Tuesday, January 31, 2012

best brownies ever.

I usually make a big dinner and bake dessert on Sundays.  When we got home from church {after I fed and changed Joel and put him down for his nap}, I put a round steak in the roaster oven and peeled potatoes.  Then I opened the pantry to pull out a brownie mix.  No brownies, just cake and muffin mixes.  I was bummed, but then thought, I'll just bake a cake.   But...Daniel told me to make my own.  Truth be told, I had never even thought of baking brownies that didn't come in a box {I know there are recipes & I've eaten my fair share of from scratch brownies, but it's just something that didn't really occur to me}.  I grabbed a cook book from my collection {gasp!  I didn't hop online}, and found a recipe right away.  The ingredients were simple and it looked easy enough, so...we got busy measuring and mixing.  45 minutes later we had a fresh pan of from scratch brownies that looked, smelled, and tasted way better than a mix.  I will probably never make brownies from a box again.   Kudos to Daniel for suggesting that I make my own {I think he was just kidding, not sure he actually knew there was any other way to make a brownie besides the box mix}.

Best Brownies Ever
12oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c/ sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. plus 2 T chopped walnuts {optional - I didn't use nuts}
I had to sample them right out of the oven...yum-o!
Combine one cup chocolate chips and butter in a small microwave- safe bowl.  Microwave on high for one minute. Stir until smooth; whisk in sugar and eggs. Stir in flour and salt until smooth.  Fold in vanilla and 1/2 cup walnuts. Transfer to a greased 8"x8" glass baking pan.  Bake at  350* for 23-25 minutes.  Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over top in an even thin layer; bake an additional two minutes.  Remove from oven and gently spread melted chips until smooth to form a frosting.  Top with remaining nuts.  Chill for 20 minutes until chocolate is firm; cut into squares.  Enjoy...we did! :)
Linking to Tasty Tuesday

Monday, January 30, 2012

sweet little valentines by tiny prints.

TinyPrints is offering 20% off any order or 25% off orders of $125+.  Use  code: tp25 at checkout.  Hurry...this special offer ends TOMORROW, 1/31.  Also, enjoy FREE shipping on ALL kids' classroom valentine orders for a limited time. 

Here are some of my favorites :)

Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

LifeClass & special giveaway

A few weeks ago, after I discovered Whispers of Promise and began to journal about being blessed, I came home to find an envelope in the mailbox from Oprah.  As in Oprah Winfrey.  I had no idea what it was.  For a split second, I thought maybe she was coming back to do her "Favorite Things" show a month late, and I was finally invited {after all, I emailed her 47 times a year asking if I could be in the audience for that show}. Once that fantasy escaped my mind, I decided I should end the suspense and open the envelope.  This is what I found:
I vaguely remember signing up on Oprah.com for this when I was home on maternity leave last May when her final episodes were airing.  My mind was probably in such a blur that I must have registered & never gave it a second thought until it showed up in the mailbox eight months later.  It goes along with her Lifeclass, but I don't have time right now to keep up with that.  I did check it out, though...it is full of inspiration & daily life tools.  My favorite is 35 Little Acts of Kindness {which deserves a post of its own - I hope to write one soon}.
I know I mentioned here that I normally don't believe in making resolutions {for myself - if you choose  to -  knock yourself out!} to kick off a new year. I still don't.  But when I found that book and journal together, I made a promise to myself that I will journal frequently {maybe not every single night, but as much as I can} about something I've been blessed with that day.
That particular day, I was blessed with receiving something I didn't even really know I was getting...so I decided to pass it on to one of you.  Here is your chance to win a journal to record your thoughts - whatever they might be.  Just leave a comment  at the end of this post about something that has blessed you & you'll be entered to win Oprah's LifeClass diary.  Maybe you'll journal about something that blesses you.  Maybe you'll join Oprah's LifeClass.  You might use it to plan the next special occasion in your world {whatever it may be}.  Maybe it will sit on a stack of pretty, blank journals until you find the right words.  The possibilities are endless.  For an extra entry, "like" CandidCollections on Facebook & leave a comment on our wall.  Good luck & be blessed :)

Disclosure:  I am not being compensated for this post.

