3 Do’s & Don’ts of Consignment Events

3 Do's & Don'ts of Consignment Events

Go ahead and call me crazy, but there are few things that get me more excited than saving loads of money. Children take up very little space themselves but they require an enormous amount of stuff. It’s disproportionate, really. All that stuff costs a small fortune. At first, it was tempting to buy everything brand new so that my child was the first child to have ever touched this book or that blanket. I’ve lived and learned that kids don’t really need brand new stuff. Even used kids items are often like-new because kids outgrow things so quickly! I love to shop consignment now. I can find things for a fraction of the cost – sometimes with the tags still on them. Cha-ching!

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C Says the Darndest Things

I’m starting a regular feature here with this title. C cracks me up on a daily basis and I’ve simply been doing you a disservice by not sharing his antics. ;)

Toddler at sink doing hair like daddy

This week, I’m going to feature some “C”-isms related to his independent streak. Sometimes he makes me want to pull my hair out, but he sure is funny.

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Blue Pixie Dust and Rainbows to Celebrate The Pirate Fairy on DVD! #ProtectPixieHollow #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This #ProtectPixieHollow shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

Toddler Excited about Disney's The Pirate Fairy #ProtectPixieHollow #shop

Is there anything better than a new Disney movie release? My son sure doesn’t think so! Ever since our trip to Disney World last year, the boy has been obsessed with all things Disney. It’s an obsession that I encourage because I enjoy it, too. The Pirate Fairy was released this week, so we stopped at Walmart to snag our copy. C was excited to grab the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD that included a free gift: The Pixie Hollow Bake Off DVD with 10 animated shorts! Tinker Bell has a bake off with head baking fairy Gelata (voiced by Giada de Laurentiis) in this bonus movie found exclusively at Walmart. I’m always trying to find more things for C to watch to keep him occupied during his tube feedings and if it includes something related to food, that’s even better.

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I’m Taking the She Sweats Summer Challenge!

After many months of fighting a postpartum mood disorder and having my antidepressant turn me into a human inflatable, I am very excited to announce that I am starting the She Sweats Summer Challenge through He and She Eat Clean! The Summer Challenge is 16 weeks long. I’ll start with the She Sweats 12-Week Transformation and follow it with the Extreme 4-Week Shred.

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5 Tips to Potty Train a Toddler with Sensory Processing Disorder

5 Tips to Potty Train an SPD Toddler

Sensory kids are tough. They generally do what they want, when they want and ain’t nobody going to convince them otherwise! For months, I had anxiety about potty training C. Would he be ready? Would he play games with us, like the first time we attempted? Would he have major meltdowns?

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What I Don’t Say About Being a Special Needs Mom

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I get those words a lot. I usually smile and reply, “You learn to deal with what you have to deal with.” That’s the truth, but there is a lot more to my truth that I don’t add. The truth in its entirety is just too much.

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Save calories with the Fresh Express Salad Swap!

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC. or the manufacturer of the product.

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C finally had his sleep study!

Ready for C's Sleep Study

In the waiting room, ready to be called in for the sleep study!

This sleep study was originally scheduled for January, was denied by our insurance company, we took it through the grievance process, won, and rescheduled a couple times because C kept getting sick. It finally happened earlier this week! I was pretty anxious about it. With C’s sensory processing disorder, he hates having anything on his face or head. Well…they had to stick a ton of monitors and electrodes all over his face, head and body.

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Zoobean curates personalized books and apps for my child – and C loves it!

Disclosure: I am receiving product and compensation from Zoobean for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

ZoobeanSubscription services are all the rage right now. What’s cooler than getting a box of exciting products at your doorstep each month?! Zoobean is a subscription service that stands out with its mission to build literacy early and often by curating apps, books and resources for individual children. All of Zoobean’s curators are parents and educators or librarians who focus on your child’s age, reading level and interests to create a unique subscription for your child. No two subscriptions are the same because they’re tailored to each child’s unique interests!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Silly Smiles From Baby Jo

Baby Jo pulling herself up at railroad museum

Peekaboo!

We took these pictures while we were at the railroad museum last week. Baby Jo’s silly, mischievous smile cracks me up. It’s the same smile that I can be seen flashing at the camera in some of my baby pictures!

Baby Jo gives silly smile at railroad museum

Cheese!

C Gets Sensory Input from Falling on his Bed

C has a high threshold for certain sensory input, like vestibular and proprioceptive. He likes to fall on his bed either onto his face or backward onto his butt. Here he is falling backward to get the input he needs.

As close to homemade baby food as you can get with Beech-Nut’s new just gentle cooking™.

Disclosure: I am participating in a review program with Beech-Nut and MomSelect. Although I am receiving product and compensation for this post, the thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

just gentle cooking: The New Beech-Nut line of baby food

I’m one of those moms that is a little obsessive about knowing what is going into my children’s mouths. I was already like this when C was a baby, but now that he’s been through all of his health issues I’m even more adamant about proper nutrition and zero additives. For the most part, I made both of my kids’ baby food; but there were occasions when I didn’t have time or it wasn’t possible to travel with a bunch of homemade baby food. Beech-Nut has answered the call of moms like me who are looking to take all of the added junk out of baby food and give our babies real, natural ingredients just like we would make.

