Monday, December 31, 2012

Cuddle Barn Review & Giveaway

I had the opportunity to review 2 wonderful items from Cuddle Barn. 

We received the Moos Like Jagger and the Talking Ben toys. I saved them to give to Avery for Christmas and so far she's loving both!

Our Year in Pictures

Our year was fairly uneventful this year... But here is our year wrapped up into just 12 photos. One from each month!


Friday, December 28, 2012

He's 1!

He really is 1! How did this happen??
HOW is my baby 1 already???
Last night as a baby
This morning... as a TODDLER

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mushroom and Lima Bean Stew RECIPE

An awesome HEALTHY recipe for after the Holidays! It's what we all need to get back on track!


  • 1 cup Dried Lima Beans
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • 8-16oz of sliced mushrooms (your choice of kind)
  • 3/4 of a Butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 bunch of kale (stems removed and leaves thinly sliced)
  • Shredded Parmesan (optional)
  • Soak beans overnight in water. Drain
  • Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion powder and garlic powder and cook until mushrooms are tender. About 6-8 minutes
  • Add in squash, beans, bay leaf and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover partially.
  • Cook until beans are just tender, about an hour. Stir in kale and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes. 
  • Season with salt
Serve into bowls and then I shredded some Parmesan on top! It is such a healthy recipe, it's really yummy too!!

Sarong Ties

When my family goes to the beach, I like wearing a sarong instead of lying on the sand in just my bathing suit. I have several sarongs, and one of the ways that I keep each one tied back is with a sarong tie. One of the ties that I bought was a seashell. The shell had been cut in the middle to make it a tie. It looks great on the beach, and it blends well with any color that I have. The simple sarong ties are fun to wear, but my favorite ties are the ones that have colors and glitter. The pearl ties dazzle in the sunlight, and the hand painted ties have multiple colors on each piece. I love ordering from his company because I know that my items will be shipped carefully and quickly. The prices are very affordable, and I have received discounts for ordering multiple items at one time. The customer service is more than I could ask for, and the website is updated frequently to reflect new additions.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

FREE Kindle eBooks

NOTE: Prices may change at any time, make sure they're all FREE before you check out!

High Rated Kindle eBooks
Horror Kindle eBooks
Romance Kindle eBooks
Teen Kindle eBooks
Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Kindle eBooks
Miscellaneous Kindle eBooks

Our Christmas!

It was just a relaxing day for us! We spent the morning opening gifts. Then went to breakfast at Denny's (it's our tradition). Then we came home and made a small dinner for just us! It was nice and peaceful and there was no stress!!
The kiddos!

 Me and the kids!
 Daddy and the kids!
 His big gift from Santa is bigger than he is!
 Stocking Stuff

Over all it was a pretty good day. Now my house looks like it threw up. I can't wait for Garbage Day so I can purge old toys and get rid of all these boxes!

Cloud B Review

I have been eyeing the Cloud B items for a while now. They are awesome for children and are great for promoting sleep.
The most popular item they have is the Tranquil Turtle. This is also what we received for Emerson. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Alskar Baby Winners

Begin Again Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

Natural toys are pretty important here to us. For one they don't usually make a ton of noise which is great for ANY parent! We all love when the toys our kids play with are nice and quiet. For two they are healthier for them. Especially when you have a baby that chews on every toy they see. 

Begin Again toys has some wonderful, natural toys for your children. 
Their saying is "A Wish" which stands for A- is for Artist, W- is for Write, I- is for inventor, S- is for sportster and H- is for Hero. Then there's B which is for Beginner. 

We received 2 toys from the beginner category. We got the PushArounds Car and the Red Earthworm.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kia Motors #KiaHoliday

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Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Kia Motors

Reindeer Cam: Watch Santa Feed his Reindeer LIVE!!

