My Mini Me

A short and sweet post just like this beauty we call Bentlie!

I love that she loves little mature outfits. She doesn’t always have to be dressed in Disney princesses, and My Little Pony pieces to laugh, play, and be a joyful child. This outfit is probably one of my favs! I’m not wishing her to grow up, not at all but I cherish every moment I have with her and we have a blast picking out clothes (mini me outfits and princesses)!

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ABOUT THE OUTFIT:

Top: Old Navy: Dirt Cheap- $1.60 (I still need to explain this store!!)

Lace vest: RMLA: Goodwill- $1.99

Leggings: No brand: Goodwill- $1.00

Shoes: No brand listed on shoes: Walmart- $3.00

Headband: Made by BowPosh

 

The lace vest is a size 2T. I cant stress enough to size up! Bentlie now wears 18mo but she fits in some 24mo and will be able to wear them for the rest of the year which will save me a lot with her rapid growth!!

 

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Let your love shine

Let your love shine, always, in everything you do!!

We are doing our best to teach our kids this, and as we head back into the school year this is even more important!! We are, of course, anti-bully- having been the kids that went through that in school, even into some high school. We believe that everyone is unique, and just because they are interested or like something that someone else doesn’t, that doesn’t make them non-friend worthy! We can learn so much from each other.

Our kids have done a phenomenal job at making others feel comfortable and being their friend even when others see things differently.  I pray that they continue to show this love to everyone, giving them the chance they deserve even as adults.

Now that our oldest two (13 and 11) are going to be in high school soon, we didn’t expect to have another to experience these things, lol! I think she will be just fine as well <3.

This shirt was absolutely perfect and we found it at Target on clearance a few months ago, in March I believe.

We usually buy a size up for Bentlie so she can get some extra wear time because she grows so fast. Now that the other two are slowing down, its becoming easier with their sizes.

Let your love shine

Bentlie sitting in her great grandmothers chair in the formal living room. So sweet! She even let me paint her nails. Now, she gets upset if I don’t paint them when she hands me he nail polish, haha. Girly girl!

Let your love shine

These gold bows just MAKE the outfit!

Let your love shine

This shows how the skirt was NWT! There were two available at 18 mo but unfortunately, I only needed one, lol.

Let your love shine

Those eyes though!!! This photo was taken for our OOTD (outfit of the day) we did a few months back around her birthday month :). The leggings have little gold flowers so it went great together!

Let your love shine

This was when she first got this outfit. The hearts on the leggings are half black and half gold :). Funny story about these leggings coming in another blog! Stay tuned.

About the outfit:

T-shirt: Cat & Jack: Target clearance- $3.49

Bow skirt: No brand (has snowflake/star symbol- Regular price $4.97 at Walmart online): Goodwill NWT- .99 cents

Bow headband (in first photo): BowPosh by Laura C Cole & Co. (made by me, can be found in our shops at http://www.lauraccoleco.esty.com).

 

 

About the other pieces:

Black leggings: Forgot brand: Goodwill- $1.99

Heart leggings: Cat & Jack: Target sale- Buy one get one half off (regular price $6.00).

Bow headband (in next to last photo): BowPosh by Laura C Cole & Co. (made by me, can be found in our shops at http://www.lauraccoleco.etsy.com).

Funny story about the heart pants coming soon!!!

 

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Love my family. Love my life. 

Love, The Family Coleition 

Feel free to post photos of your amazing finds!!!

Be sure to look back at our other cuties.

 

 

Staying UPbeat during the LOWs

A few years ago we were in LOVE with deals and all about finding new things or nearly new things for nearly nothing…in price. It was a game, and a fun one my kids got into which made me thrilled that they were learning about saving, and budgeting. We didn’t take away from trends, popular toys, the “lit” things everyone had or brands that were already loved, but we did learn and teach about priorities.

During our last stream of blogs about saving, no one knew that we had ended up homeless. I continued these blogs through that time and after. Now, why would someone homeless be talking about clothes, and saving when they were in such a womp womp situation? Well, that’s exactly why. We never think that WE will be in that situation until its knocking on our door. One thing led to another and then we were standing underneath a landslide of things. We turned those situations into POSITIVE situations for our family, and looked at it as obviously a way to start fresh because there was a reason we went through everything.

keep your head up

We didn’t look like we were homeless. We didn’t look like we were in a shelter for 9 months. Even when we were back on our feet in another home, no one knew what we had just overcome.

the struggle today

The point of those blogs was just that. No one has to know what you’re going through. No one has to know you’re homeless, and you most certainly don’t have to look like you are…even if you’re not!! I’m not judging anyone but I do pride myself in having a decent family no matter what we’re going through. That is how I was raised, and that is how I will raise my family. Don’t talk about the struggles. Don’t look like the struggles. Is that fake? Absolutely not. Its pushing through and knowing you can make it without having a pity party or expecting one from others.

strength comes from struggle

Do people still think we are crazy because we budget or scour the internet until we find something at a better deal than our friend got? Absolutely, but they don’t pay my bills either. I say that in the most bubbly, and most polite way possible!! Even if I don’t have to search for a deal, I do because there are some pretty important things coming up in our lives that I want to put money away for. Extra cars, school, school trips, outings with friends for the kids, college, and so much more for 3 kids.

