A Modern Day Fairy Tale: March 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Quick Easter Message

Such a simple verse, and one that many of us probably had memorized since before we could remember...but still, such a perfect one for this season. The egg hunts are great, the food and time with family...all wonderful. (And yes, even the Peeps are pretty amazing too.) But all of that pales in comparison to the true reason we celebrate this day...Christ dying for our sins, so that we may have eternal life. There is nothing we did to deserve this sacrifice. We are all sinners, each and every one of us...but just a parent loves their child, God loves each and every one of us. That's pretty amazing isn't it? As you go through you Easter festivities, I hope everyone will take a minute to remember just how very important this day really is and how very blessed we all are to have such an amazing God.

Happy Easter All!!

"I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bows or Bowties? {Baby is a...}

As some of you may already know, yesterday was our big gender reveal ultrasound!
I have to tell you, I was up most of the night before worried about it! For those new to reading, from the very beginning, Shaun has been absolutely convinced that he was having a baby sister. Matt and I had similar feelings that it was a girl, but knew that we would be happy with either. Shaun on the other hand was not so flexible. Try as we did, we could not get him to accept the fact that his baby Finley might not really be a girl, and we really had no say in the matter.

For children with Autism, change can be extremely difficult...even if that just means a change in how he believes something should happen. So all night and all morning I worried about how he would react if baby was a brother and how we would break that to him. It was not a conversation I was looking forward to having. As we were preparing for the ultrasound, our wonderful ultrasound tech also admitted that she'd been worried all morning as well, knowing how insistent Shaun was about this baby being a girl. Though we'd not seen anything indicating he was wrong on our last ultrasound, we knew that it was still early and that could have changed. But the results are in and baby is a...

Finley Grace

Whew! What a relief!! Shaun knew what he was talking about all along...or we just got really lucky, but either way, we are THRILLED. Shaun of course was excited, but also looked at us all as though we were crazy anyway...afterall, he'd been telling us since Day 1. In his mind, there was no other option!!

So now comes the fun part- finishing up the registry and nursery and full on shopping!!! Lace and ruffles and bows...I fear for our bank account!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Build-A-Bear Workshop Supports Autism Speaks (Review)

In our household, we absolutely LOVE Build-A-Bear Workshop!

Shaun got his first bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop when he was just 9 months old. His daddy was deploying to Iraq and we wanted him to have something special from Daddy before he left, so we made him his 'Daddy Bear' to cuddle and hear Daddy's voice while he was away. A few months later, we made Daddy a 'Shauny Bear' for Father's Day so that he could hear Shaun's voice (baby talk) until he came home. For military families, Build-A-Bear Workshop is a fun, unique way for kids to stay connected with their parents while deployed.

But even for non-military kiddos, it's such a wonderful experience! From birthdays, to vacation souvineers, or even just because...we love the experience of going into the store and making our very own bear. Since his initial bear as baby, his collection has grown to about 6 or so. With his love of plush, I suppose it would only make sense that he loved Build-A-Bear Workshop!! So, when we heard the news that they were launching a new bear supporting Autism Speaks for Autism Awareness Month, we could not have been more thrilled!! Starting tomorrow, March 27th, you can make one of these bears for yourself in stores!! 

Here is a little more info:

  • The Autism Speaks Bear ($18) arrives on March 27 and $1 from the sale of this bear will be donated to Autism Speaks.
  • An Autism Speaks bear-sized Tiny Tees shirt ($7) will also be available, with 50 cents from every tee sold going directly to the charity.
  • Throughout April, Guests can also donate $1 (or more) to Autism Speaks when they check out at Built-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States or online at buildabear.com.

    Build-A-Bear Workshop was kind enough to send us one of these wonderful Autism Speak Bears to review before it was available in stores! Shaun was beyond thrilled when his bear arrived. At this age, he does not yet understand what Autism is, or that he has it. He does know that Mommy and Daddy told him that this was a very special bear that was unique and amazing...just like him. So naturally, he decided to name his bear Shaun!

