Friday, December 20, 2013

Giveaway #5 - A Christmas to Remember

Now Announcing Giveaway #5 of the Christmas to Remember.  Kandi from Prissy Parlor is giving away a very cute Rhinestone Leopard Hat.

Kandi is one of the very first people that I met when we first started at First Monday Trade Days in Canton.  She is very talented, has a store in Emory, TX where she has very cute kids clothes as well as an awesome selection of tshirts.  Check out her selection at The Prissy Parlor

Enter below to win.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Giveaway #4 - A Christmas to Remember

We are now ready for Giveaway #4 for the Christmas to Remember. This giveaway is a $50 GAP gift card.  The giveaway is provided by Erika at A Little Bit of Everything Blog

Gap Gift Card

Erika is one of my very best friends.  She is extremely stylish and always has her kids dressed extremely cute.  Check out her blog and get great ideas for all kinds of things including fashion, kid's activities, design, etc. 

Enter below for your chance to win and don't forget to check back tomorrow for Giveaway #5.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Giveaway #3 - A Christmas to Remember

We are now ready for Giveaway #3 for the Christmas to Remember. This giveaway is for the little ones in your life - three pairs of children's fleeced lined leggings.  The giveaway is provided by Amy at 2 Cute Couture.

Amy at 2 Cute Couture does a great job with children's and tween clothing and accessories.  My girls are constantly getting stuff from her shop and they look adorable in it.  She is on facebook as well as First Monday Trade Days in Canton, TX.

Enter below for your chance to win and don't forget to check back tomorrow for Giveaway #4.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Giveaway #2 - A Christmas to Remember

We are now ready for Giveaway #2 for the Christmas to Remember.  This giveaway is awesome - A $50 gift card to Erin Condren, which is enough to get one of her very popular life planners.  The giveaway is provided by Jen at Whimsy at Heart.

Jen's blog at whimsyatheart.com is a fantastic read and aims to help you get organized as well as provide you with answers to questions on options  with products, health, cooking, fashion, parenting and design.  In fact, she did a complete review on the Erin Condren life planner here:  http://whimsyatheart.com/erin-condren-life-planner-review/ which was very informative.

Enter below for your chance to win and don't forget to check back tomorrow for Giveaway #3.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Christmas to Remember - Giveaway #1

Announcing our Christmas to Remember Giveaway.  We are teaming up with a couple of other business owners and bloggers to give away something everyday.  We are excited to partner with:

Erika at A Little Bit of Everything

Jen at Whimsy at Heart

Kandi at the Prissy Parlor

Amy at 2 Cute Couture

The first giveaway will be a set of four Bella Ryann bracelets.  The bracelets have a unique cork screw design which allows for the perfect fit – just stretch it over your hand and it will slide back into place around your wrist.  Each bracelet is adorned with a charm that will represent your unique style and individuality. Wear one, or stack them as high as you’d like.  The winner will get to select any four of the bracelets, either gold or silver or mixed and any charm including initials.

Enter the giveaway below.  And if you share the facebook giveaway announcement with your friends, you will get an extra five entries.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's that time....Or you might be a little late

I don't know about you...but family pics are important to me. My husband and kids, not so much. The older they get the more they understand this is not a joke and momma gonna snap if they don't cooperate.

I'm not big into matchy match. I am into colors, I am still into denim with some variations, and I am into patterns. So if you are someone that is stuck still wearing black and white or denim...I urge you to step out of the box! It will either be your favorite Christmas pic of the year or your kids will think you have lost your mind. I am going to show you some of my favorite family pics, some inspirations for your focus outfit, and a MAJOR do not!

Love how she did some neutrals with the blues and then added a POP of turq...she matched her daughters dress to her cute necklace.

 Here's some denim and some red. She made her daughters dress the highlight and then the red became her pop for everyone.

Who doesn't LOvE this pic! The leopard (which is the new neutral) and then just for fun she added her cute mustard shoes. Oh, and that mustard color is precious.

