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5 Inspiring Kids Room DIYs
I can remember redecorating my room and rearranging the furniture at least twice a year as a kid. Obviously, I started early in the home decorating world. I even managed to convince my parents to let me paint my room a couple of times (yes... a couple. Not just once).  Of course, there was no Pinterest at that point, so my inspiration came from places I visited, things I loved and my grandmother's Southern Living Magazine.  Since then, my style has changed and evolved and, of course, it's matured as well. But when I was decorating my daughter's nursery in preparation for her arrival a couple of years ago, I realized how much fun there was in using your imagination to create an inspiring space for little ones, and it reminded me of how much I loved to create those kinds of spaces as a kid. Artwork Today, I look at Ash growing like a weed {way too fast for my taste} complete with changing tastes and preferences, and I am having a blast creating inspiring, fun spaces in her bedroom to keep up with her interests. Photo Gallery I'll have some of our own DIYs coming up this summer to help you do the same for your kids' rooms, but in the meantime wanted to share some of the best tutorials and inspirational DIYs we've found from our fellow bloggers.

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5 Inspiring Kids Room DIYs

  1.  DIY Ruler Growth Chart
Growth Chart

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After Ashlyn was first born, I kept seeing these oversized rulers everywhere {for way more money than I cared to spend}. Thankfully, there was no shortage of inspiration in the blogosphere for making my own! I'll be sure to share my own tutorial soon along with some tips for what worked best for me, but in the meantime, check out Simply Kierste's tutorial.  We think her beautifully stained growth chart is completely swoon-worthy! 2.  DIY Magnetic Chalkboard DIY Magnetic CHalkboard

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For my daughter's first birthday, I really wanted to get her a magnetic chalkboard because she loved the "chalkboard" we made out of the side of our refrigerator for her {tutorial to come on that one}. All I could find in stores that was semi-reasonably priced, though, were the freestanding easels, and I just didn't feel like there was enough room to add a freestanding object to her already crowded bedroom. Again, there were seemingly unlimited options out there for ways to create your own, and I stumbled upon Fawn Over Baby's tutorial using a Walmart oil drip pan from the automotive department.  I'll be sharing my tutorial later this summer, but be sure you head over to Fawn Over Baby to see how she made hers and even painted the magnets themselves! 3.  DIY Book Display Shelves Space-Saver-Bookshelf-07

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This is one that I haven't tried yet, but am excited to try after reading this post by Yellow Bliss Road! My fellow S&L Founder, Amanda, has plans to add something similar in her kids' room, so we'll be sure to post a tutorial. For now, check out what a great use of space these shelves are! They're made out of trim, using the lip on the back side of the trim as a ledge to hold books in place. It's a brilliant idea, and a great way to keep clutter at bay. 4.  DIY Crib Skirt Crib Skirt

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Crib bedding is ex.pen.sive.  Way too expensive, in my humble opinion, for a crib that your little one is going to grow out of anyway.  When I was planning Ashlyn's nursery, I knew I wanted a cute chevron crib skirt in coral and, of course, couldn't find one even remotely within my price range that matched the color of coral I was going for.  So, thank you again, Pinterest, because I stumbled on this tutorial from The Lil House That Could, and it turned out perfectly! The best part? It was completely no-sew; what a time-saver! Now that Ashlyn is in a toddler bed, I'm excited to try a ruffled skirt which will attach in a similar fashion to this.  Of course, there will be a tutorial up on the blog later this summer to show you how it turned out! 5.  DIY Kids Reading Teepee teepee3

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For Ashlyn's first birthday, I really wanted to get her one of these. There were cute ones all over the place, again, for more money than our small budget would allow.  I looked at a lot of tutorials, and this was the first one that really caught my attention.  It is just beautiful and such a bright and happy place for a little one to crawl into to read or play with toys or stuffed animals.  I actually ended up making one a little bit differently using a dropcloth which has since had an "accident" and been covered in red lipstick, so I'm on to a new design with some really cute fabric I found on sale at Hobby Lobby.  Our tutorial will be up later this summer, but in the meantime, I would encourage you to check out Thrifty & Chic's tutorial here! We are just blown away at how stunning it is! There you have it!  Our top five kids room DIYs.  We'd love to see what you've done to transform your kids' rooms, so comment below or tag us in a photo using the hashtag #saltandlifekids!  Happy crafting! Jess Signature
S&L Devos: Faith Like A Little Child

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven".                      Matthew 18:2-4

As soon as we crossed the wooden bridge and put our toes in the sand, my daughter's face lit up. "So many waters," she said. "That's right. There is so much water in the ocean," I replied. Her face in awe, she took slow step after slow step down to the shoreline, stopping every few minutes to examine the sand that was creeping between her toes. "Oh, what's this?" she exclaimed. "That's sand, babe." "Oh, sand!" she said with a smile. There are hardly words to capture the childlike wonder she exuded from every pore that first day on the beach. She could not take her eyes off the water. She was mesmerized and in complete awe of something so much bigger than her.

