Tag Archives: You Can Find Me On Amazon

First Day of Spring (In Photos)

Today started with the heaviest rain we’ve had in awhile. 
The thunder was so loud that it shook the house several times during the night; 
waking me up each time to check on my son. 

When he finally did get up at 7am, I brought him into bed with me, and he watched Baby Einstein while I shut my eyes for 30 more minutes; not really sleeping, but resting. 

By 7:30am, it was time to get up, but I declared a PJ day (at least as long as it was raining!) 

And while we’re in our PJ’s, why not some pancakes? 
So while Mommy made pancakes, the Little Man decided to go and see what the dogs were doing, and once again, Bailey’s bed looked like so much fun! 

10 minutes later, pancakes were ready, and they were a hit!
Which is surprising considering they were not the best pancakes I’ve ever made.

The rain ended and we decided to head off to Divine Consign
Today was the last day which meant everything was 75% off. 
The boys section was pretty much cleaned out, but we managed to walk away with 4 shirts, 1 pair of shorts, and a pair of shoes for $6. 

10:30 marked nap time for the Little Man and reading time for me. 
. . .
About the time I made it through Chapter 9 of Catching Fire, nap time had ended and we were ready for lunch. 

Although the sun came out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky by 1pm, the ground was too wet to play outside, so we did what every other mom in Dallas decided to do. . .
head to the mall playground. 

We played for about an hour, and decided to head home. 
We played some more once we got home; lots of chase, reading books, and more chase. 

Then nap time rolled around again. 
. . .
Since it’s not fun making dinner for one, after nap time we went to Raising Cane’s and had some chicken strips and french fries for dinner. 

There was more playtime and this time the dogs wanted to play too. 
He is laughing! I promise! 

And finally, as the clock chimed 7:30pm, we (or Mommy) was ready for bath time/bedtime. 
Just another day in the life of a mom. 

Happy Spring!

I’ll Do It Myself, Thank You: Invitations

As the Little Man’s birthday begins to creep up on me, I’ve been head’s down on all things party. In an effort to save money, I decided I was going to make everything. From the smash cake and cupcakes to the invitations and envelopes. That’s right. . . even the envelopes. 

I may not have many talents, but the one thing I am good at is stationery. My job pre-mommy was managing a stationery and invitation studio. I handled materials, assembly, and quality control so I know the in’s and out’s of fine paper. Which is why when it came to my son’s first birthday, I wanted the best! 

Slight problem. 

I’m no longer working, so I can’t afford the best. BUT that doesn’t stop me from making it look like I can!

For weeks I’ve been working on the Little Man’s party invitations. First, if you’ve never used Photoshop Elements, I highly suggest you head over to Costco, purchase a relatively cheap copy, and learn some of the basics. When you’re familiar with Photoshop, the world is at your finger tips! 

As I was playing with the invites, I discovered there are shops on Etsy that sell graphics for your personal use. I wanted to do a turtle theme and found some great icons and alphabets from Little Prints Parties

Details of the invitation have been modified for privacy.
Using Shutterfly, I ordered some prints and had my own personalized 5×7 party invitations! 

A Little Extra: If you want to get really creative, you can purchase some card stock and glue it to the back of the invitation to add some thickness and hide the fact that it’s a photo.

But I couldn’t stop there. An invitation doesn’t really impress unless the envelope stands out too. One of my favorite ways to add a little extra “umph” to my envelopes is by adding a liner. 
Now there’s several ways to do this.

The Please Do It For Me Option:  If you really want your envelopes to sparkle, head over to Nest on McKinney Ave. or online to bell’Invito and purchase your envelopes and liners from The Paper Store. They have beautiful European envelopes and Japanese silk-screened liners packaged up and ready to assemble. (Envelopes average $8.50 for a pack of 20 & liners are $6 for a pack of 10.)

