Monday, August 31, 2015

Toddler Approved || Sweet & Salty Trail Mix

Do you know what today is? National Trail Mix Day. What better way to kick off the week than with a perfect snack like trail mix? I could live on the stuff but because that's probably not the best idea, I don't. Lucky for me, Connor loves it too so it's an easy on-the-go snack for us to share. When putting together the perfect toddler and mom approved mix, I stick with things that both of us like, that pair well together.

Before I share the "complicated" steps of assembly such tastiness, I thought I'd give you a brief history lesson on trail mix. According to Wikipedia (which is where I get 98.9% of all needed info), Hadley Fruit Orchards and Harmony Foods (two California growers) claim that trail mix was first invented in 1968 by two California surfers who blended peanuts and raisins together for an energy snack. However, trail mix is also mentioned in Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel The Dharma Bums as the two main characters describe their planned meals in their preparation for a hiking trip. Regardless of exactly who discovered this perfect combination, I am happy they did.

Toddler Approved Sweet & Salt Trail Mix 

Container with Lid
Measuring Cup

1 cup of the following items:
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Butterscotch Chips
  • Yogurt Covered Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Cheerios
  • Goldfish
  • Pretzel Sticks

This is the tough part... put each ingredient listed in the container. Secure the lid and shake to mix up the items. Keep covered and enjoy when you are craving a sweet yet salty snack.

This recipe lasted about 6 days between Connor and I. When on the go, I would fill our Re-Play snack cup up and hit the road. When the afternoon munchies hit, we had the perfect snack! Be sure to PIN this quick and easy snack idea for future reference.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Wife Mommy Me Confessions

One of my favorite types of posts, Facebook statuses or photos to read and see are ones that share a Momma's not so proud moments. When someone chooses to share what real life is like. I try very hard to keep things real on here and via social media. Of course, I have my pride and keep the very worse to myself. Okay and maybe with a few of my closest friends. But just in case someone out there though they were reading a blog by someone who has her act together, I thought I would confess a few things. Maybe make you feel like you aren't the only one. Or better yet, that there is someone out there who is a bigger of a hot mess than you (raises hand...).

I would give anything... anything at all, you name it... for a sitter that could get Connor to bed at night so that James and I could go out on a date. I'm so obsessive over C going to bed on time and without incident so date night has been pushed to the back burner. I miss spending time OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE with my husband. I'm thinking I may need to get over my bedtime control freak ways and just plan something and let whatever happens happen.

You know the Moms that are dressed nicely, hair done and makeup applied just perfectly? I want to be one of them. Not so much because appearances matter but because on the very rare occasion I dress up and do my hair and makeup, I love how I feel. I like knowing that I don't look homeless #serious. Maybe I'm wrong for thinking I don't need all that to head to the park to play... maybe I do. Who knows?

I have so much coming up in September that I have no clue where I'm going to find the energy for it all. Busy Mommas that juggle it all so well, how do you do it? I don't know if there is enough caffeine for all the busyness that's coming our way. However, I'm going to take each chapter and make the very must of it. Even if I have dark circles and yawn constantly.

Kids say the damnest things. Seriously. I need to get my act together because you know it's bad when a 2 year old notices you look a mess. While at the grocery store Connor leaned out of the car cart and asked "Mommy, did you forget to brush your hair?". The saddest part is that no... I didn't forget. I purposely did my hair that way. And we are circling back to confession number 2.

My birthday is in 2 months and Christmas soon after and I've created the most EPIC wish list. I don't even care that I'm almost 33 and shouldn't have a birthday or Christmas list. I do and I'm awfully proud of every single item on that list. I will admit it's add that I have a OneNote document with quick links to each item but I'm just trying to help folks out during the holiday seasons. Shopping made simple courtesy of Stephanie. They will be thanking me come mid-December.

I'm a full time stay at home Mom and on Tuesday, James carried laundry to the basement and I made the comment that I was going to do laundry on Wednesday. He replied "I'm running out of clothes". There is no excuse as to why I haven't touched the laundry other than I wanted to finish "Who Do You Love?". Book lovers everywhere understand this all too well.

