Project Smile - October Edition

Earlier in the month I stumbled upon Alicia's blog and she has come up with the idea Project Smile, click here to find out more about this great idea!

Here's the things that made me smile this month:

- One of my BFF's got married, my oldest and I were in the wedding party and we had a wonderful time helping to celebrate their new union!

- The Hubs has decided to go into his own business and I couldn't be more proud.  I look forward to becoming partners in this new venture as we are in everything else.

- Taking the girls' to the pumpkin patch and enjoying time with extended family and hay rides.
- Enjoying apple cider for breakfast.

- Getting our family wall finished and the living room re-painted, along with a couple other house projects.

- Trick or Treat night, we had the cutest witch and kitty!  And cutest story: Oldest went up to a house where there was a lady dressed and then someone dressed in a gorilla suit.  The gorilla suit person didn't scare her but went to shake her hand and she got so scared, she comes bolting around the corner running down their driveway crying and screaming THANK YOU as she she's running away.  Seriously, this still makes me bust up thinking about it.

- Our oldest is just funny, end of story.  She has some great one liners. For example #1: When her Aunt told her she was a bed hog, her reply is yeah well your a ground hog!  Example #2: When her Aunt told her she should sleep in until 11am (as she's an early riser and was sleeping over) her reply was that's too much clock!  Yeah, I love her!
- Youngest is such an incredibly happy baby.

- Playing Barbies and setting up her dream house.

- Game night with friends', good conversation and great laughter.

- At home manicures and spa like pedicures.

- Putting on make-up and doing my hair for the first time in months.

- Getting out of the mom schlump.

- Taking photos everyday.

- Carving pumpkins.

These are just some of the many things that have made me smile this past month.  What are some of yours?



DIY - Mirror Re-Do

Over the summer I was yard sale-ing at a community yard sale with my parents.  I was checking out mirrors and my Dad told me they had picked one up at a previous yard sale for $5 that I could have if I wanted it.  I said sure, knowing I was going to paint it - either for the littlest's ones room or the living room.  When I got this puppy home and really looked on it I noticed the sticker on the back.  Take a look below and tell me what you see! 

Your eyes are not deceiving you - that says Pottery Barn for $149.00.  Seriously - an amazing deal my parents got it for and to me it was FREE!  I ended up choosing to use it in the living room, so two weekends ago when we were spray painting oodles of things we decided to do this also.  Taped off the mirror part and used a high gloss black spray paint.

Here she is on the freshly painted walls at the end of the stairs.  I love it here - as we do not have any full length mirrors in this house and this gives a better view of yourself when you come down to make sure all is looking as it should.




Happy 9 Months Avalynn!

Miss A,

Today was your 3/4's of a year birthday.  Like every month as you get older, time with you is more fun and interactive.  I forgot how fun this time is from when your sister was this little.  Amazing how long ago that feels!

You've started clapping and occasionally wave, but not very consistent on that.  You do this silly/adorable thing with your tongue, you stick it out and go back and forth from corner to corner of your mouth making funny noises.  Your sister can imitate either the clapping or tongue thing and you'll do it right away laughing.  You now say DaDa and actually call Daddy that.  Nothing close to MaMa - I keep working on it with you though. :o)

You still are only crawling, in the past couple days though you are starting to cruise the furniture more.  I'm in no hurry for you to start walking - you can just keep on crawling.  You LOVE the vacuum cleaner.  If we get it out you get so excited and follow us as we are vacuuming the house.  It's the cutest thing!

Nursing you is still going well - you eat about 5 times a day.  You are still eating baby solids twice a day.  In the past couple weeks we've tried a little bit of table food.  You do pretty well with it, only problem is that you still only have 2 teeth.  Who knows when anymore will sprout through - you do not show any signs of them coming through anytime soon.  You love crunchies, puffs, dried fruit, and Mum-Mum cookies.  You are a pro at your sippy cup and prefer just water.  I have tried putting some watered down Gerber juice or yogurt drink in your cup and you want nothing to do with it.

You are still in 12 months clothing, size 3 diaper, wearing a size 3 or 4 in shoes.  Your hair is getting darker and growing in, I can now put some hair bows in and they stay - I also was able to make the tiniest ponytail the other week, it was so cute!