The I’ll Do It All Myself Option: Now this takes a little more time, but with a few supplies from Paper Source, you can make select your color of envelopes and make your own liners from your choice of paper. (Envelopes range between $3.25-$8 for a pack of 10; based on sizing.)
. . .This is the route I went. 

If you choose to purchase your envelopes and liners ready to go, then you can skip down a few steps. If you’ve decided to do it on your own, here’s what you’re going to need:

Scissors, Pencil, Envelope Liner Template, Paper for liners

Side Note: Silly me! I made the mistake of purchasing a roll of paper to make my liners. Don’t do that! The paper is very curled and makes cutting difficult; especially if you want to try and cut more than 1 at a time. Also, don’t purchase paper that’s over text weight; meaning it shouldn’t be any thicker than a piece of computer paper. 

Step 1
Cut your paper into squares leaving just enough for your template size. 
Draw around template, and cut out the shape. 
If your paper is perfectly flat, you can cut out several at a time using a paper cutter. 

Step 2
Glue about 1/4″ of the tip of the backside of liner. 
DO NOT glue the whole backside of liner. 
It’s unnecessary. It just wastes your time and your glue. 

Step 3
Slide liner (glue side down) into envelope. 
Press firmly along the edge where you glued starting from center and working your way down. 

Step 4
Let your envelope dry before folding. 

The easiest way to make any invitation or piece of stationery beautiful. 

The creativity doesn’t stop here!

If you really want to be unique, 
use a photo from a magazine or pages from an old book for your liner. 

The possibilities are endless!

Early Birthday Surprise

The weather in Dallas has been absolutely amazing the last few days. We’ve tried to soak in as much sunshine as possible since you never know when the weather will take a turn. After all, it was this time last year we were watching the snow melt after a major snow storm. 

For the Little Man’s first birthday, we weren’t planning on getting him much (if anything). With 2 sets of grandparents in town and being an age where we knew he wouldn’t care, spending a lot on gifts for him just doesn’t make sense. We are planning on spending a little for his party by having family and friends over for lunch, and then having another play date party on his actual birthday during the week. 

But a few weeks ago, we were hanging out in the backyard, and I realized it’s pretty boring out there. There are only 2 trees, and both are newly planted so there’s hardly any shade or pretty foliage to look at. So, Tim and I did a little research on some backyard play “things” that we might consider getting him for his birthday. I wanted something that he could use now, but also grow into. 

Today we decided to check out Toys ‘R Us and found a fun toddler play set on sale, so we thought we’d surprise him with an early Birthday present. 

And a lesson every parent has to learn. . .we should have just bought him a box. 
He had a lot of fun playing with this for almost an hour inside the house. 

I can’t wait for this weather to continue so we can spend more time outside!

Rediscovering Peppermint

The tree’s being taken down and the ornaments are getting packed away. All that’s left are those lonely candy canes hanging there on the branches still waiting to be eaten. 

It’s tradition in my family to hang these on the tree, but almost every year I’ll eat one or two and the rest will get thrown away. A dinner mint x 10; eating a whole candy cane is a little too much for me. It just doesn’t seem like a Christmas tree without these thrown about, so I know I’ll continue to buy them, but next year I’m going to try changing their fate! 

I wish I’d been the genius who came up with these awesome ways of using your unwanted candy canes, but I didn’t. However, I am smart enough to know a good idea when I see one!

Take the Crushed Peppermint Cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust! 
This would make an excellent New Year’s dessert! 

Or the peppermint fudge by Martha Stewart. 

You could even do something simple like add crushed candy canes to the top of whipped cream in your cup of hot chocolate or sprinkled over your Hot Fudge Sunday. If you’re really into peppermint, add it to your Blue Bell Peppermint ice cream!

The possibilities are endless!
I’ve also recently discovered some of other “pepperminty” products on the market inspired by this winter sweet

Bath & Body Works has launched a new line of candles called Slatkin & Co (sold at White Barn), and they’ve gone all out on peppermint! Some of their new scents include Twisted Peppermint, Ribbon Candy, and my favorite, Marshmallow Peppermint.  And while you’re there, Bath & Body Works also has a refreshing lip balm called Peppermint Hug. 

