Minted Threads

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Are you all tired of hearing me talk about the importance of shopping small? I sure hope not, because today I want to share a wonderful shop with you. I learned about Minted Threads through the Brand Rep community on Instagram and Facebook. The owner is just the sweetest and she reached out with a very generous offer to some of the mamas in the group. I was so excited to order my first things from Mel, but I had NO idea how wonderful the whole experience would be.

First, let me tell you a bit about Minted Threads. From their website, their mission statement:

MINTED THREADS BELIEVES IN EMPOWERING THROUGH ART AND SPEAKING OUT TO LET VOICES BE HEARD! OUR BRAND SUPPORTS AND ARE ADVOCATES FOR THOSE MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF SEXUAL ABUSE, THE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE OFTEN SCARED INTO SILENCE.  WE BELIEVE IN GIVING A VOICE BACK TO THOSE WHO FEEL THEY DON’T HAVE IT.

FOR EVERY CHILDREN’S T-SHIRT PURCHASE, A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS ARE DONATED TO D2L-DARKNESS TO LIGHT, AN ORGANIZATION FIGHTING TO END CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. FOR EVERY ADULT T-SHIRT PURCHASED, A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS ARE DONATED TO RAINN-RAPE, ABUSE, INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK, AN ORGANIZATION FIGHTING AGAINST THE SEXUAL ABUSE PANDEMIC.

How amazing is this? They also participate in Project Red Balloon. Read more ab out it on their site. I just love that they do all of this! I knew I loved this shop even before my order arrived, but once it did, I was blown away.

First of all, check out this gorgeous packaging:

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It’s soooo cute!

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Even the tags and cards are beautiful.

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I love that the mission is right there in every package.

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I haven’t even talked about the clothes yet! I mean, can you believe how cute these tees are? They’re printed on my favorite tee brand for Owen, and they’re super soft and comfy. I love them and he’s adorable in them.

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I’ve already washed them a couple of times, and they’re only getting softer. No shrinkage, which is awesome. The print quality is fantastic. I seriously can’t say enough about how awesome it has been to get to know this fabulous (new to me) brand.

If you’re in the market for adorable clothes for your littles (and for yourself), I highly suggest checking out Minted Threads. I’m dying for this tee for me!

Head on over to Minted Threads website. Be sure to check out the clearance section because sales are awesome! Be sure to note that @instaowsie’s mama (that’s me!) sent you.

I’ll be back here on the blog soon with a post that’s not so cute. I have to share with you all though. You’re going to die when you hear about our last vacation. Yuck.

xoxo,

jennifer-small4blog

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Shopping Small is Sweet

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In my last post, I talked about how much I love to support my friends who have direct sales businesses. That is still so true! But I’ve been branching out more and more to shop small and I just love the benefits. You may not know this (I sure didn’t!), but there’s a whole world of small shops on Instagram. Most of the ones I’m familiar with are run by mamas of littles who are doing what they love and providing for their families at the same time. I’m so in awe of their creativity and business savvy! You all know I love to make things. I even occasionally make things for Owen to wear–cute tees, beanies, even shorties. But I LOVE to buy from these small IG shops and know that I’m getting a unique product of exceptional quality. I love Target as much as the next girl, but man, you can’t beat original handmade items!

I think I stumbled upon the world of small IG shopping a few months ago when I fell in love with Tink & Key. I first bought the “I make mama’s heart full” tee, and once I saw how soft and cute it was, I went on a bit of a shopping spree. Owen now has several tees, I have a couple of my own, and I’ve even given a few as gifts. Scrolling through the Tink & Key Instagram page led me to many other shops, and my newest method of shopping small was born.

Since then, Owen has become a brand rep or brand enthusiast for quite a few small shops. Let’s be real…I’d still be buying from these shops even if he wasn’t working with them, but I love the sense of community I’ve found in the “brand rep world.” It’s awesome to see so many mamas supporting each other by buying small, supporting small, and promoting small. Sure, getting some of his clothes at a discount is amazing, but the real benefit is knowing that by supporting small shops, I’m helping real people with real dreams. That’s one of my favorite things to do.

