It’s not a secret that I am excited about a certain nutritional supplement because of the way my health has been so wonderfully changed during this year! I didn’t talk about my health much, but my husband and I knew something was physically wrong because of how emotionally overwhelmed I’d become over small things, and because of how exhausted I was all the time.

But seriously, this has been a game-changer for me. I went from being an exhausted mother of three, dealing with extreme fatigue and sugar issues, having terrible “brain fog” and thinking this must just be normal, to feeling wonderful and better than I have in 5-6 years. It has been incredible for me, and for my family! Because when the mom feels better, the whole family benefits. In huge ways! :) I talked more about why I tried it in this post. 

I’ve had a lot of people contact me and ask about it, and a question I’m often asked is,
“What actually IS Plexus?”

what is plexus

So I want to talk about what Plexus is, what these products are made of, and the science behind why it works. Today I’ll talk about the Slim (a.k.a. Pink Drink – and no, it’s not just for girls!). What got me excited about Plexus is not just that it is helping so many people, but WHY. I like to know the why behind something, not just blindly believing and having no idea what is happening in my body.

In a nutshell

The Pink Drink is becoming wonderfully famous. I mean, what other supplement out there comes in a powdered drink form that tastes wonderful (my kids BEG for it), contains stevia for sweetener, is jam-packed with nutrition, increases energy, decreases the “munchies”? There is nothing else like it!

It is not a magic potion, an overnight-cure-all, or an instant-fix; it is a loaded supplement that enables your body to come to health, and that is not an overnight process. There is a reason for the 60-day money-back guarantee the company offers on all their products: because they believe in the products, and because health isn’t fixed overnight. In a culture of instant-everything, of medications that offer instant results (even if it’s just masking the real issues), Plexus is a totally different mindset; it is that of healing the body from the inside out, of healing root issues, not putting a band-aid on surface problem.

The Slim was originally created by two doctors who were wanting to help diabetics regulate their blood sugar naturally. Through keeping blood sugar at healthy levels, they found it also helps with healthy weight loss, and many other things. Blood sugar levels are connected to many other areas of health in the body.

The body naturally stores fat. The most common areas are the stomach, thighs and buttocks. These excess fat stores contain toxins that cause havoc with our immune system. Ultimately this can lead to heart disease, diabetes, loss of energy, depression and many other debilitating conditions.

Plexus Slim:

-There is no sugar, sucralose (just google how sucralose is made – scary), artificial sweeteners or substitutes.
– It is a powerhouse of nutrition and works for the cellular health of your body (healthy cells = healthy you)
– It includes trace minerals from plant-based ingredients as well as vitamins and amino acids.
– It contains no stimulants; all energy you feel is real and produced from your body.
– It contains no MSG, no gluten, and  is vegetarian and vegan safe.

The extended version…

[for those who want the details]

Well, let’s talk about what Plexus IS NOT first….
Plexus IS NOT a meal replacement or shake.
Plexus IS NOT a magic potion or miracle that will make you lose 50 pounds overnight with no effort.
Plexus IS NOT meant to replace a healthy diet or exercise.
Plexus IS a natural health supplement that is gluten free, with no artificial flavors or colors, sweetened with stevia for a zero glycemic index.
Plexus helps regulate blood sugars.

So, what are the ingredients, what are they made of, and what do they do for the body?
Let’s talk about that.
The ingredients are plant-based, and have some big names. These are scientific names(scary!) so we’ll break it down and talk about what they do and the science behind it (which I LOVE and find so fascinating!).



Chromium GTF is known as an essential trace element. It is used for blood sugar control for people diabetes, pre-diabetes, and high blood sugar due to steroids. It is also used for depression, lowering bad cholesterol, and raising good cholesterol; aids in weight loss, fat loss, and muscle gain; improves athletic performance and increases energy, and potentially helping to curb cravings for sweets and carbohydrates. Balancing blood sugar also leads to hormones reaching healthy levels as well.

Chlorogenic Acid

This is known to aid in lowering blood pressure; and it contains a very important antioxidant for our bodies. Chlorogenic Acid will help to slow the release of sugars (glucose) into the blood stream after you eat. This is very important in helping people lose weight. Typically when you eat a meal, all the glucose that is found in the meal goes into your blood stream and get carried to different organs. Once your body gets all the necessary blood sugars, it will store the rest as fat cells to be burned off later. The problem arises when most people eat a high sugar diet, which means you never truly burn off these fat cells that are being stored for “later.”

Citrin K

Citrin is aa standardized herbal extract from the rind of the fruit of the Garcinia cambogia plant. This reduces the conversion of carbohydrates into stored fat by inhibiting certain enzyme processes. You experience a curbed appetite, have fewer tendencies to “nibble,” and an increase in energy. It also helps your body by increasing serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in your brain that makes you feel good. Having low levels of serotonin may make you feel depressed or anxious.  By increasing serotonin levels, it improves mood and suppresses the drive to react to stressful situations with food.