9 months old.

Today is Joel's 9-month birthday.  3/4 of a year has gone by, and I am in complete disbelief.  This month, Joel has celebrated his first New Year's.  Birthday party plans are in their beginning stages, thanks to Pinterest :)
His hair is too funny!
Joel finally has one pearly white tooth after a week of teething and crankiness.  We found that he loves yogurt bites {mixed berry & strawberry}. His favorite food, hands down, is still yogurt.  He can eat a whole container in about five minutes flat!
silly face.
Bedtime was quite an issue for about a week.  Joel decided he doesn't really like it.  I'm not a fan of crying it out, but that's what we've been doing, because nothing seems to work.  He wanted to be up and playing, and at 10pm on a school night, that's not something I'm willing to do.  We all need our sleep.  He usually only cried for 5-10 minutes...I'm not even sure this is truly CIO because it's such a short amount of time, and I think that's an okay amount of time for him to cry...I definitely wouldn't let him in there for hours on end, but he needs to know that he can self-soothe, as he's been doing for the past several months. We're back on track now :)

Joel has lots of new tricks up his sleeve this month.  He finally lets me hold him and rock him to sleep, which I love {Sunday afternoons are my favorite}.  He loves going to the nursery at church.  He has a couple friends, and they just sit and smile and giggle back and forth, reach out and touch each other while they play with separate toys...too cute.  Last weekend, he woke up screaming during his afternoon nap...I went in to find his leg stuck in the crib rails {up to his thigh}!   I immediately put the bumpers back in... I've walked in to find him on his belly sleeping in his crib {with his head turned}...We let him sleep with his blanket and monkey now - I am much less paranoid than I had been..  I normally have to wake him in the mornings before school, but on weekends, he wakes up and plays in his crib until we come to get him.  He also pulls himself up and stands in his crib, peeking over the top...too cute!
I couldn't find him anywhere, then I found him peeking from my closet.
Joel learned how to clap, so whenever he really likes something, he gets really excited and starts to giggle and and clap...so funny.  He went crazy at Daniel's soccer game yesterday!
He's starting to interact more with his toys.  His favorites this month are his phone {from Gee & Pappy, Grandma & Grandpa - they each got him one}, gumball machine {from Santa}, and activity lion{from Aunt Maggie, Uncle Jake & cousins}.  He is so funny with his gumball machine.  Instead of taking the gumballs out, he closes the lid every single time we put it up.  Daniel tries to get him to understand, but Joel just wants to keep closing the lid.  He is curious & is seeking out more cause and effect toys, pushing buttons, moving toys back and forth to see them light up and play music, rolling balls, etc.
He giggles at the lion when the lights flash & it sings and plays.  He pulls himself up on his knees and then into the standing position.  He's getting stronger and is able to hold himself up for quite a long time for a little guy.   We are noticing that he isn't quite as chubby because he's always so busy when he's awake.  He can move from his belly to the sitting position like nobody's business, and he scoots in reverse {too cute!}   All of the sitting, rocking, and scooting has transformed into a full-fledged  crawl, and nothing is safe!  I am definitely busier than I was when he stayed in one place, but we're all enjoying his new-found mobility.  We are currently shopping for baby gates, and Daniel is getting used to keeping his toys with small pieces out of reach.
He had just been laughing, not sure what this face is about...but these two are still best buds :)
Joel's nine-month well visit is this week...I'll be back to update with stats.  Oh, time, where have you gone?    Happy 9 months, Joel :)
23 lbs, 29 1/4" 
our little buddy :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

His & Hers at BoldLoft

BoldLoft has tons of cute gifts for Valentine's Day!  Here are a few of my favorites...

These Say I Love You pillow cases are adorable...they will totally adorn our bed for the month of February!
Complete my Heart shirts - I'm not sure Dan would be seen in public sporting one of these, but I can see us wearing them around the house.