I want to share with you a few of my FAVORITE small shops. Owen works with some, but not all, of them. I do have friends and family discount codes for several that I’ll also share with you so that you can save when you shop with them. I know that you’ll fall in love with them, too!

Hashies – code OWEN10 to save 10% on your order. Custom hashtag gear for all ▹ SD/Cbad CA ▹ Plagiocephaly/helmet tees available

9 Twenty Five Kids – code OWEN15 to save 15% on your order. Modern + Monochrome gear for your babes.

Sew Much Sweeter – code OWEN15 to save 15% on your order. Modern handmade threads for Littles 🔆Made in Indiana 🔆Ships worldwide.

Urban Tee Farm – code INSTAFRIEND10 to save 10% on your order. A tee shop for rad bigs and littles based in the Midwest!

Moots – code MOOTSFRIEND to save 20% on your order. Home of “You’re my Person ©” ❤️

Rainy Day Lane – code RAINYFF to save 10% on your order.  Tees for the whole family. Made in NC.

LooptyLoo – code OWSIE15 to save 15% on your order. Spunky and dreamy children’s basics. Handmade in Utah [Amy + Cheryl] • est 2009 Free shipping over $50.

Fayebeline – Hip➕Edgy➕Clever Baby and Toddler clothing ✨You purchase, we donate. Brand partner of Miracle Babies charity.✨

Brave Little Ones – We sell modern children shirts that spread the love of Jesus. $1.00 from every shirt sale goes to Rwanda, Africa.

Curly Qs Counter – CQC by Ang Disney hipster edge ••• handmade apparel + home goods prematurity awareness💜 ©2013 ••• PHXAZ

Sweetest Little Babes – code THANKYOU to save 10% on your order. ✖️Handmade baby and toddler clothes in Louisiana 😊

She She Marie Boutique –  Handmade baby/toddler booties. Bootie Boots ♡ Specially made for your little! Kids love how comfy they are. Mommies love how they stay on! Handmade. Patent Pending. ♡Jesus!

Periwinkle Jazz – Handmade swag for the hip modern baby | tot | kid • Boys Girls Unisex • the original “but first, milk” tee.

House of Burke Shop – Handmade clothing and accessories for your little ones. The shorties are beyond adorable!

Minted Threads –  Hand Drawn + Hand Made Tees. Advocates for Sex Abuse Victims & Empowerment. #projectredballoon #empowerthroughart Est. 2015 in PNW.

Brooklyn+ Fifth – ᵀᴿᴱᴺᴰᵞ ➕ ᴹᴼᴰᴱᴿᴺ ➕ ᴴᴵᴾ ᴴᴬᴺᴰᴹᴬᴰᴱ ᴷᴵᴰˢᵂᴱᴬᴿ ᴮᴱᶜᴬᵁˢᴱ ᴸᴵᶠᴱ’ˢ ᵀᴼᴼ ˢᴴᴼᴿᵀ ᵀᴼ ᵂᴱᴬᴿ ᴿᴱᵀᴬᴵᴸ

Dylan + Derek – Home of the NAP FIGHTER tee. Such cute tees. I love them all.

So I shared more than a few, but I really do love all of these shops and SO MANY MORE!!! That’s another post for another day, but I hope you’ll check out these shops. Tell them @instaowsie sent you. I promise you’ll get AMAZING customer service and a fabulous product.

xoxo,

jennifer-small4blog

 

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I Support My Friends Who Sell Stuff

I support friends who sell stuff

Oh my goodness, doesn’t it seem like everyone is selling something? Clothes, diets, makeup, oils, skin care…I could go on and on. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to check out my Facebook feed and see post after post selling stuff. You know what, though? I really don’t mind. In fact, I love it when I can support my friends who sell stuff. What’s not to love about supporting a fellow mama who is trying to make a little cash so staying home with her babies is financially possible? Or helping another woman out who wants to buy her own home? Or who just wants a some extra money for a nice vacation? It’s a pleasure to make a little purchase from these ladies. And the best part is that I almost always get a product I love in return!

I sold Matilda Jane for several years, and I know it can be really hard to “advertise” that you’re in direct sales. Most people don’t want to pressure anyone into buying something from them…I know I didn’t! During my experience, I also learned that word of mouth is the best way to grow a business. And that’s why I want to share a few of the products I’m loving and introduce you to the hard working ladies who sell them.

