Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ten months!

We're only two months away from Joel's first birthday.  Party prep is in full swing {cue I'm crazy and I know it in the background}.  I can't believe he's almost a year old, but so excited to celebrate his first year of life.  He brings so much joy to our family, and I can't imagine life without him in it!!

This month, Joel weighed in at 22.75 lbs and measured 28 1/4 in.  He did so good at his 9 month well visit.  We had a scare, but everything is fine...Thank God!!!

Joel is on the move...all the time!  And let me be the first to tell you...he moves fast!  He loves crawling all over the house and pulling himself up to his toy box, coffee table, couch, and anything else he thinks might be interesting. 
Two more teeth have made their appearance this month.  I think he may also be going through some separation anxiety.  He screams when I put him down sometimes and some days/nights absolutely refuses to nap or go to sleep for the night.  There were a couple times last weekend where he squalled every time Dan went out of sight, and he wouldn't come to me.  Definitely not my proudest mommy moment.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a couple tears as he screamed for his daddy to come to his "rescue."  But...I know it's just a phase, and we're back to being buddies again :)

Joel hasn't been feeling the best these past few days.  The flu is sweeping through our family for the second time in two weeks.   His appetite isn't quite up to par, so we're trying to keep him hydrated with electrolytes.  The only thing he'll eat is yogurt, some formula, and puffs...but we are glad he has an interest in those few thing.  And, while he's been sick, he is still in good spirits with that toothy grin :)

New foods this month: goldfish crackers {I was paranoid because they seem so big, but he was fussing for some when Daniel & I were eating them, so I caved in.... he chews them up like nobody's business}, teething biscuits {not a huge fan of those either, but he loves them}!  I am trying really hard to get him to drink from a sippy cup and like it, but so far he's not convinced.  We took Daniel's bottle {except the one at bedtime} when he turned one, but I'm not so sure that will be the case with this guy.

He still loves books - looking at them and being read to.  His teeth are changing his looks...he is starting to look more like a toddler than a baby, and that makes me sad.  His favorite toys this month are his musical gears and wooden busy beads.  He still LOVES to play with his big brother {mostly with his little football} and looks for him when he's not around :)

Happy 10 months, Joel...We love you!
Joel's newest game...peek-a-boo behind the curtains in the dining room :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

babyganics at VitaCost

I haven't posted in a while.  We had a whirlwind weekend away for a family wedding & then I got sick right before we drove home Sunday.  It has been CRAZY around here, and I thought it would only be appropriate to write about VitaCost & all the products I've been using to freshen and disinfect our house these past two weeks as the flu has swept through our family, not once, but twice!...

You might remember my post about ordering a few Babyganics products from VitaCost.  I had never used their stuff, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  But...I had a $10 credit and figured I'd try them out.  I love everything I purchased!

In a perfect world, I would have a bathroom big enough for a changing table within reach of soap and hot running water.  Well, this isn't a perfect world, and Joel's room is across the hall from the bathroom.  There are times when I need to sanitize my hands before I touch one more thing. That's why I got this...

Have you ever walked into your baby's room to breathe in the aroma of freshly soiled diaper?  I don't care who you are or what kind of trash can, genie or champ you have, nothing completely conceals that dirty diaper smell.  That's where this comes in {I love its fresh lavender scent & non-aerosol pump}...

I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning.  I love a clean bathroom.  I hate spending a Saturday morning {that would otherwise be free} scrubbing my heart out and breathing in chemicals to achieve a bathtub that sparkles.  I'm also not a fan of putting my baby in a tub that I just cleaned with said chemicals.  I know, I know...I could go green & use vinegar {I actually have}, but I don't like that odor either.  That's why I'm using this {it also has that fresh, clean scent of lavender that makes cleaning enjoyable  tolerable, and it gets results}...