What about these drinking glasses?  They would be a sweet addition to the breakfast table.
And, could these mugs be any cuter?  Seriously.
There are so many more...hop on over to BoldLoft & check them out...what will you snag for your valentine?  Come back and share :)

Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinterest, you complete me.

Share your favorite pins of the week at 5 Minutes for Mom :)

puffy paint penguins

What you'll need:
black & orange construction paper
shaving cream
Elmer's glue
hole punch reinforcement rings
paper plate

Cut black paper in half {body}.  Cut orange paper into small rectangles {for beak and feet}.  Mix equal parts of shaving cream and glue on a paper plate to make puffy paint.  Finger paint on the black paper.  Cut out a beak and feet from orange paper and stick to the penguin.  Add two reinforcement rings for eyes.  I made these with my kindergarten class yesterday, and they turned out really cute - each one is unique, just like the kids.  My plan was to take a picture once I had them hung up, but they are still on that same pile on my table  :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DaySpring Clearance

I've talked about how much I love DaySpring products before.  Many of them decorate our home, and I have given countless gifts from this wonderful company.  Right now, they are having an amazing clearance sale.  Christmas items are up to 75% off and there are many other great finds that are sooooooo reasonably priced.
For instance, I really really really want this set of dishes from the Life Collection.  They are on sale for $20.  Yes, twenty dollars.  Cheap.  I have the pitcher, table runner, and tea towels.  I have given the runner, tea towels, adult half apron and child's apron as gifts.  They are sure to please!
 We also gave this Everything Beautiful teapot and teacup & saucer to my mother-in-law for Christmas...she loves them :)
The entire Love Came Down collection is on clearance.  I have several of those items and love them all! One more thing...this I Will Bless You accordion card organizer is a great way to be prepared to send cards for all occasions throughout the year...the best part, it's on clearance for $4.99.
 There are loads of other great deals I'm going to check out. As always, DaySpring offers FREE shipping on all orders over $50.   And...right now, get $10 off $60 with coupon code 10off60 at checkout!  Ready...set...shop! Happy almost Friday :)

Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working Moms...

I've started to write this post several times, and my mind ventures from one thought to another...so forgive me if this seems all over the place!

First of all, I want to say that if we could comfortably swing it, I would totally be a stay at home mom.  Our financial status just doesn't allow for that.  And, truth be told, I am not willing to sell our house,  move into a tiny apartment, downgrade to one car, cut our cable, quit eating out, etc. so I can stay home.  If we could cut a few things, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it is just not feasible for our family right now.  And...I'm home with the kids during the summer, so if I have to work, I have the best job I could hope for...I'm a stay at home mom for almost three months & get long holiday breaks :) 

The most important thing for me is family.  My family is first. Period.  If my kids need me, I'm there.  There once was a time when I'd feel guilty about calling in sick because I had feverish kids at home.  Now, I call off and appreciate the fact that I can stay home for a day or two, eat chicken soup & jello, cuddle up in thick blankets, and watch cartoons until they feel better. 

Balance is also important in keeping a household running with two parents working outside the home.  As hard as I've tried, I know I can't do it all.  I used to think no was impossible, but I have learned to say  it...and let me tell you, it feels good.  I would commit to church functions, work events, and school projects without batting an eye.  And then I'd lie in bed Saturday night with knots in my stomach about reading in church the next morning.  It seriously wasn't worth the stress.  Now I say no without batting an eye.  It's not necessary {or healthy} to do every. Single. Thing. You're asked to do.  Learn to say no.  I did.

Equally important, organize!  I know the weeks are busy & full, so I try really hard to prepare myself over the weekend.  Coming home to everything else after a hard day at work is stressful.  I find that it's much easier to go into Monday morning if I have an agenda for each day of the week.  Bi-weekly menu/meal planning is a necessity for us.  Read more about that here. 