Even though I have found a fabulous opportunity that will help with much of the financial portions and am building an empire with my own dream business, it is so they will be prepared for their kids as well. I’m not here to impress anyone intentionally, but to live happily on my terms, with my family, help others, and live for no one else but God and fam.

she is clothed in strength

 

Struggles haven’t disappeared but how we handle them has improved tremendously. That’s the key in everything….now we are thriving through life!!

What I love about this group of photos is that it shows a small timeline of where our lives were in different situations, but in my opinion, there is no hint that any tragedy fell anywhere between these lines. Id say our family did very well and is very strong. I am blessed to have them by my side.

The family photo on the steps in coral was a family photo taken by a passerby while we were out walking in downtown Fort Myers on Easter of 2014. At that time we lived in the shelter (the photos before that one were from that time period). The next family group photo in pink and black was one from family photos we had taken after we moved into our home in 2015 (the ones after that photo are from that time period). This was our baby girl announcement! We were blessed with our 3rd child who was born in 2016!!

It took a long time to talk about what we had gone through and even now, only some things are mentioned, but we get stronger by the day. Talking about these things will not only help others who may be experiencing similar situations, but it also helps the person talking about it heal in numerous ways.

I have no doubt that we are destined for great things, and I am grateful for every trial that God has pulled us out of. I look forward to the future, for what he has in store for us, and how he will allow us to help others.

Have a blessed day!

 

Easter done Cole style

I will start off by saying that this post is not meant to take away from the true meaning of what Easter is about. It is not about the new outfit worn to church on Easter Sunday (even though my blog started out about clothing and will be about our outfits worn today) or bunnys, eggs and candy (where did that even come from?).

easter gif

Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus and how he is alive! He died for our sins and we are able to have fresh starts. It is amazing, He is amazing and I am eternally grateful for what he did for me and all of us.

easter pic

I was taught at an early age to always dress nicely when attending church services, except Wednesdays (you could if you wanted, but didn’t have to). Those were casual, but on Sunday, we wore our “Sunday best”. Why? We were to present ourselves the best we could in the Lords house and in his presence. Sure, we are in his presence every day, but that day we are in HIS house. Over the years, that has become old fashioned as modern churches accept casual wear all the time. There is nothing wrong with this at all. Jesus accepts us no matter how we dress so what is the big deal? I rarely wore pants on Sunday growing up, but as I got older I grew out of the frilly dresses and eventually even sported jeans on Sunday. I don’t see it as complete disrespect, but I don’t wear jeans to church anymore. That is just my preference, and it is probably because of what was instilled in me as a child.

sunday best_1

sunday best

Anyway, when I was a kid my mother did buy me a new holiday dress every year, but they wore what they already had. It was exciting for me to get a new dress, but do I do that today with my own kids? I used to. When they were very young it was exciting as a new parent to find all of these gorgeous, tiny outfits. I bought Alexis (now 10 years old) dresses from Macy’s ALL the time. Usually I got them on sale or on clearance, but their regular prices were $60 or more. J would say how ridiculous it was at how many “poofy” dresses she had, lol. I LOVED them. Does she remember them? No. I don’t even have that many photos of her in them. I tried to keep a few for her when she gets older, but over the years, they have been lost.

(I’ll pull some of my old pics out soon)

I see families spending hundreds on their outfits for this one day, but why? To look good for everyone else or to look good to God? Some of these people only go to church that one day out of the year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if you have the extra money, and are going to wear the clothes again, but for many that isn’t possible. We used to be that way until hard times hit more than once, and we learned what was more important to us as a family. Everyone is different though.

Today we wore what we had in our closets. Some of it was still “new” because we hadn’t worn it yet, but I can guarantee you we didn’t spend hundreds, and I think we look pretty darn cute ;). No one at church knew, and it wouldn’t have even mattered.

This actually reminds me of a story about J and I as a new couple shortly after our first child (Alexis) was born. This was in 2004.

