Tuesday, May 31, 2016

10 Reasons I Loved Having Our Son In Preschool

Connor wrapped up his first year of preschool last Thursday. While I can't believe our baby is old enough to even be in school, he is and we are now enjoying our first week of Summer vacation. Connor started school in November due to his late Fall birthday. He attended school 2 days a week for 3 hours a day for the last 6 months. While this isn't a ton of time in the classroom, I am so glad we sent C to school to begin with. It's a big decision and a change that isn't always welcomed for little ones but we got lucky with Connor, who handles changes easily. Making the decision to send him to school was simple for us but more than anything, going to school provided us with an extremely positive experience.

Connor loved going to school. He was excited each morning and would share with me who he planned to play with and what games they would play. After school, he was eager to share with me the games he played, the snack he had and the craft he made. He was quick to tell me that he was good in school because I once learned he had to sit outside the circle because he wouldn't stop talking. (Side note: he comes by it honest!)

I got "me time". Most mornings, I would head back home to work on a post and do some blog networking. Things that take a bit more concentration so they are easier to accomplish without Connor "helping". Other times, I'd run errands and meet a friend for breakfast. Usually I spent my "me time" doing something that was easier done without a 30 pound sidekick. No matter how I spent the time, I was able to get a bit of a break 6 hours a week.

My patience for arts and crafts and board games runs really thin. While I like doing them with Connor, I find that I get really flustered with him during some of our craft sessions. Luckily, he had a saint for a teacher who was able to allow Connor be creative without getting frustrated like me. I have saved every single one of his crafts because I know what work getting a 3 year old to pay attention is. And also, I'm that mom.

I get to be his Mommy, not his teacher. Teachers are some of the most amazing people in my opinion. Ms. Vicki and Ms. Emma had 19 Connors to keep in line and did so day in and day out. They get to be stern and strict and stick to rules and lessons and I get to be his Momma. I don't have to teach him everything, I have teachers like his and others, to help mold him into a wonderful student.

Connor has created friendships within those 4 walls without the help me planning play dates and Mommy and Me outings. His confidence and people skills grew immensely over the last 6 months and I think that's all because of his weekly interactions with others. He had to learn to share, to play with others quietly and to take others into consideration with me being there to remind him to do so.

We have a very picky eater on our hands with Connor. Going to school proved to be a lesson in "taking just one bite" more days than not. We've learned that Connor doesn't like pears (like at all, he will tell you all about his dislike for them) but loves bagels with cream cheese and raisins. He was given the chance to try new things that I wouldn't have offered him at home, making the foods he does like a little more diverse.

Before starting school, Connor knew quiet a bit. He knew his ABC's, how to count to 15, he recognized all shapes and colors. He was a very active talker and didn't well in most social settings. School to us was more of a way for C to have structure because at home, some days are a free for all. But I was pleasantly surprised with how much C learned this year. He can now count to 30, he knows his ABC's, upper and lower, he can hold his pencil/crayon the correct way and has almost mastered writing his name. Academically, he has grown a ton.

We had a routine that Connor liked and expected. As a SAHM, it's easy to never leave the house other than to the grocery and random doctor appointments. Connor soon realized that on Tuesdays and Thursdays he had preschool, that we wouldn't be seeing friends other than the ones at school. When I would ask him what we did on one of those days, he would quietly reply "I have preschool with Ms. Vicki". I think it's important for kids to have schedules and routines and preschool gave us that.

We've stressed the importance of good behavior and school has reinforced those expectations. While Connor is a typical 3 year old, who knows how to work the room and throw a fit all within the same minute, going to school and having 2 other adults remind him to use his manners, be kind to others and behave accordingly has given us more clout when we tell him that he needs to be a good boy.

Connor attends school at our home church. This year his relationship with Christ along with the time he spent in the Word, learning the stories within the Bible has grown and that is a lesson that we couldn't have done alone at home. From simple story times to crafts to songs, Connor learned so much about Jesus Christ and other members of the Bible. His heart is being shaped to be Christ centered, in home and at school. That there is reason enough for him to attend preschool.

Sending your children to school is a tough choice families make each year. Do we start now? Do we send them to public or private? Do we homeschool? However you tackle your child's education, I only hope that you have just as much fun as we do with school. I loved school growing up and took my education seriously and I hope to say the same for Connor.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Currently -- May + a GIVEAWAY

This post has been sponsored by #MCDMiamiValleyAngryBirds but our love of ice cream and family movie dates is all our own. 

Happy Memorial Day! This weekend has been so full of family fun, I love weekends like these. James was out of town last week, Monday thru Friday, and Connor and I had a busy week so a three day weekend was exactly what we needed. So today, I'm going to play catch up and share what's "Currently" going on in our world.

The community events that are taking place now that it's Summer. The weather has finally turned, giving us hot days and warm evenings to spend outdoors. Festivals and free classes with our metro-park have been a ton of fun. I am trying to put my dislike of hot weather to the side and get outdoors with Connor more. 

I have about 100 pages left in The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. This book is good but for whatever reason, I'm struggling getting through. I've been reading 30-50 pages a day for the last 2 weeks so I'm eager to finish it and move on. I shared my reading list in last week's Reading Wednesday post and will be moving on to Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.

