Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Favorites :: July 31


Oh sweet Friday, how I love you so! This has been one busy week. Can we just take a minute and let it sink in that tomorrow is the first day of August? Again, time is not a Momma's friend #evilwitch. We had a fabulous week and our weekend is looking to be full of greatness, too. Here is our weekly recap of what we've enjoyed this week.

{ONE}


I love a good photo challenge so when Christine at Christine Everyday shared this one for August, I thought I'd give it a shot. Some of these topics have me thinking "WTH?" like day 4 and 27 but I'm up to the challenge of finding something to fit the bill. Here are the details on the challenge; I'd love for you to join me!  

{TWO}

With Connor's birthday just 3 months away (!!) I've already started the plans. Actually, they've been in the works for a while now BUT I'm really starting to make reservations, pick out decorations and create the invite. I'm looking to enjoy more while doing less this year. His first two birthday (year 1: post 1, 2, and 3 and year 2: post 1) were a lot of work. I really want to enjoy the party more this year.

{THREE}


I've been trying to add bits and pieces of decor and personality to the house over the last 6 months. One area that needs a ton of TLC is our master bedroom. We don't have a lot of space so I have to be smart with what I use to decorate. When Ashley shared her Etsy shop, Mama Designed with me, I instantly feel in love with the print above. Not not only are the colors perfect for our room but the quote is a favorite: God is with her; she will not fail || Psalm 45:5. Click on the Mama Designed button on my sidebar to see more of Ashley's work. 

{FOUR}

Our weather lately has been AHHHMAZING! While I'm worried we are having too easy of a summer (meaning winter will be brutal) I am lovin' all the time we are spending outside because the temperatures are bearable. Last night after dinner, we packed up and headed to the park to run of some energy and enjoy a beautiful 83 degree weather. That's exactly my kind of summer! 

{FIVE}


If you look closely at the stack of books we scored at the library yesterday, you'll see 3 Fall themed ones. Yes, Fall books. If you know me at all, you know that Fall is my element. But what I really wanted to share with you is this: while at the library the childrens librarian approached me and introduced herself and offered to provide "teacher collections" to me when I explained Connor and I complete a season reading list/challenge and share what we love on Wife Mommy Me. So Mommies of little ones, get to know your childrens librarian; he/she is full of resources that will help your little one learn to love and appreciate reading!

Happy Friday, friends!
 

Each Friday Favorites post is shared in these linkups:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge :: Check-in #3

Today, Liz, Courtney and some of my favorite bloggers are going to share what our little ones have been reading this Summer. This part 3 of our of 4 part Summer reading challenge and giveaway. For more details on how you can join and enter to win, visit our announcement post which can be found HERE along with check in number 1 and number 2.

Connor and I are happy to share that we have completed our Summer Reading Challenge! We finished book 12 this weekend. We both have enjoyed our trips to the library and discovering new books. With 3 weeks left in the challenge, I think I'm going to look for books to help prepare Connor for school in the Fall. Does anyone have school themed books they enjoy reading to their little ones?

Here is our completed reading challenge check list:


Here is a list of additional books we've read in the last 3 weeks:

During this round, we had 2 favorites: Granny's Dragon and The Bus Ride. Both were fun books that even I got into. Finding activities for each book was simple thanks to a quick Pinterest search (how did we survive without that amazing site?) First up is the fun we had with Granny's Dragon.


I'll be honest, Granny's Dragon has nothing to do with Captain America or Mickey Mouse but this is what C wanted so we went with it. I tied it in the best I could. Have you tried coloring by numbers with your little one? DO IT! Connor loved it. The dragon printable can be found here. I wanted to find a printable shield to decorate but the moment C heard shield he instantly wanted a Captain American shield of his own. Lastly, we found Mickey Mouse the Knight online, printed it and Connor added a bit of red and moved on. The glitter was how I got Connor to want to do crafts that day. He had been begging to play with the glitter so this was our compromise.


Next, we spent one morning learning all about school buses. I found some a Daniel Tiger episode on Amazon about going to school for CJ to watch while I prepped our craft. Thanks to THIS PIN, I was able to print out a school bus craft for Connor. We learned how to make our own school bus (bottom left photo) and we matched each piece to the already put together bus. The pin always provided flashcards for us to make up our own version of "Wheels On The Bus."

