What my blog isn’t

Lately, I have been reading some awesome blogs.

Some of my new (and old) favorites are:

Camp Patton

The Red Kitchen

Tales of Me and the Husband

Enjoying the Small Things

I have also been checking out some of my old favorites and have noticed a trend that I really do NOT like.

What my blog isn't

Here’s the thing about blogging. I do it for me. I do it for you. I do it for a balance between the two. I don’t want to only write about things that are interesting to me because then my readership will be two people. (Thanks mom and hubby!)

What my blog isn't

However, I don’t want to ONLY cater to readers because then my blog will become something more like a magazine. I have noticed that some of my old favorite blogs have changed and become something I don’t even recognize. They are very “Pinterest friendly” however, they aren’t very reader friendly. Many of my old time favorite blogs now only use professional stock photos. This means that they have beautiful pictures on their blog, but I don’t know a single person in them. It’s like buying picture frames at the store but leaving the pictures in the frame rather than replacing them with your own family. Who are those people on your walls? No one knows, but they look nice!

What my blog isn't

These bloggers might get thousands and thousands of hits from one post because of Pinterest, but is that worth it?

I don’t think so. Sure, it would be fun to go viral someday and I think all bloggers have that as a goal/dream. However, I don’t want to compromise who I, or my blog is, in order to get readers that just come for the free show.

So, here you go. This is me.

What my blog isn't

Often times you will get picture of smiling kids. Sometimes you will get crying kids. Our life isn’t Pinterest perfect. We are messy, makeup-less, flawed and human. That is what my blog is.

Welcome.

I hope you pull up a chair and stay awhile.

As for what my blog isn’t…well, all these pictures are outtakes of previous posts. Sometimes I can knock them out of the park, other times my pictures and my blog are just not as…Pinterestiful.

But that’s okay, neither is life.

 

How to survive the long days

I am so sorry if you read the title of this post and thought I was going to give you advice. Nope. No advice today.

But, if you are someone who was looking for advice on that topic, I can give you something else. Empathy.

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I am in that place where I LOVE being home, I love my two little munchkins bunches and bunches. However, the days can get realllllllllllllllllllly long.

I am struggling by dinner time. Those days that Greg is at the station and I am home with the kids for 26 hours without a break. Yeah, those are the days that just seem to stretch on and on.

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How to survive the long days? I’m not sure. I am about 99.9% sure that both my children are extroverts, meaning they get energy from being around people. So when it is them and me, all day long, without break; well, they don’t seem to do too well.

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I’ve tried the park, but with a toddler and an infant who has just started walking, it is difficult. I have to keep  my eye on Gracie because she wants to jump off the top of that thing. Then Benjamin, climbs up and looks down from the bridge and I pray that I don’t blink at the wrong moment. (They get their extrovert tendencies from me and their risk taking from their daddy – the firefighter) Walks don’t really tire them out, so what’s a mama to do? We can only go to Costco so many times during the week before people start getting suspicious of our many visits to the sample counters.

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Mamas, Grandmamas, Daddies and teenage babysitters – give me advice. How do I survive these crazy long days, while enjoying the moments with my little ones?

A Bible, Fisher Price toys and some bread

What does a Bible, a loaf of bread and some really fun toys from Fisher Price have in common?

Guesses, anyone?

Well, I get to review them all and share my findings with you!

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I am a Vocalpoint member and part of the fun of being a member, means I get to review fun stuff from time to time. I was sent this awesome package full of goodies to review. I was also able to host an in home party with a few other moms and I even got to give them a goody bag to take home.

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It was truly a party for the record books! The kids and adults all had a great time! And the toys were so fun. The favorite of everyone was the Fisher Price Smart Stages train. It was so fun for all the ages there. There are three levels for different age groups with the top level giving the kids ideas for imaginative play.

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I was also sent this chair to review. It is also part of the Smart Stages Line for Fisher Price. It is cute and keeps them entertained for a bit, but in the long run, it wasn’t their favorite toy. Benjamin does enjoy taking a rest in it, though.

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Have you heard of Dave’s Killer Bread? I hadn’t heard anything about it, until I was asked to review it on my blog. This bread is organic, healthy and filled with all kinds of goodness. Gracie and Benjamin have been eating this bread up! They love how it tastes and I love that it is super good for them. If you saw my menu plan, yesterday, then you know that I am doing a lot of sandwiches this week, this is the bread of choice!

One a day women's bible

Of course, man cannot live by bread alone. That is why I am so glad I was able to review this Women’s One a Day Bible and it is AMAZING. I have used a one a day Bible in the past, but this one is different. It is specific for women and is filled with content that helps you understand what you are reading. I love that it has different passages from the Old Testament and the New for your daily reading. If you are looking for a way to read your Bible in a year, this Bible is your answer.

 

I received these products for free for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturer of these products.

