Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites -- April 29

Hey Friday! Another week has come and gone. This week was a balance between busy, busy, busy and really low-key. This weekend is filled with plans with friends and some Mommy & Me plans for myself and Connor. But before we jump into the weekend, here is a recap of this week. 


ONE
Here are this week's post in case you've missed any. I know that I am weeks behind on reading the work of some of my favorite bloggers so maybe you are, too. 


TWO 



As a blogger, you are constantly creating and sharing content that you are proud of, content that we've put a ton of time and effort into. Sometimes a post that you love and worked really hard to put together doesn't get the kind of attention (comments, visits, shares, pins, what have you) that you think it deserves. What happens to these posts? Usually nothing. Until now. Beth, Meghan, Whitney and I would love to introduce you to the Rewind Friday link up! The link up is a chance for you to share your favorite overlooked content. Fresh eyes and new love on posts that you've poured you heart out on. Rewind Friday goes live the last Friday of every month, starting Friday, May 27. For the planners of the world, here is the full list of dates for our new link up: May 27 -- June 24 -- July 29 -- August 26 -- September 30 -- October 28 -- November 25 -- December 30. And there's more! Each month we will feature the bloggers with the most clicked links, perpetuating even more views. Win win! Grab my Rewind Friday button and join us on the 27th!

Wife Mommy Me

THREE
Yesterday I had a morning of pampering with James for our day date, getting my first pedicure of the season. I have to admit I was long overdue. Being in Ohio, I don't find the need to treat myself to pedicures between the month of October to March. My feet our hidden in boots, tennis shoes and TOMs. The nail tech suggested that I use Gold Bond lotion on my feet (especially my heels) nightly because they are that bad. I have dry, calloused heels and they have always, always been this way. But I'm coming to you, faithful readers, in hopes that you can suggest products or solutions to how I can keep my feet from looking and feeling so rough. So hit me with how you pamper your feet; Momma needs some help. 

FOUR


I've been cutting back on the amount of coffee I drink. Especially coffee filled with empty calories, tons of sugar and cost me lots of pretty pennies. To keep myself from buying a calorie-filled Venti while out and about, I start my morning off by making a cup to go using my Keurig. I recently got the chance to try Shuffle Bean coffee and I have to tell you, this coffee is one of my favorite medium roast options to enjoy at home. Not only is the good coffee that gives me the extra push to tackle my days, but the company itself is one with a mission. Shuffle Bean is from Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms. When you purchase Shuffle Bean Coffee, you are doing your part in helping to protect the environment. It is the most environmentally friendly coffee from the Rainforests of Costa Rica. How cool is that? Thanks Shuffle Bean for fueling my days. As a Momma who runs on a whole lot of coffee and Jesus, this care package was well received. 


FIVE
We are in the middle of planning our end of Summer vacation. I know it's not even Summer yet but we are planning to take a family vacation in August/September but we can't agree on where to go. I want to visit somewhere within driving distance (think 10-14 hours) and I'd love to visit the Outer Banks or anywhere in North or South Carolina. I also want to visit Mackinac Island but it's a bit pricey. James is thinking Florida. I'm not really on-board with that idea as we've been there plenty of times before. I want this trip to be something of a tradition for us, just the 3 of us on vacation together. So send your vacation ideas my way. Things to keep in mind -- I want to drive, we are traveling with a potty trained 3 year old and I don't want to spend a ton; my frugal self just won't allow us. 

SIX


So many of you related to my baby/pregnancy envy I shared yesterday. While I sometimes wonder if our decision is the right decision, I'm often reminded that God's plan ultimately trumps all so I need not worry about it too much. Also? This 3.5 year old makes life good. With his big heart, his never-ending banter and his sassy personality, he makes our world so bright. No matter if we never expand our family, I know that our party of 3 is pretty much my happy place. I have the most supportive, hilarious, giving husband ever and a son that just melts my heart and blows my mind on the daily. Life is good! 

Happy Friday friends; enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday Thoughts V3

Oh hey Thursday! How happy am I to see you? Today James and I have a day date planned while C is at school. Pedis and lunch before getting the babe from school are in order. Connor is going to be so excited to have his Papa take him and pick him up from school. To kick the day off, I'm going to do a little confessing in today's Thursday Thoughts post.

... In no shape or form do I want another baby but can I tell you that I am sometimes a bit envious of all the fun that a new pregnancy brings? The announcement, the weeks leading up to your delivery, the fun of planning a nursery and picking a name, sharing your new bundle of joy with your family and friends. I will never know that excitement again. And yes, that's my choice, 100% so, but I'm sometimes a little sad by this fact.

... I've been on this cleaning and purging spree and I have to confess -- we have far too much stuff. I swear to you if I purchase one more scarf or water bottle or bottle of washable paint or can of play dough, someone needs slap some sense into me. If something is heavily discounted, I feel like it's "such a good deal, I can't pass that up" when in fact I need to do just that, pass it up. The garage sale we are having in May can't come soon enough. Goodbye clutter!

... Connor's preschool graduation is in a month and I'm torn between making it a big deal and treating it like any other day. I know this is his first graduation but it's for 3 year old preschool. I'm sorta over celebrating everything to death. The same goes for his birthday. We still have 6 months until we need to worry about it but I'm seriously considering going the no party route and instead have a small get together with just family. Does this make me a bad Mom?