Connor's goal was to read 20 new books this summer and we've hit that goal plus some with 31 books total. I would love to hit 40 books read this summer by August 20th. I love sharing my love of reading with Connor. I've noticed that the more we read together, the more he actually enjoys it. Each night before bed we pick 2 books to read before bed and this is something he won't let me skip!

Now it's your turn! Join Liz, Courtney and I as we celebrate our love of reading. Linkup your summer reading themed posts. Remember, there is a giveaway at the end of the challenge (August 20th!) so every linkup counts! Grab our button and spread the summer reading fun!


Wife Mommy Me

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Upping My Dental Game with REACH®

Earlier this month I visited the dentist for the first in in nearly 3 years. I don't have a good reason for not going other than I just never schedule appointments for myself. I'm really good about taking care of others but usually come up short when it comes to myself. During my visit, we discovered I had 2 cavities that needed to be taken care of. While I wasn't happy about this, I wasn't exactly shocked either. While I brush my teeth, it's safe to say I probably don't maintain the best oral care. I mean, the last time I had visited a dentist for myself was in 2012, when I was 7 months pregnant with Connor.

So when One2One offered me the chance to take part in their REACH® program, I jumped on board. As someone who just spent 2.5 hours and close to $160 at the dentist, it was time for me to find quick ways to improve my dental health without having to put in a ton of effort or time. Because, as us Moms know, we don't have a ton of time to be wasting it in the bathroom.


The new REACH® Complete Care™ Rinse offers 8-in-1 benefits as well as another reason to make moms smile brighter – less counter clutter. The rinse is uniquely designed to taste great, target problem areas in the mouth and ensure the bathroom counter stays clean and tidy. No other mouthwash on the market offers this combination of advantages. Let's take a minute to focus on the 8-in-1 benefits I mentioned. One product, 8 perks. Gotta love that! The 8-in-1 rinse:
  • kills bad breath germs
  • helps prevent gingivitis
  • reduces plaque
  • fights tartar build-up
  • freshens breath
  • cleans the whole mouth by foaming between the teeth
A recent survey by Kelton Global states millions of American moms prioritize their brushing their teeth over washing their face, or removing their makeup before bed. With 82% of moms focusing on their dental health, REACH® Complete Care™ products keeps proper oral care all within REACH® by having one product at your fingertips to help keep your pearly whites healthy.

While at the dentist, I discovered that I struggle with getting between my teeth when I brush. That was the location of both cavities. Too bad I usually skip flossing all together. However, the REACH® Complete Care™ CURVE Tooth brush has a 13° triple angled neck and bristles to maximize cleaning, getting between teeth and around the gum line. Sounds like a winner to me!


After just three days of use, I felt a huge improvement in the cleanliness of my teeth and the rinse really helped strip away my morning breath. With my 6 month dental checkup scheduled for mid January, I'm actually looking forward to seeing the dentist this winter, knowing I've been more aware of the importance of good dental care. Between brushing, flossing and rinsing, I hope that my next visit to the dentist results in a better report and a cheaper office visit fee.

   
I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of REACH® and One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MTT :: Finding Time for Mom

As Mom, we pack our days full of activities and commitments geared towards everyone else that we often time forget about ourselves. As Connor has gotten older, I've discovered that I need breaks. Moments when I can do something for me, without my sidekick. These "me moments" always leave me feeling happier, less stressed and a bit more balanced as a person.

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, it's usually when we've been going, going and going and I haven't had the chance to spend time doing something that I enjoy, something for just me. Once I became a Mom, I quickly discovered that when I do things for myself, I am revamping myself mentally, emotionally and physically.

The biggest issue I have with "me moments" is time. It's really tough for me to find time when I'm home all day with Connor and then want to spend time with James as a family in the evenings and weekends. Realizing that I need to make time for myself a priority, I came up with a handful of ways for Moms to find time for themselves.


Wake Up Early
I have found that getting up earlier than my family is my sure fire way to get more accomplished, even if it means needing that afternoon coffee to help make it through the day. Even if it's just 20-30 minutes earlier than Connor, I'm usually able to tackle a handful of things without my pint sized helper. Additionally, I use this time to plan out our day, preparing lists, bags, lunches, etc.

Use Nap & Quiet Time Wisely
Nap and quiet time is the perfect time to spend time your way. Connor gets movie time each afternoon since he no longer naps. We pop in a movie and for 60-90 minutes, he snuggles Blue on the couch, leaving me time to things I enjoy. I usually prep dinner and straighten up a bit before relaxing with a book or working on my blog.