I sometimes think we are given the greatest example of what it means to follow Christ in our own children. They look at the big world around them and are not fearful. Instead, they are joy-filled and stand in awe. I think they recognize how small they are in comparison, yet they don't underestimate their ability to enjoy and participate in it.

Jesus told the crowd in Matthew 18 that anyone who becomes as humble as a little child will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Humility is recognizing how small we are in comparison to a great and mighty God, yet not underestimating our importance in His Plan.

I don't know about you, but I struggle with unworthiness.  I am a sinner.  I screw up royally, and Satan uses my failures and my weaknesses to twist the knife of insecurity in my back.  There seem to always be these lurking questions about my worthiness; questions like, "You don't deserve that kind of love. What have you done to to deserve that?" and, "You haven't spent nearly enough time one-on-one with God for Him to love you and use you. What makes you think you can lead others?" Maybe the lies the enemy tells you look the same, or maybe they're phrased differently, but it is frighteningly easy to listen to them.

In some respects, Satan is right. I don't deserve the kind of love God gives me, and I don't do enough, give enough or spend enough time some weeks with Him to deserve to be loved and used for His Kingdom. The beauty of it is that we don't have to deserve it, and this is what Satan conveniently leaves out.  We don't have to be perfect or even close to it for God to use us.  He has given us grace!

His grace is what makes us worthy, and that is truly humbling.  That's the truth that knocks me to my knees, not out of shame, but out of thanksgiving and praise. And that humility is what God wants from us.  He wants us to recognize that we need Him; that nothing we do is through our power.  It's all His.  Nothing is for our glory.  It's for His.

I don't know about you, but I want to be the kind of humble Jesus is describing in Matthew.  I want so badly to never take for granted how powerful He is and how loving, and to recognize that no matter how much or little I mess up on any given day, He can still use me to further His Plan and grow me in the process.

The next time you find yourself struggling with the deception of the enemy, wrestling with the suggestion that you don't deserve love or goodness or joy, remember that a humble spirit is all God requires of you for greatness, and remember that nothing you could ever do would make you worthy of His good and precious gifts. He has made you worthy.

If you are struggling to find your identity in Christ, we would encourage you to visit Lane of Roses where you'll find stories of healing from women just like you. If you're local to Lexington, they're hosting an Ice Cream Social tonight at The Roastery in partnership with Angelic Magazine. It will be a wonderful night of worship and community with other women. We'd love for you to join us there!

We would also love to pray for you. Leave us a comment or send an email to saltandlifeblog@gmail.com.

Faith Like A Little Child

How to Get Your Baby to Nap for a Long Time

  • How to get your baby to nap for a long freaking time...

and beat that dreaded catnap!

Ok, I'm not going to claim that I have figured out this enigma that is baby sleep. But I have been through at least two children so far, and I've battled the catnap with both of them. The one thing I know for certain is that every child is different. What works for one, may not work for another. What I talk about here may not help you. I've done countless google searches on baby sleep and "how to get your baby to nap for a long time" and kept running into the same, basic, unhelpful information that was either a "duh" thing (such as, "look for babies sleep signals to know when they are tired) or just didn't apply to my child (i.e. see previous example - sleepy signals mean nothing to my kids). Every once in a while I would stumble upon a helpful piece of information that might start the ball rolling in the right direction and lead to my "eureka!" discovery of what would help my baby to nap for a long time. Those are blessed web pages to me and hopefully this post will be one of those for you!

I have two children. And what worked for my first, did not work for my second. So let me give you two different approaches and maybe one of them will be what works for your child. I wish I could assure you that one of these approaches would definitely work. I understand how frustrating it is to deal with little to no daytime sleep. I'm here to help! We literally have to be detectives to try and figure out these little people and what makes them tick. And the second we figure something out, they like to change it up on us to keep us guessing. Ah, such is parenthood.