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Letting Go of Toxic Relationships

I have a confession to make. There’s an entire side of my family that I don’t really speak with. Naturally, there’s the pleasantries and small talk at funerals and the occasional wedding; but there’s not a relationship there except one formed by blood. It was not my choice, nor was it really my parents’ choice. There are many levels of complexities that I can’t even begin to understand. The bottom line is that the relationship was fractured for numerous reasons, for many, many years.

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C Does Donuts in his Cozy Truck

If this is any indication of his driving habits in 14 years…

Here’s C doing donuts in the living room in his Little Tikes Cozy Truck!

Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Disclosure: As a Tastefully Simple blogger, I received product and compensation for this post. The thoughts, recipe and opinions below are entirely my own.

Gluten Free Coconut Lime Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring is in the air! Okay, well, it was for a day or two before the snow decided to come back. I’m still thinking spring – bright colors, citrus, sunshine and warmer air! My parents both turned 50 years old this month and I wanted to incorporate those thoughts into their cake. Tastefully Simple introduced their new spring-summer line and there are some fun new gluten-free items to try!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Family Time at the Railroad Museum

We’ve had the pleasure of having Hubster hang out with us for the past few days while he took some time off of work. Yesterday, we went to the Railroad Museum and the kids played with their favorite part – the train table! It was fun to watch Baby Jo get in on the fun now that she’s a little bigger. :)

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C’s Blended Diet is Changing His Life

I belong to a few Facebook groups for parents of tubies, kids with severe feeding challenges and blended diets. One mother posted a picture of her son’s new Blendtec blender with hope that a new blended diet will benefit her son. I commented that the blended diet is changing my son’s life. Then I sat back for a moment and let those words really sink in.

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Down to Zero: Round Two

Here we go, here we go! Down to zero!

After working with my psychiatrist to taper off of my antidepressant, I finally went down to zero again last week. I anticipated the withdrawal and am relieved to report that it has been much easier than last time, when I came off of Effexor. That doesn’t mean it has been easy.

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Finding Her Perfect Fit for Prom

Disclosure: I am being compensated by JJsHouse for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own. 

JJsHouse.com

A story about a consignment store owner helping a plus-size teen find a prom dress has gone viral this past week. It’s an inspirational story that really spoke to me. I remember experiencing similar feelings of frustration and disappointment in the dressing room many times. While I may not have been looking for a prom dress at the time, it was still devastating not to find that shirt, pants or dress that fit well on my body and made me feel good about myself.

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#ad Check Out The Great Bunny Train at the National Railroad Museum!

Disclosure: I’m posting this on behalf of US Family Guide for The Great Bunny Train at the National Railroad Museum.

The Great Bunny Train

The National Railroad Museum’s first event of the season will be held on April 12-13, 2014!

The Easter Bunny is coming to Green Bay, WI! Each admission to the Great Bunny Train includes a day of entertainment, crafts, and games for children of all ages, including a chance to ride the train and meet the Easter Bunny. Television station WFRV (Channel 5), Green Bay Seven Up Bottling Company, Sunny D, Great Harvest Bread Company, Green Bay Packers and Rasmussen College are event sponsors.

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Beautiful Indulgence: Influenster #JAdoreVoxBox

Disclosure: I received the #JAdoreVoxBox complimentary from Influenster. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

I enjoyed opening up the #JAdoreVoxBox from Influenster and discovering the goodies inside! This Vox Box is all about beauty and indulgence. The Créme Caramel Red Rose Tea was delicious, and C enjoyed sharing the Hershey’s Kisses with me. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: The Kristin/Baby Jo Likeness Continues!

Sometimes I look at Baby Jo and it’s like looking in the mirror. It totally freaks me out when she makes a certain face just like I did in one of my baby pictures – or even one that I still do! I’ve created another mashup collage of pictures of Baby Jo and me at 9 months old. Here’s the one that I did a few months ago. The likeness continues!

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C Gets Vestibular Input from Swinging

Disclosure: This post includes an Amazon affiliate link.

C has a high need for vestibular input with his sensory processing disorder. One of his favorite ways to get that is from swinging in this awesome swing we bought from IKEA. Here’s a video of C “stimming” in the swing!

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Taking Control of my Children’s Diets

“Shake, Mommy? I drink shake!”

We’ve switched C’s diet from 3.5 cans of Pediasure each day through his gtube to a blended diet of mostly organic whole foods. He still asks me if he can drink a “shake” sometimes. I cringe every time, because now it’s even more apparent what that influx of sugar does to him. Within an hour, his behavior is completely out of control. He runs wild, unsure what to do with himself. It results in outbursts, hurting his sister and me, and throwing tantrums. The crazy thing – he used to be like that ALL THE TIME. It was all that Pediasure and sugar coursing through him. Eek.

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Cutie P’Tubies Review & FLASH Giveaway: Making tubies cute one pad at a time!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Cutie P’Tubies in exchange for this review and giveaway. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Cutie P'Tubies

It doesn’t seem to matter which barrier cream we use, how tight C’s g-tube button is, or how active he is…fluid leaks out regardless. We were using gauze for a long time. That always fell off if we didn’t use tape, but if we used tape then C’s skin would break out. I eventually gave up and didn’t put any dressing around it, resulting in some stains in that area of his shirts. During a late night Pinterest session, I came across some adorable g-tube pads. I didn’t even know that these existed! I clicked through to the Cutie P’Tubies Etsy store and found the motherlode of cute for G tube pads, J tube pads, Cecostomy pads and Trach pads.