More ice cream than I should be. I mentioned the warm weather and with that brings the need to indulge with some cold, tasty ice cream. I'm trying to balance it with healthier food decisions and have done a pretty good job so far. I've made zucchini boats, Mississippi beef and chicken fried cauliflower rice; all which have been so so so good.

All the water. Plus an occasional lemonade. I try to up my water intake in the warmer months. I'd love to be able to drink closer to a gallon a day but after a while, I get so tired of just plain water so I add in a glass of lemonade at lunch or dinner. I have backed off the coffee because I can not for the life of me make a good iced coffee at home. Someone give me some tips.

Blake Shelton's new CD "If I'm Honest". I am a huge fan of Blake's and have been since his first hit "Austin". I remember working the Summer after graduation and hearing that song on the radio every morning when we were opening up the store. But this CD is awesome and gives a lot of insight into this failed marriage to Miranda. Or at least, that's how I'm taking many of the songs on this album.

Plans for our Summer. I'm all about spending time with Connor but will openly admit that we still need to have some scheduled time apart. I've got signed up for swim lessons, VBS and soccer. The only time I will be away from him is during VBS but the other lessons will at least give me a bit of a break each day, even if it is just 45 minutes.

Angry Birds. We took Connor, my baby brother and the Underwood's to the movie on Saturday for a movie date night. I am amazed that a cell phone app was made into a movie but it was and I loved seeing it. It's really good and I love the adult humor that's thrown in. The kids did, too! Jason Sudeikis is the voice of Red and I'm a huge fan of his so it was fun hearing him in bird form. Oh and Blake Shelton has a song in the movie so double win. Afterwards we splurged on ice cream from McDonald's. I love their vanilla cones.

Friends an hour away. We've made friends with a family that relocated an hour north so we try to see them once a month if not more and we have plans to see them in June and July. Connor loves both of their kids so it's important to me for us to keep that friendship intact. It doesn't hurt that their parents are some of my favorite people. Hi Stephanie! Hi Levi!

My new FitBit Blaze that was a gift for our anniversary. I've been using my FitBit Flex for a little over 2.5 years but it doesn't give me all the information I want so I sometimes ditch it to wear my Garmin but then I lose steps on my FitBit. To remedy that, James upgraded my Flex to the Blaze and I am in love with it. I am joining a walking/jogging/running challenge in June so I'll be putting it to use for sure.

For the heat to come and go without taking the break from school from us. Impossible for sure but that's what I'd love to have. I hate being hot and sweating unless I'm running and now you can't be outdoors for more than 15 minutes without dripping sweat. I've said that if I make it through this Summer with long hair, I'll shocked. Momma don't do hot.

Making homemade ice cream. I was dying for a sweet treat and decided to make my own. I went to my go to search engine Pinterest for inspiration. We had a ton of fresh fruit on-hand so I whipped up a batch of Very Berry Banana ice cream. It's simple to make, too. Blend 2 bananas, 1 1/2 cup of strawberries, 1 cup raspberries and 1/3 cup of almond milk. Pour into a container with a lid and freeze for 3 hours and enjoy. It's the perfect amount of sweet that you'll soon forget your ice cream cravings.

Angry Birds 2. After seeing the movie on Saturday, Connor asked to download the app and I totally forgot how much fun the Angry Birds games are, almost therapeutic. I love that it's a game C and I both can play together, taking turns on each level. I used to play so many games on my phone but the novelty of them wore off so it was fun to discover a new app to enjoy with Connor.

And as an added bonus, I have a gift card for McDonald's up for grabs this morning courtesy of McDonald's and Angry Birds. Follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter below and the winner will be announced later this week.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Free To Be: All Boy, All Summer + 5 Upcycle Crafts

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

Summer has finally arrived here in Ohio. Today's high is forecasted to be close to 90. With sunny days and warm temps comes a peak in Connor's allergies. I shared before how having such an extreme grass, tree and dust allergies was worrisome to me. How could I allow Connor to be a normal 3 year old kid with such big allergies to deal with? Let's not forget that kids are messy. While I love seeing Connor enjoy himself when playing outdoors, I want to be sure his clothes are taken care of, too. Lucky for my family, I've found the perfect solution for inside fun and the messy clothes that come with being a kid.

We can't always spend days outdoors. We tend to schedule our time outside around the pollen index. But that's okay with us because staying in doesn't have to dampen our summer at all. Because I knew Connor wouldn't get as much outside time as most kids thanks to his allergies, we've prepped for Summer fun with 5 adorable toilet paper crafts. Start collecting and saving those used toilet paper rolls, you are going to love these adorable crafts.

Craft #1: Apple Tree
Since trees make us sneeze, why not enjoy one indoors! Using green construction paper cut out your tree. Add apples by dipping a q-tip in red paint and dotting your tree. To create a trunk for your tree, cut 2 slits on the each side of your toilet paper roll so that you can slid your green leafing tree in.

