Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

In 2015 Hunter and I binge watched the show Friday Night Lights faster than we had ever watched a show before. Actually, it's probably the only series Hunter has ever actually finished. We were obsessed. If you haven't seen the show, it's on Hulu and is a must! It's about a high school football team in Texas with an incredible coach. It follows the life of the players and the coach and whether or not you like football, I promise you'll like this show. And if you don't... then I have no words! Ha! In the show, the team chants "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't lose" before every game. Hunter and I became obsessed with this saying, along with half of America. We ended up adding it to our family motto because the saying holds so much meaning that we want our girls to embrace. Here's what the saying means to me...


Clear Eyes: Living life with a clear focus. I know that life gets hard. I know that things will always get thrown our way that may distract and deter us from becoming who we were meant to be. However, I think that living your life with clear eyes means having the ability to see clearly during the hard times rather than letting the end goal become blurry.



Full Hearts: I think that going through life with a full heart means living each day with gratitude. It means not taking what you have for granted and appreciating even the smallest things. When you have a heart full of gratitude, you're sure to see the good in each situation. I also think it means keeping your heart full of love, passion, confidence, honesty, humility, and dedication. It means working on yourself to become your best self and the best way to do that is to keep your heart full and your path (eyes) clear. 


Can't Lose: At the end of the day, if you've given it all you've got, you cannot lose. This slogan means so much more than simply winning the game, but also imparts the importance of being the best version of yourself. Because if you win with a hard heart and blurry vision, did you really win at all? By approaching life with honesty, heart, and accountability, the "loss" is not really a loss. Instead, this saying imparts the value of doing one's best and accepting that it doesn't always mean "winning" in the world's eyes. The important element here, is that it does not mean the non-winner is a loser, but rather that by upholding values of perseverance, humility, and dedication, the individual is a winner regardless of what the "scoreboard" says.

As the girls get older and life gets tougher, I hope they always remember to keep their eyes clear, their hearts full, and remember that winning isn't all about a number or a "prize" but rather what's on the inside. 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy





0

Being Her Example

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

As we put Oaklyn down for bed tonight, Hunter asked... "are her eyes brown?" He has always wanted a brown eyed girl. His eyes are brown, the only one in his family, and when the nurse in the hospital told us Oaklyn's eyes are brown Hunter was thrilled. Over the past 4 years, I've noticed hints of green and bits of gold in the sun so I personally think they are more hazel. But, Hunter is still holding out for his brown eyed girl. So when he asked again tonight if her eyes looked brown, I responded as I usually do; "yeah they have some brown, but I see some green too." Oaklyn then looked up at me and said, "just like you, right mom? Me and you both have green in our eyes, right?" I responded with "yeah mine have a little bit of green in them." Then Hunter said, "but you also have brown like daddy!" Oaklyn did not like that answer and quickly let him know that her eyes are like mommy's and not his. Oaklyn is pretty much a spitting image of Hunter, with my hair. We hear it all the time, but Oaklyn doesn't like it. She is always telling me that her hair is like mine and not her dads. That her clothes are like mine, her smile is like mine, one time she even told me her pinky looks like mine. I've always thought it was sweet that she wants to be just like me, but today it felt sweeter than ever. As she looked up at me with a little wrinkle in her nose and the cutest baby teeth smile, I felt so much joy that I was raising a daughter that wants to be just like me. 


After putting Oaklyn to bed and getting ready to put myself to bed, I started thinking more about raising my daughters. I felt so excited for the future... for back to school shopping, for prom dresses, for lunch dates, cooking holiday meals, for dance recitals, trips to get our nails done, girl talk, planning their weddings, and for teaching them that they are strong women. I kept coming back to Oaklyn's words, "Just like you mommy." They kept playing in my head. She wants to be just like me. She wants to look like me, act like me, talk like me, dress like me, and right now I am her biggest example of what a woman should be. My daughters will grow up knowing their mother did things a certain way, and then be able to choose if that's the way they want to do them. So, I hope to be setting the best example I can be. Whether we like it or not, we all become like our mothers... right? I hope as my girls grow older, I give them an example theyare proud to mimic. If you choose to drink orange juice with your breakfast every morning, chances are your daughter will too. If you choose to wear heels to church every week, your daughter will probably beg you for a pair of heels. If you show an interest in dance, your daughter will probably want to be a dancer. Our girls want to be just like their mommies, so let's give them an example we're proud of. We're raising the future of women and it's up to the mamas of little girls to be an example of strength, love, integrity, kindness, positivity, devotion, and virtue. I feel like if I want my girls to turn out the way I hope, I need to make sure I'm a good example first. I hope my Oaklyn girl knows that she can be and do whatever she puts her mind to, but if she chooses to be like her mama, I promise to give her an example I'm proud to have her follow. 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