Babysit
I know I'm not the only Mom who likes a bit of silence from time to time. When I was in TX, a girlfriend and I would watch each others children so that we could run errands, clean house or visit the doctor without having to do so with a child in tow. By sharing the responsibility of caring for her daughter, I gave my girlfriend a couple hours to herself and likewise for me when she would watch Connor.

In-home Play Dates
Team up with a few moms with similar aged children and have kids over for a play date in your home. The safe, secure environment of your home allows the kiddies to play while you have some one on one time with others mothers. During the colder months in Ohio, these play dates will be priceless. Not only will we not have to get out in the gross weather but we are somewhat safe from all the winter germs.

MNO
Get out of the house. Schedule a Mom's Night Out with a group of friends and spend time doing something you love. Looking for ideas? Check out the post I wrote last year: 10 Ideas for Mom's Night Out. I love having a reason to do my hair and makeup and to get out of comfy clothes. Along the same lines of getting out of the house to do something fun, plan a once a month date night with your partner. You're not the only who needs a break I'm sure!

Spending my days with Connor is the absolute best. I love being able to go to parks, play pretend and cuddle up during movie time but it is also important to spend some time relaxing and de-stressing yourself so that you can be the best mother and wife to your children and husband. 

Wife Mommy Me


Monday, July 27, 2015

Love & Hate


When Beth over at Our Pretty Girls tagged me in her Love & Hate post I thought it would be a great way for new readers to learn a thing or two about me. You won't find many posts on here dedicated to just me so every once in a while, it's nice to have all the spotlight to myself. Here are 10 things I love along with 10 things I hate.

  1. Jesus || My life is more blessed than I ever imagined it to be and there is only one person to thank for that. While I will never push my beliefs on anyone, I always love hearing from other Christians regarding their journey and relationship with Christ.
  2. My Husband & Son || I never knew I could love being someone's wife or mom but let me tell you, I can't imagine a world where I don't wear those titles proudly. Coxy and Frank, you fellas are the best. ever. Thank you for loving me so. 
  3. Office Supplies || If given the chance to spend an unlimited amount of money in either Target or Staples, I would choose Staples every single time. I love new pens and highlighters, paper planners and desk calenders and fun stationary. 
  4. Christmas || If you follow me on social media or have been reading WMM for any period of time, you know that I am Christmas crazy. Only 4 months until I can decorate and start sharing the season with family, friends and readers. You've been warned.
  5. Reading || I'm a total bookworm. I'm always reading something and if possible, I take a book with me wherever I go because you never know when you'll get the chance to read a few pages. 
  6. Bad Reality TV || Some favorites includes The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teen Mom and Big Brother, Manzo'd with Children. I love to turn on the TV and not have to think while I watch TV. 
  7. Cooking || While this is shocking if you know me in real life, I will have to say this is a new thing I've recently discovered I like doing. Now don't get it twisted I'm no chef. But I get giddy when I'm able to make a fancy (for me) dinner that James compliments me on. 
  8. Running || I've come to terms with the fact that I will never be a fast runner but I've also decided to embrace the thought that it's not the speed at which I run but the miles I accumulate. I would rather go further at a slower pace than wear myself out going a shorter distance. 
  9. My Girlfriends || We are the most unique group of ladies. There isn't a single one of us that has a life that is identical to someone else in the group and I love that about us. We all are in different walks of life and it's such a wonderful to experience together. 
  10. Fall || Starting mid September to Thanksgiving Day, I am celebrating the sights, sounds, smells and food of Fall. From our birthdays to holidays to family outings, it's the very best time of year. This will be our first Fall in Ohio as a family of 3 and it's about to get ridiculous y'all! 
  1. Being Hot || I'm still impressed I survived 2 years in ATX. I am not a fan of hot weather. Anything over 85, I'm complaining. You won't find me outside unless I'm in water. I would be happy if it never got over 80 all year round. 
  2. Bad Gift Givers || I would rather you not give me a gift at all then give me something that you either a) regifted or b) bought last minute, without thought because you felt like you had to get me something. 
  3. Illness || I've lost some important and very much loved people do to illnesses. I wish there was a cure for certain ones and easy fixes for others.
  4. Mushrooms, Onions and Lettuce || simply put gross nasty. 
  5. A Wet Kitchen Sink || When I'm finished doing dishes or using the sink, I have to dry it out. I can't handle the thought of watering drying in it. Bizarre, really, since it's a sink. Thanks Tammy for that one! 
  6. Distance || While living in TX wasn't the best for me climate wise, I meet and created some of the best friendships there and I miss my girlfriends something fierce.
  7. Putt Putt || If you wanna see me get really pissed off and stress, make me play putt putt. I have no clue why I feel this way but I think putt putt is the lamest activity ever. The only worse then that is golf. Kill me now. 
  8. Sweet Pea || The smell makes me gag and my eyes burn. After working at Bath and Body Works in the early 2000's, I've had my fair share of the smell. Of all the scents the company offers, there are far better choices. Put the bottle down and find something else. Please! 
  9. Gray Hair || I'm 32 not 62; cut me some slack life. 
  10. A Messy Home || If you invite me into your messy home, I will likely have to limit the amount of time I spend in your presence. My OCD just can't help it. I'll be tempted to clean your house, fold your laundry and iron your clothes. While you might like this, I'm not a cleaning service so don't invite me over and have your house turned upside down. 
And now I'm supposed to tag 10 people to join the fun and fill this out too. If your not on the list and want to join in the fun go for it, I would love to read your answers as well. 
  1. Courtney || Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
  2. Michelle || Grammie Time
  3. Meagan || All The Joys
  4. Aubrey || Aubrey Zaruba
  5. Meghan || The Adventure Starts Here
  6. Leah || Leah With Love 
  7. Kayla || Gen Y Girl
  8. Ashleigh || Simply Wright
  9. Jess || Being Mrs. Beer
  10. Brittany || Everyday Thoughts