I promise nothing is ever 100%  together in our world. One area might be flourishing while another is suffering. That's life in the Cox household. And while I wish things would be different in certain ways, I really love our chaotic life as a family of 3. Even thought it leaves me looking like a mess with too much laundry to do and not enough time to read!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"It's Worth It" :: Share Your Worth It Stories

Often times, pregnant or new Mommas who are at their whits end will come to a Momma and ask "Is it worth it? Is the pain and discomfort, the wait, the lack of sleep, the worry, the stress, the wondering if I'm doing everything okay. Is it worth it?"

The answer is and always will be YES. 

Wife Mommy Me is very much a reflection of my life as Connor's Mom. I share the ups and downs with each of you, knowing that as mothers, you've experienced the same things as I. I remember when we found out we were pregnant, I instantly stop thinking of myself and starting focusing all my energy on this little person growing inside me. That focus hasn't altered. Connor is my family's main focus. Raising him, loving him, nurturing him.

Along the way we've had some crazy bumps and moments where I honestly thought to myself "there is no way I'm going to survive this." But I did. And I'm sure to share my mommy story. I'm sure to tell those of you waiting to meet you little one that it is worth it.

Every emotion. Every high. Every moment of doubt. Every moment on pure love. It's worth it. 

Here are previous "Worth It" posts: Being a Confident Mother || Mama Mondays || All About My Motherhood

Join us the last Wednesday of each month and share with us your "It's Worth It" stories. While motherhood has it's less than glamorous moments, "It's Worth It" is our chance to share the good that we encounter and experience as mothers.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

MTT :: Our Top 8 Learning Tools

One part of parenting I love the most is teaching Connor and preparing him for school. Finding ways to teach him his letters, numbers, ABC's and to explore our world has been such a fun challenge over the last year or so. It would be so easy to just chill all day in front of the TV or knee deep in the playroom but I want to provide Connor a good foundation for school. My motto is that Connor is a direct reflection of me as SAHM so I take that role seriously by focusing a part of our day, every day, working with him on one topic or another. I've compiled a list of what we've been using and I hope it helps other Mommas out there.

Resource #1 :: Kate from Gift of Curiosity is my go to site and resource for printables, lessons and even ideas on new topics/concepts to share with Connor. Subscribe to her email list and you'll get weekly emails with exclusive content. As a subscribe, you'll be able to access Kate's printables by season/holiday and they are fantastic!

Resource # 2 :: The public library! We visit the library at least once a week. We first enjoy story time. This week's Wiggly Worms class offered up 40 minutes to read stories, dance, sing songs, and complete a simple craft. Not only is the a wonderful way to get your little one to mingle with others, but there is usually a theme to each story time.

Resource #3 :: Pinterest. I know this seems like an obvious tool but for as long as I've been working with Connor, I've never needed to look any further than that site. From scavenger hunts to printables to coloring pages and so much more, an easy search will result in more than you ever imagined you would need or use. I have a couple toddler themed boards that have tools and resources we use when working with Connor: For Our Busy Little Bees, Printables and Smarty Pants.

Resource #4 :: Mommy School with Leah over at Leah with Love has great ideas for little ones. Her daughter and Connor are close to age so the ideas Leah shares are perfect for C. She is great at putting theme lessons together. Our favorite one was the unit on transportation.

Resource #5 :: Your local mall. Our mall in Texas and the one here both have wonderful childrens programs. Our local mall is taking the summer off but will start back up in September. Each event provides your little one(s) an hour or so with 25-30 other kids, goodies to take home and the chance to see a show. Last time we attended we had a gentleman that brought different animals with him and had a small show and tell. It gave the kids the fun opportunity to see and touch animals that aren't usually in their habitat.

Resource #6 :: Busy Beavers. Sounds a bit off, right? Hear me out. We discovered Busy Beaver nearly 18 months ago and I have no doubt their videos have aided in C learning things like colors and shapes along with catchy songs to reinforce particular topics. This is on YouTube so I set a timer and after 20-30 minutes, Connor has to turn it off and move on to something else. This also counts as his daily allowance of screen time.