0

Easter Tablescape Using Pieces From Around Your Home

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Easter Countdown is on! Are you ready?? Honestly, this year it totally snuck up on me. I treally thought I had at least another week and it turns out this is the last week soooo... oops! This whole week I've been scrambling to find my girls matching Easter dresses for church and it was ridiculous how many stores I had to go to just to find some that are decently priced and decently cute. Alas, I found some and all is well in my 4 year old's world. As far as their Easter baskets go, I at least have the baskets... Clearly I have a busy next few days... 


I preach all the time that holidays will be as special as you make them. As the mom, or dad, or grandparent, or whoever you are reading this... you have the power to make your holiday as special as you want it to be. I personally try to make every holiday have a special meal. Some examples are heart shaped pizzas on Valentine's Day, a BBQ on the 4th of July, a fancy Christmas dinner, a chili dinner on Halloween, etc... Everyone does Easter a little bit differently but the most common meals are Easter dinner and Easter brunch. While I'm obsessed with Christmas, Easter is quickly becoming my favorite holiday to decorate for. I looooveee spring colors. The muted pinks and soft yellows mixed with robin's egg blue and sage green are just gorgeous with all the white and cream. I decorate my home with mostly white and grey and other muted colors so this holiday is so easy for me to just grab things I already have [or what my mom has ;) ] For this tablescape I chose to make the middle of the table a statement of all things Spring. I collected cake stands my mom and I already had, greenery we already had, bunnies we already had, and then just arranged them all together to look extra springy and extra well... EXTRA! The only penny I spent was on the silverware pockets which are from the Target Dollar Spot and were literally $1 for 8. So what should you be looking for around your house to make a pretty Easter tablescape? Start with a tablecloth. My mother in law had this rose pink one and some vintage lace doilies I threw in the middle. If you don't have one, go grab one from the dollar store for a dollar. They always have SO many colors. You can also go to a local thrift store. They have the best priced linens and a lot of them are super unique. If you want to invest in a tablecloth, here's a cheap option. Next up find some chargers and dishes. I used my moms white dishes because mine are still boxed up but here's an affordable option for white beaded plates that work for any occasion! The chargers are also my mom's but Amazon has a ton of galvanized charger options! I also just used some regular silverware in a paper pocket from the dollar spot. These would be super easy to make too! My mom had these adorable place card holders and I searched the internet for more with no luck... however I did find these adorable wood round place card holders as well as these burlap bow ones! Next Up you're going to want to find all the vases, cake stands, greenery, light colored florals, and other Easter/Spring decor from around your house. If you don't have any florals or greenery... head outside or to the store! I'm sure you'll be able to find bushes, trees, and other wild flowers in your yard to arrange together. If not, trader joe's, sprouts, and other grocery stores have great flowers for cheap! Baby's breath is one of my favorite cheap Spring options. Don't have any vases or cake stands?? Head to your nearest dollar store or thrift store! The dollar store always has vases that are begging to be spray painted and you can make your own cake stands by buying a plate, a candle holder, glass glue, and some white spray paint! I made some for Oaklyn's first birthday party and have used them numerous times since. When arranging, just let the creative juices flow. Work with the different heights and designs you have. I added some inspo photos below and hope that it gets you excited for your own Easter brunch of dinner! I'd love to see photos of what you come up with, so send them my way! 

All my love, 
Aleigh Joy








0

Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Butternut Squash and Pepita Salad

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I actually crave this salad daily.
Like woah, the flavor combination is the best.
It's probably tied with the strawberry beet salad (I'll post that one soon!) but even Oaklyn likes this one!
Butternut squash has such a yummy flavor. It's kind of sweet unlike zucchini squash or yellow squash. 
When it's roasted it has a little bit of a crisp outside and a bit of salt just makes it so flavorful.
We eat butternut squash as is, in soup, as a side, but it's my favorite in a salad. 
I love adding a bit of warmth to a salad, and a different texture. 
Paired with feta, pepitas, and apples... you guys it is SO good!