I'm lucky enough that Daniel buys school lunch every day, so that is one less thing on my plate {pun intended}.  Joel's babysitter keeps a stockpile at her house, and she lets me know on Fridays if there is anything he needs for the following week.  I make sure to have his bag ready Sunday night if there was something on her list {baby food, snacks, formula, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, etc}.  I usually pack my lunch on a whim right before we leave in the morning {I'm trying to get better at this}.  I try really hard to set things up for breakfast before I head to bed.  Sometimes I forget, and that's okay.  It is okay to forget, really.  I need to tell myself over and over sometimes. 

I am really good at picking clothes out for all of us {except Dan, he picks his own ;)} before bed each night.  That is something I struggle with daily {especially for myself}, and if I lay my head down at night knowing what we're all wearing the next day, I can rest a little easier.

I used to religiously clean the entire house every other Saturday {pre-Joel}.  Now, I might scrub toilets on a Thursday night, clean tubs on Saturday morning, and wipe vanities down & clean mirrors on Monday night.  Kitchen counters get wiped down with Clorox wipes each night after dinner {it has become my routine, and I actually find it calming}.

I am one lucky wife to have a husband who is more than willing to pitch in where ever he can {without being asked}.  He irons, vacuums, folds laundry, cooks, cleans, does dishes, feeds & bathes Joel, helps Daniel with homework...you name it & he'll do it.  I love him for that, and am so thankful to be blessed with someone who does what I can't always do.

I recently realized that Joel has enough pairs of pajamas and day clothes that I only have to do his laundry once a week.  So...when I see his hamper is full, I do it.   The rest of us share hampers in our bedroom.  I have three separate baskets for lights, darks, and towels/sheets.  When I see that one basket is full, I'll throw it in the washer.  No more  Thursday/Sunday laundry marathons.  I do it when it needs to be done.  We all have enough undies to last at least a week, so that is never an issue.  You can usually find me doing two loads of lights and darks and a load each of towels & sheets weekly.

There was once a day not so long ago that I'd go into a slight panic attack if I saw that toys, books, and papers were out of place.  Now, I let it all go until everyone  else is nestled in bed & I take 10-15 minutes each night to tidy up the living room {fold blankets, put stray socks in the hamper, toys in the toy box, and dirty cups in the dishwasher}.  It would take me all day to keep up if I went around putting things away, but when I do it all at once, it doesn't take long at all - there is something about going to bed with a tidy living area that makes me happy.  I keep a Swiffer dry wand on each floor of the house.  If I notice a thick coating of dust on a dresser or coffee table, it only takes a few seconds to run it around.  {I've also been known to use old socks lying around...it's just as effective ;)}

The only things that must get done each night are dinner, dishes, homework, and bath/bedtime routine.  After that, anything I get done is icing on the cake.  The rest can wait for the weekend when I have more time.

When we get home after a long day, Daniel has a snack & watches a few minutes of tv while I sit on the floor and play with Joel.  I usually give him a bath {and then depending on how his schedule at the sitter's went for that particular day, he will either go down for a short nap or sit in his high chair and eat puffs or yogurt bites while I make dinner}.  Daniel starts his homework & if he needs help, we work on it after we eat.  Dan gets home around 5:30, and we always eat as a family at the dining room table {it might just be soup and sandwiches, but every one of us sits up at the table where we reflect on our day}.  On Friday pizza nights, we eat in the living room, but we are all together.

After dinner, Daniel gets his shower & does his reading for school.  Joel eats with us, but usually wants a bottle after that. He goes to bed around 8:30 and that is when I catch up with Daniel & do some blogging.  I find that if I draft a bunch of posts on the weekends or when I have a few spare minutes during the week, it is much easier to be consistent with posting.  It is really the last thing on my list, but I find it relaxing to sit down and write, so I make it a part of my routine.

Make time for you.  I know it's hard, and time isn't easy to come by, but even ten minutes can mean the world after a long day of working, making dinner, and changing a poopy diaper.  Take a hot shower, read a magazine, relax with a glass of wine, an afternoon at the spa, lunch with friends, an hour blogging, finding ideas on Pinterest...whatever it is that makes you smile... And don't feel guilty about it.  I struggle with that, but I've found that if I give myself some time, I'm more energized and ready to give my family the love and care they deserve.

