Category:

Family

My girls love these mini backpacks! They brought them to church Sunday and put everything from lip gloss to snacks in there. I love seeing them matching in their mini backpacks. They boast an interior pocket and are soft with durable leather. They need to be durable bc we are hard on everything!

Have a great week!

x Shalice

Steve, Janelle and their adorable brood of 5 kids moved from Wheaton, IL to the English countryside!! Janelle is an awesome cook, home educator, and Steve, an auditor at a bank. We chatted recently and I wanted to share with you some of their amazing experiences and not so amazing ones. Grab your coffee and join us!


Shalice: So Janelle, you did what SO many families would only dream of doing: moving your whole family to Europe and making it look educational and dare I say, fun? It is truly remarkable! 
That leads me to the first question . . . .
The obvious question, how is it living in England with 5 kids?


Janelle: England has been an amazing experience for all of us and I’m so glad we took the leap! It has been so different in a lot of ways, and that’s been part of the fun, because the way it has been different is unique to England and not something we would experience if we had moved simply to another State. 

Shalice: What is the easiest and hardest part about living abroad?


Janelle: The easiest part has been all the travel. That has been beyond fun. And England is relatively small as a whole so everything is accessible by car, which is definitely the easiest way for our large family to travel. We also live in the country, where cows, sheep, and single, hedge-lined lanes surround our house and the beauty almost knocks you off your feet. Covid-19 has curbed our travel for the moment, which has been hard, but getting to enjoy daily walks in this amazingly beautiful area has been a true blessing. Initially, the hardest part was the first 6 weeks–bank accounts! a car! a house!–and then just setting up our house. Now the hardest part has been not being able to find a good church, for there simply aren’t many at all. Anywhere. And given that the kids are all homeschooled here, the lack of any sort of social life has been rough. Looking back, it’s interesting to think about how we built community in America vs. how the English do community. Granted, we live in small little village in Shropshire, which is almost on the border of Wales in the Midlands, so I can hardly speak to England in general. Just what we’ve experienced in our little village. 


Shalice: I know you live in a little town. I mention the name of it to my English friends and they haven’t even heard of it. But I’ve seen pictures and I know for sure my kids would love it because they love large green spaces, sheep and cows. Tell us about your town in England?

Janelle: One thing we’ve found interesting about England is that it really is all countryside! The entire country is countryside. But not countryside that you would find in America. It is definitely distinctly English. For instance, we live in country, where everything is one lane, farms abound, and cows often wake us up in the morning when they are visiting the field next to our house. But we are also only 5 miles from two different towns. And I feel like that is very much the norm here. You can be in the country, but then in town 10 minutes later. Our little village has a church built in the 1200’s and a community center, where they host movies and have tea during events (that, by the way, is a stereotype for a reason. No matter the event, there is always tea). Our little church hosted a women’s singing group this past fall, I think they were Army wives maybe? And at one point, everybody in the (mostly elderly) audience was singing along to a song from days past. Honest, I felt like I was in a scene from Call of the Midwives. 


Shalice: Favorite things about England?


Janelle: It is unbelievably beautiful!! And within the one island, there are so many forms of beauty, from the rugged beauty of Wales, to the romantic and soft beauty of the Lake District, to the jaw dropping seascapes of Cornwall. And there is history everywhere you turn, which I absolutely love. Between English Heritage, the non-profit that maintains crumbling castles and ruins, and the National Trust, the non-profit that maintains manors, estates, and country houses (ie, palatial wonders seen in Pride and Prejudice for instance), there is always somewhere to visit. And every National Trust house has a cafe with tea and scones. So. You never have to know what it is like to sight-see without being refreshed with tea and scones. We also have not yet encountered a mosquito. That is almost on par with the history. 


Shalice: Worst things about England?

Janelle: Terrible customer service! No, really, we were warned about it and it’s absolutely true. If you are lucky enough to get a person, and that is rare indeed, they simply don’t care or can’t do anything to help you. Also, the much higher taxes were an adjustment. Steve keeps saying that every American should live abroad for a period of time simply to understand and appreciate what we have in America. 


Shalice: What do you miss most about America?

Janelle: The food!!! I think the kids will mention a place to eat in America at least a week. And Target. Can you even imagine life without Target? It’s rough.  


Shalice: What will be the first thing you do when you move back?