Approach #1 - My First Child

I'm going to pass on to you some advice I received from MODG blog. It literally saved my life and my sanity. Her blog has since ceased to exist but this information needs to remain on the internet so here you go! I'm going to do my best to remember and relay it to you here. How to get your baby to sleep for a long, freaking time.

Number one piece of advice: stick to the schedule. What was that? Stick to the schedule!!! No matter what. What is that magic schedule? Wake up by 7 am. Still sleeping at 7 am? Wake that baby up. It seems cruel and will go against everything you feel is right in the world. It will make your mommy skin crawl to do it, but it must be done. Number two: make your day a freaking party. Go outside, dance, act silly, do whatever it takes to wear out and keep your baby awake until that first nap at...10 am. Not before and not after. What's that? They only took a 30 minute cat nap? Tough. They will now wait until the second nap time at 2 pm. This is crucial. Don't give in!! They will act SO tired by noon and you're gonna wonder how they will make it TWO MORE hours, but you need to make it happen. No car rides should happen at this time, no stroller rides, nothing that would allow sleep to happen before 2 pm. Stick to that schedule! It's important. Ok you've made it to 2 pm. I'm not gonna say this is definitely gonna happen, but that first day, my perpetual cat napper, napped for two hours at that afternoon nap. And me? I got my sanity back. After this second nap, car rides can be had, anything goes, but bedtime is 8 pm. I think it's helpful if you have also sleep trained your child to go to sleep on their own, but even if you haven't, this can still work. This method is not for every child. But if watching for sleepy signs and timing wakeful periods hasn't been cutting it for you, give this method a good solid try. A week of being consistent should be enough to know if it's working.

Approach #2 - My Second Child

I must admit something first: I have been selfish about this kid's sleep. I want  need a two hour (minimum!) break in the middle of my day. This requires both children to sleep at the SAME time. Is this possible? Yes. But it does require some flexibility on the part of said second child.

He is pretty different from his sister. One major difference is that his awake periods are much longer than hers were at this age. When I started stretching her awake periods with the above method, I was so concerned about how she would do. She was very easily overstimulated and would get overtired a LOT. I dealt with screaming and crying anytime that happened (although with the nap schedule, it seemed to wear her out just enough to sleep well). I've rarely seen this boy get overtired. Four hours awake has been no big deal to him for months. So after a couple of months struggling to get him to take his recommended TWO naps a day, he has pretty nearly dropped his morning nap at 9 months old. If we are out running errands or go for a morning walk, he may take a little snoozey catnap, but most mornings he doesn't. He wakes anywhere between 6 and 7 am and he naps from about 12:30/1 pm until 3/4 pm, along with his sister. He slept through the night for the first time earlier this month and continues to sleep decently through the night, so I'm rolling with it.

The kicker is that I do allow him to take that long afternoon nap in MY bed. I usually lay beside him, savoring those quiet hours to watch YouTube/Netflix on my phone (with headphones) or take a small nap myself. It enables me to gently help him back to sleep if he stirs too early. I spent a week trying to sleep train him to nap in his crib and we made some great strides! Then we took a weekend day trip to the zoo. BIG mistake. We came back and the next day it was like we had started all over. I was done at that point. I WILL try again eventually. But one thing I have learned with this second baby is that my husband is right (don't tell him I said that)...things will work out. He isn't going to be napping in my bed forever. I am choosing to go with what works for us at this stage in our lives. I cherish his sleeping cherub face beside me and the relaxing hours of peace that help to replenish my nighttime sleep deficit.

So if what you are doing is working for you, but it's not what you think you're supposed to be doing - try not to worry about it too much. They're only little once (TOLO!! *Yes, I'm corny. I crack myself up, even if no one else finds me funny. Lol.*) Good luck mamas!! May you get your happy hour (or two or three) that is naptime. You deserve a break and that baby deserves some quality, restorative sleep.

