Month: March 2019

Holiday Loving: St. Patrick’s Day

Since I was sick and couldn’t get this post together for Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought I would save it for next year.

Then I realized…grace not perfection Lelia…share the dang post!

So here I am providing you with all kinds of Saint Patrick’s Day inspiration…a month!

I already shared my simple tips for holiday planning…so make sure to check out that post.

Honestly…just switch the colors and this goes for any holiday!

But don’t worry…I’ll be sharing all kinds of Easter inspiration…in plenty of time for Easter.

Unless another stomach bug hits us…but not today Satan…not today.

To me, holidays are just a fun opportunity to show my family and friends some love. I adore ALL holidays, and we have so much fun making even the smallest holiday into a fun tradition!

I also just really love to be creative, so this allows me to use some of my God given talents. It brings me so much joy, and I hope that me sharing some of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day activities will spark joy in you and inspire you to make some memories!

I always love creating some kind of snack board for the boys during a holiday. Muffin tins are a great way to make a festive snack. And you don’t even need a holiday themed one! Just use a regular old muffin tin from your collection. Fill that baby with some themed snacks, and enjoy the memories!

For Saint Patrick’s Day we did some green apples, green grapes, cheddar cheese clovers, edamame crisps, pistachios, broccoli, Lucky Charms, and green M&Ms {duh}.

Printables are my favorite way to include free, simple, holiday activities into our day! Just Pinterest “free Saint Patrick’s Day printable activities” and print those babies off! We love dotting sheets, color by number sheets, and this year Austen got really into these tracing sheets.

This cute I Spy sheet was a hit! I had Austen use stickers to cover up the items. I would say “put a yellow sticker on a clover” and he would search and find! So stinking cute!

Don’t forget to get your kids involved! Children love purpose, so Austen helped me fill the muffin tin. He’s also been given the job of pulling the grapes off of the step which is a HUGE help!

ALWAYS grab the dollar spot holiday glasses…because festive things are FUN!

We always bring out the play dough for holidays! Even Hudson is learning how to roll out the dough. I wish I had some of those plastic gold coins that he could press into the play dough! I’ll have to remember that for next year!

For these two faces…I would literally do anything to make a fun memory.

Collecting some themed food and crafts…pretty dang easy friends!

And make sure you check out my post all about holiday planning!

Happy Weekend Friends!

All photos by the talented Tasha Pinelo

Planning For Holidays

If you’ve followed me on social media, you know that I LOVE me a holiday. And I like to suck as much out of a holiday as humanly possible.

I know a lot of people think I’m a little over the top with my holiday craziness. But to be honest, you’ve giving me way more credit than I deserve.

Here’s what I do differently than a lot of people:

I find things on Pinterest…I pick two or three things to do…and then I DO THEM.

Wait…you get on Pinterest…and then you do them?

Yup…the secret’s out.

Here’s the key though…I pick TWO or THREE things.

I don’t aim to do every single thing off of my Pinterest board.

This was not always the case. I had this HUGE revelation in 2017 that I’m horrific with follow through. I would always have amazing and grand ideas to do fun things…and then never do them. I would always say…”it’s the thought that counts right?” But I’m here to let you in on the a little secret…

The thought isn’t enough friends!

It’s the freaking follow through that counts!

So I started setting standards for myself. If I was going to start something…I was going to follow through with it. If I was going to get a grand idea…I was going to act.

Here’s the trick though guys. I didn’t lower my standards…I modified them so I could intentionally and lovingly make memories for my family!

So here are my tips and tricks to being super festive for holidays…without stressing you the heck out:


Earth shaddering right? No. But how I use Pinterest is what’s unique. I search the given holiday on Pinterest, and then I SCREENSHOT two…maybe three things I’d like to do. Pinning does nothing really guys. How many things have you actually completed on your Pinterest boards. Maybe 1% I’m guessing. But when it’s in your phone’s camera’ll see it and access it quickly.

