My Style

My Style
My Style


In The Kitchen



7 Months Old!

7 Months Old

Suddenly we have a seven month old. Wasn't Knox just born last month? Where has my little newborn gone?!?! Even though I'm sad my baby is getting so big, I am loving this stage of life with Knox. He is so much fun right now. His mind is taking in so much and I love watching him change, grow and develop every single day.

Stats: We won't get the "official" measurements from the doctor until 9 months, so we have to settle with our measurements at home. I measured him at 27 inches and 18 pounds.

Development: Be on the lookout for an official crawler any day now!!! Knox often gets on his hands and knees and rocks; I can tell he wants to take off so badly. When he gets on his hands and knees he will launch himself forward in kind of a belly flop motion, get back up on his hands and knees and do it again. When something he wants is out of his reach, he tries so hard to reach it. His belly flop motion gets him to where he intends to go for now.  Knox has mastered sitting up! He loves to sit up and play with his toys. If he falls back, he isn't able to set himself back up so he will just flip onto his belly and roll around. This boy is always on the move. He also mastered the jumperoo in the past month and a half. The jumperoo is a new favorite thing and we are all thrilled. It is awesome to watch him light up with joy when jumping! I also love the jumperoo because he is contained for at least 30 minutes. Up to this point we have not dealt with any separation anxiety from him. He is perfectly content having any of our family, my friends and any of the girls in the nursery at church hold him. He's a social baby and loves people already!

Loves: He has developed some new loves recently. Number one is TAGS! Yes, if there is a large tag on anything, Knox will find it and put it in his mouth. He loves the big tag that comes on the boppy or his playmat. It is always funny to see him playing with something, look away and then look back to see he has found the tag. He also loves his feet! His feet end up in his mouth a lot.

Dislikes: The boy still doesn't like to wait on food. If he is hungry, he wants to be fed immediately!

Sleeping: His naps have somewhat improved. I've gotten more consistent naps out of him lately, but every so often he still throws me a curve ball with a 30-40 minute nap. His napping has also improved when he stays at my mom's house. Sleeping through the night is still happening and he has gotten much better about going to sleep. It is very rare that he will cry when we put him down each night, I think that is because his napping has also gotten better. He normally goes to bed between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and will usually wake up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. Occasionally he will wake up around 5 a.m., but he can put himself back to sleep after "talking" to himself for a bit.

Diapers: Knox is still in size 3 Pampers. We might be switching his nighttime diapers as they run a bit smaller, but his daytime diapers fit nicely.

Eating: The boy can eat!!! He loves food and never refuses anything we give him. I can tell that he doesn't really like green beans, but he still eats them. He loves sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pears and carrots. Since he is eating more purees and real food, he doesn't need tons of extra milk. But he still drinks four 8 ounce bottles of breastmilk each day.

Clothing: He consistently wears 6-9 month clothing.

Miscellaneous: Knox is a great traveler and does great in the car. In fact, it is pretty much guaranteed that if we are in the car he will fall asleep. He is still in the infant carrier car seat, but we think we will switch him to a convertible car seat soon.
He's got a terrific laugh and he squeals with delight over lots of things. I love to make him giggle because it makes my heart so happy. We are very lucky that he is a relatively easy baby. He's calm unless he is hungry or tired. I don't know how we got so lucky to have a calm baby, but I'm so thankful.


The Podcast Post

Favorite Podcasts

I've been a podcast listener for about three and a half years now; I started listening back when Serial first took over the world. Tolar and I discovered Serial when we were driving home on a long car trip and we were hooked from episode one! Since then, I've enjoyed adding podcasts to my life as often as I can. 

You can listen for entertainment, for spiritual growth, for business advice, for encouragement and on and on. If there is a topic you are interested in, I'm sure there is a podcast devoted to it. Every Wednesday I am in the car BY MYSELF for two hours (and it is glorious!) and I fill that time with podcasts. I've compiled a list of my all time favorite podcasts below. 

The beautiful thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them just about anywhere! Of course I love to listen to them in the car, but I also enjoy listening while I fold laundry or make dinner. With a podcast, you can work on something while you listen and you don't have to worry about missing something important because you couldn't look up at a particular moment. Turn that idle time into time for YOU and find a podcast that speaks straight to your heart. The opportunities for growth, just by listening to a podcast are endless.