Alpha Lipolic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (also known as lipoic acid, thioctic acid, or ALA) seems to help prevent certain kinds of cell damage in the body, and also restores vitamin levels such as vitamin E and vitamin C. There is also evidence that alpha-lipoic acid can improve the function and conduction of neurons in diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid is used in the body to break down carbohydrates and to make energy for the other organs in the body.The antioxidant effects might also be helpful in certain liver diseases. Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the good fatty acids produced in every one of our cells. One of its main functions is to help convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy. Besides taking ALA for its general benefits as an antioxidant, studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid can help with the following conditions:

High Blood Pressure 
Coronary Heart Disease 
High blood pressure and elevated cholesterol
Peripheral Neuropathy (caused by diabetes and other conditions, such as Lyme Disease, alcoholism, shingles, thyroid disease and kidney failure) 
-Diabetes (improving glucose metabolism and helping diabetics utilize insulin better)
Liver Disease
Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer (increasing long-term survival)
Impaired Brain Function (as a treatment for stroke and other brain disorders involving free radical damage, including Alzheimer’s disease)
Effects of Aging!!!!!! (improving blood flow and enhancing immune function, restoring levels of glutathione, a protective antioxidant and detoxification compound)
Degenerative Diseases (ALA is a strong anti-inflammatory agent)
Glaucoma and Cataracts


A form of soluble fiber that can take the place of sugar in beverages.It is frequently used as an ingredient in low-carb, sugar-free, and diabetic cooking recipes. It is also used as a thickening agent. Polydextrose has shown healthful prebiotic benefits when tested in animals. It contains only 1 kcal per gram and, therefore, is able to help reduce calories.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks.

Beet Root Extract

Beet Root is used for coloring and is a potent and nutritious source of natural energy and vitality. It is a great way to purify and build healthy blood and normalize the pH balance in our bodies (which helps reduce the risk of cancer).

Stevia Extract

Stevia is derived from natural substances, unlike other sugar substitutes, such as Equal or Nutrisweet. Stevia extract is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration as a dietary supplement and for use in food.

Lo Han Extract

Lo Han Kuo is the fruit of a plant cultivated in the mountains of southern China. Mogrosides, which are water extracted from the Lo Han fruit, offer a pleasant, sweet taste without elevating blood sugar.

And that is a detailed explanation of the Slim!
If you’d like more information, I’d love to tell you more. You can find me on Facebook, send me an email here, or ask a question in the comments.

If you’d like to try the Slim, you can order here: The 60-day money-back guarantee is awesome: you’ll either feel better, or get all your money back. It’s such a win!

drink it

Okay, so the giveaway! I am giving away a 7-day trial pack of the Slim!
To enter the giveaway, please
1. watch this short video from a southern belle, or this one, or if you want some humor, this one.
2. Leave a comment telling one thing you learned from the video

The winner will be announced next Monday, the 15th!

Because of the number of comments, I decided to give away TWO trial packs of Plexus Slim instead of one. The two winners are Sonya and Natalie! Congratulations, you two! I’ve contacted you personally, so look for an email in your inbox. :)

This giveaway is now closed.

Have a great beginning to your week!


  Christmas at the Cottage l JOY marquee DIY

It’s the 2nd of December!
Is anyone else in disbelief that this is the last month of the year?! I still feel stuck back in October, and it seems impossible that it’s nearly Christmas!

However, next week is the Christmas Tour of Homes that we were asked to be part of, and the fluffy of activity around here shows the reality that this is actually NOT September at all. Things are moving right along with the attic remodel, but we are still finishing up the painting and needing to install floors. Don’t make me panic by being shocked, it’s just a little nuts. But there are some amazing things happening upstairs, and I can’t wait to show you! My husband is just a master at his trade, that’s all I’ll say. Oh, except I’ll add that he made sliding wooden barn doors out of reclaimed lumber for the closets and bedroom doors, and they are unreal awesome. UNREAL.

But, back to the marquee sign! As I pulled out the little bit of Christmas décor that I store, and brought in huge armloads of fresh greens, this JOY marquee sign came out again. And I fell in love all over!

I made this as a reminder to me that joy is not a feeling, or a circumstance. Joy is a deep reality that is true, even in the middle of sorrow and pain. I was mourning the loss of my friend Ruth, and Christmas just didn’t have the same happy, warm-fuzzy feeling. I made this to remind me that JOY is because of Jesus, and the deep reality of Heaven and eternity. And that this life is not the end of the story. Joy means more to me now than it ever has!

So last year when I showed the cottage at Christmas time, quite a few people asked how my husband and I made this marquee sign that we hung in our living room. So, a whole year later, here’s a little tutorial for those of you who would like to know how!

There are probably as many different ways to make a marquee as there are different DIY marquees. This is only one, and we went this route because it was the least expensive. Ha! And you could use the little Christmas tree lights, or different words, or anything you like! I combined several ideas I found online for this specific marquee.


– plywood cut to 2 X 3 feet size, plus extra to make 2-inch sides
– white paint
– Mod Podge Glue
– Gold Glitter
– Paint brush
– Stencil and pencil
– Patio lights (1 set of 24)

supplies needed

Okay, so I will say that I needed my husband for the beginning of this project. Because of how the lights and cords are in the back of this marquee, you need sides on the board or you will see all the hardware and jungle of cords from the side. You don’t want to see that, trust me! So he added the sides for me to form a small box-type of board, to hide all the things behind it.

