Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I found the recipe for the PERFECT parent. You have to try it out!

I made a pizza the other day. As I normally do. I didn't use a recipe, I just throw things together. I've made it so many times, that I knew what I was doing and I had never been disappointed before. I promise, it's just that good. Except this time, I bought a pizza sauce from Trader Joe's instead of using the tomato paste that I normally use. It wasn't my first time using the pizza sauce, however, I had used it on a different crust. I didn't even think that it could possibly turn out differently if I used it on the whole wheat dough. But it did, it was mushy, and it was terrible.

Around this time, I was thinking about how different my children are. How although I have done everything the exact same {for the most part}, they react in their own ways to situations. They're unique and they are their own pizza dough with their own sauce, their own ingredients, and their own directions for cooking.

Whoever would have thought that I would have compared my children to food.

Parenting. The best way to describe---- it's like a recipe. You would never think, seeing as how the two have nothing to do with one another, and you may even be certain that I have fallen off my rocker. However, if you start to talk about what each entails, you begin to understand how the best way to define parenting would be by comparing it to just that. A good old fashioned recipe. A recipe which consists of three components; Ingredients, directions , and comments {constructive criticism if you will}

You see, parenting is very distinct, subjective, and full of experts, non-experts, and people that seem to know it all and those that want to know it all. You don't even have to have children to be an expert in parenting. Amazing how that works. In fact, it seems you need no experience at all to know what works and what doesn't, what is effective and what isn't, or what will turn out to be good or not. Imagine being confident that a recipe will turn out perfect without ever even cooking it yourself first.

I don't know about you, but I know when I try a recipe for the first time, I'm a little hesitant. I look over the ingredients, I analyze the instructions, and I think about whether I even have the right tools or equipment to get it done. Doesn't matter how simple of a recipe it may be, I still have to process it all and decide how sure I am that it will work out. Better yet, that my entire family will enjoy it. I also like to compare recipes to others. See what other people chose to do instead. Read what suggestions were made. And figure out which style suits us best. It's like reading all the different parenting books. Different parenting styles. Trying to find the one that sounds right for you. You read what other people have to say, if that particular style worked for them, or if that technique brought success or not. And after doing the reading, the research, and the going back and forth, you finally decide to do the prep work.

The first time you go through this parenting gig may be similar to the first time you try out the recipe. Where you follow every detail line for line and not miss a single ingredient down to the exact measurements. When the product comes out, you taste it. Perhaps something was off. Perhaps overall it was a success but it could have been better. It always can be better. So, that second time around? You may decide to try something different. You may add an ingredient, take away an ingredient, add a spice here or take a spice away there. As time goes by, the more you make the recipe, the longer you parent, the easier it gets, the better it becomes, and the less you rely on the instructions. You follow your taste, you follow your instinct, you pay attention to your child's cues and you do just learn to do it naturally.

And then when someone asks you for the recipe? You stumble to give them exactly what they are looking for. You realize that you just do. And that's just a hard one to translate into measurements. 

It's funny to me that I have yet to find the perfect mac n' cheese recipe. It's MACARONI AND CHEESE! I hear you. But it's true. I've tried so many different recipes. There are a million searches when you google the recipe. Yet, not one has left me with that feeling of... "yes, I'm putting this in the books." 

I have yet to find the perfect parenting book or expert that will yield that very result as well. You can google, you can research, you can talk to however many people you want, and everyone will have a slightly different version of what they think will produce the healthiest child {in all aspects}. They may have a similar foundation, but most definitely will not be the exact same.

The thing about parenting is that you cannot clump people into a category based on what they do/don't do. Although some people may refer to themselves as practicing a specific parenting technique/guideline, rest assured that they may not do everything that is proposed in that specific category. The foundation is there, sure---we used a whole wheat crust. You even layered it the same---tomato paste. But then when you think of what you want to add on, or what you like, it may differ. My pizza may turn out different than yours. I, for one, don't like mushrooms. You may. I know many parents who believe in cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping. But they hate olives. They never did baby led weaning and they vaccinate their children. Same goes with some people who are relaxed about certain rules in the house but are diligent about others. Some who believe in not feeding their children a particular food group but will indulge in another that others may not agree on.

There are just no two parents that are the same, just as there are no two children that are the same. Just as a recipe may not turn out the same because people have different tastes, different likes and dislikes, as well as the choice to do something however which way they please.

I like my pizza a certain way, with certain ingredients, and baked at a certain temperature. You may like my pizza, but there is also a possibility that you may not. You may want to take the onions off, or you may want to add on some spices. You may just hate vegetables all together.

The great thing is that no one forces you to eat the pizza. You have the choice to have a taste, and you have the choice of whether or not you want to try that again or not. Be respectful that recipes/tastes vary across the board, and that parenting choices differ from person to person. Even your friends won't and don't do the exact same thing that you do with your children.

I've figured out that we have to be our own expert of our own recipes. Nothing will come out perfect the first time, and most likely perfect is just not something that will be part of our lives. That is okay. We may change our tastes, we may change the way we do things, and we may even change our tools that we are so used to using.

For me, I'm okay with trying a recipe and failing. Hungry, but okay. I'm okay with trying something different with my children and figuring out that it's just not for us. Frustrated, but okay. I'm okay with not doing this parenting thing the same as everyone else or cooking the recipe exactly how the experts tell me to cook it.

I've learned that the best kind of recipes, or parenting advice, are those that come out naturally

Ones that we know the best, and ones that we trust the most.

Ones that are passed down to us from older generations in our family.

You can read as much as you want. Research as much as you'd like. But until you try it out, and until you figure out what works for you, you won't know exactly which route you'll take in this parenting journey. Sometimes, you'll even be surprised at what you end up liking. And doing.

It is like a recipe. No one is alike. Everyone has different tastes. And no expert out there can be the expert of your children.

Monday, February 24, 2014

There's nothing worse than.....

1. Getting excited about a recipe, using a lot of ingredients {and money} for the recipe, taking a lot of your time and energy only for it to come out awful. And to think, you even made double the amount for leftovers.

2. To sit on the phone with a company and tell your 20 minute story only for them to turn around and say "Let me transfer you to the right person." Five people later....

3. To show up to a class at work that you signed up for on the wrong day. Or to show up to work on the wrong day period. You, Monday-Friday people, wouldn't have that kind of problem.

