Part of Me Blog

lissa's lists • 50 things to do with your kids this summer

MOMLIFE, LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment
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I don’t know about you, but as a working mom (who offices from home), when summer draws near- I start to panic. I photograph a lot of weddings during the summer and so for me, it’s my busy season. Add 3 potentially bored children to that, and my eye twitch is back in full force.

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So this Monday, I’m writing this list for me- so I literally have something to reference when I need an idea to keep little hands busy.

Most of these can be done at home, and I tend to favor ideas that I don’t have to monitor. I know sometimes we just need to get out of the house, so I’m including a few ideas for “field trips” as well. I’m also including a few things like pool and water toys that we like to buy at the beginning of the summer.

1) Freeze toys in ice and let them dig them out

2) Create a pinwheel garden. Buy some pinwheels at the dollar store or create your own, and let the kids “plant” them in pots or the ground. Maximum effect and no watering necessary!

3) Make your own pinwheels (helpful for number 2!)

4) Do some target practice with water balloons in the backyard. Draw a target with chalk on your fence and let the kids go at it! These quick-filling water balloons are the BEST and totally worth it!

5) Paint with water on the driveway. We like to add in chalk to make it extra colorful. Have I mentioned I buy sidewalk chalk in bulk?!? Ha!

6) Print out a free scavenger hunt from my Pinterest board. There are several that will work in the car, at home, or out and about. I also love this D.I.Y. one that is perfect for younger kids who don’t read yet.

7) Blow up some balloons. And just let the kids do as they please. Somehow this is always entertaining.

8) Throw in some paper plates and let the kids play balloon tennis. Don’t forget to have them decorate their plates beforehand! More busy time. :)

9) Love this balloon puppy idea from The Craft Train. My girls would love it and Knox could probably make some Pokemon/Minecraft version for himself.

10) Water balloon volleyball with towels.

11) Create a scene on your driveway with sidewalk chalk that your kids can pose in and take pictures.

12) Make a summer movie bucket list that include some of your old favorites. There are so many great ones available on streaming services we already have. I like to use Common Sense Media to get some ideas and a run-down on the content before they watch.

Best Kids' Movies on Netflix in 2019

13) Mix up a new popcorn recipe for movie time using these recipes from A Grande Life.

14) Create an outdoor mud kitchen. There are many elaborate ones on Pinterest but for us this usually looks like me handing the girls a few plastic kitchen utensils and bowls they don’t normally get to play with.

15) Up your game by including some pantry staples you’ll never use (rice, pasta, etc.) to use in their outdoor play kitchen.

16) Plant something and let them tend to it every day. Grass seeds grow quickly and potato vine is cheap and grows quickly. You can let each kid have a vine they take care of.

17) Make some watering cans from old milk cartons.

18) Have a scheduled fashion show. Assign number of outfits. Designate a stage tech who is in charge of lighting and music.

19) Give the kids a couple of old bedsheets and have them create a fort in the backyard.

20) Create an easy pulley system in the backyard and have the kids haul goods.

21) Create a care package to mail to someone. Make a card, create a scavenger hunt. Have the kids fill out this All About Me printable book and mail it to a friend with a blank one inside for them to fill out.

22) Make a music video using an ipad or a phone and send it to a friend. Assign each of the kids a job.

23) Mystery snow cones. Test the kids’ ability to try new things and have them guess the flavors of their snow cones (you’ll have to order, of course).

25) D.I.Y. Pantry popsicles. We have made popsicles many times with some cheap popsicle molds and ingredients we had on hand- powdered lemonade is a staple for us so we mix it with whatever fresh fruit we have- canned fruit works well, too! Add in sprinkles, crushed candy, yogurt- you name it, we have probably tried to make a popsicle out of it! Or you could just try these tried-and-true delicious popsicle recipes!

26) Play snow! This stuff makes a mess but brushes off the skin very easily. And one little bag makes a ton. Our kids love playing with it.

27) Play florist for a neighbor, grandparent, or friend. Buy a cheap bouquet while you’re at the grocery store, have the kids make a card. Use a leftover vase or mason jar and help the kids create a bouquet. Add ribbon. It doesn’t have to be pretty. One bouquet can make several small arrangements. Add in greenery from your backyard as filler. And deliver it!

28) Prep dinner. I have found my kids will eat so much better at mealtime if they “help” make dinner. We do a lot of crock pot/instant pot meals so I have begun appointing a helper at every meal who assists me.

29) READ. Knox is a great reader but never really wants to read, so if I give him a time requirement (usually 30 minutes) with a reward at the end (such as screentime), he’ll often read longer than he is required to.

28) For non-readers, let them “read” on youtube! Start here! Tons of great children’s books.

Our library hosted a free petting zoo last year and our kids still talk about it as one of their favorite things we did!