Resource #7:: Childrens museums are a excellent way to kill an entire morning, learning about fresh topics while allowing your little one to stretch their legs and visit with other children. Often there is a special attraction or series and those make for a fun experience for Connor. Along with museums, we love visiting the zoo and aquarium. Both provide loads of fun and teachable material.

Resource #8 ::  Wife Mommy Me. I mean this is my blog so I can do a shameless plug if I want to, can't I? I try to share with my readers things that we do at home to facilitate a learning environment. Sometimes that includes free for all painting sessions or a 30 minute block of TV. But when I'm on my A-game it includes thought out activities to help Connor learn and excel.
Don't get me wrong. Some days are so full of errands and chores that we are lucky to get 2 books in at bed time. However, I actively try to fit no less than 1 hour a day with structured learning. Sometimes that means 15 minutes here or there and other times, it's a solid chunk of time. No matter how we spend our days, we always find a little but of learning along the way.

How do you incorporate "school" and learning into your child's every day schedule? I'm always look for new ideas so please share!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Reading List

Last week my Facebook and blog feed were filled with back to school photos and posts, sharing the start of a new school year. While we still have a bit of time left before Connor starts, we've been doing a lot of back to school talk. James and I want it to be a simple transition for C come November. While I feel confident he is going to adjust well, I've gathered up 15 books all based on going to school. We've already read a handful of them and I am lovin' the excitement on Connor's face as he learns more and more about what school is going to be like.

We just snagged these from the library on Wednesday of last week and the ones marked in BOLD are ones that we've read already and loved. Connor has asked for me to read Backseat A-B-see and Does a Panda Go to School every single night at bedtime. Those two might just have to go missing ;)

Happy Monday! Let's make it a good week.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Favorites :: Running with Aubrey Zaruba & Wife Mommy Me

When Aubrey of Aubrey Zaruba and I brainstormed a topic to collaborate together on it didn't take long for us to pick our love of running to share with our readers. While we both consider ourselves runners, we aren't your typical racers. Simply because neither one of us put much importance on time. Both Aubrey and I love the feeling of completing a run or race. Knowing that we've just pushed ourselves to run 3, 10 or 26 miles is what gets us up and running. While time is something to consider, we both love the sport more for what it does for us, not for the time on our watches. We've put together 10 running tips for those starting out or for those who want to take their love of hitting the pavement to the next level.


Aubrey's Advice

Set a Goal :: Do you want to run a 5K, half marathon, lose 10 pounds, stay in shape, etc?
Buy Proper Clothing :: Avoid any and everything cotton. It traps the sweat.
Pay Attention to Nutrition :: Eat a good meal the night before and the morning of. If you're running longer than a few miles, make sure to plan enough water and fuel.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments :: Use an app, watch to track pace and distance. 
Have FUN!:: Talk with friends, enjoy being outside, rock out to your music.

Stephanie's Suggestions

Don't Compare Yourself :: Two of my closest friends are marathon runners, one of which is running the Boston Marathon in the Spring. While their accomplishments are amazing and something to be proud of, they worked hard for them. As have I on my runs. You are the only competition you need.
Invest in the Right Shoes :: If your feet hurt, your runs are doomed. If you plan to make running something you love, something that you are passionate about, buy the proper shoes. Spending a bit more will be the best thing you ever do for your runs.
Do More than Run :: I notice that my runs are quicker, my body more capable when I've been lighting weights, swimming or taking cardio. Don't just run. Find something else you like and add it to your workout routine.
Enjoy a Running Rest Day :: You are no good to yourself when you push your body and mind past your physical limitations. My rule of thumb is to run every other day. If I run too many days in a row, I notice that I start to slack a bit and I would rather not run at all then half-ass it.
Believe in Yourself :: I never in a million years thought I would be someone that loved to run but I am. I love how I feel after a run. I love knowing that this body just ran 3 miles. It's a high that's hard to explain but totally worth all the work put into it.

Whether you are an experienced runner or someone that has recently picked up the love of pounding the payment we hope you picked up a tip or two from our list. For those of you who are running nuts like Aubrey and I, what piece of advice did we overlook? We would love to hear from you!

Happy Friday, friends!  

