Wednesday, December 31, 2014

SubMom style

Ya got "dubstyle" "gangsta style" and countless other styles. But, here's a shout out to all my Mommas rocking the "SubMom" style. Haven't heard of it? Well, it really is a thing...I just decided. SubMom style - classic suburban mom. Drives a minivan or some sort of hybrid/crossover utility vehicle. The cool outfit consists of yoga pants/leggings, who knows what kind of shirt covered by their ski vest or North Face jacket, ponytail and dark sunglasses (to hide the nonexistent makeup and dark circles under their eyes). Typical hangout is school carpool lines, playgrounds and Target.  They are cool enough to have a "crew", a really loud and rambunctious "crew"...usually 2 or more depending on the size of their "brood". And, this crew is ALWAYS hanging around! Don't forget the Starbucks coffee mug...she's been partying with that crew all night. Oh, and her skills are off the chain! She can nurse a baby, make dinner, help one child with common core math and quiz another child on their spelling words all at once...AND still remember all the words to Rob Base's "It Takes Two" plus quote the entire movie, Goonies. But, don't you dare try to ask her what she did all day...she's way too cool to be bothered with little details like that! It's all a blur anyway.... Got the SubMom style?? I'm sure you do...and I bet your friends do, too! Rock it loud and proud!!! Slip on those yoga pants, pull that hair back and grab another cup of coffee! And, if you ever find yourself in your mom car alone headed to the grocery store to pick up your online shopping order....crank up that music, sip on that Starbucks and rock it like it's 1999!!!! Happy New Year to all my rockin' moms!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Facebook post that ruffled my feathers and got me thinking...

 Ok...if you have been on Facebook for even one second this season. I KNOW you have seen this post! It's been blogged about, fussed about, heralded and I have even seen it shared in a few of my local online marketplaces.  It's a "plea" from a Mom to all parents to "keep it small" when it comes to Santa. Basically, level the playing field with gifts from Santa to spare other childrens' feelings who may not receive the same caliber of gifts due to financial circumstances. Read below and then let's chat....
So, let me be honest and just say when I first saw this, my response was, "Tell me what to give my kids from Santa?!?!?!" And then I thought...and couldn't stop thinking. Well played original poster, well played. Instead of strategizing my, umm Santa's, gift giving...what if I used that energy instead to really focus on the life lessons I want my children to carry with them everywhere they go? Lessons that are way bigger than who got what for Christmas. Lessons that will hopefully become an integral part of their just "being". So many things ran through my mind and here are some of the top winners...NOT in order of importance.

1. Don't brag....it's tacky. 
And, remember...there is a difference between giving yourself a "shout out" for well earned accomplishments and true bragging. Bragging is consistent and done to show others how awesome you think you and your stuff is, and theirs isn't. Bottom line...people don't care about your stuff and it's just rude. Enjoy your goodies and consider sharing with others especially if you and your stuff are really "all that" 

2. Give to others, always. 
Give, give, give. Give your resources, give your time, give your talents, give YOU! Back to the original post... No, not every child is as privileged as the next. More than understanding that no, not every child is receiving an iPhone from Santa this year, by the way...neither are mine, I want them to understand so much more. I want them to understand that there are children who do not know if they will have dinner or breakfast, children who are drinking and playing in toxic water, children who live in war torn lands and are worried about just staying alive. I want my kids to be less worried about leveling the material gift giving field and more concerned with leveling the right to a safe, loving, nourished life for all children. 

3. Understand the REAL reason for the season.
For our family, the REAL reason for the season is the birth of Jesus. Yes, I know historically Jesus was not born on Dec 25...it's just a time carved out of the calendar to pause and celebrate this gift. We also enjoy Santa but it is a side note to the holiday. A super fun side note but not top billing by any means. Truth be told, gifts are a last minute thought. We JUST began and finished shopping for our kiddos this week...9 days before Christmas. And, that's early for us.  We are most excited about having some time away from school and work to just "be together".  Figure out what your real reason for the season is and share with your children.

4. Everyone is different
I have put a lot of effort into teaching my children that the reason for the season is different for everyone and everyone celebrates in their own way. And, p.s., not everyone celebrates. And, guess what else? That's ok!! We go to church on Christmas Eve, our neighbors may not...that's cool. We enjoy Santa, some of my children's friends' families do not practice...that's cool. Santa consults with each parent on the gifts they would like their children to receive. Yes, I've said that. I have even gone as far to explain to my children that Santa is very respectful of all families and their choices this season. Who knew Santa was so PC??? Seriously, deep in my soul I am an "I'm ok , you're ok" kind of person. And, I want my children to be, too.  We all have to share this space in our world and a little kindness, understanding and compassion will go a long way. I'm not going to tell you how to live your life and I would appreciate it if you would not tell me how to live mine. There's one disclaimer...I'm ridiculously Southern so if I don't like how you are living that life of yours, I'm gonna pray for you 😉

5. Speak less, Do more
You know the old saying "Actions speak louder than words"? It's truth people! Spend less time talking about what you're gonna do and just do it! And, guess what, you don't need an audience.  Some of the most amazing things you will do in life, no one else will even know about it. That's what will make it so amazing!