You are such an incredibly happy baby with the brightest smile.  Thank you for being such a joy and bright light in our lives.

the Mama

Playing with the innards in your pumpkin - you kept trying to eat the pumpkin. 




Hoo Are You?


Here are this week's question? 

1.What was your favorite meal growing up?
- Hmmm, big holiday meals with the extended family. 
2. What's your favorite month?
- Wow, do I have to only pick one month? I'm going to say November, the heart of fall, black friday shopping, Thanksgiving. 
3. What store is most represented in your wardrobe?
- Lane Bryant
4. How many times do you go to the movie theater each month/year?
- Maybe 2-3 times a year?
5. Fill in the blank- I've never been able to 
- I've never been able to run, I wish I could run long distance, but just not my thing unfortunately. 



Weekend = Reminder That Life is Good.

Our weekend started with this beautiful sky above, the clouds were the perfect dream-ness and puffy-ness.

Here's our weekend in a nutshell: 
- Painted ceilings at my parents house.
- Enjoyed family dinner.
- Early morning grocery shopping with just the oldest is some nice one on one time.
- Bakes 2 homemade pumpkin pies.
- 5 cans of spray paint on 25 picture frames/shelves, a mirror, and wicker furniture.
- Hung 28 pictures frames, plate, shelves, canvas prints on our *new* massive family wall.
- Date night with the hubs, entailed a great dinner and game night at our friends' house.
- Made a cushion.
- Have had the hugest epic fail of trying to match a color in our living room *note to self: write down all paint colors in a safe spot*, then tried a new color that seriously is making me crazy and I can't change it for two days.
- Baby Girl reached out and said "Da-Da" for the first time.

It was a great productive weekend lots of highs and even some down falls dealing with paint, but overall, just a good reminder that life is good even when times are tough. And that the Hubs is awesome for helping me all of these projects.  Can't wait to share more on some of the ooh's and ahh's and oop's that were mentioned above.



Pregnancy & Infant Loss Rememberance Day

Today mark's my 4th year partaking in this day.  Crazy how slow & fast time has gone.  It actually didn't even dawn on me that it was already that time of year until I had a reminder in my events column on Facebook.  Tonight @ 7pm, I'll be at my mom's surrounded by my beautiful family and I will be lighting 4 candles - in remembrance of my 4 beautiful angels that got their wings early to heaven.  To read last year's post on this, click here. I also have my infertility story written out, click here, if you want to read through my journey.

For more information on this day, go to this website or this site. 2,000 women a day have a loss, that totals 700,000 a year.  The idea being that everyone is invited to light a candle at 7pm on this day, across the world.  If everyone burns a candle at 7pm for one hour, there will be a continuous wave of light across the world.  When you think about it like that - it's a pretty awesome act.

I am thinking of each and every woman & man who has had a pregnancy or infant loss on this day.  We are strong and will continue remembering our babies always.  Even if this doesn't apply to you, please pass along to your friends and family because awareness of this needs to get out and discussed more than what it is.



2 *NEW* Recipes

because it's been a long time since I've shared some new things.  First up, is this household's new favorite snack.  Is it healthy and good for me watching what I eat - yeah, probably not.  But I love this none the less: cheerios, marshmallows, and peanut butter oh - my. 

Here's what the recipe calls for:
- 6 cups of cheerios
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter
- whole bag of mini marshmallows

Directions: Heat butter in a pan, add in marshmallows, once all melted add in peanut butter.  As soon as everything is smooth turn off heat and add in cheerios.  Dump into a greased pan, smooth out, let cool - cut and enjoy. 

My variations is a little less cheerios, an extra tbsp of butter and I use 3/4's to 1 cup of peanut butter, because I LOVE peanut butter.  

The finished product - and actually I used a little too much cheerios, normally it's better coverage - still good though! 

The second recipe I want to share is a steak marinade.  I don't know about you - but the Hubs and I love to eat steaks, but it seemed every time we'd grill them we just couldn't get that nice tender/juicy taste out of them.  It was becoming frustrating to say the least.  So one afternoon I decided to check around for some marinade recipes, see what ingredients we are missing.  I came across this recipe over at All Recipes.  We decided to test it out, each time we use this marinade we are amazed at how tender the meat is and what great flavor it has.