Craft #2: Binoculars
This just might be my favorite. Let you little one explore inside with their own set of colorful binoculars. Tape 2 rolls together using scotch tape. Pick out 4 different colors of construction paper for your pattern, cutting them into 1 inch strips. Wrap one strip at a time around the 2 rolls, using tape to secure them in place. Repeat this 4 times to completely cover the cardboard. Next, add a hole punch to each side of your binoculars, adding a ribbon so that you can wear the binocular while you are exploring.

Craft #3: Rainy Day Clouds
Create a cloud using white construction paper and glue it to the top portion of your blue sky (construction paper). Glue cotton balls to your cloud to give it the soft fluffy look of a summer sky. Next, use your toilet paper rolls to create raindrops. Simply fold in your roll to create a oval or drop shape. Dip the oval in white and shades of blue paint to create different shapes and colors of rain.

Craft #4: Squid
Summertime is all about time spent in water and visiting the beach. What about creating your own sea creature with this adorable squid? This was Connor's favorite. Paint your squid whatever color you'd like (Connor picked pink; his current favorite color). Once the paint is dry, cut 6 (more or less is okay, too!) tentacles. Using whatever color you like, add the suction cup portion of the tentacles by dotting paint with a q-tip. Create a friendly face by adding eyes and a mouth.

Craft #5: Send Your Love
This craft is perfect for sending a little bit of Summer snail mail love to friends and family. I created cards by folding sheet of computer paper into fourths. Mold and fold your cardboard roll into the shape of a heart. To keep the shape, use a piece of tape to hold the top crease in place. Dip your heart into paint - red, pink, purple - and once dry, add a sweet message and then send your loved ones some hand-crafted love.

Speaking of family, when it comes to parenting, we want our kids to have fun, but we also pride ourselves in teaching our children to take care of their clothing and that means knowing that when play time is over there is still a need to look presentable. Clean clothes, free of stains, is definitely important to me. That's when I call on the all® free clear liquid detergent or free clear mighty pacs®. You know why? These products lets our son “live free” from bothersome allergies and I am “worry free” knowing that I’m using the #1 Recommended laundry detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin and allergy suffers.

Other benefits of using all® free clear include:
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Clinically proven to be gentle on the skin
  • Actually removes up to 99% of allergens!

What does that really mean for you and your family? It means if you’re allergic to trees, grass or dust like CJ, washing clothing you've worn outside or been given as a hand me down with all® will remove 99% of the most common allergens. Other allergens include: cats, dogs and ragweed. But since using all® free clear liquid detergent or free clear mighty pacs® we are able to finally live free from the irritants and allergens that can get in the way of having fun! While all® free clear is not intended to treat or prevent allergies, I feel comfortable knowing I'm washing our clothing, bedding and towels in detergent that helps minimize our contact with every day allergens. As always, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging correctly when using your detergent.

We've made our crafts, we've visited Target to get our all® free clear liquid detergent and free clear mighty pacs® and now we are ready to tackle Summer. Are you ready? Be sure to put your empty toilet rolls to use and don't forget to protect your sensitive skin and allergies by picking up your bottle or two of all® free clear today. Join the all® free clear community and connect with families just like ours. 

Rewind Friday - The Best of Wife Mommy Me: Motherhood Edition

Happy Friday! I am really excited about today's post. Not only is it our first installment of the Rewind Friday series giving me the chance to share my favorite Wife Mommy Me posts but it also provides me with the opportunity to read some of your best work too. Be sure to link up your Rewind Friday posts below. We will be promoting the most clicked link in our party so make sure you mingle.

This month, I am going to focus my Rewind Friday on motherhood. My blog is very much a mom blog and with Mother's Day in May, I thought this would be the perfect time to share some of my most loved motherhood pieces.

Parenting 101: Never Say Never is my Mom confession of all I said I would never do but have done. It's easy to think you have it all figured out before having children. But there is nothing like motherhood to humble you and your expectations.

What I've Learned from Motherhood is nine simple lessons that I've been handed over the last 3 and half years. It's amazing how big the influence is of someone who depends on you to thrive. The biggest lesson I've learned has been that putting your needs to the side is never a sacrifice. It's done without thought. You would give anything to make your child's life extraordinary.

My Thoughts: One & Done still rings true as much as it did when I published this post in January of 2015. I love my family exactly how it is. Sure there are things we will never experience again nor experience for the first time but I wouldn't trade my family of 3 for a family of 4 or more. No way. I love my life with James and CJ. It's pure perfection. Most days.

Becoming a Confident Mother is something that I think resonates with so many Mommas. You go from being you, a single individual, to being someone's Momma, having someone totally, completely depending on you. You question your ability, your strengths, you common sense. But you grow and you learn and you embrace your motherhood. I'm still growing into my Mommy role. It's a process that will never stop.

10 Lessons Motherhood Has Taught Me is a raw and true collection of lessons that often times come across as smacks in the face, humbling moments and/or times of pure madness. Personal space and bathroom habits are mentioned and with each lesson learned, you slowly realize that you are truly at the mercy of your children. No matter how "together" you think you have it. You don't. I promise.

Motherhood has been such an amazing journey. Personally and for our family, we've experienced so much joy. It's amazing really want becoming a parent does to someone. I never pictured myself as a Mommy but here I am, thriving in my role, living every minute of it, the good and bad.