I am risky...all this color makes my heart SING. She tied all the colors in with at least two of them having the same color. Who does not love a little girl in those ruffle tights. Again mustard.
And some neutral. But we have brown boots, we have black boots, we have gingham (which is that precious dad with all those girls:)), we have fur and denim. How stinking cute and there house entrance matches.
This is a great FALL assemble. It's matchy but has so many colors.

Green is s fun color too!!
This is very neutral...but there is a POP of mint and peach. So cute!
and if you can't break the cycle with grey, black, and white just make sure that you have A lot of different patterns.

There is SUCH a thing as too much denim...do not be a victim.
Rules of Family Pictures per ME:
1) Have a few family members have some colors that match
2) Break free of the ordinary, at least once year
3) There is such a thing as too much of a good thing
4) If you go neutral pick at least one color that at least two of you have on...whether it's a necklace, scarf, or shoe.
Can't wait to get your cards...it is the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall...Tis the Season!

I love all things fall...the smells, the pumpkins, the colors, and the family time. I also LOVE decorating for fall. Here is some of the touches to my house. Every year Rusty and I have a "Harvest Party" every year it gets BIGGer and BIgger. This year was really fun. I love parties and love to host parties. This party  is a good excuse to get some organizing done before Brassy Blueberries season kicks off.
 I bought cheap ($1 books) and cut them after I tore the spines out of them and then put a stick in the middle...It made a cute pumpkin book. I put some cute ribbon around the top.FYI I think it works better if you chose a book with a small spine.
 The beloved stump. Some of my girlfriends will get the beloved part. We all bought them and like to show off/compete with who has the coolest stump per the season. My kids love that the rats have necklaces.
 My favorite pumpkin

 The chalkboard in my entry way. It is a piece of plywood with chalk paint. I usually keep bible verses that coordinate with the season but this one was cute. In the spider web is 6 spiders which is our family and the one with the string attached is sweet Shepherd in China...He's coming home hopefully soon.
 Parties aren't complete with a bunch of 7 year olds and a flag football game. Those are made of painted PVC pipe.
 My painted plywood we decorate outdoors with. Look how pretty the trees look in the back ground.

 Blankets for the back porch. I guarantee that every time I plan the Harvest Party it will be the coldest night of the year.
 Football games on the porch for the men.
 The crock pot table. It helps when you live next door to the greatest party planner ever!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

I could write an HGTV show...

There is never a dull moment when you are with me (or my kids), and definitely when you are with me in Canton, Texas setting up for First Monday Trade Days (my mom and I own a booth there called Brassy Blueberries - women's clothing and accessories). You will experience all aspects of my "Hot mess self":)

Mom and I were so excited about setting up for Canton this month, so we headed out on our Adventure ready to organize, clean and set up for a great fall Canton . About midnight we started to head to the lake house after a full day of setting up. But first I needed to park the trailer.

I should really practice taking the trailer off the truck when it is not pitch black and do it more than a couple times a year. This particular night I could not get the trailer to unhook, so I grabbed a brick to hit the hitch to see if I could loosen it up. I was worried about my rings, so I took my wedding rings and Aggie ring off and put them on the bumper.

About 1:00am we started the trek home. We got down hwy 19, got on Interstate 20, and exited hwy 17 toward Grand Saline. My mom started taking about jewelry and I immediately felt shock, horror,and sadness. I hopped out of the truck trying to explain to my mom what I had forgotten to get off the bumper! To my happy surprise, my wedding rings were sitting on the back bumper...how does that happen after driving for several miles?? God must have known that Rusty and I could not handle one more big expense, we have been bleeding money between our oven, the rock that i hit that ripped the running board off the Yukon, new tires, or especially the adoption.
The rings that were left on the bumper

By now I don't know whether to be happy about all the rings I have or cry for a minute about the Aggie ring I didn't have. My mom said she would follow me along hwy 19 in the truck so I could use the light. Since it was about two in the morning there was no one but us on the road. I walked from the Arbors to the McDonalds with my mom following me. As I walked near McDonalds, I see a police cruiser and they quickly whip around and start questioning my mom and I trying to determine if we were in a domestic dispute. I explain the story.

