Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Thanks to Mercedes over at Common Sense with Money, I just saved 36% on my order at! PLUS, I will be getting back 4% of my purchase amount, since I shopped through Ebates! If you are new to ebates, you can sign up here, and by using this referral link, you will get a $5.00 cash back bonus!

This is what Mercedes had to say:

Wow! just caught wind of this super deal thanks to some bloggy friends. There are currently two 20% off codes available for that can be stacked to get you 36% off already reduced items. Outlet items have an additional 30% that’s applied once you add the item to your shopping cart. Here’s a very sweet deal I just did:

Wall-E Caymans $17.99 (once added to cart $12.59)
-$2.52 when you use code DEALMOM20 for 20% off
-$2.01 when you stack with code MYCOUP20 for another 20% off
-$0.80 when you stack code C6VMRVKY3ISA for another 10% off (this is actually taken off first)
Choose economical shipping and you get it free!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Contest Alert: $100 Gift Card!

Want to win a $100 gift card to any store that you choose? Well, head on over to Money Saving Mom, and sign up to win! This contest is only open for another 10 hurry! This is sponsored by Shop at Home, which is a great way to shop and get money back from what you purchased! I am going to have to try them out!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Streusal Muffins

I am so glad that my husband did not "build up" the taste of the Cinnamon Apple Streusal Muffins that I made today, because I was not expecting much as far as the taste of it...he said, "it's okay, the topping gave it some sweetness."

Let me tell you that my taste buds were pleasantly surprised when I sunk my teeth into one of those tasty muffins! Y-U-M! I think that they are very delicious, I am glad that I doubled the batch and I think that I may even make them again! They are more tedious than other types of muffins, but definitely worth the little extra time. So, if you have an apple or two hanging around, waiting for a purpose in its life, you may want to head over here to get the recipe and then make some for yourself!

I think that another taste testing will be in order after dinner! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"The End of the World"

While I was out this morning with my almost 4-year old son, Brady, I kept thinking about the slices of BBQ chicken pizza that were at home in my fridge. Well, I wasn't thinking of them the whole time, but when I thought about what I would eat for lunch, that popped right into my head. Yummy, homemade pizza, with "my name" on it.

So, after Brady and I got home from running our errands, I said something like this to Dawson, , "I am going to have the BBQ chicken pizza for lunch!" His response..."oh, um, Smiles and I ate it for lunch..." I looked at him and said something like, "really?" and he said, "Uh huh" - or something like that!

I could not believe it!!! I had made two pizza pies a couple days ago, and so far I had only eaten two pieces...TWO!!! There were only three slices left this morning, but they were all for me (if I really wanted them)...or so I thought!

Well, I have to say, that I lost it! I am not proud of that, but I could not believe that Dawson ate my yummy pizza when I had just reassured him the day before that I was going to eat my wasn't going bad! I did not yell, but I sure did "let him have it" in front of my almost four year old...REALLY NOT proud of that. I was just saying things like, "I can't believe that you ate my pizza! I was going to eat that today! There were other things that you could have eaten! etc." As I was saying these things, I DID realize that I was not being a good example to my son on how to handle a situation calmly, but I had already let it out...

My son's response went something like this, "Mommy, it's not the end of the world or anything. (Pause) Daddy is just kidding with you!"

I think that I have used that phrase with him before when he has become really upset, and now my words were being used on myself! I did take some time to calm down and forgive my husband - yes, over pizza! So, I ate homemade turkey noodle soup - although I forgot to add the turkey because I was not in the best of moods!

What did I learn out of this???

I have a great reminder that my son(s) do absorb what we are teaching them, and that I am an example to them 24/7. I cannot control what others do, but I can control my own behavior. That is what I am trying to teach them...and that is how I need to live too!

(I have to admit, that when he said what he did, it made me laugh a little!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Radio Flyer "Big Wheel" for $30!

EDIT - it appears that the price online has gone up to $39 today (glad I did this last night), but when I called the store, they are selling it for $30 - some people have reported it ringing up at $21. So, I would call the store to see if it is in stock, and what the price is!

When I was a little girl, I remember going to my cousins' house and watching them have fun on their big wheel and also taking a turn on it. I remember having so much fun - and my male cousins would do things like a spin out or something like that. Well, for over a year, I have been thinking about buying my son(s) a big wheel. I did some research on the original big wheel, and I have to say that I was not impressed with the reviews...and that made me sad! I could picture my sons having a great time on them! However, things changed today!!!!

Mercedes over at Common Sense with Money posted about a great deal on for the Radio Flyer Big Flyer. They are selling it for $30! I have seen this being sold at other stores for almost $80!!! The reviews seemed good, overall. So, if you were thinking of buying one of these for your little kiddo - this might be the time for you to get it! Oh, and don't mention it to my boys, because it is going to be a Christmas present!

Mercedes also mentioned that if you use Bing Cashback you can get 15% cash back. You can read her post about it here.

Ebates offers 3% cashback on Cyber Monday, and if you click on this link, you will get an additional $5 sign up bonus from using my referral link.

Free Christmas Photo Cards*

Do you have your photo(s) picked out already, and are you waiting to make up your Christmas photocards? Well, if you are ready to go, there is a way to order a total of 100 cards and only pay for the shipping! You will have to complete TWO separate orders, since each code is only good for 50 cards, but if you want the same card for all 100 of them, just save your project, and go back and make another order - shipping is only $3.19 per order! I just completed mine, and I am VERY EXCITED that I only paid $6.38 for 100 cards!

***THIS EXPIRES ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30th!*** (as far as I know)

So, here is the information that is found on Money Saving Mom's blog:

Here's how to get 100 custom photo cards with envelopes for free:

::Just go here to set up an account with SeeHere (or login if you already have an account) and then upload and create your photo card. Mine took me about 30 minutes to put together--but that's because I had to wade through photos and figure out which ones to use!

::After you've set up your photo card, be sure to save it. Then put 50 photo cards in your cart and go to the checkout and use coupon code newbaby and you'll get all 50 for the price of shipping, which is $3.19.

::Log back in and click on your saved items and order another 50 photo cards this time using the coupon code from Freebies4Mom here, which is freebies4mom-1109. Again, you should get 50 for the price of shipping, which is $3.19.

A HUGE thanks goes out to SeeHere for providing this great offer for us and to Freebies4Mom, and Money Saving Mom for telling us about it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Looking For Ants

This past Saturday, my extended family spent the morning together taking some family photos. We had a great time taking both posed and candid shots. This photo is a combination of the two. My boys were having a great time looking for well as any other little insects that decided to show up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Surgery: Update

Having a bone removed from my body was not on my list of things to do this year, however, it is something that had to be done! (I began posting about it here.) I was having pain in my foot everyday from walking around the house, the yard, walking through a store or exercising. It was something that I knew I did not want to live with, if I did not have to. So, after an MRI took place, it was confirmed that I had avascular necrosis in my toe, and the only way to get rid of the pain, was to remove the bone.

I have to tell you that I was not really excited about the idea of this surgery, however, I am looking forward to being able to walk with out any pain! That being said, I will give you a little update about how I am doing!

When I got home from the surgery, I was in a lot of pain. I could barely get from my bedroom to the bathroom...the night of my surgery, I had to call to my husband to come and help me get back into bed. They told me to treat my foot like it was glass - and I did!