Rodan and Fields — from their website: “Founded by world-renowned dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, Rodan + Fields® puts the power of dermatology-based skincare in your hands, using a highly effective social commerce business model. With Rodan + Fields, looking good and feeling confident has never been easier and it’s all possible without a trip to the dermatologist’s office.” My sweet friend Elizabeth Grogan just happens to be a R+F consultant, and she couldn’t be more helpful! I was on the fence about what product to try first, and she recommended REDEFINE  Multi-Function Eye Cream to target my trouble area. I’ve been using it for a little over a month and I am loving how soft and supple the skin around my eyes has become. One little jar will last about four months, which I think is amazing! A little bit sure goes a long way. R+F has SO many options, though, so if you’re looking for a skin care solution, get in touch with Elizabeth. She really knows her stuff and I know she’d LOVE to help you!

Young Living — Their website says, “Through the painstaking steps of our proprietary Seed to Seal production process, we produce the best, most authentic essential oils in the world. We are committed to providing pure, powerful products for every family and lifestyle, all infused with the life-changing benefits of our essential oils.” I love my essential oils. So much. I’ve been using oils for a couple of years, but I was ready to really jump in and get more serious about incorporating them into my daily life. I reached out to a sweet mama that I met through Matilda Jane, Carla Ledford, and she walked me through purchasing my first Premium Starter Kit. Not only did she send me super helpful information via email, she also sent me the most awesome welcome gift that included so much info about oils that I’m still reading through it weeks later. If you are ready to begin your own oily journey, reach out to Carla. You’ll be glad you did!

LuLaRoe  “LuLaRoe sells women’s dresses, maxi skirts, pencil skirts, a-line skirts, sheath dresses, and they are all simply comfortable.”  Amy Blevins is my closest LuLaRoe consultant and she’s super nice and helpful. Because of her, I am the proud owner of half a dozen LLR pieces, and I just adore each and every one. The leggings seriously can’t be beat. If you’re interested in hosting a show or joining her Facebook group, get in touch with Amy.

Jamberry — “Jamberry nail wraps offer the hottest trend in fashion. Wrap your nails in over 300 different designs.” I know several people who sell Jamberry, so I’ve bought from quiet a few parties. The wraps are so fun! They’re easy to apply and last for a couple of weeks. The junior sizes are so cute for littles and they even fit my nails! Haley Walton is a sweet friend and she just happens to be a consultant! She hosts fun games and giveaways on her Facebook page, so if you’re interested in giving Jams a try, I really suggest you connect with Haley. I’m sure she’d be glad to help you!

These are just four of my current favorite direct sales products. I have tried and liked several others (enough for another post!), and there are several others (like Younique) that I’d love to try!

Tell me, are you involved in the direct sales world? What do you sell? If you don’t sell, what are some of your favorite products? I’m all about supporting each other, so reach out here to make new connections. I’m happy to help!

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My Very Own Project Photo Rescue

Have you been following along with Becky Higgins’ Project Photo Rescue? The entire process was so inspiring. I obsessed over the steps and details over on Instagram and decided to jump in and rescue my own photos…which needed quite a bit of help.

I’ve been scrapbooking for as long as I can remember. I have albums full of pictures from high school and I guess I discovered paper scrapping in college. I dove into Creative Memories in 2003 and stuck with that style of scrapping until around 2008. That’s when I switched over to digital scrapping and it was life changing! I quickly found a scrapping home over at Sweet Shoppe Designs and I’ve been there ever since. I took a hiatus from digiscrapping in 2013 and jumped into Project Life. Since then, I’ve been able to incorporate my love for digital with PL and I do a sort of hybrid style for my albums and it works out perfectly. Memory keeping is a so important to me and I knew I needed to get everything organized and accessible for our family. Project Photo Rescue has helped me do just that.

I decide to conquer the first step in getting my photos and scrapbooks organized. I brought all of my scrapbooks into one place (our classroom) to see just what I have and what I need. I would have guessed I had about 10 albums, but including photo books and Chatbooks, that number is closer to 40.  I really wanted to get my old 12×12 paper scrapped albums moved into Project Life albums, but I still have no idea what to do with the super old sticky film albums.

