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Valentine’s Gift Guide – UNDER $50

Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh flowers, but there are so many other fun options for Valentine’s Gifts! Today, I thought I’d share really quickly a few of my favorite things right now that would make great gifts for V-day! I wanted to keep the gifts under $50 but still share some really sweet and fun ideas! Stay tuned as there is a GIVEAWAY at the end!!!!

This super cute Monogram Jewelry Box is such a thoughtful gift, and super affordable!!!

These embossed glass candles are so beautiful and could totally serve a different purpose after they’ve burned down. Not to mention, the Voluspa scents are SOOOO yummy.

Who doesn’t love a good blanket, I mean, seriously. I have a slight addiction to blankets and it makes my husband crazy!!! LOL! But this Bliss Plush blanket is super soft and cozy! Perfect for snuggling up with your sweetie 🙂

How cute is this little heart shaped bowl to toss your rings or stud earrings into?!?!

This is a home run for any girl in your life! I LOVE the Fresh Sugar products! They give just a hint of color, but feel so luxurious on your lips. The packaging is gorgeous, and the product is worth it!

If you’ve got a make-up lover in your life, then you can’t go wrong with brushes! No need to worry about shade matching or is she likes a certain color of lipstick. Brushes are a great gift, and MAC brushes are such great quality! This cute little set is on sale too! 🙂

By now, you may know my LOVE for Noonday! These earrings are gorgeous and hand made in India! Y’all know that I love a gift with purpose and shopping Noonday is such a great way to do just that! These are the Steadfast Earrings!

Let’s be honest, you can NEVER go wrong with Chocolate! I am a HUGE fan of edible arrangements! I’m a bit obsessed with fruit and these Chocolate covered Strawberries are delicious and easy on the budget!

There you have it! Some of my favorite gift ideas that won’t break the bank! But the best part of this whole post??? A GIVEAWAY!!!

Natalie, I am luck to call my friend in real life too, her heart is even bigger than her gorgeous smile, and she is sharing an easy and delicious gift for teachers! Yes, please!

Let me know in the comments what your favorite gift to give on V-day!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beauty Lifestyle Motherhood Outfit Ideas Twins Uncategorized

What’s in my TWELVElittle Diaper Bag & A Cute Top for Fall!


It’s officially fall y’all! That time of year where we bust out all the leggings, sweaters and cute scarves. Unless you live in the south of course. It’s still hitting 90 degrees here some days. UGH!!! I have been on the hunt for cute clothes that look fall-ish, but won’t make me sweat to death either. This outfit totally fits the bill!

I also have the added layer of trying to dress this postpartum body. The struggle is REAL. I’m 6 weeks post babies, and nowhere close to my pre-pregnancy size. This top is great because it’s flattering to the areas I want to hide and long enough to cover the bum, so I can wear it with my leggings. They happen to be basically the only pants I can wear right now (cough, cough)

The top comes in 24 colors and I am wearing a medium. ( I’m 5’8″ for size reference)

Wanna know the crazy part? It’s from AMAZON!!! I’ve just started dipping my toe into the waters of Amazon clothes shopping, and if this top is any indication, the water is just fine…come on in 🙂

Alright, now we can jump into this killer diaper bag I found! It’s the Carry Love tote bag by TWELVElittle. You can see my full video review of the bag below, but here are some up close shots of inside and a peek at what I like to carry in my bag.

You may need less or more items than me, mine is packed for my twin 2 month old daughters. My other kids are all old enough that I really don’t need to pack much of anything for them.


And here is a look at what I carry in my little “mommy” bag as well… some days I wish I could fit a bottle of wine in there 😉 Just sayin’….


It’s all pretty basic stuff; over the almost 11 years I’ve been a mom, I think I’ve figured out what I really need to carry and what is just weighing down my bag. Hoepfully you found this helpful, especially you new mama’s who may be trying to fit your whole nursery into your bag 🙂 But like I always say, you do YOU! If you want to pack everything but the dog in your bag, do it. Unless you ask me to carry it for you 😉

You can shop everything in this post via the links above! I hope y’all enjoyed this peek into my diaper bag, and you can totally thank me later about this top. It’s the bees knees.


Adoption Uncategorized

Embryo Adoption-Resources and Our Story

Where to begin? I’ve been both nervous and excited to share this part of our story with you all, and I finally feel ready!

For about two years we struggled with secondary infertility, and just in case you don’t know what that is, it just means that you have had a child (or more than 1) and now cannot conceive. It was something that really blindsided us, as we had no trouble at all getting pregnant with Kennedy and Shelby.

But, we found ourselves wanting to complete our family, and feeling really strongly that me carrying and giving birth was how we wanted to do that. But much like He always does, God seemed to have other plans. This post isn’t going to be about all the fertility treatments we underwent (we did it ALL) but more so to share how we did eventually conceive our twins and a place for me to share some amazing resources etc with you all.