So, here are the steps:

1. Cut board to size (we made it 2 X 3) and add sides.

2. Prime and paint white.

3. Sketch or stencil ‘JOY’ with light pencil marks, centering in the space. I made them very large, filling most of the board.

sketching the outline

4. Drill holes.
This is just a small hole (we made ours far too big; we learned as we went and didn’t make a perfect second marquee! :), enough to allow the base of the light bulb to go through. You want it to fit tightly so it holds the bulb snug. We bought a package of 25 patio lights, and marked 8 holes per letter. There was one bulb and socket left over that we didn’t use, and then had an extra light bulb if we needed it.

(We actually did step #5 before #4 and that was a bad idea. We had to touch-up paint, and it would have saved time and been better to do #4 first.)


holes for the bulbs

#5. Paint with gold paint, let dry, then paint with clear Mod Podge and sprinkle with gold glitter. Heavily sprinkle. And then behold the glitter bomb that goes off in your house! Be sure to shake off the excess OUTSIDE the house.

 Zoe LOVED being part of this process.

adding the glitter

JOY prep glitter!

  holes are drilled

#6. After the paint is dry, insert the patio lights! Take them apart first, then screw them together with the bulbs on the outside of the marquee, the sockets on the backside.

patio lights separate the bulbs

  bulbs in

The backside will look like this when you’re finished. Be sure to have the cord on the side closest to your receptacle. I still needed to use an extension cord because my outlet isn’t very close.

backside of the marquee

#7. Hang your beautiful masterpiece and enJOY!

Christmas Cottage l JOY marquee mantel

  Christmas Cottage l mantel with antlers and garland

  Christmas at the Cottage l JOY marquee DIY

 Have a wonderful first week of December


Jamberry Nails 129

Today is my birthday.
I turn 32.

Somehow, it seems like I was 25 last year and I’m 32 this year and I have no idea how that happened. I’m suddenly an age that I always looked at as rather old and not really much fun anymore and yikes it’s getting close to 40!!!

But now that I’m here, I. LOVE. IT.

Today, I am filled with so much gratitude. G. K. Chesterton says,

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

I love that, and it describes my heart today.

It is a beautiful day of pouring-down rain. My little cottage is warm and cozy and the only thing to make this day better would be to have a fire in the hearth (but the wood is soaked! ha! :) ). I have a candle burning, Sarah McLachlan holiday playing on Pandora, coffee in the mug beside me.

A huge part of what makes this day extra-special is one of the sweetest friends on the planet, who offered to take care of all three of my kids today so that I can have a day off. A DAY OFF. What exactly even is a day off?? I am feeling so spoiled rotten by her and hardly know what to do with myself, it’s just so wonderful!

while pumpkins centerpeices table centerpiece nourish wreath inside the house

Turning 32. And gratitude.

Somehow it seems to be an unspoken thing among women that after you turn (shhhhhh!! 30!) a number in the tens digit that begins with 3, you don’t speak about your age anymore. It’s like, oh goodness, it’s embarrassing to be over 29!! At least act and pretend to be in your 20’s, and hopefully you’ll convince everyone that you’re younger than you are.

WHY, may I ask? Why is age looked at as a thing to blush about, wish it were different?

I have begun to think differently. Today, I celebrate being given 32 years of life.
And specifically, I celebrate life and health.

My eyes have been filled with tears several times already this morning by the blessings of the Lord, and the kindness of people who love me far more than I ever could deserve.
*insert a moment of tears overflowing*

The older I become, the more I realize how much I owe to the people around me, the people that God has put in my life. So much of who we are we owe to the people around us; they have helped shape us, mold us, influence us. Some of the people who have shaped me in powerful ways are not even present today. Their legacy lives on, but their physical lives do not.

In the past two years I’ve said goodbye to two people that have impacted my life in huge ways; my friend by her years of beloved friendship, and my nephew whom I never had the chance to know in this life.

[bangles I’m wearing today that belonged to Ruth]

remembering Ruth

Loss impacts a life deeper than almost anything else we will ever experience.
It shakes our beliefs, it makes us reevaluate what is really important, it can bring us an eternal perspective like nothing else will. I am not the same person I was before the deep losses, and I will always feel the ache of them not being a part of my life on earth any longer.

And yet, it is these very people that gives me new perspective on aging, on turning another year older.

My friend Ruth was not given her 32nd birthday. The day that she would have turned 32 was filled with tears, the ache of missing her deep and painful.

Today, it was that memory of her that choked me up, and as my little children woke up one by one, I hugged and kissed their sweet sleepy faces, laughed at their stinky breath, filled with gratitude that today I get to be their mommy. I get to wake up and care for them and be in their lives, and have them in mine. We get to do life together.

My beloved friend Ruth, my little nephew that left this world before he ever experienced life here, my cousin who wasn’t given his 21st birthday, my dear aunt that was full of beauty and peace – it’s a day to honor their dear memory and chose to live well and live fully today. To celebrate this day that I’ve been given, this gift of turning 32, and celebrate the gift of life. THE GIFT OF LIFE. It is an inexpressible gift, and one day we all will hand it back to the One who first gave it to us, and exchange it for eternal life. It is a gift so rich, and each birthday can speak of fresh mercy and deeper growth.

Today I am feeling the incredible richness of this gift, and how undeserving I am of it. I feel such gratitude to so many people in my life – those who have made me what I am, helping to shape and mold me, those who push me out of my comfort zone and help me become more, those who love me far more than I deserve to be loved… I feel so rich, so undeservedly rich.

