Back to School Photos

With back to school, almost every mom in America does some back to school shopping. Even us home schoolers like to do this. While I am very thankful the land of fashion is not high on my boys list… since they don’t really have the same peer pressures as a public or private school child would face… the push to be in what is trendy, isn’t really high up on our boys list. I for one am SUPER thankful for that. That right there saves us a lot of money, haha… but I still do like for my boys to look nice on certain occasions.

I was introduced to a company called MoxieJean last month and was stoked to get to feature them on my blog.

MoxieJean offers unique, stylist clothes available for a wide variety of sizes (From Newborn up to size 13/14 Kids)… all marked down to about 75% off retail prices. All of their clothing is carefully selected and while some is used, it will never be sold with rips, stains or any real visible flaws. A lot of the items still have the tags on them as well.

You all know I am big on shopping thrift. I very rarely buy new… and when you have more than a kid or two and live on a budget, its a must. Sites like MoxieJean are a great inbetween. It offers the experience and freedom of shopping online. Free from stress and hassle of taking kids into department stores or malls… but also saves you a lot of money.

I got an outfit for each of my boys and snagged their “back to school photos” in the outfits chosen. Below is a look at what I got for each boy. All from MoxieJean!

Baby Reed – 22 mo.
ED9A5618 ED9A5615

Owen – Age 4 – Pre-K
ED9A5612 ED9A5607

Caleb – Age 9 – 4th Grade

Taite – Age 7 – 2nd Grade
ED9A5599 ED9A5596

ED9A5597I think the boys look very nice! Caleb who is my oldest did complain his shirt was TO BIG on him. He however is growing SO FAST I wanted to buy him a size up. He is really into sports style shirts right now… and this was the only one I saw listed, so I got it, despite it being a size 10… Hes typically a size 8/9. So sizing can be tricky I found if you have older kids.

If your child though is under age 10, there is a LOAD of clothing to choose from.

This site would be perfect for the new mom on bed rest during a difficult pregnancy. She could shop while resting and get her clothes delivered to her door before baby comes.

Another cool feature about this site, is that they will send you bags with pre-paid shipping labels on them. These bags you would then use to put clothing you no longer use, to ship to them in order to earn money to shop! I sent off a handful of baby Reed’s clothes that he no longer fit into. I look forward to using the money I earn to buy a few new items for him. Since he is the 4th born, he tends to get a little left behind in the area of new clothes. So its always a treat for me to buy him something new.

Now those of us who shop thrift like myself, we may not spend a lot on clothing each year… but did you know that this year’s press release from the National Retail Federation about Back to School spending has calculated: “shoppers will spend an average of $231.30 on clothes, up from $230.85, and $124.46 on shoes, up from $114.39 in 2013.” That’s $355 each family will spend on Back to School clothes!

MoxieJean will be giving away a Back to School Wardrobe gift card for $177.50 – the winner will be able to get a full back to school wardrobe for HALF of what it would cost new – even with all the BTS sales.

In order to enter the giveaway fill out the Raffle Copter Below. If you have any questions on how to fill it out, feel free to contact me or comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Moxie Jean. The opinions and text are all mine.

Hey you.

Sitting on our school table.


Be still.


He is a very indecisive Dragon.


So he ended up in my lap.

Yeah. Life of a Dude Mom, strikes again.

Do you all have any class pets? If so, what ones?

—- for those curious, this is August our Bearded Dragon. He is ALMOST a year old. Caleb got him last Christmas but we believe he was born around August last year (explains the name a little bit). Not 100% sure though, just a guess based on his size. Caleb takes care of him completely and has ever since we got him. Its a must, cause this dude is high maintenance in the area of food!! You can learn more about him and Caleb’s other reptile pets on his BLOG. I hope to encourage his writing more with the blog this year in school. He is taking typing right now, so hopefully this will give him that extra push and practice.

People think we are nuts to have pets like this.

I however am a firm believer in pouring into your children’s passions. Caleb loves reptiles… and since getting him a few, it has really encouraged him and engaged him more into learning. I have seen HUGE growth in his ability to retain things, maturity levels in responsibility and so forth. While I do not believe this is an easy pet… the cost of its set up can add up and the hassle with live feed is a pain. Its been trial and error for us. Thankful to have a set up now that works well and is super cheap (just kinda gross… you can read what he feeds him on his blog) High maintenance or not, this has absolutely been a good one for Caleb to learn with. If your boy wants a reptile, Id suggest a snake ;-) – way easier!!! however, the Dragon has a lot more personality and doesn’t seem to creep people out as much.

Yes, I am a dude mom. Hear me roar :)


**Since posting this video I have found out some information in regards to the ALS foundation that goes against my personal beliefs. To read more feel free to CLICK HERE….*** However, the video is so cute I had to leave it up. My kids had a lot of fun filming it.