If you've been to a Build-A-Bear Workshop before, you know what kind of quality to expect. This bear is no different- it's great quality and super soft, perfect for snuggling. What makes this bear special is definitely the details. The light blue is stunning in person, and perfect for the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaign!  The puzzle piece on its chest is perfect as well, but my favorite part is definitely the feet! It brings in the multicolored look that is probably more often associated with Autism Awareness, and brings in a lot of fun!

As an Autism family, we love anything that raises awareness for our little man and others like him. We especially love it when it is such a well known company!! Even with the prevalence of Autism right now (1 in 88 children, using the conservative numbers), there are still so many people who don't know the first thing about it. I could go on and on about that topic, but that's not what this post is about...the point is I think it's wonderful for such a well known and well loved company as Build-A-Bear Workshop to have this unique bear to raise awareness, on the chance that someone sees these bears at their local store and decides to do some more research. And besides all that, they are ridiculously CUTE!!

Overall, we absolutely ADORE this au-some bear!!

Disclaimer: Build-A-Bear Workshop sent me this product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Conversations With Shaun (Volume 2)

What better way to start this snowy week than with another edition of Conversations With Shaun?

Daddy: Shaun, mommy kicked my butt. What are you going to do?
Shaun (to Mommy): High five!
Oh yes, that really happened. (To be fair, Daddy kicked my butt first and then challenged me- saying I couldn't reach his...I sure showed him!!)

Shaun: We're going to go to the Magic Railroad!  
Mommy: We are? How do we get there? 
Shaun: The magic buffers. 
Mommy: Of course. Can we go in the car? 
Shaun (thinks): We have to go to Amtrak.
He's a pretty smart one, that Shaun of mine. For those unfamiliar with Thomas- he is referring to the magic railroad from Thomas and the Magic Railroad- one of his favorite movies at the moment. If you've seen the movie, this conversation makes much more sense.

As an added bonus, here's one of his train creations- a chase scene from the movie! (He didn't have a Trackmaster or Tomy Lady...so he made his own!

Mommy: Holy poop!!
Shaun (laughing): Mommy, did you say holy poop?
Mommy: Yes, I did!
Shaun: Are you scared of poop?
Mommy: Sometimes, buddy, sometimes.
Shaun: Poop is on your scared list!!
This was a conversation during a particular bad, if not downright scary underwear change. I'll spare you the gruesome details but will say it required a bath...for the both of us...oh boy!! Anyway, his last statement was a reference to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (Veggie Tales). One of the pirates is scared of everything, and has a list of things he's scared of. I think he would have been scared of this particular change too!! Seriously!!

Mommy: I love you skinny legs.
Shaun: Don't call me that.
Mommy: Okay, what should I call you?
Shaun: Just Shaun Taylor.
Mommy: What's mommy's name?
Shaun: Randi Kaye.
Mommy: What's Daddy's name?
Shaun: Matthew Me.
(Skinny legs is also a Veggie Tales reference...he calls mommy skinny legs as well!) For those who did not know, Shaun is named after his daddy, whose middle name is Shaun. He loves going through and sharing everyone's full names, and usually actually says them all correctly...I thought it was hilarious when he instead said 'Daddy Me'...what a funny little man I have.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review: Upside-Down Prayers for Parents by Lisa T. Bergren

From the publisher:

It’s our instinct as parents to shield our children from harm. But our true responsibility is to raise children equipped to live well for God even in the midst of struggle. Upside-Down Prayers for Parents encourages us to pray for our children in ways we may never have before:
• I pray you’ll get caught doing things wrong—and experience the power of confession.
• I pray your prayers will go unanswered—and you’ll find a deeper trust in Him.
• I pray you’ll fail in things that don’t matter—and learn what matters to God.
• I pray you’ll encounter battles—and discover that God is your greatest ally.
By turning our prayers “upside down,” we not only learn to release our children to the care of God alone, we also uncover how our own desires need to be submitted to God’s will.
Each entry in this thirty-one-day devotional includes a short reflection, a Scripture verse, and ideas to jump-start conversations between you and your child or teenager. Together you’ll discover a deeper trust in God that will help you make it through the upside-down times with a right-side-up perspective.

