My fiance and I have been a bit busy this past month. We closed on our first house at the end of April! We are so excited to delve into the world of home ownership and very happy to be settling into our beautiful new home!
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Have you promised your kids that you are going to help with their wedding? That they are not to worry about a tight budget, as you are going to be there at every stage of the process to help them put together their dream wedding? It’s not easy helping our kids organize a wedding, and it’s even more difficult to do so when there is a small budget involved. It is possible, however, and here are some tips on the areas that you can help, all without compromising on that all important budget.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by BODYARMOR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This summer, I am making big plans to be more active. I had a baby last spring, and it has been harder than I ever expected to 'bounce back' after baby. All of the components have been the same with my second baby as they were with my first, but this time around, I have been spending a lot more time breastfeeding, taking care of two kids and my husband, and have had much less time for myself. It's been a lot harder to lose weight this go around, too, and I have been so tired that I have been skipping workouts.
Thank you to Put Me in the Story for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts shared are my own.
Do you have a favorite Disney Princess? I have a couple of favorites- Belle and Ariel. The Little Mermaid is probably my favorite Disney movie of all time, and Beauty and the Beast is a close second. Both of these memorable Disney movies came out when I was a little girl, so these princesses were the ones I looked up to, and longed to be like. Now that I have own little princess, I am having a lot of fun introducing her to the Disney Princesses. I am also discovering favorite princesses all over again, and learning about some of the ones who came about well after I became a young adult. What better way to discover these wonderful princesses than in a magical book, which puts your child directly into the story?
If you are looking for an easy, yet delicious side dish to go along with your summer cookouts, why not bake up some scrumptious potatoes with a twist?
This creamy recipe for Cheesy Ranch Potatoes is perfect for the whole family, and will have everyone coming back for seconds.
You will need:
4 Russet Potatoes, cubed
1 Cup Ranch Dressing
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add the potato cubes to a 9 x13 pan
Pour over the Ranch dressing, and stir together
Bake for 30 minutes
Remove from the oven and cover with Cheddar cheese
Return to oven for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling
These potatoes are cool and creamy, with a yummy hint of that cheddar cheese.
Serve up these potatoes with your favorite entree and veggies, and enjoy!
When spring arrives, we tend to think about new beginnings and starting afresh, but there’s nothing to stop you from indulging in a summer shakeup if you fancy giving your home a clearout. Spring is traditionally associated with cleaning up and de-cluttering, but if you haven’t got around to sorting out your home, it’s never too late. Summer is a time for vacations, spending time together, and most importantly, having fun, so here are some tips to ensure your home is summer-ready!
Have you got too much stuff?
Have a look around you. Have you got cupboards bursting at the seams or wardrobes or closets stuffed with clothes? Is your attic full of boxes or has the garage become a dumping ground for outdoor jackets, shoes or exercise equipment? Is every inch of shelf space taken? It’s very easy to accumulate stuff, especially if you lead a hectic lifestyle, and there are a lot of people living at home, but there’s a fine line between cozy and cluttered. If you can never find anything you’re looking for or there’s no space to sit down, have friends round or work from home, it’s time to be practical and admit that you’ve got too much stuff.
Monday, May 29, 2017
If you thought leaving the hospital for the first time with your baby wrapped in swaddling and entirely reliant on you was scary, wait until they become a toddler. All that fear you experienced when your little one slowly starts to disappear as you get to grips with things. And as they grow and start to crawl, eventually taking their first steps, it can feel like stage one of the most important job in the world is complete.
But, you would be wrong. From the second your little one starts moving, your fears and worries will multiply by the thousands. It’s another level of scariness that many first-time parents cannot prepare for. Hopefully, these tips will help you understand what to expect as your baby becomes a toddler, and give you a little insight into what might be lying ahead. Let’s take a closer look!
Thank you to Lovely Candy Co. for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts shared are my own.
