Embracing Everything Emma

Enjoying Life One Baby Step at a Time…

Kid Fashion- Fashion Friday Series May 31, 2013


It’s Fashion Friday! For this week, I want to talk about something that we will all deal with at some point or another. Something that is inevitable for all parents. That moment when your child develops their own fashion. It seems like it happens in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, your child doesn’t want to wear what mommy picked out. They want to put on everything BUT what planned. In these moments, I want to share with you my advice on what to do when you encounter kid fashion for the first time and beyond, too.

My dad and me

My dad and me

I think there is a lot to say for a child who is ready to dress themselves. A child has reached the point that they can start making decisions for themselves. They also start sharing their own personalities and opinions and it shows in everything- including what they choose to wear. My advice to you, and the best advice that I can give myself, is to allow your child to embrace who they are. At this moment in their life, it’s the last time to tell them no. The last time to make them dress how you expect at all times. Granted, there will be times when there are exceptions and times they need to wear a certain outfit you’ve picked out for them, however, most times you can bend. Most times you can allow them a choice in the matter. I encourage you to allow your kids to learn to be themselves. If they can’t learn to be themselves with you at an early age, who will they learn to be themselves with later?

Emma being Emma

Emma being Emma

Here are the only exceptions I think apply to this rule:

  • When your child tries to dress themselves in a way that doesn’t honor themselves and/or God. This works as a perfect teaching opportunity for you and your child.
  • When you have something specific planned. For example, if you have family pictures and everyone has coordinating outfits. I would encourage you to allow your child the opportunity to work with you in deciding their outfit if they are old enough.
  • When your child is being defiant. If you’ve clearly told them to wear something and they say no or wear something else. There is a fine line between allowing them to be themselves and them being disobedient.

Today marks one year with Embracing Everything! I want to thank each of you for your support throughout this year- whether you’re new or you’ve been here the whole year. I’m grateful for you and look forward to being here for another year! Be sure to join me on Monday as I share our very first review and giveaway. See you there!



Thanks Mom and Dad May 30, 2013

My Parents & Emma

My Parents & Emma

To my parents (and truly, any other parent whose child grew up to be a parent, too):

Thank you for loving me. Period. There are so many times that the love you showed me only went one way. There was no return and no immediate result from the love you showed me, but you did anyways. Your love for me has shown me how to love my daughter.

Thank you for choosing to discipline me. At the time, I didn’t understand it. At the time, I probably didn’t agree with it. Now I’m glad you did and grateful you did, too. After countless attempts and many tears (from Emma AND me), I now understand just a glimpse of how hard it was. Finding a way to teach your child to obey and not crush their spirit at the same time is a hard thing to accomplish and I pray everyday that we can do it. Disciplining your child is a time consuming, thankless, heartbreaking job. I cling tight to God’s word here and I’m sure you did, too.  (“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9)

Thank you for choosing to have me. In a world full of so many choices, you choose to give life to an unexpected pregnancy, rather than take it, and raise a child. I’m grateful everyday for the life you’ve given me. I’m even more grateful for the life you’ve given me with you all as my parents! (please note here: abortion or adoption were never on the table with my parents- I’m just being thankful that it never was).

Thank you for giving me a brother. I am so glad that not only was I raised in a wonderful home, but four years later, I had a brother join me. I grew up with a constant companion and to this day, still have a best friend because of it. I’m grateful for my parents deciding to have another child, which in turn blessed me with a sibling.

Thank you for believing in me. Despite how crazy my dreams seemed (and still do sometimes), you believe in me. You encourage me. You have never taught me to do anything less than strive for my dreams and pursue them. You’ve also taught me it’s ok sometimes to not get where you planned on being and it’s always ok to change your mind. You taught me to be a dreamer and a realist all at the same time and that is something that is hard to teach.

Thank you for introducing me to Jesus. You brought me to church, you talked about Him in our home, and you made Him a part of our lives. You never forced Him, but rather, you let me find Him. I am so grateful for this. My salvation is through Jesus Christ alone but I thank you for helping me find Him. This will forever be the thing I am most grateful for and the thing I pray that above all else we share with Emma.

So thanks mom and dad. I pray my life is a reflection of what wonderful parents you all were and still are. As one of my friends, Carrie, so eloquently put, “(raising children) is the hardest job you’ll ever love. Even my worst days are often better than my best days before…”


What I’m Reading May 29, 2013

Photo from Penny for Them 1

Photo from Penny for Them 1

As many of you know from my post about my kindle, you know I love to read. I really hadn’t read too much in the past few years until I got it. I am seriously in love with it and the ability to read no matter where I am. Along with that, I’m reading a lot of blogs. I’m trying to grow as a mom, wife, and believer and have received a lot of encouragement there. Today I wanted to share with you what I have been reading and what I’ve thought.

