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» REVIEW: Nashville’s Nutcracker 2016
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» Ethiopia Trip (pt. 1) and The Day of Hope
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» Break forth like the dawn: Anxiety vs. Joy
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» 2016 Holiday Gift Guide (and Giveaway!)
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» 3 things you need to help survive Winter
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» I Want to Be Brave
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» Review: Dr. Mercola Probiotics
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» We’ll Be Home for Christmas, Nashville…
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» REVIEW: Philips Hue
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» How We are Remembered: Kelley Frost, 1981-2016

» REVIEW: Nashville’s Nutcracker 2016

NashvilleBallet.com Nashville Ballet combined with the Nashville Symphony celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with the ninth season of Nashville’s Nutcracker. This incredible performance has become a family tradition for us, however this year “family” meant some of our closest friends sans boys. With three families represented, we all had our own reasons we needed to be there. What a great way to get swept up into the Christmas spirit. Most of the girls had attended this show at least once before but they still absolutely loved it. Every year they notice something they didn’t catch the year before. We loaded up the van, grabbed a quick lunch, and headed to TPAC’s Jackson Hall. The matinee show is great for young kids as the[…]

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» Ethiopia Trip (pt. 1) and The Day of Hope

As you may know, this has been a busy season for me… leading with an unplanned surgery, my last semester of graduate school, and a trip to Ethiopia with One Orphan. Many people have asked about the trip but it takes a while to process (as it always does) and I’ve already had to leave again for a quick work trip to D.C. Please read the information below about The Day of Hope (today!) followed along with some pictures from my recent trip to Ethiopia taken by photographer Daniel Hobbs. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sure to share more! Today is the day the Day of Hope: America World and One Orphan invites you to join as we continue our mission to care for[…]

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» Break forth like the dawn: Anxiety vs. Joy

I’ve always considered Africa to be female, with her mountainous terrain and lush, green rolling hills juxtaposed with desert expanses. Like a woman she has mastered the art of multi-tasking by sustaining various forms of life and  ground. She is wise and ancient, she holds secrets and gives life. Specifically she gives me life. From a young age she beckoned me and I listened. Year after year I’ve traveled there. I want to say journeyed but in-flight movies and decent food take the journey out of the trip. Mother Africa fills me up, gives me purpose and confirms the ache in my heart when I’ve been away too long. It’s embarrassing, honestly, the way my Western ways are shattered when I visit. I’ve learned so[…]

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» 2016 Holiday Gift Guide (and Giveaway!)

Without fail gift-giving becomes a chore as each Christmas approaches. We try our best to purchase toys that won’t end up in the trash or Goodwill pile before winter break is even over. We also strive to find gifts that create interaction and experiences rather than providing just one more thing to sit on a shelf. This year, we’ve had the opportunity to check out some different options that might not necessarily be on your Black Friday ads or the standard Lego/Xbox/American Girl, but are definitely worth considering. We’ve created a series of posts for varying ages, just click on each link to access the lists and feedback. Check out these Holiday Gift categories: Ideas for Liam (Pre-K Boy) Ideas for Charlotte and Lola (1st –[…]

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» 3 things you need to help survive Winter

So far, we’ve had a very warm fall, and I’m okay with that. But I know evil Winter is lurking in the shadows. The picture above is not an exaggeration, it’s how I really feel every year during this dreaded season. Before we head into the thick of it, I’ve already started to prep… not my wardrobe (although that’s important) but my bedroom. There is only so much hot coffee and tea that one can drink so here are a few things that we’ve added to combat the oh-so-real winter blues. 1. Withings Aura w/ Sleep Sensor Rise and shine. When it’s cold out, I never want to get up and out of bed. The Aura (by Withings) has an awesome alarm feature that increases[…]

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» I Want to Be Brave

On August 22nd I had surgery to remove one of my parathyroid glands and the benign tumor that it contained. Surgery went well but recovery did not. Weeks passed and left me extremely fatigued, dizzy and weak. I could barely make it through work and get dinner on the table. In fact, on most nights I didn’t. It became clear that my body wasn’t liking the new calcium levels and just wan’t going to cooperate for awhile. During this time it was also discovered that I have a very narrow chest that actually traps my heart, in a way. It’s not a serious condition but it explains why I pass out easily. I could barely make it through work and get dinner on the table.[…]