As I mentioned before, we had reached about the two year mark and thought we had pretty much run out options… I remembered hearing something about Embryo Adoption, and decided to look into it further. Almost immediately we knew this was going to be the route for us. We were 100% comfortable with adoption, obviously, and so the baby not having our DNA just wasn’t a big deal to us. After speaking with my doctor and finding out that she was totally in agreement that this was a great option for us, I began my favorite part of any big decision…the research. 🙂

Before I share with you the resources, in case you might be interested as well, let me explain briefly what Embryo Adoption or Donation is. Basically, when couples go through the IVF process, they very often can end up with more embryos than they can or want to use. This is something that Doctors are working on as IVF continues to grow, but there are still many couples who find themselves with babies on ice that they have to make decisions for. Really, they have three options.

  1. Pay storage fees and keep them frozen indefinitely (which as you might imagine is not a great long term solution)
  2. Have them discarded or donated to science
  3. Donate them to another couple who will transfer them and hopefully give birth! (Adoption)

There are something like 600,000 embryos currently frozen in the US and many are available for donation/adoption. These terms are used kind of interchangeably because it’s not really a typical adoption process. Some clinics require you to do a homestudy before you are matched and others do not, however once you give birth there is no “adoption” element involved. Legally, this is your child.

Anyway, you can read more about that in the resources below if you are interested.

So, we began researching clinics, looking at profiles and hoping to find what would be a good match for us! Our only criteria really, was that we only wanted to adopt 1 or 2 embryos. Because this is how we intended to complete our family, and not start it, we knew we didn’t want to have extra embryos that we then had to make decisions for 🙂 Hopefully that makes sense! We were very quickly matched with a “set” of 2 embryos, and we prepared for transfer. We chose to transfer them both, which is very common in IVF, for a couple of reasons. We knew that they weren’t guaranteed to survive the thawing process so we hoped at least 1 would, we were only planning to try this once so we wanted the best shot at conceiving a baby. Finally, our clinic had a policy that since they were frozen together in the same “straw” that if we didn’t transfer both, the other would have to be discarded. It couldn’t be re-frozen. We felt very strongly that we needed to put that in God’s hands, even though the idea of twins was really scary to us, we knew we had to give them both a chance at life!

To be honest, I was really hopeful, but in the back of mind I figured this would fail, just like everything else we had tried. Much to my surprise, about 4 days after transfer, I got a positive pregnancy test!!!!! CR says he knew right away that they both “stuck” and we were having twins. I think I was in denial 😉 That denial quickly went away though when I found myself hugging the toilet at like 5 weeks pregnant! LOL! An early ultrasound determined we were indeed having twins!

There is so much more to the story from there, but that will all have to wait for another day 🙂

Just like with our other adoptions, we are going to keep many things private for these girls, but we did want to share what we consider to be a pretty amazing miracle! It’s pretty incredible to be able to carry and give birth to these two precious girls, even though we don’t share DNA.

As you might imagine, we are SOOOO anxious to see what they look like, and to meet them. And while the little kids (Noah, Jonah and Rosie) don’t really understand embryo adoption at this point, they know mommy has 2 babies in her belly and they love to talk to them and rub my belly. Our big girls (Kennedy and Shelby) really do understand what Embryo adoption is, and are very anxious to meet their new sisters in a few months!

We can’t wait to hold these babies and tell them how loved they are, by so many people, and we know God has some pretty incredible plans for them already. Afterall, they can really say that they survived the Ice Age 🙂

One thing I do want to share, most of you know how important dates have been in our adoption journey’s…. I’ve always found great comfort in seeing how God has used specific dates to help me see His direction when I’m unsure. Well, when we matched with these two sweet girls, we found out that they were frozen on the very same day we said Yes to adopting Jonah. I just love those little hugs from the Father. His hands have been all over this journey!

So, while we are a bit terrified to have twins, we are also thrilled and excited! I always thought we would have 6 kids, but God had other plans… 7 is the number of completion in the Bible after all 🙂

Thank you guys again for your support and love! Our family wouldn’t be what it is today without the love and encouragement we have received over the years.




Embryo Adoption Awareness Center

NightLight- Embryo Adoption

Miracles Waiting


The Reason for the Season…

Hi friends! With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to take a moment and share with you a new favorite in our household this year! Like many of you, our goal each year is to keep our children focused on Jesus, and the true reason we celebrate the day. That can be tough when the world around us is screaming.. “Gifts, Candy, Toys, Trees, Decorations… more more more!!!”

This year, we were introduced to The Story of Christmas: Spark Story Bible Adventures..

It’s a movie about the first Christmas and the meaning of God’s most precious gift to the world.

Our kids instantly fell in love with Squiggly, the silly little caterpillar who we follow along with as he learns about the story of Jesus. I really love the way his goofiness keeps my younger kids interested, even my own squirmy Noah….and gives the big girls a few laughs too 🙂

The story is told is such a thorough way, but kept my kids interest the whole time! #winning 🙂

I’ll admit, even CR and I got Chills when they told of Jesus, Immanuel, meaning God with us. Just like that, our Savior was born, and now God is with us. Such a powerful message for us all…young and old.

