Friday, December 19, 2014

{JOY - Reegan's Christmas Recital}


Yet another real life moment that ends in a blessing. If you have been reading about us lately here on the blog you have learned that I'm not super thrilled with the level of involvement I have had at Reegan's school this year. More about that is that I now pick up the boys from daycare and Ryan handles the drop off and pick up of Reegan. Total team effort and it works well for us but my interaction with her teachers is basically nonexistent. Well we had a minor communication error and we thought Reegan's recital started at 7PM...it started at 6:30PM. RUT ROW! So I was wrong when I thought I was 30 minutes early. I was still hopeful and thought I just might luck out and get a decent seat in the middle for pictures but quickly realized that wasn't possible when the hubby gave me the update on our time flub (he took Reegan straight to the show while I picked up grandma so she could join in the fun). This is Reegan's last year of preschool and who knows if I will get to see a sweet holiday recital like this for her for a while...thankful that I still get this experience it for my boys BUT it's still bittersweet and I was hoping to really capture this show of hers.

So back to being late...or just on time rather. The seats weren't good. I immediately ran to the front and shuffled my way through the crowd. I got to say Hi to her, wave from across the stage, snap a couple pictures that were basically not good and hurry to my seat in the very back left of the auditorium. Did I mention that Reegan was at the front right of the stage?! LOL! Great, just great! I had to actually walk grandma up to the stage area just so she could she place Reegan. The seats were just TERRIBLE. Ugh!

If you're thinking I was being a little crazy/dramatic I probably was but pictures are key to remembering these years. Special moments pass by too fast I've been warned so many times. I was disappointed. BUT then...that blessing I mentioned in the beginning of this post happened! My amazing friend Jessica was there! Her daughter was in the very same recital. And Jessica....she is a mega talented photographer AND BONUS she was sitting right in front of Reegan. She snapped away and caught that special show I so desperately wanted to capture. Merry Christmas to me...one of the best gifts this year. Thank you my dear friend. These mean the world to me. #thankful #blessed




Photo credit to Flecky Fotography

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Make a Memory - REAL Holiday Traditions for Our Family


As many of you know we call CCV our church home. Ryan volunteers as a coach for Stars and I am a regular in the nursery on the weekends. Well we recently were called to action to start meaningful family traditions (make a memory) during the holidays. Already my mind was running. I don’t think I’m capable of really impacting my Harding babes in a way that they are telling me to at church. I'm not consistent. I don’t have a “good enough” tradition. They are too young to really grasp the reason for the season. BUT THEN…

This week (12/15) when we were praying over our dinner I see little Huddy, all of 11 months old, put his hands together as we pray. HEART.MELTED. (Tried to photo with no luck but the hubby and I both witnessed it.)

So I realized that they are impacted. Who knows what memories they will keep into their adulthood? So these traditions are in fact important ones. I am still trying to come up with things I think will be special for us. It might sound cheesy but what came to mind with their young ages was to start with things that will be sensory related. The SMELL of the Christmas Tree. The TASTE of homemade Christmas Cookies. The TOUCH of a soft handed down quilt. HEARING a special holiday song (CCV Christmas album for the WIN). SEEING Christmas lights from a warm car we are all crammed into. The cost of these is not much but the impact will be huge I hope. If you know me I prefer all things sentimental over commercial.

In looking at old pictures I see we have already started with our SMELL of a REAL Christmas Tree for three years now. And you know what, I don’t think it could be sweeter!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

{#reallife}


via Dream Photography Studio
So much lately I have found myself longing to slow down and set my own life standards. Imagine that! I keep wanting to "rebel" against what others or society thinks I should be doing/how I should do it! Basically I want to break free from the mold. You know the one that expects a mom to be the perfect homeroom mom, perfect cook, the perfect housekeeper, etc. I had to start asking myself...how come I can't keep up?! Why don't I have all my i's dotted and t's crossed?! Then I realized something very important. I can't be categorized with the masses. I asked myself how many friends or family do I have with three kiddos toddler age or younger? One. That's right in my massive network I currently have exactly one friend in a similar situation to ours. Oh but eeeeeeeveryone has opinions/advise/tips on how to successfully parent three littles. Things like spending an hour after we get home cleaning. Purge all their toys. Pack everything the night before for the next day. Have a paper calendar. Make chore lists. And MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY more suggestions. I'm a major advocate on doing what works best for YOUR family.