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Hop Aboard the Bouncin’ Bus for Kids’ Fitness and Fun!

Disclosure: We had the opportunity to try the Bouncin’ Bus complimentary in exchange for this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Bouncin' BusThe Bouncin’ Bus is one of those things that you can’t miss when you see it around the community. We’ve seen it at the On Broadway Farmer’s Market and at various locations around Green Bay and the Fox Cities. We were intrigued, but hadn’t checked it out. I’m so happy that we finally did!

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Bloggers: Accomplish More Sooner with Blogging Concentrated

Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link to Blogging Concentrated. I’m passionate about this conference because I learned so much from it! The thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own.

Accomplish More Sooner336

I’ve been blogging here for nearly 3.5 years, and there came a point in the past year where I realized I needed to make this passion not just my hobby but also a source of income for my family. As a blogger and stay-at-home mom, I wanted to also contribute financially to the family finances. That’s when I started to look into blogging conferences.

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Parenting as a Multiple Choice Exam


Sometimes it feels like parenting is just one giant exam after another. I don’t know if there’s really a correct answer to some of the exams, but I’m sure there are ways to fail. My latest exam had me feeling completely unprepared. Frantic, even. Here’s a breakdown of my most recent exam – tell me how you’d handle it!

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C Greets Baby Jo: “Hi, Little Fishy!”

I think C has been watching too much “Finding Nemo” lately, because he’s started greeting his sister with, “Hi, Little Fishy!” You’ll also hear him saying, “Hi, little guy!” Some family members say this to him. :)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: We Ate at a Restaurant!

Daddy and Baby Jo at restaurant

What’s the big deal, you say? It’s just a restaurant, you say?

This is the first time we have ever taken the kids to a restaurant! Of course, we’ve dined at fast casual establishments like your Chipotle or your Noodles & Company. But a real restaurant? Nope. First time.

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Join Me on 3/11 for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party!


Photo Credit http://www.chelsa-bea.com/2013/12/winter-salad-roasted-vegetables.html
Does your family enjoy Meatless Monday? Perhaps you’re looking for ways to incorporate different items into your weekly menu. Whether it’s finding more fabulous vegetarian meals, incorporating fish and seafood into your favorite dishes or simply by increasing the amount of healthy greens you consume, creating meatless meals can be a delicious and fabulous way to help your family live a healthier lifestyle! Hubster and I often enjoy meatless meals. When we were living on his graduate assistant income, we utilized beans for a lot of meals. They’re cheap, flavorful and pack a protein punch. Going meatless is an awesome way to spread your grocery budget. It can also save calories! I also enjoy swapping out meat for mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are so flavorful and I love making portobello pizzas or burgers! I invite you to join me at the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party to share meatless meal ideas, talk about how Pick ‘n Save Stores have delicious dinner inspiration and discover how easy it is to give your family delicious meatless dinners any night of the week!

Join me at the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party on SoFabChats!

=&0=& Tuesday, March 11th=&1=& =&2=& 8-9pm CT/9-10pm ET=&1=& =&4=& 5 – $100 Pick ‘n Save Gift Cards=&1=& =&6=&

Review: Create signs, banners, business cards and more with BuildASign.com!

Disclosure: I received a promotional product from BuildASign.com in exchange for this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Build A Sign

When you’re a small business owner (or blogger!), branding is an integral part of your business. It’s taken me a while to come into my own brand. In my case, I am my brand. I like to have a business card on hand for conferences and events. My business cards were two years old and in major need of an update to reflect the updates I had made to my brand. I went to BuildASign.com and was able to create my business cards in a matter of minutes.

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It’s Amazing What Real Food Can Do

It's Amazing What Real Food Can Do for a #tubie

It’s been about a month now since C switched from Pediasure to a blenderized, whole foods diet. I’ve seen tremendous changes in him. Cognitively, behaviorally and physically, he is truly thriving.

  • His nails are growing faster than I can keep up with trimming.
  • His hair seems to get thicker every day.
  • His muscle tone has improved and he is more willing to utilize his core muscles by crawling on the floor with his sister.
  • I’ve had to let out his adjustable waistband a few times.
  • When I pick him up, he feels more solid than before.
  • He is no longer experiencing sugar crashes shortly after every tube feed.
  • He throws fewer tantrums.
  • He is more willing to approach new foods, sometimes even putting them in his mouth.
  • His vocabulary expands daily. His ability to put multiple sentences together is blowing me away!

I could not be happier with these improvements. I finally feel like I’m giving my boy the best nutritional advantage that I can; and honestly, it’s the first time in his life that I’m feeling that way. Before the tube, it was exasperation and stress that he was not eating. After the tube, I was uncomfortable with the amount of sugar calories he was receiving but worried about his progress on the growth charts. Now I am relaxed, pleased with the quality food that he is getting, and able to focus on his therapy and progress.