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favorites :: Michelle from Grammie Time

The blogging community has been the biggest blessing. It's given me the chance to meet and make connection with women that I wouldn't have been given the chance to know if it weren't for blogging. One of those women is Michelle from Grammie Time. I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle through a blogger box swap and I can't tell you how lucky I was to be paired with such a wonderful person. In honor of Friday Favorites, I want to share Michelle with my readers in a unique twist of the weekly post.

5 Random Facts About Michelle
* I'm borderline germaphobe - not to where I am obsessed with constant hand washing and cleaning but there are some places I will avoid. One example, gas station restrooms (I'd rather pee in the woods).
* My biggest pet peeve - people being late. My second, folks who don't keep their word.
* I've had two near drowning experiences in my life, both times the same person rescued me.
* When I'm alone in my car, I crank up music really loud and sing my heart out. Mostly to Celine Dion, Journey and The Beatles. But any song easy to sing-along with works for me.
* I'm a tea drinker. Hot, cold, green, herbal and always sweetened with freshly squeezed lemon juice and local honey. Always on a hunt for different teas to try.


5 Pieces of Parenting Advice
1) Consistency - always mean what you say and follow through. Especially in discipline.
2) Discipline without a relationship spells disaster. Your child will respect you if they FEEL loved unconditionally, safe and secure.
3) Build the relationship by being the parent, not their friend. Children want someone who cares enough about their well-being to set boundaries and guide them. Teenagers too, even though they'll never come out and say it. Children want rules. They want security.
4) Spend TIME with your children no matter what their age. Let them know you enjoy their company. Like any relationship, it needs time together.
5) Have fun with your children and be a healthy role model in all areas.


5 Favorite Foods
A variety of fruits, vegetables, yogurt with fresh fruit, dark chocolate and homemade soups.

5 Books or Movies Michelle could read or watch again and again
Books - I enjoy reading! Finishing a book in a week is not unusual for me. Yet, I never read a book more than once. There are always new ones coming out and I can't wait to read the next one on my list.
Movies - Gone With The Wind, You've Got Mail (or anything with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks). At Christmas time my daughter and I enjoy watching Countdown to Christmas on the Hallmark station. If I'm not in the holiday spirit, watching these sappy movies usually gets me in it. Not considered movies, but I love watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. 


5 Blog She Reads Daily/Weekly
I read many blogs but these are daily reads and each one brings something different to the table for me. When I read a blog, I want a taste of inspiration, motivation to try something new, experience a dash of encouragement and most of all, I want to leave and look forward to coming back for more.
 
http://iwillservewhileiwait.blogspot.com
http://www.embergrey.com
http://pennyspassion.blogspot.com
http://queeninbetween.blogspot.com
http://www.wifemommyme.com


If you haven't already, be sure to visit Michelle's blog Grammie Time and check her out on Instagram and Pinterest too!

