A Little Older and A Little Wiser

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Today is my birthday.  Yup that's me at my favorite place, doing my favorite thing, drinking my favorite drink, in my birthday dress.  Nothing fancy this year just keepin' it simple doing all the little things I love.  I don't always feel so compelled to share from my heart and soul but today is an exception [and of all days, my birthday.]

For the first time on my birthday I actually feel a little more mature.  A little older, a little wiser, and a lot closer to God.

This season in my life I've reached that "adult" relationship with Jesus.  I'm not just running to him when I need help or thanking him because I got something.  It's deeper than that.  This year He has helped me to mature a lot.

I can't fully explain it but I know God has helped me to become a better wife, a mom, a friend, a sister, a person.  I'm still growing because by no means am I at the end.  I've come to realize that it's not about perfection, but real.  God is showing me how to be real, honest with myself in areas I need growth.  I feel a little less doing a million things aimlessly and more focused.  Focused on my mission to let my light shine.

There are songs for times like this that describe what I'm going through.  This season,  it's Start a Fire.  It perfectly describes "me" right now.  I've always been very shy and meek about my faith.  I'm just not wired to be a great evangelist.  There is a lyric in the song that says over and over again, I hear your voice in my head, let your light shine, let your light shine for all to see.  
       

It's not just about telling people I'm a Christian, it means more to me than that.  It means sharing the talents, the passion, the gifts that God has given me.  To share this overwhelming love that I get from Him.  To encourage others and bring them joy.  To give back to people in whatever way I can because I am so grateful for all the things He has blessed my little family with. 

I can tell you that God has started a fire in my soul.  It's been 12 years and now this little flame is finally starting to grow.  I'm not too jazzed about getting older but I am excited to see where God bring me in the next few years.  

So here is to growing a little older, a little wiser, and a lot closer to God.  Happy Tuesday!

Until next time.  Toodles!



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Chiquita Banana Sing-Off

Saturday, May 16, 2015

If there is one healthy snack I never have trouble getting the kids to eat, it's Chiquita Bananas.  I have oodles of little monkeys in my house because we go through two bunches of Chiquita Bananas a week!  This stash of bananas will only last a few days in our house....
One of the reasons why is because this cutie and his big sister can eat up to three bananas a day just the two of them.  
He absolutely loves them!  That's some serious banana eating. 
When I heard about the Chiquita Jingle Contest I was all for it because who wouldn't want to win $5,000 or even a years worth of bananas?!  You can go ahead and Register here.  Chiquita is reintroducing their legendary Chiquita Jingle and chances are you have heard it.  The song hit airwaves in 1944.  Interestingly, it was written to hope Americans how to ripen and use bananas, which were at the time an exotic fruit.  Today it is still the "top banana" in jingles and Chiquita is looking for the next sing-off star!  You can enter with a music video, sing-along or Banana-Gram.  There are seven winners in all with the grand prize video winning $5,000!  Wow awesome is that?!
We really wanted to create a video like the ones in the Video Gallery , but if you follow my Instagram, you know the kiddos got super sick and so I am settling for trying to win the banana gram prize of free Chiquita Bananas for a year. That would still be awesome!  We might try to create our own video later on but for now here is our little lady's banana gram!  Be sure to head over HERE and like it!  
And as Chiquita Banana says there are so many ways you can eat bananas!  I like to put them in my salad.
It's not a pie but it's just as tasty,  I love my bananas in my chocolate shakeology shake.
I'm just dreaming of all the ways I could use a year's worth of bananas.... pancakes, bread, ice cream, muffins, pie, chips, the possibilities are endless.  
So head over, Register hereand enter for a chance to win the Chiquita Jingle Contest
 !  The contest ends May 27, 2015.  
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chiquita Bananas for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

We Raised Caterpillars to Butterflies

Friday, May 15, 2015

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Last year we did this really awesome activity with Cindy where we watched caterpillars turn into butterflies.  We didn't do it this spring because they did it at her preschool.  It was a memorable experience for her and so I wanted to share it with you all in case you would want to do it with your kiddos.  Be warned though because it can be a little sad to let the butterflies go.  

I will admit this was completely OUT of my comfort zone.  I hate bugs, they make me squirmish and queezy.  The hubby took one for the team with this one because he did most of the dirty work.  We got a kit, paid the $5 for shipping and got our caterpillars mailed to us in this container. 

Thankfully you never have to open it.  They eat the food at the bottom and get bigger and bigger each day!  Really all I want to say is gross.  

When they are ready, they start to crawl to the top of the cup where they will form their chrysalis. 

And before you know it. they are in and ready to be transformed. 

The hubby was such a trooper, bless his heart!  He took the paper off the lid and pinned it into our habitat.

We made sugar water for butterflies so they could eat when they came out. 