Our library hosted a free petting zoo last year and our kids still talk about it as one of their favorite things we did!

29) Hit up the local library, which has a lot more than books. Ours has an array of free or cheap activities for kids.

30) Wash the car! And the bikes! Good soapy fun is always enjoyed.

31) Leaf Rubbings are always enjoyed at our house. You can make people or flowers out of them.

32) We used to love making hot rocks with melted crayons. This does require using an oven but I still enjoy doing this as an adult and you’ll have some pretty rocks for your garden!

33) Make paper airplanes and have awards for most decorative, longest flying, etc.

34) Make these awesome sponge balls instead of water balloons. Reusable and cheap!

35) Paint with watercolors on a block of ice. Use cheap watercolors- they will last a long time!

36) Show them how to create a summer dance playlist on spotify or Apple Music. Make a “dance floor” in the living room. Our girls love dancing with these play scarves, too.

37) Let them take something apart. This could be an old sports ball, outdated electronic, old stuffed animal, etc.

38) Run in the sprinklers. Put a sprinkler under the swingset and BOOM! Instant water park.

39) Go geo-caching. Super fun and free! Bring a few small prizes to leave when you find something. Start here!

40) Observe the constellations on your phone by downloading the Sky View app. Our kids love this app and you can print out this free constellation map to use!

41) Give the dogs a bath. Or the baby dolls.

42) Use these free printable tangrams! These are great for a variety of ages. Our 8 year old son enjoys origami, too- find some youtube videos that teach.

Bubble machines are relatively cheap and great for littles who haven’t figured out the wands quite yet.

Bubble machines are relatively cheap and great for littles who haven’t figured out the wands quite yet.

43) I love this create your own paintbrushes idea! Grab some tempera paint that will wash out easily or use watercolor.

44) Practice the alphabet with sticky notes.

45) Get the GoNoodle app on your computer or smart TV. Tons of great songs and activities there.

46) Code.org is an awesome learning tool for school-aged kids and a lot of fun.

47) We also love Cosmic Kids Yoga, too!

48) Make (or just buy!) some different varieties of bird feed and hang a paper on the window to track which feed is most popular and what birds are eating it.

49) Make some bubble wands with pipe cleaners. We love bubbles and stock up on them always!

50) Watch some silly or interesting kid-friendly videos. We love episodes America’s Funniest Home Videos, BBC Walk on the Wild Side videos like this one, and we also love to research trips or upcoming vacations by finding informational videos on those places.

Most of these ideas have a corresponding pin on my Summer Activities for Kids Pinterest board!


I’m also planning on picking up a few items for the pool or outdoor play for the summer- here are a few of the things I’ve been eyeballing!

Hope you found this helpful! Here’s to a fun summer!

lissa's lists • summer fashion faves

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Way, wayyyyyy back on this blog I did a feature called Lissa’s Lists- because I am a LIST LOVER and have about 30 of them going at all times. I’ve been wanting to bring it back in some form or fashion- and you guessed it- FASHION it is!

My hope is to create a new list weekly (fingers crossed) of things I am loving or have had my eye on. I am endlessly “adding to cart” and so this will be a hopefully-helpful way to share what I’m loving with you, my dear readers.

This week’s edition is my Summer Fashion Faves!

Now listen, I love what’s trending but I am also a MOM and need some modesty in my life. Because much of my time in the summer is bent over at the pool getting someone in or out, or sunscreen-ing or honestly trying to avoid the sun altogether because my pasty white skin hates the sun, I’m always on the hunt for good coverups, shorts, and hats/visors that don’t make me look 100% dorky. I’m ok with 75% dork…I can handle that. :)

So, here you go- a few things I’m loving for Summer!

P.S. Did I mention EVERYTHING IS UNDER $50 and MOST ARE UNDER $20?!? Be sure to scroll all the way through because I saved my favorite for last.

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Huge, water-resistant, wipeable pool bag.

Goes-with-everything black tank. I also love this because it’s long enough to cover my booty so it’s yoga pants approved!

Basic ponytail cap. WORTH your $9 if you have long hair and want to keep it out of the chlorine.

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Black & Gold Oversized Sunglasses. You can’t beat the price and they’ll go with everything.

Tropical Print Shorts. I was expecting these to be too small and short, but was actually really pleased! They have a TON of different prints, and I’m wearing the XL here (typically a size L), so size up.

The most comfy, pool-perfect white sandals. You guys, I have always been a fan of this brand but have only bought for my kids until now! I’m so glad I gave these a shot because they have molded soles with arch support. Perfect for a vacation or any day when you’re doing a lot of walking.

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The most flattering swimsuit ever! Conceals my tummy pouch and covers my booty. This one comes in a LOT of different prints and I was surprised by the great quality. You must at least try this on- because the top ties, it can accommodate a lot or a little on top.

