Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wife Life: 10 Year Wedding Anniversary

I think for anyone being married is a big accomplishment. When you get married at 21 and 25 I think it's an even bigger accomplishment to get married and stay married for any significant amount of time. We didn't realize it until yesterday but we were so young when we got married. I hadn't even graduated from college yet (I still had one semester left). That's how young we were.

marriage advice

We were so young that I don't even remember if we talked in great detail about what our lives would be like. We knew we would have kids and that I would try staying at home with them but that's just about all we discussed. I don't recall us talking about money (perhaps because we didn't have any) or credit scores or any of the things that I think grown ups discuss before jumping the broom. We just kind of wandered our way through our twenties together. We figured out life and leaned on each other when our mistakes yielded unfortunate results.

I think that's one of the benefits of having married at young age. Neither one of us were set in our ways or dead set on how things needed to be. I think we have both learned a lot about what it means to be married and have a partner in life.

We often joke that if we had met each other right now in our 30s that I would probably have a long list of demands and requirements. Cause ya know, women in their 30s think and women in their 20s just kind of leap and pray it all works out. I am so glad I leaped.

I knew that I loved my husband and that I wanted to spend my life with him but I would be lying if I said I understood everything that marriage is about. I had no idea about what all it truly meant to be someone's wife. Now that I look back on these ten years I am so thankful for all the lessons I have learned. Here are ten lessons that I have learned during my first ten years of marriage...

Communication really is key. It is so important to talk about everything that needs to be discussed. I have learned that all topics don't need to be discussed to death and the issues that do need to be worked through need time and patience. It takes a lot of patience to listen when you don't agree with someone. Listening is huge but so is speaking up. You can not hold your husband accountable for the feelings he doesn't even know you have.

Don't try to read his mind, ask the hard questions. Instead assuming to know what my husband is thinking and feeling I have learned to just ask. It's much easier and it cuts out all the confusion, worry and doubt that you'll experience while trying to read his mind. 

Have your own life. As a newlywed I thought that we were suppose to spend all of our time together when we weren't working. I was wrong. Everyone needs their own time as individuals. My husband and I each have our own hobbies that allow us to grow and have interests in something other than each other. I love having time to myself to recharge. I'm a better wife and Mom when I take time to focus on myself. Have friends, go out and do things that make you happy.

Children can change your marriage but they don't have to. Having kids will definitely change the dynamic of a marriage. Now that I'm a wife and a Mother I see how it is possible to put all of your energy into your kids and forget to save some for your marriage. I have learned that I can not allow Motherhood to completely wipe me out. I still have to "remain the same chick he fell in love with". (Yas, Kelly. Who got that?)

Money does not make your marriage go 'round. Money is a necessity. It's important. Building wealth and paying off debt doesn't have to be a source of tension for a marriage. During our first (or maybe second) year of marriage we participated in the finance ministry class at our church. The class talked about being a good steward over your money. We learned about how to think about money from a God led place. Because of that class I can honestly say that we have never fought about money. We either have enough or we don't. It's not his fault. It's not my fault. Our philosophy is that we'll earn together, save together and build together. Until we get to where we want to be we will be content with where we are and know that God will continue to bless us in His time.

Disagreements, fights and disappointments don't mean divorce. Every time we fall out with each other it doesn't mean our marriage is over. It's an opportunity to sit down and refer to lessons one and two.

People grow and change. None of us will remain exactly the same over our lifetime. I am not the same twenty-one year old girl that got married ten years ago. I'm a thirty-one year old woman who is not exactly like my twenty-one year old self. My husband isn't the same as he was at twenty-five. We will both continue to change. We may not always like the changes we see in our spouses but that's where that whole thing about for better or for worse comes in to play. 

Keep people out of your business. When I mean to tell you that it is so important to keep folks out of your business and your marriage.... Everything isn't for everyone to know. If you have an open line of communication with your spouse then you won't have the need to call and tell everyone your problems. If you really must have a listening ear or a third party to bounce ideas off of make sure it's someone you trust. When I need to talk to someone I call my Mother because I know she loves both of us, she prays for our family and she isn't going to spread our business like US Weekly. If they don't genuinely care about your marriage, don't tell them your business.

It's not always about me. Even though I know I'm an awesome person I have come to learn that there are times when it's not about me. I can not always have my way. Compromise is a concept worth learning.

Pray. Pray with your husband. Pray for your husband. As Bishop Bronner once said during one of his sermons, "Praying wives keep praying." 