“Don’t Make Me Count to Three!” by Ginger Plowman

I am absolutely crazy about this book. It is changing my life and our parenting. It’s gradual and one day at a time, but we’re learning how to be the parents we really feel like we’re suppose to be. It really is a great guide and comes from a humble writer. Ginger is the first to say that she doesn’t have parenting down to an art but it sharing where they are doing well and what not only works, but the Biblical way of parenting.

“Perfectly Paleo- 30 Unique and Delicious Paleo Diet Recipes” by Kelly Smith

This is another great find for us! I haven’t found a recipe in here that I don’t love and I love the nutritional benefits we find from eating paleo on occasion. If you are a paleo diet, interested in it, or just wanting to eat healthy, this is a great cookbook to get. You won’t regret it!

“Organic Food: Eating Organic on a Budget” by Fanny Seto

I really enjoyed this read. We’re working to eat healthy (not always organic) and what we’re found is that eating cheap can be expensive. If you’re not careful, you can end up killing your budget and making your finances a lot more stressful than you need to. We’re been there and done that. We are working hard to eat healthy in a way that we can afford. Sometimes this means we don’t do organic. Sometimes it means the food we’re eating may have GMOs in it. We are striving to NOT do this and avoid it when possible and this book has really helped me figure out where to cut costs.

“Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds” by Cynthia Gabriel

I’m going to be honest and tell you I have not finished this book yet. I’m almost halfway through and have taken it slow since I’m not pregnant yet and don’t expect to be having a baby in the next few months. My goal is to finish it prior to becoming pregnant again. As we continue to plan for a natural birth this time around, I’ve found that educating myself is probably the most important step (other than tons of prayer). JR is completely on board and I’m so grateful for his support. This book so far has really helped me out as I plan for a natural, hospital birth for our number 2, whenever that happens.

I Totally Get Why Angelina Jolie Had Her Breasts Removed from the Humbled Homemaker

ThThis was a favorite for me. I felt this post wasn’t really about what was right or wrong, but more about loving someone like Christ did no matter what decision they make. It was about cutting out judgment that it seemed like so many were doing shortly after this procedure. As a woman with two lines of breast cancer in my family history, I really needed and appreciated this post.

Baby Wearing Series from Stacy Makes Cents

We are a babywearing family. You know the saying- those who baby wear together, stay together. Well, not really the saying, but this series was GREAT! Stacy took time to review several different carriers- from mobys, to slings, to bobas, to ergos, and more! Be sure to check out these posts and guest posts from fellow blogger, Brandy.

On Being a Mother and a Time Traveler from Five Kids Is A Lot of Kids

I stumbled upon Beth several months ago and I’m pretty certain this is my favorite post she’s ever done. I cried. And cried. And cried some more. I get so caught up in what “use to be” and not enough of  “what is”. One day, I’m sure I’ll look back and wish I was in this moment again. When Emma is grown, JR and I are old and grey, and these days are just a memory. Cherish these moments. They are few and far between.

Natural Sources of Folic Acid from Red & Honey

I read this one over a month ago but had to include it. I just started prenatal vitamins a few months ago (I’m NOT prego people, seriously- just getting prepared) and after reading this, I am unsure I will continue them. It’s so important to have a balanced diet and if a balanced diet keeps me healthy and not needing prenatal vitamins, that’s probably the route I should go. I’m glad someone is blogging about these things!

This what I’ve been reading. What have YOU been reading?


On the Trail May 28, 2013

Emma, prior to leaving

Emma, prior to leaving

This past Saturday we were invited to go ride the Virginia Creeper Trail with some great friends. We had been planning on doing this for quite awhile and this gave us the perfect excuse. I couldn’t wait and I began packing up our stuff first thing Friday morning. Today I want to share with you some tips for going bike riding as well as our adventure.

Family Time (after lunch)

Family Time (after lunch)

For starters, I knew there were things that we needed. This is what we packed and definitely stuff I will pack again:

  • A blanket for Emma in case in got cold or she needed padding for the ride
  • A pair of shorts for Emma in case it got hot
  • A jacket for Emma in case in got cold
  • Sunglasses for all (we ALL used our shades)
  • Water and extra for any injuries (we came back with 2 bottles so we did good!)
  • Snacks. These were mainly for Emma but JR and I took advantage of a few things along the way.
  • Extra pacis, binky, snacks, and all diaper supplies for Emma (we did disposable FYI)
  • Chapstick, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer to use as needed
  • CASH. You never know when you’ll need money for a quick snack or anything else. We went ahead and each brought our wallets. Just in case.
  • Camera, in the form of our phones. Not much, if any, cell service but GREAT pictures were taken!
  • A bag. We brought a bag for all of this stuff. Seriously. Who could carry all this WITHOUT a bag?
Emma, and JR trying to console her