What I loved most was how the story told many small details that are normally left out, such as Mary going to see Elizabeth, and how soon she would give birth to a baby too. He would become John the Baptist… and how the wise men encounter Kind Harrod on their way to see Jesus, and how he was afraid this new Kind would take his place. These things are great to start discussing with our older girls, and open up lots of dialog.

Our whole family enjoyed this movie and I am so happy to share that Sparkhouse has agreed to do a fun giveaway here on our blog!!!!


The Story of Christmas DVD,

The Story of Christmas picture book,

and The First Christmas activity book.


Easy peasy! Just leave me a comment and tell me how your family keeps the focus on Jesus each year at Christmas! I always love to get ideas from other mamas, and I’d love for us all to learn from each other 🙂

The winner will be chosen on Monday at 12pm est, and then Sparkhouse will get your package mailed out ASAP, so you should have all your goodies before Christmas!

I hope each and every one of you have a very Merry Christmas! From our little nest, to yours!



FTC: Thank you so much to Sparkhouse for sponsoring this post and providing the prizes to the winner.

My Holiday Hero

Hey friends! I’m so excited to partner with Keurig® and share #myholidayhero with you all!

I would LOVE to hear all about your #myholidayhero in the comments below!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season!



FTC: This post has been sponsored by Keurig®!
Lifestyle Uncategorized

Lily Jade Love!



This bag.

It’s SO perfect!

As you may or may not know, bags are kind of my thing. I have always been a collector of bags and becoming a mom made it even worse! Now I can collect diaper bags too, LOL!

I have been seeing all kinds of buzz about Lily Jade on social media for months now! I was so excited to get a chance to try out one of their bags! Before I go any farther, I need to tell you the number one reason I love this company… they have a heart for adoption. Once a month they give away a bag to an adoptive mama and it melts my heart every time!

Okay, moving on to the bag! I chose the Madeline in Black, and boy is she a real beauty! The quality surpassed my expectations! I love how worn it already feels.


As a mom of five, with two in diapers, I still carry a fair amount of “kid stuff”, however the compartment insert also allows me to carry my DSLR! Which is HUGE for me! I LOVE not having to carry two bags (a purse and a camera bag) when I want to bring my “big camera”. Such a game changer for me. I’m starting to bring my camera with me more on regular outings, which is my favorite time to get candid shots of my kids!

I also love the various ways you can carry this bag, my two favorite are on my shoulder, and as a backpack! Yes, you heard me right, this bag has a strap to make it a backpack! (all the heart eyes)

It’s not uncommon for me to need BOTH of my hands when I’m out and about with the kids and this option to wear it is my favorite of all!


 Be sure to check out Lily Jade…they have so many stylish and functional bags to choose from!



Kid Stuff Motherhood Uncategorized

Advent and Kids Kindness Calendar | This Gathered Nest

Every year I try to come up with some new and fun ways for our kids to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. We want to help them learn how much better it is to give instead of receive, and when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, how truly special and meaningful that makes Christmas.

One thing we always do is some kind of Advent calendar, usually using the Jesus Storybook Bible. This year I found this Advent Journey that was created by another adoptive mama! All the proceeds from this advent are going towards their adoption costs, talk about a win-win!


I also found a random act of kindness calendar on Pinterest and thought it would be fun to modify it and update it to work for our family! I really want my children to become cheerful and glad givers, as well as focusing more this season on Jesus, which is what we are really celebrating. Feel free to download this calendar if you think your family could use it too! (excuse any errors, I made it very quickly so we could started tomorrow!)

Kindness Calendar

Kids Kindness Calendar

Another thing we do is make a seasonal bucket list. We typically do this for Summer, Fall and Christmas. I go through and make a list of all the things we would like to do that season and we just plug them into our calendar where we can! We never make it all the way through the list, but it does help me to not let time get away from me. In years past, I would dream up all these things we could do and yet they would never happen. At least in my house, if it’s not on the calendar, it rarely happens!
Here are some examples of what I put on our list this year:

  1. Christmas Light ( The speedway and a town near us that does a big display) We usually stop for coffee and hot chocolate on the way!
  2. Zoo Lights
  3. Movie Nights with PJ’s and Popcorn
  4. Ice Skating
  5. Snow Tubing
  6. Christmas at Great Wolf Lodge (it’s free!)
  7. Making and delivering treats for friends and neighbors

Those are a few examples of the things we hope to do this Christmas season. Of course, packing for China and preparing our home for Rosie are going to take some time as well, so we don’t pressure ourselves to do every little thing. But it’s a good blueprint! 🙂

I’d love to hear what traditions you have started with your family, or if you have ones you plan to start this year!

I pray you all have a blessed and Merry Christmas!