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For step two, I rounded up unscrapped photos and memorabilia from around the house, took a shopping trip to Michaels to pick up a few more Project Life albums, and gathered everything I needed to get these photos into permanent homes.

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Step three was a pain, so I got the kids involved in organizing photos by year. It’s easy to see the years before I embraced digital scrapbooking and PL because those are the years with tons of random photos!
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In step 4, I got all of those photos tucked into albums. Then I totally copied the idea of using binder clips and card stock to label my non-project life albums. It’s a temporary fix, but it works for now! These albums house paper scrapped layouts, digital layouts, and random photos that are now safely in pocket protectors. What you don’t see? All of my PL albums (10).

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My final step will be adding in all of my Project Life albums (10) and finding a permanent home where all of the albums can be easily accessible and neatly stored.

I feel so much better about the state of our memories. It bothered me more than I realized that I had a mess of photos and memorabilia that wasn’t organized. I want these albums to live long past me and I want my children and their children to be able to know about our lives just by flipping the pages. Now that will be much easier and I’m so glad.

So tell me, how to you preserve your family’s memories? Are you a scrapbooker? How do you organize? I’d love to see pics of your spaces! Feel free to share in the comments or follow me on Instagram to see more of what I’m doing to rescue our photos.

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I’m a Pretty OK Mom

In my last post, I talked about five of the reasons I’m not a very good friend. Those reasons are still all true, but some of the things that make me a bad friend actually make me a pretty ok mom.

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Sure, I’m super introverted, but that means I really like to hang out at home. I enjoy spending time with my little family and I’m never more relaxed than when I’m snug in my own house. That’s a good thing, since I stay at home and homeschool the kids. I think it would be even harder to be a stay-at-home mom if I weren’t so happy just being home with the kids. Being a mom makes being introverted not such a bad thing.

Of course, being home with these children is why I am so very tired, but I’m only tired because I’m so busy being a mama to them. My exhaustion is proof that I spend my days playing, reading, cooking, snuggling, nursing (yes, still), teaching, cleaning, and loving these babes. Being tired may make me more likely to be a bad friend, but it’s evidence that I’m a good mama.

Being insecure is kind of like breathing for me. It’s just part of who I am. My kids don’t know or care about my self-esteem. They aren’t spending their days looking for my faults, even though they do occasionally like to point them out. They’re far more interested in what I can do for them…and that’s pretty much everything. Maybe not so much for the older two, because they are getting to be pretty independent, but yes, pretty much everything for the baby. As long as I’m meeting their needs and loving on them, they just don’t really care about my feelings. And that’s a pretty good thing for me. I don’t have to hide my true self from them. They love me just because I’m the mama.

As much as I may not be dependable to people outside my family, here at home I’m a rock. I’m here. I show up. Every single day, I’m the one who is taking care of everyone. If they’re sad, or sick, or grouchy, I make them feel better. I make sure they’re fed and I even give them healthy food. Green smoothies are my method of choice because everyone loves them, they’re super nutritious, and I can relax and turn my head the rest of the day while the baby eats goldfish off the floor. It’s awesome. I’m also the one who makes sure they’re clothed every day.  Especially the baby, because if you turn your head for a second, he’s peeing in the closet. He has to be fully dressed at all times. Trust me on that.

And every day I make sure they’re learning, growing, and turning into pretty decent human beings. But more than all of that, I love them. They know I love them. They have no doubts about it. If you ask them how much mama loves them, they’ll tell you “more than the moon and the stars and the sky.” That’s how I know I’m doing pretty ok at this mom thing. And that’s really all I need to know.

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5 Reasons I’m a Horrible Friend

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It’s interesting to look back and see how easy friendships used to be. In high school and even in college, friends were one of the very most important parts of life. It was easy to make and keep friendships going. Something happened between then and now though, and it is has increased with each big life change and each new baby. I used to be a good friend. I’d initiate phone calls and hanging out and making plans. I could listen for hours about anything and offer advice and compassion and companionship. I’d show up. I’d be there. But not anymore. Now I don’t call. I rarely text unless you text first. I hardly ever actually show up. I’d love to pretend that I don’t know I’m a bad friend, but it’s pretty obvious. I’ve thought a lot about it lately, mainly because I’ve been kind of lonely, and I’ve come up with (at least) five reasons I’m a horrible friend.