Another thing I feel such gratitude for is my health. One year ago I thought that exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed by life, and low blood sugar/thyroid problems were just a part of life as a mother of three, and that I would gradually just become even more run down. I talked about that here. If you’re friends with me on Facebook and see my posts about Plexus, please understand that the only reason I promote it is because I feel like a completely different woman that I did a year ago. I feel like I have my life back. I have energy to get up in the mornings, to not just survive the day but to thrive in it, my mind feels clear and sharp, and I don’t even deal with low blood sugar problems anymore. I’m so excited about these all-natural products that have not just changed my life and gave me the nutrition I was so desperately needing, but thousands of other people are saying the same thing. I am just so grateful, tears-flowing grateful.

[edited to add: bargain hunters alert! November 27-30 use coupon code THANKS2014 to receive 10% off your Plexus purchase, and 15% off automatically to join wholesale!]

On this day that I turn 32, I want to live it big and wide and arms flung open in worship to my Lord. And not only this day, but this year, and any year that I will be given after this. I want to grow deeper, and especially grow in caring less what people think of me, and more of what God does. There are some huge ways I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone in the coming year, things I know about and thing I don’t know, and I don’t want to run from it, but embrace the opportunity to grow.

Live large, and don’t be ashamed of the years you’ve been gifted in this life. Own it, and worship Jesus because of it!

I absolutely love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot; let it be true of me, and all true followers of Christ!

one desire



October Beach Day 137

So, when the weather forecast predicts a day of 90 degrees, at the end of October, and you live within one hour of the ocean, what is the only logical way to spend that day? The obvious answer is, of course, go to the ocean!

Plus, it was time to get out of the house. Our remodel project has been keeping us busy, the house is perpetually dirty even when I try to stay on top of it daily, and we just needed to relax.

That’s what we did on Monday. It was a glorious day – no humidity (which is extremely rare), bright sunshine with not a cloud in the sky, and yes, 90 degrees.

October Beach Day 057

You know, when I see all kinds of bright autumn leaves and cozy scarves and brown boots and mittened hands – all in pictures on places far far away – I think it all looks so wonderful. And I do get a little envious sometimes. I miss the four seasons here.

But! The only good thing to do is to make the best of a situation. And so we did. Swimwear and barefeet instead of boots and sweaters. :)

I had a photoshoot idea in my head since the beginning of the year, inspired by an image from Darling Magazine, and all summer, even with many trips to the ocean, it just didn’t happen. This day I decided we’ll do it. I wanted it very simple – simple outfits, barefeet, not even accessories like headbands or bows. Just the ocean, colorful balloons, and outfits the kids have worn (almost every Sunday) all summer long.

I don’t even pretend to be a pro at the camera, and the bright sunshine in the middle of the day was a big stretch for me. I didn’t know until I got home if they’d work or not. Thankfully, they are okay. A little blown out to my critical eye, I would love to see more ocean in the picture – I’ll work on that next time.

But I love that it captures my kids right now – at ages 2, 5, and 7. It captures their personalities, their stances, their faces and impish grins. Ten minutes was all I could get out of them – because seriously, who wants to go the beach and take pictures? No one but their mother, obviously. I laugh when people say things about my kids being photogenic – because they don’t like to pose for the camera. It was a process as fast as possible, with me following them around for ten minutes, with promises of Chic-Fil-A milkshakes afterwards. :)

October Beach Day 051 October Beach Day 046 October Beach Day 060 October Beach Day 038 October Beach Day 121 October Beach Day 096

October Beach Day 056

Whoever made the statement about “terrible two’s” must have been a sad, lonely person. I absolutely LOVE two year olds. If I could have a favorite age, I think this would be it. Still so much baby, but growing up so fast. Still a toddler, but becoming so aware of the world. He’s trying to say new words and getting them out all wrong but I just want to MUSH him, he’s so adorable. He and I spend a lot of time together these days, with the girls doing their school studies, and I love it. He’s my little buddy.

October Beach Day 054

October Beach Day 049 October Beach Day 045

 And five year olds? Whoever knew they could be such sweetness? And that at this tender age they could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to them and they respond to it to where the rest of the family notices? This girl is spirit and life and joy and color!

October Beach Day 079 October Beach Day 063

And seven year olds. Who knew they could think so deeply, care so deeply, and already plan to be a missionary on the other side of the world? This girl is depth and understanding and sensitivity.

October Beach Day 109 October Beach Day 073

  October Beach Day 105

There is such incredible joy at being a parent.
It is one of THE most wonderful things I’ve ever been given in my life.
It’s also one of THE hardest things I’ve ever been given.

As my husband and I look at these three children born to us, we often wonderful how we ever were so blessed. Three healthy beautiful children. Children who teach us so much, maybe even more than we teach them. Children who demonstrate such faith and trust that it puts us to shame. Little tiny people who are living souls, who will live for all eternity, and they’ve been given to us, to love, to teach, to lead to Jesus. The privilege is so beautiful, so great, so incredible. The job is daily too large for us, and I think it’s supposed to be like that – so that we continually realize our desperate need for Jesus in the middle of it. But there is no place I’d rather be, than right here, caring for these precious little children.