If you’ve ever been a pregnant mommy, you may have tried a foot rub to help soothe your tired feet. Burt’s Bees makes a peppermint foot lotion that has a cooling effect as you apply. I used this almost every night during the third trimester!

What ideas do you have for your leftover Candy Canes?

9 Months Ago Today . . .

Happy 9 Months 
to My Little Man!!
(You can see his 1 month picture here!)

I was finally able to take our monthly birthday picture on time! 
The last few months I was always a few days late, 
and when I would finally take the pictures, they didn’t turn out very well. 

But yesterday, he was so excited to sit in the chair! 
He not only figured out that he can rock it by himself, 
but that he can stand up in in and look down at the dogs. 

Very exciting stuff for a 9 month old!

How he’s growing:
  • He currently have 8 teeth (4 on top, 4 on bottom), and I’m pretty sure he’s working on some more right now!
  • He’s now sleeping from 8pm-6:00am(ish), and will sometimes go back down until 8am. He takes 2 naps during the day; the first one is usually an hour, the second is usually 2-2 1/2 hours.
  • He’s eating stage 2 baby foods 2-3 times a day- loves all veggies and white meats, but is still hesitant about the fruits. He can also chow down on Gerber Baby snacks (veggie sticks, freeze-dried yogurt, and wheels) Puffs, and Mum Mum’s. 
  • He’s down to 5-6 feedings a day; although, only 2-3 of those are through nursing. I wanted to go a year, but when he started (and continued!) to bite me, I decided it was time to start weaning him onto a bottle. He doesn’t seem to mind at all! 
  • He just learned his first sign! Now he goes around signing “milk” for everything.He figured out crawling in the middle of 8 months and now wants to go everywhere.
  • He can pull up on just about anything with a ledge or handle, and has a few bumps to show for it. Baby proofing is just a game for him!
  • He still loves to watch Baby Einstein, but we’ve added Baby Signing Time to his rotation.
  • Bath time is his favorite time of day! He could sit in his inflatable duck and play for hours! 
  • He’s very vocal now about everything. He’ll fall asleep talking to himself, and wake up in the mornings talking. He will get mad if he doesn’t have what he wants and tells me all about it. We’ve had to start using the word “no;” which I hate. :( 
  • He loves to be sung to and read to. His favorite book is Goodnight Moon.

Wrapping It Up No. 4

Did you know Christmas is a week from Sunday!? 

That means there’s only 1 shopping weekend left to pick up those gifts for loved ones. 
(unless your the Christmas Eve kind of shopper!)

Hopefully by now you’ve gotten most of your list crossed off, 
and if you’re even more organized, might have a few wrapped and under the tree. 

I know my friend Sally is ready to go with her gifts!
After a fun girls night out on Monday, 
she came home to find her husband had done all of the wrapping!

When she walked into her kitchen, this is what she found:

I don’t know how Sally feels – 
ecstatic to not have to wrap or frustrated to have to unwrap and then wrap again! 

I know for some, wrapping can be the worst part of the process. 
The tape, the scissors, picking out paper, the folding, the creases. . . 

I have a confession.

I LOVE it! 

I have dozens of rolls of Christmas paper in all different styles and colors. 

And of course you have to accessorize! 
I have drawers filled with bows, ribbons, and gift tags to match. 

But if you’re looking for a Christmas gift bag, you’ll have to try some place else. 
For me, it doesn’t get any better than a perfectly wrapped present! 

That’s why this week I want to share a little of my gift-wrapping love with you! 

For my fourth drawing, I’m giving away these beautifully letterpressed gift tags from Do De Line

They’re the perfect way to have a little fun while your gift sits under the tree waiting to be opened! 

Write a note and use them for that special someone,
 or save the ink and reuse them for years to come!