4. What's worse.... not showing up to work when you're supposed to. Twice in one month.

5. Labor false alarms. For the third time.

6. To look forward to a show that you had DVR'd earlier that week only to find that your husband's show trumped yours. And so you won't get to see the river of tears from the next Bachelor girl to be sent home.

7.  Reading things that you wrote back in the day, and cringing at the youth behind the words.

8. Opening up your news feed only to find one complaining post to another... and the slew of comments to follow. Whatever happened to Facebook when you used to be able to "draw" pictures of roses on people's walls.... remember.

9. Getting the wrong Starbucks drink and not realizing until you have pulled away from the line that you already waited 20 minutes in. And to think... people actually drink this sort of stuff.

10.  Having an entire day of activities planned for the kiddos, spending 20 minutes getting them ready and bags packed---only to go into the garage to put them in the car and find that it's gone. The husband took the SUV with the car seats.

11. Which reminds me---how awesome is it to get kids ready for a freezing cold weather outside, just so they get to enjoy the snow. Only to come back in 10 minutes later.

12. Realizing that J.Lo has not aged a bit. In fact... she looks even better than she did 10 years ago.

13. Keith Urban's new haircut.

{can you tell I'm watching IDOL while writing this}.

14. Having to wait for the next season of The Voice.

15. Writing a paper for 9 hours for your husband {then boyfriend} only to have it disappear off into thin air. Good thing you were such a great girlfriend and spent another 9 hours the next night re-writing it. And it's a good thing he received a 100%.

16. Going in to get your haircut and hearing the words... "It's my first day." The same could be said about nursing.

17. Spilling a freshly pumped bottle of milk. You never become okay with this catastrophe.

18. Coming home to find your dog had eaten the entire bag of chocolate that was hanging out on the counter. Not only are you out of sweets, but then imagine the "after mess" you have to clean up.

19. When you realize you only have 2 years left in your twenties. 

20. Baby feet that must get bigger {and smellier}. Babies in general growing up too fast.

At the end of the day, I can think a list much longer than this one of worse things in life. Obviously pain, suffering, illness, and death would be at the top and there is absolutely nothing worse than that. And when you look at it that way...

Then I am reminded time and time again how lucky we truly are to wake up every day. Even when life throws us curve balls. Or wrong drink orders. Stinky toes. And even bad haircuts.

There's a brighter side to it all.
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Quick, easy, on-the-go solution to a delicious breakfast!

Sundays are my favorite day of the week. I don't know what it is about that day, but it's always the one day of the week where I feel great, my house looks great, my family feels great, and most importantly, I eat great. As in, I eat a really really really good breakfast. Breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day, and I have to say that my husband spoils us rotten. We don't skimp when it comes to breakfasts and we love to have a variety for all to pick from. Who am I kidding here, there is not much picking as there is just devouring everything. From pancakes to bacon, toast, omelettes, and waffles. Throw in a glass of orange juice and a side of fruit and we have all food groups covered. Maple syrup with cinnamon and whipped cream is the obvious dessert here.

Lately though, I have noticed that when we go to the early service at Church {we're talking 9 am here}, then we are always making a quick breakfast on the go. Which is okay, as we definitely don't need a production each and every time, but I definitely feel like it's becoming the same old boring---greab a cereal bar, a banana, and maybe a bowl of cereal if you're lucky and go. I miss my eggs. I miss my bacon. I just miss the feeling of the Sunday meal that I so look forward to having every week.

Read the rest and find out my solution here.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

A ramble of sorts. It's Friday. What do you expect.

Today is going to be just a jumbled mess of a post, but in order for me to make it somewhat organized, I will just number it. That makes everything better, right?


First, and foremost--most important--- TOMS sale---> ONE DAY LEFT!
Up to 40% off the most popular shoe out there, and they are having a sale on both men, women, AND kids! I'm actually pretty surprised they aren't sold out yet.


My favorite age is three. I know, I know. I just wrote about how age three was hard for me {trust me, it can be}, but overall all the good parts of three trumps any bad. By a million. I am just amazed daily by all the conversations that we have. By the way that their little brain just...thinks and processes everything. She loves to talk too. It's funny, she's always loved to talk, but she really wants to have "in depth" conversations more and more these days.


$938. That was the EBATES check that I received back yesterday in the mail. From shopping online and referring friends>>>>FREE money.  It's simple, you shop online, ebates tracks your order, and then gives you a percentage back. Plus, if you are a first timer---you get a free $10 gift card of your choice! Why am I still talking?


We had our first day outside. Real day, that is. Where we spent longer than 5 minutes in the freezing cold. It was so beautiful, we played, we went on a walk, we played some more, and we just loved the sun. Winter coats were still a pain---but hey, I'll take anything over the freezing temperatures we have had since January 1st. The end is near my friends, the end is near.


Let me share with you a lovely story. Yesterday, I woke up at 4:45 in the morning so that I could get ready to attend two classes at work. The first starting at 0600. I planned this out perfectly the day before where I brought the kids {and myself, of course} to my parent's house, Andrew met us there after work, and we spent the evening there. I went to Starbucks and even ordered a.... VENTI {I only get tall} White Chocolate Mocha and was just in the best of moods. Even though it was only 5:30 in the morning. I show up to work with my friends all there in one spot and I explain to them that I have class in just a little bit. A fellow coworker informs me that there was not in fact a class that early---in which I reply... "Oh yes there is!" I then proceed to log into the computer to find out that he was right, and I was most definitely wrong. Now imagine how I felt.

I had to do a few computer classes and a CPR training, so thankfully I was able to squeeze those two things in place of the "class" I thought I was going to attend. Thank goodness for that.

But next time, I'm going to check my dates a little closer. 2/19 was definitely a Wednesday. And they did in fact have a 0600 class. But 2/20 was a Thursday, and there was no such thing.

It's a good thing I'm a morning person.

Oh. And I got new boots for FREE from Hautelook yesterday.

That totally made up for it.
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Stupid Things I did as a Teenager

1. Loved to tan.  Do people even go to tanning beds anymore? I imagine that in no time that will be a thing of the past {as will smoking, I hope}. I do know a lot of people do spray tan, but I tried that once and was not pleased one bit {insert very orange and streaky}. But aside from tanning beds, I used to lay out in the sun for 8 hours sometimes {taking breaks of course} without sunscreen. Got burnt so bad one summer that my skin literally felt like leather. Literally. Now...I could care less about color.

2. Took my parent's car and drove my friends around. When I was 15. True statement. I took the good old caravan with about 7 of my friends and we drove about 20 minutes out to go "putt-putting." Might I add here that I never did take Driver's Ed either. Ahem.