Does your hubby or your father have a sweet tooth? In my family, both are true. My dad likes to sometimes indulge in candies, rather than baked goods, and my husband loves specialty candies. Even my six-year-old son loves candy. Candy can be yummy, but candies are often so loaded with sugar and other not so good for you ingredients, that they can cause some problems if we're indulging on a regular basis. Our family is making an effort to be healthier, which means that we're being more active, and cutting out a lot of sweets. Every now and then, though, we all get an itch for a little something sweet.
There are so many holidays kids get off from school and sadly do not know the reason they have it off. Today is Memorial Day-A holiday set for remembering those we lost while they served our country. I am proud to say this holiday is celebrated in my home as a way to honor those that were lost and those that continue to serve.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Happy Saturday! Can you believe it's the last weekend of May already? We still have 17 more days of school to get through, but thankfully we have an extra day to observe Memorial Day.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Thank you to Capitol Records for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.
I have been listening to Christian music my entire life. Growing up as a daughter of a Minister of Music, I've always sort of been in the know when it comes to the latest praise and worship music. I developed a love for worship music as a young girl, and remember listening to praise tapes with my grandmother in her red station wagon. Through the years, Chrisitan music has changed and crossed over into many other genres. The message remain the same, and new artists have emerged.
Thank you to Danielle for the Baby Magic and Boudreaux products. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Baby Magic has been around since 1951. The pink bottle is iconic and the smell is the best baby smell. The soap is tear free and dye free. The scent lingers even after a bath. The lotion is easy to apply and leaves baby smelling great with moisturized, but not greasy, skin.
|We saw all the sites on our family vacation to DC earlier this month!|
A couple of months ago, I wrote about our upcoming family vacation to DC. I was in planning mode for our first vacation with our new baby girl. I wanted to use this post to share with you all how the trip went!
In short, we had an exhausting, exciting, incredibly enjoyable time! It was definitely an adventure, navigating the city, and weather, with our almost 8 month old. We went into this trip with a tentative schedule, but with the mind set of "be flexible". The easiest way to achieve this was to make a list of things we definitely wanted to try to do, rather than making a packed itinerary. We had an idea of our plans for each day, but also just went with the flow!
|Seeing all the sites with our little one was so much fun!|
Our girl has never been on a set schedule, which has sometimes driven me crazy. She breastfeeds when she wants and naps when she needs to. This worked out incredibly well, because we didn't have to worry about getting back to the Air BNB for naps, and we didn't have to fuss with packing bottles. With a comfortable nursing cover (and easy to nurse in clothes for myself), a easy-to-transport stroller, and our Tula baby carrier, she was pretty much set! This experience made me appreciate our lack of schedule a little more because it showed me how adaptable my baby girl can be!
|Stroller nap for the win!|
The weather on our trip was crazy! Daily high temperatures ranged from 54 to 85 degrees! We had sunshine, rain, and cold rain! We used our weather apps on our phones more in the week leading up to our trip, and each day we were there than we ever have! We packed extra layers for everyone!
|When the forecast is 54 degrees and rainy... don't let it get you down! Just grab extra layers and a rain cover for the stroller!|
I've decided that traveling with a 7-8 month old can be an ideal age to explore as a family. She was old enough to enjoy the stroller walks and riding in her Tula, she was easily transportable, and very flexible.
As far as baby gear, the things I was most thankful for were:
Our summer infant stroller, the Tula baby carrier, the baby rain jacket from Target, my Copper Pearl nursing cover, and our JuJuBe diaper bag that is WATERPROOF (this turned out to be everything on our rainy days!). None of these items were provided to me for a review... these are just the most useful items we had for this trip with a babe.
|My people 💗💗💗And our WATERPROOF diaper bag!|
|The Tula came in handy on rainy days as well!|
|This stroller was perfect for navigating the metro system in DC!|
DC was a great place to go because it had a lot of free things to enjoy. That way if we needed to keep walking to keep little bit happy, or leave a public tour at the air and space museum early to find a place to nurse, we hadn't lost any money. It's also a wonderful place to visit because there are so many incredible things to see! It is a place that I look forward to revisiting as our little girl grows up!
|Who knows, maybe she'll even be the president one day!|
Thursday, May 25, 2017
This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Play-Well. All thoughts are my own.
