Monday, December 9, 2013

Highs and Lows

Wow, has it really been 6 weeks since my last blog post?  Yep, looks like it.  Well guess I can throw this pledge right out the window.  Geesh, you think I would have learned by now.

Well since 6 weeks is a pretty long time let me update you on just a few of our family happenings.  Since my last blog post (which was October 23rd) here's the low down on some of our highs and lows.

Highs

Halloween was a blast!  My daughter went as a raccoon and my son went as a skeleton.  It was Kyle's first time going trick-or-treating with just his friends (no parents allowed).  I guess it's not cool to have parents tag along with a bunch of teenage boys (who knew? ha-ha).  My daughter Kaylee was a bit bummed about not having her big brother to go trick-or-treating with but she still snagged tons of candy so I'm thinking she still had fun.

My daughter celebrated her 10th birthday! We had a nice little birthday party for her at home and several of her friends came over to help celebrate.  After the birthday party at home we took her to It'z (kind of like Chuck-E-Cheese but with a buffet, more rides, and more games).  It was pretty fantastic.  A few days later Kaylee got her military dependent ID card.  I don't think she realized the significance of it but I certainly did.  I now have 2 kiddies with ID cards.  Makes me a tad bit sad and happy all at the same time.

Thanksgiving was a success! We had originally planned to have it just the 4 of us which I was perfectly fine with.  Then on Thanksgiving morning my husband got a text from one of his soldiers asking if he could come over for dinner (my husband threw out the invite at work so it's not like it was a total surprise).  I scrambled to make sure we had enough to seat and feed 5 and then a couple hours later my husband got another text letting him know his soldier wasn't going to make it after all.  Luckily that just meant more food more us!

We scored a couple of great Black Friday deals and then the day after we decorated for Christmas.  Here's our tree.  Isn't it pretty?  


Now for the lows...

Lows

One major thing stands out in my mind as a low. It was Saturday, November 2nd.  That is the day that I found out my cousin passed away.  It was completely unexpected, as are most passing's, and he was the same age as me, which made it even more unbelievable. Our family is different in that we don't see each other very often. My family lives all over (mainly spread out through Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada) and since I grew up a military brat and married a Soldier I see my extended family, oh maybe once every 5-7 years (some times even longer) but when a family member dies it's still heartbreaking. No matter how long it's been since you've seen them, they're still and always will be family. 

So this Holiday season, even though I may not be with all my family physically I am certainly going to let them know that they are in my thoughts and prayers.

Well, those are my highs and lows.  I promise to post more often and I actually have a few projects up my sleeve.  Just need a swift kick in the butt to get them all posted!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nail Polish Dupe!

I actually happened upon this Essie nail polish dupe by complete accident.  I had a $1 off Rimmel nail polish coupon and decided to use it when I was at Wal-mart.  I saw that they had some Rimmel nail polishes for $1.50.  Say Whaaaaaaa?! That's right folks, only $0.50 for a nail polish (after coupon)!

I snagged a pretty lavender color and thought nothing of it until I got home and added it to my nail polish drawer.  I noticed right away that it looked exactly like another nail polish I already had and an Essie one at that!



Color wise they are pretty darn close and they're even closer once they were actually on my nails.  I did notice a couple of differences though.  The Essie brush made it easier to apply and the Rimmel formula seemed a bit thicker, but both lasted on my nails the same amount of time without chipping (around 5 days).



What about you? Have you ever bought an item only to get home and realize you had something similar already? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raise a Giant {and a Giveaway!}

Bullying. It's something we are all familiar with. It's something I'm sure at one point or another we have all been exposed to. 

I'll be completely honest and share that I for one hated High School.  I hated it with a passion.  Growing up a military brat I moved a lot, usually every 4 years.  So changing schools and having to make new friends was never an issue for me until High School. 

You see I attended three different High Schools.  Three very different High Schools.  But the one thing that these schools had in common were bullies.  Whether it was the guy that was bigger than everyone else or the "mean girls" each of those schools had them. During my 2 years at one particular High School the only thing I ever looked forward to was graduating!  To this day I am so thankful that the Internet and social media wasn't around.  I can not even imagine how students today cope with that.  Which is why I believe now, more than ever the children of today need our help.




It's time we as parents take a stand and do what is right for our children.


Just because we physically can't be there every second of the day (especially for our school aged children) we still have a responsibility to let our children know we are emotionally there for them no matter what.  I believe it's imperative that we let them know we are here to help.


That's why I am so honored to be taking part in the Raise a Giant campaign.  Green Giant is encouraging parents to write letters to their children on bullying, the effects it can have, and what to do to stop it.  To find out more about their Raise a Giant Campaign be sure to visit their website.  There you can write your own letter (to your children, nieces, nephews, etc) as well as read the encouraging words left by others.