It has now been almost 3 weeks since my surgery, and I am doing better, overall. The stitches are out and the bruises are getting lighter. I was actually surprised at how bruised my foot was...and I only was able to see it after the wrap came off 10 days after surgery! I wonder how bad it actually looked! I realized that I did not have full feeling in my toes, but that had improved over time too. I am not able to walk on it for long periods of time without pain, but it is getting better each day, and I have regained a lot of feeling back in my toes. I also need to keep it elevated a lot of the time or it will start to throb and get swollen, but that will eventually get better too. I was just reading that full recovery should take place in about 6-8 weeks, although my doctor said that it may swell for about 3 months. We will see what happens! I am praying for a speedy recovery!! I don't have to take a lot of pain meds anymore, so I know that I am on the road to recovery! Oh, and I have had to wear a surgical shoe since the day of my surgery, but I will probably be out of that and into a sneaker full time within the next week.

I have been very grateful to my family - my mom, dad and sister have been so instrumental in my recovery. One (or more) of them have come to my house each day, for most of the day, to help take care of my 1 and 3 year old boys, so that I can rest and heal. That has meant so much to me! It is really hard to rest when I have to "run" after the boys! I am also thankful for my family and friends who have volunteered to make a meal for our family. What a blessing that had been! Trying to make a meal in the kitchen is not ideal when you have had surgery on your foot! I tried it last Saturday, and I paid for through Sunday! My foot hurt so much that I had to just sit in the recliner and elevate it for most of Sunday afternoon. So, I am trying to figure out a better way to get meals together for my family, so that I do not have to be on my feet for so long. Dawson and I may need to put the meal together the night before, so that I can just pop it in the oven the next day...we will see what works!

So, in a nutshell - the healing process is taking place, I will be out of this surgical shoe soon and into sneakers full time, and I am looking forward to exercising again!

Keep me in your prayers!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Surgery: Fun Highlights

Some fun highlights of my surgery:

*It was outpatient - so I was able to go home the same day

*You know how on TV, they will show the view point from the patient's perspective, and all they see are the doctors and nurses hovering over them in sort of a circle - all looking at the patient? Well, that happened to me in real life, and it made me laugh and I told the doctors and nurses what I was thinking, which made them laugh too!

*When they were wheeling me down to my surgery room, the anesthesiologist said that he was "giving me something" and that I would feel it by the time that we got to the room. We were almost to the room, and I was like "yea, right, when is this going to happen..." and then it suddenly "hit me" and a warm feeling went through my body - very weird.

*They "put me under" - which is really weird. One minute I was looking at the clock on the wall and the next minute, I was waking up in recovery. This is the 3rd time that I was put under...and they never tell me to count backwards!!! TV is so not real! :)

*I also got to see the bone that they took out of my foot - it was really cool! They showed it to me twice, to be sure that I would remember them showing it to me! (I asked them if I could see it after the surgery was over, because, well, that sort of thing interests me!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Foot Surgery

It is pretty amazing that I have not posted anything for about a month - and to be fair, I really have not posted much for the past few months! It's not that there is nothing to write about...because there is! However, taking the time to sit down and write has not been a top priority for me lately! Sometimes, you just have to take a break! I don't want to say that I am back, because I don't want to get all 2 of my readers too excited, but I will say that I am going to try and post something a little more often!

My most recent happening has been my foot surgery on October 23rd. It's a long story that I will try to shorten for now...somehow, I injured a bone in my right big toe which caused the blood supply to be cut off from the bone. The bone began to die, I had a lot of pain exercising and walking for over a year and there is really only one "cure" to remove that pain - they had to do a sesamoidectomy . A sesamoidectomy is the removal of the tiny bone in my foot. If you click here, you can see photos of what they did to my foot...although that is not my foot in the photos...mine are not hairy like that! I would show a photo of my foot, but I will spare you that for now!

I will share a few more things about my surgery and recovery in the next few days (hopefully!).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Pregnancy and Ovulation Tests

Are you trying to get pregnant? Well, if you are, you know how expensive pregnancy tests can be! I found out a great deal from Money Saving Mom! You can get any combination of free ovulation or pregnancy test for free (up to 10) from Sacred Heart Mission. Just go here and sign up for them!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Couldn't You Use Something New Too?

I just found out about a great way to put some money towards a new electric range/oven that I could really use! You see, only 3 of the 4 burners on our electric range are working at the moment and at times, I feel that another one is ready to "kick the bucket" too! However, since it is still usable, it is not at the top of our priority list to replace...this year...unless we would win the $200 gift card from Best Buy that is being given away at the blog Totally Together Reviews!

Check it out, and enter here! I am sure that you could use this giveaway just as much as any of us!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Free Diapers - size 3 and 6

Wow, I have not posted something on here in a very long time. I have a lot of things that I could post about, but do not have the time at the moment to sit down and write! However, I did want to take the time to tell you about two new diaper trials that are available to you!

Arquest is providing two diaper trials in the next two weeks. Next week only, will be a trial with size 3 diapers, and the week after will be a trial with size 6 diapers, for both boys and girls!

So, what happens exactly?

You will receive a package (or two, depending on the study) of diapers - the brand varies. When you receive the diapers, you read through the survey and start using the diapers on the date specified. The same person needs to change the child while using the diapers, and then fill out the questionnaire when you are finished. You will be called at a specified time, and asked to read your answers. This takes about 5 minutes. Then, you will receive a $10 thank you check in the mail about four week later! It is a really great deal!

Are you interested in trying it out? If you are, call the following number today!

BOYS 1-888-342-7372 ext. 634

GIRLS 1-888-342-7372 ext. 646

If you have a child in diapers, but they are not wearing a size 3 or 6 , I suggest that you call and let them know what size diaper your child wears, and that you would be interested in future studies!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week #2 Theme: The Jungle

First of all, I would like to say that last week was fun, but I did realize that if you have something like VBS scheduled in the morning and nap time scheduled in the afternoon, it is hard to fit in the activities that I had planned on the specific days. However, we did have fun, the books that were suggested for us to read were great, and we just fit in the stuff that we missed on other days. The only thing that we did not do was the nursery rhyme and Brady did not want to color the letter A printout (so Smiles did it!), but I am really not too concerned about that. He already knows his letters, and he does know how to write the letter A.

This week we will be learning about the jungle, the color green, the letter B, the number 2, another nursery rhyme, and a new Bible verse! I have some more fun wood cutouts for Brady to color as well as some glue-ing for him to do! Over the weekend, he painted a ceramic lion - that was fun and also started out white, then he painted it completely brown and then changed it to completely black! :)

This will be interesting to see what we will be able to accomplish each week, but nap time is not as long as it used to be, so if we are out in the morning, I am going to try and do some of the activities with Brady after I put Smiles down for his nap.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Moving Forward in Victory!

Back in March, we started to potty train Brady, and he had a lot of success in peeing and pooping on the potty...yes, this post does involve the subject of pooping! However, after about one week of pooping on the potty, he regressed. We tried a few different ways to encourage him to poop on the potty, but nothing was working!

There are a few details that I am going to leave out at the moment, but let's just say that with lots of prayer (for patience for me and for Brady to poop on the potty), having Brady clean up after himself, and telling him that he could not go to VBS if he did not poop on the potty...we had VICTORY!!!

He almost made it to the potty last night - it was an awesome try - so, he was allowed to go to VBS today...and then at VBS today - he pooped on the potty!!! Although I missed it because I was in another room, I was able to rejoice with him right after he did it! A HUGE thanks to Thrills for taking him to the potty and for telling me right away!

