giving thanks...

For precious time with wonderful family and friends over the Thanksgiving break! What a much-needed time of relaxing and fun that took place! Here's what we were up to over the weekend through pictures.

My grandma and brother carving the turkey...since my parents are in the middle of remodeling, they were using the top of the dryer to do this! ha!

My PaPa (left) and PaJack (right) waiting on lunch

With the hubby on Turkey Day

Boone "helped" my brother

With our annual ornament....Mom started a tradition last year of giving us all an ornament on Thanksgiving to welcome the Christmas season.  So fun!

With our momma!

The guys cleaning off the table!

Family portrait numero uno

We got a little silly....

And then even more silly.
 In the evening we celebrated with Justin's family at his Aunt's and Uncle's.  I was so busy having fun chasing around my little, twin nieces (and watching my 4 year old nephew investigate video games for the first time) that I forgot to take pictures! It was such a fun time celebrating with family there as well!

We came home Thursday night and relaxed for a while.  We looked out the window at one point and saw SNOW!! So festive!

The pumpkins getting covered in snow...we had a nice, white blanket of snow by Friday morning!

Friday consisted of A LOT of shopping! We don't get out super early, but it's a fun tradition to spend the day together shopping with my aunt, grandma, and mom.  After a whole day of Black Friday shopping, we had to be extra careful getting all the bags out.  Yikes!  

And Boone had fun cleaning up the left overs after we ate them again on Friday night.

So much fun! What a wonderful time of celebrating! I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed as well! See yah tomorrow for our 12 days of Christmas link-up!

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First off, it's time to announce the winner of the third and final Thankfully Thrifty Baby Shower giveaway here at theblessedlife!  
The winner is......

(A sweet mommy-to-be!)

Congrats, Melanie! You're the winner of the Express Yourself! Creations Etsy gift card! I will email you shortly to get your contact information! Happy shopping!
30 for 30

Now for the update on what I've been wearing! Ha! As if enough hasn't been going on around here to celebrate Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas season, I've kept rolling with my 30 for 30.  Today marks day 11 of the challenge! If you didn't catch my first post about the 30 for 30 challenge, check it out here.  
Let's rewind a bit.
{Day 6 of 30 outfit}
*My day:  First day off from break and Justin had the day off due to rainy weather...so we ran errands! That night we had our friends Chad and Cheri over for pizza and games!*

From 30:  Light casual jeans, long sleeve white t-shirt, gray New Balances; Accessories:  Green scarf

{Day 7 of 30 outfit}
*My day:  Thanksgiving day! (pardon the floor...my parents are in the middle of a remodel)*
From 30:  Wide leg trousers, brown boots, tan Ann Taylor Loft shirt from hubby last Christmas; Accessories:  Just earrings.

{Day 8 of 30 outfit}
*My day: Black Friday shopping with my grandma, aunt, and mom! What fun!*
From 30:  Light casual jeans, tan sweater, white long sleeve t-shirt, tan flats; Accessories:  Brown and yellow floral scarf

{Day 9 of 30 outfit}  
*My day:  Must have been all the turkey from the past two days...I forgot my picture on this day. Hubby and I started putting up all the decor and then went shopping.*

From 30:  UK long sleeve t-shirt, dark casual jeans, gray New Balance shoes.   I was boring on this day...no accessories and very comfy.
{Day 10 of 30 outfit}
*My day:  Sunday School, church, lunch, Christmas decorating (hence the sneak peek at the tree), and then helped get Christmas packages ready to send out from our college outreach ministry.*

From 30:  Long sleeve black t-shirt, wide leg trousers, black dress tennis shoes; Accessories:  Polka dotted scarf, hoop earrings, and does Boone count?
And finally, today... 
{Day 11 of 30 outfit}
*My day:  Back to school and then night grad class.*

From 30:  Long dress, brown long sleeve shirt, brown boots, plus I layered brown leggings under this dress for warmth under this made-for-summer dress; Accessories:  cream scarf, hoop earrings

Whew! I think that gets you caught up! Can't wait to share all about the great Thanksgiving break I had...coming tomorrow.  
Also, don't forget....
the 12 Days of Christmas Link-Up
marathon will run from December 1st -December 12th right here!  Grab the button and find all the topics here (or at the top of the blog)!

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"love, love...love, love, love"

Post title disclaimer....Have you seen The Heartbreak Kid? It's a pretty funny Ben Stiller movie.  Okay, maybe a little crude humored at times...but funny.  At the end of the movie, in reply to his girlfriend/wife (not sure her status) saying "I love you", he says "love, love...love, love, love."  So sometimes Justin and I quote that line..quite often actually.  Just seemed to fit the lovely Jamie's "What I'm Loving" link-up!
Go join here to share your own lovin'!

