Monday, November 20, 2017

Travel Wall

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends!

I'm so excited for Lincoln to be out of school, extra family time, and all the Christmas decorating we'll be doing this week. Thanksgiving week is definitely one of my favorite weeks of the year so I'm looking forward to it.

Today I'm excited to share with y'all one of my favorite parts of our home: our travel wall!

One of the things we want most to do within our family is to travel. Visiting every state is on our bucket list. In fact, last weekend we took a vacation to the mountains and added three states to our map!

We had a huge blank wall for a long time in our living room and not sure what to do with it. I thought of a gallery wall but couldn't come up with anything I just loved. Then an idea was born: why not make a travel wall documenting all of our family adventures?

It's not completely done. We want to add pictures around the center of places we've been but we haven't gotten that far. But for now, here is our wall.

We started with the world map that I actually got on but is available on Amazon. The ad popped up randomly one day and that's where I got the idea to do a travel wall. 

The thing that I love so much about these maps is that they are completely gold at first, but as you visit a place you scratch it off to reveal color underneath. I thought that was the neatest idea!

Explore sign (Found at Hobby Lobby but it's not available anymore)
Map letter (Similar)

So that's it! One of my very favorite parts of our home! 

So tell me.. what is one place we HAVE to add to our list?!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What I Read: October

How is it the end of October already?! I feel like I was just getting all giddy about it being "Fall" and now we're about to celebrate Halloween. My 'What I Read' posts usually include two months, but I read more this month and didn't want to forget the books!

 The weather here has been STUNNING. A cold front has hit and I've been loving my quiet mornings sitting in this pretty backyard we're so blessed to enjoy. (+ playing with and watching my favorite kid play soccer is even better in the cold!)

So all book readers.. Today I need your HELP! I read the same kind of book every month, and I want to read some happy books. What do you suggest? I can't seem to get into the typical "happy" book.. they just don't keep my attention. So I need some good ones! 

Here's what I read this month!

Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult

I LOVED this book. It's 500+ pages and I read it in five days, including two 12 hour shifts. Every minute I had alone I read. It's so good. The book gives such good insight into the Amish. I love the way Picoult really researches the people she writes about. It's a must-read.

A baby was found on an Amish farm and no one knows whose baby it is. One of the young Amish girls is the number one suspect and is put on trial for the murder of the baby. I can't say much else because I'll give it away, but just go pick it up. You won't regret it.

The Dry - Jane Harper

This was my first Jane Harper novel and it did not disappoint. Aaron Falk hasn't been back to his hometown since he and his father were forced out. The deaths of his childhood best friend and family, brings him back. Luke's parents believe the deaths are different than it seems, and ask Aaron to investigate. The investigation brings all eyes to Aaron, and bring back to light what caused he and his father to be shunned from the town. 

Such a good book, and I absolutely did not see the ending coming. Loved this one.

Missing Pieces - Heather Gudenkauf

Jack Quinlan found his mother murdered when he was a child and his dad went missing. He moved in with his aunt and uncle and left the town as soon as possible. His Aunt Julia is in an accident so he comes back to see her. He brings his wife, Sarah, with him, who he has avoided sharing any of his past with. She digs into the past and finds out her husband isn't who she thinks he is. 

This book is phenomenal as well. I will absolutely be checking out her other books.

So that's it for today. Three books. All good! 

I already have several on hold at the library so hopefully November will be a good book month, too!

So book lovers: I need your recommendations! I need books outside the mystery/suspense genre. Let me know what I should get!

For more book recommendations check out these:

What I Read:

Happy Thursday!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This Friday is a special one because we have a family weekend coming up and we're headed to the Jacksonville Armada game tonight! The tickets were free (score!) and I'm super excited to hang out with family this weekend and enjoy some time off.

Here are some of my favorites this week! 


We took Linc man to his first ever gator game and it was awesome! He was mesmerized and loved watching his Gators play! He is becoming quite the football fanatic. I can't wait to take him back next year! 


This handsome guy had a birthday this week! I won't say his age because he might hurt me, but I will say that I'm so thankful God decided this world (and me and Linc!) needed a MikeHodges. He's the best. 

It was also two years ago this week that Michael asked me to marry him so I always love celebrating that too! I love remembering what a fantastic job he did on the proposal and how I was certain he couldn't surprise me.. but he did. :)


 We have a trip to the mountains coming up and we're all SO excited about it! This week we did some shopping to prepare.. since we don't have much to wear in the "cold." #Floridians

Lincoln's going through a camoflauge phase.. which eh. I'm not a huge fan. But we did find him a cute puffer vest for the mountains.. and bonus to him - it was camo.

