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First Day of School. Gifts for the Teach.

Have you missed me? Life has gotten away from me and sadly the blog has been put towards the end of the to-do list. But, I couldn’t resist sharing my teacher gifts for the upcoming school year because they’re too, too cute. If you’ve been following along for awhile now, you know that I love to acknowledge teachers on their first day of school. Sometimes a small token is the perfect way to start off the school year and since I was a teacher myself I can’t help giving them a lil’ extra love on the first day!

Here’s my idea for the 2017 school year. Simple. Cute. Playful.  Oh, and did I mention it won’t break the bank? Just a few dolla’ bills for that teacher of yours.

This year it’s all about apples. And, these lil’ red gems are actually LOTION! What more could a teacher ask for? You can find the apples {and some other fun flavors too!} on Amazon. Order now… they took awhile to arrive, but are well worth the wait and you may find some other fun hand creams and masks along the way. I know I have!

Truth be told, I thought about making my own tags for about two seconds. Then I came to my senses and found someone who had already created an adorable tag that would be perfect and required a little less work on my part. Makes checking things off my list that much easier, don’t you think? Find a link to A Girl and a Glue Gun printable here. Just pick your favorite

Give a little extra love to those teachers and help them start the year off with a smile.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other school related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{first day photo shoot.}
grayson goofy

{whisk it up teacher gifts.}

{diy notepad.}






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servant warriors. putting others first.

If you missed it, we are working in our family to be a group of servant warriors. That is the theme for our current chalkboard wall. You can find it here with some chalkboard templates to boot. As I shared, it started with something for our biggest baby, but has turned into something for the whole family. It’s a little thing we like to call… being a servant warrior.

{how does it work?}
do something for someone else… putting them first
write it down on the servant warrior card
add it to the jar
celebrate with a monthly dinner out and chance to read {and applaud!} all those servant warrior choices

Here’s what I know, in our family we can all work on being a servant warrior, like the daddy of this family. He is the inspiration for this whole family adventure. That husband of mine is the perfect example of a servant warrior, always putting others first and working to be a servant in all things. I aspire to be like him.

Here’s a little glimpse into what it looks like in our house. Maybe you will find a spot for it too?


If you are loving this as much as I am, download some copies for yourself and start incorporating a little servant warrior thinking into your own home.

{you will need}
paper and printer
servant warrior card template.
scissors or paper cutter
jar or bowl


step 1. print the ‘servant warrior.’ template by clicking {here}.

step 2. cut them out. find a place for it.

step 3. give the deets to the family about what to do. start being servant warriors.


May you find a little time to incorporate the art of being a servant warrior in your own family. It seems to me that this lil’ way of thinking could make a huge difference in our current world. A world that is so focused on all things self-serving, self-motivated and self-serving.


Won’t you follow along and join me on my mission to help my kids {and me} become people who make daily choices that think of others first? A family of servants is what we aim to be.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

want to see some other {family} ideas?
take a lookey-loo at what you may have missed.

{super threes. for the kids.}

{nightly prayer.}


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trunk or treat? 12th man style.

Is anyone else asking how is it already almost Halloween? Which means it’s almost November. I swear school starts, you blink and the holidays have arrived. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Trunk or Treat and fall festivities are all the rage right now. In fact, last Friday was the boys’ Trunk or Treat event at their school. I got roped into doing a trunk and put the boys on a mission to figure out what they wanted our theme and game to be. I love that they love helping me with this stuff now.

After much perusing of Pinterest and thinking through what we already had so as not to break the bank we came up with a {Seahawk’s Themed Trunk} any Seahawk fan or their auntie Lisa would be proud of. Just look how cute it turned out…


For the record, all the credit goes to Mr. Grayson who designed and made the entire display in the back. It’s was seriously too cute. I would put things up and he would say, “No mom. Not there.” Gulp. Ooooo-kay. I guessed I asked for help, right?!