Pretty and versatile kimono. $18 yall! This one also comes in a ton of different patterns, but I loved this one in particular- because it can go with my swim gear or be worn with shorts, dress, you name it! This one is very flowy and can accommodate many body shapes. I am wearing a Medium here but think I could have sized down to a Small.

Comfy neutral sandals. I wanted to find something that could easily be washed off and these are perfect for that! They are extremely lightweight and will pack flat for vacay!

Cutest tortoise sunnies. These are great and an instant fave. They are a bit higher than most dupe sunglasses at $25 but the quality is better. I also loved the way they fit every outfit.

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Kaftan please! This one is perfection. It’s also just $18, annnnd again they have a ton of different patterns. But trust me, you want this one, because the instant you put it on you will also feel the need for a mai tai.

Brown criss-cross sandals I’ve been wearing all the time. They go with everything. And they’re comfortable. Done.

Brown hat. My one and only trick for the days when I don’t dry shampoo and I want to look like a legit fashion blogger.

Denim bag. I was so, so pleased with the huge size of this bag, and how it looks. I wish it were waterproof, but it could probably be scotch-guarded. Regardless, it’s a great overnight bag/carryall.

Those tortoise sunglasses again. Love them.

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White duster that goes with everything. It completely buttons down so you can make it a dress, wear it over an outfit or over your swimsuit. I am wearing a Medium and probably could have sized down to a Small. This is a GREAT versatile piece that makes me feel more put-together instantly.

Oversized tank. I have worn this so much since I got it, and love it for it’s versatility. Comes in blush pink, too! Enter LISSA10 at checkout and get 10% off!

Hi-rise jegging. Probably my favorite pair of pants in warmer weather. And button-fly is so trendy right now.

These strappy sandals. I am clumsy, and can’t usually handle any type of platform or wedge (yes, I am a DORK) but these are great. I’ve worn them all day and they haven’t hurt my feet. And also they are cute.

Earrings from my girl BreckieGrey Designs.

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Lace kimono. Under $20. Looks expensive and I have had so many compliments on it! Great to dress up shorts and shirt, great over your swimsuit. This is my FAVE!

Button-fly denim shorts. When I ordered these I really expected them to be too small- but they are PERFECT. The length is great, too- and I really wanted to find some button-fly because I love that that 90’s trend is baaaccccckkkkk, baby!


I hope you enjoyed that round-up and can’t wait to see what your faves are! The image below is CLICKABLE so click on what you like to be taken directly to shop!

There are a couple of items here I actually own but didn’t get photographed, so I can vouch for the quality and fit. :)

Let me know what you have your eye on in the comments! Hope you enjoyed the come back of Lissa’s Lists!

Customizing Bible Tabs with Watercolor and Gold Leaf

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment
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I really hesitate to use the word “bling” in any circumstance…but honestly that is the best word I can think of to describe what this project is all about. :)

I got in my new Illustrating Bible from Dayspring and you guys, I’m OBSESSED. I want to paint in it all. the. time. I reviewed in on my InstaStories but if you haven’t seen it yet- it’s amazing. Spiral binding, huge margins for note-taking, painting, coloring- thicker pages which means I don’t need to prep them before I watercolor. It’s really amazing.

You can pre-order the new Illustrating Bible here- it will ship out May 15!

One of the first things I knew I wanted to do was make some tabs for it. I loved using the tabs on my last journaling Bible and knew it would make my Bible so much more “me”. So, I was really excited when I saw that Dayspring also had these Bible tabs that would be perfect for customizing. I ordered them and a few other Illustrated Faith accessories.

I love working in watercolor and on a whim I decided to throw in some gold leaf just to make it extra special. I have to say I am really pleased with the outcome and love that there is a burst of color from every angle of my Bible now!

I videoed the whole process, and if you’d like to make some of your own, this will show you exactly how to do it!

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Illustrated Faith Bible Tabs

Illustrating Bible

Holbein Watercolors

Watercolor Tin

Round Brushes

Gold Foil

Mod Podge

I would love to see what you create! Connect with me on Instagram @lissaanglin.

The Illustrating Bible was given to me by Dayspring to review and this post is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help me continue to bring fun content to this space, so if you like what you see, I’d love for you to use my links!

one year home • lucy fei

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Us at P.F. Changs celebrating Lucy’s Gotcha Day! She’s been home 1 year.

Us at P.F. Changs celebrating Lucy’s Gotcha Day! She’s been home 1 year.

Exactly one year ago we were in China- eating the most delicious noodles we’ve ever had, smelling all the interesting smells of the streets, and loving and learning our new daughter.

I can’t believe it’s been a year- and all the same, I totally can. God has kept every promise He’s ever made to us in this adoption journey. I knew we’d be in this side of things eventually- but after that 5 year wait and unexpected bout of infertility, whew…it feels really, really good to just BE. With all 3 kids, here in our home.