My thoughts:

As parents, we want what's best for our children. We pray that they do right, that they don't get into trouble and that nothing bad ever happens to them. It's only natural, right? This devotional, 'Upside Down Prayers for Parents: 31 Daring Devotions for Entrusting Your Child-and Yourself-to God' by Lisa T. Bergren challenges us as parents to reconsider the way that we pray for our children. Rather than praying that everything goes perfectly in their lives, she asks us to pray that they face hardships, disappointment and loss so that they may learn to rely on God through those tough times.

To some extent, I understand the concept and agree with some of the prayers in this book...such as Day 6, "I pray you'll sweat-and learn what it means to work hard for what's worthwhile' or Day 9 "I pray you'll experience unanswered prayers-and develop deeper, wider trust". The reality is, life has its downhill moments, and we are often made stronger and wiser because of them, and we can use them as a chance to grow closer to God. On that point, I completely understand and respect the message of the book. We as parents cannot just pray that everything goes perfectly in our child's life, we must also teach them how to handle and learn from the not so great experiences.

However, there are other prayers that make me think twice about the message of the book, such as Day 11 "I pray you'll know what it is to be lonely-and find intimacy with the One who is always beside you." Yes, the second part of that prayer is positive, but there is something about this one that rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it is because I have a child with Autism and pray for nothing more than for him to be able to develop meaningful relationships and not be alone in his life (rather that means friendship, a romantic relationship, etc)...I could never pray for my child to be alone for that very reason. I could also never pray that he be shattered or be forced to give up on a dream...in his life, he will experience more trials, hardship, discrimination, etc than any child should have to...and I cannot imagine praying any more of that upon him.

Overall, I suppose I'm a bit torn. As I said, I think the ideas behind the book are good, but I still can't fully stand behind the concept. It's definitely a worthwhile and thought provoking read regardless on if you fully agree or not. It will make you think and also remind you in your own life to look at those moments as a blessing in disguise...or at least a chance to learn and grow anyway!

You can decide for yourself by purchasing here.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rubber Bands. Ultrasound Countdown. First Kicks. Contractions. {18 Weeks}

(This lovely top was sent to me by Everly Grey Maternity...stay tuned for a review!!)

18 Weeks

Ah, yes...the rubber band jean trick is now my newest friend (with longer shirts of course)...keeping me in my favorite jeans for a bit longer anyway until the maternity jeans fit!! (Or it warms up so I can wear my new maxi dresses anyway...) It works pretty well, but I have to admit I'm a little scared that Shaun will pull my shirt up and expose my little secret...or a glimpse of my underwear in that small gap! Ha!

Our ultrasound is less than a week away! Is it Wednesday yet? We are excited to find out for sure if baby Finley is still looking like a girl. We're praying, crossing our fingers and everything else we can think to do that nothing has appeared since our last ultrasound (when we were told it was still early to tell for sure). It's not that we wouldn't be thrilled with another boy...Matt and I would be happy with either! Shaun on the other hand has his mind made up...girl or nothing! So let's just pray for his sake!! (Plus, we've bought a few really cute girl things that I really want to be able to use ourselves!!)

Sunday night, I felt baby Finley kick for the first time...and she's been moving like crazy ever since!! It seems this baby is just as active as big brother!! Daddy is enjoying feeling the movement, but Shaun is too impatient to sit around and wait. I think he'll take more interest when he can actually SEE the movement!

The biggest update from the week is the start of the contractions. During my pregnancy with Shaun, I started having contractions at just past 20 weeks or so. I was given a shot a few times to stop them, and was on and off bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy, until he came- full term- at 38 weeks. Bed rest is pretty easy when you have no other responsibilities (aside from a husband who can take care of himself if needed), but not so easy when you have an extremely hyper 5 year old who requires near constant supervision. Needless to say, we were hoping for a much easier pregnancy this time around. Unfortunately, I'm just not that lucky...or pregnancy just doesn't agree with me...something like that! Monday night, I started having a few contractions. I actually initially thought I was having some anxiety issues because my chest was tightening along with my stomach- something I didn't recall happening with Shaun. They were also less painful than I recalled with Shaun (though still not pain free, just less). It wasn't until they continued into the next day that I realized what was actually happening. I called my doctor and went in to be checked out, just in case. The good news: everything looked great with baby. She/he was doing well, moving like crazy, strong heartbeat...nothing to worry about there. And the contractions weren't causing anything to happen at this point, just annoying me more than anything else. I was advised to continue drinking lots of water, and to rest as much as possible with a Shaun running around, but no strict bed rest, thankfully! (We are extremely lucky that Matt's new schedule puts his home early, or I'd never be able to rest... I can't help but believe that worked out that way for a reason and for that I'm very thankful!) The contractions are still coming at times, but if I'm not up on my feet constantly, cleaning or picking up the little man, etc...it definitely seems to help. The next few weeks should be interesting, with Shaun not having school, but I'm sure we'll make it work somehow! In the meantime, I will just relax as much as I can and hope this passes...and takes the back pain with it too!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hello Spring Recipes