What are some of your best marriage tips? What lessons have you learned as a wife?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

#GrandfinaleBaby's Birth Story

Well this post feels like a long time coming. It's Christmas Eve and for the first time in a long time I actually have time to sit down and blog.

This birth story isn't very long or traumatic but I'm sharing it because the aftermath of the delivery is where I think most people will find solace in knowing they are not alone.

As you know I struggled with high blood pressure and symptoms of preeclampsia during my pregnancy. On November 4th (Wednesday) I was admitted to the hospital after a routine growth scan appointment due to my blood pressure being high. The Doctor explained to me that he thought it would be best for me to stay in the hospital until the baby was delivered. My original due date was December 26.

That morning I had gone to the doctor alone. Once the doctor said that he was admitting me I informed him that I would need to go back home to swap cars with my husband and pack a bag. I was driving the car with the car seats and strollers in it and because I had refused to pack a bag (despite my husband's constant suggestions to do so...) I really did need to go home.

So I went home, updated my husband about what was about to happen and we packed a bag and got me back up to the hospital after driving thru Chick Fil A to grab what felt like my last supper.

We arrived back at the hospital and I was immediately taken back to my room in Labor and Delivery. Initially I thought I would just be "living" there until we were much closer to my due date. But then my blood pressure spiked. It was so high that I had to be put on magnesium. Again. I hate magnesium. I think most people do. Magnesium makes you feel like you're having an outer body experience mixed with hot flashes and the flu.

Once you're on the mag (as the doctors call it) you have to stay in bed (because your risk of falling increases) and you're not allowed to eat. Luckily, I had eaten that CFA right before being admitted so I wasn't starving.

The next day was a different story. I was hungry. They were able to get my blood pressure down (by IV) but unfortunately my 24 hour urine sample showed that protein was spilling over into my urine. Your urine sample number shouldn't exceed 300 and my sample came in at 800. Not good.

That's when the team of doctors came in and told me that I would have to deliver the baby because I had developed severe preeclampsia. I had so many different feeling about delivering early. Is my baby going to be okay? Is my situation really that bad? Can't they monitor me for a few more weeks? What are the chances that I'd really have a stroke or a seizure?

I was scared and nervous but at the same time I knew I couldn't let those fears get me upset. I needed to stay calm so I could think rationally about what was about to happen and what the next couple of months would be like. I asked my nurse if someone from the NICU could come talk to me because I knew he would have to spend some time there after the delivery.

The NICU doctor came in and gave me the run down of all of the worst case scenarios. He told me he would come back by again in the morning to make sure I didn't have any questions. When he came back in the morning (Friday) I felt like the entire hospital staff came with him...

Now if you remember I got pregnant after having my tubes tied two years ago. My doctors wanted to talk to me about that and how they would "try their best" to make sure my tubes were really done this time. I got a refresher from the NICU, I met my nurses and the anesthesiologist. Before they began to prep me for surgery I called my Grandfather who's a Reverend and asked him to pray for me. My Grandfather has the most soothing voice. After talking to him I was so calm and I felt so strong. I was ready to walk through this journey, prepared for whatever the results may be...

My husband and I were prepped for surgery and we headed back to the operating room. It was the same room that I delivered Little Mike in two years ago. My husband waited outside while they got me up on the table and gave me an epidural. Normally I am freezing in the OR but I was given warm blankets during my delivery this time and I appreciated that so much.

My husband was escorted into the room and my surgery began. At 4:19pm on November 6 we welcomed our son Moses into our family. He weighed in at three pounds even and he had the tiniest little cry...

My husband and the baby went to the NICU while my doctors finished up my surgery. I spent the next two days in the hospital recovering from the surgery, pumping colostrum and learning as much as I could about the NICU journey.

In the next post I'll recap our NICU journey and share somethings that I think would help you if you ever find yourself in this same situation. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience with preE and the delivery of our #grandfinalebaby. 

Has anyone experienced preeclampsia? Share your story with me in the comments...

Monday, December 14, 2015

WaterWipes at Target

This post was sponsored by Water Wipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Hello Mamas! I am slowly getting back into the groove and back to blogging. Today I am sharing one of my most recent Target finds, WaterWipes. WaterWipes is a premium European chemical free baby wipe that contains only purified water and grapefruit seed extract.

When we welcomed our grandfinalebaby on November 6 I knew I would want to use natural baby products. I haven't shared his birth story here yet (it's coming, pinky swear) but after he was born he spent a month in the NICU. As a Mom you want to do everything you can to keep your baby safe and comfortable and I was glad that I found these wipes during one of our baby prep trips at Target.