Emma, and JR trying to console her

Jordan & Aaron fixing my tire (2nd time)

Jordan & Aaron fixing my tire (2nd time)

Someone tuckered out

Someone tuckered out

These were the main things we brought and definitely what we would bring again. As far as our trip goes, it started out with a busted tire at the bottom  for me while we were blowing it up with air. After a mile down the trail, Emma decided she hated to carrier and my front tire decided to blow, too. We were luckily with an amazing group of people who had a back up tire tube and air pump so we were covered. The rest of the ride, until lunch, involved a lot of scenic sights, fun riding, and a crying baby. Yes, Emma continued to hate the ride. When we stopped for lunch at the Creeper Trail Café, Emma was in heaven. We ran and played and enjoyed the lawn, ate some grilled cheese for lunch (I had a burger and JR had a loaded hotdog), changed our diaper, and played some more. This was for sure her favorite time of the entire day. She even adopted a pet rock that we put in her room for memories. When we made our way back to the bikes you could tell she was over it. Unfortunately, we had about 5 miles to go so the ride wasn’t yet over. Once back in the carrier, she spent another few miles crying and then finally passed out from all the excitement tears. JR and I were able to enjoy the rest of the ride talking and just enjoying nature together. It was a lot of fun! By the time we got back, Emma was ready to get up and she played some with Farris. They had a lot of fun together shooting people with the water hose! The only real negative part to the trip , other than Emma crying, was that my 31 bag ripped open. Yes it did. RIP sweet 31 bag. I am going to bring it to a friend to attempt fixing it. Let’s pray she comes through this!

Our Riding Group

Our Riding Group

So, have you rode the Creeper Trail? Did your kids love or hate it?

**Please note we rode with JC’s Outdoors in Damascus. This post was not sponsored by them, however, I highly recommend using them! Check out their website HERE!**


Fresh Lime & Black Bean Soup- Manic Monday Series May 27, 2013

The Soup (And some jewelry, too!)

The Soup (And some jewelry, too!)

Some people don’t believe in eating soup during the summer. I am one who disagrees with that. Do you stop eating stuff cold in the winter? I don’t. So, I don’t stop eating warm stuff in the summer. I do think, however, there are some soups that taste better when it’s hot outside and one of my absolutely favorites is Black Bean & Lime Soup. My momma found this recipe and shared it with me awhile back in a crockpot cookbook she had that she in turn bought me. This book is HUGE. I haven’t cooked a ton from it but I want to. Every recipe I’ve tried so far has been a win at our house and this one is no exception. Join me today as I share a great summer soup that the whole family will enjoy!

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

You start out with your crockpot, of course. Get it out and thank it for all the good food is has cooked and will cook for you. Next, you’ll get all your ingredients. Start by adding your black beans, chicken (or vegetable) broth, onion, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes to your crockpot. You can cook this on low for 7 hours or on high for 3 ½ hours. When the soup has cooked, put 1 cup at a time in your blender and mix until smooth. Return to crock to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. Once finished, add sour cream, evoo, cilantro, and lime to the individual bowls. For us, I don’t add the sour cream and I also don’t add the other ingredients to individual bowls. I just throw it all in together. I just find it 10 times easier to do it this way.

I hope you enjoy this meal. It’s definitely on my top list of go to meals and it’s a hit for the entire family.

What’s YOUR favorite summer style soup?


Fresh Lime and Black Bean Soup, Revised from Crockpot Ultimate Recipe Collection

2 cans (or 30 ounces total) black beans, undrained

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth (we use vegetable broth instead)

1 ½ cups chopped onion (or use onion powder if no onions around)

1 ½ teaspoon chili powder

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ cup sour cream, optionally (I usually don’t add this)

2 tablespoons evoo

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

1 medium lime (or lime juice if not available)

Mix black beans, broth, onion, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in the crockpot. Cook for 7 hours on low or 3 ½ hours on high. Once finished, put in the blender one cup at a time until mixed well. Return to crockpot for 15-20 minutes. When done, put in bowls and add in sour cream, evoo, cilantro, and lime juice. Enjoy!


Jewelry- Fashion Friday Series May 24, 2013


A huge part of fashion, and one that I greatly enjoy, is jewelry. I have always been a fan of it, even at an early age. I remember dressing up in costume jewelry as well as some of my mom’s older pieces. I do the same with Emma. Train them up! Anyways, today I wanted to share some of my favorite places to get jewelry. Join me!