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Truthfully, that’s about all we’ve been able to do- survive! Ha. When people ask us how Lucy’s transition has been, we usually respond, “excellent! Ours as parents however, eeeeshhhhhhh”. With 3 kids now, we are definitely outnumbered and feeling it.

Lucy, though. What a wonderful gift she is.

I do feel that now we have a much better grasp on her personality. For many months, I didn’t want to make any judgments about it due to the fact that she’d endured so much and that trauma can materialize in a variety of ways. But you guys, Lucy is just as sweet as we thought she was. :)

Physical Health:

Lucy’s physical health is great. I had a moment yesterday where I was reminded that we could have very easily been going through heart surgery with her. It’s a miracle we aren’t. We have had zero health issues.

We did have concerns about her teeth and underbite, and finally got all 3 kids in to see the dentist. I was expecting Lucy to have the most complications of all of our kids, but surprisingly the dentist wasn’t concerned about her at all (the two older kids, however…cavity city! eeek.). Lucy will likely wear some corrective gear for her underbite at night, and we will begin it as soon as she will tolerate it- likely 1-2 years from now.

It’s just begun getting warm enough in Texas to do some running through the sprinklers! This is something Lucy would not have been interested last year- but this year she jumped right in. So proud of our brave girl.

It’s just begun getting warm enough in Texas to do some running through the sprinklers! This is something Lucy would not have been interested last year- but this year she jumped right in. So proud of our brave girl.

Language:

Lucy’s language had continued to improve and impress us. Her vocabulary grows every day and she is speaking full sentences in English. We have some pretty good conversations with our sassy little girl. Her enunciation isn’t great, but she’s 3, and if we end up doing some speech therapy, that will be just fine. :)

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Language seems to be the thing we are asked about most- and let me tell you, it has been such a non-issue for us. Speech therapists have told us that 2-3 years old is the perfect age to learn a new language and she’s amazed all of us.

Sleep:

Lucy is a great sleeper. When she first came home, I insisted on rocking with her in order to aid attachment, which led to a lot of resistance from her. I finally had to give that expectation and desire up. She will still rock with me at naptime occasionally, but at night, she prefers to be put to bed exactly like Liv. (Read a book, lay down, pray, fall asleep on her own). Because most of her transition has been watching and copying Liv, doing what Liv is doing for bedtime routine gives her more security than rocking with me did. It makes me sad, but at least I know she CAN rock with me and fall asleep. Overall, though, she sleeps really well and this has been a blessing.

I feel like she looks about 14 here. 😭Lucy is holding a note and an ornament from her friend who was adopted the same day and was in the same orphanage. I love that they/we have that special connection!

I feel like she looks about 14 here. 😭Lucy is holding a note and an ornament from her friend who was adopted the same day and was in the same orphanage. I love that they/we have that special connection!

Likes/Dislikes:

She still loves to dance and listen to music. She’ll sing to herself and play pretend with her dolls or stuffed animals. She’s realized that tickling is fun and we love to see her huge smile and laugh (that has been there since day 1). I am excited that she is our “clean” kid. She isn’t afraid to get dirty but doesn’t get super messy and prefers to keep things tidy. She is also particular about random things which make us laugh. Bugs. Stuffed animals. Jewelry. She definitely has her preferences on how she likes things. She doesn’t forget easily and likes to hear about what is coming up, so we spend a good amount of time talking about plans.

Food:

Lucy is a great eater. She is a bit more skeptical of foods than our other two, but once she sees that another kid is eating it, she’ll join in. Since day 1 she has eaten everything we do, so she has a typical American kid diet. I will say that I am making Asian food more often these days because we’ve discovered it’s something all of our kids will devour without complaint!

Transition and Siblings:

Lucy’s transition is as complete as it can be right now. There are still new experiences all the time, but all kids are experiencing new things at age 3. It has been a lot of fun to watch Lucy face new challenges and places, animals and people. There have been times we have realized that her anxiety might be adoption-related and have been able to respond with what she needs, but other times it’s just her/her personality and preferences. Bugs, for instance. Girl is NOT a fan of bugs, haha…with the exception of ladybugs- those are ok. :)

Knox and Liv have been amazing. Liv has clearly enjoyed having another playmate and girl around. They do argue/get jealous but it is just the same as any other sibling relationship. They all need time apart and individual time with us parents. Knox and Lucy have a special relationship too and it’s clear that Lucy really loves and looks up to her big brother. They can be really sweet together.

Lucy is a BIG fan of Easter. This was her first and she cracked us all up by settling into this car and proceeding to try to eat allllll the candy.

Lucy is a BIG fan of Easter. This was her first and she cracked us all up by settling into this car and proceeding to try to eat allllll the candy.