A few days later they started to break through.  It was really interesting to see how slow and messy it was.  Yes and also very creepy to me.  

We watched each one of our five caterpillars turn into butterflies!  It was pretty awesome. 

Then of course the hardest part would be letting them go.  This is the part she remembers the most.  She was only three then but she still talks about how sad it was to let her butterflies go and how she wished they could have stayed with us.  A thought that boggles my mind because she was just as grossed out as I was. 

One last pep talk...

Unzipped... [he had to give them a little shake too].

And off they went!

This is really a great activity for the kiddos and a neat way for them to experience metamorphosis first hand.  I will for sure be doing this again with her and now that she is older she can be a little scientist and record data each day we observe these icky little creatures. 

Until next time.  Toodles!



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Lessons From My Kids

Sunday, May 10, 2015

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Happy Mother's Day to all you Mamas out there!!

When I had my babies I didn't realize that over the years I would learn as much as I would teach.  Both these munckins may not realize it but they have helped to shape the person I am today.  Even now as I write this they are helping me let go of my selfishness because this years Mother's Day I'll be nursing them back to good health [and that's what moms are for!]. 

There was nothing that tested my patience like potty training.  Tamed my temper like public tantrums.  Told my type A side to be more flexible and understanding.  I learned how to love deeper and ask for forgiveness.  Yes, verbally ask them for forgiveness because even though I am the adult in our relationship I'm not perfect and I've made mistakes.  

They taught me how to be prepared for just about anything.  Why do you think my bag is so big? Forgetting diapers and wipes could be detrimental because it would be the one time she has a poop blow out in her pants [yup it happened].

They taught me how to share.  Share my time, space, food, drinks, possessions, my bed, my everything.  I've learned to let go of perfection.  A perfectly clean house, perfectly behaved kids, perfect body, perfect outfit, perfect family.

This year, they have taught me the importance of having time to myself.  That my health and wellness is as important as theirs.  When I am doing well spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, it overflows to them.
 

I'm proud and honored that they call me mom.  These crazy kids inspire me to be a better mom.  A better wife.  A better person.

 Until next time.  Toodles!



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Groupon is the One Stop Shop for Mother's Day

Monday, April 27, 2015

May has to be one of my favorite months of the year because it's my birthday, but also Mother's Day!  You're welcome for the reminder... Mother's Day is May 10th!  It's right around the corner.  I have to admit that I am spoiled rotten.  My hubby always find a way to bless me for raising his crazy kids.  One year he set up a day for just me [every mom's dream right?].  Got my nails done, lunch, shopping.  Another year, while we were living in Europe he surprised me with a weekend getaway to Brussels, Belgium.  Waffles and chocolate in a beautiful city, it couldn't get any better!  I always feel so special on Mother's Day.  I get the honor of raising these little munchkins and spoiled with gifts.

This year, I'm going to make it easy on him and make a wish list on Groupon because they seriously have anything and everything.  Groupon is a global leader of local commerce.  You can buy anything, anytime, anywhere for a great deal.  You can even enjoy vacations with Groupon Getaways or find products like clothes and furniture on Groupon Goods.  

This year, Groupon created the ultimate Groupon’s Mother’s Day Gift Shop!  It has something for everyone, the perfect gift for every kind of mom.  A day at the salon getting pampered for the mom who wants to get away.  An awesome time skydiving, cruising, night of painting, or a workout for the mom who wants to experience her gift.  There are deals for the foodie mom to all the best restaurants and desserts.  There something tangible like home goods or jewelry for the mom who loves to shop.  You can even get that special mom a membership to Sam's Club from groupon!  Who knew.  

I'm the kind of person who loves a little bit of everything.  Here's what's on my wish list: 

While I was looking for me I also found a few things for my mom, my grandma, my mommy friends, mother in law.  Oh my word, there is something for everyone!  They had so many cute things in the jewelry section I ended up getting a pair of earrings for myself.  

If you are looking for a more traditional gift like flowers and sweets they have plenty to choose from!  If you are hopeless at deciding what the best gift is, you can always opt for a gift card and let that special mom in your life choose for herself.  