Summer vacation is just around the corner. If you're like me, you love having your kids home during the summer, but hate to see them sitting around the house, staring at screens all day. I have been looking for ways to keep my oldest child active this summer... the only problem is, he's still on the young side. When it comes to summer camps, he's not quite old enough to be enrolled in a lot of the day camps that are offered in my area. Recently, I found Play-Well, which offers LEGO-Inspired Engineering Camps for kids grades K-8.
Thank you to SmartMax for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Over the years, we have collected a lot of toys. We have a good crop of toys that live at our house, and others have gone on to live at grandma's house, as well as Grammy and Poppa's house. It's always exciting to try out a new toy, and it's even better when it's fun for the kids, but provides them with endless opportunities to learn, play, and explore. Learning through play is important at every age. I always learned best through hands-on activities, and the same is true for my own kids. They're both so interested in knowing how things work, and both love to take things apart, and then put them back together again.
Thank you to Ashley Trull Thompson for the samples. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thompson Traditions is a small, family-owned business that started in 2006, stumbling upon the idea while crafting one day. I would have to say my favorite aspect of this company is that the products are made in small batches, ensuring the highest and best quality.
Now that I have a little guy, I have started wanting to create my own traditions. My husband's family has many traditions, mostly around the holidays. Growing up, I had very few traditions. As Memorial Day approaches, many grill out, go to the Indy 500 festivities, or travel to parks or lakes with loved ones. We do have plans to cook out with Jon's family Monday, but I'm wondering what else I can do with my own family.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The roof over our head protects us from many different things. It gives us shelter, warmth, hides us from adverse weather and it’s great at making us feel safe. However, as much as we love our roof for providing us so much comfort, it takes a beating in order to do so. Imagine what it’s like for a roof; it’s constantly battered by snow, hail and rain, it’s always blown around by gusts of wind and there’s no shortage of debris, rodents and insects that run amok on it.
But no matter how sturdy you think your roof is, chances are it’s not actually holding up very well anymore. Old and damaged roofs can easily start to crack and become a hazard more than a safety. If you’re worried about the wellbeing of you and your children, then here are a few telltale signs that your roof needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
Thank you to Stubb's BBQ for the samples. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
C.B. Stubblefield had his first opportunity to cook for large amounts of people as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. In 1968, after his time in the military, Stubb moved to Lubbock, Texas. That was the birthplace of his famous barbecue.
Sunglass Warehouse sent me samples in exhange for review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
I was in desperate need of new sunglasses for this summer. I usually buy very cheap glasses at the dollar store but just hadn't gotten around to it yet. I was very excited when a box from Readers.com arrived because I knew they contained a goody from Sunglass Warehouse.
Thank you to Starpath Dolls for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions share below are my own.
Both of my daughters enjoy playing with dolls. Since D is getting a little older, she plays with her dolls less frequently than R, but there are days the two of them spend hours playing tea party and/or house with their dolls. Between the two girls, we have tons of dolls, but that didn't stop us from welcoming a new doll from Starpath Dolls to our brood.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
So, your friend has just had a baby? Congratulations because there is nothing more beautiful than becoming a parent. But, it does leave you in a tricky situation. Yep, it’s gift-buying time. Normally, a present wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is your friend so you need to choose carefully. After all, a gift says a lot about your friendship. If you’re coming down in a cold sweat, don’t worry because there are plenty of options that she will love. Okay, you won’t be able to gift wrap a bag of sleep, but you can get her the next best thing!
Thank you to Almondina for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.
