Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things: Summer 2015

After going through a pretty long hiatus from most shopping (read more about that here), I was in need of some new summer staples. Here are my favorite purchases that I recommend to anyone.

1. Sanuk Sandals

If you grew up in the 90s, you probably remember those flip flops with the squishy texture reminiscent of a plastic dish scrubber. That was my first experience with Sanuk. Now they have an awesome line of adorable sandals that you can walk in ALL day with no discomfort!

The sandals above get the comfort award - they are made from yoga mats! Thanks to my sis in law for cluing me in on these. ($30,

The flip flops above are my most worn pair of footwear right now - so easy and versatile! ($18,

2. Jones New York Skort

Okay, so I almost didn't buy this item  because it cost a bit more than I would normally spend on something similar. But, I am SO GLAD I did!!! I probably wear this skort several times a week. Comfortable is an understatement. I found mine at Stein Mart but you can order online. ($26, Dillard'

3. Graphic Tees

Casual and cute t shirts are a must for every mom. I wanted something good quality that I could wear a long time and would also reflect my personal style. I must admit, I was surprised to find something from Abercrombie & Fitch that was so perfect for me at my age (they're not just for teenagers)! SUPER soft and artsy (

4. Neutral Flats

Heels just don't work for me. I've been searching for the perfect pair of neutral flats for awhile now. These were ordered sight unseen from Amazon since the reviews were so great. They run small so I had to go up a half size, but it was worth it! I love that this pair is all leather, super comfy, and goes with everything. Lucky Brand Emmie Flats, assorted colors (

5. Tennis Skort

No, I don't play :) I came up with a great use for these and I'm pretty proud of myself! Frustrated by the lack of modest swimwear which is affordable and CUTE, I decided to give these a shot. They are made of quick drying athletic material, so I figured they would work and I was right! Feels exactly like a swimsuit, and with shorts built-in, very modest. If your legs are short like mine, they will go almost to your knees. Put your regular swimwear underneath and pair with a moisture resistant athletic tank or top, and you're good to go... fashionably. There were TONS of these at TJ Maxx, I think I paid around $15 or $20. The photo above is not the same one I bought, but it gives you a general idea. (

What are your favorite items for summer?


Mary Page

Monday, May 11, 2015

For Mother's Day

For Mother's Day

"Don't eat your food off the ground."

Those were the last words I said before writing this post.

Motherhood is nothing like I thought it would be, in the awesome ways and the challenging ways. I have two boys, ages 3 and 1. Needless to say I am constantly cleaning dirt off them and refereeing fights over toys :) I am nowhere close to a perfect mother. My kids watch too much TV, eat junk food sometimes, and our house is a mess. But we make lots of good memories, and they are loved more than words. I am working at being thankful for my imperfections because it teaches my sons the beauty of grace.

A few days ago I experienced one of the most obvious examples of my human frailty. We were eating lunch when my 3 year old started to choke on ½ a grape. I tried not to panic, thinking he would cough it up. He kept alternating ear piercing screams with no noise whatsoever (a much scrarier sound). No words can describe the helplessness I felt in that moment. After realizing it was not getting better, I called 911. They were awesome and talked me through it. Thankfully, the grape came up before the ambulance arrived. It would have been easy to spend all day beating myself up over my neglect to educate myself on the proper procedure for that situation. (I plan to remedy this very soon.) While I did engage in a little self-bashing, I had to choose to forgive myself. In my opinion, giving grace to myself is one of the hardest lessons in motherhood. What motherhood lessons have been the toughest or most important you?

To end this post, I want to say THANK YOU to all mothers (especially my own)!

Thank you for the many hours of lost beauty sleep. You are more beautiful because of your sacrifices.

Thank you for enduring the messes - in the house and all over you - and for all the baths/showers you've had to skip! Your heart is more pure because of your service.

Thank you for all the time you've spent playing games and attending kids' sports/music events instead of pursuing your own hobbies. Your time was spent in a manner which will not soon be forgotten.

Thank you for giving up a more indulgent lifestyle to give your kids the best care and opportunities you could. You are richer because of your investment.

Thank you most of all for the energy exerted in attending Bible classes, worship, and teaching me about God. The life you've gained will last into eternity.


Mary Page

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Case of Mommy Closet

What happened?! Had two babies, that's what.

It occurred to me recently that about 70% (or more) of my closet is un-wearable. This mama's style has been neglected for way too long, people. If you know me well, you know I'm not very fashion forward.