I don't let my baby eat from a Clorox bucket, so why would I let him eat Cheerios from a tray that I  wiped down with antibacterial spray or chew on a toy that has just been soaked in bleach?  I'm much more at ease when I use this...
Have you used your FREE $10 VitaCost credit yet?  If you haven't, hop over here and check them out.  They have MUCH more than babyganics...bath & beauty needs, baby care, vitamins, daily deals, etc...all at discounted prices!  Sign up for your FREE $10 credit now :)

Disclosure: All thoughts are my own; affiliate referral link used.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Look to the Bow

I've been doing a pretty good job of writing in my journal of blessings.  I made it every single night in January.  February snuck up on me, and things got really busy.  I missed a couple nights in a row and then tried to catch up.  But, God wanted to make sure that I remember to reflect on my blessings every night, no matter how small they may seem.  

Let me back up a bit.  Joel had his nine-month well visit two weeks ago on Tuesday.  Dan stayed home to finish up some drawings for work.  No big deal.  Nine-month well visit.  It was no big deal until I saw the look of concern in Dr. M's face as he pressed Joel's belly.  I'll tell you what...I'm going to order an ultrasound.  His right kidney seems to be enlarged.  It could be gas or a bowel movement, but I want to make sure. I don't remember feeling it last time.  I felt the color drain from my face; I looked across the table to see tears streaming down big brother's cheeks as I held back my own.  He gave us the paperwork.  The nurse came in with the HepB shot.  Joel whimpered for about five seconds after said shot.  I pulled his pants up. We checked out and walked to the car.  I buckled him in, kissed his cheek and went around the other side of the car and wilted in the drivers seat.  I cried my eyes out as I tried to call Dan.  No answer.  I didn't want to call anyone else until he knew what was going on.  Daniel held my hand the whole way home and we prayed like we never prayed before.  My world was rocked.  I was scared, and I prayed so hard. Did I already mention that?
An ultrasound was scheduled for the following evening.  Dan got home in time to go with us.  As I held his tiny hands while the tech squeezed cold gel onto his belly and probed all over his abdomen, I thought back to just a little over a year ago when I laid on that same table where we found out we were having another boy.  We were told Dr. M would call us with results that same night.  I turned the volume up on my phone and took it everywhere I went.  I rocked Joel to sleep, and prayed that I would have many more nights of rocking.  It was after 10 and I knew he wouldn't be calling, so I sat down on our bed and read this...
Trust God where you cannot trace
Him. Do not try to penetrate the 
cloud He brings over you;
rather look to the bow that is on it. 
The mystery is God's;
the promise is yours. 
{~ John R. MacDuff from Whispers of Promise, 2009}
I wrote in my journal and thanked God for what we did have...hope.  A peace like no other swept over my body and allowed me to get a good night's rest.  I called Dr. M's office early Thursday morning and got I'll put a note on his desk; he typically returns his calls within four hours.  I was kind and thanked her, prayed that he'd call sooner than four hours because I wasn't sure how much longer I could stand the unknown.  About 45 minutes later {during my dear student teacher's lesson} my phone vibrated in my hand.  I ran to the hall to hear Dr. M's kind voice...Joel's ultrasound came back, and everything is perfectly normal.  I caught my breath and all I could say was, that is so awesome! Thank you so much!  His reply: I didn't think it was anything, but I just wanted to make sure. Unless you have any questions, we'll see you at Joel's one-year check-up.   

Yes, you will see him at his one-year check-up...and his get the picture.  We are thankful to have such a caring doctor.  He could have said nothing and then found something the next time.  Our two days of worrying and clinging to hope paid off.  The mystery was ours, but God knew the outcome would be perfect.  We all need to look to the bow. 

I love this boy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

our favorite boneless buffalo wings

I first had these wings at my uncle's house for a birthday party a couple years ago.  I was never a fan of wings, but these are seriously out of this world!  He used regular wings, but our family like boneless, so that is how we make them in our house.  They are delicious and super easy!

You will need:
10 boneless chicken tenders
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash of salt
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c hot sauce
dash of black pepper
dash of garlic powder

Mix flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt in a bowl.  Toss chicken in mixture to coat each one evenly.  Bake on cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil {I spray my foil w/ cooking spray}. Bake 40 minutes at 400*...Remove chicken from oven and place in a greased baking dish.  Mix melted butter, hot sauce, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl.  Pour over chicken and bake for 30-45 min at 350*.  Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.  Enjoy!
*I always make these for the Super Bowl...I wish I had a picture to share, but by the time I thought of taking one they were GONE!  