At the end of each day before I climb into bed, I count my blessings, one by one. Life isn't perfect, and there will be days when you can't do it all...The most important thing for me to remember is that my kids won't be little forever...I need to make the most of each and every moment of each and every day.  What I don't get done today will still be here tomorrow...

Linking to Women Living Well and Kelly's Korner - Show Us Your Life ~ Working Moms
Disclosure: I apologize for no pictures (I had good intentions of adding them}, but I just didn't have the time...off to get Joel ready for bed after a very long day!  Good night! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh Baby @ Paper Coterie

Paper Coterie  keeps coming through with good deals.  I made several of their books when Joel was born, and I love them.  The quality is truly amazing & each page captures all those special moments of his first days.  Enter OHBABY at checkout and receive 50% off your new welcome baby book :)

Disclosure: I am not being compensated for this post.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan. 23-Feb.4

I had slight anxiety as I planned meals for the next two weeks, because they are filled with evening activities and commitments that make me just want to pull the covers over my head until Friday rolls back around.  Daniel has Envirothon on Mondays after school until 4:30 - this forces me to work late, so I get lots done... but I hate that Joel is at the sitter an hour longer than normal.  I have a dinner meeting on Tuesday for my student teacher {I'm actually excited about this, but don't like the fact that I won't be home with the kids and Dan until after 8 - which leaves him to prepare dinner - but I know he can handle it & am so thankful that he's so willing to work from home that day so he can take over :)}  Wednesday is our kindergarten parent night; so I have to rush home, pick up the kids, grab a quick dinner, and head back to school- kids in tow.   So...the first three meals of the week are up in the air.  I think I'll be in survival mode; we will be eating leftovers, quick sandwiches, and Kraft mac & cheese.

Now that we have that out of the way {because I know you wanted to know}, here is our menu for the next two weeks {January 23-February 4}:

* Baked veggie potpie {chicken potpie without the chicken} over white rice
* Sloppy joes with homemade mac & cheese {I think I'll try this one from Pinterest}
* Spaghetti with meat sauce, three-cheese Texas toast & tossed salads
* Oven baked chicken breasts {tossed in olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper & Italian bread crumbs - I took this idea from my grandma...it tastes sooooo good, almost like fried chicken, but it's much healthier}, baked potatoes & steamed broccoli
* Baked potato soup & biscuits {I plan to used leftover baked potatoes}
* Stromboli w/ tossed salad {I use frozen bread dough - we stuff them with pepperoni, cheese, ham, sliced green olives, green peppers, bacon, jalapenos, and broccoli}
* Taco bar {tortillas, seasoned ground beef, lettuce, salsa, Mexican cheese blend, sliced green olives, salsa, sour cream, seasoned rice}
* Baked pineapple & ham slice w/ fried potatoes & corn {we didn't get to this one last week}
 *Soup & sandwiches {ham, pepperoni, cheese on fresh deli rolls and either canned or boxed soup}
* Breakfast for dinner {any variation of bacon, eggs, hash browns, toast, pancakes}
Breakfast pizza {I made this for Daniel's birthday for the first time, and we loved it - so easy & equally delicious- it quickly got thrown into our favorite menu list!}

What are you serving up this week? Go to Organizing Junkie to share!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Target clearance? Yes, please.

An afternoon at Target.  On Saturday. Alone.  Pure bliss.  Daniel went to a friend's house for the afternoon & Dan stayed home with Joel.  I needed to go for our regular list of toiletries, baby essentials, etc.  I love my kids dearly, but when I can go and walk up and down every aisle, taking my time to look at each clearance shelf, without "Mom, can I get this?  Can I have that? Pleeeease?" and stopping in the middle of the trip for a diaper change, my heart skips a beat.  Seriously.  Retail therapy at its finest, I tell you.  I gathered the items on my list first, and then anything else I threw in the cart was icing on the cake.  
Here are my finds from yesterday's trip...

