Friday, April 29, 2016

What My Classroom is All About

On most Fridays, I share a little weekly update about life, but this week I felt my heart moving to share words about other things. So today, I'm giving you a glimpse into my life as a teacher: about the things I love about my classroom. The things I emphasize, the things I teach my kids to value. The things that make it (in my opinion) a pretty darn fun place to spend our days...even if I don't have a window.

1. Laughter

One thing I love about teaching high school kids is that they get sarcasm, and they understand humor. Boy oh boy, is it a good thing...because what good is a day without humor? My gifted kids especially have some of the funniest, strangest senses of humor, but I love them even more for it. I've found that laughter breaks down walls. It builds camaraderie, strengthens connections, and opens up even the most timid of students. It relieves stress. I laugh at myself on a daily basis, and it makes me more real to the kids. Plus it makes room 408 a pretty fun place to spend our days. I teach the kids the importance of situationally appropriate laughter, and we laugh together when crazy things happen that unite us in a happy world of giggles and grins.

2. Relationships

I'm the most relational extrovert you ever did meet. Everything within me desires to know others and to be (appropriately) known by them. I'm seriously that girl who will strike up a conversation with someone in the elevator because I can't stand the awkward silence. (Sorry, introverted friends.) But in all seriousness, I think that building positive relationships with kids and being a stable, consistent adult who is there for them is one of my very favorite parts of teaching. I am also a coach and a YoungLife leader, so it just comes naturally to me to invest in the lives of kids both in and out of the classroom. To show them that they matter and that they are valued. To meet them where they are and to challenge them, while cheering them on the entire time. So I build this environment in my classroom. We talk in groups... a lot. We write and share, pair and share, and group work our way into forced interaction that spirals into some really beautiful friendships.

3. Creativity

If you've ever planned a unit with me, you've seen my teacher brain at work. I come up with all sorts of crazy ideas that start big and broad and eventually narrow into assignment sheets and priority standards. But what I love about this outlook on planning and curriculum is that it allows me to be less of a dictator who runs the show, and more of a facilitator who gets to come alongside kids on their learning journey. From veteran interviews and solutions to the problems they face when returning home from war, to trip advisor persuasive reviews, to TED Talks, socratic seminars, and more: my classroom is all about the process of learning. It's about brainstorming, ironing things out, letting creative juices flow, and then sharing the results with a whole bunch of people. And then celebrating our success, because aren't these all what life is about?

4. Communication

I mean, what good is an English classroom with some major communication? I tell kids every day that my class matters because they have to read, write, speak, and listen their way through the entire rest of their lives. And words matter. So does our delivery of them. How are these kids supposed to successfully work through conflict, ask for a promotion, or persuade a girl to marry them if they don't know how to communicate? And thus, we communicate. We share our ideas with others. I make them present in class (meanie, I know). And you know what? They realize they can do it. They shake in their boots, but they get through it. They defend their ideas. They become writers who know how to do more than just send a grammatically incorrect text, and that matters.

5. Authenticity

I saved one of my favorites for last. An authentic classroom is incredibly important to me for a variety of reasons. First of all, high school kids can see right through you if you aren't real with them. And if I'm expecting the kids to be real and to do real work, then they need to see that I'm real with them too. I don't always sugar coat things. I hold them accountable. I give tough love when needed. I also provide them with authentic audiences. I have them write and create for more than just me. I don't assign "busy work". I challenge them to enter contests, write letters to the editor, submit their work online. And I see how it changes their work.

I help them see that I'm a person too. I don't hide the picture of my husband and I on my desktop background (above). And I answer their ridiculous questions about sorority life, wedding colors, and finding true friends in college. But you know what? I think that my authenticity helps them to be real with me. They share their lives in personal narratives. They send me emails about what's really going on and they mail me graduation invites years later. And I feel a strange urge to both laugh and cry at the same time: because they were a pain in class and I constantly had to redirect them, but my heart will still always have a soft spot for them. And I love that they remember me and what they learned in my room.

So there you have it. My classroom is all about laughter, relationships, creativity, communication, and authenticity. And if you walked by on some days, it may not look all that glamorous. But every year as I say goodbye to another class of kiddos, I feel a strange sense of sadness that I'll miss seeing them, and joy that they all got along so well and made for such a great year. And then I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Moment with Emma: How ''Me-Time'' Made Me a Better Parent

Today's guest post comes from Emma. She's a writer, a teacher, and a parent. Today, Emma shares her story on being a working perfectionist momma who learned how to give herself grace and the gift of "me-time" in order to be her best. Check out how she reconnected with, freed, and empowered herself in a way that can inspire any parent. Thanks for sharing your story, Emma!