Each Friday Favorites post is shared in these linkups:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge :: Check-in #4 + GIVEAWAY

Today is the last check-in of our Summer Reading Challenge. When Liz, Courtney and I started planning this months ago, I never imagined the fun Connor and I would have tackling this challenge. Not only had this challenge allowed us to discover new books but it's given us a bit more one on one time together each day when we pick a handful of books to read together. We've made reading a priority this Summer and I'm loving the memories we've made in the process. In case you've missed our previous check-ins, here they are: ONE, TWO, THREE. Here is a complete recap of the books we've read this Summer.

In addition the books listed above (all picked out based on themes shared HERE), we doubled up and read a bit more from our own toddler approved reading list. Here is a list of the books we've read this Summer that didn't make the "theme book" cut. Books that we would highly recommended have been marked in BOLD.

In 12 weeks, Connor and I read 42 books! Watching Connor's love of reading grow has been the highlight of my Summer. He now loves going to the library to help find new books. He has learned a bit of patience along the way too as we read more now than ever before. All this reading has taught him to sit still just a bit more. I plan on continuing our love of reading through Fall and Winter with books based on the season. Next week, I'll be sharing 15 book all about "Back to School".
Because Liz, Courtney and I love reading, we shared the idea of this challenge with you and promised a prize at the end. Well here it is. You will follow the prompts on the Rafflecopter to enter to win a $10 Starbucks gift card, a children's travel coloring set and one of my all-time "Mom" book, Sparkly Green Earrings. Winner will be announced next Friday!

Don't forget to link up your reading challenge post as well. Remember you must link up one post before you can enter the giveaway.

An InLinkz Link-up

Thanks again for spending the Summer with us reading and creating fun memories along the way. I never imagined having a son that loved reading as much as I do (and let's face it, it doesn't get more bookworm than me!). If you are interested in any of the books I've listed, just click on the title. You'll be taken to Amazon to make your purchase. I don't get any kick back if you make a purchase, I just really enjoy shopping Amazon so that's where the links lead too. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's The Little Things :: CJ's First Dragons Game

One of the activities listed on our Summer Bucket list is to go to a baseball game and last Thursday, we were able to do so. The weather lately has been perfection, much cooler than usual so when it was forecasted to be a high of 80 on Thursday, I knew we would have the best time. A fun evening spent with family, enjoying perfect Summer weather while watching some ball? What more could we ask for? Connor had a blast; I'll the photos do the talking.

We are lucky to leave within 10 minutes of a Minor League Baseball team, the Dayton Dragons. MiLB games are perfect for little ones. Both here and in RR we have access to teams that provide family friendly sporting events. From the fun Connor had on Thursday, I see a lot of games in our future.


+ When we first arrive the music was a bit loud but Connor couldn't peel his eyes off the scoreboard. 
+ I took full of advantage of the space and make myself comfy. It was the most perfect night for baseball.
+ Connor starting getting antsy so Uncle Jeff and Daddy took him to play a bit. 
+ Celebrating his mad throwing skills by winning a new hat

+ Coloring and baseball? This boy has it made.
+ Cotton candy at 7PM makes total sense, right?
+ And when cotton candy is followed up with Dippin' Dots you know you have the good life.
+ The Dragons WIN! I think it's pretty cool that Connor's first baseball game resulted in a victory for the home team.

We had the best time. Summer feels a bit more complete since we took in a game. Connor did well and we had the chance to spend time with my brother in law and sister in law. It's little things like this: taking in a baseball game with family that means the most to me. Just being with family again. I can't wait to experience more night like these with Connor and James.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Let's Eat! :: Stop Light Chicken Stir Fry

When looking for a quick and easy dinner dish my favorite go to is always stir fry. I've shared two other recipes, both based on our love of asparagus. First up was my Beef and Veggie followed with a chicken dish, Lemon Chicken and Asparagus. Since we've come to appreciate a simple one pot dinner, I figured it was time for me to branch out a bit. If I can't have asparagus then the next best thing would be broccoli. Chicken and broccoli go hand in hand but with a touch of Mexican spices, this is one stir fry that could compete with our love of Taco Tuesdays.

