Author: Jake & Jacqueline

Best Kids Christmas Books

I LOVE Christmas time! I love making it special for the kids, and just think it’s the most wonderful holiday of the year! For the past four years I’ve bought a book from this author. Originally I had wanted to buy them all at once, but only one wasn’t sold out; now that I’ve done one a year, I kind of love the tradition. I basically cry at the end of reading them because they so simply all point back to Jesus and the incredible gift that we celebrate at Christmas! I’ve linked them each at the bottom, and as of now, all but “J is for Jesus” are still available (and on Prime)!
Merry Christmas!
xo,
Jac

ALSO threw in a little bonus picture at the end there for ya, caught in real life, Hudson knocking my jaw out of place; my favorite part is how care-free he is about the whole thing.

 

           
 

 

Paige Benton Brown

Man, get ready for a treat today!
I have sent the links to these teachings to basically every female I know. Paige Brown is by far my most favorite female teacher, and she has this incredible way of  sharing the deepest, most convicting truth, making you laugh, and making you cry, all in like 45 minutes. I have listened to her messages over and over again, and rather than continuing to text them to everyone I know, I’m just going to leave them right here for you all. These first four are her older ones that I have on repeat, and below that I linked some newer teachings of hers; I highly recommend listening to them in order.

The Desperate Heart
The Rejective Heart
The Reflective Heart
The Responsive Heart

Additional Teachings

Enjoy!
xo,
Jac

 

Feeling

Lately I’ve been thinking so much about “feeling” God. Probably because I’m in a season where I don’t FEEL Him much, He is here, there is no doubt. Whether it’s emotions or some spiritual experience that have been absent, I’m not totally sure; but I know He promises He’s here, and I know it’s true.

The feeling part is this weird thing that God allows us at times and in seasons, but is by no means the most primary aspect of our relationship with Him. A good friend encouraged me with this, “feelings are real but not always Truth.” Process that a second.

I think about the people who’s faith we admire so much in the Word, there were times when we know they experienced God so tangibly, but others where they were in such desperate situations and nothing but His promises to cling to. Moses and the burning bush, feeling God, in probably one of the most real ways possible, but then acting out of his flesh, hitting the stone, and being kept out of entering the promise land. Paul on the road to Damascus HEARING audibly from God, but then being locked in prison and beaten. David experiencing the strength of God, as his victory, as he watched the stone hit Goliath’s head knowing only the power of God could defeat the giant, but then pleading for forgiveness and asking God to be near to him after committing murder and adultery. These men are heroes of our faith, but have experienced such drastically different experiences throughout different points in their walk with Jesus. I admire them so much, but I function as if I’m expecting a different path, an easier path.

I’m currently clinging to the Truth of His Word, thankful for hope beyond this world, and a reality beyond what is felt here (and listening to this song on repeat). If you’re in a similar place, keep pressing on, cry out to God, this is the part of the running the race and fighting the good fight that takes the most out of us, but the mountains make the victories that much sweeter. He tells us to cast EVERY care on Him, obey. This is me preaching to myself as much as it is to anyone else. I’m right there with you.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18

Praying for you friends.
xo,
Jac

Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe

Orange Cranberry Muffins

I have been craving orange cranberry muffins for weeks! It’s my favorite combination of flavors, and since being on all these food restrictions for health stuff, I’ve been missing it. I finally found this amazing muffin recipe and whipped them up the other day; they did not disappoint. My tiny sweeties devoured them which is always a double win when they’re healthy. Hope everyone is having fun getting everything ready for Thanksgiving!
xo,
Jac
Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe

Dear Twenty-Something Girl,

Dear Twenty-Something Girl,

Just about a month ago I said good-bye to my twenties. Milestones always make me nostalgic, and force me to reflect on where I’ve been, and where God has brought me. So far, thirty has been pretty much typical of life; there are highs and lows and everything in between. As I’ve been reflecting I keep thinking about a few things I learned that I wish I would have known along the way, nothing too profound, just a few simple truths.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    There were so many times that I made big things out of tiny things; things with friends, things with family, things with guys, all the things. Looking back, so many of them didn’t matter at all, they weren’t worth my energy, weren’t worth being sad about; the people matter, the drama doesn’t.
  2. Look up more than you look down.
    Things get rough. Sometimes they really suck. My twenties were harder than I could have ever imagined ten years ago, but the truth is, the best things in my life came out of these past ten years too. Wherever you start and end your twenties, know you’ll be a stronger person than you began, and the key is to always look up. Even on the darkest days we have something to be thankful for, always.
  3. Trust your gut.
    I doubted myself more times than I should have. Being a mom has forced me to learn this in a whole new way. I know that I know my kids, and 9 times out of 10 I really do know in my gut what is going to be best for them. But the truth is my gut was just as good back then as it is now. When you feel torn, trust yourself, you know.

They all ended up being kitschy, cliche phrases, but there’s a lot of truth to each of them. I wish I would have believed them more for the past ten years, and I pray that I practice them more in the next ten years. Twenty-something or not, I think these things apply to all of us.

Keep pressing on, you’re doing a phenomenal job!
xo,
Jac

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

We are so ready for the holidays! If we didn’t have a football game to go to this weekend, we would 100% be setting up our tree! Jake LOVES Thanksgiving, so even though it’s not one I would go all out for on my own, it’s worth it to see how much he loves it. I did a little trial set up for our table this week, and I love this black and white fall tablescape! I put a little leaf at each place setting so each of our guests can add something they’re thankful for to our thankful tree. Hudson has loved adding a new leaf each night and has come up with some of the cutest things that he’s thankful for! I linked most of the items pictured, and a few other favorites below.
Happy Thanksgiving!
xo,
Jac

Thanksgiving Table


Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

 

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

 

5 Oils to Add to Your Beauty Regiment

Over the past few years, basically since I got pregnant with Hudson, I’ve been trying to integrate as many natural changes to my beauty regiment as possible. An easy place to start for me was things like lotions, switching out lotion for oil had a pretty low impact; unlike finding a clean foundation or mascara that I like, which has been a way bigger challenge (If you have found natural makeup products you love PLEASE share them with me!). Another easy switch was face wash. I seriously thought it was crazy when I heard about it, but cleaning my face with oil is one of my favorite things! I used to hate washing my face, mostly because everything I used didn’t seem to be a good fit for my skin and didn’t take my makeup off, enter oil, I love washing my face now! I’ve linked my 5 favorite oils and how I use them below.