Amanda Signature

Father’s Day Photo Shoot
 
I was scouring Pinterest for THE Father's day craft to do with the kids and share with you here and I just couldn't find one that I loved enough. There were lots of cute ones, don't get me wrong! But when you are a mom of two little ones with little patience to spare some days, and lots of things to fit into each day (who can't relate to that even without kids?!) I just didn't have the time or energy. So here we are, two days out from that special day to honor our dads and husbands and maybe you still don't know what to do. My go-to gift idea is this Father's day photo shoot and I am going to show you all the cuteness that can come from this 30 minute time investment. Now I will admit, some patience is necessary. It isn't easy to get kids to pose for a photo. But the best thing to do is just keep snapping! Somewhere in a sea of photos you may find one or two that will work. There were two photos that I did find on pinterest, that inspired my photos. You can find them here: [caption id="attachment_1200" align="alignleft" width="205"]97576010fe4b2936e96363155b5a9275 JJM Photography[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1201" align="alignright" width="145"]c5ac47d2e3e8a0b7cb57dfc69816d435 Debby Ditta Photography[/caption]     I decided to take the "dress up like dad" element and add the sign. I did this with just my daughter on her first Father's day. Below, you can see how our first Father's day photo shoot went. [caption id="attachment_1196" align="aligncenter" width="300"]10489808_657445582971_2775155995547800522_n Mommy Zopp photography ?[/caption]

Father's Day Photo Shoot Tips & How-To

  1. Choose an optimal time of day, both for sunlight and for your child's mood. I chose right after naptime because it gave me the morning to plan and get things organized. It was around 4 pm when we took our photos. When the sun hid behind the clouds, the light was perfect! Also in the shade of the tree, the light was nice. If it's too bright, the kids will have to squint their eyes. An overcast day works well too.
  2. Come up with a sign or a message for your photo. We used a chalkboard sign, but you can obviously go as simply as a piece of cardboard and a sharpie, like I did before. Another fun way to go is using wooden letters purchased from your favorite craft store. You may have also seen messages written on the bottoms of kids feet. I think that's adorable!
  3. Costumes! I dug out a couple of old button up shirts that my husband doesn't really wear anymore, just in case a grass stain happened. I tied the ties and then loosened them so they would be easy to slip over the kids' heads. Don't know how to tie a tie? Let both sides hang on either side of your neck, with the narrow side much shorter than the wide side (half the length of the wide side or shorter). Then, wrap the wide side over the short side, under and then over again. You've made a complete circle around it. Now, feed the wide side through the loop you've created by bringing it under, towards your body and up and over. Pull it through! Hold on to the narrow end to move the knot up and down. If that still doesn't make sense, I'm sure there's a youtube video to show you how.
  4. Button up the shirts except for the top few buttons, so you can slip them over their heads quickly. Roll up the sleeves (a LOT) and add the ties.
  5. Now, get them to smile! Or at least look in your direction, if you can.
  6. Finally, print your photos and frame them or make one into a pretty canvas photo. I have a hard time choosing just one! Here's what we were able to get out of our Father's day photo shoot:
P&S 4 Edited LogoP&S 3 Edited Logo P&S 2 Edited Logo P & S Edited Logo As you can see, none of them are perfect. I had some great ones of him smiling, or her laughing, but the other one would be scowling or looking away. Sigh. These are the best we could do, but you know what? Their daddy loved all of them. Perfection is not the goal, authenticity is much more memorable...it's also much more achievable. Amanda Signature
10 Father’s Day Gift Ideas
Father's Day is this Sunday! It's a little hard to believe it's already the middle of June... I'm still kind of letting that soak in. Anyway, I don't know about you guys, but I always struggle with gifts to get my husband. He's one of those people who goes out and gets what he wants throughout the year as he sees something and thinks gifts are generally unnecessary for that reason, so it's really hard to come up with something creative that he'll enjoy. Father's Day holds a little more promise, though, because handmade gifts from the kids always mean a lot to dads. My husband loves having pictures of our daughter to keep in the office, so that's always a great option, too. Tomorrow, Amanda will be sharing some handmade gifts to give to your husband or dad for Father's Day, but if you prefer to purchase a gift rather than make it , we've put together a Father's Day gift guide for you! I polled some dad friends of mine, and these are the top 10 gifts they said they'd love for Father's Day this year.

TOP 10 Father's Day Gift Ideas

1. Canvas Photo

Canvas I know we take tons of photos with our phones thanks to the wonders of technology, and we generally have access to those photos instantaneously. It's still nice to have photos printed, though. I'm not talking about the print it, stick it in a frame or a scrapbook kind. You can send your photos to Shutterfly and other sites as well as Walmart to have them printed on canvas in your choice of size. If you're more the adventurous sort, here is an awesome tutorial on transferring your photos onto canvas at home from Finding Home Farms. Either way, the dad in your life is sure to appreciate a photo of his kids that he can enjoy seeing every day in your home or office decor.