... Cleaning the bathroom is Hell on Earth for me. I hate it. I flat our refuse to clean the tub, leaving it for James to deal with. I would pay someone to come to my house and clean just the bathroom if I had it my way. Considering we only have 1 bathroom it gets a lot of traffic so cleaning it's of utmost importance however, I really don't care to put any effort in cleaning it. 

... My favorite days of the week are the ones in which we have no plans and we can stay in our pajamas and do whatever we want at the slowest of slow paces. If we are lucky, we get 2 days like this in a single week and I'm pretty much the happiest of happy Mommas. I'll go through a stage where I pack our schedule full of every activity available, leaving us no downtime. Our lazy days usually happen on the tail end of such weeks. Connor likes it so much he gets a little sad when he is told he can't wear pajamas to school.

... Everyone is up in arms about Target and their restroom rules. Hand to Jesus, I don't care who pees next to me. What I care about is you using the hand dryer while I'm attempting to get my 3 year old to pee without the automatic flush going off. I'd let just about anyone pee next to me than to set Connor into a "magical potty" tailspin.

What's going on in your world? Please tell me I'm not the only one with such ridiculous thoughts! I often feel like I'm a little bit weird because of my thought process. Maybe it's Mom brain. Whatever it is, it keeps life interesting in my little corner.

Happy Friday Eve, friends!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Reading Wednesday - April 2016

For Reading Wednesday this month, I have just one book to share with. My goal is to read 2 books a month but I just haven't had the extra time to read lately so while I usually share two books, I've only completed one. I'm this close to finishing The Mapmaker's Children (I have less than 80 pages) so maybe I'll play catch up and share 3 books with you next month. #goals So for March, I'm sharing To Know You by Shannon Ethridge.

My Book Club Pick
To Know You by Shannon Ethridge
Years ago, Julia Whittaker gave up two daughters for adoption. Now she must find them to try to save the life of her son. Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son was diagnosed with biliary atresia at birth. Dillon has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a transplant. He can receive a “living liver” transplant but neither his parents, nor various family members and friends, are compatible. The transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. Very short. He has two chances for a compatible liver: his two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart and adopted at birth. But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers—to donate a portion of her body to a brother she’s never known? Will either sister even be a match for their half-brother? Will either of them show mercy and courage if they are? Julia knows she’s probably on a fool’s errand—reaching out to the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs them. But what other choice does she have except to try?

My Review 
When reading the book description above, I had high hopes for the book. The story line presented seemed believable and it's been rated well on book sites and from online retailers. However, unless you read the reviews you'd have no idea that is a book with strong religious messages. While I am totally okay with novels that mention Christianity and the beliefs held by the characters (I am a Christian myself), this book was a bit too "churchy" for me. I thought the story was interesting, but the characters were a bit type-cast and the faith conversations were a bit forced. It wasn’t enough to make the story un-enjoyable, but enough that it wasn’t a completely smooth, believable story. 

For May, I will be finishing The Mapmakers' Children by Sarah McCoy (Personal Pick) and adding The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand since I have less than 80 pages left in The Mapmaker's Children. May's Book Club Book is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes which I've already but can't wait to share it with you all next month.

Now it's your turn to share what you've been reading. Add our button to your book themed post and linkup your book reviews and list. You have until May 24 to add your April blog post.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 Simple Week Night Dinners

Dining out isn't something that we do often during the week. I typically meal plan 2 weeks at a time and am responsible for preparing the bulk of our meals, especially dinner. Because I'm still learning my way around the kitchen, I tend to make really simple meals. However, I've challenged myself to make one "new" dish or side for each meal this month. Some times I've succeeded and others.. well, I've failed. But I have picked up a handful of really tasty, husband approved meals over the last month. I'm going to share my top 5 favorites from the month. Keep in mind these are simple meals that are for a family with no dietary restrictions.


 I still learning the basics and it's been working for us so far so if you are struggling in the kitchen, I can promise you these meals will be a hit and you'll love having new meals to add to your dinner rotation. First up is a simple chicken with riced cauliflower and a side of apples and grapes.


This meal is so easy, I'm almost ashamed to share it with you but riced cauliflower is new for us and I can't believe we've been missing out for so long. It's a great substitute for rice or any other high carb side. You can buy it pre-riced, I got my from Trader Joe's, and you simply saute it for 7-10 minutes and you have yourself a veggie. How simple is that? Next on my list with the cauliflower is to make stir-fry with it. Think of all the calories you are saving by switching rice out for a cauliflower.


I am huge fan of soups, strews and chowders so this is heaven in a bowl. It's a crock-pot dish so you know it's a winner. Place one cup chopped or diced ham and one bag of freezer diced hash browns in the crock-pot. Add a can of cream of chicken, diced onion (if you don't like onion you can omit this), a can of sweet corn and 16 ounces of chicken broth. Cook on low for 7 hours and the last hour add in a 8 ounces of Velvetta cheese and a bulk of cream cheese. Allow the cheese to melt completely and serve. You are going to love this chowder. Promise.