Santa is getting ready for his big night and so are his Reindeer as you can see from this Reindeer Cam.
Every day at 11am, 6pm and 9pm EST you can watch him feed his reindeer live!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lil Threadz Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

I knew I wanted to take Emerson in to get his 1 yr pictures. I have been doing the monthly shots on my own, but each month I was getting less and less good pictures, so I decided it would be best to take him in to the professionals! 
For that I wanted to get a shirt that said ONE or 1 on it! So I was drawn to lil threads clothing. From there I found a couple shirts that would just be perfect, but of course she sent me just one!

I really liked this one, but wanted an orange owl and possibly wanted it bigger (I was being picky). 
But ultimately I decided to get the Octopus Birthday Shirt. I love the orange octopus and it's just adorable!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sharper Image Must Have Holiday Gifts @TheSharperImage

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sharper Image. All opinions are 100% mine.
Everyone has heard of The Sharper Image right? They make some amazing items and are always on top of the electronic world!
This season they have come out with 3 Must Have Holiday Gifts. The Sound SootherBack Massager, and Bluetooth Speaker. All are amazing and great for just about anybody on your Christmas list.
Let's start with the Sound Soother. It's an alarm clock that also plays 20 soothing nature sounds. It does sounds like Thunderstorm, Rainforest, Heartbeat, City and Wind Chimes and many, many others. It also has auto shut off that you can set for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes.
Great Holiday gift for those that need the extra push to go to sleep!
Then they have the Back Massager. It goes on any standard chair and lets you experience deep-kneading shiatsu or rolling massage as 4 rollers travel up and down your back. Use Spot Shiatsu and Perfect-Fit to customize the massage  to your back and height.  Soothing heat is an option for a deeper, more relaxing massage. It has an easy-to-use advanced touchpad control, which features a laser-etched flat panel. Carrying bag is included.
Must Have gift for those hard working or manual labor people on your list this Christmas.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the Bluetooth Speaker. Big enough for great sound yet small enough to take on the go. It connects wirelessly with smart phones, laptops, and more notebooks. Works up to 30 feet away using your device to control music. Powerful speaker output with integrated subwoofer for expanded bass response. Convenient universale device holder.
Perfect gift for those techies who love their music!
I would personally LOVE to get the Back Massager this Christmas, that's the one I'm eyeing!
What about you? Which item would you love to see under the tree this year?
Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Forrest Concrete

One part of building a home or remodeling a home is figuring out which countertops to choose. Well Forrest Concrete can make that easy for you.

You're probably thinking concrete countertops? But yes indeed. They are actually quite beautiful.
With concrete countertops they can make them look like granite or be chemically dyed to add a variety of color and texture effects.
It doesn't look like concrete to me at all. It resembles just your regular old countertop. I like the look of it though, with the rock specks in there it looks different and unique, but still being a nice durable countertop!

They polish them to a high shine too, so it's not rough like regular concrete. It's nice and polished. It's beautiful, Affordable and has ease of maintenance. They're also almost impossible to stain which is awesome!! My Formica counter is stained all over. If you drop spaghetti sauce on it, it seems to stain super easily!

Check them out if you need a new countertop soon!
*Disclaimer, I have been compensated to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own*

Monday, December 17, 2012

alskar baby Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

When I originally came across √§lskar baby I knew I wanted to review one of them. They are so adorable and they look super soft online!

I received the Blue and Brown Giraffe Lovie in the mail and I'm going to give it to Emerson on Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Calcium Pyruvate

Most everyone has a little bit of weight they want to lose right? I just went through having to lose about 16 pounds to be where I was pre baby. They are right, 9 months to gain and 9 months to lose. I had no problem losing the weight with my first daughter, I had gained only 15 pounds and by 6 weeks I was down 22. It actually took me 2 years to GAIN weight and be where I was pre baby. But with my son, I had gained 39 pounds. I lost about 20-21 within 2 weeks but the rest just stuck around. At around 7.5 months post partum I finally decided it was time to do something about it. So I started my 'diet'. It was surprisingly easy to lose the rest of the weight and just 8 weeks later I was down 18.5 pounds! I was 1.5 pounds under my pre preg weight!! I was so elated. I also won a challenge that I was participating in online and got 40% of the pot :)

Now I wish I had known about Calcium Pyruvate. It's a Thermogenic Fat Burner. It's a nutritional supplement used to increase energy. Pyruvic Acid is naturally occurring in the body and it aids in conversing starches and sugar into energy. The 2 components together  can help enhance metabolism and speed up the creation of energy. Therefore helping your body lose weight.