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Sometimes I can’t believe we are a party of 5 but other times it’s like it’s always been that way. We went out a couple of weeks ago to celebrate 1 year home and it was really special. We went to P.F. Changs and as I was taking photos Shawn spontaneously fed Lucy a dumpling which I captured on camera. Then, I remembered I had the same photo of them in China, so this will have to be a new tradition for them!

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have prayed, given, and cared so much for our adoption journey. It’s been a tough road at times but what we are living right now is so sweet and we are overwhelmed with gratefulness. Lucy is truly such a gift to us (as are all of our children), and I hope you can see the beauty of what God has done in our family’s life.

If you are just tuning in, you can check out all my other adoption-related posts here:

technicolor mini-sessions!

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Summer is just around the corner and after a long school year, I feel like this is the perfect way to celebrate!

I typically only offer mini sessions during the fall, but this fun concept demanded it and I can’t wait to get technicolor with you.

A few FAQ’s:

  • I will provide colored powder and silly string- all you need to do is show up!

  • The colored powder is non-toxic and will wash out of clothing. That being said, you might not want to wear the fanciest thing in your closet.

  • These are quick, fun sessions that major on candid fun and lifestyle photos. If you’d like more formal photos- sign up for my mini-sessions in the fall!

  • We will be shooting outdoors in a park-type setting, weather permitting. If weather doesn’t allow us to shoot, we will reschedule for another date.

  • There are lots of different ways you could style your family- in all black or white, or all COLOR! Neons could be fun as well.

  • This session can be for couples or kids only, but is ideal when the whole family gets in on the fun.

  • Photos will be delivered via digital download from a private online gallery about 2 weeks after your session.

Because of the nature of these sessions, spots are limited and are first-come, first-served.

Available Sessions are all Saturday, May 18:

5:50

6:10

6:30

6:50

7:10

To request a spot, please fill out the form below and I will respond ASAP. You will be sent an email invoice for the session and your spot will be officially booked once the invoice is paid.

Name *
Name
Please select and I will do my best to give you the time you prefer.

a technicolor dream family session

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglinComment

I have been professional photographer for over 13 years now, and in that time, I feel like I’ve done literally everything there is to do. Until a couple of weeks ago- when I felt the need to put together this rainbow of a session.

I have had the honor of photographing this sweet family for all of those 13 years, and have literally watched their babies grow! So, when I had this idea for a crazy fun session, I knew who to call. Jessica has done my hair for over a decade as well- and I am so glad she’s there to tame my mane and make me look cooler than I really am. :) If you are needing a great stylist in Lubbock, I highly recommend her salon!

I wanted to capture spontaneous fun and real smiles. Candid photos with no stiff smiling- and of course, lots of COLOR! I think we achieved all that and more. These are definitely some fun family portraits, and ones unlike we have ever shot before.

jumpsuit love!

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Guys, I’ve been obsessed with jumpsuits lately- and so I spent a few hours trying on every one I could get my hands on, and then ogling a few on the internet afterward. :) They are definitely my favorite trend this season.

I LOVE this jumpsuit and wore it to photograph a wedding recently. I was surprised by the great quality of the material and the fit for the price (just $23!). You can shop it by following me in the LIKEtoKNOWit app or just click here:  https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/6SRDjnKMgsQ70VGY1xjduO

I LOVE this jumpsuit and wore it to photograph a wedding recently. I was surprised by the great quality of the material and the fit for the price (just $23!). You can shop it by following me in the LIKEtoKNOWit app or just click here: https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/6SRDjnKMgsQ70VGY1xjduO

I love the fact that they can be casual or dressy- which really depends on the material it is made of. I’ve seen lots of jumpsuits being worn to weddings- and I would advise to save the cotton/cotton blends for errands or a weekday. If you’re wanting to wear a jumpsuit for a more formal occasion, definitely choose something more flowy in a poly or satin blend, or one with a more structured fit.

And- shoes MATTER! Dress up your jumpsuit with heels- or if it’s casual- sandals/wedges, espadrilles, flats.

I’m sharing the ones I tried on (and really liked) and a few I’m just waiting to go on sale so I can snatch them up! I am always looking for fits that will flatter a mommy tummy and be able to be worn comfortably for a long day! I’m typically a size medium, with a bigger bottom and smaller top, so if you’re shaped like me, this is the list for you.

Head to the end of this post for a HUGE list of my faves!


Another WINNER of a jumpsuit- super flattering on that mommy tummy! Shop this look here:  https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/2sw4q5oqzf2OoMYLuIxN6i

Another WINNER of a jumpsuit- super flattering on that mommy tummy! Shop this look here: https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/2sw4q5oqzf2OoMYLuIxN6i


And now for the comfiest thing you will ever put on- I will likely be wearing this as a swim cover up too. Shop this look here:  https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/3T61BI5qZLyYR97NerzPaO

And now for the comfiest thing you will ever put on- I will likely be wearing this as a swim cover up too. Shop this look here: https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/3T61BI5qZLyYR97NerzPaO

This image is CLICKABLE and will take you to that specific jumpsuit when you click on it!