Every mom deserves a special treat on Mother's Day and Groupon is the way to make it both easy for the giver and pleasing for the receiver.  Be sure to check out the Mother’s Day $0 Deal for 1 Year's Worth of Spa Days on Groupon available on the site when you win an awesome product or experience!  If you head over between April 27-28th you could receive up to 20% off up to 3 Local Deals, 3 Goods Items, and 3 Getaway Flash Deals using the Promo Code "SALE3".
So make it easy on yourself and your hubby this year and make a wish list of what you would like for Mother's Day and check out Groupon's Mother’s Day Campaign.  While you're there go ahead and shop for the special mom's in your life!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

The New Char-Broil Kettleman Grill

Friday, April 24, 2015

There is nothing I love more than spring! It's one of my favorite seasons even if it means my allergies are going crazy. Why? Because the flowers are blooming, the neighbors come out, the kiddos are playing outside, perfect 70 degree days, and GRILLING! Grilling season has officially begun.
Growing up my dad always grilled on a Char-Broil charcoal grill. Steaks, and crab legs most weekends. There is nothing like that charcoal taste to bring me back to my childhood. While the shape is familiar, the new Char-Broil Kettleman Grill is no ordinary! It is loaded with tons of features to better control every aspect of the cooking process.
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The new Char-Broil Kettleman Grill has a super sized cool touch damper on the grills lid to make heat management easy. Vents around the body of the kettle allow for air to flow from all sides. The porcelain coated grate allows the nostalgic charcoal flavor through while the flames keep away from the food. What is great is that wood chips can be thrown on the grate and small foods like veggies will never fall into the fire.


The Kettleman also has a porcelain-coated ashtray that is tight against the grill making cleanup and maintenance simpler than ever! The heavy steel legs add stability and easy mobility while the bottom shelf doubles as a holder for the cooking grate or other accessories. The lid is hinged so that it never has to touch the ground during the grilling experience. Charcoal grills have come a long way since I was a kid, this Char-Broil Kettleman is loaded!

What an awesome Father's Day gift this would be for a dad or grandpa! It can be purchased at Lowe's for $129 or online at www.charbroil.com. You just can't beat that charcoal taste or that awesome price! It's the perfect grill for your favorite recipe. For us, that would be chicken and couscous.
I like to keep it simple... marinate the chicken overnight or for at least 4 hours. Mushrooms rubbed in olive oil, sprinkled with pepper and salt.

Throw it on the fire and while the hubby is out there with the crazy kids I'm inside making garlic lemon couscous topped with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

In no time you have one of our favorite grilled meals! It's simple but yes it tastes as good as it looks!!

And if you like to meal prep this is a winner! I got a phone call from the hubby at lunchtime saying how awesome lunch was.

Nothing beats grilling in the spring and summer and Char-Broil Kettleman is the perfect grill for your huge BBQ party or nice simple family dinner. Even if you have a gas grill already it's only $129 so this would make a great second grill because nothing beats that charcoal taste! It brings me back to my childhood every time. You can learn more about the Kettleman grill.
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Char-Broil for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Chocolate Chip Pizzokie with DREYER'S Frozen Custard

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The other day the little lady asked if we could bake some cookies and I raised her a cookie and made it a pizookie.  Pizookies are one of our favorites!  They are ooey, gooey, warm and cold, chocolate yummy goodness.  If you don't know what a pizookie is, it's a cookie pizza out of the oven topped with ice cream and whatever else you want. 

As part of our baking adventure, we headed over to Safeway and grabbed what we needed.  It's right by her school and I love their little Starbucks area.  Sometimes it's just nice to take a seat after or even before shopping.


I can always count on Safeway for great prices and NEW products down every aisle like New DREYER'S Frozen Custard!  We happily swapped our tradition vanilla for this extra thick and extra creamy frozen custard.  She loves her rich and classic Vanilla.  You can also discover what’s new at Safeway!

Here is our Pizookie Recipe
Ingredients:
1/2 cup of butter softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 tsp of salt
1 cup walnuts [optional]
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
Scoop of DREYER'S Frozen Custard, Old Fashioned Vanilla
The HOW to 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  She loves bakings.  She's a pro at working our mixer.

3.  Mix together dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients.  The dough will look like this.

4.  I usually refrigerate the dough but she couldn't wait.  Add a really thin layer of dough to the pan. I have these glass baking dishes for the cookies.  Sometimes I'll use a small cake round pan for the hubby and I to share.  There's something about eating the warm cookie out of the pan that makes it so much better.  

5.  Add the nuts and chips.  I like peanut butter and chocolate chips in mine. 

6.  Bake for about 10 minutes in the oven or until the edges are brown. 

7.  Top with the extra thick and creamy DREYER'S Frozen Custard, whip cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, or whatever you love!

It was such a beautiful day out we ate ours outside. I enjoyed every last bite. 

Safeway always has new products on their shelf!  I'm a loving the frozen custard and can't wait to try the other flavors. On our visit we also picked up Kellogg's® Special K® Chewy snack bars.  They're tasty and you can see the oats and 100 calories of bliss.  I love the new breakfast biscuits from Post for when I'm on the go.  It's made with 100% whole grain and more than 55% of your days serving of whole grain.  But my favorite treat of all is the Skinny Cow® Coffee drinks!  So creamy and oh so yummy. 

So the next time you are at Safeway [or Vons, Pavilions, CARRS, Tom Thumb, Randalls] be sure to check out their new products!
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway, Inc. for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.