It works best if you're also exercising along with taking the supplement. They sell 120ct for $20!! Was $26, so it's on sale now!
*Disclaimer, I was compensated to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own!*

Miele Vacuum Cleaners

I don't know about you all, but I need a good vacuum cleaner. It's a very important part of owning a house and you want to suck up as much junk as you possibly can. I have 2 kids and 2 cats so a good vacuum is necessary. We personally have a Kirby. Known for it's wonderful suction and 25 year warranty, it's bound to last us a long time. HOWEVER, it's big, it's heavy and it's not very practical.

If we were going to get a new vacuum cleaner I would want one that's smaller. Similar to the Miele Vacuum Cleaners. They are small and portable, but still have great suction.
They have a canister kind like this
and they also have an upright like this

They range in price from $229 for a quickstep upright (great for quick kitchen and such cleanups) to $1200. But this is the same prices as your competitors like Dyson and Kirby. We paid $1300 for our Kirby, they were asking almost $2000. 

Miele offers an AirClean filtration system that retains over 99.9% of all fine particles from the air, without releasing harmful particles and allergens back into your home. 

*Disclaimer, I have been compensated for this post. All thoughts are entirely my own*

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scentsy Holiday Deals!

Scentsy is having some wonderful deals for the Holiday!

If you live in the contiguous U.S. then you have until December 18th to order in order to get your things before Christmas. There is still time to get things for your loved ones!!

The Fragrance Foam is Buy One Get One Free until the end of the year. So it's $6 for 2. These are hand sanitizers.
The Scentsy Buddy's are also Buy One Get One Free. They come with 2 scent paks as well, you choose one scent and they choose the other in order to regulate the scents being ordered. They are slowly running out of some scents AND some buddy animals, so order quick. 
These are PERFECT for kids for Christmas!!
Warmer of the Month for December is this pretty little Comfy Cozy. It's 10% off and is just $31.50. PERFECT gift for someone! Especially a knitter!!
And the Scent of the Month is Huckleberry Sage. So all the products in this scent are 10% off through the 31st as well!
Description: Like finding an unexpected winter berry patch -- tart ruby cranberries and sweet purple huckleberries dusted with silver sage.

So check out the deals and get your orders in soon!!!! You can order Here!!!

Zumba Core Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

I have wanted to try Zumba for a while now. It's been on the top of my list of things to try. But because of the kids and Avery's school schedule and Jon's work schedule I didn't want to commit to going to a class. My next best thing was a Zumba video or Wii game!

So I contacted them and they sent me a Zumba Core Wii game!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Must-Have Road Trip Snacks!

We don't take a lot of long trips. The longest we've taken with the kids is 2.5 hours to my grandma's house up north. This has been long enough for us! 

However, in February we will possibly be making the trek to Washington D.C., it's about a 9 hour drive. So on this trip we will need to take along some snacks and meals for us and the kids. 

I'm so thankful we have a van, but if we didn't I would consider the Kia Sportage
This will be a LOOOONG trip, so on this trip we will need lots of healthy snacks to keep the kiddos energized. 
  1. Granola Bars. Perfect for a pick me up!
  2. Pretzels (LOVE a little crunch)
  3. Puree Pouches (These are great for both kids to snack on in the car)
  4. Bottled Water
  5. Twizzlers, for that something sweet that isn't messy
  6. String Cheese
  7. Hard Boiled Eggs for protein
  8. Fruit Snacks, great for all ages and yummy!
  9. Crackers, like Annie's Homegrown
  10. Juice Boxes. Again good for all ages and even the adults can have some for that sweet little something
Those are our must-have snacks for a trip. A cooler is needed for the eggs and cheese unless you're planning on eating these the first couple hours of the trip. And you might want one to keep the water and juice boxes cool as well!

