Stand Still. Stay Strong. Have a VOICE.


Stand still. Stay strong. Have a VOICE.

Voice is my 2017 word of the year. I probably started thinking about it in October and one day it just came to me. It may seem like a funny word, but I promise there is a story behind it.

2017 Word of the Year


In 2016, I worked through a lot of the issues in my past. I was able to sort through and put away some things that had always bothered me. I was able to find myself in the midst of everybody else and part of that was realizing I have my own voice.

To me, voice represents speaking out and standing up for myself and my family. Far too often I have kept quiet when I shouldn’t have. I have let people walk all over me to avoid conflict rather than speaking up. Coming from a verbally abusive past, I feared conflict. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and anger somebody, so I just kept quiet.

Finding My Voice

Thanks to some dear friends who played the part of therapist and some great books, I was able to figure myself out and why I was the way I was. I was also given new techniques to try and I am already finding relief from using my voice.

Voice also represents the physical in that I want my house to be a reflection of me and my beliefs. I want my children to have their own voice too. When we moved into this house, nothing was changed. I didn’t decorate or paint. I only hung what few pictures are hanging because there were already nails in the wall.

As you may have seen, I began the process of decorating and organizing at the end of the year starting with my laundry room. Throughout the year (and probably longer) I want to work on making my house mine and letting it speak for me. When somebody walks in, I want them to get a sense of me.

I added the quote at the top to my planner to remind me everyday to have a voice. 

What is your 2017 word? Or what are some of your goals/things you are working on during 2017?

The Perfect Gift for Grandpa #giveaway

This post has been sponsored by Pop Pop Shoppe.

The Perfect Gift for Grandpa

Can you guys believe it is almost Christmas?! I can’t, but I’m so excited for Christmas to come. I’m going to thoroughly enjoy spending it with loved ones and spoiling them with goodies. One person who is getting spoiled this Christmas is the kids’ grandpa aka Pop.

The Perfect Gift for Grandpa


Hands down, he is my kids’ favorite person and my go-to babysitter. Not only does he watch my kids for me when I have to do something, he spoils them with his cooking (whatever they ask for) and sweet poems like this one that he wrote to Aloshua a few years ago:

Somewhere in the loving arms
of a mother who cares
is a beautiful sweet baby
and the troubles he bears

He is loved so much
by one and by all
From his aunt and brother
to his Nanny and Pa

He is quite special
a precious little gift
and if you’re around him
your spirits, he will lift

Even with all of
the trouble he knows
tenderness and love
is all he ever shows

He will grow up strong
maybe a leader of men
and all who will know him
will surely call him friend

But for right now
he has much to endure
the love of his family
he has this for sure

The pain he once knew
and the troubles he used to bear
all seemed to have vanished
almost into thin air

Someday he will be
a handsome young man
with ideas of his own
and having his own plan

The time he is little
you will wish you could keep
for when he is grown
a tear you will weep

Tears come to my eyes just reading that. How can we not spoil such an awesome grandpa like that?

So, for Christmas this year, I am including a basket from Pop Pop Shoppe in with his goodies to make the perfect gift. I simply added a few lottery tickets and this handmade tag to give it some extra oomph.  The basket is filled with some of his favorite popcorn flavors including yellow cheddar, and caramel. It even has a bottle of wine and some cheesy puns.

“We are so glad you are our POP. We love you a LOTTO.”

The pre-made baskets are to die for, but you can even customize your own with a variety of delicious flavors that your recipient will love. Flavors include Pickle Pop, Wedding Cake, White Chocolate Vanilla (my new favorite), Hot Chocolate, White Cheddar, Cinnamon Roll, Butter, Confetti and more! For a complete list of flavors visit Pop Pop Shoppe on the web.

Pop Pop Shoppe is located at 416 South University Ave. Suite 130 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Your comment below will get you 1 entry into a drawing for a Pop Pop Shoppe prize valued at $40. For every friend you refer in the comments you will get an additional 2 entries. Winner must pick up at the location listed above. Drawing will end Dec 18th at 11:59pm CST and winner will be announced on my Instagram @AdukeSchulist, Dec 19th, so get those comments in.

What is your favorite Pop Pop Shoppe flavor? Or, what flavor would you like to try?


DIY Laundry Room Makeover (In Progress)


Disclaimer: This is not a DIY blog, but I am a DIY kinda gal.

One of my biggest complaints about my house is the lack of organization. When I moved in (almost three years ago!), things happened to find a resting place and stay there, whether it was meant to be that item’s home or not. Since I didn’t really have a clear plan of what I wanted, I just let it go, but as time goes on, I am realizing this is “Home” and I want to get it looking more like a home. A big part of my 2017 goal is to get my house in shape!

DIY Laundry Room Makeover

I still don’t have a clear plan of what I want to accomplish, but I have been browsing pinterest for some inspiration and wanted to start with my laundry room/mud room. This room just so happens to be the entryway to my house. As you can see, it is very cluttered. 

Laundry Room Mud Room Before Decluttering

The Clutter

I hated that the first thing people saw upon entering my home was a big cluttered mess.