Ingredients:
- 1 butternut squash (or cheat and get the already cut up butternut squash at costco! It's the best!)
-1/4 cup roasted pepitas
-1 package crumbled feta
-1 apple of your choice (I loveee pink lady)
-Favorite Balsamic vinaigrette
-1 Roma Tomato
- Washed and dried arugula (or another leafy green you like but I love the flavor of arugula)

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you bought an entire butternut squash you'll want to cut and peel. If you bought precut, you're saving yourself some time! Make sure your squash is in bite sized cubes. Toss it with 1 tbs olive oil or other oil you have on hand. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and add cubed squash. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top to your liking. Bake for 30-40 min or until squash is fork tender and golden on the outside. 
2) While your squash is baking you can start to prepare the rest of your salad. You'll need to dice your apple into smaller than bite sized cubes. I use about 1/2 of the apple. Dice your tomato. wash and dry your arugula. 
3) Once your squash is ready and cooled down to a warm temperature, assemble your salad. I like to add the arugula first, then the squash, then tomato, then apples, next pepitas, and finally feta. I let each person add dressing to their liking. 


I love pairing this salad with some grilled chicken and Hunter loves it with some warm crusty bread. It would also be really good with some yummy tomato soup! No matter what you pair it with, this salad is sure to please!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy 

0

Heaven Can Heal

Monday, March 4, 2019
              

After church today we were listening to the Worth of Souls album. It's soo good, if you need some uplifting background music for your Sundays, this is it. This particular song really spoke to me today. The line "earth has no sorrow heaven can't heal" hit me hard. I've heard it before, but today it stuck. We're all going through something. Every single one of us. Each of our "sorrows" will look a little bit different. Each of those sorrows are also completely valid. I remember talking to a friend about the struggles she was going through and the sorrows she was feeling because of it. At the end of telling me all about her feelings she said "but I know that others have it way worse than me so I really shouldn't be complaining. I'm sorry for dumping all of that on you." You guys. I don't care if you're sad because your milkshake fell on the floor... you should never discredit the way you are feeling! Feeling is living. Feeling means you're human. Feeling helps you learn and experience. The problem lies when you dwell on those feelings and let them define you, your worth, your happiness, and your well being. One of my hardest emotional years was the year after Oaklyn was born because I was dealing with PPD. I remember feeling so insanely guilty for feeling sorrow when I had this beautiful baby in my arms. I felt so lame for wishing for a different life when mine was one others are praying for. But there lies the first problem. I chose to discredit my feelings. I chose to not give myself a chance to immerse myself in all I was feeling, I instead chose to bottle it all up and erupt when I couldn't keep it all in anymore. I chose not to remember that all the sorrow I was feeling, can and will be healed. There will be a day when we no longer feel this despair, weakness, and loneliness. That thought alone brings so much comfort and joy into my heart. That being said, I'm human. I know that the comfort lasts only long enough to get you through one emotional breakdown or obstacle... but the next one may not be far off. Thankfully, God has given us the strength to fight through the pain and sorrow we feel on this earth. In the scriptures we are told to be "strong and courageous" to not be afraid or discouraged... because the Lord is on our side. So how do we apply that to our daily lives? I have found that heaven feels close when my prayers are humble and I let Heavenly Father know that I cannot do this on my own. "Earth has no sorry that Heaven can't heal." I find so much comfort in knowing that Heaven is so much bigger than all of us. That there is a plan greater than us. That there is a Savior inviting us. Life hasn't exactly been easy for us these past few years. We've dealt with my post-partum emotional state, we've had a death that rocked our worlds, we've lived in numerous homes, struggled financially, felt discouraged, felt unappreciated and neglected, and several times we've felt completely knocked down. But we have always found comfort in knowing there will be a day when there will be trouble no more. 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy 
0