October Beach Day 038 October Beach Day 024 October Beach Day 021 an october beach day

A few weekend links for you to follow…

  • Leslie Ludy has a beautiful new website that launched just this summer,
    called Set Apart Motherhood. Each week new content is delivered to my inbox, and I’m always excited to read. This week was a good read with the focus on Joyful Mothering, over here.

  • An amazing read for me this summer, recommended by my sister Ervina, has been
    Gospel Powered Parenting, by William P. Farley. If you want a heart-challenging, convicting, deeply encouraging book to read about parenting, this is one of the best. It’s not a how-to book, but a book mostly about the Gospel of Christ, and how that must be in us first before we can represent it to our children. I highly highly recommend it. A little excerpt…

“Parents who joyfully pursue God are contagious. Joyful sacrifice for the gospel is contagious. A gospel that makes parents stable, sincere, joyful, affectionate, and humble is contagious. Children will want a God that produces these qualities.

“On the other hand, parents going through the motions of church, enslaved to rules, serving God to gain his acceptance, tolerating their spouses, or worse, engaging in open warfare, chase their children away from God and his church. When Mom and Dad preach one thing but do the opposite, and don’t repent to their children, it makes the world attractive and the gospel irrelevant…..”

I want to re-read the book again, it’s that good!

  •  This amazing looking breakfast – a Baked Pear Pancake, by Shelley. I can’t wait to buy pears and make it! But don’t take my word for it – go look at the picture and you’ll think the same thing.
  • When you don’t see the whole picture, and don’t know the whole story. This blog and recent post is so touching and beautiful: Navy Blue, Elastic Waist Pants.
  • A study on the book of Ruth, by Kelly Minter. My beloved friend, Ruth, passed away two years ago in October. It’s been a difficult month for me, remembering, sorrowing deeply again. Doing a study on the book of Ruth during the month of her passing was comforting to me, and daily reminded me of two beautiful women named Ruth. This was my first study by Kelly Minter, but I look forward to doing more.



Also, I just realized this week that my email has been blocking messages from this blog! I’m so very sorry. If you’ve tried to email me and haven’t gotten a response over the past few months, I was not ignoring you, I just didn’t ever see it! The problem is fixed and all is well now, so message away. ;)

Have a great weekend, lovelies!


Why I tried plexus

Edited to say: My health is a work in progress; health in general is not an over-night fix. But the reason I am so excited about these products is because they are the first thing that has actually helped to restore and rejuvenate my health. Very likely no one on this earth will have perfect 100% health 100% of the time, but I am so thankful to be feeling better than I have in years after several months of Plexus.

Just last week, out of the blue, my husband said, “Your health is SO different than it used to be!” I laughed, because I knew it was true, and was just waiting for him to notice on his own. :)

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a complete skeptic: I thought there was no way this supplement could actually be good for you.  This was BEFORE I really looked into Plexus, and I thought there must be awful ingredients somewhere that would make it harmful to a person’s health! I tend to jump the clear opposite direction of the Latest Greatest Products, because surely they can’t be all they are cracked up to be!

But a friend, who is natural minded, level-headed. :) and who has been helped so much health-wise herself through these products, began telling me about them. If I hadn’t heard through her, I don’t know that I would have tried them, because she is someone I trust and that makes thought-through decisions. Plus, these products are also recommended by the Bulk Herb Store, which is a very reputable place.  I decided the least thing I can do is give it a try because it would either 1) help me! or 2) I’d get all my money back. There was really nothing to lose.

So why did I even want to try it?
Health-wise, I seemed mostly okay.
But my husband and I knew that I was so run-down physically. Having babies and nursing them has been so hard on my body, and after three of these precious kiddos I had almost no energy left. I thought that was just normal with three kids.

I’d wake up in the morning, after sleeping all night (my kids are great sleepers) and still felt like a truck ran over me. I couldn’t wait until nap time, when I could rest again in the afternoon. But often I didn’t get a rest, because it’s hard to line up three little people’s schedules to all be quiet at the very same time for more than a few minutes.

I had adrenal fatigue, which means that anything physically or emotionally or mentally wiped me out. If we’d go away for a weekend or week, I’d come back home and have no energy left for days. Like, NO ENERGY.

I had low blood sugar, where I could see my hands shake from the low sugar levels in my body. If I stood up too fast, I’d have to grab onto something because I’d black out and couldn’t see anything.

I had “mommy brain” – you know, where they talk about your brain leaving with the birth of your babies. It’s also called brain fog in very scientific terms, :) where I couldn’t seem to think clearly, and if I had a busy day I’d feel completely overwhelmed because it would be too much for me to keep up with mentally.

I did not need to lose weight, and did not want to. I know, you can throw the tomatoes. My mom passed down really good genetics to where weight isn’t something I’ve had to struggle with. I run to stay toned because even good genetics don’t keep someone toned and healthy. :) The running made me feel good as far as physically toned, but not with my energy levels, and I knew I needed someone more. But what??

This is the part where I tried Plexus Slim, also known as the Pink Drink. :)

Still fully skeptical, I tried it. With the 60-day money-back guarantee, I thought there was nothing to lose. If it didn’t work, I would get every penny back. If it did help me, then yay, I’d be feeling better!!