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» Review: Dr. Mercola Probiotics

We have been aware of the benefits of probiotics for quite some time. However, our kids aren’t always eager to take them and they often have an interesting taste, and can be difficult to mix with foods or liquids. We have pressed on, knowing that 80% of our immune system lives in our gut. A healthy gut often equals greater health overall…. so we were quite excited to partner with Moms Meet to try out Dr. Mercola’s probiotics for kids and adults. If you are curious what makes a good probiotic, here is a quick checklist to look for: Contain effective bacterial strains – must be strain specific* Are viable and dose specific Remain stable and viable for a long time Have the ability to[…]

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» We’ll Be Home for Christmas, Nashville…

Looks like our family will be spending the holidays at home in Nashville this year. We love staying home with no rigid schedules (and no school lunches to pack!) during the winter break but I’m already planning some ways for us to get out and have some fun. Here are a list of events we are looking forward to and making plans to attend in December and others in January that will be gifted to our kiddos. 1. A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH DAVE BARNES This is quickly becoming a Christmas tradition date for Calvin and I. Dave Barnes will perform holiday favorites old and new, including “Christmas Tonight,” “All I Want for Christmas is You,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and more. Dave always[…]

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» REVIEW: Philips Hue

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to try out LIFX bulbs. That experience really convinced us that smart lights were an asset to our home. After researching all the smart bulb options, I wanted to give the Philips Hue line a shot.

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I was pretty thrilled when we were given the opportunity to try out the White Ambiance Starter Kit. At night time, we like to keep some lights on for the kids as they wind down. However, many nights I am already in my own room reading and decompressing before the kids actually fall asleep. When it’s time for me to go to bed, I want all of those lights that I had to leave on to be off…  Hue allows me to do lights out without having to walk back through the house. This is just one of many benefits of a home set up.

Set up

The Philips Hue Kits comes with a hub that will need to be plugged in directly to your router. Your next step is to screw the bulb(s) into any existing ceiling light or lamp, then make sure to power it on. As expected these days with smart home products, all of final set up is controlled through their app (iPhone for me) that will walk you through step by step directions to get your lights connected. Super easy, you will be up and running in about five minutes.

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iPhone App

The official app is easy to use and I’ve been able to bring the lights from full brightness during dinner time to a lower light setting when it’s time to settle down, this is currently my way of giving the kids an early hint that it’s time for bed. Turning the lights completely off is even easier with the widget’s feature on the new iOS.

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If your schedule is predictable, you can set up routines and schedules or allow your phone’s GPS to know when your home or not to turn the lights on/off. I had no real issues with the app however I do prefer the look and feel of the LIFX app a little more, but it’s not a deal breaker. If you’re more savvy, Hue works well with IFTTT, Wink, SmartThings, and Alexa/Echo.

Conclusion

The White Ambiance Starter Kit comes with a separate remote switch that is a huge selling point for me over LIFX. It allows me to turn lights on/off and control the brightness level without always having to use my phone. The whites on these bulbs are comparable to the LIFX bulbs. I didn’t get a chance to compare colors as we tested the white ambiance kit. However, the new Hue color bulbs boast that they now have “richer colors”. The bulbs we did try are great to keep in high traffic and common areas. I tested them in different rooms and found them to be most valuable in my kitchen. The White Ambiance Kit is just one sliver of the Hue line and is a great introduction to smart home lighting for anyone. They have plenty more bulbs and other lighting solutions that we will be adding soon. One bridge (that is included in this kit) can support up to 50 bulbs!

Buy on Amazon

Philips Hue website

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Disclaimer: The folks at Philips Lighting kindly provided us the Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.

» How We are Remembered: Kelley Frost, 1981-2016

Our feet crunched through the orange and yellow leaves as we made our way to the cemetery. And for a moment my ponderings became whimsical in the dark way that whimsical thoughts manifest themselves in the first stages of mourning. I thought… I want to be remembered in the Fall. Before it gets cold, and when the leaves have covered all the ugly parts of the ground. When things smell fresh but also like bonfires and the relief from Summer heat is just new enough to savor it. And then, needing to make it known, I spoke that sentiment out loud to a friend, as if she could somehow influence how and when I would be remembered. How we are remembered is completely up to us. I[…]

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