  1. I’m painfully introverted. So much so that I’m flaky, distant, and private. I want to talk to you on the phone, but texting is much easier for me. Going out in groups is hard and makes me want to sit in a quiet corner alone. I’m essentially a hermit and that makes it pretty hard to be a good friend. If you can look past all of this, though, I’m super loyal and trustworthy. I’ll love you to pieces and pick you up when you’re down, but you’re going to have to get me out of my shell first. Not many people want to put that much effort in and I don’t blame them. I’m very unlikely to make the first move and that makes me seem uninterested. I’m not. It’s just really hard for me to be social and outgoing. Add in some major trust issues from friendships gone bad, and I’m pretty much a loner.
  2. I’m tired. Oh my goodness, am I exhausted. I only have three kids, but I swear it seems like there are a million of them and one of me and they wear me out. When I finally have a moment of peace, I just want to collapse on the couch, in my cozy bed, or maybe in a hot bath. I’m afraid talking on the phone or making plans to do something is the last thing on my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I want to go out away from my house and I really do want to have some fun, but I just don’t remember to actually do anything about it.
  3. Life is hard. It so is, isn’t it? I had a few rough years of uncertainty and responsibilities that made me anything but fun. I know I wasn’t happy-go-lucky or even moderately exciting during that time, and that’s not really what you want in a friend, right? And then, as if I wasn’t scattered and weary enough, we had a sweet little baby. Any tiny bit of fun that was left in me was totally gone. Add in the whole postpartum mess and I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me. If you look up downer in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you’ll see my face. True story.
  4. I’m insecure and I have nothing to offer. Well, at least that’s how I feel about myself a good part of the time. See? Told you I’m insecure. But really, I don’t have a lot to offer. I don’t have much time to spend chatting or texting, and, as I said before, I don’t really go out much. If you are my friend and you need me, I’ll drop everything to help you, but as for the day to day friending? I’m not very good at it.
  5. I’m not very dependable. It’s true and I hate it about myself, but at least I admit it. I have the very best intentions, honestly, but following through is not my strong suit. See number 2. And 3. Those both make me even less likely to be dependable than my introverted nature. I’m awesome in emergencies, but not awesome in normal daily life.

When I read all of this about myself, it’s a little sad. But it’s me and it’s true. I don’t believe in pretending to be someone I’m not, so I won’t pretend to be a good friend. I do hope that at least part of this is just a season of my life and that it will change. That I will change. I want to be better. I want to be fun and outgoing and exciting and maybe someday I will be. For now, though, this is my reality and I accept it for what it is.

 

 

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Choosing Gratefulness

Choosing to live a life of gratitude sure is harder than it sounds. Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we are bombarded by our need more and need it now culture. Patience seems to be a rarity. Compassion is hard to come by. Gratefulness is a bit of a mystery. It’s so easy to be sucked into what society says about deserving more and better and it’s hard to step back and say “No. I already have all I need.”

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Kristen Welch, of We are THAT Family, gets it. Her book, Raising Grateful Kids in and Entitled World, launches on January 26. After reading just the first chapter, I knew this book was going to challenge me in some really uncomfortable ways. What I didn’t know when I started reading, was that the convictions I gained from the book would lead us to explore our entitlement as a family. I didn’t expect to implement new plans to combat that as quickly as we have. And I certainly never dreamed I would already see a difference in not only the kids, but the adults as well.

Choosing gratefulness is a big theme in our home right now. Showing the children how important it is to have a grateful heart is so important to me. I think nearly every time I ask them to do something they may not want to do, I end my request by saying, “and do it with a grateful heart.” Although I’m sure they’re getting sick of hearing it, it really is rubbing off.