Now down to business.


I'm loving this gum.  Seriously.  It does taste just like dessert.  And maybe, just maybe, Bob and Jillian are right and it will save me a few calories.


I'm loving this man's music.  I got into Dave Barne's his music in college and we were lucky to get to see him with some other greats before his music made its way to the radio.  But specifically, I'm loving Dave Barne's new Christmas album.  I bought it on iTunes and have been jamming to it at every chance I get! This is one of my favorites on the album.  (Because he's also singing with Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott.)


I'm loving our new prayer garden at church that my hubby and dad designed and built with the help of their crew of workers.  My dad is so amazingly talented with his creativity in landscape design.  And my hubby is so creative and amazing with his skills in implementing the designs.  His eye for water features are awesome.  I was also blessed to be able to help them create the cross and flame template for them to use.  What amazing talent they used for God's glory!



I'm loving the new fleece pajama pants my aunt gave Justin and me! Oh my...they are fabulous.  Justin decided that they were like a Snuggie for his legs.  (His words exactly.)  Mine are black and white snowflakes and his are plaid.  I've decided to live in them this winter.


In my attempt to get over my Diet Coke obsession...I am loving green tea with honey! It's my go-to drink for caffeine.  And thanks to this amazing find called Honest Tea Green Tea with Honey, I have successfully gotten over my habit of drinking a Diet Coke every morning.  Whoo hoo! (And now I'm even making my own green tea at home.  Not only does my body thank me, but the budget does too now.)



I'm loving that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then Friday is "Black Friday" shopping.  Both days are fabulous times with wonderful family! Can't wait!

What are you loving today?

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blessings and 30 for 30 update

I'm linking up via Natalie today! Thankfulness is in the air right now.  And I'm so thankful that Natalie gives us an opportunity each week to link-up our amazing blessings!

God's really been working on my heart lately.  (Isn't He always?!) However, I've just been so blessed the last couple months with how God has been drawing me more and more into an intimate relationship with Him.  We talked in Sunday School a few Sunday's back about if we feel that it is easier for us to have a relationship of reverence with God or an intimate relationship with God.  Of course He wants us to have both.  But lately especially I feel that I've struggled growing more and more intimate with God.  Through prayer and more intentional, devoted time with Him, I've found him wooing me.  It may be through the lyrics of a song, a bible verse, or even the way He has answered a prayer.  Isn't our God awesome?!

As far as the 30 for 30 update, I guess I can consider it a blessing too.  It really is teaching me to be content and helping me to take my focus off material possessions.  It's helping me to realize that I could be okay with a little a lot less!

{Day 4 of 30 Outfit}
 *My day:  Work and then Grad school at night.*

From 30:  Gray long sleeve sweater/shirt, white t-shirt, black leggings, black flats; Accessories:  black headband (not on in the pic...it had given me a headache at this point in my day);  i LOVE this outfit.  It feels like I'm wearing my pajamas!

{Day 5 of 30 Outfit}
*My day:  Work and then dinner out with Justin and my family.* 

From 30:  Dark casual jeans, green sweatshirt jacket, tan and gold t-shirt (you can't really see the design on it due to the lighting of the pic), tan flats; Accessories:  brown, beaded dangly earrings
Okay, 1/6 of the way through. I think I still have quite a few outfits up my sleeve.  My next goal is to add a belt as an accessory to add a little pizazz to some of my outfit ideas.  Look out...I'm branching out! ha!

And drum roll please....

For what I feel very blessed with at this moment...

I'm out of school for the next 3 days.  That's fabulous!

Happy Thanksgiving pretties!

p.s.  My little brother has a friend that has a 3 month old little sister.  Recently they have found numerous tumors in various parts of her body.  At this point, the doctors really don't see much hope.  However, we know our God is bigger than that outlook.  Please join me in lifting this precious little one and her family in your prayers.  The prayers would be greatly appreciated!

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christmas cheesin'

This will be our third married Christmas.  The first year, we just sent out regular Christmas cards.  Last year, we pulled the family in front of the Christmas tree and made a photo for a photo Christmas card.  This year, we plan on doing a Christmas card also, but we're using photos from our past year and creating a collage of them for our card.  And this year, I'm lovin' Shutterfly! They have such a wide variety of card options and I love the options of using a group of pictures instead of just one picture for the card.  I love getting photo cards...so I enjoy sending the myself!

Shutterfly has gobs of fun products to choose from! Seriously, I found so much while looking through their Christmas card options.

You can choose from fun party invitations.....

To help with your Christmas shopping, you can choose from calendars...



You can make wrapping your gifts simpler with their great Christmas gift tags....

How cute are those?!