If you eat a lot of chicken and are looking for a new way to enjoy it, you have to try al fresco's Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage. I boiled ours one night when I was in a crunch for dinner along side corn and Brussels sprouts and it was such a healthy, filling meal. These sausages have maple syrup and apples blended in, which give them a sweet taste that's fun to have for dinner from time to time. If you love corn on the cob like we do, you can make it on your stove top in 15 minutes. Fill your sauce pan with enough water to cover your corn, 1/2 cup of milk and a 1/2 cup of butter. Bring to a boil and add your corn. 15 minutes later you'll have sweetest strove top sweet corn. Be sure to click on the al fresco link above for your chance to win an all-expense paid weekend getaway in NYC including $1,000, plus a tour and private dinner prepared by Bon Appétit's Executive Chef in the new BA Kitchen.


This Italian beef is James's favorite dish. Not only is it another crock-pot meal but you can count on leftovers the next day for lunch or even another dinner. To make the beef, add the unthawed meat, one packet of Italian seasoning, 16 ounces of beef stock and 8 ounces of peperoncini peppers in your crock-pot. Let the meat cook for 8 hours on low and you should be able to shred it with a fork. If you don't like a lot of spice, remove the peppers before shredding. We've had this dish 2 ways - as pictured above and on buns as a sandwich. It's so delicious that it's been on our menu every week since mid-March.


I'm sure you've seen the pin floating around Pinterest with this one pan chicken dish. I started making this dish 3 years ago and haven't let up yet. I shared it with a friend and her family loves it, too. It originally calls for Italian seasoning but I've used ranch before too and it's just as good. Add chicken breast, cubed red potatoes and green beans in a glass baking dish. Top with a cup of melted butter (sad but true -- what's a good alternative to this?) and your seasoning. Cover and bake for an hour. It's simple, it's basic, it's tasty.

Share with me your must make dinners. I'm looking for quick and easy meals that are tasty and don't require a lot of fancy skills. I'm slowly working my way up from amateur chef and would love some new ideas for our dinner menu.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ipsy Glam Bag -- Is it worth it?

When it comes to fashion, hair and makeup, I'm a pretty simple gal. I'm very much your typical mom in that I choose comfort over style and tend to keep my hair and makeup to a style that's quick and simple. My mornings don't allow for much primping time. If there is one area that I focus on more it would be my makeup. I struggled with severe acne as a teenager and young adult so my skin is a sensitive topic for me. Having said that, I feel most confident when my makeup is done. Even if my hair is in a top knot and I'm rocking yoga pants. Because I do spend more time on my makeup, I thought it would be fun to splurge on an Ipsy subscription.


If you're not familiar with Ipsy it's a monthly subscriptions in which you receive a cute zipper pouch filled with 5 beauty samples for a flat $10. You complete a short survey so Ipsy knows what kind of look you like (I'm a classic makeup kind of girl) which means the bags are designed with you in mind. My first question when subscribing was it the monthly fee worth it? Here is a break down of what I received in April's Glam Bag and my review on this month's bag.

Luxie Beauty Dreamcatcher Tapered Highlight Brush 522 -- retails for $24*
Brushes are expensive, especially if you purchase quality ones so to get this in my first bag, I was pleasantly surprised. When using the brush, I get a clean application thanks to the tapered designed. The brush is really soft which again is a perk of paying a bit more for your brushes.

City Color Cosmetics Highlight Trio Collection #1 -- retails for $8.99*
Not only are these shades designed for highlighting areas like your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and forehead, the shimmer shades also work as eye shadows. I am going to play around with the highlighting aspect but have used all three shades as eye shadows and love the look.

Tarte Cosmetics LipSurgence™ Lip Crème in Wonder -- retails for $24*
I think this is my favorite piece from the bag. I have been wearing more lipstick and tinted chap-stick lately and this lip crème goes on so smooth and the color is perfect for me. It's gives me just enough color that I don't feel washed out when going light on my makeup. As an added bonus it doubles as a cheek color.

SKIN&CO Truffle Therapy Serum -- retails for $70*
This ultra-lightweight serum reduces fine lines and create radiant, firmer, brighter skin. I've noticed some trouble spots (my frown line between my eyes along with lines around my eyes) that need a little of TLC. You apply to clean dry skin and once it's dry, you can then apply your moisturizer and makeup.

Adesse New York Organic Infused Gel Effect Nail Lacquer in Irina -- retails for $18*
I will admit that I was a bit bummed to get a polish in my bag. While I do paint my nails, I don't really need another polish. Once I tried the color on, I was a bit more happy to have it on hand. It's a grayish purple color which I think it perfect for Spring and for my style. This polish also gives you a gel like finish with the salon cost.

*the retail price listed is for a the full size item listed.


I've used each item in my bag and have no complaints. I paid $10 and feel that I got my monies worth. The tapered brush, polish and highlight trio are a $50 value since they are full size items so I really think I scored with these bag, especially if actually use the items and don't toss them in a makeup bag and forget about them. While I would never spend $70 on truffle serum, I like being able to try something out, especially before buying.