This entry was posted in Reviews.

Ivar’s in Mukilteo and angels in disguise

When I was little, my family would go out to eat for breakfast every Saturday morning. In hindsight, I have no idea how my parents could afford that! Yet, those memories of sitting around the table, talking and observing passerbys outside, and watching the ferry come in; are some that are super close to my heart.

Over the years the name changed and the restaurant fell into the ocean, but they rebuilt and are now Ivar’s in Mukilteo.

I think the best part about going out to eat each Saturday, other than being with family, was Janet.

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Janet was our faithful waitress, each year she was there to watch us grow up. One of my favorite Christmas ornaments is a gift from her.

Needless to say, she is pretty special. Guess what? She still works there. She has been there those times I came home for a visit. She was there when I went back with my new husband. With my infant baby girl. And she was there this summer.

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It is a treat to see her and something I look forward to each time we visit. She is truly an extension of our family.

Well, this visit, she gifted both of my kiddos a little something for their stay in Seattle. They had bubbles and cute games and all kinds of fun.

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Mom was pretty excited about this one

Have I told you how special this woman is?

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Both my parents were excited about this one!

She is one of those rare gems of a person that you find in your life who touches your heart and doesn’t let go.

Who do you know in your heart like that?

 

 

Oh, by the way, she also is a faithful follower of my blog. So…Hi Janet! Love you! (feel free to leave a comment saying hi to her! If you are ever in Mukilteo, go to Ivar‘s and say hi!)

7 Acre Wood near Conroe, Texas

You know how I am about bucket lists, right? I mean, I make them pretty much every season.

fall bucket list for toddlers

See what I mean?

Well, one of those things on my list is to visit a pumpkin patch.

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Our visit to Conroe, Texas, landed us on the back steps of this awesome pumpkin patch called 7 Acre Wood. Here’s a secret though, it isn’t JUST a pumpkin patch, it’s also a year round play world for kids (and adults!)

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They have all kinds of fun for the family.

Playground, petting zoo (where we learned the llamas REALLY DO spit!)…

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Fun face cut outs, (those look almost real!)…

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Pony Rides (those were extra, so we just pet him)…

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Pig Rides…

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And of course…

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PUMPKINS!

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So the next time you are near Conroe, Texas, go check out the 7 Acre Wood! Seriously, it’s a treat!

Have you been to a pumpkin patch yet this year? Any plans to?

Lately, I’ve been…

Creating: All kinds of wonderful meals and recipes. It has been heavenly to be back in the kitchen! (Have you seen some of the meals on Instagram?)

Drinking: Cranberry juice like crazy. It’s weird what things I crave each pregnancy.

Enjoying: My children and watching them play together. It is a mother’s delight to see how much they love being together.

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Taking: Naps every chance I get. Really, when is this pregnancy exhaustion going to go away?

Smelling: Everything. It is awful. I miss not being able to smell. I smell the diapers, I smell the toilet, I smell the trash. YUCK.

Wearing: My maxi skirt everywhere. It’s true, this is my favorite piece of clothing currently. I’m not really sure what I wore my other pregnancies, but it doesn’t really matter now that this is in my life.

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Thinking about: Ways to be a better mom, wife, etc. Then wishing I could stop and just enjoy the ride.

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Wishing: For snow. I keep dreaming of my time in Montana. I miss snow. I miss fall. I love Texas, but I miss the beauty of Creation. Here, all I see is pavement and brick houses.

Looking forward to: Listening to Christmas music, I keep holding off, but I’m not sure how much longer I can go.

Toddler Alphabet Tree

Now that the first trimester yuck is officially over, I can focus back on my lessons with Gracie.

In an effort to continue working on our alphabet letters, I have created this fall alphabet tree.

Toddler alphabet tree

It is a great decoration and a perfect way to teach the letters of the alphabet.

I wanted to hit home the difference between capital and lower case letters, since we just started differentiating.

Toddler Alphabet Tree

I cut a tree out of brown paper, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just do the best you can with the materials you have on hand.

Toddler Alphabet Tree

We are in that stage where she wants to be IN every picture and then she wants to see herself. Oh my!

Then make leaf cut outs. I am sure you can find some patterns online if you google it, however, I just freehand cut out different leaves.

Toddler Alphabet Tree

I wrote the letter and talked about the letter and the sound it made as she colored it different colors of fall.

Then, we hung them up, making sure to put capital letters on the tree and lowercase letters in a pile on the “ground” by the tree.

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It turned out better than I hoped! We are adding to it each week, multiple times a week. By the time winter officially comes, our tree will be full!

What to say and what not to say when someone announces their pregnancy

Last week, I announced that I am pregnant.

That was my third pregnancy announcement in three years.

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You could say that I know my stuff when it comes to what to say and what not to say when someone announces their pregnancy.