So, thank you original Facebook poster who tried to tell me what Santa should give my children for Christmas. You got me thinking about so much more!  Things that will stretch way past Christmas morning. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, beware of Krampus and Happy Winter solstice to all of my readers. Plus happy whatever else you may or may not participate in. And, to my fellow Santas...you do yours and I'll do mine 😉 And, remember, don't brag...it's tacky.




Saturday, November 22, 2014

Children 'n Us Super Stroller Organizer Product Review




I am in love with this  new stroller organizer!!  It is the perfect little organizer...not too big, not too small....lots of pockets and can be used anywhere!  This great organizer will snap onto a stroller, car seat or even on the handle bars of a bike.  I love that I can throw the baby's snacks, drink plus my keys, phone and wallet in the organizer when I shop...so much easier than digging through the diaper bag for what I need.  It's all right there at my fingertips.  There's even enough room in the bag for a few diapers and a pack of wipes if you don't want to tote around the diaper bag. 




I also like that it is a nice flexible tote.  Empty, it folds up nicely when I collapse my stroller and store it in the back of the car.  I just keep it attached for the next trip!  Check out the Children 'n Us Super Stroller Organizer on Amazon!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


WooHoo!!!  Another holiday gift guide!!!  Now, hold on a minute, this gift guide is a little different.  In this gift guide you will not find big box store items or the 20 best unnecessary toys for your kids.  Instead, you will find...unique, handmade items...small businesses...many are mommy businesses.  Wonderful, personalized gift giving items that you will not find out on the shelves of your local shopping center.  These little shops are a great opportunity to give a gift that will knock their socks off!!!  So, grab a cup of coffee, kick your feet up and take a few minutes to discover some amazing new gift items.







Where can you get super trendy gifts, accessories, mommy and children's clothing??? And....personalized???  Sew What Mommy!!  Sew What Mommy was formed  by two best friend mommies, Amy Snyder and Jennifer Holby, after the birth of their daughters.  They loved the look of the adorable boutique clothing available, but not the price. After perfecting their sewing and embroidery techniques to create their own one of a kind outfits for their little ones, friends definitely took notice and encouraged these two mommies to start their own business. Jenn and Amy now run one of the most well known home businesses in their local area.  Sew What Mommy is focused on delivering top quality, unique items with amazing customer service.  And, I can personally attest to this....Not only do I blog about Sew What Mommy, I'm also a customer! Every single item I have ever purchased from Jenn and Amy has drawn compliments everywhere I go!  Look for Sew What Mommy on Facebook and check out all of the embroidery, applique and a variety of clothing options. There's always something new!







Prissy On The Moon, written and illustrated by Dolores and Vladimir Andral, is a story about a little girl who uses her imagination to soar to the moon! However, reality collides with imagination when she uses her “moon" voice indoors, jumps on the furniture, and crashes into her mama as she flies through the house on her spaceship!  When she finds out about a party that will include fun, family, and food, she has to make the decision of whether she really wants to relocate to outer space, or maybe compromise so she can enjoy a bit of both worlds.  

In the author's own words, "Prissy On The Moon started out more like a joke in our house.  When my oldest daughter was a toddler she was very loud, so I'd always say, "You're not on the moon."  Or if the kids got too loud, I'd say, "You can do whatever you want on the moon, but in this house..."  In fact, we didn't need to use the words be quiet, it was always, "You're not on the moon."

I always told the kids I would write a story about it, and that's how Prissy came about.  I have about 9 "Prissy" stories.  The kids would ask me to read the stories so we'd sit around and have "Prissy Parties."  I would give the kids hot apple cider and whip cream and would read to them.

And my husband came to draw Prissy because I was so terrible at it.  He wanted to prove to me how bad my version was, which he succeeded in doing by illustrating a page so well, he found himself on the hook."

I love this and the fact that there are more "Prissy" stories to come!  The perfect gift for your little ones with big imaginations!  You can find Prissy on Amazon and at Go On, Be Prissy!  Also look for Prissy World on Facebook.







Sillie Lillie Events and Prints is the party planning and print passion of Shellie Tedford.  Shellie creates custom party prints and decorations so each event is unique.  In her own words,  Shellie expresses how she feels about her home business, "It brings me so much joy!  I do mommy things and wifey things - and this is my "Shellie thing"!  Sillie Lillie specializes in invitations, notecards, banners, framed prints and party decorations.  There are also many items that are perfect for teachers, friends and those "hard to buy for" family members.  Basically, just a whole mess of cuteness for everyone!!!  Sillie Lillie is based in the Charlotte, NC area so if you are local and in need of a party planner - look no further!  Not local??   No worries - Shellie can create the perfect party package and ship to anywhere in the U.S.!  You can find Sillie Lillie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sillielillieeventsandprints and at http://www.sillielillie.com/  Let's Party!!