Hope you enjoy this collection!

Easy Easter Baskets

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment
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I’m definitely an Amazon Prime type of mom, and that includes Easter basket goodies. I love filling the kids’ baskets with a few fun (and functional items), a little candy, and lots of things we ‘ll be able to use over and over. So, I’m sharing my Easter Baskets Amazon List today- just in case you’re in need of some new ideas- just click Add To Cart and you’re DONE!

Click on any item below and it will take you straight to Amazon- easy peasy!

I love giving my kids the fun stuff, but I’m also practical and take every opportunity I have to throw in some practical items. This includes a few different categories of items:

Outdoor items: sidewalk chalk, and bubbles (this Fubbles bubble holder is a NO-SPILL container- I don’t know about you, but we have spilled many brand-new bottles of bubbles).

Artsy-crafty things that double for use in the car: I love the Melissa and Doug products like Scissor Skills, Scratch Art, and Bingo Markers are all entertaining and portable. We also LOVE Monkey String (also called Wikki Stix) and I keep a package of it in my purse, my car, and the girls’ backpacks (really) because it is a great non-messy activity to have at restaurants and other places kids may be waiting. Model Magic is not for the car, but an easy-to-clean alternative to play dough that dries and can be displayed.

Bath items: I’m dying to try out these water flutes and bath bombs with fun surprises inside are always a hit!

Books that are also great in the car: I spy books for different ages, and a book on coding for our son who is the best kind of nerd. :)

A little Candy: White Rabbit candy can be found in China and so I thought it would be a special edition this year. We always need chocolate carrots and I KNOW the kids will think the Bunny Farts are hilarious.

Games: This colorful Jenga set is too cute, and Knox has recently had an obsession with Uno. I know he will love this emoji edition! Also- how genius is this $5 card holder for kids?!

Practical: We love these silicone shoelaces. They make any shoe a slip-on and are so convenient! The Contigo brand cups are also a favorite and the ONLY kind that we have found that do not leak. I like to buy a few every now and then to keep our collection fresh.

I hope you’ve found at least a couple of things you can add for some fun! After making this graphic, I thought of even more fun things and added them to my list on Amazon, which you can check out here:

ALSO- if you are an Amazon Prime user (or shop online at all) you need to install the Honey Plugin!

It automatically checks for coupons and the same product at lower prices and gives you the option to swap them in your shopping cart. It saves me almost every time I check out! You also earn points which you can redeem for gift cards. I just redeemed some for a Target gift card, so I can vouch that it actually works!

 
 

knox's constellation bedroom!

HOME, HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglin1 Comment

I’ve been promising Knox (our 8 year old son) that I would redo his room for over a year now and have finally, finally finished it. He has been so patient! This room was previously painted a mint green with a mashup of furniture and an overflow of toys. So, we took the opportunity to do an all-out cleanup and make some bolder design choices that would take him from little boy room and still be appropriate for a teenager.

Knox loves Star Wars and science, as well as maps and travel, so I thought this constellation design I created for a Minted wall mural challenge would work really well for his room. Knowing that it was mostly black/dark, I painted the other 3 walls of his room white. I was really impressed with the quality of the new mid-century style bed we bought from Walmart. I love the upholstered headboard and the tapered legs.

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LINKS:

RUG // NEON LETTERS // BEDDING // BED // CURTAINS // DESK (Similar, this one is vintage)

I’ve had a red mid-century desk for many years I couldn’t bear to part with, and it worked really well in this room. The wire Knoll Bertoia Chair was a $5 garage sale find (which is crazy- these retail for $832 new- no kidding!). Knox got the projector clock for Christmas. Above his desk are his life verse framed, a letterboard with a gold frame, and a map.

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LINKS:

FLOOR LAMP (Similar, this one is vintage) // MAP // WIRE CHAIR // CLOCK // LETTERBOARD

A fun new edition is this pushpin map I got custom made from Paperrama. I thought it would be neat for Knox to get to pin the places he’s been in the world, and dream of where he’d like to go! This is a canvas print, but it has a hard backing that allows you to put in the pushpins. They were super quick about the customization and changed the colors to match his room, as well as added 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

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LINKS:

PUSHPIN MAP // PROJECTOR CLOCK

I like to keep an eclectic feel to our house and don’t like all the furniture to match, so I pulled in a wood side table with hairpin legs I already had and a wire Bertoia diamond chair (another crazy Craigslist find!).