Oaklyn's Ballet Birthday Party

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
So, if you haven't figured it out by now... I'm kind of obsessed with party planning and party throwing. I love hosting guests, making holidays extra special, decorating anything and everything and always, always making all the above extra. Once I get a theme or a general color scheme going in my head, I can't stop! I know how silly this sounds, but it honestly makes me feel alive! I've always loved creating with my hands and mind. Sitting in a classroom and learning all things science or math... not my jam. Choosing the linens, centerpieces, and backdrops for a party... I'm all in! Having kids gives me several really good excuses to throw parties. Holidays, birthdays, special occasions, you name it! Last year I went a little overboard and really tired myself out. It was a really great distraction for a pretty tough year, but I promised Hunter this year would be cheaper, ha! Because even though party throwing is sooo fun, it isn't cheap! Oaklyn is just like me and wants any excuse for a party. When she found out her birthday was coming up, she couldn't stop talking about a party! I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted and it was an easy choice, a ballet party! Not only do pink and gold seem fitting for this kind of party, but I also already had a bunch of decor with this color scheme, score! That is one of my biggest tips, reuse decor! Save all forms of banners, centerpieces, and backdrops. Usually you can recycle them in some way or form. Anyways, since this is a "cheaper" year, we decided it would be at a time where a meal doesn't need to be served and we would just have treats. We also invited significantly less people. Previous parties have been a family affair, but Oaklyn made the guest list for this party which consisted of her little girly besties. SO cute! The girls came dressed in their tutus, we decorated crowns, danced with a ballerina, hit a pinata, played in the backyard, and ate lotsssss of treats! Seeing Oaklyn's smile was soo worth blowing up over 100 balloons and baking a million treats!














The treat table was the focal point of the party. The backdrop stand is from amazon, linked here. We hung white curtains on them from IKEA to create a clean slate backdrop. I made the balloon arch with leftover balloons from Cambria's birthday party and a couple more packs from the dollar store. I don't know a for sure number but I think there's over 100 balloons in there. I did the threading method which I showed on my IG stories! Saved under the party prep highlight! The pink tablecloth is from the dollar store and the gold sequin one is from Amazon, linked here! Some cake stands were borrowed from my mom and others are mine, but cake stands are seriously the best thing to collect if you plan on hosting! They are perfect for every party and look so cute! The treats were funfetti cupcakes, gooey rice krispies with sprinkles and pink chocolate drizzle, oreo truffle pops, cheesecake cups, pink goldfish, and donuts. I made the cake and it was so fun! I actually made the cake and cupcakes a few days before and froze them. It made frosting the cake way easier and made for saving time the day before and day of. I frosted the cake and decorated it the day of. It started to lean because the lollipops were so heavy, oops! But a little more cardboard saved the day! I love baking cakes from scratch but it honestly is just too time consuming with everything else so I've started doctoring up boxed cake mix with a packet of instant pudding mix! It's the best! Just add a little more oil and water and you're golden!






We pushed two 6 ft tables together for the girls to sit while they ate and decorated. I rented the chairs from Allie's Party Rental and always love their service! The plastic pink tablecloths are from the dollar store. They're super thin and lightweight and honestly I love that we can just throw them away once everything is done! The sequin runners are from Amazon, linked here. The centerpieces were mason jars painted pink then distressed with twine hot glued to the mouth. I used my cricut to cut out the numbers and the ballerinas. How I made the poof balls are also on my party prep highlight. I made the gifts banner years ago for Oaklyn's first birthday and have kept it since and reused it 3 times! The tassle banner is also from her first birthday and has been reused several times! On the drink table we had pink lemonade, pasta salad, and onion dip with potato chips.














The girls had lots of fun decorating little crowns with jewels and stickers. The crowns were found at Hobby Lobby and were like $5 for a pack of 8! Don't forget that 40% off coupon! Then they danced around with a "real" ballerina with some ribbon wands and it was the cutest thing ever! The ballerina was my brother's girlfriend... she's the best and the girls loved her! I played some Frozen songs and Baby Shark and it was too cute! Then they hit a pinata and went crazy over all the candy! In their pink bags were little jewel rings from the dollar store and more plastic crowns from Party City. They also used those bags for grabbing the candy. 









After that we sang, ate cake, opened presents, and played around in the backyard. It was a fun little party and I'm so glad Oaks had a blast! 

If you have any more questions about where anything came from or how it was made, feel free to message me!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy
0