The Southern Pearl Boutique is two friends, Amber and Kennedi, who met in 2006 at a Halloween party. As fate would have it, they became fast friends sharing a love of family, faith and fashion. They both had the dream of one day opening up their own boutique and from that desire, The Southern Pearl Boutique was born.  Their jewelry is handmade, unique, and absolutely fabulous! Their goal through the Southern Pearl is to help women feel beautiful from the inside out while sharing their faith with others. In their own words, "We believe that life is all about making a statement and we want to help you create yours!"  Check out The Southern Pearl Boutique on FB, https://www.facebook.com/tspboutique and at http://www.thesouthernpearl.com/








Ivy & Co. is a blog/home business created by Becca Owen.  Becca is a professional dance instructor and choreograper in Hawaii who loves to create things during her time off.  Her blog is all about parenting, family, sewing and painting but, according to Becca, "at the heart of it all, I believe that creativity and the arts are essential to society and individuals, especially children."  Becca and her husband, Kit, highly encourage creativity within their daughter, Ivy, who is a great inspiration in Becca's creative process.  Ivy & Co. is filled with beautiful aprons, headbands and buntings - much of which is created from vintage fabrics and doilies.  Becca states, "I love history, which is why I thrive on bringing new life to old things. They all have their story.  When we're old and gray, that's what we'll have:  our stories to pass on to the next generation." These wonderfully handcrafted items are one way Becca aims to preserve that history.  Check out all of Ivy & Co.'s gorgeous offerings on Facebook at Ivy & Co. and hop on over to the blog too!  http://www.theivyandco.com/







Looking for unique woolen and knit items?  Well, look no further! Welcome to Cozy Cape Cottage!  Cozy Cape Cottage was started in 2012 when some of Kim Frer's mommy friends took an interest in some of her handknits.  Kim creates many beautiful items, such as toddler gloves, baby booties, slipper socks and gorgeous snap scarves.  The name of her business was inspired by her own home - a cape cod style house.  She liked the correlation of cozy, homey and knitted items and warmth - thus "Cozy Cape Cottage"  Kim loves to create beautiful items for others and in her own words, "I just love making things that hopefully people will love.  My shop has given me the ability to keep branching out and try new things." Check out all of the handmade offerings at Cozy Cape Cottage!




Have a book lover on your list?  Check out these adorable handcrafted bookmarks from Keepings!  Ribbon, charms and even pop culture references.  A perfect gift for anyone!  Keepings was founded in Australia by Kirsty.  Kirsty was inspired by all of the boutique and trinket shops close to home and loves creating and making jewelry, especially with metal and velvet.  She has also drawn inspiration from her two younger sisters.   This inspiration led to the creation of  "keepings" for the kids or kids at heart with characters from Adventure Time and Harry Potter.  You can find Kirsty's handcrafted bookmarks and jewelry at Keepings on Etsy.




Decals, diaper stackers and more!  Bobee, Inc., founded by Stacy Harfert, offers an adorable line-up of removable decals.  These great decals can be used on virtually any smooth surface...mirrors, car windows, walls, etc.  The options are endless!  Bobee Inc. also has an amazing diaper stacker/wipe organizer that would be the perfect complement to any nursery.  Each diaper stacker/wipe organizer also comes with a packet of polka dot  decals in various colors to complement any nursery decor.  A wonderful gift for any expectant or new parent.  Check out the diaper stacker at http://www.bobeeinc.com/ and all of the adorable decals Bobee, Inc. has to offer on Facebook.




Carolina Chocolate Company was started in the Carolinas by three friends who share a passion for chocolate.  And, as everyone knows...you can never go wrong with chocolate!!  From their signature barks to bars to covered cookie sandwiches, every offering is completely delish!  Chef Harold's chocolate concoctions are the perfect add on gift or stocking stuffer.  Or go big and Alicia, mommy and marketing director, will help you create a custom chocolate gift basket. Check out Carolina Chocolate Company on Facebook and at http://www.carolinachocolatecompany.com/  Portions of all proceeds will go to an organization in the Carolinas serving abandoned, neglected and abused children.




Love all of these adorable crochet, scarves and goodies from Anni Schenk, Grapefruit Princess!  From camo to team colors to Amigurumi....there is something for everyone!  What little kiddo wouldn't love to sport a fun "Minion" cap this winter?  Perfect for stocking stuffers.  Check out all Grapefruit Princess has to offer at Etsy.  





Caution!!  Shameless plug up ahead!!  Yep, I'm throwing my hat into the ring...Welcome to Suzi Bee's!  I started Suzi Bee's when I was pregnant with my 3rd child and have dabbled a bit with selling my items over the past year.  I love to craft and create, it's my happy place. I especially love creating unique items for others to enjoy.  At Suzi Bee's, you can find everything from baby items to hair bows and custom candles to personalized ornaments, all at reasonable prices.  Check out Suzi Bee's on Facebook and SuziBees at Etsy.



I hope you enjoyed checking out all of these wonderful shops!  When you get ready to do your shopping, take a peek at all of these creative and unique gift items and support these up and coming small businesses.  Happy Holidays!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Tricks and Treats - Kid-Friendly Witchy Finger Cookies!!!