 
Each Friday/Weekly Favorites posts are shared in these linkups:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Bucket List :: Update #1

With July slowly coming to an end I thought it would be the perfect time to check in and see the progress we've made on our Summer Bucket List. Here is our original list. As much as I love creating this bucket list, I've been slacking lately. This update serves as a virtual push to get some things checked off our list.


Connor's List
Tackle a glitter project/craft
Complete 3 random acts of kindness - 2 down, 1 to go!
Run through sprinklers
Visit 3 new splash pads
Listen to music at the park

Momma's List
Run 60 miles from June 21 to September 30 - as of today, I'm at 16.8 miles. I got some catching up to do!
Take a day trip to Grove City - scheduled for August!

Treat myself to a mani/pedi
Enjoy a LFFL date with Dean
Read 4 new books - I've read 2 books so I'm fairly confident I'll do well hitting this goal.

Family List
Visit the Columbus Zoo
Spend the day at The Heights pool
Host a BBQ
Go to a baseball game
End summer with a trip to the Beach Water Park

We have another 9 weeks to knock the rest of these tasks off our list! With that amount of time, I think all are obtainable. Visiting the zoo may be one we don't get to but I would love to schedule a trip before school starts. I really hope to kick my running goal's ass so that means I gotta put in at least 5 miles a week from here on out. With August being the hottest month of the year, I'm going to really be pushing myself to tackle the miles while dealing with the heat.

What's been the highlight of your summer? I'd love for you to share in the comments below. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A New Discovery :: ScoutaPark

As a full time stay at home Mom we tend to spend a ton of time at area parks. In a single week, we will more than likely visit 2-3 parks along with our favorite go to. Connor loves going on adventures as he calls them and well, I love being able to survive the witching hour. While living in Austin, you couldn't drive more than 3 minutes without passing a handful of parks. It's one of the things I miss most about the Lonestar State. When we moved to Ohio, I was worried that I would have trouble finding parks that fit our needs. How do you find out what parks are in your area and which ones have the accommodations you prefer? Insert ScoutaPark.


ScoutaPark is a revolutionary new website (and future mobile app, which is really exciting) that connects parents, dog owners, and other park visitors to the park that best fits their needs, whether it be an off-lease park, a park near Grandma's house with a slide, or one that offers a cooling water future. You can quickly search their extensive ScoutaPark database for specific park features, the park size, neighborhood safety rating, or the availability of playground equipment.

ScoutaPark was founded by our friends Dan and Sara. Like us, Dan and Sara moved from Ohio to Texas, and soon discovered the difficultly of finding a park to take their daughter to. Thanks to the genius creation of ScoutaPark, you no longer have to drive around looking for a park nor do you have to worry about finding one that doesn't fit your needs.

How's it work? It's so easy. When you pull up ScoutaPark's site, you simply enter an address, region, amenity or hours and BAM! you get a list of parks that meet your search criteria. For example, Connor and I have to take some paperwork to his doctor this week and I figured while we were the neighborhood, we could check out a park close to the office while we wait. I simply type in the zip code of the office and a list populates.


What I love about ScoutaPark is that you have the ability to rate a park along with the option to list park amenities and share a feedback on any park in the system. As a Mom who is potty training her little one, it's crucial that we visit parks that have restrooms - not mobile restrooms (you know porta johns... gross!) and ScoutaPark takes the guess work out of that decision. Another perk of the site is that when reviewed, you know exactly what kind of park you're pulling up to. Nothing stinks more than getting to a park to discover that it's design isn't right for your 2 year old or is rusty and broken down or even worse is closed. The site is successful because comments, reviews and listed amenities come directly from park goers. You and I have the ability to add information about any park listed in the database. Additionally, if a park isn't listed, you can add it with a few simple clicks. The more reviews and feedback left on the site, the better it gets.