And you can make mailing your Christmas cards even more cheerful by adding personalized address labels!

And of course, you'll want to check out all their fabulous photo Christmas cards.

I love this one because of the fun plaid...
this one that tells the story of your family's year...

and their flat photo cards with great designs definitely invite holiday cheer!

(Can you tell I'm into the brown this year?)

It's so hard to choose...but I think this one is my fave from their selection of cards and stationary!

I can't wait to pick out our photo card for this year! What are your plans for sending Christmas cards?

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a couple things

First off, it's time to announce the winner of the second Thankfully Thrifty Baby Shower giveaway!  
The winner is......


Congrats, Katie! You're the winner of the Boogie Wipes! I will email you shortly to get your contact information!


Secondly, it's day 3 of my 30 for 30 challenge! That means I'm already 1/10 of the way through the challenge.  However, it was still very easy to find an outfit today from my 30 picks! Still loving this.  And today after a great discussion at Sunday School and a message of being more blessed by giving than receiving....I'm ready to get into my closet and find TONS of clothes to give away.  Can't wait!

{Day 3 of 30 Outfit}
*My day:  Sunday School, Church, Church Thanksgiving Lunch.* 

From 30:  Fuchsia dress, long sleeve brown shirt, brown leggings, brown boots; Accessories:  striped scarf from Old Navy and brown hoop earrings
Again, awful pic.  Sorry for that.  I was tempted to cut my head off the pic so you would just see the clothes.  But then I decided a headless pic might be weird.  So this is what I settled with.  Maybe by day 30 there will be a decent pic. :)

Happy Sunday ladies! Hope it's blessed!

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30 for 30--Day 2

This was my second day of the 30 for 30 challenge.  So far, even though I'm only on day 2, I'm loving it! Seriously, it's weird...but so freeing...to know that I can only choose from 30 pieces of clothing that I have picked out.  I love how it narrows down my closet options tremendously...and it encourages me to be free and creative.  Now, as you can tell from my second day's choice...I'm really not a fancy dresser.  At all.  I'm very simple.  What you see on me at any given time is something I could wear to almost any given function in my life.  I love clothes, but I'm not fancy.

 {Day 2 of 30 outfit}
*My Day:  Birthday shopping with my little brother for my mom and dinner out to celebrate Mom's bday*
(pardon the bad photo...hubby was not at home so I had to take it myself...and my hair is still a tad wet.  That combination makes for a bad pic.) 

From 30:  Casual dark jeans, tan flats, brown long sleeve shirt; From Accessories:  yellow and brown floral scarf and brown round earrings

Memorable moments:

-Justin told me that he's always thought I was a "hip-dressed" person.  I thought that was sweet.  It's always fun to go back to those days where you were in full-on flirt mode with your love.  So sweet that he still thinks of the days where he just admired me from afar.  I'm blessed to have a hubby that still admires me and let's me know he finds me "hip" and beautiful.  I find him pretty handsome himself.

-I went birthday shopping with my little bro for my mom today and we went into many clothing stores.  Ugh.  A $6 clearance dress and a 15% off coupon....but I put it back.  Adorable sweaters.  Put them back.  Cute winter boots.  Grrr....just looked from afar.

-Carving out a section of my closet devoted to my 30 pieces of clothing.  I'm visual.  This way, when I see that I don't have much left in this section, I know to DO LAUNDRY.  Yes, it has to get to that point sometimes.  I'm an awesome procrastinator....and laundry is no exception.

-Considering cutting the items of clothing in my closet at least in half.  Still just considering at this point.  But heavily considering!

My advise to you?! Take this challenge! Really, you'll love it.  (And don't worry, you can blame me if you don't.)

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30 for 30....cold turkey

After reading about 30 for 30 on Natalie's blog yesterday I started pondering if I could really take the challenge.  For those of you that haven't heard of this, it's a challenge to create 30 different outfits out of 30 different articles of clothing (not including accessories).  To read about all the details, visit here.  It's a challenge to simplify, shop your closet, and get creative with what you have.  (Oh, and you can't shop for new clothes for the 30 days.  That was the detail that almost made me say, "absolutely not!", but then I realized I needed to be bold.  Just give it a try! I honestly don't shop for clothes that often...but I knew I may be tempted as I Christmas shop for others....so all the more reason to practice a little self control!) Love it! I'm excited to join my blog friend, Natalie, on this fun adventure! Here are the details...