I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!!!  I mean, big time!!!  The house is decorated inside and out and I have giggled with glee since the first of September knowing that Halloween was right around the corner.  And as much as I love the deco - the candy and goodies run a pretty close second.  Okay - who am I fooling - they are neck and neck!  These witchy fingers are one of my faves to make!  I will not for a hot second claim this recipe or idea as my own.  There are tons of variations out there.  I know when I first started making these years ago, I found all different ideas - flesh colored, strawberry jam on the end to look like blood, etc.  Mine are pretty basic and simple, kid friendly and perfect to make when you are short on time and need something amazing in a pinch!  I always use the classic Wilton spritz cookie recipe with my witchy fingers, top them off with a a little black icing for the fingernails and a cutesie spider ring for fun.  Plus, it's a little something for the kids to keep!



Classic Spritz Cookies

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon no -color almond extract

Ingredients for decorating:
green food coloring
black icing
plastic spider rings

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  In a separate larger bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.  Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated.  Once your ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add the green food coloring.  Knead the coloring through the dough with your hands until you reach your desired "witchy green".  Yes, you will have green hands but this is honestly the best way to ensure the dough is completely saturated with the color.  Do not chill dough.

Form small palm size balls of dough into "finger size" rods.  Round off one end of the dough rod and press down slightly on the top of that end to create a "nail bed".  This is where the icing will sit for the fingernail.  Pinch the dough slightly in three separate spots on the rod to create the look of a knuckles on a gnarled witchy finger.  DO NOT ADD THE ICING OR PLASTIC SPIDER RINGS UNTIL AFTER THE COOKIES ARE BAKED, OUT OF THE OVEN AND COMPLETELY COOLED!!!  o.k. - that was my safety disclaimer

Place each finger on a baking sheet and cook for 10-12 min.  Watch these closely as it will be hard to tell when the edges start to turn brown because of the green coloring.  No one wants to eat a burnt finger ;)

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet set up on a cooling rack.  After a few minutes, transfer the fingers to another surface to cool completely and prepare for decorating!

Once cookies are completely cool - slip a little spider ring on the finger and pipe a small strip of black icing onto the nail bed of the finger.  

Have fun with your presentation!  I placed mine in a spider basket on a Halloween towel because I made them in flash mode right before a Halloween party.  I would love to see all of your super creative ideas!

Enjoy your Witchy Fingers - try not to break your tooth on a bone - Mwahaahahaa!!!  Happy Halloween!!! 





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hair Skeered!!!!!

I'm freaking out! So skeered!! Which is a whole other level of scared...Hands are sweatin', hearts a racin' and I think I'm gonna puke! Why??? 'Cuz I'm getting ready to get my hair done! Please tell me I'm not the only one with an unnatural fear of the hair salon.  I cannot take the pressure. What kind of cut? What color? Lo-lights, hi-lights, all over color??? It's all so....permanent! Well, until 6 weeks later when there's a nice color line on the top of my head separating the light from the dark and the grays come out to play.  Cheeky little buggers.... I am so salon aversive that my husband actually forces me to go.  And, when I say force, I mean he calls me at 3:30 as I'm waiting at the deli counter with my two youngest kids who are acting like wild animals let out of their cage, already late picking up my oldest from school and tells me to be at the salon at 5:15.  Oh, why can't I just stay gray headed and ponytailed???  So here I sit, in the chair.  The stylist and I have consulted, meaning I have agreed to whatever she is saying because I'm clueless and panic ridden.  I must cover the grays...Big Daddy said so. So, color it is. I don't want a flat look so highlights, too. But, I don't want to look blonde. My natural coloring is red so let's play with that a bit. See how I try to sound like I know what I'm talking about???  Ok...colors have been picked, mixed and are now being slathered all over my head. Die grays...Die!!!  And then, a guy walks in the back door of the salon for a cut drinking out of a red solo cup.  All I want to know is, where's the keg? Instantly, I feel more relaxed. There's just something comforting about a red solo cup.  Wish I had one, too.... It would lessen my shock and horror as I look at myself in the fabulous full body mirrors they have.  Oh sweet Lord...do my thighs really spread out that much when I sit down? Ugggghhhh..... Ok...let's talk cut now.  I need to keep it long enough to do a ponytail and not too short that I have to fix it everyday. Oh and I have about 3 different lengths going on thanks to the two rounds of post baby hair loss and now regrowth.  Long layers it is.  At this point....I've been there almost 3 hrs and it's past baby's bedtime.  My panic has now shifted to what is going on at home and the potential horrors that await my return.  Kids running crazy, dishes overflowing in the kitchen, baby half dressed and screaming???? What? All done? I take a deep breath and look in the mirror. A lot darker than I thought but I don't see any grays and it is fall so darker is good. All in all...not too shabby.  I think I like it! Alright, ring me up...I've gotta go save my home! Mad dash to the house, stressing all the way...pull in front to see all of the Halloween lights are on in the yard....Big Daddy NEVER turns on the deco and I feel a glimmer of hope. I bust in the door to a completely quiet house, clean kitchen, Halloween lights inside are on and Big Daddy is standing in the den holding a completely calm baby (dressed in summer clothes) with his hands over his eyes awaiting the big reveal. Approval is unanimous...all 3 of my big guys love the new hair.  Feeling really loved and then Big Daddy says...."Awwww, I've got my pretty wife back!"  Really, so I was your ugly wife before the cut and color!?!?!!! It's a good thing he's cute...and cleaned the kitchen!


