Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Fall is dandy.

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

It really is.  Dandy.  Fall is.  I love this time of year.  Absolutely love it.  I think that I’ve always been a fan of fall.  There’s just something about this time of year that draws me in.  It reminds me of things.  For starters it tells me that everything is going to be okay and eventually will become anew.  After a very long, hot summer the temperatures will start to drop, brilliant colors will form on my favorite trees, leaves will begin to fall, snow will eventually cleanse, and then spring will burst forth The newness happens all because of fall.  All because of it.  Without fall we would miss out on so much!  (If you’ve never experienced a Midwest fall then I highly recommend it.  Visit a place that has a real and true fall just once.  You will see exactly what I’m talking about.  The beauty of it all.  Truly breathtaking.)

Everything about this season for me is a memory.  My childhood is a big part of this memory.  I remember going with my grandparents to stomp through piles of leaves in the parks near Jefferson Barracks.  We would leave the pathways to find the biggest clusters of leaves.  The crispness in the air was often filled with silence that was then broken by our feet crunching through the giant, untouched leaves.  My grandparents would positively glow at the happiness that I expressed on our leaf walks.  I knew that they were happy and, as their only granddaughter, I reveled in the attention.  The walks were filled with love.  They taught me the joy that is leaf stomping and I can never look at falling leaves in the same way again because of it.

This year the change of season has taken on new meaning for me.  My feelings toward fall are now bitter sweet.  Seven years ago next month my grandfather (the inspiration for the dandy blog) passed away while raking leaves.  In a strange way it was almost meant to happen that way.  Despite the fact that I was thousands of miles away when it happened… It happened while he was doing something that was so closely connected to me.  Something that tied us together.  Maybe that sounds silly, but it has become a comfort to me.  We lost my grandmother earlier this year.  I’ll forever miss our walks together in the fall.

Despite the sadness that I feel this time of year I can still feel the joy of the season.  I’ll always have the wonderful memories and I’ve come to love sharing this season with my own family.  Spending time out in the fall weather with my husband and children, teaching them about the dandiness that is leaf walks, and taking part in all the fun of the season.  There truly is so much to enjoy this time of year.  Last weekend we found ourselves at a corn maze with friends.  Always a fall gem.  It has become a tradition for us to go to this specific maze.  Our dandy kids had a great time while building their own fall memories and I was able to reflect on all the many reasons why I love this time of year.

A dandy fall to all!

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Little Tikes recently gave my family the gift of the Cozy Coupe Wagon.  It’s perfect for all of your fall outings.  Stay tuned for the Halloween review. 

Endure Shop {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Now that it’s finally February, we can accept the fact that Valentine’s Day is almost here. When the pink hearts start popping up all over WalMart the day after Christmas, I get a little cranky. But, like it or not, the big V-Day will be here in a week from tomorrow! What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Love? Hearts? Jewelry? Chocolate? Well, send your hubby on over to the Endure Jewelry Company, where you can find all of those things (minus the chocolate)!

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I’ve already told you how cool Endure Shop is, especially if you’re a runner. They sell beautifully crafted jewelry to represent and celebrate your running accomplishments, or to motivate you to reach your goals. Remember how I said you can find love, hearts and jewelry all in their shop? Check out this beautiful “Live Love Run” necklace and you’ll see I wasn’t kidding! Wouldn’t this be fabulous a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift for the runner in your life?

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I have a strange attraction/addiction to workout clothes, so I of course chose to review an item from the Apparel collection. Since I live in (almost) perpetually sunny California, I chose the Run Tank. I love the fabric–super light-weight without being cheap and thin–and of course the cute word “Run” with a heart and the Endure logo on the front.

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I ordered the Large because I’m currently 3 months pregnant with my third and figured I’d need the extra room. The tank fits snugly but not uncomfortably, so once I lose the baby weight it will be loose, but not ridiculously huge. I like that the fit is semi-fitted and truly hides the muffin-top, as they claim. The back is racer-back style and the Endure definition is right in the middle of that intersection, which I think looks really cool. My favorite part is the little roadrunner hanging out on the back of my hip–so cute!

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Please forgive my Vampire tan.

The tank also comes in white, but I thought the black with white lettering looked so much cooler. Now I just need to buy a few more colored bottoms so I don’t look like a stage hand or a gothic when I work out in all black 😉 The tank is $32, but if you’re lucky, you can win a $30 Gift Card to Endure Shop and snag this cute top for only $2! Or use the credit toward a really beautiful piece of jewelry for someone…and that someone can be you!