Stop Light Chicken Stir Fry
+ 1 pound of lb. skinless chicken breast, cubed
+ 1 cup of broccoli florets
+ 2 bell peppers (red and yellow), cut into bite size pieces
+ 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
+ 1 teaspoon cumin
+ 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
+ 1 tablespoon olive oil
+ 1/4 cup of water
Heat a large pan on medium high heat adding oil and heating until simmer. Add diced chicken, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides. Toss in the peppers and broccoli and continue, cooking until veggies are slightly browned and softened. This should take about 10-15 minutes. I'm not a fan of the taste of raw veggies so I tend to cook mine closer to the 15 minute mark. Add spices and water to help coat the stir fry with the spices. Turn heat to simmer, cooking until the water is completely absorbed.
This recipe, who's name was inspired by Connor - "Momma, dinner looks like a stop light!", makes 4 servings and is approximately 250 calories per helping. Add brown rice and you have an easy, delicious, homemade Mexican dish without the guilt of enjoying too many tacos and chips and guacamole. Be sure to PIN this recipe for easy reference when you are looking for a quick and tasty dinner solution

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend Shenanigans :: August

Since being back home, our weekends are scheduled packed. This weekend was no exception but I did make a point to document more of our weekend to share on the blog. I don't normally do weekend recaps but find that I love when others do so I figured I'd start sharing our weekends every once in a while. While James was at a work conference in Florida, here is what a Connor and Mommy weekend looks like.

Connor and I spent the bulk of Friday at home. Sometimes it does your body good to relax and just hang out. We did ventured out of the house to attend Meet The Teacher with Macie. Connor and Macie will be going to the same school this Fall and from the looks of it, these two are going to have so much fun together. I shared the picture of my car's dash on Friday evening with this caption: "The day before a trip and my engine light comes on and I find out my Cruze has been issued recall number 7 (!!!). Let's not forget Connor is now terrified of going potty thanks to effin' magical flushing potties. At least my nails are cute." Friday evening was rough but everyone survived so I call that #winning.  


Saturday morning I woke up to one of my all-time favorite emails from Bath and Body Works; 3 wick candles were on sale for 2/$24 so of course I stocked up. I scored Kitchen Spice, Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmellow and Farmstand Apple. I can not wait to smell Fall this year! #weirdo Late afternoon, we packed up the car with Aunt Tracy and drove up to visit Aunt Kristin and Uncle Big Love for the day in Columbus. On the drive up, I discovered Panera's Carmel Latte and as much as this hurts to say, it may be better than what Starbuck's offers. No visit to Columbus is complete without a trip to THE Ohio State University. We did some shopping, sightseeing and topped the night off with some frozen yogurt... hold the yogurt but extra toppings please. 


Sunday was spent taking it easy after a full day of busy on Saturday. Since we got in late, Connor didn't get to bed until after 10. While he slept in (8:30), I listened to our church's sermon online. I love being able to do this when we are unable to attend the service. Once C got up and moving, we played (Connor) and read (me) before visiting our friends for lunch and a bit of play time. We headed home to relax a bit before Daddy got home and while Connor watched Sid The Science Kid, I prepped for the week, complying a list of to do's and working on our scheduled for the next 5 days.

Weekends are always busy in our household. I love the hectic pace of making memories, visiting friends and spending time together but a slow end to a busy weekend is always the way to go in my book. Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Awesome Link Up: August Edition

Can you believe that we are almost half-way through August? Crazy, right? RIGHT! September ushers in Fall and with Fall comes birthdays, holidays and then the main event CHRISTMAS! Before our hectic season kicks in, I wanna focus on the awesomeness that is the here and now in our lives. Sometimes just taking in the fun parts of every day life gives us a much needed reminder of how blessed our lives really are.

Within the next couple months Connor and I will be spending a bit more time apart than we are accustomed to. While I'm at MOPS, he will be in childcare and then school with start and he will be away from me for 3 hours every Tuesday/Thursday. Before we find ourselves having time apart, we've been spending just one on one together at home during the week. While we still have play dates and visit with friends, we have been spending 2 days a week just hanging out together. These days spent at home have quickly became my favorite days of the week. 