Linking to Tasty Tuesday at Beauty & Bedlam  
and Tasty Tuesday at The New Modern Momma

Monday, February 20, 2012


Somebody loves his new marker and paper from Crayola!
His mama and brother are pretty crazy about it, too :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Petunia Pickle Bottom at Layla Grace

It’s the brand every style conscious new mom craves! The Petunia Pickle Bottom Spring 2012 collection has arrived at Layla Grayce, featuring all new prints in their popular diaper bags, totes, coordinating travel bags, cell phone cases, baby carriers, slings, layette sets and more. Not to mention, Layla Grayce is offering Free shipping on Petunia Pickle Bottom orders over $50. Don't miss out on this amazing offer, because this brand is extremely popular on baby registries and wish lists. Layla Grayce also offers free gift wrap on all Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags and accessories. Additionally, if you spend over $250 in Petunia Pickle Bottom products you can receive a coupon for $25 that can be used towards your next Layla Grayce purchase. Enjoy...I know I'm planning to!

Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pin It Friday - Share your favorite pins!

 Spice up your loofahs! 

 I can't wait to create our own designs, fill these up with yummy snacks and go on picnics this summer :)

This quiet book is such a good idea...looking forward to making our own version soon :)

Share your favorite pins of the week at 5 Minutes For Mom 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

free Chuck E Cheese tokens

Let me preface by saying I am not a huge fan of Chuck E Cheese.  In fact, I avoid it at all costs.  I think it is loud, obnoxious, and expensive.  Unless you hit it up on a weekday afternoon {which I can only do in the summertime}.  Lucky for me, Daniel has traded in the flare of the big mouse for the bowling alley...and for that I am forever grateful! I am sure we will do it all again with Joel.  For now we're laying low and going on much quieter outings! 
But...for those of you who LOVE you some Chuck E Cheese, they are offering free tokens for completing reward calendars at home with your kids.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

last minute valentine idea

Yesterday was not a traditional Valentine's Day for us.  I was home with a sick boy, cleaning and disinfecting, meanwhile trying to take care of Joel and plan a somewhat decent dinner for Dan & me.  I put Joel down for his afternoon nap and crashed on the opposite end of the couch where Daniel had slept most of the day.  We were up all night long the night before, and I was exhausted. I woke up two hours later, feeling like I had been beaten in my sleep.  Long story short, the calzones didn't get made, there was no wine, and Dan ended up eating leftover take-out for dinner.   I felt so bad, so I thought of a cute idea.  I wrote I heart U in lipstick on the bathroom mirror {I know that is not a new idea}...We had new cream-colored loofahs in the bathroom cabinet, so I threw our old ones out, cut red hearts out of foam {from our craft bin}, put a slit in the middle of each, and slid them over the string.  I think they turned out cute, and it was a fun way to brighten up the shower.  He thanked me for the cute hearts and the message on the mirror...I crawled into bed in my over-sized t-shirt and went to sleep.  Yeah...not your traditional day of love, but I think this is super cute...and so easy! :)


First, let me say that I love {in}courage and keep up with their blog on a regular basis.  It is so {in}spiring and {in}couraging with stories written by moms and wives just like me.  Where am I going with this?
{in}RL. In Real Life is a conference you can attend without leaving town!  I have been following this for several months and totally wish I could host and/or attend.  However, we will celebrate our baby boy's first birthday that weekend, so that is top priority for me!  I {in}courage you to register here, bring the beach house to you, gather some girlfriends, and get ready to laugh.  Sign up now to get connected with ladies from your'll be glad you did!  And...the first 100 bloggers to write about {in}RL will receive a FREE mug and platter set :)  For more details, visit {in}Courage.

Linking to Living Well Wednesday

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I heart you.

Happy Valentine's Day!  We don't go all out, but we always try to do a few things to make it extra special.