Now it's your turn. 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 your heart out on. Link up a collection of posts like mine or add a single post. It's up to you, no rules. Be sure to use hashtag #RewindFridayParty when sharing your posts so we can check it out. Grab my Rewind Friday button and join the party.
Wife Mommy Me


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Celebrate The Man in Your Life with the Ultimate Timeless Gift + GIVEAWAY

Father's Day is just a few weeks away. The first weekend of June, James and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. I couldn't imagine a better husband or father to be celebrating. With such special occasions coming up, I wanted to get James the perfect gift that celebrated both our marriage and fatherhood. The recommended gift for your 5th year of marriage is wood so I started thinking. How can I incorporate wood into both his Father's Day and wedding anniversary gift? Enter JORD Wood Watches

When shopping for my husband, I pride myself on finding gifts that are unique and meaningful along with a level of practicality. I wanted to incorporate the wood theme into a gift for Father's Day in a way that he can be reminded daily of how much he means to us on a daily basis. What better way to do that than with a gift that you can wear?

Not only is James a dedicated husband and Papa but I have never meet someone with such a deep sense of work ethic. He gives his all to his career, which is turns allows me to stay home with our son, a dream that we both had when starting our family. He works tirelessly to provide for our family, going above and beyond far more than he should. He truly desires to be spoiled this holiday.

I have to admit I'm pretty jealous of my gift for James this year. This Frankie Zebrawood and Champagne watch is gorgeous. Since my husband isn't into being flashy, this particular style of wooden watch is perfect for him. The uncomplicated face allows focus, the streamlined shaping offers style. Perfect for a man who is very much a minimalist. From his Sunday best to office causal to family day dates, this watch is going to get a lot of wear and attention this season.

Finding creative gifts for the fathers in your life can be tricky but I have a way to make it a bit easier this Father's Day. JORD and I have teamed up to offer 1 $75 e-voucher to one lucky winner! You can enter here. Not the winner? That's okay, JORD will give you $20 e-voucher towards your next purchase. Contest ends Sunday, June 5th, which just so happens to be our 5th wedding anniversary. Good luck!

 This shop has been sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. All opinions are mine.
Thank you JORD for making this Father's Day and anniversary timeless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reading Wednesday -- May 2016

For May's Reading Wednesday, I am going to be sharing 3 books with you -- 2 personal reads and 1 from my book club. I have to admit that I have found my reading groove again, making reading book after book much more doable. So far this year, I've read 10 books and have a goal of 25 so I'm doing pretty good on keeping pace. I am currently one book ahead of schedule. This month, I'm sharing my thoughts on The Mapmakers' Children by Sarah McCoy and The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand along with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Personal Pick #1
The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy
When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers, taking her cues from the slave code quilts and hiding her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can’t bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril. Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance. Ingeniously plotted to a riveting end, Sarah and Eden’s woven lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way

My Review
This book has a fabulous story line. The history lesson I was given was an added bonus. You feel connected to both Sarah and Eden and the flow of the book is never confusing, it's very obvious who each chapter is about. There is a bit of a love story involved but nothing that would make this a romance novel. I found myself cheering on both women all the while learning more and more about the Underground Railroad. If you are looking up a book based on historical events but not too much of a history lesson, pick this novel up. 

Personal Pick #2
The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
Madeline King and Grace Pancik are best friends and the envy of Nantucket for their perfect marriages, their beautiful kids, their Sunday night double dates with their devoted husbands. But this summer, something's changed, and if there's anything Nantucket likes better than cocktails on the beach at sunset, it's a good rumor.

And rumor has it...
...that Madeline, a novelist, is battling writer's block, with a deadline looming, bills piling up, and blank pages driving her to desperation--and a desperately bad decision;
...that Grace, hard at work to transform her backyard into a garden paradise, has been collaborating a bit more closely that necessary with her ruggedly handsome landscape architect;
...that Grace's husband, successful island real estate developer "Fast Eddie" Pancik, has embarked on quite an unusual side project;
...that the storybook romance between Madeline's son, Brick, and Grace's daughter Allegra is on the rocks, heading for disaster.

As the gossip escalates, and they face the possible loss of the happy lives they've worked so hard to create, Grace and Madeline try mightily to set the record straight--but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it. 

My Review
I really enjoyed this book. It shows how rumors can fly around a small community even if they might not be true. Both of these families have issues and as the story goes along, they slowly unravel. I enjoyed the different characters. There were a few I wanted to slap and a few I wanted to comfort. This is the perfect beginning of Summer read. This is the second Hilderbrand book I read and while I liked book and the first was okay, I'm still hoping to be wowed by her. Any suggestions? 

My Book Club Pick
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Review
I first read this book in January of 2014 and haven't forgotten about how amazing it is. So much so that I recommended for book club this month. We are reading it and then going to see the movie when it comes out on June 3. And I recommend you do the same! You will not be let down. But back to my review. I am not going to spoil this book for you with giving too many details but here is my opinion... this is a book that gives you a love story that we have yet to see in the more popular novels as of late. It's refreshing to find a book that teaches is the lesson of learning to love yourself. Each character has a battle they are fighting but what allows them to face their fears, their dreams is believing in themselves thanks to the love and friendship they never saw coming their way. 