Simply Smithwick

Best Spring Recipe

When I read today's final topic for the Hello Spring Hop, I racked my brain for a perfect spring recipe...or a recipe that I make often that's great for springtime...and honestly, I couldn't come up with a thing! So instead I went searching on Pinterest for some recipes I'd like to try this spring. Lately, I've been finding myself being drawn to drink recipes. Maybe it's just a pregnancy thing, or perhaps because I gave up Diet Coke and need a replacement...either way, I found a ton that I'd love to try out!!

2 liters of 7UP and 2 tubs of rasberry sherbert! Throw in some lemons, oranges and grapefruit slices to make it pretty!

Orange Push Up Smoothie

Cranberry Orange Slush
(The original recipe suggests it as a Thanksgiving drink, but personally I think it sounds great year round! Love cranberries!)

Homemade Peach Lemonade

Any great drink recipes you love during the spring time? Or great springtime recipes in general? My menu has been lacking inspiration lately, so I'd love some ideas!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hello Spring DIY

Simply Smithwick

Spring DIY

This is our nursery...so far!

(Don't worry, those non matching curtains are going!)
Most of the things on my 'do it myself' list this spring involve this room. I have a few DIY decor projects already completed (such as the pom balls in the corner there) and the frame was a redone mirror I'd done ages ago as well, but there are still a couple things that I need/want to get done.

First up, letters for the wall! These will go inside the frame above the crib. I've gone back and forth between a monogram or 'Finley/Finley Grace', as well as back and forth on if I want to have it as a wall decal or painted/decoupaged letters. I think I'm leaning more towards 'Finley' with the wooden letters. We rent, so I think it would be the better, longer lasting option!!! Now to find a style of letters I like (that has all the letters we need) and get them done!! I also want to make some for Shaun's room as well...I'm thinking primary colors, and using our Autism Awareness ribbon to hang? Decisions, decisions!

Also on my list: wall decor of some sort...though what specifically I've not decided. I've been considering making some little canvas wall art for above the changing table. I'm not super crafty, so it would need to be something simple. I've thought perhaps something with a glass slipper/Cinderella silhouettes, in honor of the way hubby and I met in person the first time...or perhaps something with cupcakes, because I LOVE cupcakes...those are assuming baby is for sure a girl of course. (The countdown is on- under a week until our big ultrasound now!) Otherwise birds maybe?

I also need to replace some knobs on the nightstand in here (which you cannot see in the photo, but one knob is missing). I have found a few sets I like, but they're both pretty girly, so I'm again...waiting!

It seems the first thing on my to do list truly needs to be making up my mind, doesn't it? Hopefully after the ultrasound next week, I'll feel more comfortable making those decisions anyway and can get it done! At least we have until August (though I'm already under doctor's orders to rest as much as I possibly can with a Shaun to chase after- so sooner is better...but more on that later!)

What do you think our little nursery needs?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hello Spring Cleaning!

Simply Smithwick

Spring cleaning isn't nearly as much fun as spring fashion is it? But still, a necessary evil!
Organization is still #1 on my spring cleaning list, but there are a few other to dos on my list as well...like scrub the tub, clean out the washer & dryer, get rid of clothes that are too small or won't be worn again...all that fun stuff!!