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LINKS:

WIRE DIAMOND CHAIR (similar, this one is vintage) // SIDE TABLE // GOLD LAMP (Similar)

Once we got the bed in place, I knew I still wanted to put some focal point above his bed. I found these “neon” letters on Amazon (link below) and Knox thought they were super cool. They are really LED lights and are lightweight so they are easily hung. They do have wires that extend from them for the battery or USB plugin, but I found a USB connector that allowed me to connect all 5 letters to a hub so we can plug them into an outlet and not use up a ton of batteries.

We chose the word BRAVE because this is Knox’s focus word. This post explains what a prayer word is and why it is so special to us and him!

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LINKS:

NEON LETTERS // USB HUB (GET THIS if you are getting the neon letters!)

The ceiling fan was a much-needed and simple update, and I still think I might take the whole thing down at some point and paint it all black, but it was nice to get rid of the frilly lamp cages, and replace them with these industrial ones I found. A quick $20 fix!

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LINKS:

INDUSTRIAL LAMP CAGES

Knox’s old bed had storage in the bottom, so I knew when we got rid of it, we would need another storage solution. My mom (who is a pro estate-saler) found this mid-century dresser for him quite a while ago, and so I dreamed up some shelving to go around it. Thankfully, Shawn was up for the job!

It was a fairly easy D.I.Y.- we followed the outline of this tutorial. I did have to search all over town to find bracketing that was already painted black, and I’m so glad I did! After checking Lowes and Home Depot, it was True Value that had it. It was 1/2 the price of the white and grey versions I had seen AND I didn’t have to spray paint it. We bought the wood at Lowe’s and stained it, and then just put it together. I think the whole shelf project was around $200.

Another big project was getting all of Knox’s toys organized and contained into the storage boxes you see on the shelves. I basically sat everything out on his bed and said, “everything needs to fit in these 4 boxes, and if it doesn’t, it’s being donated”- which actually worked! We did use an old cube bookshelf you can see on the floor next to the dresser for some stuffed animals/robots, but everything else is contained on the shelving!

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LINKS:

BLACK BRACKETS // BLACK SHELF TRACK // GREY STORAGE BOXES- LARGE // CUBE BOOKSHELF // DRESSER (Similar, this one is vintage) // BLACK AND WHITE GLOBE // INDUSTRIAL FAN (Similar, this one is vintage)

One solution I was particularly proud of was the use of these magazine files for softcover books. Since the books couldn’t stand up on their own, and I didn’t want to stack them on top of each other, this was a great solution. I found these cute gold ones and thought they were perfect!

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LINKS:

GOLD MAGAZINE FILES // POTTED FAUX PLANTER (I found this one at HomeGoods)

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LINKS:

AGATE BOOKENDS // DIFFUSER // GLOBE (Similar, this one is vintage) // DARTH VADER HELMET // STORAGE BOXES

I love the way his room looks as it gets darker outside. The letters glow and the constellations seem to as well. I typically like light-and-bright but this dark-ish room makes me just as happy, and I really feel like Knox will be able to use this room for many years.

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Let’s talk about the wall mural!

I created the wall mural using engineering prints, which you can get at local print shops like FedEx Office, Staples or Office Depot. This is the 3rd or 4th time I have used this technique, and so I decided to film the process and make it a Skillshare class! So, if you have a Skillshare account, you can go watch and learn- or use this link to get 2 months for free- which is more than enough time to watch the whole class.

You can easily check out all of the products I’ve linked here:

PIN IT!

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glorieta family camp 2018 recap

TRAVELlissa-anglinComment

March seems like a funny time to be sharing about a vacation we took last July, but I also know that it’s that time of year to start planning vacation for next summer! So, I’m sharing our third-year experience at Glorieta Family Camp today!

We weren’t sure if we’d be able to make it to camp this year with our adoption being completed- but once we realized we’d be home from China at the end of April, we were able to decide whether or not we’d be able to go. I was worried about family camp disrupting Lucy’s transition to her new home, but in retrospect I think it only helped. More on this in a minute.

If you haven’t read my first blog post on Why We Love Family Camp, go read! <- This post will give you the main HUGE reasons we love camp. We have attended family camp in Glorieta, New Mexico for 3 years now. It’s a specialized camp for families that really caters to all ages, including the parents.

This year at camp, our family jumped right in, literally and figuratively. There were some fun new elements, and some of the things we’ve enjoyed every year.

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One of the first activities we did was the arbor climb- and I was so proud of Knox, who volunteered to go first and killed it climbing up the tree! The girls were more interested in the little ziplines they had made nearby, so everyone was entertained and it was a fun time. At every activity, there are camp counselors who are trained in the safety practices necessary, and so we really got to relax and just enjoy the beautiful setting and our kids.

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One of the things I mentioned earlier was Lucy’s transition and our fear that family camp would interrupt her newly-forming attachment to us. In all reality, I think it only helped. Because we attended camp with several families from our church, it was like a week-long “get to know you” session for Lucy.