For June, I will be reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Book Club Pick) and Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (Personal Pick). I am hoping to read a third book but I'm not sure what just yet. Any summery recommendations?

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 lists. You have until June 3 to add your May reading list. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My House Hunting Wish List

Earlier this month, I confessed that I had watched 20 episodes of House Hunters on Netflix. I'm happy to say I've completed House Hunters (25 episodes total) and have moved on to House Hunters: Renovations. It's safe to say I'm completely addicted to watching others buy their forever home, their dream home or even their first fixer upper. With all this "house watching", I've came to the conclusion that I know exactly what I want when we buy our next home.

While we have a solid 2 years before we will be moving, I found myself dreaming of our "perfect" home often. James and I have varying taste and styles but overall, the bones of what we want in our next home are similar. Here are 10 features (in no particular order) I gotta have to be able to say "yes".
  1. Turn-key. This is a term I've picked up from watching HGTV on Netflix. It basically means that the home needs to be move-in ready with little to no work to be done. While the idea of renovating a home thrills others, it gives me a sense of dread. I want to be able to move in right away, put our home together and start living our life. Small projects are fine but nothing that would be considered renovating works for me. 
  2. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. While we currently have 3 bedrooms and manage just fine, it would be ideal if we had a 4th bedroom. I'd love things to pan out like this - master bedroom, Connor's room, guest room and office for James and I. It would be awesome if we could have a dedicated work space for when we need to step away and take calls, work on a project, etc. 
  3. Room for entertaining. My dream is to one day host my family's Christmas and Thanksgiving along with host Connor's birthdays at home. We need space, indoors and out, to comfortable host 10-15 people. While living in Ohio limits the amount of time we can spend outdoors, it's important for our future home to have room indoors to entertain guests. 
  4. Great outside space. When the weather is great in Ohio, it's amazing. Our Spring and Fall (when not raining) are the best, hands down. I would love to have a patio area that opens up to a large backyard. I'd like plenty of space for Connor to grow into and have room to horse around with his friends in later in life.
  5. Double Oven. This is a no brainer really but I have this perfect dinner planned where I'm preparing dinner in one oven and baking the most delicious sweet treat in the other. I imagine this bonus feature would make the family celebrations I want to host to go much smoother as well. And I think the look of them is really cool and modern in an updated kitchen.
  6. Sense of Community. We lack both were we live now. I want block parties and school spirit. Never did I imagine I'd wish for such things in my life, but as I've gotten older, I've put more value in community and friendliness. While I can't guarantee that our neighbors will be nice, we can pick the best school district for C and that's exactly what we plan to do. 
  7. Newer Build. Our home now was built in 1924. It's quickly approaching it's 100th birthday. While some people love a older home and the character they provide, I would like a home that was built anywhere from 2000 to now. The most recent home I saw online in a nearby city was built in 2000 and it was pure perfection. 
  8. A Dishwasher. Because our home is older, we don't have a dishwasher nor the space to add one to our kitchen. I hate washing dishes and unless I do them 2 times a day, they really pile up and my OCD can only take so much mess. I love the simple ease a dishwasher provides and they use less water than washing by hand so really, I'm doing the Earth a disservice by not having one.
  9. Bonus Room/Basement. I want a space that Connor can call his own. As of now, that would be a playroom but as he gets older, I want him to be able to invite his buddies over and spend afternoons at our home. I like the idea of having the "cool" house his friends want to hang out at. Also read: if he is home, then I know what's going on. #momwin
  10. Pinterest Perfect Front Door/Stoop. I don't have the front door or space that allows for much decorating for the holiday and the ideas on Pinterest that pop up every Fall and Christmas leave me wishing for a space to decorate with pumpkins and a bench or a small pre-lit tree with an adorable welcome sign. Not to mention the adorable photo shoots that could take place on the front stoop. 
There you have it! Not too bad, right? What was on your wish list when you were last on the market for a new home?



Monday, May 23, 2016

Mommas, Let's Thrive

*affiliate links are used in today's post*

Motherhood is the beautiful mix of pure joy, endless amounts of love with a healthy dose of madness that makes our days long and the years short. Often time, it's those long days that leave us feeling like we are barely surviving. But what if you could do more than just survive? What if you could thrive?

When Keri shared her E-book "Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive: Tips for Thriving as a Mom" with me, I couldn't read it quick enough. After I devoured her words, I instantly felt a change occurring. I saw my motherhood, the one I have and the one I want, in a different light. I saw it as something that I could obtain. Something my family deserves.

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't gracefully balanced life and motherhood. No, it's been messy, chaotic and downright tragic at times but thanks to the practical tips and biblical scripture in the book, I've seen a difference in how I mother my son in the last month. I've found myself saying "yes" to him more and "no" to others and the things that don't matter with more ease and confidence than ever before. I'm slower to say "Just one more minute, Connor" and quick to cuddle a bit longer, to unplug more often and to truly live in the moment of being Connor's Momma during this precious season.