I'll let you in on a secret, I don't have it together and I currently am not doing any one thing successfully to today's standards AND really not even my own if I'm being honest. I've been flaky volunteering at church, I feel less involved in Reegan's school this year, house cleaning is always a struggle (I'm aware it needs to be done can't find time to do the deep cleaning), clean eating/cooking (I won't even go there), mommy wellness (what's that?!), etc. I was talking to Mr. Harding about this today and thinking out loud. "What if there were no standards to which we were held? I wouldn't feel so bad about falling short in so many areas." How freeing would that be I thought!

Well me, I have armed myself with my own internal response to the advice that makes me feel judged. I will simply nod my head and say, "Great idea!" What I will know is that person right there, even if the advise is coming from a place of love, is NOT in my shoes. They don't have my three kiddos to care for on the daily. And there you have it. My ANSWER. I will say to myself, "Self, do they have three kids ages 4, 2 and 11 months?" If the response is YES! I will promptly break out my notebook and scribble the "answers" down faster than humanly possible. But so far the answer is NO they don't. I find a comfort in that. And that's kind of selfish of me. I know there are probably people out there in my situation but none who are in my life with a similar set up.

So I think that this outlook should be used by others too. Consider the source. Are they experiencing what you are? Do they think they know what it takes OR actually struggle with the same daily challenges you do? It only took me a third of my lifetime to figure this one out. My hubby and I become more and more happy with our set up the older we get. Even though it's not up to so many of the standards that others have for us. Because this Harding family would rather snuggle with our kids than start a load of laundry at 7:30PM at night. We would rather give a bubble bath to three splashing sweeties than do some dirty dishes. We would rather spend the very last 30 min- hour of our day with our partner not planning out the next day. We would rather giggle than organize our garage (you guys I'm not kidding our garage is a disaster and a HOT HOT HOT TOPIC among many in our lives). Many think we are crazy and maybe we are but ask yourself....do you have three kids ages 4, 2 and 11 months? No? Then you know my loving answer to your advice.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

{2014 Harding Family Holiday Photo}




Let me tell y'all that this little family is full of lots of love. We are busy, busy, busy as you might be able to tell from my lack of blogging here on the ole family blog! Check out my Insta for more regular updates. I promise to get back into the swing of things ASAP! But yeah this mom of 3 kids ages 4, 2 and 10 months ain't no joke (well said am I right?!) Hehe!

I have heard it all but what sticks with me most is when Kiki said these are the "Lost Years" lucky for me I have my camera phone to catch this time but yes if it weren't for those pics this time would be lost. One day blends into the next. I often pass out snuggling with at least one of my babes on the couch. I wouldn't have it any other way. Before I know it I will have regular full nights of rest that aren't interrupted with a baby wanting to nurse or a tiny voice asking for something. But hey we still got our holiday photos done thank you to one amazing lady named Stacey!

Stacey's photography company is Dream Photography Studio. She and I own North Phoenix Moms Blog together (my 4th baby)! Be sure to follow us Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! So much of my time and work has gone into this venture. So check us out!

I'm so thankful for this season in my life. It has majorly humbled me. I can't do it all. When one area in my life gets my love and attention the other areas don't. I'm a work in progress. I'm learning. I'm not good at everything. But what I am excellent at is loving my family unconditionally EXACTLY THE WAY THEY ARE. Beyond thankful for every day that God has given me with them. Hope you are all having a happy Holiday Season like us!



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Personalized Burlap Activity Mats

We all know what a dance off is but have you ever heard of a craft off?! LOL! Well I contribute over at See Vanessa Craft (have you seen her busy bag events?!) and she had the idea for a friendly "Do Something Crafty Competition."

What's it all about you ask? 5 bloggers. 5 projects. All participants are using the same stencils provided by Vanessa via Cutting Edge Stencils. The winner get a $50 gift card to Cutting Edge Stencils. Next week you will have a chance to vote on your FAVORITE project. When pondering on my project I decided to market to the moms that want a fab meets functional crafting project.