3. Got on the roof. A lot. My bedroom at my parent's house had a window that went out directly to the roof and I would just randomly go out there to "hang out." Sometimes I would run. Sometimes I would just lay and look at the sky. Sometimes barefoot. Sometimes not. I'm lucky I never fell off.

4. Didn't wear my seat belt for years. Another unfortunate true statement. In fact, it was not until I started dating Andrew when I was 19 that I finally started wearing my seatbelt {he was pretty darn angry with me---for all the years I didn't, even though we didn't know each other}. Here was my reasoning to him---"If God wants me in heaven, then no seatbelt is going to stop that. If it's my time, it's my time." Gosh, to be young again.

5. Drank in a hotel room with strangers. Complete strangers. Okay maybe we knew one person. It was me and my girlfriend. All I know is that we woke up and we were fine, but can you imagine all the things that could have gone wrong? One thing did go wrong---my friend put a brush through her hair the next morning and it was by far one of the most foul smelling smells.

6. Honked and flipped off too many people. You know, these days.... you get killed for that kind of stuff---a lot of crazy people out there. I quickly learned to just let go. Nothing is worth pissing off a nutty person. Even someone who cuts you off or slams on their breaks.

7. Fell in love with every guy I dated. Which was only 3, but seriously. "I'm soooo in love." And "he's the one." And we are going to get marrrried and have beaaaautiful children. Number 4 was the one, and we did get married, and we did have beautiful children. We were 19... so I guess I could say that was the not-so-stupid thing I ever did as a teenager.

Overall, I think I was a pretty darn good teenager. I hung out with a good group of friends, I maintained a job and paid for things like my own braces, and I did really well in school. I may have drove a little too fast, drank a little too much at times, and got a little attitude from time to time. But in the end, I think I turned out okay.

Did you do anything stupid as a teenager? I love a good story.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


AH! TOMS are again on sale on Zulily, and they always sell out FAST! The sale went up early, so go grab yours! You have to sign up first {it's free} and shipping is FREE once you spend $65 or more!

Be sure to type "TOMS" in the search box on your right to find them the fastest! Because people are crazy and buying them by the dozens!

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Defining moms as ordinary.


What do you think about when you hear the word ordinary. Do words such as----usual, normal, standard, routine, expected and common come to mind? If you look up the definition of ordinary, it will tell you just that; exactly what you would expect to read.  
"With no special or distinct features; Normal."  
I hear this word a lot when referred to mothers. I hear people talk about motherhood like it's just an ordinary thing and that what mothers do is what is expected, typical, and pretty darn normal. I've read quite a few articles on women just "settling" for ordinary by having a family. As if they are some sort of disappointment to the world because they decided to just be a standard woman in our society and not use their skills and talents to "make a difference." In fact, others may even look down on women who even choose to leave a career, successful or not, to now work toward a different sort of career, one that never ends, and one that may not provide any sort of monetary gain. Certainly, no medal or award of achievement either.

As I read the definition of ordinary, I looked down at my typing hands and noticed my nails. I noticed my cracked, orange stained {thank you clementines} nails. They were chipping. They were brittle. And they haven't seen sight of a manicure in over 3 years. Certainly I cannot complain that I haven't had the time as we all make time for things that are important to us. Unfortunately, getting my nails done has not been one of them. I've never been much into manicures anyway. Call me strange.

I look down at my clothes that showed signs of a typical day in our house; A little ketchup on the right arm of my shirt from when my three year old must have grabbed hold of me as I was helping her down from her chair after lunch. Some dark brown stains on my right pant leg from when I looked up to find my one year old standing on the table ready to take the leap of faith to the ground and I had to nearly throw my cup of coffee {that I finally had the chance to drink} in order to catch him from falling.

Man, you're right. I look pretty darn ordinary here. In fact, I'd go as far as to say... I'm a hot mess.

I thought a little longer about this word. It's resonating a lot with me today, and I really want to make sense of it all. And so I thought about what we had done so far today.

We woke up. We brushed our teeth, we got ready, and we had breakfast. I made a couple beds and threw a couple loads of laundry into the washer. They also made it in the dryer, but please don't ask me if they've been folded---the answer is no. We did our flashcards, we learned about our animals, we did our shapes, and colors, and ran around in between. I tried to sneak away to wash a few dishes, but these days the baby always notices when I leave the room and in no time I feel someone grabbing hold of my leg---and holding on for dear life.

I think I ate a meal myself, but I couldn't tell you for certain---most likely it was leftovers from what the kids didn't eat. I know that I changed a couple diapers. I nursed a baby. And I played pilot in the helicopter game in which both kids happened to want to go at the same time. Before you know it, it was lunch time and we did the routine all over again. Prepare. Set up. Clean up. And wash.

I can also tell you how the rest of my evening will go. The kids will wake up from their nap soon, we'll probably go on a walk, make a little dinner, and wait for our beloved papa to come home so that we can eat a meal as a family and then start the preparation for bedtime. No rocket science there either--- Bath. Books. Pajamas. And bedtime kisses.

Close your eyes, and wake up to a new day.

Sure, not every day is the same. We try to mix up our meals, mix up our learning, and certainly mix up what we do throughout the day. Come warm weather time {please hurry}, our days will be filled with new, fun, and exciting activities. Exciting for us that is.

But the general idea behind motherhood? Of what moms do all day? Yup, pretty much the same.

Every mom out there does the same thing. We feed. We clean. We nurture, love, hug, kiss, and hold. We get upset and frustrated. We may cry from time to time. We may even complain about a certain stage, age, or day altogether. We all sound the same. We may look the same---pushing a stroller, carrying a baby, and holding our toddler's hand as we walk in to Target for our adventure of the day. And we live, what appears to be, the same life.

If, you look at it that way.... then yes, being a mom is pretty darn ordinary.

However, I want to tell you how it's not ordinary. You see, I truly don't believe anything about motherhood is normal. I think that it far exceeds any kind of normal that I ever knew prior to having children, and I'll tell you why.

Ordinary to me means being able to leave the house as soon as someone says.. "lets go." There's no thinking about what you need to take with you. There's no thinking about whether everyone is dressed appropriately. There's no thinking about time and making sure that you start the process thirty minutes before you actually need to leave. There's no thinking involved at all. Because it's normal to just go.