But what got me to the point of needing to step back and repair my motherhood? I've been surviving the last 3 1/2 years instead of thriving in my opportunity as Connor's Momma. It's easy to just survive. You find yourself counting down till bedtime so that you can have time to yourself, to reflect on how you made it through the madness that is raising babies. You find yourself putting things into motion without much thought or feeling; running on auto-pilot is your super power. Just surviving takes it's toll and thriving is something that you only dream of.

But what if you could implement simple changes that add up to big difference within your home, the way you interact with your children, within your heart? Change is scary but one of the scriptures shared in Keri's book really reminds us that we are never alone during our trials.

"Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive: Tips for Thriving as a Mom" has lit a fire under my motherhood. Such simple suggestions followed by scripture has given me the extra push I need to stop just living day after day but instead thrive from the inside out. It's not just Connor or even my husband that is going to benefit from my Mommy transformation. Inside and out, physically and mentally, I'm on a mission to thrive daily. I won't win every day but as long as I'm doing what I can daily to give my best, be the best me possible, I will be doing more than just surviving... I'll be thriving.

Pick up Keri's book today by purchasing it through this link. You snag the book along with printable scripture cards for just  $5.99 (PDF) $9.99 (PRINTED). If you order the PDF, you'll have instant access to both. If you request the paperback, just email Keri (kerisnyder@gmail.com) and she will send you the printable scripture cards via email.

Instead of doubling up on your drive-thru coffee, snag this book. I promise you, you'll walk away with a new found desire to do more than just survive. You'll have the chance to do exactly what God created you to do... thrive. 


Friday, May 20, 2016

Blogger Love Vol. 4

Good morning friends! What a week it's been. From every day things to school to prepping for this weekend's garage sale to doctors visits and everything in between, this has been one jammed packed week. But enough talk about how busy we are. I want to share with you a handful of must read posts from this week.

To The Woman Struggling To Find Fulfillment In Her Role As A Wife by Come Home For Comfort
Marriage is one of two areas of my life that I truly give 100% (being a Mom is the other) but sometimes I feel like I'm falling short. Now, my husband is a saint and has never once made me fill anything other than loved. He has supported all my ideas and crazy dreams (like this blog) and gives me the space I need (nights with friends and girls only brunches) so I don't feel like I've lost my individuality. Head over and read all of Whitney's article. I love every single word she shares.

Elevate 2016 - My First Blog Conference from Chasin' Mason
I have been toying with the idea of going to a conference but have yet to pull the trigger on buying a ticker, booking a room and going. Liz is sharing her experience and I relate to her review of the Elevate conference so much. I'm a bit shy when it comes to first meeting new people and quiet frankly, I'm just a Mom who spends her days raising a baby and sharing her thoughts online. Check out Liz's post if you are on the fence on if you should attend a conference or not. She did a really great job sharing the entire experience.

Blogging Tips: On Making Money Blogging written by Shoes to Shiraz 
Deena and a handful of other bloggers shared their tips and advice on working with companies and affiliate programs to make money as a blogger. I've been lucky enough to make some money from WMM but nothing steady nor do I consider this space as a source of income. This is my hobby and every once in a while, it's nice to thrown some bones. Read Deena's post (and the others too, they are all great reads) if you are interested in the money aspect of blogging. My two cents? Do what feels right for your blog. I recently had a company want to me share their men's underwear line on my blog for free. First up, I don't do anything for free and secondly, men's under garments don't really fit well with my target audience.

Fun with Dinosaurs by The Adventure Starts Here 
Connor isn't really into dinosaurs like most boys but when Meghan shared this fun themed unit, I couldn't help but think of how perfect this would be to build some excitement around dinosaurs. CJ has a full 3 months off from school but I still want to have teachable lessons on a daily basis. I want him to retain what he has learned this year and the only way I know how to do that is to "have school" this summer. Check out Meg's lesson; it's perfect for your little one!

Fresh Avocado Salad from Polka-Dotty Place
I never had avocado until we lived in Texas. That along with pineapple and roman lettuce. I'm a total weirdo. But since finding so many ways to use avocados, we usually have them once a week. Sometimes it's just slices with our Taco Tuesday dinner or in a smoothie (it makes a simple smoothie so thick and creamy - give it a try!). Whitney shard this salad and it's nothing like the traditional salad and I can't wait to share it with MOPS on Tuesday. It's so summery and perfect for potlucks/cookouts.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday Thoughts V4

Today is Connor's last Thursday in 3YO preschool. I don't even know how that's possible but it is. Where has my baby gone and how can I slow time down just a little bit? Mom problems at their finest, you know? With that in mind, here is a whole list of random Mom problems and thoughts for this month's Thursday Thoughts.

... I need to make a full blown confession right here, right now. I am going to miss my free mornings this Summer while C is on Summer break. I mean yeah, I know I shouldn't rush his childhood and babies don't keep but let's be real... those mornings often allowed me a chance reload and enjoy a bit of silence. Adios refreshed, ready for anything Mom. See ya in August.

... That first thought makes me sound like a witch doesn't it? I'm not, promise. Well, maybe a little but MOSTLY I'm a SAHM that likes her me time. Raise your hand if you are with me on this!