Get Your Items ASAP

This goes along with follow through…but when you have festive ideas, you need to get the items. So look at the festive things you want to do, pull out the items you have on hand and then make a list of the things you need.

It might be making green jello to make jello jigglers {one of my favorite easy festive things to include kids} and you need green jello and a shamrock cookie cutter.

So head to Michaels {or Amazon} to get your cookie cutter and add green jello to your grocery list.

It might be making a pizza in the shape of a shamrock. So buy your pizza dough and pizza ingredients and have them on hand for when it’s time. Then you have zero excuses not to follow through!

Schedule It

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my things on hand, and then life gets busy, and I forget to do the things I’ve planned for.

No joke…I’ve done so many Christmas things…after Christmas.

This past Christmas, I put all of festive things in my calendar {the one Alex and I share so he can see too} AND added reminders.

Seriously life changing.

So I have everything on hand because I planned, and I have it scheduled.

Boom. Action. Follow Through

Document It

That doesn’t mean you have to share it on social media {but if you do, tag me because I LOVE seeing what you’re doing with your families} but take a picture to remember it by!

We are so hard on ourselves as women, parents, people in general, and sometimes I feel like I have done nothing.

And then I look on my camera…and I can look back on all of the little memories we’re making!

So friends…take some action!

Get on Pinterest, screen shot a few things, and comment below on the thing you’re most excited to do this spring.

Hint: if you want to make the most memories…be cool and pick something messy.

Kids always remember the messy things {insert eye roll and Lelia covered in green jello}

All pictures by the talented Tasha Pinelo.

The Hill That I Die On

Please read this entire post…this is important.

We all have the thing…the hill that you will die on.

My hill is protecting children.

After Alex’s birthday dinner, we went to the park to play with my nieces.

It was a sunny day so there were a ton of people there!

We were playing and having fun and I noticed Alex watching something happen.

I looked to where his eyes were glaring and immediately noticed a man berating his {probably} eight year old child.

I’m not afraid of confrontation.

No joke…when I was going into 7th grade I went and confronted a HUGE man who pushed a child down to the ground when leaving the fireworks at Disney World.

So I started to walk over to him and as I was walking over, he slapped his child across the face.

I immediately started yelling ‘Sir…Sir!’

He turned to me and with pure instincts I puffed my chest up to be as big as him and said ‘you will never lay a hand on your child again…and if you continue speaking to him that way I will call the police’

He was drinking (I could smell it on his breath) but the look on his poor child’s you guys…he was humiliated.

We went back and fourth a bit.

He actually was able to have a semi-real conversation with me.

He said “I’m allowed to spank my child.”

I said “you did not spank your child…you slapped him. And studies are showing that physical punishment is not effective.”

He said ‘he’s a hard child…we do what we have to do.”

I said ‘all of our children are hard at times…but they all deserve to be spoken to and treated with respect’

Alex walked over at this point and said ‘Sir…the fact of the matter is that you are scaring the other children and you are going to need to leave.’

The guy calmed down and they left.


There was a big group of middle schoolers watching this go down.

One boy said ‘why did he slap his child?’

I said ‘some parents just don’t take the time to talk to their children. It is never okay to lay your hands on your child’

That boy then said ‘thank you for standing up for that little boy.’

Alex and I took deep breaths, talked about it with Austen and my nieces {who saw the entire thing} and continued playing.

About 30 minutes later those boys came up and said ‘I’m sorry are you the mom who stood up for that boy?

I said yes.

One boy handed me this dollar and said ‘Thank you for not being afraid to step in and protect that child.’

I tried to not take the dollar but they were INSISTENT.

Here’s the take away folks:



I am a wife, mother, aunt, friend…but I AM A PROTECTOR.

It is in my DNA and I want every child to know that even if their parents don’t respect them…that crazy women stood up for them.

I really wish I would have first went right up to the child and said:

“I am so sorry you dad is talking to you that way. You are smart and strong and amazing. It’s not okay for an adult to speak to a child that way.”

I really pray that man didn’t feel completely judged…but convicted.