Monday, October 20, 2014

I just can't...


I know...it's been forever since I have blogged an original post.  I wish I could say it was for a super cool and glamorous reason, but it's not.  The reason I haven't blogged an original post?  I just couldn't!  Why couldn't I?  Oh, so many reasons!  I was too tired, I was too busy, there was just so much else going on.  The yard wasn't going to decorate itself for Halloween...and I have an image to uphold ;)  Am I any more busy or tired than any other mommy blogger or any mommy for that matter?  No way! I'm no fool...or bellyacher....my life is a cakewalk compared to so many others.  I am just "learning my limits" 






Before I had my 3rd child...I said yes to everything.  Guilt?  People pleaser?  Nope.  I like "doing".  Room mom, PTA, volunteering...it's fun for me.  And, whatever I do...I go 100%.  Go hard or go home is my motto.  Unless, it's cleaning house.  Then, my motto is...do the bare minimum until they start yelling for clean underwear and the baby is eating full meals off the floor. 





But, seriously...when I became pregnant with my 3rd, my whole world changed.  I no longer was the mom with two school aged children who could go and do whatever I wanted during the school hours.  I was now the mommy of two school age kids and an infant.  Life as I knew it looked a helluva lot different now.  It was hard for some people to understand...this new me.  "You mean you're not volunteering for this or that?"  "Aw, come on, go for PTA prez this year....I was 15 mos pregnant and dragging around two toddlers while I served on our school's PTA."  (I exaggerate, of course)  And, it was hard for me, too.  However, I was slowly learning my limits.  And, drumroll please...they're not necessarily "your" limits.  You may be able to serve on the PTA board while 15 mos preggo dragging along two toddlers without pulling your hair out.  You go girl!  But, I just can't....better yet, I don't want to.  And, I've had to learn that that's okay.  p.s. it's not a competition ;)  And, even if it was a competition - you win :)





I've also come to realize this is way bigger than just me learning to say no.  This is about the example I am setting for my children.  This generation is the most over-scheduled, over-committed, burnt out, stressed out generation our world has ever seen.  If we can't set limits for ourselves, how can we ever expect our kids to learn their own limits.  If they see me doing 10 million different things well and keeping my sanity, than that's awesome.  But, if they see me trying to do 10 million different things poorly and turning into a giant stressball who has stretched herself too thin...then we have a problem.  





I am a work in progress...I still try to do too much at once, I get stressed and I put unnecessary guilt on myself because I'm not doing as much as I think I should. I am a mom after all!  However, I grow a little more everyday and it's getting easier when I need to say, "I'm sorry, I just can't this time".  Now, if only this would work with the laundry......



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Valentia Even Glow Serum - Antioxident Skin Treatment - 20% Vitamin C Product Review

As I have mentioned before, I'm not the girl who has a devout beauty regimen.  Until now!  Thanks to some great skin products that I have had the privilege to review, I can now say - my skin may survive to see 60.  I cleanse, I apply eye cream and I round out the process with my new favorite product - Valentia Even Glow Serum - aka "liquid gold".  I love love love this serum.  It goes on silky smooth and even smells great!  Not to mention, my skin has never felt softer.  My skin looks brighter and more alive which is quite an improvement on the "Zombie Mom" look I had going on.  I also use it on my neck and chest to help smooth out the wrinkly sun damage that was starting to surface.  I was even starting to develop a few sun spots on my face and have been pleased to see those lightening with each application.  The vitamin c in this serum also helps to filter out the nasties that are in our everyday environment to prevent future damage.  Yeah for "liquid gold"!!
   I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Phantom Fit Resistance Bands Review

Love the freedom to work out at home?  Need a little toning and muscle conditioning?  Well, look no further than PhantomFit resistance bands.  They are compact and easy to use.  The bands come in 4 different resistances: light, medium, heavy and extra heavy.  Great to use for toning arms and legs. You can use them for side leg lifts, squats and bicep and tricep curls.  Resistance bands are also extremely useful for stretching out tight muscles after a strenuous workout.  One feature that I especially love is how compact they are.  PhantomFit even includes a nice carrying case.  They are also extremely durable.  Check them out!