After reading through some customer reviews, they suggest definitely getting the red wine vinegar, other vinegars work but most said that they could taste the difference one they used the red wine and it was much better.  After the first time we altered it slightly to our tastes and now we cut back on the vinegar amount (it was too much for us), we don't use the soy sauce as it's not something we regularly use, and also we use onion & garlic powders instead of fresh ingredients, but that's just our personal preference.  It says you can use it on all meats, we've only tried it on steak, but look forward to trying it on a roast.  I highly suggest trying this out next time you are going to be grilling up a meat.

Steaks, right off the grill. 



Wordless Wednesday

2nd Cousins enjoying a morning @ the Pumpkin Patch.  



Hoo Are You?


1. How tall are you? How tall do you WISH you were?
-  I'm 5'8" and I'm happy with my height. 
2. Do you have a birthmark? Where?
-  Yes, on my forehead.
3. What is your biggest money waster?
-  Hmmm - toughie, but I think it'd have to be when I buy too much for the girls', we have such big families they get spoiled already, it's hard for me to not spoil them too. 
4. What song are you tired of?
- Sugarland "Stuck Like Glue"
5. What stresses you out most?
- When the Hubs is laid off which results in me stressing about money.  


Cleaning Schedule

I started a new system in our household about 2 months ago and am happy to report that my house has never stayed more clean through the week, my actual cleaning time has been cut in half, and it works for us!  I even think working mum's could implement this into their schedule (I've been there too).

This is what I did.  I picked a day of the week to do all cleaning.  Monday's is our day around here.  I start at the top floor of the house and work my way down to the main living areas, scrubbing bathrooms, dusting, & vacuuming each room.  During naps I steam mop our hardwoods and vinyl flooring areas.  And I make sure to pop out the hose on the vacuum and swipe around baseboards and the ceiling areas at every other week.  Once a month take all the cushions off the couch and vacuum each cushion and underneath it.

Daily things - As soon as we get up for the day all beds get made and I gather all the dirty clothes to take to the basement, this is done before we head downstairs for breakfast.  Twice a day, mid morning/nap time & right before bed, spend 10-15 minutes and clean up, all toys put away, the hotspot/catchalls get cleaned off, any random dishes get loaded in the dishwasher, bathroom put back in order from baths etc.  Basically - my main goal especially for the clean up before bed, is so when I come down in the morning, it's to a clean house - no dirty dishes sitting in my sink or toys to trip over.

I pick a day later in the week when we'll be home the majority of the day and that's laundry day, it all gets washed, dried and folded.  More times than not it takes us a day or two until we put it all away, but at least it's done in one shot.  Previously, I used to gather all dirty clothes and do a load a day every morning.  I personally have decided for us I prefer just knocking it out in one day - either method I think has it's plus or minus.  Also, on laundry days is when I strip beds, bath rugs, gather all towels etc to be washed.

The kitchen gets cleaned after every meal.  Dirty dishes loaded in the dishwasher right away, we have a 4 hour delay option, so we usually hit that after dinner so it runs in the middle of the night.  During breakfast prep, I empty it for the day.  Counters and stove top get wiped down after each use.  Prior to getting our dishwasher earlier this year, I did dishes twice a day, once after lunch and once after dinner.

When I first started this it'd take me all day Monday to do the cleaning, now I can knock it out by lunch time.  My main problems being that I didn't keep up with it everyday and my house wasn't de-cluttered, so everything didn't have a place, which resulted in it taking me longer to find a place to put things.  August was a BIG de-cluttering month around here, I'm happy to say the whole house is de-cluttered and organized.  Which makes regular clean-up that much easier - as we don't have extra unnecessary stuff suffocating our small storage areas, and everything has it's own specific use and space to be kept.

I just wanted to share a method that has finally worked for us and is easy to stick with, as I used to loathe cleaning, but now I enjoy it and it makes me proud of our home and not freak when inpromptu company stops by.