As a working perfectionist mom, I quickly found out I was not able to do everything perfectly at once. I tried and it cost me my peace and my wellbeing and I was burnt out in my early thirties. In an attempt to juggle my work, parenting, and housekeeping, I was on the fast track of self-destruction. The only thing that saved me was scheduling time for myself only, my me-time. In a short while it turned out all other areas of my life improved as well, and made me a better mom, wife and worker. This is how.

I reconnected to the real me.

With the little ones running around, chores to be done and career to be advanced, I completely forgot who I was. I was a getting things done, but I could not feel pleasure, I didn’t remember my dreams, my interests, my joy. I was losing track of my soul. I started journaling and found an abandoned wounded woman inside. So I committed to her, I committed to never lose touch with my inner self and I continued talking to me via journaling. Slowly but surely my real self started showing up with all my quirks and unique traits and the kids noticed it. As I became more authentic in expressing who I really was, they honored me more and felt free to do the same and avoid conforming to stereotypes.

I let go of control.

I used to be the kind of mom who had to have control over everything the kids did and didn’t do, I had to know all about their free time activities and their friends. It was draining for all parties. Then I realized that they needed their own me-time just like I needed mine. I tried to focus on the pleasure I felt from doing my own thing without having to explain anything to anyone, and I decided it was worthwhile to get the kids started on their independence too. The younger ones were just about to start school when I discovered the magnificent Montessori system of education that lets kids be independent learners without much interference from teachers and parents. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to let go of control of their learning and let them develop in the best way for them, not according to my ideas.

I empowered myself.
As I committed to myself, I discovered I would really have to make some changes in all areas of my life. I cleaned up my diet, took up yoga and meditation practice and started exploring and developing my latent talents in the form of hobbies. All of this made me feel emotionally and mentally stronger and I felt like a whole person again. My self-respect improved and my inner power rose. I found I was able to deal with everything in a much more efficient way, without feeling drained. I was able to be there for my kids in a better way than before and they knew they could rely on me for anything. The haggard drained version of me was replaced by a powerhouse of positive energy and that certainly taught my sons how to treat themselves.

I realized that if I wanted to have strong, healthy, powerful and independent children, I needed to become all of that myself and be the best role model I could. In order to achieve that, devoting time to myself was necessary and well worth it.

Emma is a teacher, and is constantly improving her skills both as a teacher and as a parent. She is passionate about writing and learning new things that can help you to lead a quality life. You can follow her on Twitter here! She also regularly contributes to High Style Life.

If you liked this Moments Guest Post, check out the others here. Have a story that you'd like to share on Currently, KelsieContact me here with your idea!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #26

Hi there, friends! The blog has been pretty quiet lately because I've been off in Springfield with some awesome kids. We just returned this afternoon, but it was nice to have a break from routine, and to enjoy success in the competition, along with a baseball game, lots of yummy food, and few friend reunions! Thanks for linking up with us each week- it's always so great to see your amazing posts! Have an amazing rest of your week.


The Alder Collective Link Party
Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:
  The Alder Collective Link Party   Clockwise from top middle: 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Five on Friday: Tuxes and Tiki Torches

And then one day, I blinked my eyes and it was almost the end of April! Though April and May can be hard teacher months because there aren't really any days off, I truly feel like these last few weeks have flown by. We are down to 20 days of school after today. TWENTY. I'm thankful for the awesome kiddos I have this year, and I'm always a little sad to tell the next group goodbye (although many of them I'll have again next year, or will at least see in the halls). This time of the year is full of anticipation and lots of fun as we celebrate new beginnings, sweet reunions, and a whole lot of beautiful blessings. Here's what we've been up to!

Beach Party Table Decor

1. Prom Pics

Aaron took our awesome, found-in-the-desert camera and took lots of great pictures of my beautiful sister-in-law for her senior prom this Saturday. Hope she doesn't mind me sharing a few of these. Isn't she so gorgeous? I missed out on the picture-taking because I was running around getting our house ready for a big party, but I think she looked like a million bucks. We will be helping out at my school's prom in May: think she'll let me borrow her dress? Ha! Such a fun time.