We attended a church that was holding services in one of the private schools in Tennessee because they were new and did not have a building built yet. As a very young couple who had previously spent nights walking around Lexington, TN searching for enough silver change to buy pancake mix and syrup from a gas station for dinner (because everything else was closed and we were that broke), we felt very out of place. The members were older, sophisticated and established with their families, careers, vehicles and homes. We felt like they were looking at us as if we didn’t belong or that we were not good enough because we turned to Birth Choice for help when we found out we were pregnant. Birth Choice was great at teaching soon to be moms and new moms how to care for newborn babies and what to expect while pregnant with videos and a mentor. When you attended your appointments you collected points that were good on items that were donated. Items such as cribs, baby carriers, swings, decor, clothing, etc. We used our points on a crib and some other decor items and a car seat. Did these people really know? Probably not, but our pride was hurting, and we were very hard on ourselves.

We went with our family friends quite a bit (It happened to be my mentor from Birth Choice and her husband who are still really great friends of ours) and I remember that Christmas, I wanted a new outfit because I didn’t have anything “nice enough” to wear to the “rich church” on Christmas. J and I went to the mall where I picked up a silver, brocade skirt from Express on clearance. It wasn’t my size, but I said I could make it work (I still have that skirt!!!!!). I wore it with a fitted, black top, a glitter, black, 3/4 length cardigan (I also still have) I had from working at Sears, and some strappy heels. I was standing in the lobby waiting for J to come back from wherever it was he went, and a woman came up to me and said hi. She was a very elegant woman, and she said hi to ME.

J had bought a pea coat from Rue 21 and wore some jeans, a button up flower patterned shirt in black and white, and shoes he had recently bought. One of the main guys talked to him and asked where he got his coat because it was nice. J, not caring told him, and the guy said, oh, I don’t know that place, but I bet the kids do. Lol. It annoyed J, but I was thinking, before that day, no one ever spoke to us there if we were away from the couple we went with. We drove a crappy vehicle that made awful noises so again, we just felt so out of place. I told J when we left that I bet the only reason they talked to us is because of how we dressed. WOW. Was I right or wrong? I don’t know, but it was how we FELT at the time. I wanted to impress the people around us. I was focusing on the WRONG thing, that is for sure.

I watch people and wonder if any of them are going through what we went through, if any of them are feeling these things. We shouldn’t make people feel this way at all, ever. People say that a person can’t make someone feel a certain way, that they do it themselves. I think it goes both ways though, but maybe we can talk about that later.

So back to today. We wore what was in our closets. I did not buy anything just for today, and we did not feel out of place anywhere. After church, we stopped at a gas station to pick up a few drinks (we like their cups), and while walking out Alexis said, “We look rich!” It made me laugh because my 10 year old is on a completely different level of thinking than I was at her age. I love how my kids don’t care. They are confident with themselves and know what and who is important in life. I think as parents, we are on the right track.

Bold words are our recent thrift finds.

goodwill60easter_8 Alexis and I forgot our accessories that were to tie our colors together.

goodwill60easter_7 Alexis took this photo. Awww.

goodwill60easter_6 I have 4″ heels on and she is still up to my shoulders. *tears*

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goodwill60easter_2 goodwill60easter_3 Whoops!!

We will go in order of the photos 🙂

Moms outfit:

Dress: Express- Goodwill- 3.50 (half off color tag) It had a ribbon bow pin with hanging beads centered on the waist that I took off. I think that was a post purchase addition though, I’m not sure, but it had to go ;).

Cardigan: GAP- Goodwill- 3.99

Shoes: Aldo- Goodwill- 4.99 (Brand new)

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Dads outfit:

Shirt: GAP- Goodwill- 3.99

Pants: Reaction by Kenneth Cole- Goodwill- 4.99

Shoes: Sperry- Rack Room Shoes- 25.00 (BOGO event. I got mine and he got his half off)

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Alexis outfit:

Dress: Miss Majesty- Ross- 10.99

Sandals: Stevies- Ross- 15.99

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DuGreis outfit:

Shirt: Ralph Lauren- Family Thrift Center- 2.99

Shorts: Nautica- Goodwill- 2.99 (NWT)

Shoes: George- Walmart- 15.99 (purchased by a friend for his Christmas outfit)

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I’m pretty sure Alexis has SOMETHING that is a coral color, but we love this dress. We had accessories to tie the colors together and forgot to wear them so she is really the highlight here! I love it anyway and even better because it matches her personality perfectly. She is unique. She is strong, turning heads wherever she goes, and always will. I love my strong family more than words can describe and am blessed beyond belief that I get to spend my life with them.

Happy Easter!!!

Love my family. Love my life.

Love, The Family Coleition

Feel free to post photos of your amazing finds!!!

Be sure to look back at our other cuties.