Snacks like these make stops less often and get you to your destination faster. I know that if we made this trip with nothing it would probably be at least 2 hours longer when you think of about 3 stops for potty/food breaks! 
This way we just need to stop probably once for a potty break. Just don't over indulge in water/juice!

What are your must-have snacks for traveling?
This is a partnered post with Kia as part of the #KiaHoliday campaign. All text and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How to choose the Right Neighborhood for your Family!

Choosing the best neighborhood to buy or build a home in can be quite difficult. There are numerous aspects that may play pivotal roles and may influence your overall decision making. There are many verbal and visual reputations that surround certain neighborhoods in both a positive and negative sense. You may have heard of specific incidents or crimes that have occurred in the area or even seen a story on the news. These factors automatically create perceptions of the surroundings and provide you with an individual insight of that community. Prior to choosing the right neighborhood for your family, you should research specific aspects of the area.

Crime history

One of the most important fundamentals that should be undertaken prior to making that important final decision is to conduct your own research on that neighborhood to determine the immediate and distant history of crime committed. This could be done by simply using the internet to search topics or stories that may have occurred. Your findings may include local nuisances that circulate through a group of teenagers to more volatile crimes including violence, robbery or vandalism. These finding will most definitely influence your decision.


The neighborhood you are considering moving to should incorporate an array of reputable schools that you can happily send your kids to. Your research may also find some immediate history on the school’s academic success. This will be beneficial to your kids learning capabilities. Further research may also find a history of violence, bullying or general poor reputation. These are the schools that you will choose to avoid. Neighborhoods with higher crime rates will inflict on the schooling process in a negative way. Make sure you choose a reputable school for your kid’s academic and physical well-being.

Parks & Recreation

Be sure to drive around and explore the local surroundings to determine the amount and use of local parks and recreation facilities. You and your kids will want to explore most than the backyard, therefore local parks will provide more entertainment for your kids and pets. Local parks are also a good way for your kids to interact and play in social sports and activities.

Access and nearby facilities

The best neighborhood should provide relatively easy access to transport to allow easy commuting to school or work. This will remove excess stress when you don’t have to worry about dropping and picking the kids up from school every day. Local shopping facilities are also important, as they provide family orientated needs. An easily accessible grocery store and shopping centre will remove excess stress on a daily basis.

Property development & value

Researching the neighborhood will also include the financial aspect. Future development in the immediate neighborhood ensures growth and increasing real estate. This will be a benefit to your family as your property will be appreciating whilst you are living in a sound environment. This allows prospects to increase as your financial assets grow and provides more opportunities in the future. These fundamentals should all be explored prior to choosing the best neighborhood. You may be searching for new home and land packages or an established neighborhood. Some aspects may be weighted heavily than others, such as the safety of your family for example. However each play important roles in the decision making process that will help narrow down your decision when choosing the best neighborhood for your family. Author Bio Mick Cutts is one of the leading new home designers in Sydney, Australia. His homes are designed with families in mind and can be purchased through some of the most luxurious home and land packages Sydney has to offer.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Juicy Juice Fruitifuls Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

With a 5 year old in my house, we have been through our share or juice, that's for sure. Avery started on juice at just 9 months old. and we ALWAYS went with Juicy Juice. It was always our juice of choice as they had the most flavor options and always offered a lower sugar product, which we opted for. 

This time I received some of their new Fruitifuls products for review. I got 4 flavors to try!
We got to try the Apple Quench, Berry Cherry Burst, Orange Strawbana Blast and Punch Splash