For the event, the trunk also had to have a “carnival-style” game that went along with the trunk. Pinterest gave us some direction and helped us create this football field-inspired table that my cute lil’ 3rd grader helped paint with spray paint. You can find the table idea here. We also used an adorable gal’s post to create a goal post made out of PVC pipe that can be found here.


Best part? It was a low cost project my other half would be proud of. Oh, and I convinced my ‘almost’ 9 year old that it would be super cool to have a football-themed birthday party after all that hard work. It’s a win-win. My only cost was the turf from Lowes that I found a remnant of, PVC pipe materials and spray paint. Woot.

Maybe you have a Trunk or Treat coming up or maybe it’s a ‘pin it’ for another day. Regardless, get your 12th man on and show a little Seahawk pride. GO HAWKS.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

want to see some other {halloween} ideas?
take a lookey-loo at what you may have missed.

{s’mores pancakes. spooky breakfast.}

{treat for you. printable halloween tags.}


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chalkboard wall. servant warrior style.

A new chalkboard with a new focus. This started with something for our biggest baby, but has turned into something for the whole family. It’s a little thing we like to call… being a servant warrior.

The theme for this month? Working hard to be a family of SERVANT WARRIORS.

Why? Oh, I always have a reason why.
This all came to be a some time ago were having some serious talks with our oldest lil’ man about his choices. We were seeing a pattern of forgetting about the importance of putting others first, selfish choices and thinking of just himself. After way too many talks, uplifting {I thought} speeches and being at our last straw we came up with something to help him practice the art of thinking of others first, you know being a servant warrior.

After a few weeks of our Mr. G practicing this we noticed a huge difference and his little bro wanted to be a part of it too. So, we decided to turn it into a family thing. We are all doing it together and working hard to make it a {norm} in our house and our life.

Love this? Well, you should really thank my amazing {and smart} other half. The hubs came up with this during one of our {parenting brainstorm sessions}. Please tell me we are not the only ones who have seshs on how to deal with those menaces, I mean cuties, of ours.

This is a theme for my husband. He truly is a perfect example of a servant warrior, always putting others first and working to be a servant in all things. I want my boys to grow up and be just like him. He is an amazing role model for what this ‘looks’ like in life. Whelp, no time like the present to start helping our kids to be servant warriors, right?

Our board is a reminder of what we are all working on as a family…. being SERVANT WARRIORS. To help bring this to life I created some cards to fill out and we sat down with the kids to explain how it works. The gist of it is fill out a card, add it to the jar and each month we will celebrate with a dinner out {winner with most cards chooses!} and we read everything our family did over the month to be servant warriors.

And for those perfectionists who are just like me and love the art of stencils, attached are the font templates I whipped up to get the board finished a little faster. Yes, I sit, analyze and nit-pick my writing, so sometimes I enlist the help of my computer and some tracing {see a how to here} to get it just right in a little less time. See? You really can whip up a chalkboard, even if you think you are not the artsy type!

I already can see the impact it is making in our family. The kids come home each day and make sure they fill out at least one thing they have already done. I love it. No joke.

Next week, I will share a template for the servant warrior cards and some strategies we used to kick it off. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

{If you missed it, learn how you can make your own {DIY Chalkboard and Magnetic Wall}. Take a quick peek {here} to find out just how easy it is to transform an empty space into something that will make you smile.}

want to see some other {family} ideas?
take a lookey-loo at what you may have missed.

{super threes. for the kids.}

{nightly prayer.}


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a kitchen favorite. ziploc baggies.

Don’t laugh. This is quick and kind of ridiculous, but I think you should know about it. I am now in the know and do I dare say that I may {or may not} have ordered like a billion packages because I love them that much.

Remember the other week I shared my new jam? You know, my smoothie jam? If you want a delish smoothie recipe that hits the spot look here. And, if you are like me and it pains you to throw out that last bit of smoothie that doesn’t fit in the cup or doesn’t have any takers, read on. Seriously, read on.

The first question… where have you been all my life? Look at these amaze-ing inventions. Hello, genius.