Ordinary to me means having the option to sleep---however long you wish. It means that you have no obligation to wake up when your newborn wakes up for the 5th time that night. It means that you have no worries of when your toddler may wake up screaming because of a night terror and you have to calmly talk them through it, no matter how much you'd rather stay in your warm bed. It means that you don't have to work all day on just a couple of hours of sleep---only to turn around and do it all over again. There's absolutely nothing ordinary about sleepless nights.

Ordinary to me means that you can walk into the store, pay, and walk out.  It's that easy. There is no getting kids out of car seats. There's no taking coats on and off every time you get into the car. There's no bribing, no whining, and certainly no screeching screams heard which instantly have all eyes turned on you. And might I add there is absolutely nothing ordinary about finding a book on how to get a man when you are unpacking your groceries. Nothing ordinary about that at all.

There's nothing ordinary about growing a human being inside of you.
There's nothing ordinary about your newborn needing you to thrive, to grow, and to develop.
There's nothing ordinary about all those wonderful firsts that you get to experience with your children.
There's nothing ordinary about your child wrapping their arms around you and saying "I love you mama." Completely out of nowhere.
There's nothing ordinary about seeing bits and pieces of yourself in your children. From the way they look to they way they talk. 
There's nothing ordinary about watching your children apply the things that you taught them, to help others, to be kind, caring, and giving.
There's nothing ordinary about having this fear of not doing things right, of losing something you love so much, of failing as a parent.
There's nothing ordinary about the pride and joy that you feel about your child's accomplishments.
There's nothing ordinary about having a title that never goes away.

I can go on. But I sit here and wonder why? Why try to describe something that is impossible to understand unless you've gone through it. I cannot describe to you how absolutely not ordinary motherhood really is. How not normal it really is. How it's far greater, far better, far more rewarding, and definitely far more challenging than anything else I have ever done or would have done with my life. 

Sure, on the outside looking in, it appears that all moms do the same old thing each and every day--- they clean, feed, entertain, and repeat. The ordinary.  But what about the in between. How about all the struggles, all the sacrifices, and all the challenges that they have faced and continue to face. How have we reached a time in our lives where we look at mothers as just that---normal. That what they do is what is expected, standard, and routine. And worst of all, that they have lowered themselves to be just ordinary in this world.

There's nothing ordinary about wanting to raise children that will change the world. Wanting to raise children that will bring more hope and happiness into a world that is full of hate and sadness.

We live in that world now. As mothers, we want a better future for our children. And that better future starts at home.

It starts with the ordinary---clean, feed, and love.

And leads to the extraordinary--- the person that pulled over during a car accident and did CPR on your sister; the neighbor that made that anonymous donation that helped you pay for your electricity and running water that moth; the doctor that discovered the medicine that was needed to cure your son; the stranger that opened the door for you and told you that you were doing a great job---right when you needed to hear it the most; the teacher that took the time to see that you were struggling and teach you in a way that you would understand; the preacher who's powerful words helped to save your marriage; the patient that held your hand and reminded you that tomorrow is not guaranteed; and the many other people in your life that made you wonder where they came from and why your paths crossed.

So, Ordinary.

Standard. Normal. Usual. Common. Everyday. Regular. Yes, moms do things that are day-to-day and normal. But so do doctors. And so do teachers. And so do engineers. And so does every other human out there---They wake up. They eat. They clean. They go to work. And they repeat. If you look at it that way, then we are all just ordinary human beings.

But, if being a mom makes me "ordinary," then ordinary I am and accept with open arms.

Because, to be honest with you---I'd take ordinary over anything else any day of the week.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

10 truths of the week.

1. As a mom, in order to sneak in treats... you have to do so in private. Yesterday, I snuck away from family time to use "the restroom." Only to sneak into the kitchen, make the most amazing of banana splits, and devour it quickly in the other room. Washed the plate off and all evidence is gone. Came back giggling, and Andrew could not figure it out. It's the little things.

2. Valentine's Day= stuff your face day. We had a very lovely Valentine's day which consisted of spending time with the family. We put the kids down early, opened up a bottle {or two} of champagne, and stuffed our faces with delicious desserts and appetizers.

3. It really is true that the best gifts of all are those that don't cost a penny. The ones that cost a penny {or more} are pretty great too, no lie. I have to dote on my husband here for a second and just say that he gave me the greatest gift he could give me, and even one that I have to give back and that is the story behind the very first Valentine's Day that we spent together {8 years ago}. 

4. Art class is more fun with a 3 year old. I signed E up for art class a couple months ago, and our first class was this past Saturday. It was for a 3-5 age group, and seeing as how she is just a few months past 3, I was not sure how she would like it. And although she was probably the youngest one there, she did really great at following the directions.

5. I'm not as flexible as I once was. I tried to do a back bend the other day. I couldn't. It really broke my heart...reminded me that I am in fact getting old, and that I am very much out of shape.

6. I wish I could win a 1,000 gift card. The good news is that you can. Enter here, only a couple weeks left to enter and it's as easy as TWEET-TWEET. Enter here.

7. I could eat 20 clementines a day. We honestly buy 4 bags a week at TJ's and we go through each and every one of them. We have never been disappointed.

8. I sat and ordered more blog books {one more to go to be complete}, and in the processing of deleting old posts. I'm talking all past posts. The more recent ones I will filter through to keep, but my children will be completely gone from this blog and that's the way I want it to be eventually. Of course they will be mentioned from time to time, but I'm going to try to keep a lot more of our lives private in that sense. And of course if something is shared... it will also be then deleted. Internet is great, but has its downfalls as well.

9. Tax season is the best season. I nominate tax season as the 5th season of the year. It really is wonderful to get some money back, and I'm glad that we still do actually.

10. The Olympics have not been as exciting as I anticipated them being. Maybe because I have not had the time to watch as I once had, but I just have not been into them. And can't get into them.

The Bachelor however.... what a train wreck.

Oh and for the 11th truth... because how could I forget.... people who steal your domain SUCK. I don't think that truth is ever going to get old.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

What happened to the way things were when WE were kids?.....

Here we are.

Another Valentine's day has come and gone. Another "holiday" {let's be honest here} that we had to prepare for is over. Another one that we can mark off the list as completed until next year.

As a mom, you will understand me when I say that you actually get excited for these random holidays that allow you the opportunity to celebrate with the ones you love, have a little extra fun during this time of year, throw in a few "heart" shaped pancakes for breakfast, maybe even a little love craft, and soak in all the excitement and joy that your children experience out of doing something different during the day or on the weekend. Because different is good when you've been snowed in for two months.

