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A note from Joanna Gaines on the ‘Fixer Upper’ finale and what’s next

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Originally posted by Joanna Gaines on Magnolia.com.


Tonight marks the final episode of Fixer Upper—the series finale. This season of life has been rewarding, challenging, unbelievably fast and furious and nearly everything in between. Back in September when Chip and I posted the blog announcing that this season would be our last, it still seemed so far away. At the time, we were knee-deep in the restaurant renovation, we had filming left to wrap up, and we were working toward finishing up several projects. April felt like it was forever away, but somehow it snuck up on us. Time is funny like that, the days sometimes seem long, but the weeks, months and even years fly past us when we least expect it.

I really loved this final Fixer Upper season because there was such a variety of styles and projects that really kept us on our toes. We did everything from an old barn out in the country to a downtown loft apartment. We also got to do some pretty unique projects like my garden house, a new build for clients, our restaurant, and an ADA compliant house for two amazing boys and their family that we met through the Tim Tebow Foundation. Oh, and of course tonight’s episode, where we do a renovation for a Rockstar! You can read a recap of all the homes from this season and see photos of all the designs up on our website under the tab “Show”. We are grateful to all the families who joined in on this journey with us over the past five years—what an honor to be a part of their stories.

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I do want to take some time to update you on a bunch of things that are going on in our neck of the woods now that filming is over. We are so thrilled that our restaurant, Magnolia Table is finally up and running. The whole project was a huge undertaking, and we are so happy that it is officially open! If you come visit the restaurant, some of Chip’s favorites are the Farm Eggs Benedict, tater tots, the bacon and eggs appetizer and of course Chip’s Ham Sandwich. I am currently craving the pancakes, chicken salad sandwich, lavender latte and the Gaines Bros Burger with the jalapeño drip jam. My stomach is growling as I type this!

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We also finished my cookbook, Magnolia Table, which will be out April 24th. It’s a collection of recipes from my kitchen, our restaurant, and some of my favorites from family and friends. Cooking is so special to me because time spent around the table with family and friends is such a gift. My hope is that this book inspires you in the kitchen and that you’ll find recipes that become tried and true favorites for your own family!

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I am working on finishing up my design book this month! My passion is to help people in their own homes—you don’t have to be a designer to get it right. It’s not about rules and special formulas. I believe it starts by simply going with your gut and telling your story. I unpack many different looks and styles in this book and give a deeper look into the design process and where to start with your space. I can’t wait to share this project with you, and I will keep you posted on when it will be available.

As far as renovations after Fixer Upper, many of you may know that we were doing construction and design years before the show came online. Our company Magnolia Design and Construction has been fixing up homes for over 15 years now and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon! We have some big projects in the works and we are currently renovating a few flip houses and building about 20 new homes here in town. I will be posting some pictures soon—I can’t wait for you to see all of these new designs. Once these homes are a little further along, we will share more info with you about them so stay tuned!

We have exciting plans for our online store this summer here at Magnolia! We will be launching Magnolia Kids which will have everything from children’s furniture to accessories. There may be some baby stuff, too, because of course that’s all I can think about!

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And now for a quick update on the home front. Chip continues to increase our pet population. He recently surprised us all with a new kitten AND a new puppy. Oh, sweet Chip…

Chip is also busy training for the Silo District Marathon in May. He is doing such an amazing job and anytime he goes on a long run, my favorite thing is watching the kids wait for him to come down our driveway so they can cheer him on in those last steps. I always get teary eyed because I am just so proud. When this marathon comes, I am going to be a big ball of a mess when he crosses that finish line. Chip wrote about wanting to run a marathon a year ago in his book, and now he is just a month out from reaching his goal!

For us, the end of this final season marks the beginning of a new one. If you would have told me that I’d end this season of the show pregnant with our fifth baby, I would’ve laughed. Like the entire Fixer Upper opportunity as a whole, life has a way of surprising us. With our little ones getting bigger, we had this gut feeling that it was time to step back and focus on them and our businesses here in Waco, Texas. And although that’s why we thought we decided to step away from the show, we now realize with this little one on the way that there was a bigger plan in place for us all along.

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Pregnancy has been so fun, in fact my two favorite things to do are take naps and eat! Since it’s been over eight years since I was pregnant with Emmie Kay, I joke with my friends that it feels like it’s my first time being pregnant. The best thing about all of this is the excitement that my kids have shown for their new baby brother. Since I had our first four babies so close to one another, none of them actually remember me being pregnant. They love my growing belly (and boy is it growing), and they cannot wait to meet him. I truly believe this baby is a gift from God for our family in this season.

I hope you’ll tune in tonight for our final episode on HGTV at 9/8c. This project is one of my favorites, and of course, we must end the series with some shiplap! Season Five’s Behind the Design episodes will start airing next Tuesday, which will give you an in-depth look into the process and also some rooms you didn’t get to see in the original reveal.

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Today is really bittersweet for us. Fixer Upper is the thing that introduced our family to yours, and every Tuesday night for the past five years, we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. We’ve said it many times, but it’s worth saying again—thank you to everyone who has walked beside us on this journey. Whether you watched every single show since season one or you are just now tuning in, you all have been a part of this and Chip and I will always be grateful for your support. We’re not saying goodbye! I’d love for you to follow along with us on our newsletter, on social media or right here on my blog for future updates. We’re so excited for all that’s still to come!

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As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

Spring is officially here and if you're looking for a way to celebrate the change in the season, why not treat the kids to some ice cream, mama?