 Basically every item that fits me is blue. Like every. Single. Thing. Some of my clothes are maternity (yes, I am one of those moms who wears maternity clothes when her baby is 1 ½. Glad you can't see my red face right now :/ ). Some of my clothes are WAAAY too small (pre-baby), but I can't seem to get rid of them. I think, "Maybe someday in the unforeseen future I will magically lose 15-20 pounds and get my pre-baby body back." That's coming from the girl who dislikes almost every form of working out, with the exception of strolling outside or yoga (are those even considered exercise??). Finally facing the fact that I am in denial and that the Calvin Klein little-black-dress will never look the same, I needed a new plan.

 The other day I was perusing Facebook when I came across an article which had a link to WOW. Loved her closet solution immediately - it's called a capsule wardrobe. Simply put, this is a wardrobe made up of a smaller quantity of clothes with much higher quality. When creating this wardrobe, you only include pieces you absolutely adore and would wear any and every day. In her plan, she uses a general guide of 37 items per season - for example: 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 9 pairs of shoes, 2 jackets/coats, and 2 dresses. PJs, workout, and special occasion clothing don't count as part of the capsule. You can reconfigure the combination any way you want (I will probably do fewer pairs of shoes and more tops) to suit your needs.

 Read more about capsule wardrobes here.

 It's kind of nice starting my wardrobe (almost) from scratch ;)

 5 reasons to love the "capsule wardrobe" method:

1. It solves the "What do I wear?" dilemma. Since you love everything in your wardrobe, you won't be standing in front of a full closet and moaning, "I have nothing to wear!" It will take almost no effort to throw together an outfit that will look great. 

2. It simplifies life. Less laundry. Enough said.

3. It increases confidence. When you know everything in your closet fits well and flatters you, you always feel beautiful.

 4. It helps you discover your personal style. When you are limited on the amount of clothing you can purchase, you'll only buy things that scream "YOU." Chances are you will start to see a pattern in what you gravitate toward, learning more about your individual style. I see my style as simple, artsy, feminine, and vintage. But this may change the longer I practice this method.

5. It provides more money and time for things that matter. This method eliminates buyer's remorse, because each piece purchased will be thought-out and planned. It also gives you more time for family, friends, hobbies, and service because you will probably spend less time shopping and getting dressed!

 The challenge for me will be choosing pieces that compliment each other so I can create lots of different outfits with less. As my mama used to say, "Less is more." In my opinion, this type of wardrobe is awesome because can help foster contentment in our lives.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5

Would you ever try a capsule wardrobe?


 Mary Page

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Happy Place

Do you have a special place that makes you smile just thinking about it? A sacred moment that's just your own? For me, it's bath time. (Do you see the heart in the picture above?) Nothing is more relaxing than sinking into my deep tub full of warm bubbly peace. What sold me on this house was its big soaker tub!

Here are some things that help make this my happy place:

Reading. One of my favorite hobbies, and it's even better in the bath! It's one place where I can relax and usually get a good 30 minutes of reading in. Most of the time, my hubby watches the boys so I can take my time. Another post to come about my favorite authors.

Decor. For Christmas, Richard got me this elaborate timepiece to "pretty up" the space. He said it represents taking my time to enjoy the experience - no rushing allowed! It's a 30 minute timer, and I've been known to let it run out twice before emerging ;).

Another special decorative piece is the stained glass window depicting a harp and a Bible, made by my creative mother in law. She is an artist and made this piece for our wedding.

I love this consignment store treasure! It's just the most charming little bath print, and I love the artist's style. Looking at it from the tub makes me happy.

Bath Salts. Epsom salts are great to help you relax. Especially this brand, which has lavender oil infused into it. Perfection!

I'm still searching for the perfect bubble bath that's a bit more natural, while still being sudsy and not too pricey. Any ideas?

What's your happy place and what makes it special to you?


Mary Page

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We Don't Retreat, We Charge!

This past weekend I was privileged to chaperone some of the greatest kids on the planet. One perk of being a youth minister's wife is the opportunity to experience spiritually uplifting events like this one. When I was a teen in the youth group, I remember thinking I never wanted to stop being involved with youth events. How blessed I am to be able to continue in this ministry!