It seems though, these days, as the holidays approach {and as they end}, the same topic of conversation {or constant complaining, I should say} comes up. If it's Christmas, it's elf on the shelf. If it's Easter it's what people fill kids' baskets with. If it's birthdays it is the pinterest inspired parties. And if it's Valentine's it's:

"Can you believe the extent to which these moms go to do these Valentine's?!"
"When I was a kid, we were sent to school with just store bought cards."
"These moms are making ME look bad."
"I'm teaching my child to enjoy the little things."
"When is all this over-the-top stuff going to stop?"

Can we say... first world problems.

Are we really complaining about moms who go above and beyond? Is this topic so troubling and heartbreaking that we must announce it all over social media so that other moms can all chime in and say "Yes! Amen! High Five! Ditto!" while the other moms {you know, those moms} sink in their seats realizing that they are talking about them. What are we saying when we---complain about those that challenge themselves and their children, that go to the store with said children and let them pick out stuff for their classmates, that sit at the dining room table for an hour, two hours, while they cut, glue, paste, wrap, sign, and whatever else must be involved in a project? I imagine they also didn't sit in silence while doing so.

What are we saying about those moms? That they shouldn't take this extra time to have fun with their children? That they shouldn't find joy in making crafts? That they shouldn't think outside the box and get excited when they think of something creative? That they should just be like everyone else and stick to what we as children grew up with because gosh darn it that is the ONLY way and the RIGHT way to do these Valentine's. And certainly, they should not be doing these things because it may upset the children who simply bought the character design cards at the store.

Shame on parents for having good quality interaction with their children at the expense of another child and their family. Have we ever given thought to the idea that these parents aren't thinking about making another mom look bad, making a child feel bad, or bringing anything but a positive experience for all involved? Is that not even a thought that has crossed our mind?

Our children will have a lifetime of events and experiences where they will be amongst those who go above and beyond, have a creative edge, and an undeniable talent in different areas of life. From art projects, to writing assignments, roles in theatre, varsity basketball team tryouts, and one day in the competitive workforce fighting to be the one that lands the dream job.

This getting upset at moms who "go all out" is such a hot topic, but I cannot help but ask WHY? I keep hearing the same tune---moms who work out and show off their "skinny" self, moms who throw over the top parties, moms who do crafty projects, moms who do elf on the shelf, moms who just don't know when to stop with this OVER-THE-TOP business--- they are all just making ME look bad. And my favorite line of all:

What happened to when we were kids and this {whatever the topic is} is how we did things.

That line by the way is overused, abused, and needs to be thrown out. It's a terrible excuse to be used in an argument---as if we cannot acknowledge that there are different ways of doing things, as if one way is better than the other, and certainly the only way. Times change. Embrace the change. Good or bad.

When is the last time you heard someone complain about all these overweight moms, the moms who buy the store bought Valentine's, the moms who throw a party with pizza and cupcakes and let the kids run wild for their birthday, or the moms who refuse to do elf on the shelf?

You don't hear about it. You know why? Because why would one care what another person does or doesn't do with their child. Especially when it's not hurting anyone in the process.

I can list a million more things for us to get upset over:

The mom that left her 5 month old in the car seat, not fed, and in feces for 8 days.
The mom that turns her back while her child is being abused.
The mom that aborted her 23 week twins because she just "didn't want any more."
The mom leaves her 2 year old and 4 year old alone at home so that she can go party.

Get upset that there are millions of children out there with no mother or father.
Get upset that there are children that don't get to hear the words I love you, get a hug and a kiss, and a warm bed to sleep in at night.
Get upset that there are children dying of AIDS, Cancer, and other terminal illnesses. Every day.

I imagine that every mother out there, every human being out there, can attest that they are probably just as upset about those things listed above as me or the next person. But it seems that these topics just don't get to be discussed to the extent that we discuss things that are, in the best way to put it, first words problems.

A Valentine's pinterest inspired craft never hurt anybody. Neither did a store bought one. One kid isn't happier than the other . And I bet the kids were too busy looking through their stash to differentiate who turned to pinterest versus who turned to their local grocery store.

So can we just all hold hands {sing kumbaya} already and move on---bury this topic once and for all.

Pinterest is here to stay. Crafts are here to stay. And the 80's and 90's have long been done and over with, and so should the line....

"What happened to when I was a kid...."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bloggers beware... everything you worked hard for could be gone in a second.

One day I had a website. The next day I didn't.

On Monday I woke up and as usual decided to check in on my blog to make sure that my post for the day was up and running {and that I didn't have five new ones up by accident like I have had in the past}. It was up. It was running. And everything was a-okay.

I spent the day doing my normal usual routine with the kids, and had no idea what was to come next. When I checked my email on my phone early afternoon, I saw one from a friend {and longtime reader} who proceeded to inform me that she was having issues loading my blog. That she would type my address and it would go to another website.

I froze.

Please let this not be real. Please let this not be real. Please please please.

It was definitely real. Very real.

Every time I typed out my blog URL it would go there. Every time I tried to click on an old link I had promoted or placed elsewhere, it would go there. Any pin I had pinned from my website, anything that I had worked so hard for years to promote and share and get my name out there.... would now be going elsewhere.

I felt an empty uneasy feeling in my stomach. At one point I thought to myself---maybe this is the end. Maybe this was the Lord's way of telling me that I should stop. Maybe I had put in my time, conveniently it has been 4 years since I had started, and maybe this was just the end of the road for me.

I made so many phone calls that day. I sat at the edge of my seat waiting for email replies. I reached out to other bloggers, anyone that could tell me what to do next.

You see, my domain had expired on January 1st, 2014.  I had not known this. I had my payments set up to auto-pay every year {as I had done in previous years}, and had not realized that my credit card that I had used expired in December 2013 and needed updated in the system. Google sent me an email {to an address I no longer used} and when I went to sign in and make sure that my payment was made for my blog, I could not. The link that they provided to me did not work. Googling questions and trying to find different ways just did not work. So I tried to call google {sidenote: has anyone ever tried to call google---it's nearly impossible, and absolutely frustrating to say the least!}. I tried to email google {ha}. And then I put it away and thought I would just accomplish this another day.
Another day----too late.

Apparently, Google had another agenda. It sells my domain to some domain buying website{a place that goes and buys any domain that happens to expire that day.... snatches it up from under you, knowing that they will get clicks}, and then turn around and give you one option only to get it back:


So, because I am not in the business of selling my body, and because I don't have that money, and because I refuse to give into such a sneaky business trap.... I resorted to just starting over.