Water Wipes baby wipes

Now that I am a Mom of three I am so busy. It has helped me out tremendously to have these packs of wipes in different places. I have a pack on the changing table, in my diaper bag and under the baby's bassinet. It's so convenient that the wipes come in a value pack. I can get several of them at one time without making multiple trips to the store. The price point is nice too.

WaterWipes are good for up to 15 months prior to being opened. Once the wipes are open they are good for a month. We normally use a pack of wipes way before a month is up and I'm sure other families do too. These are one of my new favorite baby products and I recommend that everyone try them. My son's skin was so dry and sensitive when he was released from the NICU and these wipes gave me so much peace of mind.

Have you seen these wipes at your Target? Have you tried them? 

WaterWipes Target

*I-C will randomly select 1 winner from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Preggonista® Style Box Giveaway

Hello November!

If you have been following my blog you know that November is one of my favorite months! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and the weather this time of year is perfect. This year November is extra special because it's our last full month as a family of four. I can not believe our #grandfinalebaby will be here next month. Next. Month.

Time flies when you're pregnant. Kind of. It's actually more of a roller coaster that speeds up and then slows down but when it's all over you can't believe you spent an entire year growing a sweet baby that you'll get to love forever.

To celebrate all the goodness that comes with November Preggonista is offering a giveaway to one of my readers! Remember, you do not have to be pregnant to enter this giveaway. It's the holiday season so feel free to enter the giveaway and give the prize to someone who is expecting.

To see what I received in my latest box watch the YouTube video below and then enter the giveaway!!! Good luck to you all and Happy November Mamas!

Enter the giveaway NOW for your chance to win a box of your own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 26, 2015

Preggonista® Box Reveal & Giveaway Announcement!

Today I wanted to share what I received in my latest box from Preggonista. I have to admit I have been in a pregnancy tunnel lately. Tunnel meaning that all I can do is think about what all there is left to do until the baby comes. You forget about all that goes into preparing for a baby until you're about to have one. That's where I am now. With a long list things to do and very little motivation or energy to do any of them.

So when I received my box from Preggonista last week it was a much needed treat to myself for all the hard work I've been putting off until the last minute.

Here is what came in my box...

Preggonista Gift Box

Black Wrap Dress by Seraphine - This dress has been worn by celebs like Kate Middleton, Halle Berry and Kate Hudson. The dress can be worn after pregnancy too. It's perfect for nursing and comfortable enough to wear soon after baby. I am in LOVE with this LBD!

Preggonista T-Shirt - A super cute t-shirt that I've already worn twice. Once with ripped legged maternity jeans and today with a black pencil skirt.

Teething Bling - For babies that like to tug on jewelry this necklace is genius. SmartMom created this stylish teething ring for Moms to wear and it's safe for babies.

Organic Belly Butter by OG Mama - A belly butter with a hint of a lavender fragrance soothes itchy skin as your skin stretches to accommodate your growing body.

This was a great box, right? On November 1st you'll have the chance to win your very own box from Preggonista. This is a great way to treat yourself to something special during your pregnancy. It's also a sweet gift for a pregnant friend or sister so you can still enter the giveaway if you're not pregnant.

To see the live unboxing of this video visit my Youtube channel. Don't forget to like, comment and subscribe! ;-)

Monday, October 19, 2015

11 Reasons to Drive a Minivan & Love it by Chic Mom Blogger Britney

Hi everyone, my name is Britney and I'm visiting from Britney Dearest. I'm so excited to be guest blogging on "The Chic Stay at Home Mom" today!

Upon reading the title, some of you may be puzzled as to why anyone in their twenties would proudly admit to driving a minivan, let alone enjoy it.

Hear me out before you think I'm crazy!

I was once anti-minivan too. I could not fathom the idea that I would ever drive a van. EVER! A minivan wasn't the right vehicle for this hot, young mama.

How it happened...
In 2011, during the last month of my pregnancy with my youngest son, my family owned two small cars; my husband's black manual 2-door Scion tc & my 4 door Chevy Cavalier. My husband had bought his car brand new and customized and it was his 'baby'. He dreaded the thought of selling it, but knew it was time for a newer, family-friendly vehicle.

I never ever considered a minivan as an option. I was actually searching for a 7 or 8 passenger SUV. My dreams were shattered when my husband said something like, "babe, we're not getting an SUV, we need a van." I probably replied something like, "honey, you have lost your mind if you think I'm gonna be seen driving a VAN." Then, because he's Mr. Logical, he explained all the reasons why a van would be the most practical choice for our family. He was right, but I probably said, "screw that, I'm too young and fly to drive a van!"