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Review: Grandma’s Lye Soap

Disclosure: I received this product complimentary for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Grandma's Pure & Natural logo

On my quest to rid our personal products of chemicals and dyes, I tried a few soaps from Grandma’s Pure & Natural. These products are made without detergents or chemicals. It’s just pure and natural soap like, their website says, “folks used to make 100 years ago.”

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Baby Jo Likes to Dance to Eminem

So this one time, we were listening to random music and discovered that Baby Jo likes to dance to Eminem…

Design Something as Unique as You with Minted.

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Minted for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

In an age of Facebook announcements, Instagram pics and tweets, I find myself yearning for the personal touch of a paper wedding invitation, birthday card, photo card or birth announcement. There’s something special about opening up that piece of mail and holding that paper in your hand. Call me crazy, but I even love the smell of the cardstock. Yeah, that might be weird, but this is coming from someone that enjoys the smell of a paperback book, too. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: My Bachelorette Party

Okay, so maybe this belongs more on a #tbt post…but I decided to have a little fun today. I went into my archives (aka my Facebook pictures) and found a good one of me and some of my favorite ladies at my bachelorette party in 2009. That was a fun night! Love them. :)

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#ad Book by March 31 and Receive $10 off a Bouncin’ Bus Birthday Party!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Bouncin’ Bus. 

Let Bouncin’ Bus bring the fun to you! Treat your child to a birthday party he or she will remember forever! Bouncin’ Bus is a school bus converted into a mini-gymnastics and fitness center for kids – combining fitness, fun, music and games to ensure your children have a blast. Bouncin’ Bus is fully padded and filled with fun equipment specially designed for the vehicle (i.e. tumbling mats, zip line, rock climbing wall, mini-trampoline). Outdoor bounce house is available upon request. Bouncin’ Bus never moves with children on board and is climate controlled year-round. Bouncin’ Bus birthday parties are designed for children ages two – seven.

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A Toddler’s Phone Conversations

C talks on Baby Jo's phone

Every night as he puts away toys, C has started having phone conversations on Baby Jo’s play phone. They’re pretty funny and random.

“That’s okay. Yeah, that’s okay. It’s good. Yeah, I pick up toys now. That’s okay.”

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Family of Four

Family of Four #LittleMamaJama

I unwrapped Baby Jo’s new toothbrush and slid it into the last open space in our toothbrush holder. There it was, a full toothbrush holder. Four toothbrushes. Something so simple, but it brought tears to my eyes. We have a family of four.

The month before I got pregnant with C, I was told that I had PCOS and it would be difficult for me to conceive children. Having children was not in my five-year plan at the time, but I was devastated. I had always pictured a family. That picture involved four children at the time – two boys and two girls, naturally. ;)

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Find Affordable Prom Dresses at JenJenHouse.com

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Leqee Ltd. for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

JenJenHouse.com

Looking out of my window at all of the snowbanks and ice, it’s difficult to believe that prom season is just around the corner. In just a couple of months, students will be getting dressed up for prom! It’s a big deal to find that perfect prom dress, and JenJenHouse is a great place to browse all of the latest in prom fashion.

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We Celebrated our #DisneySide!

Disclosure: Disney, in association with BSM Media, provided me with complimentary products to host this Disney Side @Home Celebration. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

#DisneySide @ Home Celebration

C wore his Mickey Mouse shirt and socks, Baby Jo donned polka dots and I stayed up until 11:30 pm the night before baking delicious treats. That’s right – we had our #DisneySide @ Home Celebration this week! We shared food, fun and all things DIsney with our friends at our weekly Moms & Me playgroup at our church.

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The Time I Left My Psychiatrist’s Office More Depressed Than When I Went In

I finally, finally had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. The office kept scheduling me for days he had off. I was originally supposed to see him in October. Ha! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get off of Zoloft. Baby Jo is nearly 10 months old and I’m feeling like I’d be perfectly stable without the meds I started when I was 34 weeks pregnant with her. It’s also been making me gain weight like none other and I am DONE with that business.

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App Review: Talking Anya Dress-up & Pet Puppies

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Sprite Kids for this review. All thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Talking Anya games

I think it’s amazing how today’s kids instinctively know how to use iPhones or iPads. C uses my old iPhone and I’m always shocked by how quickly he picks up on a new app. We had the opportunity to try Talking Anya Dress-up & Pet Puppies, a free iOS app for iPhone and iPad where kids can play games, dress, feed and tickle Anya.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: “Mommy”-napped by the girls!

The kids and I recently got to hang out with two of my favorite ladies, then they “mommy”-napped me for a night out!

Mall with the girls

It’s wonderful to have people in your life who you know will be there forever. It had been a long time since we’d seen each other, but it felt like no time had passed at all. :)

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Saving Time and Money with Healthcare Clinic Green Bay #HealthcareClinic #CollectiveBias

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #HealthcareClinic #CollectiveBias

Saving Time & Money with Healthcare Clinic #HealthcareClinic #CollectiveBias

I never expected that becoming a mother would toss me into the front lines in a daily battle against injuries, cavities and bodily fluids; yet here I sit with the baby’s boogers on my shirt while begging my son to come get his diaper changed. Every day is a scramble to keep tiny people fed, changed, safe and healthy. When I need assistance, I want help quickly and don’t want to spend a fortune. That’s why I like Walgreens Healthcare Clinic Green Bay.