My project deets...I don’t know about you but the endless act of picking up toys can seem like a losing battle for me. So I decided to get creative and use my Cutting Edge Stencils for something that is functional + fab + fun. Our playroom is in the front room of our house so I try my best to make this area presentable at all times because looks matter in this space! I had the brilliant idea to make personalized burlap activity mats for each of my kiddos to motivate them to keep their toys confined to a small area. Once done playing with one toy they must put it away in order to pull something new. Time to make your own right?! 

What You’ll Need:
·       Chalkboard Spray Paint
·       Burlap or Similar Fabric
·       Tape
·       Protective Backing


I opted to use a stencil, chalkboard spray paint, and clear tape for a FAST and functional project. Simply take clear tape and tape down edges of the stencil. 



I sprayed at a downward angle in order to prevent the paint from lifting the stencil too much. I wanted more of a rustic feel…think coffee bean bag so perfectly cut painted edges weren’t necessary. 



IMPORTANT: you will need to put a barrier behind the fabric you are spraying, as the paint will likely seep through onto your working surface. Once dry I cut out the mat to my desired size. Next it was time to PLAY!



I hope this craft project helps you conquer the battle on toys in your house! A GREAT IDEA: this project can be quickly made for a themed playdate or party at very little cost and will make clean up a breeze! What do you think of my craft?..my littles LOVED! Go and vote for me now! 



A special thank you to See Vanessa Craft for letting me participate and to the sponsor Cutting Edge Stencils.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just Us Three Design - 0% Shabby 100% Chic


Now typically I'm more of a modernish style designer...well who am I kidding maybe eclectic is a better term. I do a lot of different styles...usually whatever the clients wants. But one thing is sure I don't stop until they are 100% happy. Well this little design idea floated into my head and so I finally got "pen to paper" and got it done. But I would say Shabby Chic isn't really my main look...but I still think this turned out cute. What do you think? A little something sweet for you Sunday. Enjoy!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

STAY and PRAY - Ephesians 6:18 NLT


Today I read a story that I couldn't believe. A tragedy. When I hear such stories I'm at a loss of words...the only three are, "I can't imagine!" that come to mind...and that's because I simply can't. I don't know what it would be like to lose family in such a horrible way. I can't imagine my heart crumbling into a thousand pieces. The Stay Family is in my heart and prayers. Please download and share. I only ask that you give to the family's Go Fund Me HERE. I need no credit for this design take...share...borrow...steal...it's meant for just that. I'm happy to email files or do whatever I can to help. It's a small miracle that my entire family was napping at once while I put this together! Prayers to Cassidy Stay + the Stay Family + the Stay Friends + the Stay supporters!


How I heard about the story via @natalienorton on Insta:


Today, I'm asking you to open your hearts as wide as the ocean is deep...to make space for a sweet angel who desperately needs our help. // Imagine being 15 years old, and suddenly alone in the world. You can't? Neither can I. Cassidy Strong needs our help. Aside from the financial burden of managing 6 funerals (her parents and 4 siblings) and all the financial complexities of moving forward without her parents, this beautiful child of God simply needs to know that she is LOVED— that there is still beauty and goodness in this world that has recently been so horribly, horribly cruel to her. Please donate if you are able. I have changed the link in my Instagram profile to include the donation link for sweet Cassidy Strong. It will remain in my profile through the weekend. I'm asking YOU to PLEASE do the same. Repost this image, temporarily change the URL in your profile and petition your friends and followers to do the same. Spread the word. This tender soul needs our love, our prayers and to know that she is not alone. . . #weloveyoucassidy Every one of our prayers is yours.


18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

For an emailed file contact rachel.e.harding@gmail.com


Thursday, July 10, 2014

{Bitty Baby Party - American Girl - House Party}


A while back I hosted an American Girl + Bitty Baby Playdate for Reegan and her little gal pals. We had an amazing time! We snacked and crafted and played and took pictures and had some girl time...it sounds like a perfect time to me no matter the age.




In additional to some amazing guests we had some STELLAR swag provided for this special event. Tutus were a must for this doll tea party. Our favorite tutu shop Truly Unique Baby Gifts was our go to for the event! I was so happy with the all pink combo that she made us for this event. Don't mind the crafting mess...they were clearly having an AWESOME time! :)






What girly event and play date would be complete without confetti and LOTS of it!? We used The Confetti Bar for our event. Can we talk about how AMAZING these confetti creations are?! Confetti mixalogist Jess will make your confetti dream come true! She has an online shop that you will just drool over...she even can customize confetti for your event + company + brand + etc. 