  
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

InstaNatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil Review

I haven't washed my face with any soap in over a month and it has never looked better!  How is that possible?  Oil Cleansing!  Oil cleansing is all the new rage.  Well, it's not really anything new, ancient civilizations used oil to cleanse their skin well before soap was available widespread.  Oil cleansing is something I have been interested in for awhile now but have been too scared to take the plunge.  I was unsure of what oil to use, how much to use and would it even work?  That is the great thing about InstaNatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil - it takes all of the guess work out of oil cleansing.  Composed of natural and organic oils, this cleansing oil lifts the dirt while moisturizing your skin.  Just squirt a few pumps into your hand and massage onto your face.  I use the cleanser after my shower so my pores are nice and open.  I then remove the oil with a warm wet washcloth. And, voila!  All done!  Clean and moisturized.  Fortunately, my skin is not overly complicated - your typical pushing 40, combo oily and dry and hormonal at times.  However, blackheads and large pores were becoming a concern.  After using the InstaNatural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil, my skin is much smoother, softer, I have less blackheads and my pores are significantly smaller.  My skin also feels moisturized without that sticky heavy feeling many moisturizers can leave behind.  The bottle at 4 oz. is also more than enough to last awhile as a little goes a long way.  There is also the security of InstaNatural's 100% money back guarantee.  I'm hooked! 






I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bobee Wall Decal Review and Giveaway!!!

Love a wall decal? A super cute, versatile, won't damage your wall decal? Me too! I have always admired those who decorate with all of these great decals in their homes but have never been brave enough to try my own...until now! Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to try out a wall decal from Bobee.  I chose "You Are My Sunshine", as that is one of the songs I have sung to all three of my boys as we would rock to sleep. I was a bit intimidated at first, letters...that needed to be straight!! Oh why didn't I just pick the cute little elephants and polka dots??? Or the adorable giraffes??? After a quick pep talk, and being true to my nature...I picked a wall, grabbed that decal and went for it!  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the application was! Position the decal in the desired spot, hold in place with some painter's tape, peel the backing and then press and smooth onto the wall. So quick and easy! I admit, I did get a little OCD and used a level in an attempt to get the words as straight as possible. A little off with the "You Are My"...but, I nailed it with the "Sunshine". I love the way it looks over the crib! There are so many different ways you could use this decal...family pic collage wall, baby's room, kid's playroom, the options are endless.  And, now you have the opportunity to win your very own "You Are My Sunshine" wall decal from Bobee! Just comment below on how you would use this decal. The giveaway runs through Tues. Sept. 30 so get those entries in now!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Loser Mom

Hi, my name is Suzanne and I am a "Loser Mom" and I'm ok with that. Actually, there are moments when I'm kinda proud of it. I actually have a trophy to prove my title. "What??? Are you nuts???", you ask. Nope...well, maybe a little...but, no, I'm just, real. A real person, a real mom who doesn't really get it right all of the time.  A lot of times I do get it right, really right... but more times than not....I'm grasping at straws. Loser Mom started as a joke between myself and another mom. Our oldest boys went to preschool together and our second kiddos followed each other to the same preschool, as well. I must say, we did pretty well with our big boys but once the littles came along...Loser Mom became a real thing. Ours were the ones rolling around on the floor with their blankies, quite possibly shoeless. While the other mommies who worked so hard to put up that perfect facade looked on, my friend and I would just laugh.  Hahaha...no shoes! Got all the way to school before we realized they didn't have shoes on! Haha!! "Loser Mom!"  Oh, it's picture day??? Haha....he's still wearing his pajama shirt!! "Loser Mom!" Birthday party?? Picked up the present on the way there...forgot a card...thank goodness for the Sharpie in the car. Just write happy birthday on the outside of the bag! "Loser Mom!" See...Loser Mom is not really a loser...she's just a really real mom. A mom who has learned that not everything is going to be perfect and she's ok with that. She's a mom who has learned to laugh at the silly things that really do not matter in the long run. Her children are happy, healthy and loved and that is what really matters!  And, thanks to her Loser Mom status...chances are they will become extremely resourceful adults one day. So, that's why I'm proud of my title. I don't want to put up a facade. I want other moms to see that we are in the trenches together. We are all going to forget to sign papers, eat cereal for dinner and forget it's "wear blue" day.  And, that it's ok!!!  One of my favorite  memories of my own mom when I was a kid is a birthday cake she made for me and my sister. Our birthdays are only two days apart and we shared a birthday cake many years. Well, one year she made a cake for us to take to church that night to celebrate with our friends. It was delicious!! Chocolate with chocolate frosting and she even decorated it herself.  Complete with...."Happy Birtday" That is not a typo...she wrote "Happy Birtday" on the cake. We still laugh about it today and wish each other "Happy Birtday" on our birtdays ;) Is it odd that one of my most vivid and happiest memories of my mom when I was young is a moment that some moms would be mortified over?? No...because my mom knew how to laugh it off. She knew that this wasn't the defining moment of her motherhood legacy. Ironically, though, to me...it came pretty close. Moments like those taught me to not take everything so seriously. Enjoy each silly mishap. One day, your kid is going to grow up and have littles of their own.  Do we want to see them stressed over their parental performance or do we want to see them enjoying every step of the journey...including the shoeless kids rolling around in the floor and happy birtdays. My friend and I joked about Loser Mom so much, a trophy was created and passed back and forth depending on the latest Loser Mom scenario.  Not sure what I did to become the reigning Loser Mom but I hope it was something super ridiculous and that my boys and I just laughed and laughed.