5 oils to add to your beauty regiment - natural beauty, natural skincare

  1. Castor oil
    This oil just has a negative connotation in my mind and I have no idea where it came from, regardless, it’s amazing! I use this every night to wash my face. I pour about a quarter size in to the palm of my hand and rub it all over my face. I let it sit while I brush my teeth and then wipe it off with a warm wash cloth. It takes off my eye make-up better than any remover I’ve ever used, and leaves my skin hydrated without feeling oily at all. I’ve read it also does amazing things to your hair, but haven’t tried it.
  2. Olive oil
    This is my go-to hair treatement. I’ve tried coconut oil, but always come back to olive oil. I always do this on a day when I have a lot of work at home because it’s a great treatment to let sit in your hair for a few hours. I’ll warm it up to a warm temperature, not too hot, and start at the ends and working it throughout my whole head of hair. I wrap it up in a bun, let it sit for a few hours while I work around the house, and wash it out the way I would wash my hair any other time. It leaves my hair feeling so soft and makes it so shiny, I don’t know why I don’t do this more often? When washing the oil out I do focus a lot on shampooing the roots really well, just to make sure I’m not left with a greasy scalp, but as long as I do a good job I’ve never had my hair feel oily afterwards
  3. Coconut oil
    I really do use this oil for just about everything: my family’s sunscreen, cooking, cleaning, those Pinterest articles of 100 uses for coconut oil are no lie. One of my favorite uses for this oil is oil pulling. I was totally grossed out by this in the beginning, but my teeth never feel as clean as when I oil pull before brushing them. I’ll typically do this in the shower because I know I won’t have to be answering little people’s questions while I’m in there. I just grab a teaspoon of oil and start swishing it around in my mouth, the harder you swish it over your teeth and around your mouth the more clean I’ve found it feels in the end. After 5-10 minutes spit it out and brush. It has a ton of health benefits because it pulls toxins out of your mouth, and I love that it whitens your teeth!
  4. Shea butter
    I know this one is a butter but, it’s one I use every day, so I feel like it fits. This is a pregnant mom’s dream anti-stretch mark lotion. It’s thick and creamy and keeps your skin super hydrated – the key to preventing stretch marks. Since not being pregnant I’ve continued to use this as my lotion. It is thick and takes some time to work in to your skin, but it keeps my skin from getting dry better than anything else. Love love love it!
  5. Frankincense oil
    So this one is an essential oil, but it’s like a miracle oil. I put about 10-20 drops of it in my bottle of castor oil that I use to wash my face at night, I’ve started to put a drop of it on a dark spot on my face that showed up while I was pregnant with Sofia, it’s great for your skin so I don’t know why I haven’t added it to my shea butter lotion. I love putting a drop under my eyes on those mornings where I was up all night with the kids. Basically if it was good enough to give to Jesus as a gift, I’m down to try it.

Happy oiling!
Jac

Stripes

Man, I feel like our life has been nonstop lately. We always know September and October are full, but seriously, I feel like we just ran a marathon for two months straight. I think our kids became completely different people over the course of it all. Each day practically I wake up and feel like they’ve developed some new trait, or something new that they’re doing, or interested in. As they say, the days can feel long, but the years truly are so short.
Lately each morning when they wake up, they come to our bed, and Hudson will ask, “do you want to see how tall I grew while I was sleeping?” After our encouragement and affirmation, he’ll stand up as tall as he can and show us, quickly joining him, Sofia will stand up to show us, and add flexing her muscles to show us how strong she is. I’ll reply with “Oh my goodness!” a few times, and it only makes them stand taller and more proud, and I just feel like this is the life I wish I could capture every moment of. Every tiny thing they do, and say, I wish I could have it all documented. How do you balance wanting to document it, with letting yourself be present? If any of you have mastered it, please let me be your student, because I feel like I live in the middle of this conflict at all times.
I spent the last few days in this funk. There was no real reason, I was just down. I hate when I’m in that place, because I just feel like I’m wasting these precious blinks of life. I know there is much for my kids to learn by letting them see that there are the happy moments, and the harder moments; that’s real life, but I’m just always really thankful for that morning I wake up and feel back to myself. Thankful for new days, full of new mercies!

Hope you’re all having a good week!
xo,
Jac

Fall Farmer’s Market

This weekend was a good one. On Saturday, Jake stayed home with Sofia and I got to take Hudson to the USC game on a little mommy date. I’m quickly learning how precious these times I have with them one on one are. We had so much fun! We didn’t get home until 1:30 … AM … but it was well worth the fun night. Yesterday we spent the day together just the four of us, we had a slow morning, went to the farmer’s market, and just rested. Much like the one on one time, I’m realizing how desperate our family is for these types of rest days together. Days with nothing on the agenda, just being. It’s something I want to build in to our monthly rhythms and not compromise on.
Clearly I’m learning a lot these days because it took me 4 years as a mom to realize how life-changing a backpack diaper bag is! Serious game changer here. Especially since having two, having my hands free for them over having a bag on one shoulder has been so nice. I tagged a few of my favorites below.
Hope you all had an amazing weekend and are ready for this new week!
xoxo,
Jac