I am so excited and did a little happy dance for my son! We are praying that this continues in a positive direction!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our Theme Week #1: Cows

I suppose I just needed some focus, something that made sense to me. I don't think that I was wired to regularly pick things randomly...once in a while is okay, but I needed some type of system...some type of curriculum!

I enjoy doing crafts with my kids, but lately I have not felt inspired to do any - I was not sure what I wanted to do. I needed something to kick start me again, so I decided to turn to the Internet and look for some ideas. What I decided to look up was preschool curriculum, since Brady falls in to that category (he is 3 1/2). I found this website called Brightly Beaming Resources, which has free preschool curriculum, and it seems to be what I was looking for!

I have decided to start with the preparatory curriculum, just to get our feet wet with this program, but we will see how things go...we may move a little more quickly than the time frame given, since he knows a lot of the info in it already. I am really taking it one day at a time and ready to have some fun!

So, this week, we will be learning about cows, and working on writing the letter A, the number 1, drawing and cutting out squares, learning a nursery rhyme, and I am also going to teach him a Bible verse each week too! Along with that, we will be doing cow related crafts, reading books and poems about cows and singing songs!

Today, I started peaking Brady's interest in the theme by having him complete a craft - he colored a wooden cow with markers. It cost 30 cents from Michael's - and it came with a rooster too.

I still need to finish making our Learning Poster and somehow binding his counting book (that can actually wait another day or two) before I go to bed tonight...I feel like I am back into teaching again!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Library Requests

I have just tried something really cool! I requested books and DVDs online, to pick up at my library! How cool it that?

So you know what that means? It means that I do not have to take the time to look for the books that are on my book list, and then spend time with the librarian while she/he is placing requests for me at other libraries for the books that they do not have. Now, don't get me wrong...I enjoy spending time at the library and talking with our librarians, but I don't like trying to find things/standing around while my toddler is still in "take every book off of the shelf" mode...he is getting better, but still enjoys being a "house wrecker".

Have you ever done this before? If not, maybe you want to try it out too! Just look up your library system online and then go to the request page! Easy Peasy! (ok, I never say that, but it was fun to write!)

So, that is something that I did tonight...what have you been up to?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Funny Happenings

A bowl of cereal at the edge of a counter + a curious 18 month old = a mess on the floor!

Oh my!

I was definitely grateful that no milk was present in the bowl of cereal! I was right there, but not close enough to intercept what I saw happen! I definitely need to remember that his reach has increased quite a bit, and he is interested in the world above him!

Anything funny happen to you today?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Have You Done?

Once you get married, life certainly does change. Two schedules suddenly merge into one. Life changes more than you thought that it would...then, when you add kids into the mix, there is a lot more activities to juggle than when you were single! With each new addition to the family, life gets a little busier...but it is a good busy!

There are park dates and play dates, trips to the library and stores, errands to run, appointments to keep, practice and games and performances. These things add enjoyment into our lives, but they also can wear us down a little bit too.

Sometimes, we need to take care of ourselves - not in a selfish way, but in a rejuvenating way...a little bit of "me" time. There are different ways to take care of yourself - today, I am going to focus on the "me" time. What is something that you can do just for you? Paint your nails? Get your hair done? Buy some new underwear - (by yourself)? Go for a jog? Take a nap? Get a massage? What is is that will help you to feel refreshed and renewed?

I am going to make an appointment to get my hair cut! I am so excited to do this. I have put this off for over a year (sad, I know), and I think that it is time to "treat" myself to a nice haircut (and maybe highlights??? We will have to see about that!)

What are you going to do for yourself? It does not have to be anything expensive, but it should be something that helps you to feel refreshed and renewed! Leave a comment and let me know what your plans are!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oral-B Giveaway Winner

Since I only had five entries on the Oral-B giveaway, I decided to do it the old fashioned way and fold up pieces of paper with the entries listed on it. I had Brady pick the winning entry...and the winner is...


Congrats, sis!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Motherhood: "So, What Do You Do?"

What is your response when someone you have just met asks you this question,

"So, what do you do?"

If you are a SAHM, I bet that a thousand things could come rushing into your head that may include (depending on your kids' ages): get the kids up, change diapers (throughout the day), dress the kids, feed the kids, clean up the dishes (or pile them in the sink for later), have a playdate, run errands, play with the kids, go to the library and try to make sure that your 16 month old does not take every book off of the shelves and dump them on the floor (maybe that one is just me!), make the kids lunch, put the dishes in the sink, nap time - or more play time if your kids do not nap, laundry, get dinner ready, feed the family, clean up the dishes for real this time, family time, bath time, brush kids teeth, get kids to bed - read books, sing, pray, etc, and then you have some time to do whatever else needs to be done...and I am sure that my list is not complete! (Whew, I am tired after writing all of that!)

Getting back to the question that you were just asked by someone that you just would you answer that? Would you tell them all of that or make up some cool sounding title? Or, are you unsure of how to answer that question...maybe you say,

"I am JUST a Mom."

Whatever you may give as an answer, do you ever feel that you feel less significant than another person who works out side of the house?

I have to admit, that when I first began to stay home, my answer would be something like, "Well, I taught biology and chemistry for the last 7 years, but now I stay at home with the kids." I don't feel that there is anything wrong with saying that, however, I have also realized that there is nothing wrong with saying,

" 'I am a wife and mother and proud of it!'
(With great pride in our chosen career, we must share with people that we are in the profession of motherhood)." (p. 18*)

As a SAHM, I think that what we need to realize that motherhood is a profession, especially if a profession is something that we feel is "Important enough for our time and our energy, and it also enriches our lives in some shape or form." (p.28). Motherhood definitely fits that definition of profession and what we need to do is shift our way of thinking. What we do has value. We have chosen this career, and we may not get paid monetarily, but it is a career, and we can be proud of what we do.

There is no shame in being a SAHM...and may I add, there is also no shame in being a working mom - you need to be doing what the Lord has called you to do for your family. It does not matter what other people do or really only matters what God thinks of you and what you are doing.

How have you responded to this question in the past? Are you ready to shift your way of thinking...if you haven't already? If you have shifted your thinking, please share your thoughts too!

This post contains ideas and quotes from the book Professionalizing Motherhood, by Jill Savage It is a continuation from my original post about Motherhood that you can read about here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dinner is in the Oven!

Lately, I have been quite tired. I definitely enjoy staying up late, but with kids, it is not wise to do that, especially when they wake you up at 6:30AM...and today Brady woke me up at 6:00AM! Today I was surprised at how early it was, but I he climbed into bed with me and we will snuggled for a little bit until I felt that I needed to get out of bed and shower (then he snuggled with Dawson)! I love snuggle time!

Anyway, back to me being tired...I was really becoming unproductive and impatient. This led to barely getting dinner on the table and getting frustrated easily too. This weekend, I was able to catch up on my sleep - I "allowed" myself to take a nap on Sunday while Dawson and Brady were at a baseball game (and Smiles was taking a nap), and then I made myself get in to bed a little sooner than normal - which is around 11:00PM (I know, that is not really early, but it is earlier than midnight!).

I have felt more refreshed today that I have felt in over a week, and I am thankful for that! I will need to remember to continue to get to bed by 11:00PM - seven hours of sleep is wonderful!

...and dinner is in the oven! (lasagna tonight!)

Oral-B Tips and a Giveaway!

