Monday, June 26, 2017

Blogger Recognition Award...

 I was so excited when Angie over at Simple Healthy Mom nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.  It's always heart-filling when someone sees your efforts and encourages you to keep on, keeping on which is what our tribe is all about. #tribekoko (k-keep o-on k-keeping o-on = koko).  So, I am excited to pay it forward!

As part of the award, I get to nominate some other sweet bloggers who encourage and inspire me to keep on, keeping on so read all the way to the end :).  As part of the award, we were asked to share why we blog and give two pieces of advice to new bloggers (which is funny since I still feel so "new" to blogging for more than my family!).  

Why I blog?  I began blogging back in 2009 as a way to keep an online scrapbook for my family.  Fast forward to 2016 and almost 1500 posts later, I took my blog "public" so that I could share my love of Jesus (more about that here) and encourage women to keep on keeping on toward a joyful, faith-filled life. You can read more about me here.  Life can be hard and we all need someone to come along side us and whisper truth and encouragement, my goal is always to put the wind in your sails, provide practical advice, with humor and fun too! 

Two Four Pieces of Blogging Advice

1.  There is a learning curve anytime you start something new. 

When I started running, my lungs burned, my legs ached and by the end it was all I could do to just finish.  Then as I continued in my training, minutes would pass without me even thinking about my breathing, one foot in front of the other.  Any skill takes time to learn and become proficient in.  Keep on, keeping on!

2.  Don't let fear hold you back. 

Yes there are a lot of blogs out there. but if you feel a calling to blog, you should do it.  Just like we need more than one Pastor, more than one school teacher, more than one doctor.  Different people respond better to different teaching and writing styles.  Someone needs to hear your voice. 

3.  Connect with other bloggers and encourage them.  

I have found some of the sweetest friends (whom I have never met in real life but I hope to) and their encouragement, comments and advice have meant so much to me.  One of my favorite quotes is -- A rising tide lifts all boats.  Be a boat lifter!

4.  Take on one thing at a time.  

There are a million things you can be doing behind the scenes to promote and prepare your blog.  You will get overwhelmed quite quickly.  Feeling overwhelmed will quickly paralyze you.  Choose one thing to do well and once you get good at it (like I said in #1), then add on something else.  The fastest way to burn out is having too many things on the stove, amen?

I would like to give my Blogger Recognition Awards to each of these 10 ladies, who inspire me and have become sweet friends.  They raise my boat and put the wind in its sails as we all keep on, keeping on!  I hope you check them all out and encourage them today!

BYBMG Blog -  Becky is a fellow Iowa blogger and teacher so I felt an instant kinship to her.  She is so talented.  My favorite posts recently have been her pom pom DIY necklace and earrings.  She is always full of awesome budget-friendly fashion ideas.

Lindsay's Sweet World - I "met" Lindsay through a link-up and she has been a great mentor with Instagram!  She wrote a great post all about how to get started on Instagram!

The Imperfectly Perfect Mama - She just wrote about a post about how God met her in prayer and it was such an encouraging post for all of us who really want to seek God in our daily prayer life and read his word.  I connected with her since we both share a story of miscarriage.  

Tractors and Glam Blog - Jenna is such an encourager, I am pretty sure it's just the kindergarten teacher in her.  She always has a kind word and she is so creative.  She is always coming up with awesome activities for her kids, including this recent post.

Blogging the In Between - I got to know Molly via Instagram and she guest-posted on my blog.  Her story is incredible.  Her authenticity captures your heart.  She is currently training for a half-marathon and I am rooting her on!  She will help you find hope right where you are.

Home Sweet Hensley - She is the best cheerleader and so sweet.  I love watching her life unfold and learning all about pageant life on her blog.  She doesn't shy away from sharing hard parts of her life but she always has a smile and a funny for you!

Jasper and Willow - I met her right when I started to take my blog more public.  We just hit it off and have watched each other grow as bloggers, cheerleading along the way.  She is full of tips and tricks to make life easier.