Forever 21- this my absolute favorite place to buy jewelry, especially when I’m wanting it versus saving up for it. You can go in with $20 and come out with 10 or more new pieces. I love that. It is costume jewelry and some pieces are more than others but in my experience it holds up well and resells well, too, at yard sales and consignment sales. They have a lot of unique pieces so keep that in mind.

Premier Jewelry- as some of you know, I use to sell Premier Jewelry. I still have a quite a few of my premier pieces from when I sold and a few from having shows since then. It really holds up well and they have a great return policy, too. This jewelry is more expensive but it holds up better than costume jewelry, too. If you’re interested in having a show and getting some of their jewelry for FREE, let me know and I can get you in touch with my premier mom, Melissa. She’s awesome!

Boutiques- whenever we pass a little boutique, whether local or out of town, I stop. Sometimes the stuff is way too overpriced but sometimes it’s perfect! Mom and I went to a store when we were on vacation last year and found some really cute jewelry for buy one, get one half off. We were excited to say the least! I also like stores that are local, like Vagabond Traders in Abingdon. They sell one of my favorite brands, Good Works. A portion of what you pay is going to charitable donations. I really love that!

Thrift Stores- whether it be a thrift store we find or a goodwill, I love to go through the jewelry they have available. Sometimes there is nothing I like but other times, there are a TON of things! I have been known to get myself jewelry there but also jewelry for Emma. It makes great play jewelry and I don’t feel bad with it being $1 or less!

Hand-Me-Downs- these may fall into my top place to get them. Anytime my mom, grandmother, or other relative gifts me something of theirs, it’s something I hold near and dear to my heart. Knowing that someone else has loved me enough to share what is theirs and trusts me enough to keep it makes me smile. Some of my favorite pieces of jewelry are those that were given to me.


A few tips:

*Long earrings make your face look slimmer because it elongates it. True fact!

*Having bracelets on BOTH hands make you look slimmer, too!  They’re in your expressive zone so any attention drawer there helps.

*The recommended amount of worn accessories is 6 and you’ve gone too far if you reach 11 (this includes all jewelry and scarves).

*You can mix together long and short necklaces to add more to your outfit. This is one of my favorite tips!

What is YOUR favorite place to get jewelry? What is your favorite piece of jewelry?


Embracing Everything at (Almost) a Year! May 23, 2013

Emma at 9 Months, May 2012 Photo By Kelly Harris Photography

Emma at 9 Months, May 2012
Photo By Kelly Harris Photography

Emma at 21 Months, May 2013 Photo by Daddy :-)

Emma at 21 Months, May 2013
Photo by Daddy 🙂

I don’t know about you all, but I am super excited about our upcoming one year anniversary for Embracing Everything Emma. Who would have thought a year ago today that we’d still be going and how much we’ve changed in a year? Not me, not me at all. I guess I HOPED I would, I just wasn’t certain I would. And almost a year later, here we are!

As my faithful readers, whether you’ve been here a day or the full year, I am so thankful to have you and wanted to share with you a little bit about what will be happening in the upcoming future at Embracing Everything Emma!

  • We’re changing our name. Well, not a drastic change. We have decided that in order to continue our blog and have more children in the future, we are shortening the name to Embracing Everything. The blog will still have just as much to do with Emma, if not more, but will allow us to focus on more children when that time arrives. And please note here that I AM NOT PREGNANT. Furthermore, I am not lying about being pregnant to trick you. I repeat, I AM NOT PREGNANT. It will take time, but eventually the blog, facebook, twitter and pinterest will all match it name.
  • We’re trying our hand at giveaways! I’m planning to have a giveaways on a weekly basis, if possible. A lot of this will have to come from you as the readers! I have a few lined up so far but the rest of them are completely by faith. The product will be announced and reviewed every Tuesday with a giveaway winner that Friday. The first one will start during the first week of June. If you are interested in donating items to be reviewed and put in a giveaway or know someone who might be, please email me at embracingeverything AT gmail DOT com.
  • We want continued advice from you! To continue growing our blog and reaching out to the reader (YOU), we need to know what you like and what you don’t like. Feel free to comment below or email me at embracingeverything AT gmail DOT com. I want to hear from you- the good, bad, and the ugly. The only way to grow is if I hear from YOU from YOU want.
  • We’re not stopping! Some days I don’t have ideas and other days I’m running behind. Part of that is the life of a full-time working mom and wife. I want to thank you for your willingness to stand beside me, even when things aren’t always organized right or follow the same schedule. I plan on working harder this year to stay on task as best I can.

So thank you for joining us on this crazy ride and I look forward to sharing this next year along side you!