Monday, September 15, 2014

InstaNatural Niacinamide 5% Moisturizer Review

So, I've never quite been the girl who has had a "beauty regimen". I've always been the wash and go girl and it's been fine...until, I got older.  I'm pushing 40 people and the skin ain't quite like it used to be.  The face is drooping a little more than usual and some of these freckles that used to be so cute would probably classify as age spots at this point.  Oh well, I guess it's time to pull up the big girl panties and embrace a "regimen" before my face hits my knees!  I was given the opportunity to try out this great moisturizer from InstaNatural - Niacinamide 5% Moisturizer and Brightening Cream. This moisturizer works as a barrier against the harsh elements that our skin faces each day and also works to plump and hydrate, giving a more youthful appearance.  Now, I'm not trying to look 21 again but as we age, our skin gets thinner and begins to look dull.  So why not give it a little boost? There was a bit of a learning curve when I first tried this moisturizer.  Let's just say a little bit goes a long way and I laid it on a little thick.  However, after a few tries, I found the happy medium and grew to really like this moisturizer.  My skin does look a little more fresh and is definitely smoother.


Along with this moisturizer, InstaNatural also presented the opportunity to try out their Youth Express Eye Gel.  I got real excited about this one!  I am a Momma who never gets to sleep and it is written all over my eye sacks - as my 8 yr. old calls them.  Can I just say, it took one application and I was hooked!  You can feel the skin around your eyes instantly tighten as the gel dries.  After almost a month of use - these tired Momma eyes are looking a lot less zombie like.  I am in love!  




Another great aspect of these products is the fact that they are made in the USA and are not tested on animals. They also contain a majority organic and natural ingredients which is very important to me. So, check out InstaNatural on Amazon - I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Giveaway Time!!

It's Fall Giveaway time!!! Easy to enter!!  Just subscribe to the blog!!  Fill in your info in the teal bar at the top of the blog.  I promise I will not flood your inbox with blog posts. I'm not that disciplined ;) You can win your choice of a personalized seasonal or monogram candle. Oh, what they hey - how about two personalized candles!?!?! Your options are endless! Font, design, ribbon - the choices are yours Giveaway ends this Saturday, Sept. 13 at midnight!  Winner will be chosen on Sunday!!  Enter now!!


Friday, September 5, 2014

How To Be A Good Husband To A Mommy...A Letter To My Little Boys




Dear sweet little boys of mine,

I wanted to take a few minutes and write you a letter.  A letter I will share with you when you are a little older.  Y'all are only 11, 8 and 10 mos. as I'm writing this, but that's why I am writing this now.  Y'all have fried my brain and if I don't get this out now while it's fresh...it may never happen!  I just wanted to give you a few tips on how to be a good husband to a Mommy.  You see, marriage itself will pose it's own highs and lows, triumphs and challenges but once you have your own little ones...all bets are off.  It's a whole new ball game!  The most exciting game you will ever play :)  In our family - the best example I can show you is your own Daddy.  The tips in this letter come straight from the many things he does that are just so right.  He didn't always know how to do all of these things.  I didn't even know how badly I would need him to know these things.  You see, for a long time, we were just David and Suzanne. And, can I just add, we rocked it!  And, then one day, we became Mommy and Daddy and everything changed.  A whole new world opened up before us and I can't for one second imagine a better world to live in.  So, here are a few tips to help you be the best husband you can be for your wife who is now the mother of your children.


- Help clean the house.  You know all those chores I always make     you do?  Vacuuming, dishes, laundry?  I don't just do it for the         free labor...it's to help you be a better husband one day.  Life is         messy, work together to clean it up.


- Take the kids - somewhere else.  Mommies love being with their     babies but even they need a little alone time at the house every         once in a while.  Give her a little time to clean, make dinner in         peace, take a bubble bath or just stare at the walls.  Trust me - it       will benefit you more than you realize. 


- Tell her she's pretty.  Mommies tend to throw all of their energy     into their kiddos - as well they should.  However, we start to see       ourselves as just Mommy, and lose sight of the vibrant women we   really are.  Even, if she's up to her elbows in poopy diapers and       snot wearing yesterday's pajamas with her hair in a ponytail...let       her know ya still think she's hot :) 


- Learn how to change a dadgum diaper....enough said.


- Work hard so she doesn't have to.  In our home, that means Daddy   works at the office and Mommy is at home.  If your wife works       outside of the home, do more at the house.  Being a parent is hard   work - many times the tough parts fall on the Mommy.  Late night   feedings, teething sleepless baby, mountains of homework,               doctor's visits, etc.  Do everything you can to lighten her load to       help her be the best Mommy she can be. 


- Play an active role in your children's lives.  Be involved, know         what's going on.  What's up at school?  How are the grades?  What   new cute trick did baby learn today?  Regardless of whether             Mommy is a stay at home mom or not, she is going to be                 completely immersed in her children's day to day lives.  Get in         there with her, it's a really cool place to be.


- Take your kids to school and/or pick them up every once in a           while.  There's something about that little bit of time in the car.       An opportunity to talk and laugh.  Chat about the day ahead or         what happened at recess.  It's a precious little moment of time you   can have with your children and it gives Mommy a little breather     on those crazy mornings.