Our Busy Little Life - Jenny is my go to for book recommendations.  She is an avid reader and likes the same types of reading I do.  She also lives in the most beautiful part of our country and I just love reading about her life, her family and her busy little life.  She is always full of sweet encouragement.

Mommy in a Nutshell - I love reading all about her family's adventures and my mommy heart could relate as she recounted her recent Niagara Falls trip!  She is so relatable and always has darling photos from all of their sweet moments together as a family!

This Happy Life -- Talk about going for it and succeeding, this gal just started a Facebook deals group and is rocking it.  She has 3 darling kiddos and I love all the deals she finds and hearing all about her life with her littles!  

For those nominated, here are the rules for this award. Keep it going!

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 10 other bloggers for this award.
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and provide a link to the post you created.

What encouragement would you give a new blogger?  What blogger do you love to follow?  Has someone encouraged you lately?

Have a great day and as always keep on keeping on toward a joyful, faith-filled life! xoxo ERIN

Friday, June 23, 2017

5 Friday Favorites: June...

Hey, Hey Friday!  Another summer week down.  It's been busy and full and at the same time, lazy and quiet around here.  I am wrapping up my last teaching license renewal class so we have been home in the afternoons while Lucy naps so I can get that done.

The kids don't seem to mind at all since there are some awesome new movies on Netflix - Moana, Trolls, Minions, Angry Birds Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2 and the list goes on and on.  Netflix isn't a favorite but it should be this week ;).

Oh and by the way, I did a fun Facebook live last night all about kids chores and cleaning with kids #oxymoron so go like my page and give it a watch.  I hope it encourages you :). I  have lots of fun things to share with you so grab your favorite form of caffeine and let's get this favorite party started!


These water beads are SO COOL.  My friend Karie gave us this bag with the teeny tiny little beads you see.  You place them in a bowl with water for 4-6 hours and voila - water beads.  They are so fun!  We have only just begun to figure out all the fun things to do with them.  Have you heard of them?


You guys Wal-Mart is wining me over (Target still wins in the customer service department ;) BUT Wal-Mart now has felt letter boards and light boxes for $9.97.  I couldn't decide which one to get - thoughts?.  My friend Karie said her daughter loves to play with the light box and got these emojis so  I think I could get the light box for V for her birthday and the felt board for me ;).


Once again, my friend Karie is FULL of amazing ideas.  She just threw a couple of birthday parties and instead of going some place or renting an inflatable, she bought this one at Kohl's and used her coupon to save additional money.  It came to about $250 shipped to her door!  I thought that was a genius idea if you have a bunch of summer birthdays - gift and party in one!

If your budget is smaller, I totally suggest these Dollar Tree shield floaties.  They work great for extra speed on your slip n'slide or as a shield in the sprinkler.  Some slip n'slides, like this one, come with them actually which is where I got the idea!


A favorite of Vera's this week is hair chalk.  I am telling you what, Vera didn't want to go swimming after our playdate because of her beautiful hair.  She now wants to do this as an activity for her party!  If you have a little girl or need a gift, this is a great one.  We have very porous blonde hair which tends to hold on to color, like chlorine, but this stuff washed right out!

Post playdate nap with her fries ;)


I ordered a swimsuit on Amazon.  My friend Emilie ordered this one (look at all the fun prints) with great success so I started looking.  Have you heard of the company Cupshe?  They sell on Amazon with free shipping and free returns.  The prices were too good to pass up trying them out.  Guess what?  I love the swimsuit!  

The cup inserts are a little more plush ;).  I went with a medium, which is a size up in the top but the right size in the bottoms.  I would say go with the size of your largest area if that makes sense.  They also have sizing charts online.  I read all the reviews to see if it ran true to size, etc.  I already wore it AND got a compliment so I am going to call this a MAJOR win.  

I totally suggest looking on Amazon for your next swimsuit, who would have thought.  I also LOVE Lime Ricki and their swimsuits!  I buy true to size on that website just an FYI.

{5 Favorite Blog Posts of June}

Here were the top blog posts based on your visits - if you missed one, check it out :)

Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for all the fun!  I just did a FB live last night all about cleaning and chores with kids :).  Check out my FB live here.