With summer approaching, many families will go on vacation or to an amusement park...and may allow their children to eat a few more sweets than "normal." It is important to remember to teach our children good oral hygiene, which includes correct brushing and flossing techniques, along with using a toothbrush that is designed for their current age.

I have to admit, that I did not completely understand all of the different stages of toothbrushes that are designed for children. Thanks to a representative from the Oral-B company, I have learned about the importance of having a toothbrush designed for the stage that they are currently at and I also learned how to continue to teach my children to brush correctly!

Check out the video below that was taken at a blogger event in New York at a fun, kid-friendly venue and features some great information from Dr. Laura Jana, M.D., author and founder of Practical Parenting Consulting, LLC – she is also mother of three:

I did appreciate the information that was included in this video, and when I brush my 3 year-old's teeth, I have been singing to him - and he liked it! I hope that you found a tip or two helpful to you as well!

Here are a few other tips that Oral-B Stages put together to "Make Brushing Fun"

  • Brush your teeth with your child to set a good example. This also helps your child to learn by watching and imitating you.

  • Choose toothbrushes and toothpaste with popular kids’ characters, like Oral-B Stages, to help establish positive oral care routines with familiar friends like Winnie the Pooh or Disney Princesses.

  • Sing your child’s favorite song, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” for two minutes to encourage brushing for the dentist-recommended time. For older children, play a song from their favorite pop singer for two minutes.

  • Making your child’s brushing routine fun will encourage proper habits early and help prevent oral care issues later in life.

  • For more information please visit,

Now, for the GIVEAWAY:

A representative for the Oral-B company provided me with four toothbrushes (one from each of the 4 stages), a tube of Baby tooth and gum cleanser and a tube of anticavity fluoride toothpaste to give away to one of my readers! How cool is that.

All that you need to do to enter is submit a comment which includes a way for me to contact you (either an email address or through your blog). This is open to bloggers and nonbloggers. Only one comment per person.

Comments will be closed on Monday, June 1st by 5pm. I will then choose a winner and contact that person!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Healthy Living: Our Goals

We have now been exercising for 4 weeks, and it has been great to have 2 friends that are my accountability partners and my encouragers.

We came up with 6 weekly goals when we started "To incorporate healthy eating and exercise in daily life and decision making," and I would like to share those with you.

1. Exercise three times per week. Choices: the 30-day shred (this is a great workout! I have already seen great results) or walking for 25 minutes and 3 minutes of abs. I opt to do the the 30-day shred.

2. No candy or sweets (we have made an exception on the day of a birthday party or a holiday)

3. Loss of 1 1/2 pounds per week - this should happen as we exercise and eat well. We know that we are also building muscle, so our weight may fluctuate a little bit.

4. Increase our water intake - Basically take your weight and divide by two. The number that you get should be the number of ounces of water that you should drink each day...and increase that number a little bit if you would like to lose weight! (yes, I am peeing a lot!)

5. See a loss in measurements. We decided to take our measurements, so that we will not only get encouraged by the number of pounds that we are losing, but also the inches!

6. No snacks after 8 pm.

It has been so good to have accountability partners while I am working on these goals! We all meet once a week and exercise and go over our goals, take measurements, etc, and it is great. That type of accountability has encouraged me to abide by these rules to a greater extent than if I was trying to do this on my own.

Are you trying to live healthier? Have you made any goals? Do you have an accountability partner? I would love to hear what you are doing...or would like to do!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"No Offense"...BUT YOU ARE A STRANGER!!!

Today was a busy day, but it was fun too. We went to the library, to my nephew's preschool picnic, I had my 2 nephews over for a quick dinner, and then brought them and my two boys to church for bell choir and worship practice! (so thankful for the minivan, so that I was able to take my nephews with us!).

The picnic was a lot of fun. There was lots of food, singing during circle time, games, and the kids got to pick up candy off of a hill (and put it in a bag for later). That was the fun part of the day!

What I do not understand, is when a complete stranger (to me - she obviously belonged to someone at the picnic) smiles at my cute 16 month old (and he smiles back of course), and then puts out her hands for him to come to her. UMMM...are you kidding me!!! This lady did not introduce herself to me (or my mom, who was holding Smiles at the time), but yet she was trying to "lure" my child into her arms. The first time that she tried, his smile immediately left his face and he walked towards me. However, later on, when my mom was holding him, she did it again...and Smiles went to her!!! I was NOT happy about this...and I am NOT overreacting!

You see, I am trying to teach my kids the difference between a stranger and someone that is "ok." I can easily talk about this with my 3 year old and he seems to understand it - we have been talking about it a lot lately, since he has become more friendly with people. However, my 16 month old does not completely understand what I am saying...and what this lady did was really inappropriate. I did not actually see what happened until Smiles was being handed back to my mom (and my mom and I talked about this and came up with something that she can say next time so that she does not actually let Smiles go into someone's arms - I think that my mom was so shocked that this lady would do what she did, and did not know what to say).

So, in the future, I told my mom to just tell the stranger that:

"We are trying to teach our children not to be lured by a stranger, so we would rather that you do not hold him. No offense...but you are a stranger!"

Ok, maybe that sounds a little harsh, but whatever I do say will have that tone to it.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you let strangers hold your kids?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


As I walk around my house, things are screaming at me to: put things away, find homes for things that I am not sure where to put them yet, or just get rid of some things (yard sale, give away or just trash it).

My house is definitely not the way that I would like for it to be, but I have come to realize that I just have to work at one thing at a will soon be sorted out. In the meantime, I need to realize that my self worth and who I am as a mom, wife, woman and child of God is not dependent on whether the dishes are caught up, if all my papers are filed or all of the groceries are put away (although I will get to that in a minute) - who I am in Christ is what really matters.

However, I do want to continue to organize my house and to try and incorporate more things into my daily life and schedule (cleaning routines, etc). Motherhood is great, but it is a lot of work too! (so well worth it!)

I have begun reading a book called Professionalizing Motherhood, by Jill Savage, and it has really been ministering to me in many ways. It is a book that has been written to encourage SAHMs, and I am looking forward to sharing bits and pieces of it with you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Get Out and VOTE!

Today, you have the right to VOTE!

No, not for a president, but it is very important!


Because you are voting for people that will run your township (school board, commissioner), the constable, common pleas judge, prothonotary, controller, register of wills, clerk of court, recorder, or deeds, sheriff, coroner, Supreme Court Justice (I recommend Cheryl Lynn Allen), Superior Court Justice, Superior Court Justice (I recommend Judy Olson), Commonwealth Court Justice, and our county District Judge. (note: those in bold are only my recommendations - you need to make your own decision based on your beliefs)

I know that life is busy, but pack your kids in the car and demonstrate to them how important it is to do our part and vote into office those that we would like to see in office.

We all make a difference!

So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and GO VOTE! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Making Great Decisions

"Why is it easier to make a healthy choice for what my child should eat (for a snack), but when it comes to myself, I often make a poor one...such as chocolate for a snack?"

This is a question that began to run through my mind a few weeks ago, and I decided to address it!

A few months ago, I came to realize that I needed to start exercising. After having two children and not incorporating any real form of exercise into my life, my body was out of shape, and the "baby fat" had not completely gone away...and since my baby is now 16 months old, I decided that it was high time to begin to exercise! My sister volunteered to help me out with childcare while I worked out on her treadmill - and that was a good start...but it has changed, for the better!

My sister was working out with her husband, but some things changed (which you can read more about here), and she was in need of a new, I suggested that could watch the kids and she could also work out...and since then, another friend has joined us!