Over the weekend, we made this...
 and these... 
We added our own twist to each, so they are not the same as the originals...but yummy anyway :)

Joel is getting these little color crayon books from the dollar spot at Target...
I got this light saber for Daniel...

Since we don't like to leave the kids on weekends, Dan & I are both taking a day off next week and taking a road trip while Daniel is in school and Joel is at the babysitter.  I'm not sure where we'll end up, but spending the day together will be fun, no matter what we do.  In the meantime, I stuck a lottery ticket in his card & woke up to these...sweet :)
Every year, I stop at Rutter's to get Daniel a red slush on my way home from work...that won't happen today, because he was up sick through the night and couldn't go to school.  I'm home with the kids, and hoping the rest of us stay healthy.  

I think I will try my hand at a variation of Giada's calzone recipe for dinner tonight.  As for Daniel, he will be on the BRAT diet until further notice. 

I hope you and your family are having a lovely day together, no matter how you choose to celebrate.  Even though we're stuck inside, we're making the best of cuddling under thick quilts, and I'm catching up on lots of laundry!

Hugs!! :)

Linking to Tasty Tuesday

Monday, February 13, 2012

love from home

Today we came home to this:
Joel was just as excited to tear into the box and cards as his big brother!  
Thanks, Gee & Pappy for the box of goodies...and Grandma & Grandpa for the cards! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Another life gone way too soon.  I grew up listening to Whitney Houston; she was a huge part of my childhood.  I Wanna Dance With Somebody brings back memories of dance routines with my purple boom box, pom-poms and hula hoops in the back yard with my sister.  Loved her in The Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington. And, this song right here is one of my all-time favorites....

Rest in peace, Whitney...sing with the angels & we'll see you on the other side...

Video source: YouTube

Wedding Paper Divas

Can you believe it? Wedding season is almost here!
The dates are set, the plans are being made, and it’s about that time to let people know when the big day is. If you’re planning a wedding, you need Save the Date cards. Wedding Paper Divas absolutely leads the way with Save the Date cards, calendars, and magnets. And this year, just in time, they have added tons of awesome new features and Save the Date items like these cool Circle Cards {I have to admit they are pretty stylish} and Monogrammed designs {love ‘em}!

Calendars are fun and useful to potential guests. You can check all of Wedding Paper Divas’ calendars here. Some of my other favorites are what they call the “Romantic Tab : Smoke” Save The Date Postcard and the “Haute Heraldry : Black” Save the Date Card. But really they just have so many to choose from and everyone’s tastes are different, so check them all out.

What makes Wedding Paper Divas different? Before each each order is shipped it is hand reviewed {by a real live human!} for any issues, so you’re guaranteed to receive high-quality cards. Shop their Save the Date cards today. These cards are sure to amaze family and friends. If you’re a planner and early shopper like me, you can get 20% off your entire order {25% off orders of $149 or more} when you purchase Save The Date cards through 2/16/12. Just use PROMO CODE: WEDSAVE25. Happy shopping! :)

Disclosure: Affiliate links used

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pinterest, be mine.

The best of this week...

I love these tile coasters.  So unique...and cheap to make!

 This magnetic make-up board right here, brilliant.  I am SO making one of these when I get the time.

This salt & honey scrub is such a cute gift idea, and I love the jar...can't wait to make some!

One of many things I could do with my corks...if only I had the time!

 Sweet cookies...I think we'll make these for Valentine's Day :)
Share your favorite pins of the week at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mr. & Mrs.

 I absolutely love these mugs.  They are definitely on my list of things to buy over at DaySpring.  
I'm not too wild about the other mr. & mrs. offerings {a little mushy for us}, but I think these mugs are really cute.  What do you just have to have?
Disclosure: Affiliate referral links used.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More love at Tiny Prints

Sweet savings at Tiny Prints
Get 20% off the entire Valentine's Day collection {includes greeting cards} at Tiny Prints. 
Use code LOVE20 at checkout.
Hurry...this great deal ends TODAY!
Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

