Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Thanksgiving was already a week ago (?!), and I wanted to get a few photos up from our turkey-filled celebration. We were blessed to spend Thursday at Steve's parents' house with his family, plus my mom and stepdad, and a family from church. Then on Friday, we enjoyed a special "Friendsgiving" with my girlfriends and their families. It was a great time!

Right before dinner, the boys painted brown kraft paper, I cut it into feathers, and we made festive headdresses :)

Nolan is becoming a better eater, but he'd still rather take a few bites and get back to playing!

Ephraim was happy with a few rolls, and hasn't yet grasped the deliciousness of pie.

My view at Thanksgiving (plus there was another table of people in the other room.)

 I always look forward to sweet potatoes with marshmallows and green bean casserole :)

I spent Friday morning baking these two pies -- Paula Deen's pumpkin cream cheese and my favorite, French Silk. This was the first time I made my own crusts, so I'm going to need some more practice ;) At Friendsgiving, the French Silk was gone quickly!


The boys ready for Round Two.

My friend Ashley hosted, and her decorations are always adorable!

Steve volunteered to carve the turkey. We had 14 adults and 17 kids!

We had such a fun time! We are so grateful for the friends and family that are living here in town with us. 

On to Christmas!! :)

Journaling + a Giveaway

Recently, I've learned that I am someone who needs to write everything down. I've always known that I'm a listmaker. I need to get all of my to-dos out on paper. I can't grocery shop without a written list, and I operate best with a calendar on the wall in my kitchen. But only recently have I realized the importance of journaling in my life. I need to write out my thoughts, prayers, dreams, and goals. I feel SO much better when I can scribble out the words to my feelings. It is therapeutic for me, and it helps me to process whatever highs and lows I am going through.

Last month, a group of gals from church and I formed a Bible study. The focus is on being still in the Lord, and we are doing a lot of journaling and creative things. It was the push that I needed to start journaling on a regular basis. During our last meeting, we made bookmarks with one word that we felt God calling us to. I chose "freely" from The Message's paraphrase of Jesus' words in Matthew 11. 

"Come to me. Get away with me, and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I love those verses! And I especially love the idea of living freely with Jesus.

Soon after I started into this Bible study, I was offered a chance to review a pretty Bible Journaling Kit from Ellie Claire. With pages of stickers and colored pencils and a cute green carrying case, I knew it would be perfect for my new journaling hobby.

With this kit, you can create a work of art on the pages of your Bible. I love the colorful tab stickers to mark encouraging verses that speak to your heart.

The kit comes with:

·         4 sheets of word stickers
·         4 sheets of alphabet stickers
·         24 tab stickers
·         8 colored pencil twists
·         1 journaling pen
·         1 pouch with adjustable strap to fit Bibles of all sizes
·         1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines

Buy it through these following stores:
            Barnes & Noble:
Christian Book Distributors:

Enter for a chance to win the Bible Journaling Kit by using the Rafflecopter below!

For another chance to win the kit (from the company website), click here. There are also some free printable coloring pages through that link. :)

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Baby Zimm's Surprise Sprinkle

For the past few months, a group of seven of my friends and I have been meeting for a book club. On our Facebook page, someone offered meeting up on Friday the 18th to wrap up the particular book we were reading at a restaurant downtown. Normally, we meet at someone's house, but I didn't question a chance to eat out at my favorite place with friends. After I arrived, the hostess took us through the restaurant, then through the kitchen, and out the back door into the alley. I was a little confused where were going, but when we approached a second building, they opened up the door and I saw many faces that I didn't know were going to be there. . . my mom, my mother-in-law, a friend from church, a couple of friends from MOPS, and two friends from out-of-town. My mind immediately pieced together what was going on, and I was so surprised! It was a baby sprinkle for me! They all did such a good job of keeping a secret. :)

My friends Ashley and Heidi (in the first photo) thought of all of the cute details. The theme was "Falling in Love with Baby", and it was ADORABLE!

The table was full with fall-colored donuts from the best donut shop in town, the prettiest diaper cake, favor bags, and presents.

The tables were set with lovely flowers, multicolored leaves, acorns, and little pumpkins. All of the details were perfect. We dined on bruschetta, spinach-artichoke dip, salads, and rich Italian entrees.

My mother-in-law Alice, me, and my mom.

My friend Meghan :)

Baby #3 received some adorable new outfits, blankets, and books. And he is now set with bags of tiny diapers and wipes!