Having a list of parks at my fingertips is a game changer for this SAHM. Now when we are visiting friends, traveling or just want to find something new, I can simply pull up ScoutaPark, type in my desired necessitates and we are off to discover a new place to play. Head over now and discover what hidden gems are in your neck of the woods. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Casa de Cox :: Home Tour

Am I the only one who wonders what the inside of someone's home is like? Maybe it's because I'm rather nosy but I can't help but be curious as to what lays beyond the front door of some of my favorite bloggers homes. When Andrea over at Momfessionals picked "Show Us Your Home" for today's "Show & Tell", I knew I would not only participate but I would be checking out the homes included in the linkup. So without further ado, here is a peak into our home.
Our home was built in 1924 and over the years, we've come to embrace our older home. While its smaller than we would like, just under 1300 square feet, we've learned to make the very most of every inch of space we have. Today's post is going to be more of the smaller details of our home's decor instead of layout. In my opinion, nothing says "rob us!" like an online layout with pictures of your home.

When deciding if we were going to add something to the entry way, we knew we needed to keep it low-key as this is a high traffic area in our home. We scored this blue table from IKEA, the color is deep blue and just gorgeous. All decorations are from Target and I was able to create the chalkboard quote myself thanks to printables on Pinterest. I'm on the lookout for vintage books to add to the bottom shelf. I'm thinking something with a blue, brown or tan cover.

 

We spend the bulk of our time in our living room. The color theme is gray and yellow with pops of blue. The curtains and throw pillows may be my favorite pieces in our entire house. I usually shy away from patterns but when we moved, I decided to change things up a bit and went with bold color (yellow) and bold patterns. Pillows and curtains were both purchased from Target. 

In the corner, we have come storage for Connor's toys. I wanted something that was living room appropriate which nixed the idea of a toy chest. Knowing that storage was also key, we headed to Ikea. We were able to find this shelving unit and baskets. I like having a designated place for toys with the option to decorate as well. 

 


The living room moves right into our dining room so I knew we needed to change up the color some. Never in my wildest dreams would I have never thought this would be my color choices. We went with a bright blue and green curtain and decorations. The room is small so it was important to keep the colors lights as to not shrink the space. When we first ordered the curtains from Amazon, I was uncertain as to if they would work in the space. After hanging them, I was in love. They block enough of the sun out when needed but still give the room a "lighter" touch. 




The size of our kitchen prevents us from being able to really decorate; utilizing every piece of counter space is oh so important so knick knacks aren't really allowed. Decorations were centered around Fiestaware pieces I was gifted in the orange and green colors shown. I love the idea of having a bright kitchen without having to paint the walls and the pops of green and orange do just that. I have plans to add some DIY wall art and when I do, expect a post.

There you have it. Casa de Cox Home Tour. Once we've finished the upstairs, I'll be sure to share it with you as well.



Friday, July 17, 2015

What We're Diggin'

You know when you discover things that make you happy? Little things that make your week? Well Casa de Cox has found some new (to us) happiness around these parts and that's what I'm sharing with you today!

 {ONE}

Connor has been invited to 2 different birthday parties. One this weekend and another the first of August. There is nothing I love more than a good celebration. We've struggled to find a Mom group here and finally have and now we have play dates, birthdays and MNOs to enjoy. Hands down, this is the funnest part of parenting: the social life!

{TWO}


Have you seen this movie yet? If not... DO IT!! When I say we've watched it every single day for 9 straight days, I am not joking. Connor ADORES it. We saw it in the theaters in March and when I needed a break one afternoon, I bought it on Apple TV and we've been hooked. If you are a fan of Sheldon Cooper, you will love this as he plays Oh.

{THREE}

I went to the dentist this week and had some work done because it had been nearly 3 years (!!) since my last visit and when I say I am so glad I did, it's understatement. While getting your teeth cleaned and 2 cavities (whomp whomp) filled isn't something to be joyful about, it's nice to be able to take care of myself again. I've been pushing my needs on the back burner for far too long. I've made an eye appointment for August and when that's checked off my list, I will have all my visits for the year taken care of. Mommas, don't put yourself on the back burner any longer. You gotta be your best to raise the best. Can I get an AMEN?! 

{FOUR}


Thanks to this stellar giveaway, WMM hit 1,000 fans on Bloglovin'. This jump in followers has now put our social media fans at 8,200 strong! That's amazing and so close to 10k. I'm thinking when we reach that milestone, we are going to celebrate big time! 
{FIVE}
 
On Wednesday, I went to a Dream Dinners event and am now obsessed with their services. You pick your meals, prep them all, package them for freezing and take them home. On an evening when dinner is the last thing you want to tackle, you pull out a Dream Dinners meal and dinner will be ready in 20-45 minutes, with all the prep work taken care of so you just bake/cook and enjoy. I plan to go back in September and November.