If you've been toying with the idea of trying Ipsy, I say do it!! You can cancel any time and personally, I think you'll make money on the deal since I was given way more than what I paid for. Another perk is that you can use an Ipsy shopping code to save a certain percentage on items if you decide you'd like to purchase more outside your subscription. Here is a link to my referral code if you'd like to sign up.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mommy & Me Road Trip Survival Kit

This shop has been compensated by Acorn and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PoiseLinerLover

This time next week, Connor and I will be taking a road trip for a play date at COSI in Columbus and for a slumber party with a girlfriend of mine. We've been doing more traveling lately and I've discovered that there are a handful of things that make traveling easier for me as a Momma. I visit my local Wal-Mart to get all the goodies I need for my Mommy & Me Road Trip Survival Kit. Think of it as "Mommy diaper bag" of sorts. I can get all the items I need at one place, the prices are always perfect and I can get in and out in minutes.


I've started carrying a small bag with items that I may need in my person. Having them with me at all times has allowed me to grab them quickly when necessary. Here are is what I typically keep in my bag.

  • Clorox To Go Pack -- while I usually find myself reaching for a baby wipe (how did I survive without them?), I use a Clorox wipes on table tops before having lunch, on the chair arms at a diner, I've ever used them on Connor's hands before when things have been far to "dirty" for my liking. 
  • Orbit Gum -- a no brainer really. But I find that when I start to get tired during a drive, chewing some gum helps waken me up.
  • Burt's Bee Lip Balm -- this is my favorite tinted chap-stick. I always feel so dry when in a car (or plane) for a long time so I like to freshen up a bit with chap-stick. This particular one gives your lips a bit of color so that's an added bonus, too. 
  • Hand Sanitizer -- Connor is down right deathly afraid of automatic hand dryers. When that's the only option, we use a bit of hand sanitizer after going potty. I typically wipes his hands off again afterwards but this antibacterial solution not only smells good, but kills whatever germs we picked up using a public potty.
  • Advil -- I like to carry medicine on me in case someone gets a headache. The mister and my best friend know that I will always have something with me so I'm the first to ask. I have a back injury from high school that tends to flair up when riding in a car for too long so this helps ease some of my discomfort quickly. 
  • Stress Away Roller Ball -- because traveling with little ones can be tough. I can only take "What road are we on now?" or "When will we be there?" so many times before I start getting tense and look for the nearest exit.  I couple applications of my Stress Away and I'm soon feeling less stressed and ready to tackle the rest of our trip.
  • Poise Panty Liners -- because exits with restrooms are sometimes further away than you can manage. I don't need liners daily but I like having them with me in case of an emergencies. Poise liners, my favorite discrete and thin liner on the market, provides protection against lighter leaks. I like knowing that I'm covered in case my Mommy bladder strikes before I'm able to get to the exit. We've all been there, right? And as Connor will tell you "accidents happen".


I love making more moments matter and having a bag ready with all my essentials allows to tackle our day with confidence. Little ones can throw a wrench in your plans with a single fit or a bad day so it's nice to be prepared for whatever comes my way. What's your must have items when traveling solo with a little one? This isn't our first trip but it's always a bit unnerving when you are traveling with a potty-trained 3 year old!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

3 Ingredient Sanitizer Spray

Before having Connor, I was never one to complain of not feeling well, being sick or fighting something off. But motherhood and you littlest loves change all that when they bring germs home with them. Not only have I gotten sick more in the last 3 1/2 years but Connor has had his fair share of sickness, too. Back in February when we discovered Connor's allergies, I started doing some research on using essential oils to help aid him in his allergies. I was surprised to learn that oils have so many uses and couldn't wait to incorporate them into our lifestyle.

One oil I've been using for 2+ years is Thieves Essential Oil. A girlfriend in Texas recommended it because we were in this pit of sickness and she thought it would help my never-ending battle with virus after virus. I was uncertain but thought I'd give it a try as nothing else was keeping the germs from taking over. This particular essential oil is a combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils, which gives it a spicy scent, which I enjoy. It reminds me of Fall and the scents of my favorite season. Thieves is perfect for cleaning and sanitizing, which is the point of today's post. With 3 simple ingredients, you have yourself a sanitizer that keeps germs at bay, smells good and allows you to maintain a healthier lifestyle.


Something I'd like you to keep in mind before I start. I only use and recommend Young Living Essential Oils so that's what I'm sharing with you today. I've tried others and quiet frankly, I like these the best. But please, do you own research when it comes to oils and how to incorporate them into your life. If you do have questions, feel free to ask. I've done a ton of research and would be glad to answer any of your questions.

DIY THIEVES SANITIZER SPRAY

Ingredients & Supplies
Amber Glass or Aluminum spray bottles* - Amber Glass can be found HERE and the Aluminum ones shown in my photos were purchased from the Dollar Tree for you guessed it... $1!
10 drops Thieves Essential Oil (mine is from Young Living)
Distilled Water
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
*use only metal or glass bottles as oils (especially ones citrus based) can eat through plastic.

Directions
Mix 10 drops of Thieves Essential Oil with the 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Let this combination sit for 5 minutes.
Add oil/salt combination to your water, mixing together.
Pour your sanitizer into your spray bottle.* Shake for good measure and spray!
*I use a large glass measuring cup since it's designed for easy pouring. 


Simple, right? Not only is does this spray last forever, it's safe to use daily. I often spray Connor's hands (and mine) 2-3 times a day. Just a quick spray will do. Think of the germs lurking on the shopping cart or the mall playground equipment or even worse, the bathroom stall door handle at your favorite big box store. I've used this on my curtains and bedding, counter tops and furniture when we've been hit with a nasty virus and I don't want it continually being passed from one person to the next.