99 cent valentines at tiny prints

You can choose the send it to me first shipping option to receive the card for only $0.99. 
If you choose mail it directly to the recipient, you will be charged an additional $.44 for postage. 
Use code DODVDAY at checkout.  Only valid TODAY...get yours now! 
Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - week of February 5

 Last week was crazy busy with Dan away for two days for work in Atlanta and two days and an evening of parent-teacher conferences {same two days he was gone}.  It made for some interesting changes in our schedule, eating out a night, leftovers a night, and pizza delivery another.  What can I say?  I was in survival mode.  My weekly menu plan was not on my mind.  Everything I had planned for stayed in the freezer.  And guess what?  I don't have one ounce of guilt, because we survived, and that was my main goal.  And also because I'd like to think I made up for it by spending a fun weekend with my family.  Saturday was filled with a soccer game and homemade microwave popcorn {thanks to the Frugal Flamingo}. I am, however, laden with guilt for not making it to church on Sunday {the sermon was on Amazing Grace, and I am so sad we missed it - I will catch it online, but it will not be the same}.  We had big plans to go to the early service because we had tickets to the Hershey Bears vs. Wilkes Barre Penguins hockey game.  I miscalculated our time and fell sleep after I fed Joel at 7, instead of getting up and ahead of the game {literally} by picking church clothes out, preparing food for the Super Bowl, and packing for the hockey game.  It was a fun family day that we needed, and I am thankful for the time we had together.  We stopped for a quick lunch at Red Robin on our way to the game, and then came home to some really good snacks for our little Super Bowl party.  There are so many recipes on Pinterest that I want to try, but I stuck with our tried & true boneless wings {my uncle's recipe - I will try to post it soon} & baked potato bar {broccoli, cheese, sliced green olives,  bacon, butter & sour cream}.  I did make bloomin' pizza bread from Pinterest, but I wasn't really impressed.  At first I didn't have enough cheese on it, so I added more and baked it longer...but it still wasn't my favorite.  We topped it off with our favorite peanut butter pie {I'll also try to get that up one of these days}!
On the menu for the rest of the next two weeks:
Stuffed shells, tossed salad & Texas toast
Beef stew over noodles tossed in olive oil & parsley and biscuits
Broccoli-cheese soup with French bread
Meatloaf with mashed potatoes & corn
Sloppy joes w/ homemade mac & cheese {didn't get to this last week}
Baked ham slice with fried potatoes and a veggie {didn't get to this one either}
Stromboli with tossed salad
Breakfast for dinner
Soup & subs
Baked chicken tossed in olive oil, bread crumbs, and paprika with mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing & gravy

What's on your menu this week?  Share at Menu Plan Monday :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Save 15% at beau coup

3 days 15% at Beau-coup.  Use code FRUS2U at checkout :)

Disclosure: Affiliate links used.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pin-it Friday ~ February 3

Share your latest pins at 5 Minutes for Mom.  
I know this mom needs at least five minutes tonight.
It has been one crazy week.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

this new day

I'll be honest.  I'm not having the greatest week.  12-hour work day on Wednesday, Dan just happened to have a two-day trip to Atlanta for work over the span of said 12-hour work the kids will be at the sitter until 8pm when I get finished with parent-teacher conferences.  Drama rears its ugly head in every corner of my world lately and I hate it...but tomorrow is another day, and Friday is just around the bend.

This New Day -
This bright, new day complete
with tewenty-four hours of opportunities, choices, and
attitudes comes with a perfectly
matched set of 1,440 minutes.
This unique gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced, or 
refunded.  Handle with care.  Make the most of it.

And...I can't forget the things that bless me most...I treated the boys to Texas Roadhouse last night while their dad was away.  Daniel had a free kids meal coupon from a good citizenship award from his teacher last week.  He shared his day at school and how his commercial book report went....Joel was SO good!  He ate rolls, baked potato, mac & cheese, and cheese from my salad.  He was intrigued with all the people, clapped at the music, and had himself a blast!  Love those kids more than life itself. 
Happy Wednesday - whatever this new day brings for you, make the most of it  :)
Linking to Women Living Well
Disclosure: I am not being compensated for this post.