2. Car/Truck Detail

Driving My husband is really sweet and takes my car to be cleaned all the time because it just never crosses my mind. A great way to give back to him this year, and other dad friends agree, is to have his car or truck detailed. It will save him the trouble of doing it himself, and be one more thing he can check off his to do list this week.

3. Concert Tickets

concert-336695_1920 For the music lover in your life, why not grab him tickets to see his favorite band? Almost all of the dads I polled agree, they'd love to have time to enjoy themselves and do an activity they can't do with the kids around. A concert is a great way to unwind, relax and just enjoy the music!

4. Wireless Headphones

Wireless Earbuds Does the dad in your life work out? Does he do yard work or mow the yard? Does he like to watch action movies or sports after the kids have gone to bed but can't because it's too loud? These wireless earbuds are the perfect solution. They are Bluetooth enabled and can connect to any Bluetooth enabled device. Don't have Bluetooth enabled devices? They sell an affordable transmitter as well which automatically turns your device into a Bluetooth transmitter. The best part? They are an awesome product for a very affordable price! I bought these for my husband last year to use during his workouts, and he loves the freedom they give him to move without having to take his phone to every machine with him! The battery lasts for a long time and is charged via USB making it extremely convenient. Speaking from experience, this is a gift the dad in your life is sure to love!

5. Grill Set

steak-353115_1920 Not everyone loves to grill, but for the dads that do a grill set is an awesome gift! There are tons of affordable ones out there, and some incredible ways to display them as well. From top of the line to only what you need, there are literally thousands of options to choose from!

6. YetiYeti

The Yeti. This rambler seems expensive with a price tag of $29.99.  But it is worth it!!! If the dad in your life drinks coffee hot or likes cold iced tea, he will love this rambler.  Aside from being extremely durable, the Yeti will keep your drinks piping hot or ice cold for hours! Seriously, read the reviews. It's incredible!

7. Dollar Shave ClubDollar Shave Club

Every guy loves a close shave and a good beard trimming. The Dollar Shave Club provides just that with new razor replacements every month and a line of products that pamper him as much as a guy can be pampered! This is a club, meaning there's a membership, but the membership is free! You just pay for the package you want and select your frequency. If the dad in your life doesn't shave as often, sign up to have his razors delivered every other month instead of every month.  This is my husband's father's day gift this year, and I know he's going to absolutely love it!

8. Digital Magazine/Book Subscription

e-book-1209040_1920 For the reader in your life, go digital and give them the gift of a magazine subscription or book club membership. The benefit to buying a digital subscription is most can be accessed on any device at any time through a variety of apps. It has the added benefit of cutting down on clutter in your home! Save the book buying for those volumes you know you'll decorate with and read, and give the gift of a digital subscription this Father's Day.

9. Massage

massage-389716_1920 Some guys may not be into this, so be sure you've done your due diligence before buying him a massage. My husband has back issues, though, so massages are one of his favorite gifts to receive; and even guys love to be pampered every once in awhile. Plus, imagine the quiet he'll get to experience! One of the dads I polled said he'd love the gift of sleeping in. Well, this is the next best thing!