DQ locations across the country (but not the ones in malls) are giving away free small vanilla cones today, March 20! So pack up the kids and get to a DQ near you.

And if you can't make it today, from March 21 through March 31, DQ's got a deal where small cones will be just 50 cents (but you have to download the DQ mobile app to claim that one).

Another chain, Pennsylvania-based Rita's Italian Ice is also dishing up freebies today, so if DQ's not your thing you can grab a free cup of Italian ice instead.

We're so excited that ice cream season is here and snowsuit season is behind us. Just a few short weeks and the kids will be jumping through the sprinklers.

Welcome back, spring. We've missed you!

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No parent wants to imagine their child dying. To think that your little bundle of joy would pass away before they could live a full life is unfathomable. But when a parent does lose a child, it can feel like a shock to the system, and recovering is a life-long process we need to talk about.

In 2018 Catastrophe actor Rob Delaney revealed that his 2-year-old son Henry died after a long battle with brain cancer. This week, speaking at a fundraiser for families with seriously ill children, Delaney spoke candidly about how hard the last 14 months have been, the Evening Standard reports.

"I'm a mess. My child died 14 months ago and I'm basically a bag of wet rubbish. I need a lot of help. It has been very hard. It comes in waves. I've learned to not control how the waves come. Right now I'm sad a lot," he said, explaining that he shares this openly in the hopes that "if a bereaved parent or bereaved sibling reads this, I want them to know that it's okay that they feel terrible, sad, confused and so brutally humbled."

In a previous Facebook post about Henry's death, the 42-year-old comedian shared that Henry had been diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after his first birthday, and had undergone surgery to remove the tumor, as well as additional treatment. But the cancer returned and he passed away shortly after.

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As a way to cope with his loss, Delaney wrote that he focuses his energy on his family—his two other sons and his wife, Leah. He said in his post, “I am astonished by the love-in-action displayed by Henry's mom and his brothers. They are why I will endeavor to not go mad with grief. I don't want to miss out on their beautiful lives. I'm greedy for more experiences with them."

Delaney's message about grieving is so important, especially for other bereaved parents. In that one statement, Delaney highlights one big, undeniable truth: How a parent decides to mourn the loss of their child is a deeply personal choice.

“Mourning is the outward or public expression of grief, a means of sharing grief with people who also are grieving or who want to support you," writes oncologist Dr. Edward Creagan for the Mayo Clinic. “Religious rituals, cultural traditions and personal beliefs often shape how we mourn.

Whatever form it takes, mourning is a critical process that can help you lessen the intensity of grief and help you adapt to your loss."

For Sandy Peckinpah, a certified grief recovery specialist, mourning the loss of her 16-year-old son meant turning to a journal. In an essay for HuffPost, Peckinpah writes that after her son's death from misdiagnosed bacterial meningitis, she felt as though her pain was “visible to others, and I would forever be wearing grief as a mask and a tagline... 'I'm Sandy Peckinpah and I've lost a child.'"

"Then a friend gave me a journal and said, 'Write. Just write,'" Peckinpah continues. On the first page, she could only write one sentence: “My son died and my life will never be the same."

“The next day, I wrote a paragraph, and each day after that I found words came more easily. My journal became my safe haven to empty the well of my sorrow, pouring tears of ink onto paper. And for a little while, I could let my emotions rest," shares Peckinpah.

Whether it's pouring yourself into your family or into a journal, there's one thing for sure: Grief is not a one-way street. Grief is a twisting, never-ending highway with exits and on-ramps and merging lanes and service roads.

Over time, your feelings of grief will subside or, at least, “feel less constant as if it's moved into the background of your emotions," Creagan writes. “But long after a death," he continues, “you may also find yourself caught off guard by a moment of profound grief, for example, on the anniversary of the death, during holidays or on your loved one's birthday."

In other words: You never know when the pain of your loss will hit you—or when you're even ready to move on.

And that's okay, bereaved parents. It's okay if you don't go “mad with grief"—and it's okay if you do. It's okay if you break down in your kitchen—and if you laugh at your friend's bad dad joke. Grief is not uniform.

But just remember: You don't have to walk this journey alone.

[A version of this post was first published February 12, 2018. It has been updated.]

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I say this as a sufferer: Peanut allergies are the worst. I learned I was allergic to peanuts when I was 13 years old, and although my allergy isn't severe, I choose not to bring peanuts or peanut products into my house. As a result, I was unable to expose my son to peanuts earlier in his life.

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The woman who basically single-handedly taught the world to embrace vulnerability and imperfection is coming to Netflix and we cannot wait to binge whatever Brené Brown's special will serve up because we'll probably be better people after watching it.

It drops on April 19 and is called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. If it has even a fraction of the impact of her books or the viral Ted talk that made her a household name, it's going to be life and culture changing.

Announcing the special on Instagram Brown says she "cannot believe" she's about to be "breaking some boundaries over at Netflix" with the 77-minute special.

Netflix describes the special as a discussion of "what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty" and it sounds exactly like what we need right now.

April 19 is still pretty far away though, so if you need some of Brown's wisdom now, check out her books on Amazon or watch (or rewatch) the 2010 Ted Talk that put her—and our culture's relationship with vulnerability and shame—in the national spotlight.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

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If Marie Kondo's Netflix show got people tidying up, Brown's Netflix special is sure to be the catalyst for some courageous choices this spring.

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