 {2} gold and white cloth place mats - $2.78ea. {reg. 3.99ea}
2-cup fat separator {I will probably use as a regular measuring cup} - $2.98 {reg. 9.99}
Pair of blue commuter flats w/ tote - $3.88 {reg. 12.99}
Zoobles  - $3.88 {reg. 12.99} 
Baby pack of Q-tips - $2.18 {reg. 3.14}
10 oz. package Nestle's Dark & Mint chocolate chips - $1.28 {reg. 2.59}
Hello Kitty Lego set - $10.98 {reg. 34.99}
Total spent: $30.74
Total I would have spent: $84.67
Total savings: $53.93
They are having awesome clearance sales in every department.  Many items were still only 30% off...I'll keep watching until they are 70% off!  Where do you like to shop clearance sales?  What do you buy?  Share your finds :)


gentle spirit.
the face of happy valley.
Joe Paterno.

Today is a sad, sad day.  
In the words of a former Penn State football player
"Joe died of a broken heart."  
 Thanks for all the wonderful things you have done for the greatest University in the Commonwealth.
Joepa, you will live on in our hearts forever. 
God bless you...we'll meet on the other side :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where's the love?

Do you have a valentine?
Need cards for your kids to pass out at school or daycare?
                                                Want to show a friend how much you care?

Say it with a valentine from DaySpring.
With the snow we have here in PA, today is a great day for some online shopping :)
Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

All you need is love...

These gifts at Paper Coterie are perfect for Valentine's Day and would also make nice wedding presents.  I have made several photo books, journals, and a growth chart at Paper Coterie.  The quality of their products is amazing! Enter LOVE2102 at checkout to get your 40% discount on all Love products.  Offer valid through 2/5/12.
Disclosure:  I am not being compensated for this post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pretty in pink.

Layla Grayce is offering 15% off their favorite pink items including home decor, women's & children's clothing, and accessories. Use code: 15pink at checkout.  Offer is valid through 02/14/12.
Disclosure: Affiliate link used.

50% off journals at Paper Coterie

Paper Coterie is offering 50% off all journals.  These would make cute little valentine gifts.  Enter code WELCOME2012 at checkout.  Valid through 2/5/12.
Disclosure:  I am not being compensated for this post - just sharing :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

You'll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.

{in}courage someone with a card.

It doesn't take much to make me happy, but nothing quite compares to finding a handwritten note with my name on it.
thanks for the awesome gift - you rock. 
thinking of you.
hey mom, sweet breakfast.
good luck...you've got this!
sister, I care.
let me know if you need anything.
I'm sorry
thanks for all you do. my son loves learning.
dad, thanks for teaching me how to forgive.
I love you.
i can't wait to grow old with you.
congratulations on your new bundle...enjoy every moment.
mom, thanks for teaching me how to give.
 just because. 
Whatever the occasion, know the recipient of your card is touched by the simple fact that you cared enough to think of them, choose the perfect card, take the time to write a meaningful note, and seal it with love.
I recently sent this DaySpring card to a coworker who is fighting a tough battle, undergoing chemotherapy treatments...while trying to keep up with her full-time job and care for her little girl.  I simply wrote Dear friend, you are in my daily thoughts and prayers.  I hope it made her smile and brightened her day, if only for a moment.
 I recently received the I Will Bless You card organizer, along with two card packs to review.  
Let me tell you, 20 recipients are sure to be blessed by these {in}couraging and {in}spiring notes :)
 Who can you {in}courage with a card today?
Share with us over at {in}courage & pick up a set of cards to send to the ones you love.
  Disclosure: Referral affiliate link used. DaySpring/{in}courage gave me the card pack & organizer.  All thoughts are my own.