Easy to make, safe to use and full of natural ingredients you can pronounce. Almost to good to be true, right? I promise it's not! I've been slowly working other oils into our daily routine and plan to share more of those with you over the next couple months but I want to use them enough to give you a solid recommendation.

Have you used oils before? I'd love to hear how you've incorporated them into your life. I'm always on the lookout for new a way to use the ones I have on hand.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Currently -- April

It's been since December since I've put together a "Currently" style post and that's got to change. I love the easy flow of these posts, not to mention it allows me to share a lot in one single post. #bloggerwin Here is what's "Currently" going on in our world.


LOVING
The amazing weather we've had this week. Yesterday it was in the 80's and we spent a big part of the afternoon outside. I love the fresh air and being able to tire Connor out with exploring. It's supposed to cool down and be Spring before rushing straight into Summer and I'm really looking forward to those temperatures. Give me 65 and sunny every day and I'd be a happy girl.

READING
The Mapmaker's Children at the slowest pace ever! I need to get it read by next week's Reading Wednesday post but I'm struggling. Not because it's a bad book but because I don't have the extra time these days to read like I would like. But once I'm done reading that, I have a stack to move onto. What are you reading? I need fresh material for the summer.

EATING
Riced cauliflower. Yeah, it's a thing and I've been living under a rock but we are lovin' it. We use it in place of tradition rice and so far, it's been a hit. I want to use it to make a stir-fry this weekend. Think of the calories and fat you're saving with such a simple switch. Have you had rice cauliflower yet? If so, please share your recipes with me.

DREAMING ABOUT
Buying a house. It's so far in the future (think 18-24 months) but I am constantly thinking about what we should consider when purchasing. We asked Connor what he wanted in his new house and he said "A really cool pink computer" and "A pink sprinkler". It's all about PINK these days with him. We want the basics, really, but I'd love a friendly community close to a park and in a good school district. If I'm being honest, all I really want is a dishwasher. #momlife

DRINKING
Diet Snapple Peach Ice Tea. Don't say anything about the diet part. I know what's inside of it; it's far better than the Coke I was drinking before. I picked one up a few weeks ago and now, it's my favorite thing to drink with dinner. I drink a ton of water throughout the day and need a little bit of flavor every once in a while. We have started making decaffeinated green tea at home too and it's okay (I need sugar!) but it's a welcome changed from all. the. water.

LISTENING TO 
Carrie Underwood's Storyteller. I love this album. I bought the CD and instantly had a handful of favorites. I love "What I Never Knew I Always Wanted" so much so that James gifted me a framed photo of the 3 of us with the song lyrics over the photo. Mommas, if you listen to this song, you will cry. Oh how it gets a Momma's heart. 

MAKING
New recipes. I've been really trying to switch it up in the kitchen lately. As always I depend on Pinterest to give me fresh ideas and so far, I've hit it out of the park each meal. We made Corn Potato Chowder twice now and it's been a hit with everyone. I've made Lasagna Cups too and while I don't think James is crazy about them, they are a great alternative to traditional lasagna.

PLANNING
A summer field trip calendar. Connor has 11 Fridays at his disposal this summer so I want to make the most of them and have started to put together a list of Friday Field trips for him. No matter how busy we are, I want to make the time to take in our city and the parks, farms and attractions that are offered around us.

VISITING
Friends and family more and more. I've been making more of an effort to plan trips to see those out of town on the weekend and then getting in plenty of play dates during the week when it's possible with our schedule. Connor is such a people person and loves being in the company of others, especially other kids. So from now until July we are pretty busy and as tired as I am come Sunday, the memories are well worth it.

WATCHING
House Hunters on Netflix. I'm fairly certain I've watched 10 episodes this month. I love seeing others shop for houses. I'm often in shock of how crazy (ridiculous) people can be when shopping but seeing how I've never bought a home before, I'm sure I'll be just as ridiculous when it's my turn. I'm still watching Gilmore Girls but find that I need to take a break from time to time because if not, I want to struggle Lauren Graham. I'm not a fan of her. I didn't like her in Parenthood and the same can be said in GG. She does play the exact some character in both shows so that explains so much.

WEARING
Sandals although I'm in severe need of a pedicure. Since it was in the 80's multiple days this week, I took full advantage and pulled out my new sandals. I'm not a fan of shoes, as in I prefer to be barefoot, so sandal weather is very much preferred.

WANTING
To visit IKEA during the week when it's less stupid busy. I refuse to go on a weekend but don't want to go without James since he loves the place. I want to pick up a couple items so I'm hoping to make it down one day when the Mister can take a personal day and we go mid-week. Shopping crowds are the worst and IKEA seems to amplify the madness so I'd rather skip all together than to deal with all the people.

OBSESSED WITH
Buying fresh flowers for myself. Our local grocery store has "manager special" flowers and I snag myself a bouquet each week when we grocery shop. For less than $3 I get a pretty arrangement that lasts a solid week, sometimes two depending on how "fresh" they are. I know some ladies aren't fan of getting flowers but I am. Whenever James brings me home flowers, I just melt. It could easily be one of my love languages.