He loved it so much he decided to put it on right then and there.. in the 90 degree heat. I just love that kid! 

We also got these boots!

We got all this at Old Navy and they're having a sale. 

I also went on a shopping spree for athletic/mountain clothes (which are basically the same thing).

As an aside: these days it's super trendy to wear athletic clothes everywhere and I just want to mention that I believe I started that back in my high school days. Anyone who went to high school with me will be my witness. Running pants. Tshirt. Every. Day. 

Y'all. The matching running pants and jacket. My word.

This picture was going to be blown up on a mega screen at church and I felt like that was an acceptable outfit. So many questions I have for my 16 year old self. But I feel like my point has been proven.

Another aside: When I went to Target's website looking for the links to my new clothes I saw a tab for active wear and another one for athleisure. What's the difference? Sweat pants that you'll wear to pick up your kids vs. sweatpants you'll wear to the gym? Aren't they the same thing?! I just want to say that I'm very confused.

Anyway. Moving on. I get all my athletic clothes from Target because heaven knows I'm not spending $50 on a shirt I'm going to sweat in and I really like the Champion brand.

 This is my new favorite jacket in the whole world, y'all. It doesn't look like much in the picture on their website but it is SO CUTE on. It's fleece. It's inexpensive. You need it. Now.

I also got this long sleeve shirt in this color. It's long enough to be good for cold weather, but it's ventilated so it won't be too hot inside. It's also longer than normal which I like.

I got these pants in both colors because when a pair of tight pants fits correctly you buy it in every color. Amen?

I tended to try on the "freedom" style and the "embrace" and I will just say that every single one of the "embrace" types looked terrible. I mean. Apparently I don't need anything embracing these thighs. So for anyone with legs that arent super duper skinny, freedom is for you. I'm just saying.

And because I love plaid I loved this vest!

Now I just have to wait for the weather to turn a little cooler so I can wear all my new stuff.


Even though it's still super hot here, I've been loving the cooler mornings. I'm back to reading and eating breakfast outside in the mornings and I love it so much.

Our backyard is perfect for these almost fall days and these two love it as much as I do.


I've found a new favorite nail polish! Last week I decided to find a nail color I could wear this fall and I found on I love! 

Depending on the amount of light, this color is anywhere from a grayish color, to a beige-ish, to purple. I really like it! 


This week I came home from work to a Kirkland's package. My mom had sent me the cutest Christmas mug

I can't wait to have a sink/dishwasher again so I can use it. I love it so much!

That's all I have for today! Happy weekend!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What I Read: August + September

'What I read' posts are my favorite posts to read from other bloggers. I love getting recommendations from people about what books I should read. I also love writing them and sharing with you the books I've enjoyed! 

These past couple days have been gorgeous here.. 75 degrees and breezy. So I've been enjoying the mornings outside eating/reading/blogging. 

Isnt the view in our backyard stunning?! Youll find me out here all fall. 

I hit a major reading funk these last couple months. I started several books but nothing seemed that interesting. I couldn't focus on reading, blah blah blah. And then there was also the fact that every minute alone I had I was binge watching Hart of Dixie. Not sorry.

But I think I've found several I want to read and the one I'm reading now is fantastic so I think I'm back! Here's what I read in August and September.

A group of friends gather together for a bachelorette party and the main character, Nora, gets talked into going even though she hasn't seen or spoken to the bride in years. Someone was killed and she wakes up in a hospital bed trying to piece together what happens. 

This one wasn't terrible, but it also wasn't fantastic. The beginning is slow, the ending is fast. The ending is somewhat predictable. 

When odd, supernatural events plague the town of Comtosook, a ghost hunter is hired by the developer to help convince the residents that there's nothing spiritual about the property (taken from Goodreads). 

As you can figure out by my other book posts, I LOVE Jodi Picoult. This one, however, wasn't my favorite. It wasn't awful.. because Picoult writes fantastic books, it just wasn't my favorite of hers. 

Rachel commutes to work every day on the same train, seeing the same couple. In her head they are the perfect couple. Megan goes missing and Rachel saw something she thinks can help the police out in the search. It's thrilling, I never guessed the ending, and it kept me on my seat. Go read this one!