Janelle: It’s a toss up between Smashburger and Chick-fil-A because it’s always about food at our house. Personally, I’m going shopping. The shopping here, unless you live in London, leaves a lot to be desired. 


Shalice: Worst surprise?

Janelle: Having to wait an entire MONTH for internet service to be installed, and then finding out that libraries and coffee shops close at 6pm. When you have online students who have all afternoon/evening classes due to being 6 hours ahead, no internet and closed shops made for a rough month. 


Shalice: Best surprise? 

Janelle: Roundabouts!! We LOVE them. You never have to stop, unless there’s really heavy traffic, and it makes driving so much more enjoyable. 

Reid’s shoes // Oldest boy shoes // Middle boy shoes // Levi’s toddler shoes (I went up a size for him)// My shoes are the Mode de vie, a pair from their lifestyle line: upscale suede, lightweight, and crazy comfortable.// Atalies shoes // Kate’s shoes Click the pictures below to shop:

It’s back to school time and the kids need new shoes again! I can’t believe my oldest is in a size 7.5 right now, how? She was a toddler eating dirt out of the back porch planters like yesterday. I’m not sure where time goes, but I do know where I like to buy shoes.

Mom tip: If you sign up for their rewards program and shop their seasonal sales, you save money. This is key when you have 5 children.

I’ve worn New Balance since high school, so it’s only fitting I buy New Balance for my kids. After all, the brand is notorious for its lightweight. quality, and classic style. Back to school is a great time to get your kids new quality sneakers for the fall. My kids absolutely love their new sneakers and I feel good giving them sneakers with support and comfort. I can barely keep up with them lately! Thankfully, their sneakers can. Clearly, DSW is a shopping destination for sneakers, athletic shoes and great selection. See more of DSW’s selection of New Balance below by clicking on the images to shop.

Thank you DSW x New Balance for sponsoring this post! All opinions my own

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” What I tell my kids when we discuss racism, familial relationships and world events. We want justice for George, but we also know violence is not the answer. My heart is breaking for our nation and the families affected. My kids are watching me whether at home or away how I treat others, no matter their affiliation or skin color. We aren’t perfect parents and I’m still a work on process, but our actions speak louder than words. Will attempt at posting some normalcy per your request.


“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” Isaiah 1:17

I won’t lie, I’m not super happy about another weekend staying in, but I also praise my fellow readers for helping the virus stay at bay! Here are some sales around the web.

ELEMIS (25% off full-sized favorites with code SPRINGEVENT)

ANINE BING 25% off

ANTHROPOLOGIE

VITAL PROTEINS

TARTE

CHARLOTTE TILBURY 20% off select sets. I love the pillow talk lips collection as it’s a perfect mix of blush and nude.

As always my SHOP PAGE IS open 24/7. Have a great weekend. Working on some fun recipes to come!

xx Shalice



If your kids are like mine, they’re feeling the walls cave in with self-quarentine during Covid-19. So unless you’re in line, trying to get into Costco like 80% of the population, here are a few ideas to keep busy:

1. Bake! Let the kids choose and, if they’re old enough, do the entire thing. So far, we’ve had Welsh gingerbread, angel food cake, and chocolate chip cookies.  I think this idea is what you might call a Family Favorite. 

2. Play outside. If you have a yard, or are close to a forest preserve, now is the time to get outside. Even running on the driveway works. It gets everybody out of the house and helps with the cabin fever situation. 

3. Play games. Dust off the old Uno and Phase 10 card games, or try a new one. (As long as Amazon is still delivering??) A few of our family favorites: WhooNu? Telestrations Chameleon El Dorado

4. Let the kids buy an old typewriter off eBay and they’ll keep busy for days, weeks … 

5. Start a re-aloud that you’ve been meaning to read. Harry Potter? The Wizard of Oz? The Golden Goblet?  E. Nesbit? 

6. And when in a pinch for those with younger kids, make salt map dough or play doh. For some reason, it never seems to get old. 
And when all else fails, there are always movies! Good luck! 

Also, Nordstrom is having a MAJOR SALE. 25% off almost everything. Take advantage if you need a little retail therapy.



If anything, I’m loving this time safely together at home. Hopefully the above will help you all with your sanity.
What are some of your tips? I’d love to hear.
xx
Shalice (and special help from my sister Janelle Howard)

4 Family Workout Ideas + How to Get Started

Our family loves staying active and recently I’ve gotten quite a few questions from you guys about things we do as a family to sneak in exercise and how we got started making it a habit. I love these questions and am happy to answer them, however, I have to admit, Reid is a workout junkie and has done a great job not only teaching the kids about fitness but me too! Ha! So I will say, it helps to have him to kind of lead the way, but here are some ideas!