2. Birthday Beach Bash

If you saw last week's post, you heard that we were excited to host a big birthday bash for one of our dearest friends. I'm happy to report that the party was bumpin' in all the right ways! We had a blast taking fun photos, getting into the beach theme, and just enjoying the evening in our outdoor space with about 25 friends! I've never seen so many of our chairs outside at once, and I couldn't be more happy to see our deck and yard full of laughter and fun. Also, shout out to my friend's mom for the awesome, pin-worthy cupcakes pictured above!

Beach Party Pics
I wish I could share all the fun photos we captured ha. Love these people.

3. Graduation Season

It's hard to believe that our seniors only have about 13 days left of school. They'll be off and graduated in less than a month. This is my first year teaching seniors in my AP class, and I truly have enjoyed them a lot. They're a bit more mature than my sophomores, which I can say with confidence because I had many of them when they were gifted sophomores! It's always a little hard to send such awesome kids off to their new adventures, but I couldn't be more proud. We're especially proud of my sister-in-law, who has worked so hard to set herself up for an awesome future! Love you, sissy!

4. FBLA State

In a humorous turn of events, my teacher friend and I will be going and serving as chaperones/advisors for the FBLA state competition next week. We will be out of school a couple of days, and down in Springfield to watch the kids compete, take them to a baseball game, drive them around, and of course hit up good ole' Lambert's! The actual sponsor just had a new baby, so she needed some help with this and we were happy to help out. Should be interesting!

What Mothers Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves

5.  Mama Advice

If you missed it, this week I had the honor of sharing What 25 Mothers Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves. Whether you're a mother or not, this post is pretty awesome- not because of me, but because of all the wonderful wisdom and advice of these amazing women. I think my favorite part about this post is walking away with this general truth about life: none of us have it all figured out, but we make it through and do our best to enjoy every sweet second of it. If you haven't checked it out, you should!

Cheers to eighty degree Saturdays, ice tea on the deck, and the beautiful green that we get to enjoy (despite some allergies) this time of the year. I am beyond excited to spend some time this weekend with dear friends, a date night with hubby, and finalizing some summer travel! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!


Are you following along on Instagram? Don't miss out on updates and fun photos you won't find elsewhere! 
I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love Blog,  Running for Cupcakesand Life in Leggings.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Practical Home Decor Tips: A Guest Post

Today, I'm excited to be sharing the words of my friend Ella on the blog. There's not much I love dreaming of more than home decor. But sometimes I don't always take the time to plan ahead and think behind the looks: to think practical. Thanks for these tips, Ella!  

There are endless home décor ideas which can make your place interesting and beautiful, but how many of them are also truly practical to incorporate into your interior? Your home probably needs more than just antiques, reproductions, crafts and other works of art from all around the world. If you want to keep things on the practical side, you will have to combine aesthetically pleasing, affordable and useful decoration solutions. The tips up ahead will provide you with some simple pointers to make this possible.

Practical Home Decor Tips


One of the most practical decisions you can make for your home design is to paint the walls in colors that will make home cleaning easier. Make a different set of interesting colors you can use in your home, from the lighter to darker shades all around, but be careful where you will paint with them. Do not pick the lightest colors for the surfaces which require regular cleaning sessionsas they will make the cleaning and maintenance even harder. Do keep in mind that decorations in darker hues will usually require less elbow grease to be clean and good looking all the time. This is why it is a good idea to paint high traffic areas in darker earthy tones, and leave the shiny and light colors for the parts of your home which see less foot traffic and cleaning trouble.


Fabrics take part in our everyday life in plenty of different ways, and being turned into clothes is just one of them. Fabrics may also be used to make great home decorations that are not only adorable, but also very practical and convenient. There are plenty of combinations of cloth and other materials that you may consider, depending on the effect you aim for. The simplest way to include fabric in your home décor is to install some beautiful curtains, which might also be a very practical solution, especially if you need more privacy in a given place from time to time. Or you can add a few lanterns or lampshades and thus make the lighting in your house even more sensible. However, you will have to remember to keep the lampshades clean of dust and any type of dirt or they may truly ruin the interior of the room they are situated in. Fabrics add great texture to a room.


If you have to deal with a fairly large home, then you will need to take different approaches to decorations in new and creative ways if you want to make things work. Tiles can be another great way to decorate your home in a way that is dazzling and practical at the same time. The various patterns provide many opportunities for interesting combinations that will complement your overall interior idea. Moreover, а tiled floor will require much less cleaning than a carpet or a rug, which makes tiles a perfect suggestion for those who look for a more pragmatic interior.

Having a home that looks amazing and does not consume all of your energy to be kept that way is a dream come true, so it is definitely worth it to give these tips some thought and design your place cleverly. It will be nothing but beneficial to you.