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey - Quite possibly my favorite podcast. Jamie talks with guests about anything and everything and she does it in such a natural, relaxed way that you feel like you are sitting around a table with your girlfriends. I've felt deeply when listening to the stories shared and laughed quite a lot. Such a feel good, encouraging podcast to listen to. If you want to start anywhere - start here.

Rise - If you aren't a fan of Rachel Hollis, I'm not sure we can be friends. Seriously, anything this gal touches turns to gold. She's witty, she's a fabulous storyteller, she makes you feel, she gets you fired up for your dreams...just check her out. (And also buy her book "Girl Wash Your Face." If you listen to it on audible, it's just like a podcast)

For The Love with Jen Hatmaker - Similar to the two podcasts above, this is an excellent podcast to catch that brings so much truth and realness to the airwaves. I'm all about Jen Hatmaker's vibe lately - which is to love EVERYONE.

Goal Digger - Have you heard of Jenna Kutcher? She's a beast when it comes to running a business and she will inspire the HECK out of you. She's been podcasting for awhile and has quite the library of episodes banked. Want to know about building a social media presence? Listen to her - she knows her stuff.

Coffee + Crumbs - This podcast is put together by moms who share all sorts of stories about raising little ones. There is plenty of practical advice, awesome episodes on how to talk to your kids about tough subjects and lots of encouragement. Make sure to listen to the episode titled "Talking With Kids About Tricky People with Sam Sutherland" from July 2; it is chock full of awesome information.

True Crime 
Up and Vanished - Hands down one of the best podcasts I've ever listened to. The second season just started and I haven't yet listened to it, but the first season is incredible. Everything is done by a filmmaker and his storytelling is captivating. The first season unfolded as he was putting the podcast together, so don't google anything or you will find spoilers. 

Serial - If you don't know what Serial is, I'm sure you have been living under a rock. Check it out, get hooked and decide for yourself if you agree with the outcome.

Pop Culture
The Morning Toast - The hosts, Claudia and Jackie, deliver celebrity gossip and news every weekday morning. They are funny, quite witty and have some killer fashion sense. 

Off The Vine - If you are a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan then you will probably want to catch this one. Kaitlyn Bristowe is the host and she often has Bachelor cast members on to spill the beans. She keeps things real and her banter with her guests is the best.


How I Keep A Clean House With Children Around

How to Keep a Clean House with Children Around

I live by two rules in my house:
1.) Everything has its place.
2.) Do a little bit each day.

I'm a neat freak through and through, I cannot relax unless my house is clean. My husband often teases me and says that I like cleaning, but I actually like the end result. Keeping a clean and tidy house is important to me; it keeps me sane and helps me feel like I'm in control of something.

Even though I have two small children, I still like to keep things orderly. Yes, messes and accidents happen and there are some times when I need to just let life happen in our house. But there are plenty of other times when order reigns supreme in our house. Here are my tips on how I keep our house tidy even with my children around.

1.) To repeat myself from the beginning: Everything has its place.
Teach this to the people who live in your house. Shoes go on the shoe rack, book bags get hung up, toys go in the closet, books go on the shelf, papers get filed etc. My daughter knows where everything goes and when I tell her that it is time to clean up, she can easily help put everything back where it belongs in its proper place. By putting things where they belong eliminates the clutter on the kitchen counters and tables in the living room.

2.) Do a little bit each day.
Before I had children, I used to spend one day each week (and sometimes every other week) cleaning the house from top to bottom. I quickly learned with children that I don't have time for that. Plus, that cleaning day usually ended up being on a Saturday and I definitely don't want to spend our one completely free day cleaning. So I developed a cleaning schedule where I do a little bit each day. One day I will clean the bathrooms, another day I will clean the kitchen, another day is when I vacuum, etc. My cleaning schedule has changed over time, but I still live by the rule that I need to do a little bit each day.