I think in the blog world there is often an unspoken rule to always put your best foot forward...you know, post the pics where your hair actually cooperates and you're dressed well...and if it's a picture of your home, make sure it looks spotless. Well, today I'm going to break that rule and show you the reality of the state of my son's playroom and bedroom right now! Are you ready for this? It's not pretty!!

 And would you believe this happens in just a matter of hours? I don't have a kid who will just search calmly for a toy he wants to play with...no, he prefers to toss things aside, dump out every toy he owns and just generally ransack the place until he finds that one little toy! Oh dear...spring cleaning goal this year? Teach the little one to clean up his own mess because this mommy is exhausted!! Seriously!

That's a good spring cleaning goal, right?

Lilla Rose Sale {A Sponsor Deal!}

Have you tried Lilla Rose yet? Several months ago, I was given the chance to do a review of these wonderful products and absolutely LOVE them! They are great for busy moms who want their hair to look cute, but don't have a ton of time to work on it! I wear mine all the time, and have a few more coming my way this week!! If you haven't ordered yet, but were wanting to, now is a great time! Free shipping on orders over $20, and from my lovely sponsor Linda only, you can also get a free product, up to $16, when you order three as a new customer! How great is that! You know I love a deal, so I had to share this one with all of you! Here are some more details from our sponsor, Linda:
FREE SHIPPING and B3G1 at Lilla Rose  
March 20-23, Free shipping on all orders over $20 AND Buy 3, Get 1 Free (NEW Customers - $16 or under).   
Spring is Here!  Get rid of that old, boring plastic claw and replace it with a beautiful Flexi Clip.  The Flexi is available in many different designs and seven sizes to fit anyone’s hair and style and would be the perfect finishing touch to your daughter’s Easter outfit – or yours!  In addition to the Flexi Clip, Lilla Rose also carries beautiful Hair Bands, Bobbies, Hair Sticks, You Pins, and Badge Holders. 
Use this link to help you determine what size Flexi you need:  http://www.lillarose.biz/cliptomania/flexi-sizing-and-styling.html?id=sAVmxMUh 
Free Shipping will be applied at Checkout.  To get your FREE item, e-mail Independent Consultant Linda Menke at cliptomania@ymail.com with your customer number and your selection.

Happy shopping! I love you love your Lilla Rose products as much as I do!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hello Spring {Maternity} Fashion!

Simply Smithwick

Linking up again today for the week long Hello Spring Hop with Simply Smithwick. Yesterday was all about the spring bucket list...today is all about fashion!! And here in my world, it's all about the maternity fashion!!

Being rather petite, I found it difficult in my pregnancy with Shaun to find maternity pants that fit well, even just before he was born. So for me, I found that dresses and skirts worked best (which is fine by me, since I'm a dress girl anyway). I also figure dresses will last a bit longer as well- fitting better during this in between regular and maternity clothes phase AND postpartum as well. This spring, I've found myself being drawn to maxi dresses!! They're comfy, versatile, and cooler than jeans while still allowing me to cover my legs if desired and get down on the floor and play around with the little man!! And did I mention super cute!? Here are a few finds from around the web that I just love for spring!

Abbey Maxi

Ellis Colorblock Dress

Sofia Ultimate Maxi

These three stunning dresses are new from Everly Grey Maternity! I am actually thrilled to be receiving a couple pieces from this wonderful company to review soon...I'm not yet entirely sure which pieces are going to arrive on my doorstep, but I'm hoping one of these makes the cut anyway! Stay tuned for that!
Anyway, I think the Abbey Maxi is my favorite..the lace detail on the sleeves is adorable and perfect for spring (and what can I say, I LOVE lace!) and the color is stunning!! I think I'd pair it with a thin belt myself, but even without- perfection!! The Ellis Colorblock is super adorable too...I'm drawn to anything in any shade of coral...a great color for spring!! And they have a peacock version as well...I'm honestly not sure which I love more!! The Sofia Ultimate is also available in the same deep coral as the colorblock. I'm not one that loves wearing black, so I think I'd much prefer that version (though no picture on the website). I love the braided belt and shoulders, and this just looks super comfy!! Plus, breastfeeding friendly after baby arrives...I could see this being the perfect going home from the hospital outfit!!!

Target has some really cute options as well (more online than in our store, unfortunately!) Here are a few of those favorites!!