Shutterfly Invitations & a giveaway

I ordered Daniel's invitations at Shutterfly & I think they turned out really cute!  I love to personalize invitations :)  
For safety reasons, I waited until after his party to share.
I'm constantly receiving coupon codes for percentages and dollar amounts off at Shutterfly.  I recently opened my inbox to find a $20 credit...score!  Right now, Shutterfly is offering 20% off all photo books & personalized cards.  I'm in the process of designing two photo books {Christmas & Daniel's birthday}.  It is so time-consuming, but I found that I'm usually happy with books Shutterfly automatically creates when I'm short on time.  Get FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $30 until 1/18/12 with code: ship30 at checkout.  And...the first four readers to leave a comment at the end of this post will receive a 10% off coupon code for Shutterfly.  What are your favorite Shutterfly products?  Ready...go!
Disclosure: I have been compensated for sharing the invitation with you, but there are no referral links in this post.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Birthday weekend :)

Our weekend of celebrating {in pictures}...
Everyone had a great time!  Thanks to all who helped us celebrate Daniel's special day :)
Sorry, Dan...no pics of you - you must've been hiding from the camera. Again.

Hello Yellow Sale at B&B - last day!

Since December 26, I've been receiving Hello Yellow emails from Bath & Body Works...but this is it, folks.  Today is the last day to get 75% off a HUGE selection of B&B favorites...plus, $10 off any $40 purchase {Code: HELLOYELLOW}  They've added more stuff in the past week, and I haven't used my Christmas gift card yet, so I'm definitely taking advantage of these great deals tonight!  {I'll be back to share my finds once I'm done shopping} My shopping cart is sure to include Wallflower refills, foaming antibacterial hand soaps, and maybe a few odds and ends.  What are your favorite B&B products? 

Take me out to the ball game!

Get $100 worth of 2012 York Revolution tickets {home games/regular season} for $50!  We love heading out to Revs game during the summertime...this is a great deal!!  Go here to get yours :)

Disclosure: Referral link used.

Friday, January 13, 2012


ten fingers, ten toes, ten million reasons to love
ten years ago today on a blustery Sunday afternoon,
a certain blue-eyed boy came into my world...
and let me tell you...
life would never be the same.
Daniel, I am so proud of who you are...
your kind, loving spirit,
your witty sense of humor,
the way you love your little brother,
the way you still want me to tuck you in at bedtime.
Thanks for teaching me to love like I had never loved before.
Happy 10th Birthday :)
Love you to the moon and back,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

blessed - part 2

So, last week I wrote about my word for 2012 {blessed}.  Later that same evening as I was putting away a box of note cards I got for Christmas, I ran across Whispers of Promise, {a book of daily encouraging thoughts for women}. I received it as a gift a while back {to be honest, I'm not even sure where it came from...so if it's you, my apologies}.  I do know that I always intended to read it & the cover is so pretty that I stumbled onto another copy & bought it for my mother-in-law a couple Christmases ago.  Anyway, if you're still with me...I opened to a random page & read:
Delight in his presence - 
"Count your blessings" is a popular phrase I've never related to very well.  The moment I try to list all God has done for me, I realize I can hardly cover everything adequately.  So instead of detailing every benefit God provides, I'll thank him for a few big ones and spend time basking in his love.  As I look closely into my Lord's face, I can't help but delight in his presence.
If you've been reading for a while, or you know me IRL, you know I'm not a big believer in coincidences; I'm one to think there is always a plan. No matter how small.  So when I found this book five hours after I posted about how blessed I am, I couldn't help but know there was a plan {I'm still not sure what it is, but I know there is}.  I have a stack of pretty journals on my desk.  Pretty, blank journals, that is.  It all goes back to my love of documenting life's precious {and not so precious} moments by journaling & taking pictures.  As a young girl, I think I got a brand new diary for Christmas five years in a row {because I asked for one}...I'd be gung-ho on New Year's Day, but by mid-February, my entries were slim to none.  But...since my word of the year is blessed, I decided to take a quick minute before I climb into bed each night and jot at least one thing that blessed me that day {in a pretty little journal my mom gave me for Christmas one year - oddly enough, it was hiding under Whispers of Promise, so I only find it fitting.
There is more to this story, and I hope to share {along with a special giveaway} soon!  Stay tuned...and be blessed :)

Disclosure:  I am not being compensated for this post - just sharing my thoughts :)