Practical Home Decor Tips

This post was a guest post by Ella Andrews. Ella is a content writer and blogger. Her passions are all sorts of home remodeling, organizing, and interior-design related projects. She enjoy sharing tips and advice with readers! Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #25

Hard to believe that our weekly link party is already on week 25! That means we are over six months in. If you missed it, yesterday I shared a post with advice from some really amazing women in What 25 Mothers Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves. Definitely safe to say that these moms are rockin' it, and that their honest words gave this non-mama some hope, wisdom, and encouragement to save for the future motherhood days. Thanks so much for linking up with us each week: y'all have some really amazing content and I'm honored to have you!

  The Alder Collective Link Party

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

  The Alder Collective Link Party

Clockwise from top middle:

Monday, April 18, 2016

What 25 Mothers Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves

When I wrote Nine Reasons I'm Afraid to Have a Baby, I was overwhelmed by the responses from both women in my same, non-mama boat, and from women who were mothers. The mamas out there had some amazing truth and wisdom to share, which got me thinking: why not have them share what they would go back and tell themselves before they became a mom? I knew I'd be interested to see what they didn't expect or what they wish they'd known before, so I reached out to some blogging mamas, and this post was born! I wish I could have posted every single response, but I ran out of space. I'm so grateful for the honest words from these 25 amazing women, and am honored to be sharing them today for all women to read and benefit from!

What 25 Mothers Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves

"Having a baby won't stop you from pursuing your passion. We have traveled to 15 countries in a year, and started when our baby was 6 months old. Having baby makes you more organized, multitasking, and a better person. Moreover you will love yourself more." 
Rashmi from Go Beyond Bounds

"I would tell my pre-mom self to enjoy every phase while it's happening - not when you are looking back and remembering it. Also appreciate the differences in all of your children. I didn't realize how much it would hurt me when my kids were hurting or struggling with something. And lastly, parenting never ends - it changes as your kids grow older, but you will always feel responsible for them and want to be involved in their lives." 
Therese (My Mom!)

"There is no such thing as perfection in mommy-hood. Do your best, love with everything you have, be present in the moment and you will do great! Just like any other role in life, you will have bad days and amazing days... Cling to the Lord and know you are doing a great job mama!" 

"With your first child you automatically get superhero powers! Two extra invisible hands, the ability to function on near no sleep, and the uncanny ability to "just know" things with no prior training!"
Cynthia from Mrs. Wright Writes

"You are going to be so amazed at how much you can love and how unselfishly. Your world will change in one second and the everything looks different as soon as you hold that baby. Cherish the little things and be strong like I know you can be. Your wisdom surpasses your youth, darling, and you will be marvelous." 
Eschelle from Mumfection

"Accept help during the first few months, you need the sleep to repair your body, spirit and mind. The depression, anxiety and other mental health issues postpartum get better gradually and ease up around a year, they won't last forever."
                                                            Rebecca from New Crunchy Mom 

"You can never be fully prepared. We wanted a baby and we planned for a baby. I had younger siblings, I'd babysat, I had young nephews. I thought motherhood would be easier for me than it is for a lot of new moms, but it wasn't. When it's just mom, dad, and baby, in the trenches, you have to figure it out as you go. Google stuff, text your mom, crowd-source your questions on social media, but don't think you're alone in not having a clue what to do with a tiny baby. Just because you love and plan for that little person doesn't mean you're magically equipped with all the knowledge to be the perfect parent."  
Abby from Winstead Wandering

"When I first looked down at my daughter, I loved her fiercely. Not because she had done something for me, or because we cultivated it together, but simply because she was, and she was mine. Becoming a parent has brought me greater understanding of God's love for me, which was a happy surprise."
Alexandria from Naturally Made with Love 

What 25 Moms Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves

"Everything is a phase and none of it lasts forever...don't stress over suddenly sleepless nights. It could be teething and things will go back to how they were a week ago. Don't be afraid to do things. Going to the grocery store with my newborn scared me until I did it. Then you realize you can do anything! Bring your baby on airplane trips and to restaurants. They will know how to behave. Things won't always go as you you think you will deliver your baby or how you intended feeding him/her...just remember that healthy and happy is what's best." 
Michelle from My Simplified Life

"I would tell my pre-mama be ready for the unexpected, because everything in life is unexpected. The things you're worried about probably aren't a issue, and the things that will be a issue you haven't even thought of. Enjoy each minute of this journey, or at least try to be present because soon every minute will just be a memory." 
Robyn from After the Honeymoon 

"You are totally strong enough. You'll cry a lot, you'll feel like a failure quite often, things will never go as you plan-but you're strong enough. For the fostering, the adoptions, the sending kids back to biological parents, the pregnancies and the births. You are stronger than you know." 