A month after the birth of my son, my husband and I contacted my cousin, who at the time was a salesman at a Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealership. A couple of weeks after our initial conversation, he called us saying he had something for us; a van that only had one previous owner prior, it was in great condition, had low mileage, yada yada yada...

I was ridiculously dramatic on the way to the dealership. I guess reality had set in. I don't know if it was my postnatal breastfeeding hormones or what, but I cried (literally) and debated with my husband during the entire ride. I realized I may have lost my battle against the minivan and the possibility that I could really be driving one by the end of the day was over whelming for me. I know it seems silly, but I was really stressed out!

I wasn't sold on it until the test drive.

Needless to say, my husband and I became owners of 2008 Chrysler Town & Country Limited minivan by the end of that day. I named it Pearl, because of it's pretty, light blue pearly color.

Although my ideas of driving a minivan didn't start out so well, I have made it to a great place and now, it's all love and light.

October 11, 2015

Allow me to explain why...

1. Nice aesthetics. Everything on the inside and outside was close to perfection. It looked brand spanking new. The previous owner kept the vehicle in great condition.

2. It drives so smooth. During our test drive, my husband and I were blown away by how smooth the ride was. It was so much better than what we were used to. It still rides pretty good.

3. Entertainment for the kids. Our van has two TV screens that fold down from the ceiling of the van, a remote, and two Bluetooth headphones so I can ride in silence or listen to the radio while the kids listen to their movie. Every now and then we're offered three free months of SiriusXM satellite radio. I love it! I can't wait until the offer comes back around again. Using an auxiliary cord, I can hook up my phone and listen to my own music via YouTube, Pandora, or any other internet radio apps. We also have an electrical power outlet we can turn off and on in the second row.

4. Rear view screen. My kids leave out their bikes and toys in the driveway pretty often, so when I open the garage, I can check the rear view screen to make sure there's nothing and no one behind the van before backing out. It's beneficial in parking lots because in addition to my rear view mirrors, I have another way to check for other vehicles and people walking by. The screen also allows me to control the radio and has the ability to show a movie while the van is in park.

5. It has automatic sliding doors that open and close with the push of a button. Yeah, SUV's are nice at all, but automatic sliding doors are a great feature they lack. I feel like I'm living in luxury when my kids and I are leaving the grocery store, and I tap the button to slide the doors open for the kids before we make it to the car. Instantly following that, I tap the button to open the trunk for the groceries. Then, I tap the button again to close the trunk, while my kids tap the button located inside the van to close the doors. I get that "I'm so fancy" attitude.

While I'm in the back, slaving away.

6. Because  of the sliding doors, I don't have to worry about my kids swinging doors open and scratching or denting cars nearby.

7. Stow-n-Go seating is great. Instead of removing seats, we're able to fold them down into the floor. It has been great for big purchases. I can put a few seats down to load a large item. We have also used the seating at the drive in, changing the trunk into comfortable seating and a spot to lie down.

The larger front row storage compartment has DVDs, change, hand sanitizer, lotion, car sprays, stuff like that.

8. There are useful storage compartments, including a nice sized trunk. There are two glove compartments on the passenger side and two nice sized storage compartments in between the driver and passenger seats. I store DVD's in the larger one and and stuff like loyalty/reward savings cards, baby wipes, lotion, & feminine products in the smaller. I keep my emergency kits and reusable grocery bags in the floor compartments located in the second row. We're able to fit our groceries, wagon, bikes, and scooters in the trunk with ease. In the third row, there's a few holders and areas where the kids store a few of their small toys.

9. There's so much space. My kids can get in and out very easily. When there are three people in the third row seat, it's still comfortable and spacious. On the day of my sister's wedding, when their limo, which was carrying majority of the wedding party including the bride & groom, became stranded on the side of the road {gasp!}, I was able to seat seven of them into my van... and they watched a movie on the way to our destination. :-)

10. Heated Seating. The driver, passenger, and second row seats have heated seating. It's perfect for the colder seasons! Not only am I able to keep my backside warm, but my kids can keep theirs warm as well.

Our emergency kits, reusable bags, and other stuff in the floor.

11. My family loves having a van. My entire family is spoiled by the perks that our Pearl offers. I don't want any other type of vehicle. I would love to upgrade to a 2016 Town & Country. They're so sleek and gorgeous, inside and out. I considered a 2015 Honda Odyssey; for awhile, it was actually my dream family car, however, when I saw the newer Town & Country, with chrome accents and new logo design, I fell deeply in like.

