Thursday, July 31, 2014

What I'm Into - July 2014

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Want a little glimpse into my life? :)

Books I'm Reading:
I won Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World in a giveaway this month, and it just arrived yesterday! I haven't started it yet, but it's about finding balance in 7 key areas of life (Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends, and Fun. I always struggle with finding balance, and this is an international bestseller, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Can't Miss Television:
Well, it's the middle of summer so most of our viewing material is coming from the library or Netflix. But I was sad to hear today that Big Bang Theory has been postponed. So sad! The cast can't agree on their contracts, so although it's been renewed, they won't film anything until everyone is happy. Hoping they figure that all out in time for the season to start!

Movies I've Watched:
You can always tell when the TV seasons are over for the summer, because we default to a lot of movies. This month we've been using our inter-library loan program to borrow movies for free!

We watched 13 movies this week, so I'll just share a couple of them:

Butter - This is a political comedy about a butter carving contest. It's actually really funny!

The Watch - Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn take on an alien race who is trying to invade the earth, and fight them off....in a Costco. Lol! it's a funny plot line, but not for kids.

Zombieland - This movie is ridiculous and funny. Four people are the last people on earth after zombies have taken over. And they are trying to get to a theme park to pretend like it is the old, pre-zombie days. It's so cheesy. Lol!

Iron Man 3 - We love the superhero movies! We really need to figure out how to escape the house long enough to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie!

Yummy in My Tummy:
Chips and Salsa: It's been a really long, really hard month for us. I always go back to my comfort food when that happens. I can eat chips and salsa all day, everyday, and be perfectly happy!

Happiness is:
The two dates I had with Sean in July! One was a lunch date while our kids were at our church's Respite Care for families of special needs kids. The other was a quick 45 minutes lunch yesterday when my mom came over to play with the kids for a bit. Love getting to go out with my hubby!

What I'm Looking Forward to in August:
Yep, just going to say it: I'm looking forward to preschool starting again. Those few hours are amazing for my sanity and the kids love it SO much! The kids talk about school every day even though we've been on summer break for awhile.

I'm linking up with What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh. 
This post contains affiliate links. I get a small commission when you buy something through the link. Thank you for supporting my blog and family this way! For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Little Things Thursday: #80

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?


1. Group Photo!
Elijah, Abby, Caleb, and Ellie....sitting on a tablecloth so that they don't pee on my couch

It's amazing that the days can be so long but the time goes so fast. I miss the snugly, baby days, but this age is a RIOT!

Also, look at Caleb!!! You can see his face in this photo! He always has a lovey covering it or a thumb in his mouth. This is the first time we've been able to snap a semi-posed photo of him where his whole face is visible. Could the autism oils already be working??? *hopeful!*

2. This is Why I Don't Bake Anymore
I used to bake constantly. It was my form of therapy, and I really enjoyed it! But then, one day we took the gate down to the kitchen, and I realized that I had an extra 40 fingers trying to help me. My sister-in-law asked if I would make cupcakes for my niece's birthday last weekend, so I thought I'd give it a whirl again. I only lost two cupcakes in the process, but all of the threatening convinced me that my baking season is still over for awhile longer.

3. So Many Helpers
Caleb in the blue shirt, Elijah in the orange shirt

I decided to sort through some junk mail this week. I'm terrible about throwing away the junk when it arrives, so I end up with a huge pile and don't deal with it until it starts falling over. Yeah, not the best system. But I finally got around to taking care of this round a few days ago. I was sorting out a huge amount to get rid of, and the boys decided that they wanted to help....spread it out over the entire kitchen floor. It's hard to be upset when they are so content and quiet while look through worthless papers. But it did give me yet another reason to deal with junk mail the second it comes into the house.

4.Elijah's Turn
With Ellie doing pretty well on the potty, we've started working with Elijah. While Ellie would sit on the potty for...hours. Elijah sits for all of 6.34 seconds, announces he is done, and starts running around again. I've already tried doing the "bare from the waist down" approach with Elijah, but he has a tendency to play with his...uh...let's just say that it's far more gross to leave the underwear off of a little boy. Yeesh! All of these kids are going to potty train differently, huh?