Three million views in, and now I was back to the very beginning of where the journey started me.

To say that I was hurt {am hurt} is an understatement. This place has been my little safe haven, and my  outlet, and so much more that words could not possibly describe. I know this sounds silly---IT'S A BLOG one would say. I get that. It is just a blog. But it is also something much more than that to me. To me.

For now, my new blog URL is Yes, I do realize that I have that annoying blogspot thing in between my name and .com, and that's okay for now. I've purchased a new domain and until I muster the energy to get it all set up, this will just have to do.

In the meantime, for the readers that I do have and continue to read, if you'd like to catch my posts you can do so by subscribing below.

Oh and if you have a blog yourself, check your renewal dates. Check your auto pay information. Check check check. Don't make the mistake I did...

One minute you have a website.
The next minute you don't.

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Forgetting about ourselves due to time and other commitments---the definition of a woman.

Do you ever think about things that you used to do prior to children versus what you do now, post children? I don't think about it too often, as there is not much of my past that I miss or wish I could have again---if not nothing. However, sometimes when I'm rushing around to get a pair of socks on one kid and a shirt over the other while they run away from me giggling, I think about the things that I miss out doing for myself. Wouldn't you agree that moms tend to think about themselves last and that we sacrifice our needs or wants for those that we love?

I would say that is pretty darn accurate.

We spend so much of our time worrying about the children and worrying about getting to places on time, that we eliminate things that seem to just not matter.

Read the rest of the post here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

10 Truths of the Week

1. Sleep is the greatest thing ever. When you can get it. I no longer dread the fact that we go to sleep by 10 pm {most nights sooner} every night. In fact, I literally run up the stairs when it's time for us to go to bed. I love sleep, and since I don't get nearly as much as I should, I enjoy every second of it when I do.

2. Sunday is the best breakfast day of the week. Always. Especially since my husband is the one in charge of breakfast making and he goes all out. Pancakes. Toast. Omelets filled with amazing vegetables.

3. Andrew loves Russian food more than I do. Don't get me wrong, I love me my pelemenye, cirrniki, and zapikanka. I do. But that boy will try just about anything my mom puts in front of him. Including cow tongue. No thank you.

4. My battery hangs out less than 20% more often than not. In fact, it dies at least once a day. My family just doesn't understand it.

5. It's impossible to log into social media and not get sucked into the crazy.  It's everywhere, even when you try to avoid it. I have never read as much nonsense as I have during this crazy snow storm of 2014. It's like the cold and snow make people extra crazy. Fact.

6. It's stupid how much I love this scarf. I've only worn it every day for the past month.

7.  The flu is really really bad this year. I don't mean to be Debby downer over here, but it's really terrible how many deaths we have had in the hospital, especially among the young people. If you have any flu symptoms, be sure to get swabbed and treated. It's hitting people with just a general cough and flu symptoms, and then they rapidly decline.

8.  Okay, on a more positive note--- it's been over a year since I had a pickle, and I bought a jar the other day and wanted to eat it all. No, not pregnant.

9.  I am totally not a hair mom. In other words, I only know how to do simple things. Hair up. Hair down. Bow in. Headband. Once in a while I do a side braid and have to show the world my tricks. Except it lasts a total of 0.5 seconds before the toddler twirls and jumps and runs make it all fall out... just about.

10. I've never seen a cart in the parking lot at Trader Joe's. Ever. I think it's the magic spell that they cast over their customers. Everyone is happy, helpful, and put their carts away.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Three is a hard age for me.

Three is a hard age for me. Not because my daughter is making it hard, but because I make it hard. Because I make it more than it should be. Because I bring unneeded stress and high expectations to the table.

This morning when I was trying to get E dressed, we had a little disagreement. She wanted her banana right away, and I wanted to put her clothes on first. As a compromise, I patiently explained to her that after putting her clothes on, I would hand her the banana. Apparently that was not the answer she was looking for and she wanted the banana and she wanted it right now. Insert crying next.

I don't do well with demands. Interesting because I am naturally a demanding human being. Unfortunately.

I don't do well with screaming and yelling in order to try to get said demand.

I don't do well when I am continually ignored.

So I gave her the counting time. I threatened no banana at all. I just had enough and I just wanted her to listen. And gosh darn it, I wanted her to listen RIGHT NOW.

I reacted a lot faster than I should have, raised my voice a little louder than I ever wish to get, and made my expectations a little bit more clearer to her.

With tears running down her face, she did finally get dressed. She did eventually get her banana {after much huffing and puffing from her mama and having a little talk about what happened, what we need to do next time, and how we could have avoided all that by just listening}. And everyone was kissy face happy again.

Except mama. Me.

I was not happy. I still am not happy. I'm mad. And it's not at my daughter.

I am mad at myself that I make things so hard on all of us. I am mad that I just did not take the time to work through the situation. I am mad that I was more concerned about my oldest waking up our youngest during her screaming escapade than I was about handling things the right way.

Why. Why put as through all that and make everyone stressed.

I realized something really important today. Something I realized about age two last year, and something that I need to be reminded of age three this year. That we only make things as hard as we allow them to be. That we only make things into something bigger than they should be, because of what we decide to do. That things only get worse and blown out of perspective based on our own actions as parents.

Should I have given her the banana right away because she was demanding it? Absolutely not. Should I have tried to bribe her, threaten things, or gotten angry? No absolutely not. Should I have taken the time to talk to her a little longer, walked away, and taken the time to compose myself? Yes. Yes, I should have.

 I know all of these things. And when we are rushed by time, or rushed by certain scenarios {like a little baby sleeping}, we tend to throw all logic out the window and become desperate. I become desperate. And I become a parent that I am ashamed of. In that split moment of time.

It is hard as a parent to not understand why your child will not listen to you in certain situations. It may not be all the time. It may just be once in a blue moon. But when that happens you just forget that they are little, that this is how they are wired, and that most importantly, it is our job as parents to guide them. And to guide them in a patient, compassionate, loving way.

It is hard for us to not expect more out of these children. They walk. They talk. They are pretty darn self sufficient, and I know they know what I am saying and that mama is going to get upset if they don't listen. Don't they get it? How many times do we have to repeat ourselves or go through the same situation in order for the light bulb to go off?

The answer? As many times as it takes.