Our new family motto that goes along with gratitude in a big way is “Less Stuff; More Adventure.” We don’t need more stuff. Do we want more? Sure, sometimes. Do we need to have more? No. So in living out our new plan, we’re making changes in the way we do birthdays. We’ve decided, as a family, to forgo gifts and instead have experiences. Our oldest, whose birthday is in a couple of months, is already thinking of some pretty awesome family adventures for us. He’s excited about the prospect of going somewhere new, so much so that the thought of all of the things he wants seems to have taken a backseat. We’ll do the same for our sweet girl when her birthday comes around in October. We’re going to be grateful for our time together, excited for new experiences, and grateful for all we already have.

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However, promoting gratefulness doesn’t mean that the entitlement monster is completely gone. A few weeks ago, I noticed that screen time was really eating into our day and that’s not ok with me. In talking with the kids, I figured out that they felt they deserved to have screen time. After all, they do their school work, daily chores, and help with their little brother. They’re entitled to have screens anytime they want, right? WRONG. Those little screens are a luxury, not a necessity, and I knew I had to change up those attitudes quickly. So now, after a bit of resistance, they must earn their screen time in increments of 20 minutes. There’s an official chart and everything. They are completing their responsibilities with much more grateful hearts AND they’re appreciating their electronics more than ever. They now understand that they’re not entitled to screen time just because they help around the house, and they’re much more grateful for the time they do get.

For us, choosing gratefulness also means taking an active role in caring for what we have. We are blessed to live in a warm, dry home, and one way to show our gratitude is to take care of it. That means chores every day for everyone, kids and adults alike. It’s easy to grumble about my third load of laundry in a day, but it’s more important to demonstrate my own gratitude, because doing laundry means our family has warm clothes to wear and I have a nice washer and dryer to help keep clothes clean. When the kids complain about a chore, I remind them how very fortunate they are to be in a position to have chores to do. I’m the first to admit that there are days when gratefulness is hard, but choosing gratitude means trying our hardest to see all that we have to be thankful for even on the hardest days.

Choosing gratefulness and fighting entitlement in our home is not an easy thing. It’s an important one, though, and it’s worth the struggle. I’m so hopeful that the choices we’re making now will impact our children for a lifetime. I’m hopeful that gratitude will win over selfishness and that having a grateful heart will beat out always wanting more. We have so many blessings. We have more than we could ever need. More than anything, I want my children to never lose sight of how very fortunate they already are, no matter what our culture tells them about having it all.

 

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fivefoxlove-RGKbloghop

Please join me on the #RaisingGratefulKids Blog Hop. Below you will find links to all of the FABULOUS blogs participating. There are some amazing articles here and I know you will enjoy them. Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ll come back soon!

Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude – by Alison
Rasisng Grateful Kids – by amanda
Why You Can’t Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store – by Andrea
Missing – Gratefulness in our home – by Ange
Choosing Gratitude – by Angela
Gratefullness – by chaley
5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family – by Christa
Practicing Grateful Parenting – by Dana
Sing a Song – by Hannah
Cultivating gratitude in our family – by Jamie
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Let It Begin With Me – by Jen
Choosing Gratefulness – by Jennifer —–> You are currently HERE 🙂
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World – The Book – by jeri
Eradicating Entitlement – What are you rooted in? – by Jessica
Gratefulness in our home – by Kate
The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us – by Katelyn
7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful – by Kathryn
Raising Grateful Kids – by Keri
How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude – by Kishona
Grateful – by Kristy
Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie – by Leigha
The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids – by Lindsey
Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? – by Marie Osborne
Gratitude, A Practical Definition – by Mia
Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home – by Nancy
Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness – by Rachel
Being Grateful – by Rebecca
I’ve Found Something I Can’t Live Without – by Sarah
The Power of Naming our Gifts – by Sarah
Outfitted – by Sarah Jo
Growing Gratitude in our Family – by Sondra
Teaching Gratefulness – by Stephanie
How Grateful Looks From Here – by Alison
Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us – by Leah
Entitlement Problem – by Karrie
Grateful Today – by Krystal

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Define Yourself: PLM Week 2

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This is week 2 of  Project Love Me and the prompt is “define yourself.” That’s so hard! So, I had my kids and hubby help on this one. They each wrote down words that describe me and then I added my own. It was really interesting to see their thoughts vs. my own. Some I totally agree with, but it looks like the word “maid” came up from one of them. Hmmmm. Are you doing PLM? If so, link me up. I’d love to see other takes on the prompts!