"Utilize the ultimate resource- God. Books and people will give you advice, some good-some not, but ultimately, any need, any want, any thing that comes to your children- take it to God. Don't be afraid to give Him the reins on a situation and trust His guidance. And know- that even the most seemingly perfect parents, make mistakes, have regrets and wish they could do certain things over." 
Jess from Six Figure Faith 

"I would tell my pre-mom self that everything will fall into place - even if it's not always neat and pretty. I was so afraid of figuring out what I'd have to let go of to make room for a child, and my priorities just adjusted naturally out of my love for her. I'd also tell myself not to fear childbirth -- it's more painful than I ever imagined, but it was also the very best day of my life. I felt like a superhero after giving birth!"
 Brittany from The Nested Nomad

"There's a possibility that you won't sleep for a very long time. You will at times get frustrated and want to rip your hair out. In those times, try to remind yourself that this is just a sign of how much this precious little one loves you."
 Mallory from Bacons on a Budget

"Soak up the time with your first baby. No matter what life is throwing at you, no matter how stressed you are or how rough your circumstances are, that baby needs you and the closer you are to your baby in the beginning, the stronger your relationship will be through the rest of their years. Love them, squoosh them, kiss them, hold them, watch them sleep. Your house can be dirty, you can be unbathed for weeks. Love on that baby like there's no tomorrow while they are still tiny." 

"Cherish every moment you can get and do not worry about what other people say. Your baby is a gift from God that he gave specifically to you. He knew you would be the best mom for the job of raising your little one. So trust in him and do not worry over every little problem that comes up (and there will be many). But they will all pass and leave you with a beautiful child." 
Amanda from New Life Overnight

"Don't wish it away. When the kids are up late at night and crying or throwing tantrums, or refusing to sleep for 15 months, all we want is for them to sleep, grow up a little, get out of that stage. We wish for it to be better, without realizing that we are also wishing away precious memories. So my advice would be to enjoy even the darkest of moments, because too soon they will be gone and you'll want them back." 

What 25 Mothers Would Tell Their Pre-Mom Selves
"I wish I would have known how much I would love my children, not only with the inherent unconditional love that came from their conception, but the growing love of who they are as people. How much I would love and value their little individual identities and how early those personalities would emerge! They are truly such fun little people!"
                                                                    Belle from Deux Bella

"Enjoy the newborn phase. While you're in it, you are pulling your hair out and you think you'll never sleep again, but then as soon as it's over you'll want it back. So try to enjoy each moment as much as you can. And it's okay to let people help you. If you need a nap, call that friend who said she/he would watch the baby. Take care of you too!" 
Sarah from Foxy's Domestic Side  

"I would tell myself to stop worrying so much and to just enjoy my wonderful children. I also would tell myself that they would teach me more than I would ever be able to teach them." 
Sandi from Happy Science Mom 

"There are really hard days, but it gets easier overall. You can still do what you love. Just give it time." 
Ann from Kids Travel Books 

"It is WAY more fun than "they" said it would be. I'm an aunt many times over and love my kiddos. But I didn't know that motherhood could be just as fun as my auntie days. Based on what I'd heard, I felt like it was going to be way more "him vs. us." I had a sense that I would just feel inconvenienced and constantly overwhelmed. But it's just not that way. (That's not to say it's perfect, or that I'm super well rested!) He doesn't feel "inconvenient" - he's just a member of the family with his own needs. And it's hard to remember what we did before he was with us." 
Julienne from Julienne DesJardins

"The first few weeks/months I found I didn't need a big diaper bag when I went out with the baby. I started just carrying a few diapers, wipes, and burp cloths in my purse and that was more than enough for me. Freed me up so much since I didn't have to lug around a diaper bag!"
Katie from From My Vanity

"Motherhood will challenge you in ways you never thought possible. But it will also help you grow to heights you never imagined. I struggled with postpartum depression with my third child and became a photographer as a result." 