Even with this pregnancy, I was given some fabulous responses (Thanks Facebook friends!) and some not so fabulous responses.

Here are some guidelines when trying to decide how to respond when someone announces their pregnancy.

What to say when someone announces their pregnancy

1. “Congratulations!” This is the most common response with good reason, it never fails. It is a fail safe response. You could even add a smile if you are feeling really generous.

2. “I’m so happy/excited for you.” Considering this news is wonderful, being happy or excited for the mom to be is a pretty safe and highly appropriate response.

3. “What great news!” Like #2, this communicates that you are joining the new parents in their joy over this news.

4. If you get tongue tied in situations such as these, offer a hug and a smile. That will communicate your support to the new mama.

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What not to say when someone announces their pregnancy.

1. Nothing. This is probably my least favorite. The mama to be tells someone she’s pregnant and is greeted by a face made of stone. Nothing is said. No facial muscles move. It’s just silence. This isn’t the best response to give the pregnant woman.

2. “Was it planned?” This is like saying, “Do you use protection every time you have sex? Or have you missed a few times?” Seriously people, if you wouldn’t talk about their sex life normally, then a pregnant belly shouldn’t change that.

3. “Are you happy about it?” What kind of a question is that? I can answer for every pregnant woman. Yes. No. Maybe. Every baby is a gift, but every pregnancy comes with doubts, concerns, fears and worries. I have been happy about every pregnancy. I have also had my moments when I wasn’t happy. I also had moments when my emotions were running so crazy, I couldn’t figure out if I was happy or sad.

4. “Again?” or “Already?” This implies you are NOT excited or happy for the pregnant mama to be. All mamas want her friends and family to be excited for her. even if you aren’t happy about the news, don’t let her know. Remember you ARE talking to a pregnant woman…full of hormones and emotions, which are not always stable!

What would you add to the list?

Hello 2nd Trimester, Goodbye Exhaustion

It really is the weirdest phenomenon. One day, you are so exhausted you can’t get off the couch even if a rabid bear came in a tried to eat you.  The next day, you are running around the house making homemade soup and bread bowls. (Did you see my pictures on Instagram?)

One day, you are so sick that you can’t even think about drinking water, much less stick any sort of food product in your mouth. The next day, you are drinking like a camel who’s filling up for their monthly quota.

Goodbye first trimester!

Needless to say that I am so grateful that trimester is over. Am I the only one that feels as if the first trimester yuck gets worse with each pregnancy? Technically this is my fourth pregnancy, we had a miscarriage between Gracie and Benjamin, and I feel like death walking. Or…I felt like death walking. Now I feel like a new woman. I have organized the pantry, cleaned out cabinets, made all kinds of goodies, stocked up on food for the winter (what am I? A squirrel?) and created new lessons for Gracie. All of this in one day.

Goodbye first trimester!

Everyone is pretty excited to have mama back!

So, if you are still around reading, thank you for sticking with me. Thanks for your patience when I wasn’t around much over the last two months. Thanks for your sweet words of encouragement. I’m glad to be back!

TLC Schools

I am a stay at home mama. Through and through. I love it. Some days it makes me cry. Most days, it just fills me with joy and wonder.

early education curriculum

However, there are those tiny moments when I am driving and I see a gal my age taking a jog by herself. Or when I see a woman out shopping with a necklace showing she has a whole passel of kids…yet she is alone. It is in those moments, when the morning has been frazzled that I wonder what life might be like if I sent my kids to daycare.

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I had the chance to tour the TLC School in Plano and folks, I was BLOWN AWAY. This school was everything I thought of when I was in school to become a teacher. It was warm, it was welcoming and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face. Not one of those creepy smiles like you would see in the book, Grandpa’s Teeth, but genuine smiles.

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The school starts accepting students at 6 weeks and all the way up through kinder. Each room is uniquely set up to meet the needs of that age group. Although they use a curriculum, the teachers adapt the lessons to fit the needs of those in their class. This isn’t just a daycare, this is a school where children are learning and thriving!

I told the staff that not only would I love to send my kids here, but I would love to work here. What a beautiful campus!

Photo: Spread the word! Our Open House at Hedgcoxe is this Thursday Oct. 16 from 5:30-7:30. If you LOVE TLC Schools, will you take a moment to share this post with your friends and encourage them to come check us out?

Good news for you: they are having an open house this week! There are two campuses, the Hedgcoxe campus has an open house this Thursday and the Democracy campus has one next week. Here are the details:

5:30-7:30 PM on October 16th – Hedgcoxe campus – 5200 Hedgcoxe Rd, Plano, TX 75024

5:30-7:30 PM on October 23rd – Democracy Campus5301 Democracy Dr Plano, TX 75024

Or, you can always schedule a tour through the Facebook page or by calling them.

If you are looking for a place to put your child this year, this is THE place!