We then took this a step further. We talked about what we were doing and why we were doing it, and we both agreed that we were not exercising to just lose weight (although that is a great benefit), but this is what is on our hearts:

"To incorporate healthy eating and exercise in daily life and decision making."

That is our focus. By making great decisions in our life - we are choosing a healthy lifestyle, to be healthy person, mommy, and wife.

So, what are our goals? I will tell you more about that another time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Mommy, I'm Not Done!"

I have a great little story to tell you...

Last week, I did not get Brady (almost 3 1/2 years old) down for a nap until 3pm! I was busy with the yard sale, and well, time slipped away. He woke up crying about 45 minutes later.

"Great," I thought. Smiles and I went up to get Brady, and he was not a happy camper, and was all sweaty. He was not making sense with what he was saying - he was still tired. I decided to take him downstairs, instead of trying to get him back to sleep (which does work for me, with him).

We were downstairs in the family room and Brady was sitting on my lap on our recliner - Smiles was playing with toys. The following conversation really did take place, and I wanted to share it with you (and I am not making it up!)

Brady: Mommy, I'm not done sleeping.

Me: Well, why don't you just snuggle with Mommy for a little bit

Brady: No, I'm not done sleeping! I want you to bring me upstairs to finish my nap!

Me: Are you sure? You know, Mommy will just bring you upstairs, put you in bed and then leave. Are you sure you want to do that? (since it was 4pm, I kind of did not want him to go back to sleep, but he persisted).

Brady: Yes, Mommy, please bring me upstairs so I can finish my nap.

Me: ok, hunny.

So, I carried him upstairs, place him in bed, pulled the covers on to him, kissed him goodnight, and went back downstairs. Part of me was thinking that he was really going to go to sleep and the other part of me was thinking that I might see him back downstairs in about 2 minutes.

Well, the first part of me was correct! He fell back asleep for an hour and a half!!! He did not get up until 5:30pm!!! Normally, I would not let him sleep that long (5 pm is the latest), but since I remembered that Dawson was not going to be home until about 7pm, I decided to let my little guy sleep a little longer than normal!

And you know what? He was in bed by 8:30pm...and fell asleep! He amazed me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Super Power Muffins Recipe

I am always eager and ready to try a new recipe, especially if there is a healthy aspect to it, and it tastes great too (or at least someone initially recommended it - and it sounds good too!). Money Saving Mom recommended this recipe that one of her commenters gave her.

I have to admit that I have not been a fan of substituting white flour for whole wheat flour in my baking - besides bread. I WANT to like the way that it tastes for health purposes, however the texture and taste of the whole wheat flour in the waffles and cookies that I made was not really tasty...kind of a weird taste.

So, when I came across the following recipe, I had a combination of feelings - excited to try it, yet a little hesitant. However, since I enjoy adventure when I bake, I decided to try it tonight.

Super Power Muffins:
1 cup brown sugar (don’t pack it!)
¼ to ½ cup peanut butter (I decided to use 1/3 cup)
1 banana
*optional ½ cup of apple sauce or carrot puree
(I am not sure if this is additional or not, but I did not add this in today's mixture. I am going to try adding it next time - it may make them a little more moist...or, I am sure that you can add another banana too.)
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
*optional ¼ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients well and set aside. Blend everything else and then sift in dry ingredients. Spray muffin tray. Bake for 15-18 min. Makes 12 (double for 24)

What did I think about them? They are quite tasty - and healthy! It had more of a peanut butter taste than banana taste. I would recommend trying them and tweak them to your own taste!

I actually made two versions of the muffins:

1. Version 1 - followed the recipe (using white whole wheat flour, and the 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips)

2. Version 2 - used white flour (I just wanted to compare it with version 1, and I did not add any chocolate chips - wanted to see how they tasted without that sweetness)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

got milk? Giveaway

My sister has some great information about The got milk? Drink Well. Live Well Tour on her blog (which is free to go to!)...she also has a fun giveaway! Head on over here to read more about it and sign up for the giveaway!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thoughts That Will Eventually Be Written

I have been thinking a lot (ok, now and then), about things that I would like to blog about, but just have not had the time nor made the time to do it, yet...and some things have been taking precedence over blogging times - specifically trying to get things done in the house, making meals, you know, those types of things. However, I have been thinking of a few things that I would like to share with my readers, and I will soon make the time to do so.

So, what has been on my mind?

Making great choices for my life - specifically in the health area.

Seeing motherhood in a new way.

I am still processing some of this stuff, but will soon begin to share with you, some of the things that I have learned, and am still learning.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saving a Few Bucks on All Natural Products

Do you enjoy all natural foods, but don't enjoy the price tag that goes along with it? Then head over here and read my post at the Created and Called blog...I wrote about one way that you can save money on Kashi products!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

You Gotta Try It!

I just tried Starbucks ice cream tonight, and let me tell you -! Well, if you like coffee anyway! I tried a scoop of the Mocha Frappuccino and a scoop of the Java Chip Frappuccino - so creamy and tasted like more...but I held myself back and left the containers in the freezer, and yes, I did share with my hunny!

If you ever wanted to try Starbucks ice cream, now would be a great time to do so, because you can print off two $1 Coupons here! (and that would be the main reason why I decided to try it...and it was worth it!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vacationing at Home - Food

Once we decided that we were going to take a vacation and stay home, I realized that I needed to prepare what we were going to eat for the, I began by making up our menu. After the menu was made, I did as much prep work for the food before vacation began.

Breakfast choices would be:
buttermilk pancakes
waffles - "regular" and pumpkin spice
eggs and Canadian bacon on toast
eggs and toast

I had this list posted and then Dawson and I would decide what we would serve that was not a la carte - those were just the ideas and we would choose one of them! Now, I love pancakes and waffles, but I really did not want to make them during vacation...I wanted to FEEL like I was on vacation! So, I decided to make them in advance and freeze them! After I cooked the pancakes and waffles, I let them cool, then I placed them on a cookie sheet (put a layer of wax paper on the cookie sheet first), then I topped it with a layer of wax paper, and repeated. This way, I could freeze them flat and separate from each other. Once they were frozen, I took them off of the cookie sheet and placed them on top of each other in a bag and threw them in the freezer. When it was pancake day, we took them out of the freezer, and heated them in the oven until they were warmed through - they also do great in a toaster. They tasted fresh!

Tuna sandwiches
Egg salad sandwiches (Brady's favorite!)
Grilled cheese
Peanut butter and jellly

Not too much advance prep was needed for this part of the menu. However, I did try to mix up the tuna or egg salad at night, and I made enough for it to last at least 2 lunches each.

We did not want to go out to eat every dinner - it is nice not to cook, but my 15 month old, only lasts about 45 minutes to an hour when we go out to eat - and that includes waiting for out meal to come! We realized that since my birthday was the week after vacation, that we would actually get some BOGO birthday certificates, so we decided that we would use two of these while on vacation - one with the kids (which we actually had a last minute change of plans with) and one by ourselves...a DATE! :)

Our choices:
three bean chili - this was tasty on chips and with sour cream
stir fry
pizza - homemade (love this new quick recipe! Will have to post it soon!)
night out with the kids
date night
something else, that I cannot remember!

Planning the meals ahead of time really helped to make me feel like I was taking a break from the regular rigors of each day. I definitely suggest that you consider doing this if you ever take a vacation and stay at home. I did not have all of the meals prepped ahead of time, and that would be one thing that I would change, if we ever decided to do this again!