"I wish someone told me how unnatural breastfeeding might feel and what to expect detail by detail, such as engorgement and leaking, before it actually happens! Coming from a family that did not breastfeed, I had no clue whatsoever that breastfeeding was going to be the biggest challenge I had ever faced." 
Rachel from A La Modest

Wow! How amazing is all of this wisdom and heartfelt honesty from these women? Reading some of these was really eye-opening and some of them nearly made me cry. Pretty cool to see all these fabulous mamas out there totally rockin' it (no matter how old their kiddos are), despite the fact that they didn't really have it all figured out right away!  I'm so thankful for their willingness to share with all of us. I hope this post gave you hope, made you think, or maybe just made you nod your head and say "yep" right along with all these awesome moms. I think that shared words and experiences are the best ways for us to learn and think, and I know I'm super grateful for the words of these women today!

What would you tell your pre-mama self? I'd love for you to join in on the conversation in the comments below, or you can contact me privately here or on the Facebook page! You can also got check out all the blogs of my awesome mama friends in the links above. Come and join us!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five on Friday: Pita, Parties, and Purpose

It's Friday, and I'm back with another weekly update. I hope you enjoy these little peeks into our life just as much as I enjoy writing them. It's pretty fun to look back and see our adventures chronicled week by week, complete with photos and videos. I feel like these mid-twenties, no kids, married days are so wonderful and so confusing all at once. On one hand, I'm loving every moment of freedom, date nights, and adventure, and on the other I'm terribly confused about what's next and when I'll start to feel like a true adult. All that to say, life is wonderful and this week was a lot of fun, but every day I'm constantly reminding myself to put my trust in the Lord and to follow his lead through the confusing areas of life. You with me? Here's our week in a nutshell:

1. A Little Bit of Greece

A while back, I received a recommendation to check out Tasso's Greek restaurant, and then possibly bring all the Greece-bound students and their parents to the restaurant in celebration of our upcoming trip. I found a Groupon, and we finally made a visit last Friday night. It was SO fun. The food was delicious (I got moussaka and Aaron got the lamb chops). We did the package deal that included pikilia appetizers and salad, and I've never had better pita bread! We did a little dancing, paid $3 to break a plate, and had a great time listening to live music, waving napkins, and yelling, "Opa!" We're loving trying new restaurants around KC.

2. The Royals and an RV

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to go to our first (World-Champion) Royals game of the year! Aaron and the guys orchestrated a big group of us to meet and go down early together in an RV, which was a whole lot of fun. It was a bit chilly, but overall a great day for some tail-gating, catch, and an exciting Royals' win. Shout out to my hubby for grilling some of the best chicken I've ever had, along with bacon-wrapped hot dogs and brats. (He's a catch, y'all.) Oh, and the seven run, four homer game wasn't too bad either!

3. Beachy Birthday Bash

April is a big birthday month for a lot of our friends, and we are excited to be hosting a big birthday bash this weekend. All the really fun parties are themed, so of course we're going beachy with this shin-dig. Flip flops, Hawaiian shirts, and beach balls for the win. I love hosting people and having our home filled with awesome people and the sounds of laughter. Looking forward to trying some new snacks and celebrating the amazing friends we're blessed to do life with!

One of my favorite parts of our newly-rustic dining room. Click here for more! 

4. Big Cookies and Long Walks

Lately, I've been trying to be more intentional with some of the wonderful folks in our lives. I'm not always the best at phone conversation and keeping in touch, so I try to find time to be together in person, even if it's nothing fancy. My girls Campaigner group (which is YoungLife's version of a Bible Study), has been meeting in our home and sharing life, scripture, and of course lots and lots of dessert. Big cookie is one of our YoungLife camp favorites, and I'm happy to report that this one turned out awesome (even though I was unsure about the 9X12'' pan). I've also been blessed by some weekly walks with my momma where we can catch up on life and explore the neighborhood a bit. Love her!

Big Cookie: the aftermath.

5.  Time to Travel! 

You may have seen this week's post about the New York City portion of our Spring Break trip to the Northeast. We had a great time in the Big Apple, and then headed off to Boston (which I'll be sharing more about a little later!) For now, we are already working to plan our next trip, which is looking to include San Francisco and the Napa Valley area. We've never been there, and the dates work out just perfectly to fit it in between school getting out and my softball camp. Booking flights has never been easier with our Companion Pass, so we're also working on some fun itineraries for the rest of the month of June (insert happy dance here!).
What are you up to this week? Hope your weekend is full of relaxation, fun, and some quality time with some amazing people in your life. Following along on Instagram? It's where you'll be the first to get daily updates and fun photos and videos like the ones mentioned in this post! Check it out. Happy Friday! 


I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love Blog,  Running for Cupcakesand Life in Leggings.