Win a $30 Gift Card to Endure Shop!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of February 17, 2014, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Endure Jewelry Company, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Sprinkled Joy {Giveaway} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

About five years ago, I was up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got out of bed and decided to get something done.  We had just moved in to our very first home that we had purchased a couple of weeks earlier, and I was in the middle of decorating.  There was a large wall that ran from our living room to our dining room, and I couldn’t figure out what to do with it.  That night, though, I came up with the most perfect wall college of different sizes/shapes/colors of frames that just happened to fit together perfectly.  I included some of the most important things to us in these frames (our marriage certificate, a family picture, a picture of Jesus Christ, etc.) along with some cute decorations (a large teal J, burlap background, etc.), and that large wall college has been a staple in every house we’ve lived in since then.

Since having children, we’ve had to make some changes to the pictures in the frames, and over the past year, I’ve had an empty 8×10 white frame that I couldn’t figure out what to do with.  Pure laziness, I know.  When I discovered Sprinkled Joy, though, I knew that I had found the perfect fit for that empty frame!

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Sprinkled Joy is an Etsy shop that specializes in customizable prints and printables that are perfect for every room in the house or for any occasion.  There are a number of prints for family reunions, weddings, anniversaries, baby shower, birthdays, etc. that could then be framed and hung in a bedroom, living room, family room, or nursery.  I love that there is literally something for everyone in this shop — all customizable at an amazing price with a quick turnaround time.

One of my favorite parts of working with Sprinkled Joy over the past few weeks has been my interaction with Sarah, the shop owner.   She has been quick to respond to my messages, to update me with changes along the way, and to allow me the chance to make changes to my proof.  If you’re looking for someone who will ensure that your customizable products looks exactly the way you want it, I would highly recommend Sarah at Sprinkled Joy!

Sarah tells us on her About Us page: “In January 2012 I put some products up and people began buying them – I was shocked, and super flattered. From there Sprinkled Joy has grown beyond any expectations I initially had and has some regular customers and many new happy ones. I always love it when I can create something that has been personalized especially for someone and hope that my designs can bring an extra measure of joy into people’s lives.”

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The Original Famous Couples Subway 8×10 Print

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Newborn Stats Birth Announcement, Size 4×8

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ABC Name Print – Customizable

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Family Tree for Large Families

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Important Places, Tell Your Story in Longitude & Latitude

**This is the print I worked on with Sarah to create, and I could not have been more pleased with the outcome!!  I especially loved the idea of creating a print of these important places because my husband and I met in Okinawa, Japan, which is where we had our first date and where my husband proposed.  The interesting thing, though, is that we discovered a few weeks into our dating that we had both lived about a mile away from each other in a little town in Utah for about eight years!  My husband’s family moved to Washington state about the same time that we moved overseas, but our family would fly through Seattle during our summer trips back to visit grandparents.  We’ve loved how these places have forever changed our lives!

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Are you already imagining one of these prints on your wall??  Enter below to win on 8×10 print of your choice from Sprinkled Joy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be  drawn no later than the evening of August 31st and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Sprinkled Joy, but all opinions are strictly my own. 

For Women Only, Revised and Updated Edition {Book Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

In just a couple of weeks, my husband and I will be celebrating our ninth anniversary!  I really can’t believe that it’s been so long since we were married, but I can definitely see how we’ve grown together along the way.

Since my husband is active duty with the Marine Corps, we have lots of opportunities for marriage retreats and classes that usually have free childcare, free dinner, and free items and coupons.  We’ve attended our fair share of these retreats and classes (mostly for the free stuff!), but we’ve been surprised at the times that we’ve come away from those programs having learned a lot about each other and about our marriage.

I felt that same way after reading For Women Only, Revised and Updated Edition by Shaunti Feldhaun.  I chose the book to review because I thought it looked interesting, but I was amazing how quickly I was drawn in to the book and that I finished it just one sitting.

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The author created this book based on research with thousands of men and gives an excellent compilation of her findings and presents what she believes every woman—single or married—needs to know about men.  The chapters in this book focus on how men feel about their roles as provider, what it means for a man to be so visually “wired” (amazing and completely eye-opening!!), and what men most wish they could say to women.

The chapter about respect meaning more to men than love was the most surprising to me — one of the questions in that chapter asked men if they would prefer to feel alone and unloved in the world OR to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone.  I was shocked by the answer that was almost unanimously given by men: they would prefer to feel alone and unloved in the world.  I thought I’d ask my husband who was in the room while I was reading, and he answered the same thing!

I appreciated that this book focused on men and their relationships in an objective manner with lots of research, rather than one woman’s perceived observations of the men in her life.  This was a great book that helped me understand my husband better and also prepared me to better mother my boys as they grow into men.

**I was provided this book for review by the Waterbrook Multnomah, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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If you are looking for some way to bring cheer to the children at Sandy Hook Elementary, bust out your scissors tonight!  Our snowflakes may be small and simple, but a little love can go a long way!!

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