Liz Lang for Target Maxi Dress- Green

Of the dresses shown, this is the only one that I could actually find in my store...and I absolutely fell in love with it the moment I saw it! I love the colors. I love that it has sleeves (though it wouldn't appear so based on all the dresses I've picked, I really do prefer sleeves!) I love the belt, which DOES come with it! I actually considered buying it, and still might end up! So pretty! And it feels like it would be super comfortable as well!! There is nothing I don't love about this dress!! Even if I weren't pregnant, I think I'd still want it!
Merona Maternity Sleeveless Ruffle Maxi

This is another I'm seriously considering buying...it's $18 on sale right now too! I only wish I could see it in person!! I'm a girly girl, so I love anything with ruffles, so this is right up my alley!! I love this pale emerald color pictured, but they also have a hipster violet color that I love, as well as several other color options as well. This also looks like another one that might be nursing friendly and perfect for after baby comes as well. Super cute!!
Merona Maternity One Shoulder Rosette Dress

How adorable would this be for Easter!? Or spring family photos? Or a baby shower (though that would likely be more of a summer event for me!)? Or just around town? So pretty and feminine, I absolutely love this! There are a ton of color options for this one as well! I love this pink color, but they have great blue and light purple options as well...even a nice orange one, which I don't think I could pull off personally, but would be stunning on the right person!!

Ma Cherie Maternity Short Sleeve V-Neck Dress
Oh. My. Goodness. If this weren't already sold out, it would be on it's way to my house right now! I love chevron!!! How super comfortable does this look? It makes me a little sad that I can't buy it...but perhaps I can find another option in this style anyway...CUTE!

And finally, a few picks from Pink Blush Maternity

Teal Crochet Top Maternity
Another ultra feminine, super pretty find! Love this lace like top, and the teal color is perfect!! They have a green option as well that is just as pretty too! Love it! Perfect for spring!!

Turquoise Ruffled One Shoulder Maxi
And yes, more ruffles! I love this one shoulder look. I'm not sure I'd ever feel that comfortable wearing it, but it looks super cute anyway!! Turquoise is another of my favorite colors to wear as well!! 
Coral Tie Dye Maxi

Mint Green Chiffon Belted Maxi
 The colors in this Mint Green Chiffon dress are just perfect for spring, aren't they? So soft and pretty!
I'm not usually a tie dye person (aside from our Autism Speaks team shirts anyway!), but there is something about this particular dress that I think is super cute too. Maybe because it just looks incredibly comfy...or that it's coral...either way, I love this! Again though, I'm not usually a strapless person, but perhaps with a nice mint green or turquoise cardigan?

Believe it or not, this is actually the narrowed down version! When I read this topic yesterday, I found a TON of super cute options I loved! But I think I've shared plenty already! To sum it up, this spring I'm loving: maxi dresses, feminine details, fun colors and prints! And of course, showing off the growing baby bump in the process!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Bucket List (+ Some Other Randomness)

Simply Smithwick

Today, I am linking up with the Simply Smithwick for the first day of a week long linkup to welcome springtime. (Though I have to say, it's not feeling very springlike here...brrr!) Today's theme: Spring Bucket List! These are a few things I'd like to do this spring:

  • Spring Cleaning/Organize. I've been working on this one all year, so I'll just continue to do that, and hopefully get it done this spring!!! Maybe even have a yard sale!?
  • Visit family. We've been unable to visit since Christmas (and only briefly then), so now with hubby's new schedule, I'm hoping we'll be able to find more time!!
  • Fun Family Outings. Again, now with our new found family time, I want to take advantage of that. I'm thinking the Children's Museum for sure, perhaps the zoo...honestly, I'm not even sure what all there is here, so we'll have to do some exploring. We're also taking Shaun to see Super Why Live next month!
  • Finish some DIY projects for the house. More specifically, the nursery and Shaun's room. I have lots of ideas, I just need to sit down and get them done!
  • Take Family Pictures. (Assuming I can talk the hubby into it again, since we just did some in October-ish?) At the very least, get some good portraits of Shaun!!

(I'm certain there are more, but these are all I can think of off the top of my head...let's blame the pregnancy brain!)