Also, this is one of the first times I have been able to be involved at an event without my kids. Although I missed them, it gave me a nice little break and an opportunity to connect with the youth on a deeper level. Huge thanks to Granny, Grandaddy, Auntie Brooke, and Uncle William for babysitting!

The Peachtree City Church of Christ spring youth retreat was held at Camp Inagehi in Douglasville, Georgia. Eighteen young people and four chaperones made up our group. The theme was "The Dead Fish" and came from Isaiah 35 where it talks about strengthening the weak hands. We also discussed how we reflect Christ to the world and how it looks when we are a "dead fish" where our faith is concerned.

Some highlights of the weekend for me:

Singing! I loved the new song my husband wrote, "The Rooster Crowed," which tells the story of Peter. "He Will Come and Save You" was another new song we learned which is based on Isaiah 35. Bonfire singing was epic.

Leaning. Hearing the opinions of the kids in the discussion groups was inspiring. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to walk the camp trails and talk with one of our girls for an hour. Listening to her desire for God and pure heart were just what I needed.

Life Hack Groups. There were 3 sessions during which we had discussion groups based on the theme. My favorite was the final one, which ended with each person finding a secluded spot to have  individual prayer time. A special memory which ended with this view.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.  Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."  Isaiah 35:3-4

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Favorite Household Shortcuts

In this season of life with young children and my husband's busy youth ministry schedule, time for household chores is always in short supply. I recently started thinking, "What can I do to make running my household a bit easier?" Below are my favorite "household shortcuts." I will be posting more later on, so stay tuned!

1. Fold less laundry. Yes, you heard me.

Underwear was my first no-fold experiment. I thought, "Who cares if this looks wrinkly?" Turns out it never does because it's so stretchy!

I gradually stopped folding washcloths and kitchen towels, too. Just stick 'em in the drawer, and no one will be the wiser! The only problem with this could be if yours won't fit in the storage space unfolded. I have one drawer for towels and one for rags, so mine fit fine.

Then one day I read this post about a lady who stopped folding her kids' clothes. I decided to try it. Turns out, kids' clothing items are so small they really don't look very wrinkled! When putting away their laundry, I just lay each item flat and make one stack of shirts, one of pants/shorts, and one of PJs for each child. Then I put them in the appropriate drawer.

I still fold mine and my husband's t-shirts and pants. If I could figure out a way around this without them looking super wrinkly, I would!

2. Cook meat in bulk.

Y'all, I really hate cooking meat. Raw meat is gross! I wanted to figure out a way to do it less often, so here's what I came up with.

We mainly eat ground beef and chicken. I started buying them in 5 pound packages, cooking it all at once, then dividing the meat equally into 5 jars or bags (a pound per container) and putting it in the freezer.

For the ground beef, I chop 3-5 onions (depending on the size), then add all the meat and brown it. Drain off the grease and it's done! This is so versatile. You can add it to spaghetti sauce or casseroles, put in taco seasonings and beans for Mexican night, or make a quick chili with it. The possibilities are endless. You could certainly cook it without the onions, but we like them and it also stretches the meat a little further.

For the chicken, I buy 5 pounds of breasts and lay it all out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add S & P and whatever seasoning you like. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until done. Then chop it up and put it in bags. I like to add mine to casserole and Alfredo sauce. Shout out to my sister Stephanie for this tip. These days, I've been even lazier and just buy the grocery store rotisserie chickens and shred them up!

This shortcut saves me so much time and I can throw dinner together in a snap. It is an especially great idea for when you're pregnant and cooking meat is a huge challenge. Get your husband to help you with this once every couple weeks and you won't have to deal with it.

Warm Lazy Days

After living in Scotland for 3 years, a place which is notoriously gray, wet, and cold almost year round, I don't take a single sunny day for granted. When we lived there, it seemed like the sun would peek out of the clouds for a minute, I would dash outside, and by the time I got there it would be cloudy again. It felt like the sun was playing a joke on me! There are lots of things about Scotland I miss, especially our friends (shout out to Rachel, it's her birthday!), but the weather isn't one of them.

Needless to say, Living in Georgia has been AWESOME for my sunshine deprivation. Now that spring is here, I'm super pumped to spend as many days as possible being lazy outside and watching my boys play while I soak up all the warmth I can. My favorite season has always been fall, but now spring is a serious contender.

This morning I enjoyed having breakfast outside with my family, then sipping coffee while I had Bible study and prayer time. Doesn't get much better than that!

What's your favorite way to experience warm weather?


Mary Page