10. Apple Music Membership

Apple Music

Last, but not least, get him an Apple Music subscription. It costs around the same price as Netflix and gives him access to all of his favorite music in one spot, synced to all of his devices. I am a firm believer that music is one of the greatest ways to relax, so give him the gift of relaxation this Father's Day by purchasing a subscription like this one. Is he an Android user? Many of these subscription apps are available on Android as well! There you have it! 10 ideas to get you started on gift giving this Father's Day. Leave us a comment and let us know what you're giving this year! Jess Signature
A Dad’s Perspective
Father's day is this Sunday and while I have a father, I don't know much about being one. So I decided to take an inside look through the eyes of my husband, to get a dad's perspective on parenting. He's a really good daddy and I think that is evident in a lot of his answers to the following questions. Ask your own husband or father some of the same questions. You may be surprised at how they answer. How many children do you have? How old are they? Two that I know about. (he says with a smirk) They are 2 1/2 and 9 months Why did you want children? When I was a kid, my mom and dad always wanted us to wait on them and do stuff for them, so I thought it would be cool to have little people to serve me. But on a more serious note, I've always liked kids and always imagined I would have some of my own. It's an opportunity to pass on a legacy and to teach and train them about the important things in life and about how to help others. What is your first memory with each of your children? I cried when I first saw each of them. I just felt overwhelmed with emotion and I couldn't believe they were finally here and how beautiful they were. What's your favorite thing to do with each of them now? Paisley - When I come home and she's just getting ready to go to bed, we lay in bed and she tells me about her day. Also, morning cuddles when she watches cartoons. Simon - We like to forehead wrestle. But also, I just love watching him grow and learn new things. What's one thing you hope to teach them? If I could only teach them one thing it would be what it really means to have a relationship with God. In our society today there are so many misconceptions about Christianity and the church. If I can just teach them to love God and love others, everything else is going to fall into place. The Bible has something to teach us about everything, from daily relationships, to finances. What's the best part of being a dad? I get to be the fun one. Lol. No, I think the best part is just getting to watch them grow and change. Right now they are both at stages where they are learning lots of new things, talking, walking, etc. That's my favorite part right now. What's the hardest part of being a dad? Discipline. Not that it's hard to know when, but because I want to see my kids happy. I can see how so many parents end up spoiling their kids. I've even fallen into that myself at times. It's difficult to see them upset, even when I know it's the right thing to do. What's the best piece of advice you can give for a dad to be? It has absolutely nothing to do with the kids. Right after having a baby, you have to remember you have a wife that has just gone through a physically, mentally and emotionally taxing experience and needs a break once in while. As a guy it's hard to always understand the emotional side. I have to take a step back and try to look at things from her perspective. I think if you can do that, things will go a lot smoother because she feels supported. It will help her be a better mom and you be a better dad. It's a team effort. What do you think you do really well at as a dad? Diffusing difficult situations, such as emotional meltdowns. Either from the children or my wife. (I can't argue with this.) What do you hope to improve on? I think it's evident from the previous questions that there's not much to improve on 😉 (maybe some humility) Probably the way I react, or how quickly I react. It's easy for me to lose my patience and forget that my two year old is only two and doesn't understand everything that I do. What did your own dad contribute to how you parent now? He was kinda the fun dad. All of my friends wanted to be around him because he would joke around and have fun with us. He was also always very vocal in letting us know that he loved us and showed us affection. I want my kids to always know that even when I am upset with them, I still love them. Even though we don't live in fear, what's the thing you fight being fearful of? I really have to watch myself about playing out scenarios in my mind of bad things happening to my children. In those moments, I have to take that thought captive to God and allow him to stop that train of thought. Which parenting responsibilities are your favorite or least favorite? Are there some that should be mom chores and some that should be dad's? I think that all of them are mom responsibilities. I get to be the fun one.  (Saw that one coming) I don't think anybody likes to change diapers. If anyone says they do,they are a liar. Bathtime is kind of fun. Early on I made up a song about washing all the parts of the body and Paisley loved it. She started singing it along with me. Although my wife does take on the majority of the responsibilities, if she needs something to be taken care of and I'm there, I'll do it. I don't think any of them are just for moms or just for dads. How often should we get a date night? I would like it to be at least once a week. That doesn't always happen. It helps us both be better parents and a better hubad and wife. Any advice to moms? Is this a trick? This feels like a trick. Relax. I know it's hard to do moms, but in the end everything is gonna be ok. I know you probably think we (dads) need to not be so chill. But when you look back on all the things that right now feel like a big deal, 99% of them are going to turn out to be ok. I'd just like it to go on record that I was forced to answer this question. What's your idea of a perfect Father's day? Relax, grill out some good food, maybe go to the pool, take naps. Y'all think we wanna do something active. Most dads just wanna sit on the couch and watch TV until it's time to eat.     So there you have it, a dad's perspective. Sometimes, knowing a little bit more about what makes them tick, can help you give them a fathers day that really means something to them. You never know if you never ask! Happy Father's day to all the dads out there! Keep bringing the fun and making sure we moms stay cool under pressure. We couldn't do it without you. We will still try, but don't let us! 😉 Amanda Signature  
Frozen Coffee Protein Shake
Why is it so hard to make a great tasting protein shake yourself? Sure, I can pack up my daughter first thing in the morning and head out to a local shop where I have to then get her out of the car, go inside, wait in line, order, get my drink a few minutes later, put her back in the car, head home, get her out of the car and in the house and THEN sit down and enjoy my protein shake... And it would taste delicious. However {and pardon me for sounding lazy}, that takes a lot of work. You may have been blessed with kids who don't mind getting in and out of the car every five minutes, but mine gets fed up after the first time out. So I have made it my mission to find a great tasting protein shake that I can make quickly at home, and after a lot of failed attempts, I finally have one to share with you! {Mega bonus that it tastes like something Starbucks would make!!!}