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The Blenderized Diet

It’s been about two weeks now since we started C on a blenderized diet of whole foods through his g-tube. He had previously been on 3.5 cans of Pediasure each day, which meant he was getting 63 grams of sugar poured directly into his body daily. That didn’t sit well with me for multiple reasons and now that he wasn’t in a dangerous place with his body weight, we made the decision to take control of his diet.

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Review: OmniPotent Duosity Double Whipped Repairing Treatment #birchbloggers

Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Birchbox for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own. 

I love trying new conditioning treatments. My curls battle frizz, daily use of products, and daily abuse from hair-pulling tots. I try to show them lots of love when I can. I received the OmniPotent Duosity Double Whipped Repairing Treatment from Birchbox and gave it a try.

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C Gets Frustrated While Playing Flappy Bird

This kid cracks me up sometimes. He’s been into playing Flappy Bird lately, but he gets really frustrated every time. He’ll groan in disgust or say, “COME ON!” We decided to capture one of these moments today. Hope you enjoy our little display of silly faces, too. ;)

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Celebrating Feeding Tube Awareness Week with my Tubie!

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2014

One year ago, I never would have considered the possibility that C would have a feeding tube. I was mortified when it was mentioned as a possibility in July 2013. The thought that my child had such severe feeding challenges that he would require a tube to be surgically placed in order to sustain him…it was overwhelming.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Sledding with Papa

My parents recently moved just ten minutes away from us (from two hours away!) and the kids and I are so happy they did. One of the things that I’ve learned in the past six months is that it really does take a village to raise a child with special needs. C had a great time sledding with his papa during a recent snowfall!

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Our Decisions for C After Birth to Three

C researching therapy options

The last few months have been filled with SO MANY DECISIONS. Yes, sometimes I felt like life was screaming at me to make all of them. I was stressed about doing the right thing, making the right choices, putting C on the right path. I was feeling a lot of pressure on my shoulders.

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Join Me at the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party on 2/12!

#MyPicknSave Twitter Party 2/12 7 PM CT/8 PM ET – Prizes: $550 GCs!

#MyPicknSave-Twitter-Party-2-12

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Does it involve special recipes? Gorgeous flowers? Or a fun Valentine-themed craft? Pick ‘n Save is here to help you with last minute ideas to make your celebration memorable.

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I Signed Up for a 10k!

You guys!!!! I just registered for that 10k that my city does…the one on my 30 Before 30 list. I am SO excited! It’s in June and Hubster agreed to run with me.

That’s all I wanted to say, really. Eeep! :)

Review & Giveaway: Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Beer Bread Mix

Disclosure: As a blogger for Tastefully Simple, I receive compensation and product for review purposes. The opinions below are entirely my own.

I’m working on going gluten-free this year. It’s not easy. I mean, who doesn’t love bread? As a Tastefully Simple blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to try beer bread and it is delicious. I like to make it for parties or when we watch sporting events on TV. Going gluten-free means that the traditional Beer Bread Mix was out of the question. Thankfully I don’t need to give it up, because Tastefully Simple makes a Gluten-Free Beer Bread Mix!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: C Bakes with Nana

We spent a couple days with Nana and Papa while Hubster was at a conference last week. C got to do some fun things with Nana and Papa, like sledding and baking!

C Baking with Nana

He was very excited to help pour and mix the ingredients.

Baking with Nana

But what he loved the most? Sampling the dough!

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Because 13-year-old girls like Griselda Shouldn’t Be Subjected to Gang Rape. #LocustEffect

Disclosure: As a member of the #LocustEffect launch team, I received an advance copy of this book for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Thirteen-year-old girls shouldn’t be plucked off the street on their way to church. It’s safe to say that Griselda’s abductors had no fear of prosecution for their crime. Why? Because the law enforcement system in Guatemala, like many in the developing world, are corrupt and of no use in protecting the poor. Impoverished victims cannot pay bribes or afford numerous trips to police offices and courts. For 4 billion people in the world, every part of the justice system is broken – police, prosecutors, courts. It doesn’t work. Gary A. Haugen writes in The Locust Effect, “Sadly, the public justice systems in the developing world not only fail to protect the poor from violence, but they actually perpetrate violence, protect perpetrators, and make poor people less safe.”

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We’re hosting a #DisneySide at Home Celebration!

Disclosure: I’ve been selected by BSM Media to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. I am being provided complimentary products for this party. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

I’m excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a #DisneySide at Home Celebration this month! We’ll be inviting friends and family for a Disney-themed party to show off our #DisneySide. :)

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It’s Never Too Late to Start!

One of my goals for 2014 is to run 500 miles, either outdoors (when this Wisconsin weather warms up!) or on my elliptical. Yesterday, I found myself turning the calendar over to February and realized that I was still at 0/500. It was time to get on it!

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Baby Jo is 9 Months Old!

Can it be? Could it really be that 9 months ago, this sweet girl entered our lives?