Zipzicles are my new best friend. You can find them on Amazon and I am not lying when I say they are the smartest thing ever. Pour that leftover smoothie in, pop in the freezer and you have some ready for those kiddos when time is ticking.

Can you imagine the fun? Make your own yogurt squeezers for the little kids. Or, maybe some tasty poolside drinks for the big kids. Come on, it’s just too much fun.

Zipzicles, I thank you.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

if you missed my other {morning goodies take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{buttnernut squash muffins}

{blueberry banana muffins}

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thank you cards. for the family. for you.

Delay, yes. Sorry for that. Last week was a long, emotionally exhausting one. Our lil’ thirteen year old doggie had to be put to sleep and it was quite the week. And, there is no handbook that tells you how to make it easier on your kids. It was seriously one of the saddest things ever watching the kids and seeing their sweet tears. Each one of them handled it a little differently, but the good news is that he is in doggie heaven without any more ouchies. Here’s a glimpse into my sweet, sensitive one giving him one last love.

And now, back to our previously scheduled blog post. Thanks for listening…

 Thank you cards. I think they should be all the rage. Doesn’t it feel like in this uber-techy world we are losing some of the good old-fashioned stuff like thank you cards? I am a stickler for it and I make everyone in our family write one, especially after the holidays. I am hoping my kids will thank me someday, but I may be dreaming.

This year I created a simple {thank you} card with enough for everyone in the family. It is some kind of adorable and easy enough to print, cut, write, mail. I know, I know. It might just be too easy.

{you will need}
paper cutter
paper and printer
thank you. card template

{your task}

step 1. print the ‘thank you.’ cards template by clicking {here}.

step 2. cut the template in half {5.5″} and then half again {4.25″}.

step 3. write away. say your thanks.

step 4. mail. smile for keeping some oldies, but goodies real.

 The template is {free} and just for YOU. It’s as easy as copy, print, cut. A cute way to tell those special people in your life thank you.

Hope you likey and want a few for yourself. Now that I step back and look at the previous years, I realize I must have a thing for black and white. Oh well, black never goes out of style, right?

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {thank you} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{thank you cards. family style.}

{family thank you cards.}

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disneyland. they don’t know. scavenger hunt.

I. Am. So. Excited. The kids don’t know. It’s a surprise. Shhhh… don’t tell. We are surprising them with a trip to the magical place, otherwise known as Disneyland. {To be honest, we did surprise them, but getting this out didn’t happen until now. Oops.}

We are mean parents and we are those parents who have yet to take our kids to Disneyland. Don’t say it, I already know what you’re thinking. Meany-pants over here. But, October changed all that. They were in for a treat and didn’t even know it. I secretly packed their bags and gathered everything a family would need to make the trek to the most magical place in the world. And, they had no idea. I am just giddy thinking about it.

To make the trip even more special, I created a scavenger hunt that they got once we were in the car. Their suitcases were hidden away and they thought we were on our way to run some errands. Surprise. We are so stinkin’ sneaky. Well, at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

The scavenger hunt envelopes went a little something like this…

savenger hunt with label

Want a scavenger hunt for yourself? It’s as easy as download, print, cut and put in envelopes. Easy peasy.

scavenger hunt 1

Want a scavenger hunt for yourself? Click here to download your own clue cards.

All you need to do is PRINT, CUT, PUT IN AN ENVELOPE. Voila!
scavenger hunt clues

Traveling by PLANE click here
Traveling by CAR click here

Once they solved the clue they were given their next envelope. Seriously so fun and the cutest thing ever. Once they solved the last clue and made a guess they got to open their package, which held the book Secrets of Disneyland.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.02.53 PM

So sneaky. So surprise-y. So fun. Just wait until you see all the pictures. Check out my instagram account to see some of the adventures in action.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {kid & parenting} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{a new kind of nightly prayer. so worth it.}

{super three.}

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character traits. more of that super three stuff.

Earlier you heard me talk about our newest addition to the night time routine. A little something we call the {super three}. I still love it and it’s safe to say the kids are still in love with it too. If you missed it, take a hop over here and learn more. You won’t be sorry you did.

