I’m a 35 year old wife to an Amazing husband, the oldest sister of 13 siblings/spouses, a mom of 6 children, Asher who is in heaven, and Zoe,(from Raleigh) Jack, (from Texas) Ezra and Evie (from the DR of Congo) and Abel (our Hawaiian baby by way of Las Vegas) who are grafted into our family through the HUGE blessing of adoption. Yes, that means we have 5 babies under 5. We aren’t crazy just have a crazy amount of love to give!!! We live in Fort Worth Texas where my husband Dan teaches Bible and AP Economics to high-schoolers. I stay at home with the five littles as well as blog and take as many photos as I can because while these days are long and often tiresome I know I will miss this chapter of life all the same. We love coffee, traveling to beaches or big cities, dinner and a movie, and have a passion for church planting.
Hi, It’s Emily. I have to say a little something about Casey before we dive in. Casey has encouraged me in innumerable ways. Her heart is bigger than she is. She has encouraged and INSPIRED my heart as a mother in ways I’ll never be able to express in a blog post. If you don’t follow her and her blog, you should. Her children are the most precious things ever.
MELISSA AND DOUG CRAYONS + PRINT YOUR OWN COLORING PAGES: My kids are ALWAYS wanting to draw… and I’m lucky when their artistic flare lands on actual paper. ;) I’ve found over the years that when it comes to crayons that although I love the feel of a brand new box of colors with kids…it doesn’t last. Often the brand new box gets destroyed and I’m left with broken crayons everywhere. Then I found Melissa and Doug Crayons. They are super tough and strong… color beautifully…and have a great case that holds up to a lot use and great for taking anywhere!
With having 4 artists whose interest vary greatly in what they love… I’ve found that instead of buying coloring books (which I like bright white paper and that’s usually only on paint friendly coloring books and those are expensive!!) I go online here http://www.coloring-book.info/coloring/ and print out a variety of characters and scenes that my kids always flip out over. I get a lot of joy from that because it shows them I care about what they care about, as well as, giving them fun pages to color!
COLORED KNIVES: I’m normally a person who likes neutral colors and metal kitchen utensils. But, I caved and bought a few brightly colored kitchen knives when I found them at a TJ Maxx at a price that was great! I must say that they have changed my tune and I now embrace the rainbow of kitchen utensils. I spend way less time hunting in my drawers or dishwasher when looking for a specific knife… and because of the colors, I know exactly which knife to use for whatever task I have at hand. And something about cutting a strawberry with a purple knife is kinda fun and adds brightness to my day. Kuhn Rikon are my favorite brand. (Their avocado knife is genius).
KNOWING YOURSELF WHEN IT COMES TO FASHION ACCESSORIES: A while back I was rummaging through countless pairs of earrings, some were missing one and I was holding on to hope I would find the other, some needed backs or were missing stones. Some I didn’t have an outfit to wear with them or they just went with one outfit that I rarely wore, and some just weren’t even me anymore… not sure they ever were. So I picked out the two pair I wore all the time and threw out the rest. 1 pair was simple and went with everything and 1 was classic and sparkly and given to me by my best friend who knows me well. I haven’t missed the other pairs one moment. And I know when I wear the ones I have that they look great and always fashionable.
I have 2 hats that are lifesavers when it comes to not having time to fix my hair or just not wanting to fix my hair. Hats are also a great way to dress up any outfit and make you look put together when in reality it might be a hot mess underneath. “Wearing a hat is like having a baby or a puppy; everyone stops to coo and talk about it.” – Louise Green
Earlier this year I bought a multi colored infinity scarf… it’s so lightweight that I kinda felt guilty buying it but it had all the colors I’m drawn to in it… and so I bought it. I have worn that thing countless times and it keeps me warm in an air-conditioned room and makes wearing a t-shirt feel a little more stylish. It’s a lot more ME than chunky necklaces or sweaters.
I love this quote by Yves St. Laurent. “Fashion was not only supposed to make women beautiful but to reassure them, to give them confidence, to allow them to come to terms with themselves.” So, if you find yourself buying lots of cheap jewelry or need different accessories for every outfit or have stuff sitting there you never wear… then give it all an honest look and see if those things really reflect who you are and give you confidence. Give away or throw out the items that don’t. Don’t feel guilty over spending a little more on an item that you will get a lot more wear out of… but make sure you will. When it comes to looking fabulous… know yourself and less is more!
PIC-TAP-GO PHOTO APP: I’m the type of person who once I learn an app I tend to stick with it… So it took me a while to give this photo app a try. But I’m so glad I did. It’s everything I need in one USER FRIENDLY app! I take a lot of pics of my busy crew and I don’t need to have my head buried in my photo editing any more than I want to be on the computer editing all the time. So this app gets an A+ from this busy shutterbug mama! And you know all those photo apps that all your friends use and make insane works of art out of but you can’t seem to find the time to learn to use… delete them. I give you full permission. You’ll find it’s really freeing.
A friend of mine Angie Warren also has done a great job illustrating some beautiful edits using this great app as well as writing a killer e-book on capturing motherhood on our phones.
TEACHING MY KIDS MANNERS: Some days I think I’ve probably reminded my children 100 times to say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am” as we have conversations throughout the day. Some days I wonder if it will ever stick! Somedays it’s more trouble than not to allow my boys to clumsily hold open the door for us as we leave the house. Somedays I wonder if I’m being old fashioned. Somedays getting them to wait until everyone is ready to eat feels like I’m making meal time just another battleground. But then there will be moments when Abel’s physical therapist leaves our home and Jack races to the door to open it for her. I will get a text from my mother-in-law telling me that when a lady at the mall asked Evie if she liked her new shoes she replied “yes ma’am”. The waitress will set their plates down at a restaurant and they wait and don’t act like piranhas who are just being fed. Manners are really simple to teach… it just requires consistency and effort. But in the end… it does make life a little more simple. To me, I feel like teaching manners teaches my children to value people and show them worth. Something very simple, but profoundly beautiful! I adore this one so much. And I have to agree… hearing Brady say yes m’am and thank you without my prompting fills my heart to its brim.
EVERYONE SOAP FOR KIDS: My sister gave me a bottle of this stuff and I love it! It completely simplifies my bathroom. It’s 3 –n-1: shampoo, shower and bubble bath. And its cruelty-free, paraben-free, polysorbate-free, disodium EDTA free, gluten-free, sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate-free, non-GMO verified. ALL that good stuff! I’m not an overly cautious mom when it comes to things like that but I want to be more cautious and more proactive… and when I find a great product that just happens to be gentle and fragrant with ingredients and essential oils that are pure, natural and organic especially designed for kids, then well it’s a win/win!!! It comes in 3 different scents and right now I’m loving the orange squeeze. And mom’s…. I can testify that it also works great on our hair as well.
Follow along with Casey at:
Website: http://www.caseychappell.com <–Starting today and running the whole month of October, Casey will be doing a 31 day blog series on Adoption. Anyone considering adoption, or those who just want to learn more, this is somewhere great to start.
THE SIMPLICITY SERIES features busy gals, in different stages of life, making what matters happen and tips and tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Simplicity is about building margin into your life and spending time on and with that which fuels your heart. While we love to share products and services that help us day to day, but simplicity is about HEART and intentionally choosing the thing that matters most (your TREASURE) more than anything money can buy. We wear many hats and we know you do too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34