The answer is just that simple. They are three. There is your answer. They are wired to explore, they are wired to manipulate, and they are wired to try to test limits. They are. And we as parents need to set those limits, need to allow them to think of an appropriate solution to the problem, and of course love them throughout the way.

I know all this. I can write it a hundred times on a chalkboard---over and over and over again. Let them be little. Let them be little. Let them be little. Let them be little. Repeat.

We as adults, parents, mess up and act in a way that we may not always be proud of. We. Adults. Twenty seven years of life in and I still mess up. A child? A child should be allowed the same exception, and certainly, they should be allowed the time to learn, to process, and to respond without a time limit set upon them.

I know this, and I know that it's a work in progress. God created children to be this way not to give us grey hairs {although I have plenty of those}, but to challenge us as individuals. My children have made me a better person not because they are cute and sweet and tell me how much they love me. Because they have shown me how much better life can be based on what you make of it.

So age three? It's hard. It's hard because I have made it hard. Not the actual three year old. She has nothing to do with it.

Today, today I make it easier.

Monday, February 10, 2014

He she. Boy girl. Daughter son. Who cares?!

I wanted to talk about something really serious that is on my heart today. Although I have to work this evening, I laid in bed next to my daughter and son during nap time and stared up at the ceiling. I kept thinking about this post that I wanted to write, and no matter how hard I tried to push it out of my thoughts and catch some rest, I just couldn't. So. Here I sit. Sitting in front of the computer screen, hands on the keyboard, and a brain that is working at full speed.

Would slamming my keyboard be enough to explain my frustration?

Let us start at the beginning.

My son is now 13 months old. Eight. It is amazing me to think that this month he will be 14 months, and before you know it we will be celebrating his second year of life.  I try to think about what these past 13 months have meant to us. How our lives have changed. The joy, the adjustments, the worry, and the unknowns. Sure, you think "oh, I've been through this before," but doing it a second time, with a second baby, makes it completely different. So the experience has been unique to say the least.

My children.

I love my children equally. Both boy and girl. Both are special in their unique way. Both bring a special kind of happiness to our lives. And both love us individually in their own unique special way. Special, is just the best way I can describe them both. Blessed, certainly to say the least. And unique, individual, and their own person are just some other ways to describe it. Sure, I could sit here and list thing that I love about each one of them. I could tell you how the way my three year old wraps her arms around my neck in the morning and whispers "I love you so much mama" is by far the most beautiful thing I ever heard. I could tell you how my one year old clings on to me so tight during the day and has this way of placing his little head on my shoulders that I sometimes lose my breath thinking about how grateful I am for this child. I could tell you that my three year old is wild and crazy and loves to make noise. I could tell you that my one year old is a climber, adventurous, and doesn't mind taking risks. I could tell you that my three your old was a much better napper than my one year old, and that my oldest is much more affectionate than my youngest. My youngest is greedy when it comes to giving out kisses.

I could tell you so many things about my children, and never would I need to use the words "Girl, or boy, son or daughter." They are descriptive words, so yes, at times I would use them. But to differentiate the two? I just don't see it necessary. Differentiating based on differing personalities, yes. Differentiating based on gender? Why.

My love.

When it comes to which gender I love or I feel is greater or "different" I cannot tell you. Because it, this difference in gender, truly, from the bottom of my heart, does not exist.

I get heartbroken when I read things about gender at times. I think in this world that we live in, we are stuck on this idea of how boys and girls should be. Boys are rough and tough and play with trucks and cars and boys are "mama's boys" and boy do they loooove their mama. Girls? Girls are prissy and cute, all about hair and dress up, dolls, and playing house. Oh, and of course girls are "daddy's girls." And therefore, it seems almost second nature to start throwing this stuff out at women who are expecting a certain gender.

Whenever someone announces a gender reveal of a boy, the same comments seems to appear:

"Boys love their mamas in a different way." 
"Until you have a boy and a girl, you won't understand... but loving a boy is so much more special."
"I love my girls, but my boy is my everything."
"Welcome to the boy mom club! It's the best!"

I remember writing a post before my daughter was born about everyone getting excited about me having a boy next.  I talked about how unsettling it was that people thought I should be thrilled that I was getting one of each. That now I get to experience the joys of being a boy mom. What does that mean? I experienced the joy of being a mom the first time with my daughter. Now I get to experience those wonderful joys of being a mom again with my son. Is the joy different because I was now having a boy? Why should it be. Sure the experience may be different, but that has nothing to with having a boy as it does with just having another child with a different personality and likes and dislikes, and going through the motion all over again. With another child.

I remember my mom stating to me that I needed to have a boy next when my daughter was just a couple weeks old. I remember her saying that my daughter was her daddy's girl because that is what girls are and that I would need my own little boy because every mama needs a boy. A baby with no preference right now and she is pinged already a daddy's girl. I remember getting angry with her and she realized early on that I was not up for that conversation.  Although it was in good fun, and she was just expressing this to me because that's what society wants you to believe--it still bothered me. It bothered me that there is this expectation out of gender. That a bond is determined based on gender. That there is a connection with one gender versus the other. A greater connection---based on gender.

Perhaps the reason for my frustration is because my daughter and I have such a great bond, always have and forever will and so I have refused to believe that that would be broken when my son entered the world. And it hasn't, it's only gotten stronger. Perhaps, for me personally, my experience has not been any different, and I do not feel any more special because I am now somehow part of that famous "boy club." Perhaps I do not understand because I've only been a mom for three and a half years. Perhaps I should not care whether someone has a greater connection with their son versus their daughter and isn't afraid to say it because it's their relationship to have, not mine. Perhaps. And all very true depending on how you look at it.

But most of all, the reason for all this is because it's something I have thought about so much since my son was born and just haven't been sure how to express it.  I just don't want other moms that are expecting to feel like these things are true about gender. Yes, maybe they will connect greater with their son, but it has nothing to do with the fact that it's a boy. Maybe they connect more with their daughter, but it has nothing to do with the fact that it's a girl. I would hope that all love and all connections are equal, but regardless on whether they are or they aren't, it certainly has nothing to do with gender.

As a society, we already place too many {ridiculous} expectations on children based on gender. Why is a bond between a child and parent have to be one of them? And certainly, why do we go around celebrating that.