What brought your joy this week? Share in the comment section below!
Happy Friday friends! 

Each Friday/Weekly Favorites posts are shared in these linkups:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Grow Your Blog :: Ad Space {GIVEAWAY}

It's time for the best giveaway ever again...that's right, the So-Called Homemaker's famous/infamous ad space giveaway! This time, we am teaming up with 17 other bloggers to giveaway a total of twenty-three (that's right, TWENTY-THREE) ad spaces! That means that 23 lucky readers will walk away with FREE ad space, no strings attached! The spaces being given away range from 200x200 spots to in-post ads, and are from bloggers you've all heard of and love!

Ad Space Giveaway - The So-Called Homemaker

The rules are pretty simple: 1. Open to everyone, including our out-of-country friends! 2. All entries will be verified. Although we are saving you some time by not asking for your username for Instagram, Bloglovin', etc., your entry will be verified before you can be declared a winner. If one of your entries cannot be verified, you will be disqualified completely! 3. One ad space per winner...that means there will be a total of 23 unique winners from this giveaway! Enter below and best of luck to you all!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Things We Should've Known

Parenting: an overwhelming experience with a one of a kind journey that no one can truly prepare you for. 

We've been doing this parenting thing for nearly 3 years. Throughout that time, we've learned more than we ever expected. We've discovered that we everything we thought we would never do, we've done. Our life has taken on a new form, one mostly controlled by a tiny human with big demands and needs. Now, we didn't go into this gig blind. We read. We asked. We researched. We questioned. But all the preparation was unnecessary because what we really could have used was the honest truth. You know those tid bits of knowledge you wished someone would have told you.


When asked, "What is one thing you wish someone would have told you before you became a parent?" this is what mothers said... 

Sara :: I wish someone would have told me that in those first few weeks/months of parenting, you completely lose sight of the person you used to be and it can be really scary.  I had a hard time reconciling my new "mommy" responsibilities with my former self.  I loved my baby and my new title, but I struggled with figuring out how to balance both of those roles.  Everyday I wondered if it would always be this hard and if I would ever feel like myself again.  I think many new moms go through this type of identity crisis and it's completely normal.  Eventually the hormones subside, you find a routine, you start sleeping again and you get your groove back...I promise.

Justine :: As silly as it might sound, I wish someone had prepared me for how much longer it would take to get ready to go anywhere. Seriously, you think it's just one tiny person, no big deal, right? Ha! It's like you finally have them dressed and ready and you're walking out the door and you realize you've forgotten their favorite blanket, or their binky, or some other crucial item. Then you think you're finally ready again, and a diaper emergency arises! I'm pregnant with my fourth and I still don't have the leaving routine down. It's so frustrating because I hate being late!

Beth :: That parenting is not “one size fits all”. What’s right for one family may not work for you and that is okay. Focus less on comparison and more on enjoying your family, the family that God had planned just for you.

Jess :: My number one would be let your spouse/significant other help you, especially in the early days. When Abbie was born, for some reason I thought I was the only one who could do it right - the only one who could feed her, the only one to get her to sleep, etc. It took a big toll on me and wasn't easy on our relationship. If I would've just let go a little more and actually let Chris help, everyone would've been a lot happier in those early days!

Ashleigh :: That the (mom) guilt is crushing. I have always had a guilty conscience but dang, I spend most of my days feeling guilty about something; big things, little things and everything in between. I always feel like I could have done everything a little better and yeah, I feel pretty guilty about that.

Chardae ::  I wish someone would have told me it won't be picture perfect, I'm on bed rest and have been for the past 11 weeks. I cannot work, go shopping or prepare the perfect nursery for my baby. I've since gotten over this but being on the couch for half my pregnancy is definitely not what I had in mind. I think we all need to be open to unexpected changes.

Laura :: Read the baby not the book. The books don't have the answers, trust yourself as a mom and you'll know what feels right. 

Jessica :: I wish more people explained just how hard those first weeks/months could be. With my first baby, we survived on tears and zero sleep, and I questioned our ability to be parents daily. I reached out to some close friends and family, and it turns out they had been in my shoes. I wrote a post about what we went through (after I came out of the haze), and so many people related to it. Granted, things can be absolutely wonderful for those first few weeks (my second baby is so easy—the polar opposite of my first), but just in case they aren't, know that you're not alone and that things will get better. The baby will eventually sleep at night, and so will you!