xoxo,

jennifer-small4blog

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2016 Projects

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If you couldn’t tell, I love projects! I’m really into memory keeping, photography, and journaling my thoughts. I’m a sucker for projects that help me do these things. Check out my current projects:

Project 365 — P365 is so simple and so life changing! The main idea is taking a photo a day, everyday, for a full year. I actually completed the project in 2015 (after starting and failing for years) and loved it so much that I’m doing it again this year. I have my photos printed in Chatbooks along the way because it’s easy and being able to hold your photos is awesome. If you want to give Chatbooks a try, use the code EQANTFRW to get your first book for free (I’ll also get a $1 credit).

Project Love Me — Project Love Me is a project that is making me get in front of the camera, instead of staying behind it where I’m more comfortable. I joined in via my favorite digital scrapbooking store/forum and I’m loving the support from the group. PLM is taking a selfie each week for a year–so 52 selfies. There’s a prompt each week that you can follow (or not!), that encourages you to get out of your comfort zone even further. I love this project.

Project Life — If you don’t know about Project Life, head on over to Becky Higgins’ site and start reading. It has changed the way I scrapbook, and I seriously couldn’t love it more. I do a kind of hybrid style of PL. I use physical products like albums, pocket pages, and printed photos, but I also use digital products from my favorite digital scrapbooking designers to fancy up my photos before having them printed. There’s also an app, but I haven’t used it much yet. That may change. This is my 5th year doing PL and I really can’t see myself stopping…ever! I don’t share a lot of my pages because I think I’m pretty boring, but you can see a few examples of what I do here, here, here, and here.

One Little Word — I already wrote about my OLW for 2016, and at only a few days in, I can’t believe how much I’m thinking about it. Joy is so important and I can’t wait to see where this word takes me this year. If you’re new to the idea of One Little Word, Ali Edwards can tell you all you need to know. Everyone should do this–it’s a game changer.

I think my favorite things about these projects is that they all tie in together. So far, I’m loving all of these for 2016, but I’m sure more will come up along the way. I hope you’ll join me in one (or more!) of these projects. They’re truly good for the soul.

xoxo,

jennifer-small4blog

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One Little Word 2016: Joy

Each year I choose a word that will be a guidepost throughout the year. Some of my past words have been peace, simplify, and trust. This year, I have to admit that I struggled a bit to find a word. The word “less” spoke to me first, and has lingered in my mind. “Faith” has also been on my heart. However, the one word that seemed to choose me was “joy.” After weeks of going back and forth, my OLW for 2016 is joy.

onelittleword2016-joy

When I read the definitions of joy, some of my feelings didn’t match up exactly.

Joynoun

  1. 1a:  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :  delight  b :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion :  gaiety
  2. 2: a state of happiness or felicity :  bliss
  3. 3: a source or cause of delight

Joyverb

  1. : to experience great pleasure or delight :  rejoice

Of course I love the idea of being happy, but happiness depends on your circumstances. I think that joy is a quiet emotion that doesn’t only happen when life is good. I think of it as being a feeling of contentment and hope, regardless of what’s happening around you. I think you can have joy even when you’re not happy because joy is rooted deep in your heart. Happiness comes and goes; joy lasts.

I’m seeking this lasting joy. There are areas in my life that need attention and changes that need to be made. I think that’s why “less” and “faith” were also appealing words to me. I’m seeking less in so many areas–commitments, stress, worry, clutter, and just stuff, to name a few. I want to simplify my life by having, needing, and doing less. For me, less stuff equals more joy.

Faith is also so important to me, and it’s an area that needs work in my life. My faith was tested in 2015, and I need to restore the parts of me that were hurt. Having faith, not only in God, but in other people, is something I need to spend more time on this year. More faith equals more joy.

Joy is so encompassing that I’m excited to incorporate it into many areas of my life. I want to find joy for myself, I want to bring joy to others, and most importantly, I want my children to see joy in me.

“16 Be joyful always” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV)

Did you choose One Little Word for 2016? If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Please share in the comments.

xoxo,

jennifer-small4blog

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