So there you have it. That's what's "Currently" going on in our world. What's new with you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Piggy in the Puddle - Activity & Movie

Can I tell you how much of a nerd I'm becoming? I have been searching for fun ideas to share with Connor to make days indoors more enjoyable. As much as we would love to be outside, poor C's allergies are all kinds of gross right now so we are staying in door when the pollen count it highest. Which is often these days. But that's okay because we have discovered new books, fun crafts and cute movies to spend our afternoons with. This month we uncovered a new love of mud and pigs in "The Piggy in the Puddle".


See the piggy,
See the puddle,
See the muddy little puddle.
See the piggy in the middle
Of the muddy little puddle.

And so begins this rollicking story-in-verse about a determined young pig who absolutely refuses to leave her mud puddle -- much to the dismay of her family! Connor loved how silly this book sounded when read out loud so much so we read it 3 times in one afternoon. Once we wrapped up reading it, I shared with Connor that it was his turn to be a puddy piggy!


Putting the pig together was super simple. I used pink construction paper, a pink pipe cleaner for his tail and a pink button for his nose. Added eyes and we had ourselves the perfect pig for getting muddy. I glued the constructed pig to a piece of painting paper to protect our table and to allow us to keep our big once he dried.

C insisted on making his piggy's legs as muddy and messy as possible. While painting, we talked about pigs and where they lived, what they ate, what sound they made. Connor went as far as making up a story about his pig. It had something to do with teaming up with Batman to protect Gotham City from Joker (makes perfect sense, right?).

While we let our pig dry, we popped in Peppa Pig's Muddy Puddles that I picked up from our local library. We don't get to watch Peppa often so this was a treat for him. He is a fan of Peppa so a muddy pig craft plus 30 minutes of Peppa on TV made for the best afternoon. ever.!

This was the first time we've read "The Piggy in the Puddle" and we loved it so much I purchased us one from Amazon to add to our library. Painting was fun too and the messy pig themed movie was an added bonus. "Playing school" as Connor calls it has pushed me to brainstorm more fun we can have this Spring and Summer. 

Find more "The Piggy in the Puddle" activities, recipes, crafts and more over at Raising Fairies and Knights. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Target Dollar Spot -- THANK YOU!

My love of the Target Dollar Spot all started with their stationary. As an office supply junkie, I am drawn to their inexpensive stationary thanks to the pretty colors and patterns and the ability to match your note pads to your cards to your pencils even. It's really the best place to pick up fun cards on a budget. While I use the budget here, it's no something I practice when shopping the dollar bins at Target. Why you ask? Let me give you an example.


In true Stephanie fashion, I visited Target the Tuesday after the holiday (Easter) to discover, much to my delight, that they are replaced their Easter/Spring product to include these 8 new thank you card styles. Any sane person would have picked one or two but not me. I HAD TO HAVE THEM ALL. It's a sickness really. So here I sit with 64 thank you cards. What does a person do with that many?

What did you score this month for our $10 at Target link-up? I didn't hit my $10 this month but that's simply because I had everything else available in The Dollar Spot already purchased. Sad but true.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Blogger Love Vol. 3

Happy Friday, sweet friends! I am excited to share Blogger Love with you this morning. While picking 5 favorites this week, I realized that not only is this blogging community crazy talented, making picking just 5 posts to share nearly impossible, but that I absolutely love being a blogger and sharing this world with you and other readers. Blogging has given me an creative outlet I never had before and a sense of ownership of something that's 100% mine. Maybe it's because the weather is now warming up but I feel like I have a ton of fun ideas and posts coming up. The sunshine and clear skies have really boosted my spirits. But enough about how blogging is so awesome and how finally the sun has returned to the Buckeye State. Here are 5 posts that I loved from this week.


I really want to OWN my blog and have more options on my content and such but I'm terrified of losing a post or heaven forbid my entire blog so I'm putting off making the change from Blogger to WP until I can foot the bill for the transition (it's costly!). Having said that, Beth makes me want to make the change RIGHT NOW. Her WordPress pros is right in line with what I want for my blog. If you are unsure of what move to make, check out the post. I'm pretty much sold on the transfer, it's the price I bulk at.

As much as I would love to be able to use my DSR more often, for every day use, I'm using my iPhone. While sometimes I snap a photo or two that don't require any edits, the majority of them do, especially when we are indoors. Desiree shared her go to phone apps to help take your photos from okay to awesome with just a couple clicks. I'm a fan of Afterlight and use if often but the others are new to me. Check out her list and let me know if you have any others you'd suggest.

4 Ways to Supplement Your Income by No Getting Off This Train
While we aren't dealing with a loss of employment like mentioned in Jaime's post, I think saving money and doing "extra" to build a bigger nest egg is always a great idea. I'm having a garage sale with friend in May and while I'm not looking forward to prepping, it will be nice to put the money earned during the sale in our savings. Not to mention purge our basement of all the extra. Because every penny counts, I love the idea of doing more when you are waiting for traditional means of income.

Grab Green Review and Giveaway over at Not In Jersey
I wouldn't call myself "green" as much as I would say I like to know what's in the products I use when cleaning. Having said that when I discovered Grab Green in Dara's post, I was instantly curious. I use essential oils to clean with because not only are they chemical free, but they smell amazing too. But for some chores, you need a little more than oils so Grab Green seems like a great option considering what isn't hidden inside their product. Head over to Dara's review and giveaway and check them out for yourself. 