Until next time, keep on keeping on toward a joyful, faith-filled life! #tribekoko xoxo ERIN

Linking up with Erika and Andrea for Friday Favorites, BYBMG for High Five for Friday and Five on Friday with Smidge of This.  Make sure to check out their blogs for more Friday fun!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kids in the Kitchen: Oreo Cream Pie...

My kids love to cook, especially my oldest daughter, Vera!  I am always looking for new fun, simple recipes to whip up with her.  Recently, we were invited to our friends house for dinner and were asked to bring dessert.   Their daughter has a severe peanut allergy so we knew whatever we made needed to be peanut-free so we could all enjoy it.  Everyone LOVES Oreo's and they just so happen o be peanut-free, so we started there!

You will Need just 5 Ingredients:
  1. Oreo Crust
  2. Package of Oreos
  3. Chocolate Jell-O Pudding
  4. Milk to mix with pudding per box directions
  5. Cool Whip (thawed per package directions)

STEP 1:  Make the Jell-O instant pudding per box directions and place in the fridge for 5 minutes to thicken up.

STEP 2:  Take 2/3 of Oreos out of the container and place in a resealable bag.  Then use a tenderizer to smash the Oreos.  Try not to hit your own finger - ouch, that happened ;).

 STEP 3:    Scoop the whipped topping out of the container and into a large mixing bowl.  Then pour most of the crushed Oreos to the whipped topping.  Make sure to reserve a little bit for the top garnish.  Then stir the Oreos and whipped topping together.

STEP 4:  Your pudding should have thickened so you can pull out of the fridge and scoop into your Oreo crust.  

STEP 5:  Scoop the Oreo/Whipped topping layer on top of the pudding layer.

STEP 6:  Sprinkle the reserved crushed Oreos on top of the pie for a garnish.

STEP 7:  Place in fridge until ready to eat!  The pie doesn't cut in neat slices so it will be more of a mousse-type pie, just an FYI!  

All that's left to do is enjoy the fruit of your labor with some friends.  You can add gummy worms or other garnishes to make it your own pie.  Do your kids like to cook?  What have you been whipping up in the kitchen lately?

Keep on, keeping on to a joyful, faith-filled life! #tribekoko xoxo ERIN

Linking up with the Sirois Family and My Glittery Heart for Summer Blog Hop :) Make sure you hop over to check out all the fun :).

***This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and buy, I receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mom Summer Outfit Inspiration on a Budget...

It's hot and I spend most of my time in my pj's enjoying the lazy mornings of summer or in my swimsuit trying to stay cool with my kids (read more about wearing your mom suit here).  However it seems between having babies and nursing, I was in need of a few new pieces to rotate into my summer wardrobe. Anyone else?  

A fellow blogging friend, Becky at BYBMG, mentioned Wal-Mart was killing it with their summer tank tops and y'all know I love budget-friendly and cute so I went to check it out.  I was so excited to find 4 new tops, each for $6.88!  I decided to style them for you so that you can see you can look put together this summer and you don't have to break the bank - double win!

Tee // Jeans // Similar Necklace // Bracelets // Similar Shoes (on sale)

Tee // Jeans // Similar shoes 

Wal-Mart $2.50 sunglasses // Wal-Mart $1 pearl earrings

 Wal-Mart $2.50 sunglasses // Wal-Mart $1 pearl earrings

Wal-Mart $2.50 sunglasses // Wal-Mart $1 pearl earrings // Similar Shoes

I know it can be hard when you have so many people to outfit and the budget is tight.  I want to encourage you to throw in a new tee or tank into your wardrobe and then play around with what you have to make different outfit combinations!  I hope this post inspired you that when you do slip out of your swimsuit, you can look cute, stay cool and not break the bank?

Have you found any cute pieces at Wal-Mart? 

Where else do you like to shop on a budget?  

What are you loving to wear this summer?

Until next time, keep on keeping on toward a joyful, faith-filled life!  #tribekoko

xoxo ERIN

***Affiliate links used meaning if you click and buy, I receive a small commission.  Thanks for supporting this blog!

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