Even though it's our third boy, and we have plenty of boy clothes, it's so fun to receive a few new things for our brand new baby.

My friend Briana lives an hour south of us, so I was so happy to see that she came! She also has three boys, so we bond over that.

The favors were bags of cinnamon sugar Chex mix with Reese's pieces and candy corn. Yum!

My friend Dianna is due the same day as me! She already has her three boys, and is eagerly awaiting #4 - a GIRL!

Thank you SO much to my friends who generously "sprinkled" us last week. It was such a wonderful night, and I went home feeling more loved than ever. Steve and I are so blessed to have found the friends that we have in our little town. And our newest baby gets to be born into quite the fun circle of friends :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

November happenings

November is wrapping up (I can't believe it!), and I've gotten behind on my blogging. I'm going to try to write a couple of posts about Thanksgiving and my baby sprinkle in the next couple of days. I also have TWO giveaways coming up this week! But for now - here is a quick recap of the month of November :) It's been a great one!

At the beginning of the month, the Cubbies won the World Series!! What an amazing season!

My mom told me that when I was little, my dad used to raise my arms up and say, "Cubs win! Cubs win!" He would have been so happy to see them as champs this year.

Nolan built "Lego Mommy" out of his Duplos. The resemblance is uncanny, right? ;)

Steve defended his doctoral dissertation on November 4th. He passed! He worked for the following week on some revisions and touch-ups, and then he submitted it and applied for a December graduation!

I am SO SO proud of Dr. Zimm! It's been five years in the making, and we are ready for him to take the next step! He would like to get a full-time job teaching English at the college level.

I am not a huge fan of the time change with little kids - we had some super early mornings! I decided that next year, we're not going to change times at our house, we'll just convert everyone else's times to ours. ;)  While the leaves were still on the trees, the golden hour around dinnertime was beautiful, and we got a couple of cute pictures of the boys.

Ephraim Luke = 80% sweet, 20% fiery. I'm curious what his personality will be like when he's out of the twos!

 I want to frame this one, banana and all :)

 My favorite sign in town :) Why don't all stores have this?

My cousin Dayna and her family announced that they are moving back to Houston after living in Pennsylvania for two years. We are pretty bummed they are leaving, but knew all along that Pennsylvania might not be their permanent home. We had a fun afternoon of shopping at the outlet mall! And by shopping, I mean playing on the playground and eating mini donuts :)

 We tried "Peace, Love, and Little Donuts". Pretty good - they have a nice variety of flavors.

6 years, 5 years, 4 years, 2 years, and 10 months!

My cute little fireman dressed up at a playdate with friends.

Ephraim went through a week or two of fighting naps, but he still crashes hard in the afternoons. Love this peaceful little face, his luscious eyelashes, and the Anna bandaid he insisted on putting on his neck after a toy-feud with his big brother.

I was not a very good photographer on this little trip, but two weeks ago we drove to Chicago and back in less than two days! My aunt and uncle in Minnesota wanted to pass on my great-grandfather's Shopsmith, and Steve was very interested. On Friday night, we drove from PA, they drove from MN, and we met at my other aunt and uncle's house in suburban Chicago. We had some great conversations and a Lou Malnati's feast, and then we headed back home after breakfast on Saturday. It went very smoothly, even with two little guys in the car!

My Aunt Meg makes a praline french toast casserole that is absolutely delicious!

Nolan continues to breeze through his schoolbooks. He loves to write and I end up with stacks and stacks of papers and doodles that he's made and doesn't want to throw away :)

This was my 33 week photo. (I'm now at 35.) Baby kicks all the time and has hiccups at least once a day. I am so very excited to see what he looks like after all this time!

This is how I feel most days, too, Ivy. :)  Pregnancy is still going well, though I am constantly tired. I want to be able to do more things and be more active, but it's not happening. Five more weeks!! I can't believe it!

Out on a walk with me and their little black dogs, Hammie and Miami. :)

After six weeks, the kitchen is almost put back together now! We are still waiting on countertop from Lowe's. Steve has lots of finishing touches to do, like a tile backsplash, a sink structure, and pantry shelving. But our cabinets are painted, the doors and windows have trim, and the oven and dishwasher are back in action :)

Steve has done the whole project by himself, but he does accept "help" from little hands :)

Winter is definitely here. We had one last 70 degree day, and then it dropped below freezing and snowed the next day. I can't wait to start decorating for Christmas this week!

Thanks for checking in with us :) :) Again, come back for a couple more updates and giveaways later this week!


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