Desperate times call for desperate measures right? He kinda flirts a little with me, I figured two things, 1) Rusty will be upset about me losing an expensive ring and can look past flirting and 2) The cop does not need to know that I am over 30 and have a million kids. So I flirt just enough for him to offer me ride in the cop car so that I can use his high beam spotlight. So as we drove 5mph down Interstate 20, I shined the spotlight in all kinds of places and saw a million shiny things along the highway. The cop kept saying, "When that ring hit the road it bounced and bounced and then more than likely a truck shot it into the woods." I threw in the towel and we headed home about 2:30. am.

I did call Rusty at 2 in the am to give him the news because I didn't want to worry about him being frustrated with me... i called 4 times and he didn't answer. About 2:45 am I got a phone call from a 903 area code number and when I answered, my phone died. Seriously I CANNOT make this stuff up! We turned around and headed back to Canton. I called the Canton police and they told me to meet the cops at McDonalds. When I got there, the cops were so excited to hand me my Aggie ring...no dents and in perfect shape. They had found it in the middle of Interstate 20.

All our friends in Canton have been rubbing my head with all my luck. Mom and I have had more fun experiences in our Canton adventures...Life would be boring...without Canton and without me. Andrew Shull, State Farm Agent, we really need to talk about insuring my kids ASAP!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

For the Love of Being Organized...

There is not much more I love to do than organize! It is great stress relief and makes my heart so happy once it's done.  With four kids, our morning routine before school would be extremely difficult and there is no way that we would be on time anywhere if we weren't prepared.  

 I have learned that if I sacrifice just an hour extra on Sundays, it makes our week so much smoother. I (or Rusty) spend that hour making 13 sandwiches that we bag and then freeze. I make PB&J and meat and cheese sandwiches with mustard/mayo, place them in Ziploc bags and then FREEZE them for the WHOLE week...It is definitely more cost effective over the Smuckers sandwiches and I already have all the stuff out, so why not be time effective too! My kids have never made one comment about them tasting any different. My kids love them so much that they never ever eat at the school cafeteria. 
This is the assembly line...Paxton is the only one that is picky so on his meat sandwiches I put a P on the Ziploc in the freezer so I know which ones are his.

Then for the fruit - I pre-bag grapes with oranges and put them in a container in my fridge. My kids also eat apples (which I don't cut up), pre-cut cucumbers, and pre-bagged pickles. 

This is in my fridge...I wanted my kids to know these were not part of a regular snack, they are only for lunches.

Then I pre-bag chips (I do a variety) and cookies (variety here too) and keep them in bins in my pantry.

These are also off-limits snack buckets (only for lunches) that sit in the pantry. They are low enough that the kids can help:)

So everyday when the kids get home, they put there lunch boxes on the counter and while they do their reading, I grab all the things they need and re-fill the lunch box for the next day. So quick and so easy!

 Who doesn't love a random pic of a baby who has been organizing her moms purse and found the lipstick!

What are some of your time saving ideas for the school routine?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Blessed Journey

There are a few things I remember saying when Rusty and I first got married...I specifically remember saying that I wanted a big family, but any more than 4 kids was when it went from a cute little family to cargo van driving, home schooling, and mom clothes. Boy does God have a sense of humor. Now here I am documenting Rusty and I's journey to adoption and freedom from our own plan and doing our best to follow God's plan.

A couple of years ago I met Jen Coco who was on her way to get precious Molly from China.  I thought out loud at the time to Rusty as I lay on bedrest with Neeley, " I would do that", "I think that it is really awesome to be able to do that for a child"...I think if Rusty could have killed me with his eyes he did and he specifically said, "Yeah it's neat if you only have 2 or 3 kids." He also said "I am not against adoption, I am against 5 kids." That was the end of that discussion.

Throughout the next couple months to years we have met several other friends who have adopted and it grew to be something that I was more interested in and of course Rusty would have to listen. It was nothing more than a fun "what if".  But something started to change in my heart -  I thought about it a lot as though it was something that was a real possibility. But I had 4 children already and a husband who was not into it at ALL. So I did what everyone woman does, I nagged him to death about it! Rusty told me to stop and said that he would pray about it and see where it took him, AKA go away, stop talking about it, and maybe this crazy thing will go away.