Truth be told, we won't be upgrading to anything newer any time soon. We'll be driving our current van until it can't go anymore, or as some say, "until the wheels fall off!" But it's fun to dream :-)

Third row. Snapping photos as I clean!
Having a van has most definitely changed my opinion. I was so hesitant to own one, but now, I don't want anything else. Well, I would like to have a nice 4-door mid-size sedan, eventually, in addition to my van, but it's not feasible for us right now, so the other alternative we have currently is my husband's Chevy truck.

Yeah, my vehicle screams, "I HAVE A BUNCH OF KIDS!" But that's not an issue for me, I'm a proud Mommy. I don't mind the "soccer mom" references. Regardless of the negative stereotypes and opinions surrounding minivans, my van is what I make it. And I like to believe my family makes it look darn good. :-)

Any other proud "minivans moms" out there? Or, are you considering joining the club? Did I convince you enough? :-) Thanks for reading! And thank you so much to Tia for having me!

In addition to my blog, Britney Dearest, you can also find me {as @BritneyDearest} on Instagram,  TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chic Bump Watch: NSTs & BPPs

I have reached that point in my pregnancy where I'll be going to see the doctor quite a bit. This week I started my non stress tests. I go  twice a week to make sure the baby is doing okay and that my blood pressure isn't spiking too high.

A non stress test doesn't last too long but if your baby is sleepy during the test (and doesn't "pass") you'll be given what's called a BPP (bio physical profile). A BPP is an ultrasound that checks for baby's breathing and movement. During all of my pregnancies my babies slept right through their NST but would pass the BPP with flying colors.

I wasn't suppose to start my testing for another couple weeks but my doctors thought that it would be best to have me go ahead start them now. I learned during Little Mike's pregnancy that a little extra monitoring never hurts and it can be the best thing for you. During his pregnancy we learned that I needed to deliver after a BPP. My fluid had leaked and if it wasn't for my NST/BPP appointments we may not have found out about that until it was too late.

So that's where I'm at right now. I go to testing twice a week and I still have my regular doctor visits every two weeks too. I try to have all of my appointments line up on the same days and around the same times but that doesn't always happen. 

As we cruise into the end of the month and into November I can't help but think about how close we are to meeting our #grandfinalebaby! 

Anyone else do NSTs while pregnant?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mama Boxes: Third Trimester Box

Today I am sharing what's inside my third trimester box from Mama Boxes. I absolutely loved all of the samples in the first box I received. I can't believe I was able to hold out and wait for my third trimester to take a peek inside...

mama boxes subscription box service

Now that my third trimester is officially underway I am starting to plan for post pregnancy and all things newborn baby. Luckily this trimester's box included some items to help me with that. My husband has been telling me all weekend that I should start thinking about packing my bag for the hospital. I think I'll wait a couple more weeks before I pack my bag. Some of the samples in this month's box are going to be perfect for my hospital stay.

Here's what came inside my box this trimester:

Johnson's baby head-to-toe wash - This travel size sample will be perfect for my diaper bag. It also came with a $2.00 coupon for Johnson's/Desitin products at Babies R Us.

dapple - Dapple is a baby-safe dish liquid made from plants. The sample came with a $1.00 off coupon that can be used to purchase the product at Target.

Lasinoh - "The World's Purest Lanolin", provides relief for sore and cracked nipples. It's safe for mom and baby. I'll definitely need this as a nursing mom as we work on our latch. This sample came with a coupon for $1.00 off any one Lasinoh HPA Lanolin.

Healing Mix Flax & Nuts Cuisine - This natural organic mix of flax and nuts increases natural energy, helps in lactation, provides nutritional support for healthy hormone production after giving birth and renews mental clarity and focus. Sign me up for all of that post baby goodness! It is suggested that you take one scoop two to three times a day as needed. 

La Mav Coffee Bean Body Scrub - Exfoliates  dead skin cells while reducing the appearance of cellulite. This body scrub contains organic Coconut Oil, Camellia Oil and Macadamia Oil and is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins.

ziaja body balm - A cocoa butter that improves skin tone.

Pink Unity - A non-staining glycerin free silicone lubricant for women.

MUN No.11 Anarose - A rejuvenating rose toner that gently exfoliates your flaky skin.

Pampers - This super cute diaper and wipes cloth clutch came with one newborn size diaper and a small pack of wipes. It also included a coupon for $5.00 off my purchase of any one value size box of diapers and wipes. I am kind of in love with the clutch. I can see myself using it to hold some of my own personal items after the baby is born. It's perfect for a diaper bag!

