there are dozens of unsuspecting people whom she can sweet talk into giving her cookies, sugar, candy, and all the things that I rarely let her have. She’s got the system DOWN.

Happy New Year to her.

We hosted 40 people at our house for a New Year’s Eve party. About 15 of those were under the age of four.

The pre-child version of me would have had a heart attack at the thought of so many littles running loose in her house, throwing her things across the room or hearing the random <<<<CRASH!!!!>>>> and knowing a bucket of something had just fallen off a shelf.

But mama Bethe barely noticed. Every time we heard a crash, all of us parents would pause mid-conversation and wait to see if it would be followed by screams, and when no screams were heard, nobody even looked in the direction of the crash. Because this is our life stage right now. It’s noisy, and messy, and if you don’t embrace it, it will send you straight to the loony bin.

Besides, there was a cheese tray and bacon-wrapped sausage (yes!) to munch on. So why worry?

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It was really a wonderful party, that happened to be over by 9:00 p.m. We celebrated the new year at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00, so our littles had plenty of opportunities to cheer and revel in the celebration, and then moms and dads got them home and tucked into bed in time to not throw off their precious schedules entirely. (Although, Mr. Right and I stayed up all the way until midnight with another couple, having wonderful adult conversations that didn’t involve any toddlers screaming over us. It was bliss.)

The following morning, my house looked like we had hosted a fraternity party. For toddlers. Glitter, toys, and popcorn were everywhere. We found spare clothing items (all of the toddler variety) scattered throughout the house. Dirty dishes filled our kitchen.

It was so worth it.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions involves hosting a ridiculous amount of people in my home this year (nothing new for us… just want to kick it up a notch), and this was the perfect way to kick it off. Party on, 2016!