*sigh*

Baby Jo 9 months

I feel so blessed to have a baby with such a sweet, mellow personality. She smiles even when she’s woken up from a nap! This girl has a cuddle and a smile for everyone, but she is undoubtedly a Daddy’s girl.

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C and Baby Jo Play Chase!

These two have the best time together! Tonight they were chasing each other around underneath the table and just laughing together. LOVE them. :)

We’re Becoming Minimalist

I’ve never been one to buy a ton of expensive things, but we certainly have more than we need. The longer we live on campus, the more I find that there are things I thought I “needed,” that are simply desires. I thought I needed to have a newer house with a large kitchen, remodeled bathrooms and an open concept. Now what I want is simply a small home to call my own. Of course I still have my non-negotiables – a garage, two bathrooms, and a window in the kitchen.

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Taking a Natural Probiotic as Part of a Healthy Routine #shop #cbias

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Taking a Natural Probiotic as part of a healthy routine #NaturalProbiotic #shop #cbias

We’ve been on a gradual quest for a healthy lifestyle, and the start of a new year is always a great time to make small corrections and set new goals. In the past, I’ve put a large emphasis on exercise. That’s fantastic, but there’s more to wellness than just working out. This year I’m focusing on internal health and wellness, too. We went to Hy-Vee and picked up a doctor recommended natural probiotic to promote digestive system balance.

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The Feeding Clinic, Sensory Processing Disorder, and the Blenderized Diet

Take C to the feeding clinic, they said. It’s the best place for him, they said.

If he doesn’t sit at the table, don’t give him food at all, the feeding clinic said. He must not leave the table until he touches the food to his lips, they said.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Siblings Sharing Secrets

It brings me joy to see how much these two enjoy each other’s company. Their eyes light up when they see each other. I feel like there’s no greater gift we could have given them than each other.

Brother and Sister Sharing Secrets

How I Came to Embrace Stay at Home Motherhood

When I found out I was going to be a mother, I had just moved to a new state with Hubster for our graduate programs. I had a five-year plan and having a baby wasn’t on the list. The shock was immediate, quickly followed by hyperemesis which required me to drop out of grad school. There I was – extremely ill, jobless, a grad school dropout, about to become a mother at the age of 23.

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Be a Color Runner! The 2014 Color Run Kaleidoscope Tour

Disclosure: I have received two race entries in exchange for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour

The Color Run is back and better than ever for 2014! They’ve just announced their Kaleidoscope Tour, which includes new participant gear, fresh music and color crazy race attractions. I had the opportunity to participate in The Color Run last year and it is one of those can’t-miss experiences. It really is 5k magic – the most fun 3.1 miles you will ever run or walk, with dashes of color, beats to dance to and people cheering! There’s no doubt why it’s called the Happiest 5k on the Planet.

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Join Me for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party!

Twitter Party Alert!  #MyPicknSave 1/21 7 PM CT/8 PM ET – Prizes:  $500 GCs!

Let’s talk wellness, nutrition, and fitness for a healthy lifestyle in 2014!  Pick ‘n Save health key™ is a new way to help you shop that makes it easier to find the foods that are healthier for you or fit your health restrictions.  Color-coded shelf tags help you find foods that are Heart Healthy, Lean, Low Sodium, Gluten Free and much more.

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Celebrate Game Day with DiGiorno Pizza!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

DiGiorno Pizza Case #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

On our way to Walmart, I started thinking about football party ideas. There are few things my tube-fed toddler will eat orally, but pizza? That boy is crazy about pizza! Naturally, we serve it to him quite often since it’s one of the few things he eats. When I was thinking about what to make for the playoffs, I wanted to come up with something that the whole family would enjoy and wouldn’t keep me away from the game – er, I mean, the family – for long.

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Sometimes You Just Need to Cry

The kids have been sick all week. Baby Jo had her cold for so long that C and I came down with it again. When they’re sick, they are super whiny, clingy and jealous of each other. If I’m holding one, the other is crying. They pull at me all day long. C’s SPD is out of control when he’s sick. It makes for very long, very loud, very stressful days.

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Hanging Out With My Sweet Baby Jo

It was one of those rare occasions when the stars aligned and both of my children took an afternoon nap. Naturally, I heard Baby Jo wake up just a few short, quiet minutes later. I was so glad she did, though. I had lots of special one-on-one time with C before she was born, but I don’t often get special time when it’s just Baby Jo and me. I walked in to get her out of her crib and she met me with a gigantic smile.

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Hubster Just Made My Day

I’ve been feeling bad about myself lately (stupid Zoloft). What we need to remember is that our loved ones will love us no matter what.

I’m up really early this morning. C climbed into bed with us at 5am and wouldn’t stop rubbing my face. So after he fell back asleep I got up and went to my laptop. Opened it up to see this video that Hubster put together for me when I went to bed early last night. He’s the greatest.

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Tastefully Simple has Gluten-Free Products!

Disclosure: As a blogger for Tastefully Simple, I receive compensation and product for review purposes. The opinions below are entirely my own.

One of my goals in 2014 is to go gluten free. I’d like to be able to indulge in the desserts I make for special occasions, but I would rather not feel sluggish afterward. I didn’t realize that Tastefully Simple had added gluten-free products to their line until I attended a party in October. I think it’s awesome that they’re catering to the GF population with some fabulous mixes, like Gluten-Free Beer Bread Mix, Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix, Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownie Mix and the one I tried, Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Pound Cake Mix.