Here is the letter I've written to my own children:

Dear Kyle and Kaylee,

I want to start by letting you know how much I love and care about you.  You two are incredibly smart, kind, beautiful, and generous children and I am truly blessed to be your mother.  I am so proud of everything you have already learned and accomplished in your young lives. As much as I may not want to admit it I know you are getting older.  I know you are becoming young adults.  This time in your lives can be very exciting but for some it can also be scary.  Some children aren't as nice as you. Some children are mean and pick on others who have done nothing wrong.  These kids are bullies and they are not cool. They are no better than you or me.  Bullies do not possess any special powers so don't for one second fear these kids.  No matter how big or scary they try to portray themselves.  If you see someone getting bullied you must say something.  Say something to a teacher, a bus driver, a principal, a parent.  Say something to your classmates or your friends and if you have enough courage say something to the bully.  Tell someone, anyone, about what is going on.  Tell them it's wrong and that it needs to stop.  Stand up and defend those that can't defend themselves. Then, be kind to the child that was being picked on.  Smile at them.  Give them a wave.  Say hello.  No one, absolutely no one, has the right to make another person feel bad about themselves. Please know you will never get in trouble for doing what is right. I hope that you will always lead by example and I trust that you will have the courage to stop someone from being bullied.  Whether it's at school or online I trust that you will do what is right when you see that someone is being mistreated.  I trust in you, my amazing children, and I always will!

Love,
Mom

In order to encourage you to write your very own letter I have a fun giveaway planned! The amazing folks from Green Giant and General Mills are offering a $25 gift card to one very lucky reader.  Want to know how to get involved and possibly win a prize? Well look no further...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This is a sponsored post for My Blog Spark and Green Giant.  It's purpose is to raise awareness about bullying.  However, all thoughts and feeling expressed in this post are 100% my own.  A $25 donation to Pacer's Center for Bully Prevention was made in my name in return for my completed blog post.*

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thrifty Cooking Tips

I have some unexpected (but totally in a good way) tricks to help make cooking easier and I can't wait to share them with you.  Some of these have been in my family for years while other tips I've learned only recently. There are so many ways to use ordinary items from our fridge and cabinets to help make preparing meals (and cleaning up after them) easier. I think you'd be surprised.  So let's get to it!


1.    To prevent grease splatters just add a few dashes of salt to your pan before beginning to fry foods that can splatter.  You'll be able to cook without pain and you won't have to clean off all that grease from your cooktop.

2.    Want to know a secret to making fluffier omelets?  For every 3 eggs used just add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  It works like magic!

3.    To keep a pot from boiling over there are 2 easy tricks you can use.  The first is to stick a toothpick, laid flat, between the lid and the pot.  The little space will allow steam to escape thus preventing the pot from boiling over.  You can also use a wooden spoon, laid straight across the pot.  I use this simple trick all the time and it really does work!


4.    Don't want to lay that wooden spoon on the counter after you've been cooking with it? No problem! You know those holes in the handles to your pots and pans? Just stick your wooden spoon in there.  Now there's no need to worry about cleaning extra food or spills off the counters.


5.    Need to soften hardened brown sugar? Chip off a piece of the brown sugar and wrap it up in aluminum foil.  Then bake it in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 minutes.

6.    Want to know the neatest trick when it comes to dusting your cake pans or muffin cups?  Put flour into a large salt shaker and sprinkle away.  Then just keep it in your pantry until you need to use it again! I think kids would really get a kick out of this.

7.    To help keep rice from sticking together add a spoonful of lemon juice to the boiling water while cooking.  When the rice is done just let it cool for a few minutes and fluff with a fork before serving.  Easy as rice pie.

8.    There's a faster (and easier) way to clean that cheesy cheese grater.  Just use an old tooth brush! It works like a charm and you don't have to worry about tearing up a wash cloth or sponge.


9.   To get stubborn burnt-on stains off enamel pans soak the pan overnight in saltwater.  The next day just boil the saltwater in the pan, the stains should lift right off.

Last but not least...

10.    To keep your cookbook (or one you're borrowing) from getting splattered cover the book with plastic wrap. You'll be able to read the directions and keep the book clean at the same time! Pretty nifty eh?



There you have it, ten tips that will hopefully make cooking and cleaning a little easier!  Have any other tips you'd like to add?  Feel free!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thrifty and Fabulous Accessories Giveaway

Wow, has it really been 2 months since I did a Thrifty and Fabulous Accessories Giveaway?! Well, I'd have to say it's about time to have another one! Sound like a plan?


So what's up for grabs?  How about $25 store credit! That's right, one lucky winner gets to spend $25 in the Thrifty and Fabulous Accessories shop any way they'd like!  Here's just a few lovely items available in the shop...

 



 
Well let's get on to the fun part shall we?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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