DIY Frozen Coffee Protein Shake

What You'll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 1/2 cup of coffee
  • 1/2 cup of 2% milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Vemma because the taste is unbeatable and it's packed with nutrition)
  • 1 tbsp Nestle sweet cream creamer (or more to taste)
  • Truvia (if needed, to taste)
Ingredients for Frozen Coffee Protein Shake

instructions:

Blend all of the above in a blender for 15 to 30 seconds, pour into a glass and enjoy! Frozen Coffee Protein Shake Quite obviously, this does not contain enough coffee to replace your morning cup (or three, in my case), but it does give you a great jump start first thing. I'm more of a coffee with a splash of cream and Truvia kind of girl, so if you like your coffee sweeter (think Mocha Frappuccino, etc.) add more cream and natural sweetener to taste. I hope this helps get your day off to a great, and delicious, start! Jess Signature
S&L Devos: Joy

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Galatians 5:22

Most of us can probably name at least one person in our lives who we wish we could be more like. Not in a "I wish I had her hair" kind of way, but in a "Wow, they are really like Jesus" kind of way. God has blessed me with a lot of those people, and sometimes it's just downright overwhelming the giant leaps I still have to travel to get closer to Him and develop those strengths in my own life. One of these friends just exudes joy. No matter the circumstances, no matter the stress, no matter how tough it gets or how long the road is. She. Is. Joyful. #lifegoals 1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to "always be joyful, never stop praying, be thankful in all circumstances" because that is the will of God for our lives. Man, that's a tough pill to swallow, though. I lose my joy constantly, and not just in the giant, life-altering scenarios. I lose my joy when I don't get to drink a full cup of coffee in the morning or when I'm running late for work or when my two-year-old doesn't want to go to sleep. So how do we have joy? First, it's important to define what joy is. Joy is not happiness. It's not an ever-changing state of mind that sways with the circumstances. It stands in spite of the circumstances because joy isn't affected by what's on the outside, by what's happening in the world around us. Joy stems from the pure, unconditional love that our heavenly Father lavishes on us so freely. Joy stems from a Spirit-led life. Joy stems from faith in the One who created us. And certainly, joy stems from the knowledge that He has already fought all of our battles and He won! You know that verse about denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily? It's found in Luke 9:23, and Jesus is communicating to His followers the way to have true joy in your life, by surrendering to the will of God. His will? It's to "always be joyful, never stop praying, be thankful in all circumstances." Denying ourselves looks like many things, including not playing the comparison game, living generously and being intentional in spreading the love of God to others. That brings us joy, and that, my friends, is a fruit from the Spirit that we should all crave! Much like my joyful friend, my daughter showed me a glimpse of God's will for His children this past week. She was running along the shoreline, darting in and out of shallow waves, laughing without a care in the world. At one point, she lost her balance and immediately reached her hands up knowing that I would be there to pick her up out of the water, smiling broadly as soon as I did. See, she knows I am there for her without a doubt. She lives a joyful life, not one of fear, because she is loved wholeheartedly by someone who will always lift her up. That is how our heavenly Father wants us to live: always joyful, always praying, always thankful because His plans are better than ours and they are plans to prosper, not to harm; to give us a hope and a future! Share this with a friend today, and let us know how we can pray for you. Joy
DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint
One of the best things about warm summer days is getting outside! The more time we spend outside, the more fun we have, the less screen time we have and the longer my kiddos nap. All good things ;-). This DIY sidewalk chalk paint is an easy, simple way to spend some fun time in the sun. Plus it totally makes you that "pinterest mom" who does cool things with her kids. And they will absolutely love it! Some of the reasons why I love this activity:
  • It's so EASY
  • There are only 3 ingredients
  • It's safe for babies to eat...because they will eat it.
  • It's fun to make & fun to play with
  • It goes on like paint, but dries like chalk for easy clean up

How To Make it:

Mix 1 cup cornstarch & 1 cup water image Pour into muffin tin (we found this one at the dollar store) image Add Food coloring (we use gel food coloring which makes for bright & beautiful colors). My two year old was amazed at the magic of mixing two colors to make a brand new color. See, this is even an educational activity! Grab some paintbrushes and take it outside: image [caption id="attachment_1116" align="aligncenter" width="300"]She LOVES to paint. She LOVES to paint.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1118" align="aligncenter" width="300"]image Bon Appetit[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1123" align="aligncenter" width="250"]image It never takes long...[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1121" align="aligncenter" width="250"]image Nice.[/caption] imageimage [caption id="attachment_1117" align="aligncenter" width="300"]image I couldn't resist doing a little painting myself, Salt & Life style.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1122" align="aligncenter" width="225"]image And eventually, this happened. That's how we know it's done. LOL.[/caption] The best thing about doing this activity on a warm summer day? Next stop the kiddie pool! It's basically an outdoor bath, right? Ok, ok, I mean they did get a real bath...eventually ;-). I hope you guys give this fun activity a try! Feel free to take pictures of the masterpieces your kiddos create, either on the sidewalk or on themselves (ha! You know it's inevitable) and tag us on social media. We would love for you to share them with us! Amanda Signature image        
Coastal-Inspired Decorating
Summertime. There is just something peaceful about it. Sun. Sprinklers. The pool. Cookouts. Vacation. Don't those things just inspire joy? Now for some of us, vacation is slightly less relaxing than it used to be thanks to having a toddler or two in tow, but somehow having your kids with you makes it even more fun because they have such a sense of awe. My daughter and I are taking a few weeks away at the beach this summer, and she is enamored with all the things we take for granted so easily; things like chasing her shadow and outrunning the waves. To hold on to some of that seaside goodness, I like to use some coastal features in our home decor. I'm not much for decorating with shells and witty beach quote signs, but I do love the use of whites and bright neutrals with splashes of light aqua paints and accents. In my farmhouse-loving world full of stained wood, I love the contrast that white and sea blue bring to my Kentucky home, so of course I had to share with you some of my favorite coastal-inspired spaces and ways you can incorporate them into your home.

Coastal-Inspired Decorating: Tips and INspiration

It all starts with the curtains.

Floor-length white curtains with a slightly sheer aspect, to be exact, like these. Curtains set the stage for the room, and can actually make the room look bigger and your ceiling look higher if hung correctly. {Think wide and high.} White floor-length curtains in coastal dining room

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Use lots of white!

If you have kids, like me, and are worried about fingerprints or food or crayons {the list goes on...}, use a white slipcover that you can throw in the wash or bleach.  To save on buying a new couch, I used bleached drop cloths to make my own custom slipcover similar to this one.

A white or light colored sofa gives such a bright, airy feel to your home, and is a staple in the coastal farmhouse look.

White coastal-inspired sofa

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Accent furniture.

While we're focused on living spaces, a great coffee table is key. This is where you can incorporate things like reclaimed wood, a personal favorite of mine. We are always trying to find ways to add storage in our home, and a coffee table is the perfect way to incorporate that. Purchase it new or buy a used one and fix it up!

Light aqua coffee table with storage

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The right rug.

Jute rugs are next. They are comfortable, neutral and pretty durable as well making them perfect for sandy feet AND toddler feet. They're not just for the living room either. They can be used as hallway runners, patio rugs, in the living room or even the bedroom!

Jute rug in coastal bedroom

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The kitchen.

Of course, it's not coastal or farmhouse, for that matter, without heading into the kitchen. This is where families gather, meals are cooked, desserts are baked and coffee is made, making it arguably the most inspirational place in the house! Have I mentioned white? White kitchen cabinets and very light, gray-based walls will make even the smallest kitchen seem bigger. You have to try a little harder to give the kitchen that coastal feel, though, and a great way to do this is by incorporating that beautiful light aqua I mentioned earlier. Painting your island or base cabinets, for example, will do the trick. If you'd rather not commit to a blue paint color, blue tinted mason jars are another great way to bring out the coastal feel.

Fixer Upper Coastal Kitchen

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A splash of color!

To finish off the inside, add splashes of color to that neutral palette you've created! Dishes, vases, pillows, towels and bedding in light aquas and grays, white or wood lanterns and, of course, something green! Succulents are an easy way to add some green to bring the outside in, and those lanterns aren't just good for candle holding! Pot a succulent and set it inside the lantern for a low-maintenance vignette. Antique shops are full of tinted mason jars and old soda boxes. These make great decorative items and usually just need a little TLC.

Soda Try with Blue Tinted Vases

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That's it, friends! A few easy fixes can turn your home into a coastal farmhouse paradise, most of which you can make yourself. What are some of your favorite coastal spaces? Comment below or tag us on Instagram to let us know.

Jess Signature