When? I am starting today, November 19th and will be finished on December 18th.
Why? To simplify, appreciate what I have, learn more about contentment, be creative, and challenge myself.
What? I will choose from the 30 items below each day for my outfits.  I will take a picture of my outfit each day (some days more than one due to possible changing clothes for something else I am doing that day) and share them with you.  I will also let you know where I wore the outfit.  Keep in mind accessories are not included.  I am also not including work-out clothes I might wear like sweats...those aren't really outfits that I wear for the day.
How? I first chose my "staple items"...those I knew I could not go 30 days without wearing...they are my "go to" items.  I also chose quite a few neutrals that I can layer and accessorize with scarves and jewelry.  I considered casual days and dress-up days.  (Usually I have to dress up every day of the week except for Fridays.  However, at school earlier in the year, if you donated to a specific organization that benefits our district's kiddos, you can wear jeans all of December! That made the pant choice pretty simple.)

the 30

casual light jeans, casual dark jeans, wide leg denims, trouser denims, brown leggings, black leggings (Total pants: 6)

UK long sleeve shirt, white long sleeve shirt, decorative cream and brown t-shirt, black long sleeve shirt, brown long sleeve shirt, white t-shirt, ruffled long sleeve shirt (Total shirts:  7)

Green sweatshirt jacket, tan sweater, grey shirt/sweater, jean jacket, long brown, belted sweater, black sweatshirt jacket, brown khaki jacket, hooded school sweatshirt (Total sweaters/jackets: 8)
Fuchsia knee-length dress, long floral dress, LBD--my little "brown" dress (Total dresses: 3)

Grey New Balance, brown boots, tan flats, brown flats, black "dressy" tennis shoes, black flats (Total shoes: 6)

{Day 1 outfit}
*My Day:  Dress-down Friday at work and Mom's bday dinner at my grandparents'*

From 30:  New Balance, denim wide legs, UK long sleeve (gotta support my Wildcats!); Accessories:  cream scarf, black earrings 
 So here we go! Come back to see my pick from the 30 for the other 29 days! Now head over here to see Natalie's picks!

Happy Friday!!

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deck the halls...

With a hand-painted ornament by yours truly.

I've added hand-painted "message ornaments" to my Etsy shop, caitiedidesign, just in time for Christmas decorating!

As stated on my Etsy page:
Wanting to start a new family tradition? Decorate your tree with personalized ornaments! These shatterproof ball ornaments are coated with low odor, flat black, chalkboard paint. They measure to be about 9 inch in circumference and are ready for your creativity!

Ideas for use:
-Sit down as a family and write a favorite memory from the year on each of these ornaments. What a great conversation starter!
-Decorate each ornament with a favorite bible verse.
-Let kiddos create a piece of art to add to the Christmas tree!
-Hide a message to each other in the Christmas tree each day of the advent season.

These ornaments allow your creativity to shine and your family to personalize the tree!

Perfect gift idea or a perfect treat for your own family!


FREE SHIPPING for a limited time!

(If you wish to purchase more than the quantity listed, please email me with your purchase inquiry. I can update the quantity listed to meet your shopping needs! For example, if you want to purchase 5 of these ornaments and there are only 3 left in stock, I can update the number for you. I am always in the process of creating more of these!) 

To purchase, visit caitiedidesign!

(ps...I also have a selection of jewelry.  As of right now my supply is low, but I will be adding more as we get more into the holiday season!)

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what I'm loving...

I'm linking up with Jamie today!


my mom with my brother this summer at the Smithsonian in DC
I'm loving this lady! (As always!) My lovely mom is celebrating her birthday today.  The great thing is we get to celebrate her all weekend long with two special birthday dinners! I'm beyond blessed by my mom.  She is so loving, so compassionate, and has always gone above and beyond to be there for her family and reach out to others around her.  She is my number one fan and my biggest encourager.  (She even is a follower and reader of my blog.)  I love you mom! I'm so blessed by you daily.  Enjoy your special day!


I'm loving that we finally got some rain today! We have needed it so badly.  And even more...I'm loving that the news forecast shows possible snow showers in a couple weeks.  My students are already crazy enough at this point....might as well bring on those snow days!


Leggings.  Yes, I'm loving leggings! I will say with my petite, bottom-heavy curvy figure, I was reluctant.  However, as soon as I wore leggings for the first time (in adulthood), I was hooked.  Under big sweaters, under too-short dresses, under shirt dresses, under skirts, worn with tall boots, worn with flip-flops, worn with flats....brown, black, jeggings....you name them, I love them.  I sort of see them as my way to get around my "dress up" days at work.  Love them.  Period.


I'm also loving these Steve Madden boots from Macy's.  I have them in dark brown and they have become my flip flops of fall and winter.  I'm looking forward to spending some gift card money on a black pair soon!


I'm loving that this is my last full week of school before Thanksgiving break.  Next is Christmas break! Love the time off with family and friends this time of the year celebrating the many blessings in our lives and the gift of Christ in our lives.

 Happy Wednesday!

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