Next up: Our Activities!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Does Your Child Wear a Size 4 Diaper?

A few weeks ago, I signed up to do a diaper study for the company called Arquest. I sort of forgot that I signed up for it, until I received a phone call today!

The company is currently doing a diaper study for size 4 diapers, and Smiles is signed up for the study!

So, what exactly happens???

I will be sent some FREE diapers in the mail in a few weeks. I use the diapers, fill out a questionnaire, they will call me at an already scheduled time to give them my answers to the survey, and then...they will mail me a check for $10!!!

I'm totally "in" and excited about this! FREE diapers and $10! :)

It will be interesting to use a new brand of diaper, but it is well worth it!

Do you have a child that wears a size 4 diaper and are you interested in signing up for the study? They told me to let others know! Simply call the number below, and if you do not get to talk with a person right away, leave a message, and they will call you back! (Be sure to let them know that you are interested in the size 4 diaper study)

BOYS 1-888-342-7372 ext. 634

GIRLS 1-888-342-7372 ext. 646

If you have a child in diapers, but they are not wearing a size 4, I suggest that you call and let them know what size diaper your child wears, and that you would be interested in future studies!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Different Vacation

Last week, Dawson was on vacation. We originally were thinking about going away somewhere, but the more that we thought about it, we decided to stay home for the week! We figured that it might be easier to do that with two little ones (ages 1 and 3). There were some things that we have been wanting to get done around the house anyway, so we thought that this could be a chance for us to do some of those things.

When I was thinking about the vacation, I thought to myself - I really want to feel like I am on least a little bit...and not just doing the same old thing. So, I realized that I needed to come up with a plan. I decided that I did not want to feel like I was cooking all of the time, but I also did not want to eat out all of the time either. I also wanted the boys (especially Brady) to feel that this was a vacation - so, I decided to plan activities for us to do each morning, before nap time. I will share more about this later in the week.

Now, vacation is over, and Dawson has to go back to work. I will miss not having him around, but I am looking forward to all of the time that I do get to spend with him in the evenings and on the weekends. Speaking of spending time with him...I need to go and do that now! I look forward to sharing more later in the week.

Tomorrow, it will be time to get back into the swing of things...time to exercise again! (Can't wait to see my sis!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm Still Around!

A lot has been going on around here, and I am trying to prioritize my time, and limit my computer time. So, I have not been making the time to blog...but much has been happening around here...

1. Potty Training - I am definitely a first time mom at this! You see, I thought that Brady was completely trained after he did pee and poop into the potty last week...however, the poop has not happened in the potty since then!!! :( I am not sure why he does not let it out when he tells me that he has to go, and we get him on the potty...he seems more comfortable to do it in his pull-up (at nap time) or in his diaper (bed time). This has definitely been a test in my patience area. So, I think that I am going to make up a sticker chart - thanks, sis!(I had thought of doing that before, but have not yet). I am hoping that this will motivate him to do the poop on the potty, because he LOVES stickers! Overall, he has been peeing just fine on the potty, with an accident here and there. I will keep you updated!

2. Smiles - He is my adorable little 14 month old! He is enjoying sitting on the little potty too...fully clothed of course! He is so cute! Smiles is starting to babble A LOT and to say q few words too: Dada, Mama (sometimes!), bib, baby, that, bye-bye - those are the main ones that I can think of right now, probably a few more! His personality is bursting forth! He is so friendly and loves people...but likes to be with mommy and daddy the most! It is also fun to watch him and Brady play together - they have so much fun running around and chasing each other, and playing in their "semi-permanent" tent.

3. The Semi-permanent tent - my kids love playing in the little blanket tent that we made in the corner of the living, instead of taking it down and putting it up every day, I have left it in place for the time being. It is so cute to watch them come downstairs and head right for the tent. Since they play in it daily, and it is in the corner of the living room, I really do not have a problem with having it up right now.

4. Organizing my time - this is something that is still in process. Some days, I feel like I have NO TIME to get anything done, besides taking care of the kids - feeding them, clothing them, playing with them, etc. I know that those are all good things, but I really need to get other things done. So, I am trying to evaluate my time, and how I am spending it, and re-prioritizing things. I don't have a lot to say about this, but will try to post things as I grow in this area.

Ok, that is all of the time that I have for the computer right now! I have much to do - we have a fun family week coming up, and I have planning to do for that!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

VICTORY in Potty Training!

Ok, so two weeks ago, we did the pull-ups and he really did not "get it" - the pull-ups just absorb way too much! So, after some advice from some of my friends (thanks guys!), and then taking that advice to the Lord in prayer, I decided to do the underwear thing. I just could not even think of doing the naked butt thing...and I had an epiphany of why I cannot!

You see, both of my kids spit up for the first 8 months of their lives, and I had to clean it off of my carpet many, many, many times. I just do not want to have to clean up things off of my carpet any more...well, if I can help it anyway! Smiles actually spit up randomly two weeks ago on the carpet, (yes, he is 14 months old - so, it was strange), and when I was cleaning it up, that is when I had this epiphany!

Now, getting back to the potty training...

I took the week off last week - was praying about what to do with this ordeal.

So, on Monday of this week, I talked and prayed with Brady about what he was supposed to be doing, I put him in underwear that is a little thicker in the pee pee area, and we started our day - confined the the kitchen and the hallway (the only areas in our house that does not have carpet) - I brought toys into that area. He had two accidents that day - and was startled by it - I thought COOL! It was "funny" to see him realize that something was wrong - "Pee pee is on the floor, Mommy!" - yes, I had a puddle to clean up!

On Tuesday, I had MIA meeting, so he was in a diaper all day - I was not happy with that, but I had to go, and it was great.

Wednesday - he did NOT want to wear the underwear, he wanted to wear a diaper, but I told him that it was not an option and stayed firm about it. So, our day began...he sat on the potty a few times - nothing...for 2 hours...hello, when is the pee pee going to come out! Then, he sat on the potty (I had it in the kitchen); I was doing dishes, and I hear "Mommy, I'm going pee pee" - I did not know if I should believe him or not, but when I got over there, I saw him doing it - VERY COOL!!! I was SO PROUD of him and hugged him, he got a Hershey Kiss (yes, I decided to give a chocolate as a reward), and we called Grammie and Daddy to tell them the awesome news! He did not have ANY accidents the rest of the day!!!

I did put him in a pull up for nap and when he got up, it was wet, but that will come in time. I was hoping that the pull up would absorb it all, and it did - which is awesome. I did not want to have to put him in a diaper during naptime, because I want consistency during the day (with underwear). That night, Dawson "caught Brady" when he was starting to poop (standing, of course) - he went over to him and got him to sit on the potty just in time, and we praised him and made a big deal about it! I was so amazed that he did both "deeds" in the potty on the same day!

Thursday (today) - I was really praying and hoping that the potty training would continue to go well, and not really sure how the pooping part would go - but was hopeful! The day started off great and continued in that way! Brady actually told me that he had to go poopie. I asked him where he was going to go and he said, "THE POTTY!" - he sat and nothing happened. So, I reminded him that he would probably have to go again soon, and to go sit on the potty again. This whole scenario repeated in about 5 minutes - still nothing...then, it happened. He told me that he had to go poopie, ran over to the potty on his own, pulled off his underwear, sat down and POOPED INTO THE POTTY! I praised him and Smiles and I clapped for him! It was GREAT! We then had to call Grammie, Poppy and Daddy and tell them the GREAT NEWS!!! I also gave him a chocolate as a reward! I am so amazed and in awe that this has all happened!