I got some great stuff in this box. All of the coupons will come in handy. I can't wait to try the healing mix. Mama Boxes is a fun way to celebrate your pregnancy. It's a great gift for a friend who is expecting. I have enjoyed getting a new box in the mail every few months. It gives you something fun to look forward to while you wait for baby. 

What's your favorite sample from this month's box? I think the Pampers clutch is mine! 

Don't forget that posts will be pretty random between now and when #grandfinalebaby arrives. I'm on modified bed rest  and will be resting as much as possible. Be sure to check here and on social media from updates from me. I'll be active on FB and instagram when I'm feeling up to it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Organizing Mamas: Baby Nursery Inspiration

I am officially in the third trimester of my pregnancy, yay!!! I feel so incredibly blessed to have made it this far. I'm praying to stay pregnant as long as possible.

From previous experience I know it's in my family's best interest to go ahead and get prepared for baby as soon as possible. Little Mike came earlier than we expected and there were still some things that needed to be done once we were home from the hospital. Not fun.

I want to be ready this time. So this week for the Organizing Mamas Challenge I'll be trying to gather some ideas for a neutral baby nursery. I have been resting so much that I've actually ended up in a really time sensitive place. Thankfully, this challenge with Mimi from Unlikely Martha has been keeping me somewhat on task.

Living on a military base doesn't allow me to do as much as I would like to as far as decorating goes. Our home is over a hundred years old. The bedrooms are small but the house has a cozy charming feel to it. I plan to do a neutral 'nursery' so that the baby can share a room with either Sav or Little Mike. I just can't afford to give up our guest room right now. Our parents need a room when they come visit. 

I am very attracted to a room with a grey base. It can be easily transitioned to a boy or girl's room by adding different colors. 

That room is very similar to what I'll actually be working with. The walls in our house will remain white so I have to bring in color with furniture and decor. I found this crib on Amazon that I really love because it comes in different colors. I could easily choose a color that already matches the decor in Savannah or Little Mike's room.

I don't know why I'm so drawn to grey right now. It honestly doesn't go with either of the kid's rooms so I'd have to do a total room makeover for grey to work. I'm tossing around the idea. I like simple, easy and timeless design because moving is inevitable I want their rooms to work no matter where we're living.

For Mama's with multiples... Have you ever had kids share a room? How did that work? If giving up my guest room is worth it I'll consider it. Sleep means everything to me so I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep the sleep flowing around here.

Now go check out Mimi's post to see her mud room makeover update!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pumpkin Shaped Jello

Now that the temps are starting to dip into the 80s it's starting to feel a little bit more like Fall here in Texas. (Could you hear all that sarcasm?) Anyway, it may not get that cool here but it doesn't stop me from fully embracing the Fall season.

I decided to kick things off with a fun cool treat for the kids. When I was in the hospital I became a big fan of jello. It was so cold and yummy. I thought it would be fun to make some orange jello for the kids and use pumpkin cookie cutters to make little pumpkins.

As you might have realized by now - I am not the type of Mom that tries to reinvent the wheel. I am going to share this super easy activity with you. All you need is orange gelatin mix and pumpkin cookie cutters.

Make the jello according to the package directions. You can make the jigglers version of these pumpkin by following the directions on the side of the box. You'll need to two boxes of jello for that. We didn't have jigglers because I didn't read the entire box until we were home. #momshrug

Note to Moms everywhere - Sometimes reading the box while in the store can be extremely helpful. 

The jello has to set in the fridge for what seems like forever. Next time I'll make the jello in the morning so that it will be ready by school pick up.

The pumpkin molds came out perfect! You have to press a bit to get them to pop up into the cutter. 

jello pumpkin

I plan to do this again in November. In December we'll use red and green jello with our Christmas cookie cutters. I love a cheap, easy and fun activity!

Will you be trying this? Don't forget to use the jigglers recipe. It would really take this activity to the next level.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Savannah's Rainbow Dash Birthday Party

My baby girl is five. I feel like it was just yesterday that she was born. Time is surely flying. For Savannah's first birthday I planned a cute cupcake themed party. We were living close to family and they all came to celebrate her big day.

We moved to Texas a couple days before she turned two and on her birthday we celebrated with ice cream, burgers and fries. Just the three of us.