At Home Date: His and Hers S'Mores from bybmg
James and I don't have as many date nights as I'd like. Life is busy and between the hustle and bustle of parenthood and work, we don't get the chance to date each other as often as we would like to. When Becky shared her at home date idea earlier this week, I knew instantly what James and I were going to do this weekend once C was in bed. While I'd love to include my littlest love in the fun, it's hard for me to share when there are S'mores involved. 

What post inspired you this week?
Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Picture Perfect Project :: April

Yesterday was beautiful. For the first time in ages, it was warm enough to spend the morning outdoors. Spring has finally arrived and the next week looks warm and sunny which means we will be outdoors every chance we get. But when we learned of Connor's grass and tree (and dust) allergies, my initial thought was "What about being outside? How do you keep a 3 year old boy from being just that? A 3 year old boy?". After spending some time at the park yesterday, I made an executive decision for our household -- we are going to be outside, allergies be damned!


Flowers and trees are blooming, the grass is slowly turning green and lush again. I've never once imagined loving color and the outdoors as much as I do now that I'm a Mom. It's amazing what a simple hour or two of fresh air and room to roam can do for your spirit. If yesterday was any indication of the fun we have in store for us, Spring and Summer are going to be absolutely glorious! Now to get to working on our Spring Bucket List!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April's TKBTB with Connor

Welcome to April's The Kids Behind The Blog linkup. Thank you to everyone that shared their little ones with us last month. If you are new to the linkup, you can get all the details in THIS POST but the gist of it is for us mom bloggers to give some spotlight to our littlest loves, the ones that made us mothers. Each month you will ask your little one(s) a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and than share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Simple enough, right? Without any more delay, here is my Q&A with Connor J.
 

 
Connor - 19 days shy of being 3 1/2!!! 

  1. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? Play with them and go to school and stuff.
  2. Who is your favorite person? Will
  3. When playing outside, what do your ideal sunny day plans look like? Blow bubble and play outside when it's sunny and not dark.
  4. What do you like to do when it's raining? (Since April showers bring May flowers) Hold an umbrella so that the rain doesn't go on me.
  5. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would you plant? Pink flowers.

For once, Connor didn't really have a lot to say. We chatted, I asked the questions and he simply answered. He mustn't have thought much of our questions this month. He was very practical with his responses which really made me giggle. He is getting so "big" and often too cool for me already. 

Here are May's questions -- all of which is dedicated to us Mamas in honor of Mother's Day. 

  1. What is something I always say to you?
  2. What makes Mommy happy?
  3. How do I make you laugh?
  4. What do you enjoy doing with me?
  5. What is my favorite thing to do? 

Grab our button and join us this month and next (May 11) with the cute, sassiness that is life with a child. You never know what will come out of a little person's mouth and we would love it if you shared such gems with us.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Our Favorite Board Games

Our family has entered the stage of board games. We have family game night weekly and Connor thinks it's fun to have round after round of competition. We typically have to limit him to 6 rounds or he will go all night long. Because he is at an age where learning is still fun, I love playing games with him that teach him something without him knowing he is learning. Sneaky parent for the win. There are four games that we play over and over and I want to share those with you because while we might be playing game, we are also learning new skills, too! 


The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
Your forest friends are hungry and they need your help! This award-winning preschool game develops matching and sorting skills, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and pre-handwriting skills. Designed to teach matching, sorting, counting, and simple math skills, this game is perfect for little ones. Be the first to fill your log with delicious acorns and you win! You could also spin "pick an acorn," "steal an acorn," or "lose an acorn," so be strategic, little squirrel.

Shelby's Snack Shack Game
It's a number and counting bonanza. Shelby buried bones on the beach and needs your help collecting them. Help her collect the most bones and you win. Sounds simple, but be careful-spin a sneaky seagull and you'll lose some bones or get sidetracked chewing a flip flop and miss your turn. helps children build skills including: recognizing the numerals 1 to 5, counting,beginning addition and subtraction, pre-handwriting skills, social skills (such as taking turns and following directions), and simple strategic-thinking skills.

Friday's Fruit Fiesta Game
It's lunchtime in the rain forest and Frida is collecting letters for her little ones! Spin the letter spinners, search your nest card for a match, squeeze the matching alpha-fruit with the toucan squeezers, and place it in your nest. Find four alpha-fruits in a row first and you win, but look out for the lion -- he'll feast on your fruits! Fill your nest with four fruity letters first to win the game. This game helps teach the letters of the alphabet through play. Also helps develop strategic thinking and fine motor skills.

Frankie's Food Truck Fiasco Game
A shape-tastic recipe for fun! Business at Frankie's famous food truck is brisk! Customers just can't satisfy their craving for this cool cat's unique, shape-inspired menu. Kids take turns using the fun Frankie Squeezer to fill orders while they practice identifying geometric shapes, a beginning math skill, and develop fine motor skills. It's a simple recipe for fun, but watch out for greedy guests, slippery banana peels, and other hazards. The first to deliver a 5-course meal is the winner!