I pray that man didn’t take it out on his child more when they left.

Here’s the other sad part to me.

When I saw that man berating his child, I saw that adult man as a child.

No flashed in front of my eyes.

I saw that man, as a child, being humiliated by HIS father.

Poor parenting is generational.

But somewhere…that has to shift.

Someone has to decide that it’s not working.

Parenting will ALWAYS be something I’m passionate about.

I rave about Ralphie from Simply On Purpose…she’s incredible.

But my BIGGEST take away has been a phrase she uses all the time.

A phrase I repeat to myself multiple times daily.


Friends…they are learning to react to situations BY WATCHING YOU!

How do you want you children to react?

Our of anger…or out of respect?

With words…or with their fists?

Ralphie has created a FREE ecourse called Staying Safe.

The tag line is: why we yell, why it doesn’t work, and what to do instead.

Please go and download this free ecourse!

Please open your mind to a different way of parenting.

Please respect your children.

I’d love to know what hill you would die on.

Is it equality? Justice? Freedom? Safety?

I’m so thankful we all have different hills to die on…so we can work together to make the world a better place!

{Giveaway Closed} Belle Bucket

We are so excited to do our first giveaway on the new blog!

I’ve mentioned Belle Bucket a few times on Instastories and quite a few of you have sent us pictures of your adorable bucket lists in your home!

I NEVER share a product unless I love it, and working with Bell Bucket on these customizable bucket lists has been so much fun!

Sure, you can print off a free printable from Pinterest, but I love that you can fully customize these bucket lists!

Especially to add Austen and Mommy/ Austen and Daddy dates!

He loves seeing his name on the bucket list!

We’ve been trying hard to take time out of our months to spend quality time with just him.

Soon we’ll add Hudson dates too!

The space we put the bucket list is actually super intentional.

We pass this spot 20 plus times a day. So it’s a reminder for us to stop and do something to make incredible memories as a family.

It’s also an awkward wall too, that has our thermostat to the right. Not even in the middle!

So Alex made this amazing frame that we can pop on and off if we need to get to the thermostat.

If you don’t have a handy husband, here’s a super easy wooden magnet poster frame you could use!

Belle Bucket has seasonal bucket lists, yearly bucket lists, a seasonal subscription {which is what we did and paid our own money for}, date night lists, and deployment lists {which I LOVE}

She even gives suggestions for each season, because thinking of 30+ items is kind of hard! She’s already done the work for you!

Belle Bucket has been gracious enough to giveaway one free bucket list to a lucky winner!

All you have to go is go and follow me on Instagram and Belle Bucket on Instagram and comment on this post to be entered!

Giveaway will end on March 29th at midnight!

I will announce on Instagram the winner on March 30th!

So excited for you to experience this fun family tradition, and make some memories!

Pictures by Tasha Pinelo Photography

The House That Almost Wasn’t

Let me tell you a story…the story of our house.

Alex and I knew we wanted to buy an old home and rehab it. Mainly because, in our city, it is HARD to find land to build. And we really wanted to be in the center of town…even harder.

So we were constantly on the hunt for an older home. Maybe one an elderly person wanted to be finished with. We wrote letters, asked around, and dang it…it was harder than we thought!

There was a house we LOVED…and guys…squatters were living in it. There were syringes and diapers and it was choas. But we {okay I} could see the beauty behind the mess. We put an offer in, wrote a letter, and prayed.

And an investor/rehabber won that house.


May 2016…The Day I Found Out We Lost Out On The West Villa House

Let’s talk financials here. Rehabbing an old home takes a TON of money. You’re buying the house, and then doing all of the extensive work to bring the house up to code much less up to modern standards.

It’s crazy expensive.

So when an investor buys that house. They are doing EXACTLY what we would be doing {buying the home, spending money to rehab it} and then they want to sell it for profit. Which makes the end cost SO high.

Especially with the size and age homes we were looking into. These investors were wanting $750,000-$850,000.

Nope. Not for the Wendels.