Ariel of Until Next Time Notes  provided us with some amazing paper goods. Hello cute banner and paper straws!!!!! The lil gals couldn't get enough of all the pink pretties that day!



I totally had to purchase some doll size cups and plates for the event. I.Just.Can't! With this cuteness! And once I knew we were having this day for the girls I HAD to have paper dolls and coloring books customized and ready! Super messy activities but oh so worth it!



We just had a lovely day! I want to do this again very soon! What do you think of our American Girl Bitty Baby Playdate?!


Bitty Baby Doll and Favor bags provided by American Doll and House Party but my opinions are my own and I'm CRAZY for this Product/Brand/Company! Thank you to all the other vendors (linked) that provided items for this event. It was one these angels won't forget any time soon!

Friday, June 13, 2014

{North Phoenix Moms Blog - Free Father's Day Printable Cards OR Labels}


image via

Have you check out the AMAZING list of Father's Day gift ideas over on North Phoenix Moms Blog?! Seriously Ryan and our fam WILL be checking these local hot spots out! Well as usual I have designed some free printables as a proud contributor to NPhxMoms. What do you think?!

If you know me you know I would never want to leave anyone out so yeah here are 7 count um 7 freebies! Ha!

I recommend printing this on cardstock as a flatcard OR on label paper and stick onto a kraft paper bag to put the man of the day's gift in. :) Boom Bam BANG! You're all set!

For Dad:



For Grand-Dad:



For Step-Dad:


For Grandpa:


For Papa:



For Pop:


For Uncle:



Phewph! That should cover all the special guys in y'alls life! Hope everyone has the best of days!







Thursday, June 12, 2014

{Happy Father's Day - Free Printable Card & Tags at A Night Owl Blog}


In addition to blogging here on our family corner y'all know I contribute over at A Night Owl Blog. Please head over there see my nifty Father's Day Printables. I think the design is pretty darn cute if you ask me! There are a few more tag designs available for downloading off ANO with tips on what gifts you might pair them with.


I would say what I'm getting Ryan but he is unfortunately on the list to get notified of blog posts so it will have to wait until this weekend. :) Hope all the daddy's have the BEST of days! I know we sure will! Enjoy!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

{Father’s Day Gifts From Years Past with Dollar Shave Club}


Well I was super excited that Dollar Shave Club with that EPIC viral video reached out to me to share about some funny things from Father's Day in years past. You guys being a parent is a pretty funny and humiliating thing at times. Only celebrating our 3rd Father's Day you'd think I didn't have any funny stories. You're wrong there. First Father's Day Reegan was about 10 month's old and I took the time to go to one of those pottery places and had her do a cute little hand print on a glass dish for Ryan. A catch all for at his office. I presented it to him that day and he loved it...knocked it outta the park! I let Reegan hold it...I thought oh she is so young what harm will it do. She somehow managed to chuck the thing like 2 feet onto the our tile floor and it shattered. It being kinda a sore subject I didn't photo it. But here she is around that time. Who knew she had an arm on her at that young age?!


OK lesson learned. Don't have baby handle a breakable gift. The very next year I planned a day out to our fave food truck as they were having a Dad's Day Event. Let's talk about how the weather was so windy and insane that the hubs literally had his meal blown right off the table....I ended up with dirt in my eyes and obviously wore a dress on what felt like the windiest day AZ has ever seen. Good news is we got some AMAZING shots of the kids with dad!



Third times a charm. Last year was pretty successful for me on the gift giving end/weather was perfect. Hubs loved what I/kids gave him...and really everyone did. So much so that one of my BFF's made the very same give for her hubs. Used the same printable and everything. What's the mishap you're wondering?...when he came over at a later date we had the framed gift out on our shelf and her cover was blown! I'm wondering what kind of story will I have to tell from this year. Looking forward to more fun memories made! 


I already have ideas for this year what about you!? Look out for my printables (beards will be involved) that will hit North Phoenix Moms Blog and A Night Owl Blog very soon! 


 
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