And a few other random bits for Monday:

Did you hear that Google Reader is going away? I'm sure many of you have read about this on other blogs, but for those that haven't, Google Reader will be no more come July 1. I've heard some conflicting info on GFC, but as far as I can tell, it's sticking around for Blogger users. Still, I decided it was time to give you lovely readers some more options to follow my blog! Now, not only can you follow via GFC or like on FB- you can now also follow via e-mail or Bloglovin'. (All options are to the right!) If you're looking for a replacement for Google Reader, I highly suggest Bloglovin'...it's much easier to read! (And allows you to sort blogs by category, like posts, mark as read, etc...) Feel free to follow in as many ways as you'd like! (This will come in handy for upcoming giveaway entries too!)

I shared this post last month about the awesome baby freebie deals. That deal is still available, AND Seven Slings just launched several adorable new prints as well as new and improved gift sets!! You can read all the details, and find the promo code in that previous post!! And if you already ordered but love those new prints, don't worry, you can use the code to order again!! Happy Shopping!

Finding some new blogs to read and linking up with these lovely blogs today:  
Covered in Grace 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

17 Weeks {& A St Patrick's Day Message from Shaun!}

17 Weeks, 1 Day- St. Patrick's Day

17 Weeks...and my jeans officially won't button!! I'm wearing them anyway, with the help of rubber bands and long tops. Dresses are my best friends right now...particularly maxi dresses. I think they will get me through the remainder of this pregnancy...or at least until the pants decide to fit better!!
No real new symptoms, though perhaps a little more tired and sore by the end of the day. I still have some nausea that's hanging around...it's mostly around strong perfumes or anytime I drink anything aside from water...even Orange Juice, which is one of my few cravings. I also forgot to mention my other big craving in previous weeks- fried pickles...delicious!! (Though I'm sure extremely unhealthy, so thankfully I still don't have them much!) This week I've been sick again, but I'm certain that has less to do with pregnancy than this crazy Indiana weather!! Rain...snow...never sure what to expect!!
We've done a little more baby shopping, but still really trying to hold off until our ultrasound (another TEN days...will it ever come!?) Shaun and I braved a baby and kids consignment event yesterday...it was the last day, so most things were 50% off! We managed to find a few cloth diapers to get our stash started, and found a few outfits we couldn't pass up as well- a little sister onesie and skirt set that Shaun picked out, and an adorable pair of Gap purple floral overalls. Shaun also found himself a Veggie Tales book which he was pretty thrilled about! (Unfortunately, his clothing size had either been sold out, or they didn't have much to begin with- a problem we seem to run into often--- I suppose ALL 5T boys wear their clothes out quickly, not just my Shaun!). Overall I think we did fairly well!! We'd also gone back to our favorite local thrift store a few days earlier and found 4 swaddling blankets ranging from 50 cents to $1...and all but one were gender neutral!!! I cannot wait to go back once we have confirmation from the ultrasound!! (And just our luck...they're having another 'everything in the store is 50% off' sale just two days after!!)

And because it's St. Patrick's Day, and we so love celebrating...I'll end this post with a St. Patrick's Day message from my favorite little man!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Saw It. Pinned It. Did It. {Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie}

Between pregnancy, trying to keep up with a hyper five year old and the house...by the end of the day, I'm often pretty exhausted! I'm sure many of you can relate! And yet, I still have to find the energy to feed the family! I have been finding myself more often looking for simple, quick meals...normally, I would never put pot pie into that category! I've made homemade chicken pot pies before, and they can definitely be a bit time consuming...so I was happy to find this version from Kraft's website!!


cups  chopped cooked chicken
pkg.  (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas), thawed, drained
lb.  (8 oz.) VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
can  (10-3/4 oz.) reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
can  (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

HEAT oven to 375ºF.
COMBINE first 4 ingredients in 13x9-inch baking dish.
UNROLL dough; place over chicken mixture.
BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until crust is golden brown.