Either way, these gift tags will add that extra special touch to your wrapping job . . .
even if your wrapping paper is Justin Bieber.  

This Rafflecopter giveaway will end Saturday at 12:01am!
And don’t forget, if you’ve already done some of the entry options, you’re ahead of the game! 
Just click “I Did This.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comfort Treats No. 3

When the holidays roll around, that’s the time my kitchen gets the messiest! 

I have quite a few favorite treats that I make every year, 
and most of them have come from this cookbook!
I know, I know!
I’ve mentioned Taste of Home a number of times on my blog
but it’s because they’re just so darn good!

I have yet to make a dish out of one of their recipe books that I haven’t liked. 

I normally share my favorite recipes when sharing a cookbook,
 but I think this time I’ll share my husband’s. 
(He’s already begging me to make these again!)

by Muriel White, Brampton, Ontario

Makes 3 dozen 

1/2 c. butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp. baking cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 32 squares)
3 1/2 c. flaked coconut
36 large marshmallows (about)
wax paper

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine butter, milk, cocoa, and vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
3. Remove from the heat; stir in cracker crumbs and 1 1/2 c. coconut. 
Let stand until cool enough to handle. 
4. Using moistened hands, wrap about 1 tbsp. of mixture around each marshmallow (dip hands in water often to prevent sticking). 
5. Roll in remaining coconut; place on prepared baking sheet. 
6. Cover and freeze until firm.
7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. 
8. May be frozen for up to 2 months. 

In the end, you’ll have something that looks like this
Looks delicious, huh?

From sweet treats to bountiful breads and savory bites, 
you’ll want this recipe book on your shelf for all the holidays!

But why wait to buy it when you can win it here!

One lucky winner will win Gifts From the Country Kitchen by Taste of Home.
Simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Contest will end Saturday, December 10 at 12:01am. 

Pinterest Did It Again!

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a terrible decorator.

Not only am I cheap which makes buying useless objects a chore, but I can’t seem to figure out how to make knick-knacks and other random objects look cute in my home. 

You know that look of “Oh, how did that get perfectly placed there?”

So you can imagine this makes the process of holiday decorating a headache for me. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve really tried to decorate my home for Christmas, but it was usually a hodgepodge of snowmen, Santas, and other random gifts given to me while I was teaching. 

Last year, I finally decided to make an attempt at decorating our hallway table. There was a lot of trial and error, but in the end, I think I did a pretty good job. 

As I began to put this table back together yesterday, I started to think about the other places I wanted to decorate and the mantel instantly came to mind. 

A few years ago, I bought this beautiful wreath on clearance at Home Goods. It’s by far the nicest Christmas decoration I have, so I thought it would be a great idea to decorate the mantel in a way that would center around this wreath. 

Thinking about the daunting task, I felt reassured because unlike last year when I decorated our entry table from scratch, I now have Pinterest!

Pinterest has been my saving grace when it comes to decorating. Since I’m so terrible with designs, whenever I feel like I need inspiration, I simply type in a search, and ideas start flying left and right. 

After a few hours of searching, I found this image. . .

Although it wasn’t exactly the look I was going for, and my fireplace couldn’t be any more different, it did give me some great ideas for what I could do.  

Taking a few of the same elements, I headed off to Hobby Lobby. 

Two hours later (and an added trip to Michael’s), I’m proud to say I decorated my mantel
all by myself!

I guess I could have removed the tag!
I still have a few things I’m going to change (like the stocking hooks), 

but overall, I’m pretty proud of how it turned out!

Next up . . .the dining room table!

What’s the hardest thing for you to decorate?

If you’re on Pinterest, I want to follow you!
Click to follow me, and I’ll follow you back!

Sleep Intervention: 1 Week Later

It’s been a little over a week since we started the Ferber sleep training, and a week since my last posting about it. I’m happy to say by Night 5 & 6, Mark was officially sleeping all the way thought the night. And I’m not just talking the medical sleeping through the night of 6-7 hours. He now sleeps from 8pm to 6am. Occasionally, we’ll hear a whimper in the night, but he goes back to sleep pretty quickly. 