Oh, and we do have him wear a diaper at night still, because a pull-up would not be able to handle his pee from the night time! So that is the long and the not so short of it!

If you are thinking of doing the underwear thing, I would say, go for it and expect to have accidents the first day! Also, I thought that having the potty in an easy to access place was a great idea - and I just had to teach Smiles not to run away with it! Smiles actually likes to sit on it (fully clothed, of course)! Consistency, firmness, focus, and praise were some of the things that have really helped in Brady's potty training. The TV was not on at all, and we played in the kitchen.

I am SO THANKFUL that Brady has had victory in the potty training area! It is wonderful!!! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bruster's Ice Cream - PJ day!

PJ day is here again! Call before you go, but rumor has it, that it is on Saturday, March 7th!

Wear your PJ's to Bruster's tomorrow, and you will get a FREE single scoop waffle cone...which is pretty huge, if you ask me!
I am so there!!!

When you go to the place, just be sure that they know that you are "wearing your PJ's" - so that they will not charge you! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where Have I Been Spending A Lot Of My Time Lately?

In the bathroom.

I finally decided that Brady is ready to be potty trained. He always lets me know when he has to poop (I know, thrilling info for you to read about), but he has never been interested in doing it on the potty - so, he has been showing some of the signs that he is ready to potty train. I have purchased quite a few packages of pull-ups and easy-ups when they have been on great sales (and I used a coupon on them too, of course!), so I had the supplies ready for when things would begin. However, I knew that I would have to be geared up to stay on top of things and bring him into the bathroom about every 20 minutes, so I have put it off a little, he really has not been interested in it.

On Monday night, I decided that we were going to start potty training. I let Brady know about it, and he was excited...he is so sweet and can get excited about anything that I am excited about - I love my kiddo! He was really excited to wear his "underwear," as he likes to call it - it has all of the characters of "Cars" on it. I think that when he moves in to "real" underwear, I will have to be sure that some of them have "Cars" on it.

So, we have been at it for two days.

The results?

I have him sit on the potty every 20 minutes, for at least 2 minutes. If you were to see us in out little half bathroom (which is quite small), you would probably laugh - I am sitting on the "big" potty talking to Brady - who is sitting on the little potty, and trying to keep Smiles entertained, who is either sitting on a little stool or closing the door or trying to grab the toilet paper, making Brady laugh or sitting on my lap. We probably have a little too much fun at times - but at least I have not been too stressed by it.

We have gone through quite a few Pull-ups. There has been no pee pee or poopie discarded into the potty, yet - only in the pull-ups! (and I seriously have him on the potty every 20 minutes unless we are eating).

Brady knows that when the timer goes off that it is, "Potty training time" - as he likes to say, and he does get a reward for sitting on the potty. He receives 2 M&Ms if his pull-up is dry and only one M&M if the pull-up is wet. What will he get once he actually puts something into the potty??? Four M&Ms and a sticker. That is what I have come up with at the moment. I also want to get him a "big" reward (probably a toy) that he will be able to play with once he starts going on the potty, and that will be his "no accidents" reward (got the idea from my sister). If he has an accident, the toy will be taken away (put on a shelf) and once he does not have an accident again, he will get it back. That is my thought at the moment. I will have to see how he does, and I may wait until he is a little consistent before I give him the "big reward." (he does not know about this yet - we first need to work on him realizing that he has to go potty, and then letting me know that he has to go, etc.).

So, tomorrow is a new day - Day #3 of potty training and I am hoping and praying that something will come out of his body part and into the potty! I have actually prayed with him about this. (We have a doctor appointment to go to in the morning, so he will be back in a diaper for a little while).

I hope to have some great news about this soon!

Any thoughts, encouraging words, or funny stories to share with me concerning this - from your own experience - please feel free to share!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

He is SO my son!

When I was a little girl, I would "make up" words that I really thought were correct. for instance, when my sister and I were outside, I referred to toenails as "fingerfoots." My sister told me that "fingerfoots" was not the correct word, but I was so sure that I was correct, that I went inside to ask my mom...and found out that I was wrong. It was definitely something to giggle about...and we still do giggle about it at times!

Well, today Dawson and I put a cute turtle-neck on Brady. Yes, it took both of us to ease it over his head. He did not like the tight feeling of it while it was being pulled over his head. It is brand new and so cute on him, so I am glad that we got it on him! (it was fine once it was over his noggin).

After we got it on him, and he was sort of fine with it, Brady looked at me and tugged on his cuffs and said:

"Mommy, the turtle sleeves are too tight!"

A huge smile came across my face (and I chuckled inside), and I "stretched" his turtle sleeves a little bit, and asked, "Is that better" and he nodded.

I love my little kiddo! That is SO something that I would have said, and you know what? It kind of makes sense! Maybe he just thinks that the type of shirt is called a "turtle" shirt, so you preface everything about the shirt with the word "turtle." He makes me smile!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Dawson!

Happy Birthday, Dawson!

I am so thankful that the Lord created you. You are the love of my life and a wonderful and fun husband and daddy.

The Lord has placed so many good gifts inside of you. You are talented and fun. You are so precious to Him and to us. We are so grateful to have you in our lives.

May the Lord pour out every good thing that He has for you each day of your life, and may you realize all that God has for you each day of your life.

Happy Birthday, Hunny. I love you so much - "You're a godsend - a blessing from above. You've been God-sent to me." - and I am so thankful for you!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

White Chili with Chicken

This is a delicious recipe that I was given by my friend the Literary Gourmet at my bridal shower, almost seven years ago! (from the Bon Appetit magazine.) It takes a little while to make, but it is SO worth it...if you like this kind of thing!

Here is the recipe that I was given - I always double it!

1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 hot chili peppers, minced (be sure to wear plastic gloves while handling)
3 Tbl Butter
1 14oz can chicken broth
1 cup half & half
1/4 cup flour
2 cans canellini beans (or any small, white)
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp Tobasco
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sour cream (optional, I don't use)

Garnish: grated Monterey Jack cheese (highly recommended), cilantro (optional)

1. Saute onion, garlic, and chilis in butter over medium heat until translucent (about 7 min).

2. Add flour and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes (not letting mixture brown)

3. Gradually stir in broth and half & half, a little at a time, simmering gently until thickened. (this is the longest part)

4. Stir in chili powder, Tobasco, cumin, salt and pepper. Then stir in beans and chicken and simmer for 10-15 mins to combine flavors. (be sure to occasionally stir it during this time)

5. Stir in sour cream for the last 5 minutes, if desired.

6. Garnish with Monteray Jack cheese and cilantro, as desired.

I enjoy eating this with a nice slice of homemade bread - a side salad is also delicious to serve with it as well!

Happy cooking and Enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2009

$300 For Me...I'll Take It!

Did you have a baby in 2008? You may also be qualified to receive an additional $300 too!

I just found out that the economic stimulus checks that were issued last spring were intended for every person that was alive in, since Smiles was born in 2008, we should be qualified to receive a recovery rebate credit!

You can claim the recovery rebate when you do your taxes this year, and you can read more about it here. (thanks, Kacie!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"On The Mend"

This week, my family was hit pretty hard with that nasty virus that is going around...and if you did not get it yet, take it from me, you don't want to get it - right KB?