You can cook your own chicken, of course...but I took the even easier route and just bought already cooked chicken (like the chunks you buy for salads, etc). It was literally a matter of mixing everything together and putting it in the oven. Super easy. And the boys both enjoyed it! In fact, the only complaint- hubby said he prefers to have his own individual pot pie! In the future, I think I might try using the premade pie shells instead of the crescent rolls and trying it that way so it truly is more of a pie! But still, great for a quick and easy weeknight meal!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

InstaLately 3/13

As some of you may know, last year we moved to Indiana where my husband has been stationed for the last year as a recruiter. Those familiar with the military may have heard horror stories about recruiting duty. I haven't said too much about it, as I try to keep this a positive place, but the reality is, some of those horror stories are true! It's not ALL bad, but it's not something we would choose again. It's a high stress job, and for us meant most nights my husband was not home until 10-11 pm, and he worked most weekends. Our family time was minimal. This month that all changed! My husband was moved to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). They had another guy leaving, and needed a Staff NCO there, and my husband was lucky enough to be the guy chosen to take that job. So, what does that mean? Well, to be honest, I'm still not entirely certain on exactly what it is he's doing there yet...but basically instead of being the guy going out and finding people to join the Marine Corps, he's now one of the guys processing them into the military. For our family, this means more family time! No more 10-11 pm nights, working on weekends and even holidays if needed. He is home by 5, at the latest every day. Some days its earlier than that...he's beaten Shaun home from school several times! Weekends are off, and if there's a 3-4 days weekend, he actually gets those days off!! Between a yearlong deployment, followed very closely by recruiting school, then recruiting duty- we haven't had this much time to enjoy together as a family in a very long time. Needless to say, we are enjoying it! Shaun loves actually spending time with Daddy...so much so in fact that they got a little carried away and flipped the chair over backwards while playing!! (Don't worry, no one was injured...though the chair ended up with a few scuff marks!!)

Are you ready for St. Patrick's Day? We are!! I put out my Celtic Love Knot Scentsy warmer (with Irish Cream bar), and hung a few shamrocks!! I keep threatening to hide all the hubby's green clothes too...he's not amused at the idea!

How can you not just absolutely love this face? He asked me to take his photo with Thomas (before making me put the lid on so he could talk in a Thomas voice). He loves climbing into his Thomas toy box! Silly kid! (And in case anyone is wondering, this is actually the front of his old Thomas toddler bed. When we moved him to his big bed, he refused to part with it, so we moved the front toy box piece into the bedroom as a compromise...he loves it!!)

I am extremely excited about the reviews and giveaways I have coming up for all of you in the next month or so. Super stylish delivery hospital gowns, Build A Bear (featuring this super special Autism Speaks bear!) and some awesome maternity clothes too! You're going to want to keep an eye out for everything that's coming!!

I try to keep any and all reviews that I bring to you guys relevant to products I think you'd love...so tell me, what kind of reviews and giveaways would you like to see in the future from me!? (And if you're interested in sponsoring, please check out my PR statement and send me an e-mail!!)

Shaun has recently become obsessed (re-obsessed?) with Veggie Tales. He loved it when he was itty bitty, but somewhere along the line, it became one of the shows he feared (almost up there with Cars). This mommy is a HUGE Veggie Tales fan herself, so it was a bit disappointing to say the least. So I was beyond thrilled when he rediscovered them on Netflix and gave them another shot. Now, he watches it several times a day. His Nana sent him some money last week, and he asked us to take him to Family Christian to get himself some Veggies goodies...he already had his preferred DVD (The Little House That Stood) in the mail thanks to a blog giveaway I'd won, so he picked out another movie and a Bob and Larry plush to add to his super impressive plush collection...he loves his plush!! Here he is watching Jonah with Larry...and his hairbrush, of course!!

(On a related note, during our last grocery trip, he INSISTED I buy him cucumbers and asparagus...which he carried in his lap all the way home. I love my kid!)

 I keep hearing that Spring is just around the corner, but I don't think Mother Nature got that memo! We still have snow here! Better than spring weather (storms), so I'll not complain too much...however, my coat is getting harder to button, so a little warmth soon might be good!!

Cold weather means comfort food...like this cheesy chicken pot pie I found on the Kraft website!! It was super easy (4 ingredients, I believe) and the boys enjoyed it! I'll share the recipe soon!