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Grocery Store Game for Preschoolers

Today's post is actually over on the Melissa & Doug Blog!

They asked if I wanted to write a post for them, and the kids LOVE it when I say "yes!" Using some of their awesome toys, we set up a grocery store game in the backyard. The kids had so much fun getting to shop for food just like Mommy! Click over to the Melissa & Doug Blog for our fun Grocery Store Game, and then set one up in your own backyard!
This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Meal Plan: 7/27-8/2


If you are looking for some of the strategies that help us decide what to eat every week, make sure you check out our Meal Tip Series!

Sunday: Sandwiches
Monday: Beef Tacos, Chips and Salsa
Tuesday: Chicken Tzatziki WrapsTzatziki Sauce, and Tomato Salad
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce, Garden Salad
Thursday: Bacon and Egg Burritos, Roasted Potatoes and Onions
Friday: Lasagna, Salad, Biscuits with Honey and Butter
Saturday: Leftovers

What is on your menu this week? Leave me some inspiration!
This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Letters from Dad: #16

(Once a month, I invite Sean to take over the blog and write a little note to our kids. I love that he is willing to leave little nuggets of wisdom for them to look back on when they are older!

Dear Children,

First of all, let me apologize for not getting you a letter last month. I don’t have an excuse, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be a good one.

This month has been crazy. A lot of emotions have been going all over the place. Caleb had his heart surgery. The doctors kept telling us it was nothing to worry about, but as a parent, you worry about your kid having any type of surgery, let alone on his heart. Praise God he made it through and has been doing better than ever. He has a lot more energy now.

Unfortunately, while in the recovery room, I received notice that Two-Ma’s (your Great-Grandmother’s) health had taken a turn for the worse and some other bad news. It was a rough day. The day ended up going well. Caleb was full of energy when we got home, and then once he was settled, we were able to see Two-Ma before she made a complete turn for the worse.

We miss Two-Ma. I am having a hard time writing this month. I feel like I’m holding back to not get too emotional. I hope that when I’m done with this letter it makes sense.

You kids feel me with joy and laughter most every day. Around Mother’s Day, I told Two-Ma that Abby had her laugh. So true. Caleb and Ellie have her smile too. It’s hard to say what Elijah has inherited, but sometimes when he asks questions, I swear the look in his eyes reminds me of her.
Kids, my Grandma, loved Jesus. There is no doubt in my mind that she is now with Jesus. I hope so much that I will reflect the same love of Jesus to you kids that she did to everyone she met in her life. 
It was important to her that her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids continue her legacy and not let people forget about her Jesus.

She was a woman full of joy, laughter, and encouragement. Children, laugh and enjoy each day. Look for the good in all situations. That’s the way that your Great-Grandma would have done it.

Stay off the drugs also. While I never recall her explicitly saying to stay off drugs. I know she wasn’t a fan of addictions, unless the addiction was breakfast or laughter! In regards to addictions for other things besides drugs, anything that doesn’t help you or make you a better person needs to be avoided.

Your Two-Ma saw a lot of worth in staying joyful, full of faith, clean from addictions, and full of humor. I think that’s one of the reasons that she lived so long and had such a full life. You can learn a lot of lessons about living life by looking at how she did it.

Kids, sorry this letter has been all over the place, but the lessons I want you to take from it are important.

Love,

Daddy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Little Things Thursdays: #79

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?


1. Swimming!
We were invited to a neighbor boy's 5th birthday party last weekend. He had a bounce house and water slide, and the kids LOVED them. Especially the water! Last summer, they weren't big fans of how cold the water in our blow up pool was, but this year, they were all about being in the water!

Also, the party was 10 days after Caleb's heart surgery. 10 days. Not only was he running around without any residual effects from the surgery, he was also RUNNING AROUND. He wasn't like this before! His energy level is through the roof, and he is now playing and enjoying activities like a normal little boy.

God is SO good! There is no other reason to attribute to how well he is doing other than that God is amazing!

2. Brothers Forever
Caleb and Elijah

Sean took this photo last night. It's now one of my favorites!