We let it go and didn't talk about it for a few months. One day I sent Rusty a picture of a girl who was an orphan in the CPS system. He came home from work with a troubled heart and admitted that God too had placed something in his heart about orphans. He said that everywhere he looked and every scripture that he read was about our call to the orphans as Christians. He also said that the morning before when he was doing his quiet time that he prayed God would give him an answer. God had told him to read James because it was the lesson that we would be studying at church. He read James 1 and the last verse is, "Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Rusty said it was one of the times he felt like God was directly speaking to him.

For the next couple months we sought Scripture, prayer, and friends and family counsel. I remember something that Brenna Stull (coach mom/ how can you not LOVE her) said that really stuck with me.  "By adopting, you are demonstrating to your children that you believe EVERY word of the Bible and the call we have to take care of orphans." It was there that it hit Rusty and I that the most important thing in our lives is that our children love the Lord with all their hearts and be sold out, radical for God.  How can we turn our eyes to the millions of orphans that long for a mom and dad and TRUE love.

In the beginning the process was all about "saving a child" but now it is so much bigger for Rusty and I. We prayed long and hard about whether to stay domestic vs international. I have no real answer other than China felt right, required the least travel, and required Rusty and I to have BIG faith in our finances. I think that is the one of the biggest lessons for us...maybe one of the main reasons he has brought us here. We all try to be good stewards of our money...we certainly don't go spend $30,000ish dollars when we don't have it! I think for the first time I have let go of putting pressure, time lines, and expectations on God. Rusty and I truly understand what it means to trust God in our finances. Rusty calls it "sacrificial living"...we are trying!  He has called us here, he wants good for our family, and he will show us great and mighty things through this.

I think that the biggest thing that we have learned has been to realize the extreme love and sacrifice God has made for us from a real life prospective. We are already in love with this little boy and we don't even know him. Our whole family (even extended) is willing to leave/watch our kids while we travel to this foreign land, sacrifice money,and  help with us having 5 kids. It's absolutely crazy! God loves us so passionately that he took us in - so undeserving, so dirty, with our own special needs, with all the baggage...and loved us sooo unconditionally. He has adopted us as His own.  There is nothing special this boy is doing to earn our affections, he doesn't know us and we don't know him. Just like us and Christ. We can't make Him love us more. He even goes one step further to give us things he knows we love. Just like the moment that we find out who our boy is - Watch out orphanage for all the care packages. And don't think he won't have fun new clothes and shoes to wear when we get hold of him. Orphans and us are so much alike! God made the ultimate sacrifice for me...I think for the first time in my life through this adoption we are somewhat understanding of what this looks like in our life and the ultimate sacrifice that God made for us.

So when you see our crazy family, our "China boy" and our tired eyes, please know that the Cox family is on a journey! We don't know where God will lead us but we are loving being uncomfortable, being free, and learning about undeserving grace.

Aggieland a Bucket List Experience

This weekend was filled with such great memories. If you have never experienced a football game in Aggieland it should be on your bucket list! Rusty and I were so excited to show our kids a little slice of Heaven for ourselves. As we entered College Station,  Rusty played the Aggie War Hymn. I have so many great memories of college and it was so exciting to see the kids loving it and talking about the future when they get there.

Paxton bought into everything Aggie hook line and sinker. True to his over-analyzing self, he was already stressed about what grades he needed to get into school there and how many people get turned away every year. Mackey on the other hand decided that although she wants to take care of Reveille she will not be able to do so because she doesn't want to be in the corp (good choice Mackey, I don't think that is your thing). And Kirby was dressed so cute that all the sorority girls kept talking about her and of course she loved it! And Neeley...well Neeley was just Neeley...into everything.

We are so blessed to have the Wall Family live in College Station! We love you for more than a place to stay Tiff and Ben. We are already planning a baseball game and a girls soccer match. Thanks Aggieland for never disappointing!