Just so as not to forget, it went a little something like this…

The gist of it is that each night you share three character-based things you saw them doing during the day with some specific examples. It has been a great way to share just how proud I am of the little people they are becoming, but I am the first to admit that at times I need a little bank of character traits to spark some great examples. So, this mama went to work hunting down some character traits that I can fall back on when my mind blanks.

character traits picture

Aren’t they perfect reminders of what we can and should be focusing on each day? I have already printed a copy for myself as a reminder of what character traits to be looking for in my kids. Want a copy for your home too? Find two different versions here. Print it. Put it up somewhere special.

Still want to know more? I found a great site called a site devoted to providing tools for growing Godly character. Seriously good.

Character traits. Love them. Now it’s time to get to work on developing some serious character traits in those three kids of mine.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {kid & parenting} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{a new kind of nightly prayer. so worth it.}

{father’s day. a different type of present.}

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super three. perfect way to end the day.

Let me start my saying this… I did not come up with this. I wish I did, but sadly I did not. I will tell you that I love it and am grateful to the gal that did.

This gem of a parenting trick came from the daughter-in-law of the leader in my parenting bible study. I know, confusing. I heard it the other week from my bible study leader and it has stuck like the syrup Shadow gets in her hair. I love it. And now it is one more part of our nighty-night routine.

It’s simple. A little something called the {Super Three}. I love it. The daddy loves it. But more importantly, the kids are all over it and make sure we don’t forget the {super three} before we turn out the lights.  It makes my heart smile to see their grins and hear about what choices, words, and actions they chose that made them extra special in our eyes. No words to express how much it melts your heart.

In fact, my middle ba-bay Sawyer {aka wild child}, asked if he could give me a super three. What??? How can a mom say no to that? Seriously the cutest thing in the world and I was grinning from ear to ear. What is better than a little super love for your little one?

It goes a little something like this…

Fortunately, it’s easier than you think. You gaze them lovingly in the eyes and share three character-based things you saw them doing during the day. And, sharing specific examples makes it even more of a treat. Easy, right? Told you.

Friends, can I just say that the {super three} can be for the little ones OR the old ones? Don’t you think everyone loves to hear what made them special today, even amidst our darkest days? Nothing shines a little extra light than that affirmation of who we are and what makes us so unique from the kiddo next door.

Another great new addition to our nighty-night time. And, a chance for the kids to hear all about what makes them so special, regardless if it was a good day or a bad day. They truly are my little super-beings, but now I get to tell them why.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {kid & parenting} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{a new kind of nightly prayer. so worth it.}

{hands free mama.}

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diy headboard and reading lamp. perfect for the boy.

My boy is getting big. Time for a big boy bedroom. Earlier this week, I shared our inspiration. You can read more about it here. My little man and I worked hard to get this {summer} project done and he was seriously the cutest little helper eva’. Oh, and the new piece is pretty gosh darn amazing too.

Just a few simple materials will get the job done. A little something I like to call… easy, peasy.

fence boards {total of 6}
Pine 1×4 ripped down to 2″ wide {total of 1}
white paint
red paint
stain {i used special walnut}
ruler or 2×6 to measure straight lines
first aid stencil template
sconce {optional}

bed materials

bed 1

{wish i would have… used painters tape to tape the outside and then filled it in. would have made life a whole lot easier and a little less stressful while grayson was painting away. whelp, now i know.}

Seriously adorable, right? I love it. He loves it. I love it. What could be better? Oh, I know. The entire project cost me a whopping $38. You heard it… THIRTY-EIGHT DOLLARS. Fortunately, I have a lot of goodies hanging around the house and extra paint for days, so I only had to purchase the wood {$15} and the sconce {$20} plus a little tax. Sigh. Clap. Smile.


Maybe a new piece of art or a reading lamp for your room too? Who knows, maybe these will end up all over my house because I love them so much.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

I linked up at Moonlight & Mason Jars. Won’t you follow along too? Find it here.

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