60 day gaurantee

It was not an overnight change, because Plexus Slim is not a magic potion. Their products work from the inside out, and as with nearly anything good, it takes time to work. Plexus works at a cellular level, and is loaded with ingredients that  make healthy cells in your body. And healthy cells = healthy you! The Slim is full of all natural products, with nothing in fine print that you don’t want to know about. It’s gluten-free. It’s packed with good products and trace minerals that aren’t instant-magic, but that work with your body to bring full vital health.

  plexus slim ingredients

It was after the first month that I noticed that I began to wake up feeling refreshed. Actually refreshed, to where I’d wake up and feel ready to get out of bed. Get out of town!!! What was happening to me? During the third month of taking the Slim (Pink Drink) is where I started feeling very different, like I was beginning to feel healthy again! It has been YEARS since I felt healthy.

After that first month I had some times where my energy lowered a bit for a week or so as the toxins were being taken out of my body, but then my energy continued climbing again. And I’ve had a few days here and there where I can tell I’m going through another small detoxing phase, but overall my energy is increasing, and I feel better continually.

Now, I don’t even think about a nap during the day, because I don’t need one. I am not wiped out after a weekend or week away, even with late nights. I can return home and feel just fine! My “brain fog” keeps clearing up and I can go through busy days so much better. Again, it is not a miracle product, but it does work with your body to bring optimum health, and I am so thankful!! My husband also started taking the Slim, and he cannot believe the better energy he has. And it’s not because of a caffeine rush! I have not lost weight on the Pink Drink; those I’ve asked about that say that lower-weight people don’t need to worry, because it’s optimally about good health, which brings about a healthy weight.

drink it

plexus pink

This blog is not going to become all about Plexus, but from time to time I may mention it. I just want other women and mothers to know that you can have help for your health! You don’t have to be exhausted and wiped out all the time! If someone has told you about Plexus, I highly recommend that you contact them and try this product! :)

Plexus has helped thousands of people to come to better health – there are countless testimonies of Lyme Disease, yeast/candida issues, high/low blood sugar levels, digestive problems, poor gut health, hormone levels, and so much more being helped!

Other people try Plexus for the weight loss benefits, or the home business aspect.

Do you struggle - ProBio5 provides(2)

I began taking Plexus for my own health benefits, and have now begun selling it as a business. You can purchase through me at my site here, message me through my blog, leave a comment below, or message me on Facebook if you have questions or want more information about it.

I greatly dislike high-pressure salespeople, so this is not about pressure! :) But just to let you know that there is a way to better health if you have been struggling. I’m not paid to advertise here, and if I wasn’t so sold on a product there was no way I could be writing an entire blog post on Plexus! I would have thought myself crazy six months ago. :)

The 60-day money-back guarantee on every single product shows the company’s belief in their products, and also their belief in true health that begins from the inside out, not an instant temporary fix. Here is a little video of the various Plexus products, if you’re interested in learning more.

Benefits of Plexus Slim

  • Safe and effective weight control
  • Helps regulate blood sugars
  • Helps maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes beneficial cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Proven ingredients—including Alpha Lipoic Acid, Chlorogenic Acid, and Garcinia Cambogia—that address all areas of weight loss
  • No meal replacements
  • No shakes
  • Fast and easy
  • Saves you time
  • A simple solution combined with water to help you succeed

 So, whether you try Plexus products or not, here’s cheers for better health, to the glory of God!

signature     how plexus works

  ProBio 5 - Do you suffer from...
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer, and if you want an ingredient list or more information to take to your doctor, please contact me! What works for me might not work exactly the same for you (although I certainly hope it does). I’ve given my honest opinions above and hope if anything this will inspire you to make a goal to be in the best health of your life. 

It has been an eventful past five days.
Beginning with a large tree falling in our yard and missing our house by inches, and a trip to the emergency room the very same night (in a completely unrelated incident) when Zoe gashed her head open from her eyebrow to halfway up her forehead and needed stitches… to our vehicle not starting when we got in to go to the ER, to several other smaller incidents. It was quite a day! But we are to thankful to all be okay, and Zoe is healing up well. I think I’m more traumatized than she was!

The next day, we had visitors! Long anticipated visitors! When Zoe had her accident she was so worried that her beloved auntie and uncle wouldn’t be able to come after all. But not to worry, all was well! :)

Chris and Claudia knew we were wanting to begin our attic renovations sometime this fall, and SO KINDLY offered to come and help us! The timing of this week worked well for them and us, and wow, are the boys ever tearing it up up there! Chris is a help so incredible we can’t even describe… taking time off of work to come and help work, but also to help with design ideas and planning. We would be so far behind if it weren’t so him! And Claudia, well, who doesn’t love having a sister around?! It is pure joy!

I’m not sure how detailed I’ll be about blogging and documenting this attic renovation, but for my own record I want to have at least a bit here and there.

So here are a few pictures of before, during, and now, as well as some inspiration pictures of what we have in mind for the finished product…

After only two days of work, the front of our house has changed so much! Two dormers are being added to the front of the house, both for looks and for light inside. I love how it already cozies up the house, and changes it into a Cape Cod style vs. a Bungalow.

adding dormers to the cottage


The first day… Monday morning. It began with a saw through the metal roof, making a giant hole. Too late to retreat. Yikes.

a hole in the roof

adding a dormer

The second chimney had to be taken down (see the picture above) because of it’s placement in the middle of a room in the attic. Thankfully, it was not the fireplace we use, so we will still have the looks of the fireplaces downstairs in the kitchen and dining room even though they will not be functional at all.