Maybe it's because I was used to the horrid heat of ATX but the past week has been amazing weather wise. We've been able to turn off the AC, open windows and doors and enjoy the fresh, cool air each morning and evening. Family time spent outdoors has been even more enjoyable because the temp is usually hanging out around 75 or so. PERFECTION!

Speaking of cooler weather, I've been pulling together ideas for our bucket list and man oh man am I so damn excited! We haven't celebrated Fall in Ohio as a family of 3 before so you know I'm going to go all out. James, this is your warning! Weekends will be packed full of memory making adventures. I really hope to take in as many festivals and pumpkin themed events as our schedule allows.

Making friends has never been my strong suit. However since becoming a Mom, I've just put myself (and Connor J) out there and in doing so have planted this seeds of friendship and I can't wait to see how they grow over the next 2-3 years. Between play dates, MNO and MOPS, I feel as if are family is going to flourish this year and for years to come. For those of you Moms looking to branch out a little, see if there is a local MOPS branch you can join. If that's not your thing, I get it. Maybe ask a classmate's Mom to coffee. Just make the effort, I promise you there are other mothers out there looking for friendships, too! 

As if me planning for the new year comes as a surprise! I have a handful of project and ideas in the works and I can't wait to tackle them and share them with you. I love the start of the new year. Not because I'm good at meeting goals or even resolutions but because a new year gives you another chance at getting it right. But starting in 2016, I'm going to have 3-4 themed posts that are monthly regulars. Each will have a little more behind the scene content. I am also cutting back on sponsorships and product reviews. I'm looking to get back to the basics of blogging.

There you have! Some awesome thoughts from this week! Happy weekend friends! 

Each Friday Favorites post is shared in these linkups:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Photo An Hour Challenge || #WMM1001

Last Friday, I realized that I hadn't been focusing on my 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge. I shared what my game plan was in this post for the summer so I decided to pick something off that list and work on it Friday. I decided to go with the photo an hour task. Simple enough; just snap a photo once an hour. I started at 8AM and stopped at 7PM. Here was what our Friday looked like.

8 AM :: Sinuses have been a pain so I started the morning off by drinking tea with lemon and honey.

9 AM :: I decided to make Friday a stay in day. We had a busy weekend planned so I needed to spend some time at home. Time at home includes putting away laundry.

10 AM :: Connor asked to read A Halloween Scare in Texas, one of his all-time favorite books. Don't worry, we have that Ohio version, too.

11 PM :: Time to put away dishes from the previous evening and wash our breakfast and lunch dishes.

12 PM :: While Connor's watching some TV, I help myself to an afternoon snack of ice cream.

1 PM :: Time to get ready for the day. I hate showering early in the morning and then cleaning so I usually wait until all the chores are finished then get showered/dolled up.

2 PM :: Connor and I are out of the house and off to run a couple errands.

3 PM :: We stopped by our church to get class registration taken care of.

4 PM :: Connor got an afternoon treat of donuts for bearing through a ridiculous hair cutting experience at Great Clips.

5 PM :: Back home and dinner is made. It's Friday which means calories AND carbs don't count so bottomless pasta #FTW

6 PM :: The text I've been waiting all day for comes and I fall in love with the newest member of the Macke clan. I can not wait to see Desiree as a girl Mom!

7 PM :: MOPS Girls Night and Planning Party kicks off with some bowling. Leggings, black socks and bowling shoes are just too much fashion for me to handle, let me tell ya.

There you have it. Some days are so busy that taking a photo every hour would never happen but last Friday was just the right amount of calm and hectic really. I love documenting random parts of our life and this totally fits that bill.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WILW :: Lost My Name Books + GIVEAWAY!

I'm going to cut to the chase today. You all know how much I love to read. You know how much time Connor and I spend buried under piles of books. You know that we visit our local library on a weekly basis. Plain and simple we are a home full of book lovin' fools. We are also fans of personalization and one of kind finds and gifts. So when I find the most perfect personalized book ever, you know I'm dying to get my hands on it, right? Well thanks to Desiree, I discovered a fun new book and can't wait introduce you to it and give you a chance to WIN ONE for yourself!