We first started playing these games when Connor received The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game for this 3rd birthday. I soon discovered how many other games are available with the same teachable lessons but with unique themes. While we play, Connor is learning letters, shapes, colors, numbers and fine motor skills thanks to the adorable squeezers. We love these games and you and your little ones will too! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Take It One Day At A Time

This post was originally published on March 14th over at Work it Mommy as part of of Whitney's The Mommylogues Series. Because I enjoyed writing the piece, one that I think many of you can relate to, I thought I'd share it with you again today.

I blog about everything. Really. Kids, food, books, favorite products, all things holiday and so much more. WMM is very much our son's baby book and because of that, I keep things open and honest. I share the good and the bad. But what I want to share with you today is how as a first time parent, I've learned that to succeed in this journey, you need to take it one day at a time.


I can hardly remember the first days as a mother. I have fuzzy memories of the early days - Connor sleeping on my chest, staying home, safe and warm, learning as we went, thinking our only child would stay little forever. I never imagined 3 years would fly by as fast as they have. As we moved out of the honeymoon parenting stage, I was shocked to discovered that parenting wasn't always as safe and warm as I remembered it to be. No, it's usually anything but. Curve balls are thrown, germs are shared, teething begins, sickness takes hold, personality forms, sass is a daily battle.

I've often wondered how we would ever get through the day. You know that golden hour that your husband walks through the day and your shift as a SAHM is over because know you have help! Connor wasn't a graceful teether and has been sick a lot thanks to some killer allergies. I recall a moment when I asked God to just get me to bedtime. Get us through the mess and let bedtime come and give us both (Connor and I) the break we need. It was then that I realize that parenting is as simple as this... surviving one day at a time.

I often joke that as long as we all go to bed at night, safe and sound, then it's been a successful day. We are in the middle of year 3 and while it's not been total madness there are moments when I tell myself "tomorrow will be better". Tomorrow we will start fresh and new and today will be a memory of what we survived. Because sometimes that's all you can do, survive. Now don't think I've been tortured with my motherhood. No, I've been blessed. I've been challenged and loved and pushed and made to grow and bend and flex. Connor has made me the person I was meant to be, even if it's been a bit messy at times. But I got here by taking it one day at a time.

So as we raise Connor, my husband and I repeat this one mantra over and over again: Take It One Day At A Time. We have to remind ourselves that as adults we are still learning and so is our son. We are learning to enjoy life together, to embrace the teachable moments and to pray through the tantrums. We don't know what the next day holds but as long as we get through today, then we know that we've survived another and before you know it, we've had a great week then a month and now almost 3 and a half years. Every one has survived, everyone is still thriving.

So dear new parents or parents who are in the (terrible, ugly, no good) thick of it, just tackle today. Survive today and go to sleep tonight knowing tomorrow can and will be a better day. Hugs!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Favorites :: April 8

It's been a month since I put together a Friday Favorites post. I feel like I share so much of our week on Instagram that I have very little "new stuff" to share come Friday. Maybe I could share less ... yeah right, that's not happening. IG is my favorite social outlet and I use and abuse it daily. So with that in mind, here are some highlights from our week.


{ONE}
Here are this week's post in case you've missed any. 
{TWO}

Confession -- I never want to be the hot mess Mom at preschool drop-off. I've been really working hard on getting up before Connor, showering and getting ready for the day. For those of you who get were I'm coming from, the struggle is sometimes all too real. It's so easy to just roll out of bed, throw up my hair and tackle the day. But I don't want people to think Connor's Mom is a hot mess so I actively try to have my act together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Having said that, I've been doing more with my makeup. As in, doing it. Period. I love Make Beauty makeup. It's classic shades and colors that are appropriate for daytime wear. I feel like I'm put together and I've been rocking some lipstick lately which is new to me, but I totally love. Make Beauty is offering Wife Mommy Me readers 20% off their orders with promo code MAKEYOURSELF from now until April 15. 

{THREE}
Connor has been asking us about his dog Simon that passed away. A bit of a backstory, Simon was put to sleep in 2014. Connor wasn't yet 2 so I'm totally blown away that he even remembers Simon. But we explained that Simon is in Heaven with Jesus and on a weekly basis, Connor will ask why Jesus needed Simon. I've answered him the best way I know how but he isn't satisfied with my response. So Mamas, help me out! How can I explain to Connor why Jesus needed (his words) his dog Simon? I can't even promise him a new one because I'm not a dog person. Fun fact: I don't like animals. Period. Rudy is the exception because he is a weirdo and I'm a weirdo so we fit together in perfect harmony.

{FOUR}

I hosted a Bunco game night last evening and had a blast. I picked the theme April Showers bring May Flowers and loved how it turned out. I kept it simple since spending a ton of money on a game night isn't in the budget but it was such a fun way to enjoy some one on one with a few of my girlfriends. We ate, we played round after round of Bunco and I finally got to move around a bit to the winner's table!

{FIVE}
Are your weekends as busy as ours? I swear we have something planned every weekend from now until mid-May. Weekends are family time for us since James often works late or travels for work but the older Connor is, the more we have packed into the weekend. Often times, it takes everything in me to get out of bed Monday mornings because I am so tired from the weekend. I can't imagine how tough it is for James, considering he has to get up and be at work by 8AM. But in true Mom fashion, I'll make it through the weekend, capture as many smiles from C as possible and love every chance we get at making new memories.

Happy Friday, friends!