When you think of snacks, what types of foods come to mind? Usually for me, it means something like brownies or cookies. I am addicted to sweets, and I know that's why I can't seem to lose these pesky 10 pounds that are left after having Baby S- a year later! I am always craving sweets, and I go for the bad stuff time and time again. I know that I should stay away from it, but I have less and less will power to do that these days. Luckily, there's a scrumtious alternative to those bad sweets, thanks to Almondina.
This was one of the easiest, tastiest treats that Aiden and I have ever made. I found the Jet Puffed Marshmallows on sale at the store and bought 5 containers. It was a really good price. Aiden loves them and I figured he'd like to have them as a snack. Then, I came across this S'mores pudding cup and knew they were perfect for that. We have made these a couple of times and I have even made them at school with my class. Super simple!
The garden is one of the most commonly under-appreciated parts of a property. But when utilized properly, it can be the area that truly makes a house a home for all the family. Better still, it’s one of the cheapest locations to upgrade and is also one where the DIY option is most accessible.
First and foremost, your backyard areas should be safe for the whole family. CCTV and alarm systems are great additions for protecting assets. However, the most important thing is to ensure that all gates and fences are stable and restrict unwanted access. After all, nothing is more important than the health of your family.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Even if you're not that crazy about frugal living, every household tries to keep expenses low wherever (and whenever) it's possible.
Family haircuts are one of those things that might fly under your radar. Especially if you've got a few kids running around the house, haircutting costs can really pile up. At the same time, though, quite a few people hesitate to go the home clippers' way. For some, it seems a bit difficult and/or they worry they won't be able to shape proper haircuts.
Do you love styling your baby in the hottest moccs available? If you do, I'm sure you've heard of Freshly Picked. Freshly Picked has an incredible selection of gorgeous, trendy moccs that are comfy for babies to wear, and stay on their feet.
Freshly Picked all began with Founder, Susan Petersen, creating moccs out of scrap leather at her kitchen table, back in 2009. Today, Freshly Picked has shipped their stylish moccs to the rich and famous, and to mocc-lovers all over the world.
Do you ever stumble into the bathroom early in the morning, still half asleep? You know... when the rest of the family is still snoozing, and the house is still quiet. You haven't had that first sip of coffee yet, so you're still in a fog. You use the bathroom, wash your hands, and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. There's just enough light coming from the night light your child insists that you leave on for them, for you to catch your early morning self, staring back at you in the mirror... and honey, it ain't pretty!
It might seem odd to try and grow your own vegetables when the store is more convenient, yet more people are now looking to starting their own vegetable gardens. The benefits of growing your own produce isn’t just limited to food; it’s ethically sound, it’s easy on your wallet, and it can be good for you physical and mental health. Keep reading to find out why it may be time for you start your own vegetable garden.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Who's ready for Cars 3 Road to the Races to hit the theaters? We love the Cars movies and can't wait to see Cars 3. The Cars 3 Road to the Races tour is the perfect way to gear up for the opening of the movie. The tour rolled in to the Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Mothers are the most under-appreciated, sleep-deprived and stressed people of our generation. We said goodbye to quiet times and clean homes the moment we got our little kids. As for myself, there are days when I wonder how I can hold my wits together. Since we teach best what we most need to learn, I had compiled a list of tips that had helped me to keep sane while parenting my toddlers.
Happy Saturday! We had a pretty calm week, but the weather (in the 90s) kind of made everyone feel blah. Yesterday afternoon was probably my least favorite time of the week, which was weird because it was FRIDAY. But, between the traffic going to pick up Drew, the air not working in my car, and me dropping my phone and cracking the screen- I was a little beyond irritated and all I wanted to do was cry. Thankfully, once we got home, things calmed down a great deal and I was able to relax.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Sleep. We all need it and we all love it! But did you know that only 14% of people feel they get enough sleep? Restonic, a leader in handcrafted mattresses and high-quality sleep products since 1938, recently discovered this through their Sleep Survey where they polled more than 1,000 people about their sleeping habits.
Thank you to FlyBy Promotions for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review.