Nap times are also on schedule. He goes down at 10:30am and 3:30am with a little bit of fussing, but once he’s asleep naps range from 1-3 hours. 

He’s even napping right now!

Words cannot describe how much of a difference this has made on our lives. Leading up to the sleep intervention, I’m not ashamed to say that I was not enjoying my son. Anytime I was around him, he would scream and cry in my ear. He was just fussy all the time. Naps times were a beating. I was convinced I was going to break my ankle at the rate I was having to rock him; or at the least he was going to fly out of my arms. 

And now, he’s a completely different kid! He’s happy during the day, and loves to be around me. We’ll have “giggle time” in the afternoons, and he’s just so sweet. I feel like I have my Little Man back. Another benefit is that I’m not falling down exhausted anymore. I’m getting continuous sleep, and I have time to myself during his naps.   

Now, to be completely fair, he did have 2 top teeth come in right around the weekend we started the sleep training. Tim will tell you his behavior was 80% teething. I’ll slightly agree with him, but I think it was more like 40%. I only feel this way because he never slept this way before he started teething either. Nap times were no where near as good as they are now. At the most they were 30-45 minutes.  

I hope by blogging about this it helps a few people. I know the Ferber method hasn’t worked for everyone, but I will say it’s at least trying if you can stick to it. 

In the end, here’s a few of my personal tips I have if you’re interested in making it work:

1) Read the book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (New,Revised and Expanded Edition) by Richard Ferber. I tried to cheat several times by picking up pieces of information here and there and letting him just “cry it out.” You should really understand the way your child sleeps and the correct process before going forward. It’s a very easy read! 
2)  If you give in one night, don’t give up! Pick up right back were you started. 
3) Make sure that you can apply naps to your sleep training. Getting good sleep during the day helps to get good sleep at night. (It’s all in the book!)
4) Remember, it’s just one week! Each time I felt terrible for letting him cry, he’d wake up smiling at me in the morning and have no recollection. If it doesn’t work, it’s only a week of his/her life, and you can move on and try something different. You haven’t scarred them for life!

And please, I’d love to help if you have any questions!
It has definitely changed my life!

What’s in a Shoe?

I love shoes!

Unfortunately, my shoe collection isn’t huge, but I do love the ones I have. It’s the one piece of clothing I will spend money on and could possibly be considered an addiction. (I learned awhile ago to stay away from the DSW clearance section.) Now that we’re on a budget though, I haven’t been able to purchase any since Mark was born. 

Well, thanks to a birthday present from my mother-in-law, today I went shoe shopping! And boy, did I need some. My feet haven’t seen the outside of a sneaker in months; with the exception of Sundays. 

Before heading out, I decided to come up with a game plan on how to get the most out of my gift card. I took a look at my shoe collection to evaluate what colors and styles I really needed. When I looked in my closet, here’s a sample of what I found: 
1) Worthington Monaco
2) Rampage Monika
3) Joan & David’s Victoria

When I look at these shoes, I think “woman on the go.” They remind me of my days as a working woman; when dinner out was the norm and heels were just as comfortable as flats. 

But, let’s face reality. Wearing pumps or sandals everyday while trying to bounce and rock a 7 month old is just…impractical. Not to mention murder to my feet! So, after browsing the aisles of DSW for almost an hour, I walked away with a few pairs I think will help me not feel so much like a disheveled mom. 

4) CL by Laundry Marque
5) Bandolino Jolly Jo

And now that I have my new shoes, I’m putting aside my pumps and heels; except on Sundays!
For awhile, I’m now a “flats” kind of girl.

These new shoes now say that I’m a mom who’s ready for a date with my man or a playdate with my Little Man and capable of anything!

When you take a look in your closet, what do your shoes say about you?