... Connor is on a steroid right now thanks to a ridiculous cough along with some drainage in his ears and can I tell you that the roid rage is strong with this one? I mean if being 3 1/2 wasn't bad enough, now we have this to add to the fun. I hope it's all worth it and my baby is feeling better soon. I hate not being able to fix whatever is wrong with him easily.

... It's mid-May and we are having Fall like weather. While this usually excites me, I'd rather have some Spring like temps and sunshine for a bit before we move right into the Hellish part of the year. I am not a fan of Summer at all. I hate sweating and I've learned that Summer just isn't my element.

... I really need to think of something positive to share here because I've done nothing but whined this entire post so far. So let me think of something upbeat and fun -- give me a second.

... Okay! Found something. I pride myself on my blog. I try really dang hard to give you all some good stuff and well my hard work has paid off because last week's Tuesday Talk post has over 4,600 views. This is HUGE for a small blogger like me. 10 Lessons Motherhood Has Taught Me is a true reflection of me as a Mom so to see it being read and enjoyed by so many people really makes my heart happy.

... I've been using my Young Living Essential Oils more and more and after 3 full months I finally feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with others regarding oils. I'm no expert but I can whole-hardheartedly say that using oils has positively impacted my family.

... I signed James and I up for a cooking class this week. It's not until the end of June but I am so excited for it. I picked a Summer-friendly course and we will be making some 3 amazing dishes: Grilled Fish Tacos, Grilled Chicken Parmesan and Steak Fajitas. And for dessert we will get to make and enjoy Grilled Summer Fruit with Ice Cream. As an added bonus this menu will be paired with beer and wine. Is this not the most perfect date night ever?

... I have 2 girls only trips planned this Summer and I am so excited about both events. I've only had a girls weekend once and that was in 2014 when I meet Desiree and Liz in California. But other than that, I usually travel with family or my husband and Connor. It will be interesting to spend time away from the guys and with other Moms that are breaking away from their spouses and children for a bit.

... I finished Monday's to do list in record time (one single day as opposed to carrying it over into Tuesday) yet I find myself with a huge to do list for today and tomorrow. I'm hoping C likes running errands and being my helper because we have a busy Thursday and Friday planned. Am I the only one who creates a to do list daily so that I can feel a sense of accomplishment by the end of the day?

What's going on in your world? Happy Friday Eve, friends!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer Bucket List 2016

I love the chance to put together a bucket list. I tend to really go overboard with all the things I want to do in a single season so this year, when I put together our list, I went with simple fun that we can do over and over again this Summer. Not only does a bucket list give me an extra push to think outside the box when we plan our weekends but it's fun to have Connor pick from the list of things we will do that weekend. This year, I tailored our bucket list to fit any family's lifestyle. Budget friendly choices along with outdoor options.

If I'm being honest, I already have many of this adventures planned out in my mind. I have never been camping so this is something that I really want to do for the first time as a family. James loves going to the drive-in so that's on here for him; I am more of a theater kind of girl. And have a YES! day? That can be pretty dangerous if Connor catches on.

With Memorial Day (the unofficial start of Summer) just 10 days away, now is the time to start planning the fun we want to have this Summer. We have 11 weekends from the end of school to the start of the new year and you can best bet we are going to make every single one count!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

#BoyMom Box Swap Announcement

Are you a boy Mom? Are your days filled with dirt, trucks, super heroes and all things male? Then this #boyMomBoxSwap was made with you in mind!

I always wanted to be a little guys Momma; I wasn't meant to be a girl Mom. Maybe it was because I was the only girl with 2 younger brothers or because I was quiet the tomboy growing up. Either way I love my days as Connor's Momma. From monsters to pirates to reading books about diggers and dirt, my days (and nights) are filled with all things boy. One thing I never considered was how little Mommy & Me activities are tailored to Mommas raising little boys. Girl moms get the luxury of mani/pedi dates, shoe shopping together, sharing each others clothes, visiting the ballet and so much more. Even Daddy's get Father/Daughter dances.

This is the second year of our #boyMomBoxSwap and Liz, Sarah and I are so excited to announce the swap with you all today. Our all things boy Mom box swap gives you and your littlest fella(s) a chance to enjoy a box filled with goodies for each of you to enjoy and share! Whether you are spending the day racin' cars, going on a insect hunts or making slime, this box will give you plenty to do with you son(s). Liz, Sarah and I have joined forces and can't wait to celebrate being a boy Mom with you! Here are the details.
The value of your box should be $20 BEFORE SHIPPING. Think of things you love doing with your son(s), your favorite snacks and activities and share that fun with your fellow #boyMOM during our box swap.

Sign up now by completing this simple questionnaire. You don't have to be a blogger to participate! If you are on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you can join the link up those ways as well by using #boyMomBoxSwap in your posts and images. So sign up TODAY because partners will be assigned this in just 10 days! And if you're a blogger, don't forget to grab our button while you are here to add to your post next month when it's time to reveal your partner and the goodies you've received.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Target Beauty Box -- May's $10 at Target + Giveaway

For May's $10 at Target I moved outside the Dollar Spot. Wait. That's not exactly true. I spent money in that section but today I'm sharing something else I spent $10 on. Have you heard of Target's Beauty Box? You get 7-10 sample size beauty items for $10. Their boxes sell out quickly but I was lucky enough to score one this month. I'm going to share with you the goodies I got for $10 and give you a chance to win one yourself!