We couldn’t do that. We needed to buy the house first, and rehab it on our own.

We even went to the lengths to let the rehabber start, and then try to negotiate with him. And he wanted much more than we could afford.

So we walked away. And I was devastated! I had pictured picnics under this huge tree. Like had these picnics PLANNED.

Then our current home went up for sale. THE WEEK AFTER I had written a letter to the owner and threw away because I got cold feet.

Alex sent me the listing {here’s the link to the listing with pictures from before our rehab} and my heart sunk. I knew we wouldn’t get it.

They were doing a ONE weekend open house, would take offers only on Sunday and then make a decision that day.

We toured {along with over 500 other people} the house and knew it needed a ton of work.

They listed it well, so we knew there would be a lot of offers.

We made an offer, wrote a letter, and prayed a miracle would happen.

And we lost it.


A month later we found out ANOTHER investor/rehabber had won.

So…I made the call. And we set up an appointment with him.

Here we are before the appointment…so flipping nervous.

November 2017

And you all…he was so sweet!

He really talked us through the possibilities and options.

We knew this was going to be another money pit, but we bought our old house under foreclosure and had a decent amount of equity in the house.

This is when we started to PRAY and dream, and Alex was so hesitant! We would drive and sit next to the house and dream. We were so hopeful, but terrified.

November 2017

This is where it’s going to get confusing, but I want to share this information because it was so helpful to us, and it may be helpful for some of you!

{And y’all…don’t ask for the numbers…just to save my husbands sanity}

We knew we couldn’t buy the house up front because the house wouldn’t appraise currently where we needed it in order to get a traditional loan for the house and we didn’t want to get into a construction loan.

So, we negotiated that we would sell our home, pay for the renovations as we went along, and then buy the house when it was finished.

This was a HUGE risk for our builder. He had to trust that we would pay for things along the way.

But this man took pity on us, I think, and jumped into this with us.

I doubt he’ll ever do it again…because it was stressful at times…but I’m so thankful he did!

When a builder does a home like this, he makes decisions so quickly. We took more time deciding things, which pushed the timeline. He bought this house with a group of investors…and they wanted their money back. So he was being patient with us, while also dealing with the other investors.

He extended so much grace to us!

So, we put our house on the market, and ended up getting $100,000 more than we anticipated.

Which was a HUGE blessing because we spent a little over $100,000 more than we originally budgeted.

I know that’s shocking to a lot of you, but we ended up doing more than we had planned in the beginning.

We moved in with Alex’s SAINTLY parents for six months while we rehabbed.

I was PREGNANT and hormonal and man it was a wild ride.

Austen was two and potty training and trying to figure out what the heck was going on with his life.

But living with Alex’s parents was the greatest blessing.

I know not everyone could live with their in-laws…but my in-laws aren’t normal. They’re helpful and fun and supportive.

It was such an incredible relief to have that community while we were in such a crazy stage of life.

We did new HVAC, new electric, new plumbing, new insulation, new drywall on all exterior walls, we had to put tons of headers in to support us removing some walls, we did two and a half new bathrooms {as well as roughing in another bathroom on our top floor} all new flooring, new tile, new kitchen, we painted the exterior of our house, we removed an exterior door and window, we added new trim details inside that required a TON of craftmanship, and Lord only knows what else. It was a huge renovation.

And we did it in about 6 months. Which is QUICK for this big of a job!

By the end of the renovation, it appraised higher than we needed, and we bought the house!

We signed the papers TWO days after we had Hudson.

All of this to say this house did NOT fall in our laps. We fought hard for it. We prayed, we discussed, we crunched, we cried, we did all of the things.

And we’re BOTH so thankful!

Marriage…Our Tips and Tricks

There are very few things I’m super confident in saying. But one thing I am 100% certain of is that we have a rockin’ marriage.

This is not by default. We have worked and continue to work HARD for our marriage. We fight for it daily. Sometimes hourly. It is not easy. But we are so proud of what we have created.