But back up a bit….

Presently our dear little cottage has only two bedrooms. My previous post talked about how all three kids are in one bedroom, which is great! :) However, we cannot do that forever, and in the long run the house will be valued at more if it has four bedrooms vs. two. So, the plan, begun four years ago in dreams only, was to turn the unused attic space into two more bedrooms. We added a stairway from the downstairs to the attic when we remodeled four years ago, because of eventually wanting to finish it out. But the stairs led to this:

bedroom #1 before bedroom #2

So, yes, there is an almost overwhelming amount of work to still be done. The interior has not be touched much at all, other than the dormers. However, just that alone makes me so excited because it brings in so much LIGHT. And I absolutely LOVE natural light!

rough framed dormer with cathedral ceiling
At this point, there is not much more I can do than clean up the dust at the end of the day. So I can peruse the internet and dream about the finished product. ;) We are on a time-crunch: this has to be completed and decorated by December 13, so we have just a little over two months. Which, if that’s all my husband would do, that would be fine. But this will be done evenings and weekends, which means our autumn looks just a leeeeetle crazy……..

But look at some of these pictures that I’m inspired by, and you’ll see why I’m really really excited. :) I’m drawn to white as I look through pictures, a lot of white. So I am wanting to go with a very simple, natural look. Maybe more European inspired?

simple and fresh

 image via


attic rooms

image via

love this attic room


image via

boards running vertical

Image via

We plan to use one of the rooms as a bedroom, and one of them as an office/work area. Here are few inspiration pictures for that…

Pretty little attic art studio.

image via





office space

 Image via

THIS is what i want.


 Image via

Sooo,  that is what is happening around these parts right now, and over the next two months. It’s fun and exhausting and exhilarating and exciting all at once. :)




coral and aqua bedroom

So I’m trying to catch up on some of the before & afters here at the Cottage, before some more changes happen. Next week, hopefully, we begin renovations to turn the upstairs attic space into two new bedrooms. We are EXCITED!

At the moment, we have two bedrooms. One for the parents, one for the three kids.

This post could more properly be titled: How to Fit Three Kids in One Bedroom.

As you can imagine, it works! :) Also, it is challenging! To put two girls and one little boy in the same bedroom, as well as all their clothes and toys, has been a stretch. While I feel that it has forced me to be organized, I also am not a died-in-the-wood minimalist, so sometimes this room goes through crazy purging (normally late at night after the kids are sound asleep and I haul half of their toys off to Goodwill).

The bedroom before: great bones, just not so great a color.

bedroom before jpeg

purple bedroom before jpeg

The bedroom after:
We painted with Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, which is a cross between grey and cream. I was hoping for something a little more grey than what this turned out to be, but I was still very happy with the end result.

// looking into the bedroom, with some crafts on the doors the girls made at clubs one night //

bedroom door

Because this room holds three children, as well as doubles as our guest room, we needed a double bed, and we need décor that was appropriate for both genders and for guests.

I’ve seen many darling kiddo rooms. And I’ve seen some kiddo rooms that are beautiful, but that don’t look kid-friendly. It looks like the mom is wanting it to reflect her own personal tastes rather than making a place that the kids will enjoy. Naturally, a house will reflect the style and taste of the woman who lives there, and that is okay. But I also wanted this space to be something my kids liked too. So we all gave and took a little.

I knew that I wanted a mostly neutral room, with pops of color in aqua and coral (since those two colors can be somewhat gender-neutral). I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this room, but I was willing to purchase a few items to make the room special and unique.

The Girls’ Side

You Are So Loved pillow

you are so loved pillow and shams

The Pottery Barn Teen website had a really cool feature where you can make a virtual bed, with various colors & styles & pillows to see how you like it before you purchase. Obviously it is only their own items (and I wasn’t planning to purchase there) but it was a great resource – which I cannot for the life of me find to link to. Maybe it was discontinued? But browsing the bedding on their website gave me some great ideas.

The girls had plain white sheets on their bed, which were a little boring, so I bought some aqua rick-rack at a fabric store (the widest I could find for the sheets, and smaller for the pillowcases) and sewed it on.

rick rack sewn onto a flat sheet rick rack sewn onto pillowcases for a pop of color

It was a big time-consuming, especially for the sheet because I could not simply sew a straight line down the middle. I tried that, but after one washing the edges curled so badly I knew it would never work long-term. So I had to sew on both sides of the curved edge, which was easy enough but just took some time. The rick-rack on the pillowcases was narrow enough that I could sew one straight line down the middle of that one.

The total price for the newly updated sheets was under $10. It sure beats a new set from Pottery Barn. :) I added some pillow shams I had gotten on clearance a few years ago and the color match was perfect.

sister silhouettes above the bed

For a final touch on their bed I bought the pillow cover that says, “You Are So Loved.” I fell in love with it the moment I first saw it, and have not regretted that purchase!