Go for family walks

This is one of the best ways to get started exercising if you ask me! Not only does this give you and your family a chance to move and get some exercise in, but it’s also great for talking and catching up with your kids and spouse. Start with a few walks a week and before you know it you’ll be moving on to my next idea!

Plan active activities for the family

This is something I want our family to do more of in 2020! We don’t want the kids growing up thinking of working out as a chore, but more as something they enjoy doing and I think finding fun, local activities to do like obstacle courses, a 3k or 5k, or even spending an afternoon at one of those trampoline places sounds like such a great way to show the kids that exercising is fun.

Use commercial breaks on TV to exercise

We try not to overdo it with the TV in our house, but when we do have TV time as a family, we try to make it into a game where on commercial breaks we have little fitness competitions. For example, one commercial break we might see who can do the most push-ups and then on the next one it’s jumping jacks. It’s fun for the kids and Reid and I. Plus, it doesn’t feel like a chore at all!

Playing games with the kids!

If you have kids, a great way to get exercise in for both you and them is by simply playing with them! We play tag and soccer all the time and plan on seriously breaking in the backyard at our new house with lots of outdoor games!

As for getting started, like I said, Reid kind of lit the fire for our family so I think it helps to have someone around that’s extra motivated simply because they enjoy working out. If you don’t have anyone like that in your family, then I recommend starting really small. Go for a family walk – even if it’s at a leisurely pace – and commit to doing it at least two to three times a week. Doing things like this will help you build the habit of moving your body, which is the most important thing in my opinion!

I hope this helps those of you who have been asking about family workouts and it inspires your family to get moving!

Thank you LG for sponsoring this post! All opinions my own.

Family in Plaid

by Shalice Noel

Boys shirt with bow tie // Boys Blazers // Boys Chinos (runs small, size up)// My plaid pants in size 4 // My taupe sandals // Cotton shirt

Reid’s sneakers // Reid’s jeans // Girl’s sneakers // Red Beret // Girl’s faux leather jacket // Girls Dresses from zara here are SIMILAR

My kids don’t love family pictures, but here are some ways we make it easier.

Since I get asked often what are some tips to styling a great family photo:

1. Pick one print (here I chose black watch plaid)

2. Pair that print with neutrals for example khaki pants, white shirts, white dresses, and neutral footwear.

3. Add a pop of red!

4. Don’t forget some prizes! I bring meringue cookies, lollipops, whatever sweets I have on hand to keep the smiles up. A little bribery goes far!

Jeans similar // Necklace // Similar ring // Small boots // My boots // Tee shirt in XS // Girls jeans // Girls tee //

I often come to this question at the close of a year and reflect on trends to ditch, and trends to try. But above all, I consider smart investment buys that are always worth it. This week, I noticed that after writing this article, it helped me purge my closet. I began to think A. Have I worn this at all in a year, yes or no? and B. bucket hats and over the shoulder are done. Good to know! I started to see the rows of clothing and shoes in two categories, what to store, and what to donate. When was the last time you purged your closet? Keep reading for trends to ditch and what trends to invest in! Let me know what you think! Good bye Dad sneakers!

TRENDS TO DITCH

DAD SNEAKERS aka CHUNKY SNEAKERS (I never liked them to begin with)

BUCKET HATS

OFF THE SHOULDER has been overdone

LETTER NECKLACES

OUT: leopard slip skirts

BOILER SUITS – It takes a few number of girls who can pull these suits off.

BIKER SHORTS. Sorry girls, I was never a huge fan of these.

TRENDS TO TRY

BIG BOLD EARRINGS

FRINGE BABY! Love the movement and texture it adds to an outfit!

COLORFUL LEATHER LOOKS

THONG STRAPPY SANDALS

SPLIT LEG TROUSERS

QUILTED BAGS AND COATS

FULL ON NEUTRAL. Neutrality is always in. Soft wearable neutrals in complimenting shades were never really trendy, just classic.

If you’re still curious, these are the best sellers from the rewardstyle analytics:

As always, my shop page is open 24/7 and 2019 gift guides are live. Let me know what you think!