3.) Wash your laundry by person. 
I do separate loads of laundry for each person in the house. This makes putting the laundry away a breeze. I don't have to worry about separating anything out, I just take the laundry to the appropriate person's room and put it away there. This is really helpful when other people help to put away laundry, they don't have to guess which items belong to anyone as each load is only for one person. I also do a little bit of laundry each day (or every couple of days). This way I stay on top of the laundry and don't end up with a mountain of clothes to get washed. Doing a little bit of laundry each day is actually better for your septic system too.

4.) Devote 15 minutes at the end of the day for a "reset."
After I put the kids to bed and before I sit down to watch Netflix, I tidy up and "reset" the house for the next day. I'll tidy up the kitchen, clean any dishes that maybe didn't go into the dishwasher, make sure shoes are put away, put the pillows back on the couch where they go, put away any miscellaneous items. By taking a little bit of time each night to pick things up, I save myself a lot of hassle in the morning.

5.) Make your bed.
One of the easiest ways to have your bedroom appear clean is to make your bed each morning. A nicely made bed looks so much better than a heap of crumbled sheets. When we first moved into our new house, one of the first things I did was make the beds.

6.) When you first get home, put away whatever you brought in.
I absolutely detest having clutter and items just laying around. It is a slippery slope if you let items accumulate in common areas. Whenever I come into the house, I immediately put away everything I brought in. If I purchased items at a store, I will put them where they are supposed to go. If I bring trash in from the car, I'll throw it away. If I carry in my purse, I will hang it up. By not procrastinating and putting everything away as soon as I come in prevents me from having a big mess to clean up later.
The same is true with packages that get delivered. As soon as I open a package, I will throw away the packing supplies, tear down the box and put the new item where it is supposed to go.

7.) Clean as you cook if you can.
I love making recipes for dinner that get prepared first and then bake for about 30 minutes. While the meal is baking, I will clean up the kitchen. That way almost all of the dishes are done, all leftover ingredients are put back and the kitchen is clean before you sit down to dinner.

Clean house with kids
Keeping a clean house


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Home Decor Items From Amazon

This post contains affiliate links.
Home Decor Finds From Amazon

As a work from home mom with two littles, my shopping time is often limited! Thank goodness that we live in an age where basically anything you want can be found online and shipped straight to your door. I'm currently in a home decor buying phase as I work to style and decorate our new house. A few weeks ago I shared a photo of my front door on instagram and people went CRAZY over the mats.

Judging by the popularity of my front door purchases, I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a list of things I'm currently scouting for our house. Every single item I'm listing below can be found on Amazon and everything is VERY affordable.

Front Door
In full disclosure, I actually found my front door mats at Hobby Lobby, but I found some really great and affordable options to share with you here.

I clearly have a thing for grey. I love using rugs to add extra texture to a room.

Indoor Fake Plants
My thumb is black and most certainly not green, but I still love the look of plants in a house. Fake plants are my jam right now!

Are there any home decor items that you are in need of and would like me to help find? If so, comment below and I will gladly search and perhaps compile another post!

Taking Time To Slow Down and Rest

Tips to rest and slow down

It's a fast paced world in which we live. Society is constantly telling us that we need to do more, be more, have more, get more. Somehow in recent years, I've allowed my life to get back to the craziness it used to be when we lived in D.C. Throw in a five year old starting Kindergarten, a 6 month old baby, a new house, work commitments to three different businesses and my life gets pretty insane.

Tolar and I recently came to the realization that we are not teaching our children what rest looks like. We are teaching them to fill up every weekend with trips and meetings and standing commitments. We are showing them that life is always go, go, go and we want to change that!

Leading a life that lacks rest and includes chaos means that I often don't notice the small [read: important] things around me. My children on the other hand, they do. 

Often, I'm so focused on completing each task at hand that I realize I'm just going through the motions; trying to finish everything but never really allowing myself to EXPERIENCE it. 
So what do I do about it? How do I remind myself to slow down, get some rest and notice the world around me? First let me tell you that I'm a work in progress! I'm most comfortable when I'm busy and checking something off my to do list. The list I share below are my ideas on how I will allow rest to become the norm for our family.

1.) Schedule REST on your calendar
Early in the summer, we noticed that almost every single weekend in June, July and August were booked with some sort of event or trip. We did not like that, so I scheduled two weekends in our summer calendar where we would not plan anything. We stayed home, cleared our schedule and just allowed the day to happen.