And, because I simply cannot leave silhouettes alone (even four years later), especially when they are silhouettes of my own children, I made newly-updated profiles for above the bed. I made them from 12 X 12 cardstock, glued them onto canvases that came 2/pack at Walmart, and then painted the edges of the canvas gold to bring in a bit of bling. I also added the name of each of my daughters in gold under her silhouette. It was the perfect touch for above their bed, and I love it.

sister silhouettes in coral and gold

Above their bed I hung a collection of paper flowers (aqua: my mother-in-law found at a yard sale) and tissue paper balls (white and pink: tutorial here). The large white round lantern was found somewhere years ago (read, cannot remember!).

 We also replaced the old brown ceiling fan with an outdoor hanging lantern that we found at a yard sale for $5. It is also old, but it is white, and it fit in the room beautifully.
above the bed

tissue paer balls

bedroom in coral and aqua

A few little extra details: the bed was a brown wooden thrifted find when we were newly married for $40. First it was black, and more recently white. We added this decorative piece to the headboard.

headboard detail

Old Quilt at the bottom of the bed: *say it all together* thrifted

quilt from Goodwill

And lest we be deceiving, at the moment (or for the past 3 months-moments) the bed has been held up by books on one corner. It’s true! :) Books hold up broken beds wonderfully. The Nesting Place gave me permission to show the imperfect along with the beautiful. xo

honesty is best aqua throw rug

To the right of the bed, with about 4 feet in between, is Hudson’s bed.

How to fit three kids in one bedroom

Little Man’s Corner

We found an antique toddler bed at a thrift store when Zoe was a baby, and so far each of our kids have used it. It is made of solid wood, and it’s just so gorgeous! All I needed to do was clean it up, and it was ready to go. I do think it tends to look a little girly though, so when Hudson moved into it we tried to make it a manly little corner. :)

I found Little Wanderers store through Instagram, which is where I found the white cardboard deer head mount. I LOVED it, and knew that it would be the perfect statement piece for above his bed, setting it apart as the boy side. It was super easy to assemble (punch out, then follow the numbered pieces), and I absolutely love this!

the boy side

Gold frame: thrifted
White Deer Mount: Little Wanderers, source at the bottom of the post
Arrow Pillow: made by me
White comforter: throw-sized down comforter that fits a toddler bed perfectly
Bed: thrifted

the boy side of the room little boy bed

deer mount deer head mount

  deer head cardboard mount

antique headboard little boy bed

antique baby bed anitque bed

little boy corner

We put white faux-wooden blinds up on the windows, but no window treatments.
I liked the clean white lines, and it draws the eyes to some of the other places in the room, while keeping the windows stream-lined.

The bedroom also has a mantel (one of five in this cottage, isn’t that crazy?!).
However, we did not make it functional: we use it for decorative purposes only.
As cute as it might look, fire in a kids’ bedroom would just terrify me.

Beatrix Potter theme mantel

wagon in the bedroom with books

So because it started out as a nursery-turned-kids’-room, this area has a Beatrix Potter-theme of sorts. Add in some fedoras (Target’s dollar bin) and baseballs (thrifted), a painted “H” for a whimsical look, and it’s good to go.

mantel in the kids bedroom old baseballs

Okay, so this is where it get nitty-gritty practical: storage space.
Three kids in one room isn’t all rosy (other than the fact that they LOVE it).

We have one dresser (gifted by our landlord at our previous rental house), and it houses all the clothes for all three kiddos, with the exception of hanging clothes (dresses, dress shirts, sweaters) and shoes. Sooo, the good thing about this is that it forces me to be basic with their clothing because there simply is not room for each child to have lots of clothes.

There is still a changing pad on the dresser because, yes, my son is still being potty trained
(don’t even get me started on all his escapades while in the process).
I hot-glued some aqua ribbon onto the lampshade to continue the aqua/rick-rack theme,
and hung a decorative mirror.

Under the dresser are baskets: one for each of the girls to hold their shoes and socks,
and the little yellow one for Hudson’s shoes and socks.

one dresser for three kids

decorative lamp shade whimsical mantel

  mirror reflection wagon with books

Not pictured is the closet, one of three in the entire house, which holds their clothes and all of their toys (except for the white trunk at the foot of Hudson’s bed that stores the doll clothes for the girls, and the living room coffee table trunk that holds a few more toys).

It IS possible to have several children in the same bedroom. Ideal? Perhaps not. But when it is all you have, you make it work, and you make it fun and beautiful. You choose to have only the things that you really really like, and remove all else and haul it to Goodwill. :)

I’m still learning – after nine years of marriage – that home is not about being a perfect place, or having all the perfect things. With kids especially, things will be imperfect, and that’s okay. If you’re a bargain-hunter (like me), you won’t find everything all at one store, all in one day. It takes patience, and eventually, over time, you will have a unique collection of things you really love. We’ve lived in the Cottage for four years, and the kids’ bedroom is finally coming together how I like. And now within two months we will be rearranging and moving around again because of the upstairs renovation. :)

So goes life, and that’s why it’s so important to enjoy the process of homemaking, not just waiting until everything is exactly perfect before you can see the beauty. Beauty does not equal perfection. Beauty means that you choose to see the lovely, the precious, right now, today, right in the middle of what may be a mess.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour of the kids’ bedroom, and are encouraged to “fluff your nest” too. :)


“You are so loved” pillow cover: Society 6
Deer/Buck Cardboard Mount: Little Wanderers
Rug: thrifted, but similar one found on Overstock