Have you ever found yourself in a dark situation or season of life? I have. There have been many dark days of my life, and in that time, I have had some true struggles with my faith. The loss of loved ones- most recently my grandmother, has thrown me into a spiritual haze. The disappointment of a missed opportunity has left me reeling. Feeling hurt and betrayed by people I have trusted and bent over backward for, in God's own house, has left me with a lot of questions. Though I have always held onto God's promises, I have doubted Him. Music has always been something that has pulled me out of isolation, out of my pit of despair.
I am loving the beautiful spring we have been having. The temperatures have been mild, yet warm, and we have seen a good amount of rain, which means that the flowers are now in full bloom. As we look to summer, I am getting my inspiration boards ready for those late spring and early summer projects. I don't always take a lot of time for myself- you know, to do those things that I enjoy most? I'm a mom, first and foremost, but I also have hobbies and interests. Among those hobbies and interests are gardening, cooking, and home decorating.
My life has never been busier. With two kids, two parents working full time, and volunteering full time, or schedules are insane. There are some weeks where my husband and I look at each other on Friday nights, after we have collapsed on the couch from sheer exhaustion, and say, 'I haven't even seen you all week. Have we even hugged at all?' It's sad to say, but that has become our reality. The good news is- vacation is coming!
No matter what expectations you have before you become a mother, you will almost always find them going right out of the window the moment your little ones are born. It's impossible to predict the kind of changes that having kids is going to bring to your life. You'll develop and learn as a person far more than you ever thought possible. You may spend your children's lives trying to teach them everything thing that you can, but there's no denying that becoming a mother teaches you more than you ever possibly expected. Here are just a few surprising things that being a mother teaches you.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Staying healthy & fit starts with a good diet. If you don’t eat well, then you’ll never be properly fit and can also end up with many health problems.
Bearing that in mind, I’ve come up with a few rules you should follow when putting together a healthy diet for you or anyone else in your family:
Get All Your Essential Nutrients In You
Most people make a huge mistake when creating a healthy diet to help them with their fitness goals. They tend to completely focus on protein rich diets, as we’re told that carbs are bad for us and cause us to be fat. So, we get rid of things like potatoes, bread, and pasta, to reduce our carb intake.
Thank you to GlassesShop for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.
I have been wearing glasses most of my life- since the third grade. I've thought about getting contacts in the past but it's gotten to the point that I hardly recognize myself without them. Glasses are part of my "look".
Not every child is genetically predisposed to being good at sport, and even those who are sometimes having trouble keeping their inspiration to compete. Even if your child isn’t naturally gifted, light, friendly team sports can help your child develop socially and understand the benefits of sportsmanship, team spirit and keeping good attitudes toward adversity.
Today is my son, Ethan's 16th birthday. I have a lot of emotions running through me, but mostly sad and proud. I am sad because my baby is no longer a baby. I am sad because the little things he needed me for before, he no longer needs me for. I am proud because he is smart, funny, and a good kid. He is the type of kid that would give you the shirt off his back, stand in your corner, and be the one that listens to you when you need someone. This little boy is slowly turning into a man and I want to share with the world how much he means to me. There are no words I can use to describe the love I have for him, but I will try my best. Today I want to honor him as I feel honored to be his mom.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
My babies are water babies. From birth, they have both loved being in the water. My husband loves to swim, and would spend all day in the pool, if he could. I am a bit more cautious when it comes to swimming. I had a scary experience in a swimming pool when I was a small child, so I am always sort of nervous when my kids get into the pool. My husband helps to calm my nerves. I don't want my kids to know that I am anxious about them being in the pool, as I don't want my nervousness to cause them any anxiety,
My son began taking swimming lessons two years ago. Prior to that time, we didn't really have regular access to a pool. We are blessed to have generous friends who share their pool with us, and we also have access to the pool at the YMCA. We're ready to get Baby S use to the water, so she can start learning to swim at a young age.