For her third and fourth birthday I still wasn't really feeling planning a party so she invited a couple of her girlfriends to do different activities. Her third birthday party was at Chuck E Cheese at ten in the morning (we had the whole place to ourselves, perfection) and her fourth birthday party was at a local ceramic painting place.

rainbow dash birthday party

As her fifth birthday approached I kept thinking about how big of a deal five was. You're no longer a 'baby'. That's a big deal. I wanted to throw her a party that would be fun, colorful and easy on the pockets. I think I succeeded. The kids had a blast, it was a bright beautiful day and we spent less than $300. I consider that a win. There were 15 kids and 14 adults at her party.

To keep things easy we decided to go with pizza, applesauce, sugar cookies and cupcakes for the menu. I packed a cooler with juice boxes and bottled water.

rainbow dash birthday party

The sugar cookies were a big hit. To make these I purchased pre-made pull apart sugar cookie dough and sprinkles (also known as colored sugar, sugar crystals...). I baked them according to the package directions. They came out perfect and fit the theme of her party really well.

rainbow dash birthday party

I ordered three dozen cupcakes from the grocery store. They also made the birthday ribbon for her sugar cookie platter. It was tossed in as a freebie with the cupcakes.

rainbow dash birthday party

As her party guests arrived they were able to create a pony mask of their own. We found these pony masks on etsy and had them printed on card stock. The kids used crayons and stickers to decorate their masks and they used yarn to tie them to their little faces.

Once their mask was done they had the opportunity to take a picture in the photo booth with their mask. I found My Little Pony photo booth props on etsy and had them printed on card stock. I found the sticks (and the yarn for this party) at Hobby Lobby. 

The photo booth was made from disposable tablecloths (the bigger size) found at Dollar Tree. My husband hung the table cloths using two command hooks and lots of tape. 

After all of the posing was over we headed over to the gym for a pony race. I made ponies using pool noodles (and yarn and ribbon) that I got on clearance at Walmart. The ribbon was purchased from Dollar Tree.

These ponies were supposed to have eyes and ears but I got sleepy somewhere around eleven o' clock and decided that they were fine just like this...

The kids had a great time racing each other while my husband went to pick up the pizza. It was the perfect activity for this age. When the party was over it was hilarious to see that in all the race pics Little Mike was out front. He's a fast one...

We used streamers to create the lanes for the pony race.

After all of the ponies were tired from racing it was time to eat. The pizza from Dominos was actually pretty good. 

Before heading out to the playground we sang Happy Birthday to Savannah, ate cupcakes and I passed out all the favors. The favors consisted of rainbow colored bubble wands I found at Walmart on clearance ($3 for a pack of 6), candy from the candy bar and a Rainbow Dash paper craft (that I found for free on Pinterest).

rainbow dash birthday party

rainbow dash birthday party

After this we headed outside to the playground. The children played until our party time was up. It was great. I could not have asked for a better day for my little girl. She was so happy with her party and talked about it for the next couple days. 

It was so nice to see all of her friends and get to know some of their parents a bit better. Her party was held at the youth center on the base where we live. There is no cost for renting the facility on a Saturday, winning.

If you're planning a party for your little one I highly suggest searching Pinterest for freebies and etsy for affordable printouts and invitations. Of course if you can make things yourself that's always great too. 

How do you think we did? If you came to Sav's party thank you for prancing over and spending the afternoon with us! :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Organizing Mamas: Kitchen Pantry Reveal

This week has been so busy. I haven't blogged much because Savannah's birthday consumed all of my free time. I'll do a post one day this week about everything we did to celebrate her turning five.

Now that I am sort of back in the swing of things Mimi from Unlikely Martha and I are revealing our spaces for the Organizing Mamas Challenge. This could not have come at a better time for me. While I was recovering from my hospital stay my Mom was in town and she pulled my entire kitchen together. It's so organized in here and I am loving it. I can actually find lids to containers now. My heart is so happy.

My pantry before was a hot mess. There were things stuffed and crammed all over the place. Little Mike would take stuff out, throw it away or hide it somewhere in the house. Now all of his favorite items to play with are out of his reach and no longer in bright eye catching colors. He has lost all interest in the pantry. Again, my heart is happy.

Here is a before pic of the pantry...

military housing kitchen pantry

And here is the after...

One of the things my Mom did that I loved was that she completely removed all the medicine out of the pantry. She also got rid of the cereal boxes. One of my favorite new features of my pantry would be the snack tub. I don't buy much junk food but we always seem to have tortilla chips (because chips & salsa are household staples here) whatever snacks I buy for the kids. The smaller tub on top is filled with kid friendly snacks like fruit snacks, breakfast bars and applesauce. The larger tub holds popcorn bags and chips. 