Our first year of marriage, we were hit with something we were completely surprised by. I know your wheels are spinning now…but what we were hit with was everyone else’s view on marriage.

We were told on MULTIPLE occasions to “enjoy the newlywed phase while it lasts…” or “just give it a few years and tell me how much you love each other.”

And to be honest, we were’t all that surprised. We’ve watched our fair share of marriages struggle, but we were SO blessed to have Alex’s parents as a role model. They are more in love than most marriages combined. So we knew that kind of love could last.

So we searched to find out how. How to cultivate a passionate, exciting, confident marriage. We got super involved in our church’s premarital counseling…and the rest is history. What we have learned through that class is how we have built the foundation for our marriage.

We helped with administrative aspects for years, and then started facilitating tables of couples who were engaged. And during that time…our marriage has been built into by the mentors in the group. It’s been the biggest blessing.

It has not always been easy, especially when kids were thrown in the mix. But we have fought hard for it.

So with over seven years of marriage under our belts…here are our three main tips for cultivating a marriage you can be proud of.

Make Your Marriage The Foundation Of Your Family

We feel so very strongly that a strong, healthy marriage will produce a strong and healthy family. But a struggling marriage will boil over into your family life. If you are feeling frustrated with how your family unit is working, take a good look at your marriage. It will be humbling. But use this as motivation to strengthen your bond. This will require sacrifice. Time: you will need to make a commitment to spend the time it takes to work on your marriage. Going on a marriage retreat, doing couples counseling, making date nights a priority. All will require time. Money: dates and retreats and counseling all require a financial commitment. I promise all of that combined will be cheaper than a divorce. Promise. Emotional: It will be emotionally exhausting to work through pain and frustration. Our hearts get so hardened, and they are hard to soften. However, it will be worth it. But friends…having a strong marital foundation for your family will create a lasting unit that is more beautiful than you can imagine.

Be A Student of Your Spouse’s Love Language

When we talk with friends who are struggling in their marriage, 9/10 times we boil the issue down to one person not feeling loved. And 9/10 times it’s because one or both spouses doesn’t know how to love their spouse well. If you have not done the Love Language Test you need to as quickly as humanly possible. Love languages also play out with coworkers, siblings, parents, children, etc. I’m constantly thinking “what is their love language and how can I love them well” If you want, I can do an entire post about love languages, but friends…learn your spouse’s love language…and LOVE THEM THAT WAY! Alex’s love language’s are physical touch and words of affirmation. So the first thing I try to do when he comes in the door after work is hug him. Really freaking tight. So he knows he is loved. I try to write him notes and encourage him, but words of affirmation is also so important because I am a quick processor and can say harsh things that will tear him down quickly. I’m learning to be slow to speak and choose my words wisely. My love languages are gifts and quality time. So Alex bringing be home a new nail polish means he’s thought of me and went out of his way to find me something I would love. Love languages are so so important friends! Take them seriously!

Make Intimacy A Priority

You knew I would have to talk about sex, right? I really don’t even think sex is the most important form of intimacy. Yes…sex rocks…but intimacy is more than just sex. Intimacy actually just means closeness. After Austen, when we were so tired, we instituted Make Out Monday. Every Monday…after Austen was asleep…we made it a priority to make out. The goal was not for it to end in sex, just to be close. To have a glass of wine, turn off the TV, and be close. To intentionally make time for intimacy.

And y’all…science backs me up. Intimacy, closeness, even as simple as hugging makes you happier. Read the study, but a 10 second hug a day {you guys…10 seconds isn’t even that long} can reduce stress, lower your risk of heart disease, boost your immune system, fight infection, ease depression. Sign me the frick up!

So there we are friends!

Three of our tips. We have SO many more….SO many! If you’re local…take Building Blocks for Marriage at Crossroads! It’s worth your time! Promise!

I’m curious…if you could give one big tip for creating a strong marriage…what would it be?

These pictures were taken by my amazing neighbor, Leda with Lightstyle Photography If you’re local, check her out!