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New: Beauty Protector Protect & Oil Argan Oil Hair Serum #birchbloggers

Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Birchbox in exchange for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Birchbox Logo

Confession time. I usually have 5 minutes or less to take a shower. That means I often need to make the decision between conditioning my hair or shaving my legs. When shaving wins, my hair doesn’t get the time and care I’d like. My super thick, curly hair gets damaged pretty easily. Then, Birchbox sent me this new, not-yet-released product to try. It’s an argan oil hair serum that conditions and protects my hair even when I only have time for a quick shampoo!

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The G-Tube Life: Our Little Pharmacy

Sometimes I look at our kitchen countertop, littered with syringes and medicines, and think it looks like we’re running a little pharmacy around here. Erythromycin for gastroparesis, cyproheptadine for appetite stimulant, ranitidine for reflux, and inhalers to experiment with his nighttime cough. It’s all for our sweet little tubie.

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Aging Out of Birth to Three

Decisions, decisions.

When a child gets close to aging out of the Birth to Three program, there are three options. Schedule an evaluation for services with the public school system, seek private therapy, or do nothing. Obviously that last option was not really an option for us. We need help! I originally was not going to bother with the meetings and evaluations with the school system, because we don’t think it’s very likely that C will be eligible. Considering the headaches we’ve been having with our insurance company, though, I’ve changed my mind.

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Weight Gain From Antidepressants and Adjusting to the Body Image Consequences

I make no secret of the fact that I took antidepressants for PPD/PPA/PPOCD when C was a baby, and I chose to start them again at the end of my pregnancy with Baby Jo. There’s a dark side to my experience with them that I haven’t shared before, because it’s caused me much frustration and embarrassment. This second time around, one of my side effects has been weight gain.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: When Did My Baby Jo Get So Big?

This child is growing too fast. She’s my little baby. There will be no more babies to follow, which is why it’s even more bittersweet to watch her get big. She’s the sweetest little girl, always offering a smile and a cuddle. My darling Baby Jo, at 8 months old.

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Copps Makes it Easy to Create Gluten-Free “Spaghetti” and Paleo Meatballs

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Organic Produce #MyCopps #shop #cbias

We live near multiple grocery stores, but Copps is our clear favorite. The produce at this Wisconsin grocery is always fresh and now they have a health key™ system to make shopping even easier for our family. Whether you’re choosing to go vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic or simply eat better in the New Year, you can quickly find the ingredients you need by utilizing the Copps health key™ system.

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C’s New Bean Bag Chair

Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

There are several facets to C’s sensory processing disorder, but one of them is that he seeks proprioceptive input. That means that he seeks joint compression. When he was a baby, he liked us to hold him up so that he could jump in our laps. He’s been a climber and a jumper since I can remember. He climbed out of his crib when he was just 14 months old! We had to transition him to a toddler bed, which he loved jumping on and falling on. That’s right – he’d fall face first onto his mattress.

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The G-Tube Catch 22

When C had his g-tube placed in August, survival and necessity were at the forefront of my mind. It has certainly been a blessing. He is now safely on the charts for BMI, head circumference, height and weight. He’s wearing clothes two sizes bigger, his hair is thicker and I need to trim his nails often. I have no doubt that he needed the g-tube; but like anything, there are drawbacks to having a feeding tube.

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Quiet Blog, Chaotic Life

I haven’t blogged in a couple of days. Whenever things get quiet here, you can be sure it means that my life has gotten chaotic – frenzied, even.

In this case, C and Baby Jo have gotten colds and the stomach flu. There’s been so much vomit around here that it’s like The Exorcist.

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Goals for 2014

goals for 2014

I don’t like to make “resolutions.” They seem too finite; like if life happens to throw you a huge curveball and you don’t complete your “resolutions,” then you’ve failed. I much prefer goals. For 2014, I have some big ones. I’d love to hear your goals, so please share in the comments! This year, I want to…

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C and Baby Jo Laughing Together

These two crack me up. Here are C and Baby Jo making each other laugh, like they often do. Hope this makes you smile! :)

#ad #GetCorny with your next appetizer: Country Ribbon Mini Corn Dogs with Chili Cheese Dip

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

I don’t know about you, but I have some tried and true recipes that I always bring to potlucks. It’s great to have appetizers that you can make in your sleep. It also gets slightly boring. ;) I’m switching it up this year by bringing a new and fun appetizer to holiday parties. These Country Ribbon Corn Dogs are available at Sam’s Club, and they’re even offering in-store demos 1/3/14 and 1/4/14 at participating locations. You know what that means – samples!

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Body Sock Time with my SPD Kiddo – “This is Fun!”

C was visibly agitated. He was walking around the living room, his trunk and arms limp, unsure of what to do with himself. I dug through the stack of blankets and pulled out the body sock. “C, do you want to play in this?”

“Okay.”

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Celebrating the Magic of Christmas

“Santa, Santa, Ho Ho Ho!”