You see, when I write about these sort of things, it's not because I want to point fingers or put blame.  It's because I hope to understand more. I write because it's on my heart and these things make me want to become a better mother. Because I look at these two children lying right next to me, and I just hope for a better future for them. My son likes to put bracelets on, and my daughter will battle him in cars and trucks any days of the week. They're unique because they are who they are not based on gender. Yes, I feel blessed to have a son and a daughter, but I would have been just as blessed to have two daughters, and certainly blessed to have two sons, and I would never have know any different.

I hope to understand this world more so that I can instill the right values in my own children. To show them that they are allowed to be who they want to be, and love in their own special way.To break a vicious cycle and to tear down myths that have been passed down for years.

I never want them to look at themselves based on the gender that they were born with.

I want them to look at themselves based on the person that they are and the life that they lead.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Easy Homemade Granola Recipe

I've been making homemade granola for over 6 months and there is nothing boxed or bagged that compares to it. Honestly. With each time that I make it, I add something different and take away a little more sugar. I have finally come up with a concoction that uses much less sugar and a lot more healthier options. I'm almost convinced that I could probably eliminate the brown sugar all together and it would still taste as great. Almost. I have not ventured that way just yet, but I'll let you know when I do try it what I think. For now though, I've been able to cut it in half and I have not noticed a difference from the first time making it.

Also, I used to serve it with organic vanilla yogurt and variety of fruit to the kids, but when Andrew accidentally purchased the plain kind and I was forced to use that? I truthfully preferred it over the vanilla. Not to mention it had half the amount of sugar in it. Win-Win!


4 Cups of Old fashioned oats
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup crushed walnuts {sometimes I use a cup}
1/3 cup of flax seeds {sometimes I throw in more}

1/4 cup honey {I actually fill it up only 75%}
1/4 cup of coconut oil {just preference in oil, I've used extra virgin and it tastes the same}
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 Cup dried cranberries {or any dried food of preference}


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees

2. Mix the first set of ingredients in large bowl {oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nuts, and flax seed}

3. Then heat the next 3 ingredients in a pot over medium just for a few seconds until you see it bubbling.

4. Put the liquid mixture in with the dry, mix it together thoroughly and then place in a 9x13 baking dish.

5. Cook for 40 minutes, and every 10 minutes make sure to mix the mixture. In the last 5 minutes add the cranberries.

6. Let cool briefly, then serve with yogurt and fruit! Store in a tight seal bag or container in the pantry for 1-2 weeks! {Ours never last longer than a week}.

Makes 14+ servings {depending on how obsessed you are... we are pretty obsessed over here!}

Friday, February 7, 2014

Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Lotion

I'm not a big beauty product person. I don't have cabinets upon cabinets full of products. I don't buy everything that is recommended to me. And I'm even pickier when it comes to price. I'm one of those that people that gets stuck on certain items and it's hard for me to part ways. In other words, I look for really good ones, and then buy multiples of that item a year and never update. This goes for things like my shampoo/conditioner, my make up, my toothpaste, and even down to my lotion. It helps to keep things uncluttered and also leaves me with fewer options at the beginning of the day. Recently though, I have been in search of a new lotion, and I was excited to have the opportunity to test one out.

Suave®Body Care is launching products in the Suave Professionals® line, offering premium quality products in their new line. Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion lotion features argan oil from Morocco, an oil that is full of nutrients and antioxidants. Their goal is to give you long lasting radiant skin that doesn't feel greasy or make you look shiny.  

My thoughts on this product? Exactly just that. It felt like silk from the minute that it hit my skin, non-greasy, and lasted longer than 2 minutes. This part is what is most important to me when I test out new beauty products. Oftentimes the lotions that I try will smell good, they feel good, but then they just don't last. I didn't have this sort of problem with the Moroccan Infusion lotion. I've been using it daily since the weekend, hoping that I would find something wrong with it, but I have yet to find it. I've already made mental notes to pick up a couple more (think hoarding) next time I go to the store, and I need to remember to put it in a place where the children can't find it. Because as much as I love the product, it's only a matter of time before the kids discover it, as well.

And when they find something to make a mess of, they sure are up for the challenge.

Another reason why I need to make sure I have backups available at all times.

Find more information about the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products at You can even find great tips for radiant skin, get celebrity advice stylists such as Brad Goreski, and enter to win Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion products, a spa day or a trip to Los Angeles.

Do you want to win a $1,000 gift card? Comment below and let me know which Suave Professionals® Morocan Infusion Body Care product you would like to try for a chance to win!
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 2/7/2014-2/28/2014. Be sure to visit the Suave Professionals® brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Boring Random Thursday. What else is new?

I tried a new recipe a couple nights ago for sloppy Joe's and it was a total hit. And SO easy. I forgot to take a picture {you know it didn't happen unless a picture was taken}, but here is where I found the recipe. We use Turkey instead of beef, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly as is. Also, add coleslaw to the side and you will be set! Did I mention it was quick and easy? Seriously.

These two hooligans have been stir crazy at home. In other words, we have really really bad cabin fever. Yet another snow storm came through here a couple days ago, and I have officially sworn off winter. Me and the rest of the country. In other happier news... we booked our summer vacation!

I am putting together the kids' Valentine's Day baskets, and their books came! They were sent to us by Put Me In The Story and I cannot wait to read it to them. It's personalized with their names throughout the book and has their picture inside. If you are looking for something special, check out Put Me In The Story! {I was sent these books free of charge, but this is my honest opinion and I am not paid to write this}.

Have you seen all these pictures of the toddler napping with his dog? There are probably 30 and they are absolutely adorable!  They sleep in all sorts of different positions, the toddler has the cutest little stuff on, and it just shows how amazing a dog and toddler relationship can be.

Some people have asked on instagram about doing an education post and I just wanted to put out there that I am in the process of working on {as in I have the title, but not anything written yet}. I have done a couple in the past but they have been short and sweet. I would like to put one big one together of all things that we have done from 6months-current. That, my friends, is going to take me a hot second. It will get done. Month of February? That's the goal.

In the meantime, I found some great Valentine's Day worksheets online! This site is full of them, but here is an example of one below.  And for those that are into math already with their older kids, has tons of math Valentine's worksheets that I am loving and printing for when E is able to do them!

Our favorite children's worship CDs are on sale today on Zulily. Elliana has each and every one of these songs on both CDs memorized and it is all we listen to {per request of the toddler} when we are in the car. Would make great Easter basket gifts as well.

Love these boots for only $27! 

Also, 50% off at 1-800-Flowers going on now! Grab yours for Valentine's Day!

And that is all I have friends on this boring Thursday!


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