Many of the older kids were (and still are!) so great with our kiddos, and being at camp really gave them lots of playtime. I vastly underestimated how important it is for our children to know other kids older and younger- it has been so amazing to see them connect throughout the week when we see them at church and beyond.

Because of these familiar faces, I was much more confident taking Lucy to church (and leaving her in childcare) those first few weeks. We are so, so thankful to the kids and families that helped us establish a safe place of community from the get-go.

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Mealtimes at family camp are always fun (and the food is actually good!). One afternoon, we had a make-your-own-family pizza time where we all got to select the “ingredients” we wanted on our pizza. Of course, we were encouraged to talk about the things our pepperonis and such stood for- like being people with great integrity, gratefulness, and generosity. It was a great activity that kept the kids engaged and the pizza was good, too!

A few years ago, Shawn and I established a no-nag rule at mealtime on vacation, and it is the best thing ever! At home, we are constantly begging for our kids to take “one more bite”, and it is such a relief to have a week where we worry zero about how much food they are eating. The amount of exercise and fresh air they are getting almost guarantees they will be hungry, and food is available almost all the time at camp- plus I keep a good stash of granola bars in our room just to satisfy hungry tummies.

There are several meals that we get to do kid-free, too- which is always nice! This year, we had a speed-dating style meet and greet with the other parents before dinner which included some delicious appetizers (bruschetta! hummus! tiny skewers!). And date night is always fun. Here is our group of friends from last year- so thankful for these people!

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On date night, we were given a couple of hours to rest or get ready (our kids were off having a party of their own), and then we were driven to a really neat old farmhouse where we were served a delicious steak dinner. It was a great time and we were encouraged to take a walk or wander around after dinner. Such a highlight.

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Let’s talk about fun stuff! This is one of Shawn’s favorite activities- drift trikes. This year, even Liv got in on the action. :) We love the different activities that are offered and have found them to be great for almost any age. If the girls were too small to participate, we could bring them along to watch and play on the sidelines, take them to the great childcare, or split up and do something different. There are so many different options, and they add more every year- hiking, archery tag, mini golf, mountain scooters, lake activities, yard games, bikes and trikes to ride, or hammocks to chill in. Let’s be honest- there were several days I opted to “take the girls for a nap” in our room and enjoyed a quick nap myself. :)

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Shawn and Knox went on the optional white water rafting trip this year (the photo above is NOT that, haha). They take a group to a local river and they get to white water raft all afternoon. I think they had fun, but Shawn’s arms were quite sore the next day- needless to say, I don’t think our 7 year old was a lot of help on the rapids. :)

There is a lake at the Glorieta campus (pictured above) with a ton of activities like stand up paddle board, kayak and canoes, and big inflatables. Since our kids are smaller, they mostly loved looking for crawdads.

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An impromptu tea party with our friend Analeigh. Again, we love the flexibility of the schedule at family camp. There is no one expecting you to be anywhere, and that relives such stress and allows for fun little moments like this.

Let’s talk about theme nights!

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Every year, there are a couple of theme nights which you are given in advance so you can bring outfits/costumes. The first this year was “Yacht Party”. So we got a little bit nautical-fancy (for camp, anyway!), and headed to dinner. After we ate yet another delicious meal, they gave us our task for the evening- create a boat out of cardboard. Oh, and one member of our family had to try to float in it.

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So we got to working and taping, and Knox was volunteered as the captain of our ship. :) After we all made our “boats” we headed down to the lake to see if any would float! Haha, ours didn’t last long but it was fun.

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The other theme night was “Lost Boys”. I was determined to make costumes from things we already had at home and really loved what we ended up looking like! On this night, we were driven to a whole new part of campus to find a giant wooden ship, inflatables, slingshots, face painting, cotton candy, grilled corn and turkey legs, and of course, there was a dance party. It was a really fun time.

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Liv was living her best life at the face-painting station. She still talks about it to this day!

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Another thing our kids have talked about consistently since was the foam party! This was a surprise to us, but so much fun! One afternoon, they busted out these giant foam makers- it was quite literally good clean fun!

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Camp this year was a blast and we are so thankful we got to do it again. There are so many HUGE perks I didn’t mention here, so if you are interested in going, please read my previous post.

The time we had together as a family to make memories, worship together and just rest was wonderful. Shawn and I had many great conversations and vision-casting for the Anglin crew, and time to enjoy our friends who support us so much without the distractions of everyday life was invaluable.

I will never forget taking this photo below- this is one of my oldest friends and her daughter, whom they adopted in the past year. We had similar adoption timelines and so seeing these two beauties there with us was evidence of the miracles God has done!

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Shawn and I also made it on this promo video for Glorieta if you would like to see my very pared-down family camp look, haha! No, honestly- it is wonderful to barely wear makeup for an entire week. :)