C has been running around singing that verse from the latest Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode for a couple weeks. I realized that I had to step up my Christmas game this year, because he actually understands Santa now. That meant buying stockings, going to see Santa, looking at Christmas lights, wrapping gifts and setting out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

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Shop for Special Occasion Dresses in Your Pajamas

Disclosure: I am receiving compensation from Leqee Ltd in exchange for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

I admit it. I don’t like dress shopping. You need to dig through the clothing racks to find the style and size that you’re interested in. Then once you find a few, you need to carry all of them into a cramped dressing room and try on dresses that other people have already put on their sweaty bodies. Call me a princess if you will, but it’s just not my thing. ;)

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Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas 2013 Little Mama Jama

Merry Christmas! Thank you for spending this year with us!
Love and wishes for a blessed holiday and New Year,
Kristin, Hubster, C and Baby Jo

Overwhelmed by a Change of Address? Use a Free Concierge Service.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by LinkVehicle.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) processes millions of mailings each day, so it makes sense for them to use a centralized database to keep track of all US-based residential and commercial addresses. But what happens when a person or a family moves, or a business changes its location? It used to be that these individuals and companies would simply notify all of the people and organizations they correspond with via email, and for the most part, the change in address would be correctly noted, and any stored addresses would be updated. But addresses fell through the cracks, and many people and companies who recently moved found that they weren’t getting all of their mail. For this reason, the USPS established its own National Change of Address database (NCOA). It’s this database that allows all US-based individuals and businesses to update their address. The comprehensive database is free to use, so you can file an official change of address any time you move. And, the United States Postal Service does its part to make sure that any mail that has not been addressed to the new address still reaches its correct destination, via an official mail forwarding process.

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Fast Facts About the ALL-NEW Nutrisystem Fast 5

This post brought to you by Nutrisystem . All opinions are 100% mine.

 photo REQUIREDfast5logo450_zpsebb38c3e.jpg

That time of year is almost here – when we all set goals for the New Year, and many of those goals revolve around fitness and weight loss. Nutrisystem Fast 5 makes it easy to get a jump start on the new you. The Fast 5 is included in the purchase of a new 28-day Nutrisystem® My Way® Program.

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Baby Sister Can Get My Toys?!

Now that Baby Jo can scoot around with her little army crawl, C has been very concerned – distraught, even – about sharing his toys. It was hilarious during the first few days, because he would keep pushing his toys a few feet away from her and she’d just keep coming! He didn’t know what to do.

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The G-Tube Life: The Naked Phase?

We may have reached the phase of toddlerhood in which he likes to be naked. He just stripped off his pajamas (we’re having a pajama day) and said, “Nudey!”

My silly little tubie.

Naked MegaBlocks Play

Baby Jo Reacts to Eating Peaches

Don’t babies just make the funniest faces? I love watching Baby Jo’s personality develop. Lately, she’s been entertaining us with her silliness. Here she makes a funny face while reacting to the taste of peaches. :)

Kidoodle.TV

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.

Kidoodle.TV has a very user-friendly interface in which a parent can utilize the Parents Room to create different profiles for up to 5 children with age-appropriate programs. C’s favorite thing to watch during his tube feeds is, “The Adventures of Chuck & Friends,” and I love that he won’t stumble into any unsafe programming or advertising, as the service is free of ads. You can try Kidoodle.TV for free and enter by December 31 to win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 Kidoodle.TV year-long subscriptions! To enter, visit Kidoodle.TV, sign up for a free trial, follow the on screen instructions and submit your entry.

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Holiday Light Walk with the Family!

Holiday Light Walk 2013 1

Traditions.

Holiday Light Walk 2013 4

I love establishing family traditions for my children. Memories that they’ll carry with them forever.

Holiday Light Walk 2013 3

Walking through a display of bright, beautiful, creative holiday lights is something I hope they will treasure.

Holiday Light Walk 2013 2

I know I will. :)

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Because my iPhone is always within reach – RAVPower Luster Gold Lipstick Charger {Review}

Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from RAVPower for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own. I’ve also included an Amazon Affiliate link if you’re interested in purchasing this product. A small amount of your purchase will come back to me to help keep this blog going. :)

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HMOs are great unless you’re sick.

Hubster works for the state and we have some pretty awesome insurance benefits…or so I thought. All of our preventative care is covered, we have a pretty low deductible, and a great coinsurance rate. I’ve discovered that not everything is rainbows and butterflies – we just got a heaping dose of that stuff that hits the fan.

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Devotion

When I became a mother about five years earlier than my life plan allowed for, I was unsure what to expect. I knew I’d be in love with my sweet baby boy. I knew my life would change dramatically. Life would no longer be about Hubster and me – it would be about our family of three. Even one year ago, I didn’t realize how motherhood would stretch me in ways I never thought I was capable.

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We Eat at the Table!

It’s been awesome to see C’s progress over the past week. He now knows that we only eat at the table, and he sits there for his meals (even if it’s only for a minute or two). We have our meals at the table together and it’s working pretty well. There have only been a couple of outbursts on C’s part. He sometimes thinks it’s unreasonable to touch his food to his lips before he is allowed to leave the table, but he does it. The expressions on his face show me how hard he’s working, and I couldn’t be prouder! Baby Jo is enjoying having her brother at the table, too. :)

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