When I asked this question to these Mommas, I considered what my answer would be. After a week of thinking it over, I think I would share this nugget of wisdom with a soon to be mother:

It's not easy. There are late nights, early mornings and little to no sleep sometimes. Everything is a phase but the phases never stop coming. Transitions are hard but necessary. You will feel defeated, you will feel useless, you will question everything you've done, will do or haven't done. But at the end of the day if you can look within yourself and know you've given 110% then know you are rocking your role as Momma. Keep lovin' those babies and remember, no one does it right, all the time. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Litfuse Book Review: Letters from My Father's Murderer

With a goal of reading more in mind, I decided to hop back on the Litfuse book review train. Nothing makes you work on achieving a goal like a deadline. As a member of Litfuse Publicity Group, I have the privilege of reading and reviewing books at no cost to me in return for my written view on WMM. Today, I'm going to be sharing with you Laurie Coombs Letters from My Father's Murder: A Journey of Forgiveness.



When her father was murdered, Laurie sought justice and found it. His murderer now serves two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn’t control. After coming to faith, she realized she was being called to seek something infinitely more difficult than justice: forgiveness. This is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God to change lives. The reader is swept along with Laurie as she undergoes the life-changing transformation of becoming a Christian. As she studies Scripture, seeing God redeeming losses and healing deep wounds time and time again, she starts to understand that her own healing would require her to love her enemy in a real, practical way. Using her incredible correspondence with the man who killed her father, Laurie reveals a compelling journey of transformation, not only in her life, but in the lives of those whom many would call irredeemable. Letters from My Father’s Murderer is for any audience Christian or secular who...
  • Craves freedom from the inability to forgive those who’ve caused them harm
  • Wants to hear testimony of God’s power in our obedience
  • Has experienced pain through other’s sin against them
  • Needs to know healing is always possible
The real story here is not primarily about murder and its fallout, but rather about redemption and how far it can reach.

Laurie A. Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope that is found in Jesus. Her story was featured in Billy Graham's new film, "Heaven." She is a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve and Crosswalk. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters.
Letters from My Father's Murderer completely opened my eyes to the meaning of true forgiveness and the ability for someone at their very lowest is able to find Holy redemption among man. Laurie says a very painful part of her life, the murder of her father, with readers not to play victim but to share the powerful grace that God provides both her and her father's killer.

Two passages in the book really made me stop and think. The first was when Laurie wrote "I wouldn't be able to forgive on my own. I knew that much. So I needed to lay down my pride and allow God to give me strength and grace enough to forgive. It was His work that need to be done. I simply needed to obey." How many of us hold grudges? How many of us saw we forgive someone but deep in our heart hold resentment for their actions? How many of us hate someone regardless of how pointless carrying hate in your heart is?

There is one person in my life that I can only feel disdain for. I should say hate but that's such an ugly word, isn't it? This person has caused me and my entire family a lot of pain, sorrow and heartache. However, me hating her does absolutely nothing but cause ugliness in my heart. God doesn't want us to carry such a nasty emotion around. I've said time and time again, I need to let go of this dislike and let God work his magic on the situation. While I will never have a relationship with her, it's still better for me, individually, to walk a life free of hated, this includes her.

The second passage reads "Forgiveness, however, in no way is an act of condoning sins, for sin is never okay or justifiable, but instead it's an act of allowing oneself to heal. And true healing can only be given by God." Throughout the book, Laurie shares her experience communicating with the man that took her father from her and her siblings. Laurie struggle with the idea that forgiving Anthony means okaying what he did. I totally get that. I would struggle with the same thing. Just because I forgive you for the sins you've committed, it doesn't mean what you did was okay. That isn't the case with the murderer or in my world with the person that's brought my family pain.

If you, like Laurie, I and so may others, carry hate, resentment and bitterness in your heart for someone or a situation, give it to God. Pray over it faithfully. He will bring you the peace you so desire. It may not come quickly or in the way you imagined (Laurie has an ongoing relationship with her father's murderer!! - insane!) but the grace God will bring to this situation will be worth the time it takes you to to pray and show patience. I realize how "simple" I'm making this. I just can't help but think of Laurie's story and how if she can grow in her faith to the point of forgiving your father's murderer, you and I can show forgiveness in our lives, too.