Enjoy! :)

To those curious:
Video shot with the 5D Mark III (my professional camera – Im no videographer tho!!)
50mm 1.4 Lens at I believe 4.5 Aperture.
Video Edited in iMovie

Homemade Natural Pudding

I sent my husband a text message yesterday with a photo of Reed chowing on some home made pudding we made. Reed devoured the ENTIRE BOWL and even began tilting it up to drink the left over he couldn’t get with a spoon. My husbands response to my “Reed loves pudding!” was “Who doesn’t” :) – I for one HATE pudding. So gross. I hate any sort of thick textured food. Yogurts even plain milk make me gag. Totally a texture issue for me. Anything remotely thick like pudding is not for me. Yes I am weird :) – regardless of my dislikes and weirdness… I am willing to experiment and make my kids foods. However, if this pudding taste gross, don’t blame me. Blame my kids HAHAHHAA… cause I didn’t even taste it (gag). :)

I was at the store buying up some snack foods for my kids pre-school this week… and was wondering by Jello’s Pudding. MY KIDS LOVE pudding… so I wanted to get them some… but I of course begin to think of what all is in my children’s food. I took a look and had to put it down. Read FOOD BABES post on JELLO products HERE. If you want :) If you don’t want to take the time to read her post (don’t blame you, her post are very long). Here is a list of Jello Pudding Ingredients, just for those curious:

INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Disodium Phosphate (for Thickening), Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavor and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (for Thickening), Mono And Diglycerides (Prevent Foaming), Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Artificial Color, BHA …

Why on earth does Jello BROWN chocolate pudding have DYES IN IT?! I just don’t get why they keep putting that junk in our food….

Now this is not to say we will never eat Jello’s pudding. You have to come to a place where you can give a little bit… and I have found in my journey to eat healthier and give my kids healthy options… that being a total ANTI anything store bought, will end up one, rubbing people wrongly at parties, social events and among just normal friendships. It creates in me a bondage to constant worry. If I let myself over think “food” to often, I obsess and can’t relax. I think there can be a healthy balance in buying store bought foods on occasion, knowing what may be in it, etc… but also trying when you can, to make a healthier alternative for your kids.

SO! we played with a pudding recipe and while I do not believe this recipe is refined or perfect… Its a first step to finding that perfect one :) – I got this recipe off of “Taste of Home” – feel free to check out their version of the recipe. I tweaked mine a bit to fit our family ingredient list a little bit better :)


ED9A5737 copy

1 cup sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural) – or use regular sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup arrow root powder

(Original recipe called for Cornstarch. I think I may try it with a non-gmo corn starch, if I can find one. Most corn starches are full of GMOS… so I use arrow root powder instead… however, our jello came out a bit to thick and sticky… and I am pretty sure the arrow root is to blame. SO! If you have corn starch maybe try that first? … ill play with the recipe as time goes and update this with any changes. Its a learning process haha, im just posting along the way – yall can learn with me.)

1/2 teaspoon real salt
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted un-salted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
M&M’s, optional


In large pot put in your baking cocoa, arrow root/or corn starch, salt and sucanat together. I had my temp set to medium at this time, it didnt begin to burn- since we did it rather quick. Once mixed together, add in your milk SLOWLY. As the temp. rises the liquid mixture will begin to thicken. Continue to add all the milk in until you are done with the milk. Once mixture gets to boiling, you will notice the thickening… take it off the heat at this point, then add in the melted unsalted butter… as well as vanilla.


(Yes some of my kids are in their boxers. Sorry, thats how our mornings seem to roll)


Pour into small glass jars or a big glass bowl. Refrigerate and serve as desired.





& in Reed’s words “Cheers” ;-) – its one of the few words he says, he loves it.

The Kitchen’s

Today a family that lives across the creek from us, boarded a plane to Spain. Where their entire family will serve as Career Missionaries for many many years. Our boys grew close to their middle son Jude especially… but also enjoyed playing with their daughter Claire who was Taite’s age. Claire was one of those fiesty little girls who got along so well with boys and girls. She also battled Cancer at a very young age. Their story is pretty amazing.

We are SO SAD to see them go… but know that what they are doing is a calling and the Lord will bless them for their obedience.

Our boys saw Jude for one last time at church yesterday… I snagged a photo since I had my camera on hand.


We have a wall in our home filled with photos of friendships over the years. With our constant moving that seems to happen every 2-4 years… we leave many friends behind… and have seen many move away as well. Its part of life. We learn to cherish the memories and continue the friendships regardless of the miles between. This photo will go on that wall. My only regret is that Claire & Owen aren’t in that photo. Owen and Claire always played so cutely together.

I know the transition in Spain will be hard at first… but I look so forward to hearing about all their many adventures.

If you think about it. Pray for this family. If you are interested in becoming supporters of what they are doing, email me and let me know. I can get you in contact with the right people. They could always use more support.