3. Little Monkey Bizness
Clockwise from left: Elijah, Caleb, and Ellie


Abby

We made it out to Little Monkey Bizness this morning to run off some energy in the air conditioning. The kids had fun as they have in the past, and it was nice to see them running around even more independently than they were a year ago. We made it about two hours before the kids were done. My first indication that our time was drawing to a close was finding Abby with her blanket inside one of the climbing toys, getting ready to take a nap. What?! Lol! And then Elijah started screaming because another kid had a snack, and he couldn't eat it. But up until then, it was great!

4.Young Living July Oils

I got my Young Living July oils this week. Although we didn't win that big $2000 oil set a couple of months ago, we did win a runner up credit with Young Living. It let us try some oils for weight loss, stress, energy...and particularly, the Reconnect Kit (bottom photo of 4 oils) that helps with ADD, ADHD, and Autism spectrum kids. We picked it up because of Caleb's delays (there might be something more there that we are currently having evaluated). I'm excited to see if they help him come out of his shell and learn to communicate.

5. What Our Kids Do During a Heat Advisory
Caleb and Ellie

This is how I found Caleb and Ellie a couple of days ago. It was the first day of a heat advisory in our area, so they thought they'd bring down their pillows, blankets...and stocking caps. Uh...okay. And in case you were wondering, the temperature in the house was 74 degrees. 

6. 1 down, 3 to go...
I *think* that we can officially say that Ellie is potty trained! At least, during the day. She has the occasional accident, but has far more dry days than accident days. So proud of her!

Now on to the next kid....*sigh*




Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Febreze Noseblind Test + A Febreze Product and AMEX Gift Card Giveaway!

This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Febreze. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine. 

Who hasn't seen the Febreze Noseblind tests on TV? You know, the ones where they blindfold a couple of people, lead them into a gross, stinky room, and ask them what they smell? 

Our family was challenged to a home version of that same test for fun! While we didn't have blindfolds or the theme music in the background, we did manage to give the Febreze products a good test!

And because this type of thing is always more fun with friends, we asked JoEllen and Sean (yep! She is dating a Sean, and I'm married to a Sean. We had a lot of Seans in the house!) if they would do the Noseblind test with us.

We started with a questionnaire about how our house smelled. I found out after the fact that "poop" was the overwhelming room scent. While that makes sense with 3 kids in diapers and one potty training, it's not exactly a compliment. 

Embarrassing!
JoEllen

Daddy working on his questionnaire and Elijah pretending to work on his as well 

Then we popped some popcorn for our viewing of Frozen (which we might as well keep on repeat with the number of times we watch it in a week). The kids love that movie, and since Joellen and Sean were at our house with his three kids, it was a good, family-friendly movie selection.

Of course, while the popcorn drowned out the poop scent, it left an overwhelming scent on it's own,
Ryan, JoEllen's Sean, Aryn, JoEllen, Ellie, Gavin, and Elijah

I think the kids' favorite part of the Noseblind test was the popcorn part. Lol!

Interestingly, over time, we stopped noticing the popcorn smell as much. I think the same thing happened with the popcorn that happened to me with the poop smell. Our noses just got used to it. I'm sure if someone walked into the house, though, they'd definitely be able to tell that we were both potty training and eating popcorn.
 Watching Frozen!

Finally, our Noseblind test called for us to break out the Febreze and give the room a good spritz!

It took a few minutes to clear the popcorn from the room, but it worked! Since then, we've had a second, super disgusting Noseblind test when my husband accidentally got spoiled raw chicken on his clothes while taking out the trash. It took us far too long to identify the scent and where it was coming from, but at least we had the Febreze in the meantime!

Want to learn more about how your nose adapts to smells and conduct your own Noseblind test? Head over to the Febreze site for more info! You can also find them on FaceBook and Twitter.

~Giveaway!~
Febreze is sending one of my readers everything they need to do their own Noseblind test at home! Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Winning entries will be validated prior to announcing the winner with an alternate drawn if the entries cannot be verified.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest ends at 11:59pm on Wednesday, July 30th. The winner(s) will be randomly chosen and contacted by email, and will have 48 hours to respond to the email with their information so that the prize can be forwarded to them. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States. This giveaway is not endorsed by Young Living Essential Oils and is solely sponsored and administered by A Beautiful Ruckus. This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.
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