I could go into all of the details, but I don't really think that you want to hear too much about throwing up and other stuff - plus I need to get to bed. Let's just say, that the virus has gone through each family member, and we are doing better now - thank God! Being sick is no fun!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trying To Get Back to Normalcy

December was a good month, but it was really draining for me, and if you want to read more about it, you can go here. Since Thanksgiving, I have kind of been in "survival mode," and I have to say that I don't like to live that way for a long period of time. I am out of my routine (the few that I have), and time seems to "get away" from me. I feel that things are beginning to change in a few areas - some of the change is because I am making the decision to do so, and others are happening "on their own."

One of the most remarkable changes that has happened within the last week, is that Smiles is starting to sleep through the night again!!! Ever since his surgery on December 1st, he would wake up in the middle of the night, at least once and sometimes twice!!! That really drained me, and that is part of the reason why I was in survival mode. I have been so tired over the last month and a half - this Mama is used to getting a full night's sleep! One change that I made (well, really Dawson made it for us) is that we tuned off the monitor that was in our bedroom (we still have one downstairs - but that is used only when we are awake and the kids are sleeping)! Ever since we did that, Smiles started to sleep through the night...coincidence? Maybe, but I am sure that it also helps that I don't hear every little squawk that he makes. So, I thank the Lord that little Smiles is sleeping through the night...I am talking about 7pm to at least 6:30am!!! WHOO HOO!!

Now that I am getting more sleep, I have decided that I need to also bring back some of the other parts of my routine...which have been hit or miss lately!

1. Dishes. I am trying to get all of the dishes done before we go to bed...yes, I have been known to leave them in the sink until the next day. I know, none of you have ever done that before in your whole life! :) (and of you haven't, good for you - seriously!).

2. Laundry. I have piles of laundry to do. I don't think that I have done any laundry for about 2 weeks! And, yes, I have enough undies to last that long! The last time that laundry was done, Dawson did it (yes, he is awesome), I should really say that I have not done laundry for about 3-4 weeks...however, I only have about a 2 week pile up...well, the boys have more than that, thanks to all of the hand-me-downs from my sis! :) So, as I am typing this, I heard some strange noise that was coming from upstairs. I had to stop and listen a little closely, wondering what it was...I then chuckled, because I realized that it was the unfamiliar noise of my washing machine! That will now become a daily noise that I will hear...lots of laundry to do!

3. Meal Planning. This is something that I have been majorly missing! I have been "throwing" meals together, and we have been surviving, but I have to say that I miss not knowing in advance what we are going to have for dinner...speaking of which... I have not planned dinner for tonight yet! This is something that I have not put back into place yet, but it will be back by next week.

Those are the three main things that I can think of at the moment - there are many others, but I am slowly jumping back into all of this. This may seem so simple, but I knew that I had to start somewhere, and over time, "normalcy" will return to our home again!

Another thing that I am working on, is making changes to my lifestyle to lose the rest of the baby weight (from Brady - I already lost all of it from Smiles - although the muscles are still weak!). Natalie challenged us a few weeks ago, and although I have not taken the time to blog about it, I decided to make four changes to my lifestyle, and see what happens! I will write more about that in another post. If you are interested in reading more about this challenge, head over to Created and Called, and you can read her posts here, here and here.

It is good to get back on the track...and now, I am full steam ahead, prepping for Brady's Thomas the Tank birthday party...which will happen this Saturday!

Review: Bounty Paper Towel

I was asked a few months ago to do a review of Bounty Paper Towel. I have used this paper towel ever since I was a little girl. Although this paper towel may be a little more expensive than others, it is one brand that my mom refused to compromise on, and that was passed on to me.

Bounty paper towel has thick quilts which in turn causes it to have outstanding absorbency. The makers of the product also claim that because it is so thick, that one sheet will last a long time. You can find this and other information about Bounty at its website, here. This information actually made me think a little bit more about how I was using the paper towel.

I have to admit, I liked Bounty paper towel before I was asked to review it, and I like it even more since I have thought about how I use the paper towel. I like the fact that it does not break apart when I am using it, it is able to absorb tremendous amounts of liquid, and if I am cleaning something with it, I can rinse it out and continue to use it because it does not easily break apart.

One incident that I recently used it for was to clean up a bowl of cereal and milk that was pulled off of my dining room table, and on to the carpet! My little one year old was curious to see what I had just placed on the table (yes, it was my FULL bowl of cereal with milk!). I had just walked in to the kitchen to get something else, and when I looked over to the dining room, I saw my bowl of cereal dumping on to my son and on to the carpet! I could have cried...but why cry over spilled milk when you have Bounty paper towels to help clean up the mess!?! So, I stripped my son down to his onesie and diaper, and put him into his high chair, for "safe keeping" while I looked at the mess and reached for my Bounty and a plastic garbage bag. Although it took quite a few pieces of paper towel (there was a LOT of milk in there!), all of it was soaked up - it was great...and there were no little pieces of paper towel bits left behind!

One way that I have changed the way that I use the paper towel, is that I try to get more than "one use" out of it. For instance, if I am cleaning the stove with a paper towel, and it has some grime on it, I rinse it out and continue to use it to complete the job. The towel does hold up to multiple uses.

So, I have to say that I give Bounty paper towel two thumbs up - the absorbency is excellent and you definitely can us one paper towel for quite a few different jobs!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Smiles!!!

I can hardly believe that my little Smiles is already one year old! It is amazing how quickly he grew up in one year!

One year ago today, we were waiting in the hospital for his arrival - walking the halls of the hospital, sitting in the whirlpool to help speed things up, playing Yahtzee - and having a contraction every time that it was Dawson's turn...hmm...something was about to happen! Our little Smiles entered our lives at 7:20pm, and it was love at first sight!

When he was born, he was so little, so helpless and was completely dependent on us. Now, one year later, he smiles a lot and he is walking all over the place (he is still dependent on us, but in a different way)! Today, he actually did a little bit of a run! :) Smiles brings us so much joy and laughter and I am so thankful that the Lord placed him into our lives. I love his giggles and I love the way that he snuggles with me and plays with his brother. He is our little gift from the Lord, as is Brady, and I am so thankful to raise these mighty "men" of God! What a gift!

Happy Birthday, Smiles. We are love you so very much and pray that you have another blessed year. We pray that the Lord will shower down upon you every good gift that He has for you. The He will bless you and that you will come to know the Lord personally at a very young age. I also pray this same prayer for Brady (I was not feeling well when I posted about his birthday - and he is just as special to us as Smiles). We pray that the Lord will use our sons as a mighty force to further the Kingdom, and that they will always be great, best friends throughout their lifetime!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Brady!!!

Three years ago today, Brady entered our lives at 8:53AM, and we feel in love! Our first "little pumpkin!"

Brady has brought so much joy and laughter into our home. I feel so blessed that the Lord entrusted us to be his parents.

We will celebrate his birthday today as a family and then we will have his birthday party with friends in a few weeks.

Brady has grown so much in this past year. He has gone from 2-3 word sentences to having conversations - and I LOVE having these conversations with him. He has become more snuggly and cuddly. I just love him so much!

I decided to write a letter to Brady, telling him how much he means to me and telling him some fun things that happened this year - I think that I will try to do that each year and put it in his scrapbook. I think that he will enjoy reading them as he gets older.

Happy Birthday, Brady! We look forward to having a wonderful and fun-filled day with you!