With pinterest’s help I knew that I wanted to implement a basket system. I have yet to decide on the color, and because I rent, I will not be repainting the room. Instead, I will make do with something that matches the current paint color.

To get rid of the clutter, I took every single thing out of the laundry room and put only the items that belonged there back. I threw away a bag full of unused/unneeded items and found homes for the rest of the items in a more fitting location.

The Plan

Until I decide which color and kind of basket to use, I am utilizing milk crates and small plastic totes. While this isn’t totally bad, I would like something a little more uniform that hides the clutter. I picture in my mind some larger baskets (approximately 5-6) for the top shelf and smaller ones (4-5) for the lower shelf. Depending on the type of baskets I use, I may put my detergents into glass dispensers/containers instead of stored in a basket or on the shelf as is.

Additionally, I need to figure out a better way to store our coats and shoes. I feel like this is almost a project in itself. I did tidy up the area some, but it still lacks cohesiveness with the rest of the room. I am currently debating some sort of shelving system, but I have to be mindful of the water heater’s location. I am thinking I want a decent sized mirror with 3-4 coat hooks directly under it (or attacked to it) – or a mirror with a small shelf with hooks attached to the shelf directly under it. In the meantime, I have straightened it up and decluttered a little. 

The dog food (grey tote) is now being stored in another container and out of the way. The wood table that the shoe rack is on will be out of there soon. I want to replace that whole bit with a shoe cubby of some sorts and then the mirror and hooks above it.

Laundry Room Mud Room After Decluttering

The Budget

My budget is somewhere between $50 and $75. The bulk of that is going towards the baskets. The coat rack will probably be DIY. I haven’t really factored in something for the shoe storage (shelves or whatever) so my budget may change. I wanted to browse pinterest some more for ideas that would work in the small space I have before nailing down an idea or budget. So far, I have spent nothing and just used what I had around the house. 

Five Fall Favorites

Five Fall Favorites

We are in the midst of my favorite season. I probably say that about all seasons, but Fall is my most favorite. What is not to love about sweater weather, knee high boots, and preparing for a new year? Here are my Five Fall Favorites.

Five Fall Favorites


Family Movie Nights – We normally do a family movie night each Sunday night, but with the days ending in darkness sooner, we are finding ourselves having more family movie nights. I love being with my kids and enjoying that time together, sharing in laughter over funny scenes. We take turns picking out the movie so everybody has a say in what we watch.

Leaves – Seriously guys, I adore the changing season and love driving down my normal routes seeing the leaves changing on the trees. Even the fallen leaves on the ground make me happy. In a funny sort of way the leaves changing signal a passing of time and I often find myself thinking how quickly time is going by.


Bonfires – This is a favorite every year. It’s been a tradition to roast marshmallows, and tell stories around a cozy bonfire. Nothing beats hot chocolate and a warm fire. We are blessed to live in an area where it gets chilly enough to have a fire without being too cold.

Soups – I am the type of person who can eat soups all year long, but when the cooler weather rolls around, I gotta have them. My family’s favorite is taco soup. Yum, yum!


Planning – I don’t know when you guys start planning for the new year, but I always begin in the Fall. I have found it gives me the perfect amount of time to get everything ready for the upcoming year. It works in my favor that all of the brick and mortars have their planner things front and center and I can browse through them to get some ideas. My 2017 daily life planner is coming along nicely.

What are some of your fall favorites? 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Can you believe it?! Check out the post I did on Life as a Convert about Living With Thanksgiving Daily.

Why Being A Single Parent Is Awesome

Why Being A Single Parent Is Awesome

There seems to be this idea floating around out there – and stuck inside some people’s heads – that being a single parent is the worst thing in the world. I’m here to tell you that being a single parent is awesome. Before I go any further let me clarify that I mean single parent in its most pure form… NOT co-parenting, and NOT a parent whose spouse is away part of the year. I mean single parent as in, does it all, doesn’t receive any help from the other parent, kinda single.

Yeah, there are difficult times, but those pale in comparison to the joy that is being a single parent. (Emphasis on the single part).

Why Being a Single Parent is Awesome


All the love

This one is pretty obvious. As a single parent I get all of my kids’ love, hugs, kisses, and cuddles. I don’t have to share their affection with somebody else. I don’t have to worry about being the un-cool parent or my child preferring somebody else. I am their somebody else. That’s cool with me!

All the decisions

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel pretty strongly when it comes to certain topics regarding my children’s upbringing/health. I find comfort in knowing that I can raise my children how I feel is best without another decision maker thrown in the mix. I would have a very hard time letting some things go if my partner and I did not agree on that parenting choice *ahem circumcision, homeschooling* .

All the credit

This one is the best – and sometimes most intimidating one. Everything that my children are, is because of me. That’s an incredible thing and being able to say “I did that” is amazing. I raised my children to be respectable individuals that mind and rarely mis-behave. Like any other child, they have their moments and aren’t perfect little angels, but my children know right from wrong and usually choose the right.

I feel like I won the jackpot when it came to kids. I feel blessed to be a single mother during this season and when I look at my kids, I feel like I have done something right.