Each and every Lost My Name book is personalized to include your child's name within the story. Every book starts off the same way, with the little boy or girl losing their name. Page after page is filled with the adventure of finding and claiming the letters to make up his/her's name. Ideal for 2-6 year olds this book gives your little one that chance to discover their name in a whole new way. I do think this would make a wonderful baby shower gift as well. Babies grow into clothes, toys and books!

Connor loved this book so much he wants to give you a chance to share the adventure with your little one. Simply follow the Rafflecopter prompts below to enter to win. We will pick and announce our winner on Friday August 20th on our Facebook page! Good luck!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Litfuse Book Review: Among The Fair Magnolias

With more than half the year behind us, I recently realized that I was a bit behind my yearly reading goal. I use Goodreads to keep track of all the books I've read along with ones I plan to read. At the beginning of each year, you get the chance to pick your reading goal. I chose to read 30 books this year. As of today, I've read 18 so I have a quite a few still to read. However, as a member of Litfuse Publicity Group, I have the opportunity to read and review books on a monthly basis. Not only does this give me a chance to read authors I'm not familiar with but it also puts me closer to reaching my 2015 reading goal. Today, I'm going to be sharing with you a perfect end of summer read: Among The Fair Magnolias

In the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history, four Southern women—destinies forged by birth, hearts steeled by war—face near impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers she’s very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She’s in love with one of the freedmen on her family’s plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including “A Lasting Impression” and “The Inheritance.” Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award.

A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels.

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), “The Protector,” recently made the New York Times best seller list.

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams.

Each novella is rich in history and details of Southern life, something someone, like me, who hasn't traveled South much would enjoy. I felt like I learned several things about life in the South with each turn of the page. The history lessons taught are done so with enough detail to keep you informed without feeling like you've just sat through a History class. Details within each novella gives you a clear picture of what life was like during some of the scariest times of our nation's history. Each story has a different setting- a Georgia plantation, a small-town Texas homestead, Nashville slums, and an island for wealthy vacationers - I was given a taste of Southern life through the eyes of women an men who would have to overcome hardships and pressures of society, allowing God to light their way.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Currently :: Week 3

August has arrived and summer is (finally!!) winding down. As a lover of all things Fall and Christmas, you know I'm wishing/pushing/begging for this month to fly by. Seeing as this is the second full week of the month, I think it's safe to say that's exactly what's happening. To kick off the week, I'm joining Becky over at Choose Happy to share what's going on in our life lately.

All the new changes coming our way. As someone who once bulked at change, ushering it in without complaint is a new experience for me. Between being home for the first time in 2 years for Fall, Connor starting school, my joining MOPS as a member of the leadership team and so much more, I can't wait to see what fun we have this season.

A sense of belonging. We've been home for a full 6 months now and routines have been established, life is no longer a constant list of to do's. While this is our hometown, the same house we brought Connor home from the hospital to, it's finally sinking in that we are back in Ohio, among our family and friends, back to where we belong.

Something other than yoga pants and t-shirts. I've discovered the world of Lularoe and Sanuk and I'm addicted. Lularoe carries such comfortable, colorful pieces that make getting dressed fun again. I shared my Lularoe maxi in this photo on IG. It's soft, comfortable and fits my 5' 1" frame. I'm sure I'm late to the Sanuk bandwagon but holy smokes this sandals are the most comfortable thing I've ever worn on my feet. Grab yourself a pair! 

For the best Fall we've ever had as a family of 3. Consider this your warning that I'm about to go crazy with the Fall fun this year. Between our yearly Fall Bucket List and Connor's 3rd birthday party, the next 3-4 months are going to be a blast. I have so many ideas of places to visit and sites to see. I can't wait to share it all with you.

For Connor and I to kick the sickness we've had for the last week. Between sneezing, blowing our noses and sore throats, we've taken a beating with these Ohio allergies. C's on medication so he should be rebounding quickly and I'm hoping to just ride it out. One week under my belt and I've survived so let's pray by mid-week I'm a-okay.

What's currently going on in your world? We have a busy week ahead of us (weekend included) so we are kicking the week of with some chores and errands. Happy Monday, friends!