The bread basket freed up space on my kitchen island (another heart happy moment) and I love that the potatoes and onions have a basket of their own. Military housing doesn't provide much storage in some of the historic homes (like our's) so you really have to get creative with making the small spaces work. I think my Mom did a great job!

What do you think of my pantry makeover? Now head over to Mimi's blog to see the reveal of her space. She recently did a blog overhaul with a new name and vibe to match. Be sure to stop by and show her post some love. She's got so many great DIY/home posts!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kitchenista: Easy Peach Cobbler

The other day I shared a pic on the blog's Facebook page of one of my favorite desserts, peach cobbler. Since there was such a nice response to that post I figured I'd share my super easy recipe. I also said I would share it and I try to be a Mama of my word so here it goes...

This is what you'll need...

peach cobbler recipe

Recipe Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Toss peeled and sliced peaches in 1/2 cup of sugar. You can use less sugar (but I like all the 'syrupie' goodness that comes along with more sugar). Cream butter and 1 cup sugar together. Mix in flour. Add egg and vanilla extract. Poor mixture over peaches. Bake for about 40 minutes. 

*I always bake cobblers, pies and cakes on a cookie sheet because spillage happens when I don't use one...*

I have also used this same recipe with honey crisp apples and it was delicious!

peach cobbler

Easy enough, right? I'm trying to add to my list of desserts. So far I can make a really yummy pound cake, peach cobbler and chewy cake. What are your favorite desserts that are pretty easy to make?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Chic Bump Watch: 25 Week Update

How far along? 25 weeks

Maternity clothes? Yes. I find most of my maternity clothes from ASOS, H&M, Old Navy and Ross. My Oopsie Loops bands help make some of my non-maternity jeans fit but I prefer actual maternity jeans.

Stretch marks? No. I do get spider veins though...

Sleep: There are nights when I sleep like a husband and there are nights when I sleep like a newborn baby.

Best moment this week: I have several. Being home with my family, having my parents come visit to help me and getting some really great blood pressure numbers during my follow up appointment.

What do I miss about pre-pregnancy? Wine, working out and medium rare steaks...

Movement? Yes. #grandfinalebaby moves a lot, mostly at night.

Food cravings? Not really. I do enjoy spicy foods and snacks though.

Anything making me queasy or sick? Hearing someone blow their nose (which grosses me out when I'm not pregnant), smelling morning breath and hearing someone clear their throat.

Gender: We DO know the gender.

Labor signs? Nope.

Symptoms: I is big. I is tired. I is pregnant.

Belly button in or out? Out.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Mood swings? My personality has definitely shifted. My tolerance level is not as high as it normally is which is causing me to be snappy and maybe a little mean.

Looking forward to? I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of my pregnancy, Savannah's birthday party and the Fall season.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Easy Natural Hairstyle for School Days

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central forJust For Me. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

One of my goals for the Summer was to learn how to braid or twist good enough to do protective styling on Savannah for the school week. I still haven't gotten my skills all the way tight but I have made a vast improvement from where I started.

Savannah and I have been trying out the new hair milk collection from Just For Me. I was so happy with the results from the hair care line. One of my favorite products was the detangler spray. That's what we used this morning to take Sav's hair from a pineapple top ponytail down to some protective flat twists. 

After fully detangling her hair I sectioned it into parts and began twisting. I love this style because it is something fast and easy to do before school. We still haven't quite figured out how to make styles last overnight (we have tried bonnets) so I have to have styles that are quick to do in the mornings. 

I used the Curl Smoother to moisturize her hair. It's lightweight and works really well with her texture. While twisting I used the Smoothing Edges Crème on her edges. The crème is alcohol free and provides a medium hold which is great for getting those little baby hairs to lay down.

just for me hair styling products

I am really loving the results from the products. Her hair is so soft. These twists will make for a beautiful twist out this weekend. After all the twists were done I used bobby pins to secure them and added the bow in the front because Savannah loves a bow...

kids natural hairstyle

I think I'm getting better with styling. Having the right products helps a lot. The new Just For Me Hair Milk Collection is available at Walmart. The line has helped us pass the #5FingerChallenge and I cannot express how great it is to be able to detangle with your fingers! It makes for a #happyhairtime for everyone involved.

If you're like me and still new to braiding and twists I would recommend getting on Youtube and watching tutorials. If you have a friend that can teach you that's always helpful too. 

Have you taken the #5FingerChallenge yet? If you have any styling tips or video tutorials to share with me please drop them in the comments!