Nicki has a lot of secrets that she'd like to keep hidden, but a murder near her home is making that impossible. She's the number one suspect. The story covers man characters and the 

I'm not sure if the book was just ehh, or if I was just having a hard time getting into it. I almost took it back to the library but I really wanted to know the ending. So the start is slow, but it does get faster paced. It felt a little drawn out, but still a good ending.

So those were my books for the last two months. (Can we all be annoyed together that this group of books was just ehh?!) I'm already working on another book that is super good so hopefully next month's post will be filled with better books!

You can also read my other 'What I read' posts:

What are your book recommendations this month?!

Monday, October 2, 2017

First Day of School 2017

It's Monday. My guys are back at school/work and I'm counting down the minutes till they both get home. Today I'm sharing all about Lincoln's first day of first grade.. even if it is over a month later.

Last year I was SO excited for Lincoln to go back to school. It was Kindergarten, he would be around more kids, etc. This year.. I was dreading back to school. Not because of the actual school aspect, but because I was having so much fun with him this Summer. 

Summer left us, sadly, and our big man headed to the first grade! He's at a new school this year which is actually really awesome because it's so much closer to home. 

I always do something special for first day of school breakfast, and this year when I asked Lincoln if he wanted us to take him somewhere special he said, "I think I just want our big chocolate chip pancake breakfast." Sweetest boy ever. He just wanted to hang out at home. Fine by me.

I always send Linc to school in a collared shirt the first day and some "nice" shorts (khaki or navy blue), but when I gave him two shirt options he said, "Can I maybe wear my Jags shirt?" *insert me cringing* I decided we'd pair it with khaki shorts and he said it didn't match. He wanted to wear his black shorts.

So despite the fact that I only make the child dress up (using the word loosely) about twice a month, I let him.. Because it's the first time he's ever wanted to decide and I knew it would make him happy. Plus I can't blame the kid; I live in comfy clothes. 

Did we have chalk for our fancy first day chalkboard? No.
Did we have markers to write it with? Not that I could find.
So we used the cheap stuff. It got wet. And we went with it.

I mean. The sweetest boys in the world.

I found out that 1st grade is apparently when your kid is OVER 1st day of school pictures and so you have to force them. It's good parenting.

At this point Linc almost got teary so we said goodbye fast and it went just fine! 

We're loving the new school and his teacher, and Lincoln is doing great so far! Here's to another awesome year of school, and maybe only half as many "do I have to go to school today?"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Life Lately

Happy Wednesday friends! Today is an awesome day because I only have to finish work and then I have SIX. DAYS. OFF. Hallelujah. 

I wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who showed so much support on yesterday's post. I was overwhelmed with the kind words and all the prayers. I appreciate it all so much more than you know.

I thought today I'd share a lighter post.. what we've been up too lately! Otherwise known as an excuse to post all my favorite pictures of my cute kid. Shameless.

My dad and I worked out together for the first time since I played softball for him in high school. It was tortuous as I remember, and just as sweet.

These two have been cute as usual. On this particular day they went with me to pick up Linc man.

We came through Hurricane Irma with no damage which was a huge blessing! We only lost power for a day and a half. When we started going stir crazy we went for a walk to assess the damage in our neighborhood and Linc played at the park.

We also played A LOT of Uno and I found out my kid is ruthless when it comes to Draw 4 cards. 

We decorated for Halloween! In our new favorite home store, At Home (if you haven't checked this place out, you need to!), we let Lincoln pick out Halloween decorations. My one rule: no clowns.

So that went well.

We have been LOVING hanging out in our backyard. It's still super hot in the middle of the day, but the evenings are getting better, so we've mostly been playing soccer every night. Our favorite!

We took our boy to his first ever Jags game! They were terrible but we had a great time together.

+ all the randoms.

Snapchat and my favorite boys.

We bought that Weasel ball thing from Cracker Barrel and let these two play for HOURS. 

Last Thursday, our sweet Lincoln had to go to the ER for an infection on his leg. We're not sure what bit him but I picked him up from school that day and it was huge, red, hard, painful, and spreading. They gave him some oral antibiotics and cleared it right up, so we're so thankful it wasn't worse.

I took this picture when they headed off to the snack machine for some Sour Patch Kids.

Showing off his new favorite Halloween socks because he is crazy. And my favorite.

That's what we've been up to these past few weeks! We're super excited for this weekend because we're heading to Gainesville to watch our Gators play! 

What do you have coming up that you're excited about?