- And, above all.  Just love her - right where your kids can see it.       Tell her you love her when you leave the house, hold her hand         when y'all are out and about, give her little kisses and hugs -             seeing it   gross out the kids is half the fun ;), praise her in front of   your children.  Show them you love their Mommy! 


There are so many more things I could tell you but you need to figure these out for yourselves.  Just ask yourselves - how would I want to see my boys treat their wives one day?  You will be their greatest teacher, even without knowing it.  They will model their actions after what they saw you do every day. And, if you have girls, think about how you want their husbands to treat them.  Many times, little girls grow up to pick husbands who have characteristics just like their Daddies.  I love you little goobers so much and while I wish you could stay my little boys forever, I am so excited to see the amazing men you will become.


Love you forever,


          Your Mommy :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2 Ozeri WeightMaster Digital Bath Scale Product Review

Need a new bathroom scale?  I had the privilege recently to review the 2 Ozeri WeightMaster Digital Bath Scale .  It's a great scale!  You can choose between white or black and it has a very nice sleek and trim style. The scale has four different user settings.  I love how it saves your last weigh in and compares that with your current weigh in.  A great way to track weight loss!  It also has the capability to gauge your BMI.  Just enter in your height before you step on the scale and it will calculate your BMI in an instant.  I was also pleased with the retail price on Amazon, very reasonable.  So, if you are in need of a new bathroom scale - check out the 2 Ozeri WeightMaster Digital Bath Scale.


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Real Back To School Lunch Packing Survival Tips


WooHoo!!  It's back to school baby!!  It's been a great summer - I love my boys - but, it's time!  We all need our space and their brains need a boost.  I'm excited and so are they.  We are enjoying all of the fun back to school shopping, chatting with friends about shared classes, new supplies.....and then, the cold chill goes up my spine.....It's time to pack the lunches.  Noooooo!!!!!  I despise packing school lunches.  It's just so...everyday!  And, as much as I hate packing lunches - I care enough about my chidren's health to not let them buy cafeteria food everyday.  Think I'm knocking cafeteria food??  Oh no, no....I know the government has been working super hard to make school lunches healthier...oh excuse me - let me clear my throat ;)  In all honesty - I definitely question my boys' food choices when left to their own devices.  I'm 100% they will not pick salads and fruit platters on a daily basis.  So, I vow to make this year easier - I make this vow every year - but now I am putting it in writing. That will make it stick, right???  And, before you go all Pinterest happy on me...you know all those cutesie pins that show all those fabulous ways to pack your kiddo's lunch to make it more fun???  I have boys - one who is in middle school - they will never open their lunch box in public again if their sandwich is cut in the shape of a dinosaur or the fruit and cheese is formed in the shape of a tropical island.  So - here's my challenge to myself and I can promise you this list is evolving as I type it.  But, I WILL figure out how not to loathe lunch packing!!

1.  This is the most important tip of all....not breaking news folks....figure out what your kids like to eat.  Have a sit down with them before school is in full swing....find out what they like or don't like....what works in the lunch box and what doesn't.  I found out 2 yrs too late that every time I sent chicken nuggets from home - they were soggy by the time lunch rolled around. 

2.  Let them pick out their lunch box.  Kid's like to make their own decisions...again, not breaking news 

3.  Invest in a good thermos.  This is very important if your kid is down with taking a hot lunch.

4.  Pack dinner leftovers.  I mean, face it...most of us make dinners that we know everyone in the family enjoys or at least will eat without too much of a fit.  Make a little extra and pack it for lunch the next day. Wondering about how to keep it hot???  Read on....

5.  Invest in a few hot/cold packs.  You can find these in the Ace bandage section in most stores.  They can be heated or cooled and they will stay nice and flexible.  To pack for a hot lunch - heat the leftovers until smoking hot - fill thermos with crazy hot water to warm up the thermos - warm hot/cold pack in microwave - dump out thermos water, fill with smoking hot leftovers and snuggle the thermos into that child chosen lunch box with the hot wrap.  Pack your cold stuff, i.e. drink and fruit, into another pocket with a freezer pack.

6.  Invest in a lot of freezer packs.  These will get lost and/or thrown away.  I keep my freezer stocked with these guys.  You can get small ones for about $1 and they will always be needed.

7. Teach your older kids how to make their own lunch. When you get in a pinch - this skill can be invaluable!  I mean - every kid should know how to make a PBJ sandwich.  Throw some chips, an apple and a drink in a bag and I promise - they will survive until the after school snack.

8.  Keep plenty of fresh fruit and veggies on hand.  Easy to eat fruit and veggies!!!  Carrot sticks, celery sticks, apples, grapes, raisins...whatever your kid will eat.  Thrown them in a baggie and bam!  The lunch is now certifiably healthy!  Chef salads are also an awesome lunch if your kiddo will eat them.

9.  Pack everything possible into the lunch bag the night before.  If you are packing a hot lunch - load up all of the cold stuff and pack the hot goodness as the kids are eating breakfast the next morning.

10.  And most important - let your kid buy lunch every once in a while!  Most of them think it's pretty cool and who doesn't love school pizza? ;)