What I like about beauty box like these is that it gives you the chance to try products before you take and plunge and buy them. Nothing is worse than purchasing a product that's rumored to be so amazing your life will never be the same only for it to suck. You've wasted your money and still don't have a solution to whatever problem you were hoping to remedy with that particular product.

May's Target Beauty Box has 10 items, all of which I've never used before so that was exciting. Unlike Ipsy, where you customize your box based on your style and skin/hair, this box is one size fits all. Here are the items in this months box:

4 of the items in this box are skin lotions/creams which is a bit of a bummer. I think the box would be more appealing if there were other items included like a nail polish or a beauty tool or bath product. It's very face oriented and if you aren't really into creams and lotions, this would have been a bust. I am excited to try the dry shampoo and I've worn the lipstick and really like it. I've been wearing more and more lipstick lately so I like trying new formulas to see what I like best for me.  

Overall, I think I'll stick to my Ipsy bag. Again, you can personalize your bags and I think the value is more apparent in their bags than in a beauty box like this. Target's Beauty Boxes are very popular though. They often sale out really quickly but lucky for you, I was able to score 2 -- one for myself and one for one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below on what item you are most interested in trying. Bonus entries are available as well. Just follow us on Facebook and Instagram for additional entries. 

Has anyone gotten the Target Beauty Box? What was your opinion? Is this normally what you receive? Or is better or worse than usual? Now it's your turn to share what you scored this month from Target. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favs: Sunshine, Cruisers + Photos

This week has been pretty stellar. I credit that to the break in crappy, rainy weather we had. Finally it feels like Spring and we've had so much fun already. I can hardly imagine all the memories we will make this Summer. While Connor is totally a 3 year old - you know the drama, the sass, the emotions - he is still a ton of fun to be with. I'm really diggin' this stage we are in ... minus the every other day attitude. Here are some of favorite moments from the last week.

Here are this weeks posts in case you missed any
Monday -- Weekending
Wednesday -- May TKBTB with Connor


I mentioned our weather is finally enjoyable and we've taken full advantage of it. In fact this afternoon we have a play date since the high today is going to be in the 70's. That is to me is the perfect temperature. But anyway, we've been spending evenings outside and I have a goal to visit a new park each week with C this summer so we have plenty of summer fun. As you can tell, Connor has loved spending every waking moment moving and soaking up that sunshine.

See the photo of Connor in front of the police truck? This is Heaven on Earth for him. I don't know if I've mentioned it before but he has decided he wants to be a police officer when he grows up. While I think he needs to slow his role, I can't help but be a bit proud that his little heart pushes him to be a "helper" as he puts it. He recently discovered a pink cruiser and I am telling you that's the real reason behind him wanting to join the force. His current favorite color is pink. But he plans to change it to orange when he is 4. Do you know what's orange? Jail/prison jumpsuits.


I am loving, loving, loving my new Facebook cover photo. I'm using it on both my personal Facebook and my blog's Facebook page. I am already imagining the creative ways to style this photo with Fall. Please excuse me while I drop the F word. Y'all know how much I love that time of year. If you want to make a collage similar to this, it's super easy and free. Visit PicMonkey and click Collage. Upload any seven photos you want to use and then pick the Facebook layout tab. Add your photos and then upload. If you don't have PicMonkey (there is a free option available), you can create this in Canva and other applications as well. The dimensions are 851x315.

We have some a weekend full of plans again and while it leave me so tired come Sunday evening, this is what I missed when we moved south. I love being close enough to see friends and family on a weekly basis. Being able to see Connor with his cousins or my best friends is just he best. It makes the move home and missing my Texas friends worth it, although I wish I could have them in our daily lives, too.

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Our Fast Movin' Rowdy Boy -- PPP May

As much as it hurts this Momma's heart, I have to admit that we have transitioned from little guy to fully functioning boy kid. With that transition comes a new independence, a confidence, a personality that's far too grown up for my liking. Connor was once more verbal than physical. I've always thought to myself what he lacks in physical abilities he totally makes up in his ability to talk and communicate. I've never been worried about Connor not being a rowdy boy because all kids grow at their own pace. I figured one day he would be just as physical as the next boy. And now I can say, he is just as physical as others and man oh man, he is keeping us on our toes.

Over the least few months, Connor's confidence has grown and in doing so, we know have this running, jumping, climbing, moving boy that can't wait to take on a playground, a walking path, a hill to conquer. It's bittersweet watching your only child change right before your eyes, to see less and less baby but as much as I miss certain parts of the baby stage, I am truly loving our current stage. I had big fears of year 3 thanks to the threeanger rumors but we've missed out on that for the most part.

With Summer right around the corner, I can guarantee we are going to have so many outdoor adventures as a family of 3. I am really looking forward to seeing the world through Connor's eyes this season as he has matured and grown so much since last Summer.