What's your cleaning schedule like?  Do you have any tips to share?



DIY - Baby Booties

Over the summer I was blog hopping and someone showed a pair of baby booties they made from Precious Patterns Etsy shop.  And what can I say - I fell in love with some of their styles.  So I ordered the pattern and it's been sitting in my inbox waiting for to be made into an adorable pair for Miss Avalynn.

So - when shoe shopping last Friday for my shoes for the wedding the next day, procrastinate much? - nope not me!  I picked up a pair of silver dress shoes for Miss A, only to get home and realize they were way too big.  At least she can grow into them.  But she definitely needed something for her little piggies, fall weather has decided to grace us with her presence finally and I didn't want her little piggies cold.  I remembered this pattern I had.  Unfortuantely, on hand I only had some $.99 felt from Michael's and I rummaged through my ribbon stash and found the perfect color for her dress.

I must admit that the Hubs actually is the one who sewed them, he's much better at my sewing machine than I am (he's the one who taught me how to use it) and as it was the only piece of felt in that color we had, I really didn't want to mess them up.  I cut out the pieces and pieced them together.

Anyways - these were so simple to make and adorable to boot! *no pun intended*

I'm participating in these parties, Just A Girl, It's FUN to Craft, House of Hepworths, & Fingerprints on the Fridge.


More than just a Mommy

Lately, I've been reflecting on my life and what exactly I'm doing with myself.  I've been feeling down about myself and a little lost.  And I realized that I've let myself become consumed with our girls', home, and the Hubs, somehow after Avalynn arrived I was put on the back burner turned on warm and forgotten about.  But this mama has decided I'm important enough to make a priority on my long "to-do" list.

I'm starting slow adding in changes here and there.  The first thing I added was exercise. I am on my 3rd week of working out.  It actually does make me feel better and more energized throughout the day.  The second & third things I started this week, second is to paint my fingernails.  Hoping to change the polish twice a week (I can do this when watching our shows at night).  And the third is to get dressed and accessorize.  I've gotten in the habit of sweat type capri's and shorts & tshirts everyday of the week.  Funny thing - I always swore I wouldn't become one of those mom's.  But I have, anyways - past two days have been such a nice change in actually dressing, mixing and matching "dressy" items.

I have some more changes I want to implement and I'll be back to update on the progress of adding myself back into the mix of life and priorities.



Wordless Wednesday

These are the shoes I rocked at the wedding on Saturday - to know me, is to know that 1. I don't wear heels & 2. I can't walk in heels, BUT I wore & walked in them.  Loved them - minus the pain my feet were in. 



Hoo Are You?


Here are this week's question? 


1.  If you could add one room to our house, what would it be?
- Most definitely a great room, would love a designated play/game room, fun place to hang out besides the living room. 
2. How many pillows do you sleep with at night?
- Only one. 
3. What is the best costume you've ever worn for Halloween?
- Hmmm, When I was four I was a red tap dancer, the whole red/gold costume with fancy shoes. 
4. If you could erase one item off the face of the earth, what would it be?
- Bullies. Enough said - I think. 
5. Where do you do your best thinking?
- When I'm in bed for the night, I always have tons of things running through my head before I fall asleep.


I've been blessed

by 3 of Mamarazzi's Swap Angels.  I participated in Mamarazzi's Guilty Pleasure's swap and it  went a little south overall, I was in contact with Mamarazzi about it and she gathered 3 sweet ladies who sent me some of their guilty pleasures.

This package came from Mary. She included some candle melts (black pomegranate), triple layers gum, BBW anti-bacterial sanitizer(another pomegranate scent - seriously Emma & me are such big fans of pomegranate anything, these are big HITS in this house!), wild cherry pepsi lipbalm, itunes gift card and twizzlers. 

Amy sent me a gift card to get a drink at starbucks - what a treat this will be! 

Sami sent me this rocking towel (it's currently hanging on my towel hook in the bathroom) & an iTunes gift card.

Each of you ladies had such sweet letters & cards and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what you did.  I'm so looking forward to getting some new music for the ipod. 



Congrats to the new Mr. & Mrs. Miller!!!

This past weekend Emma & I were invited to participate in one of my closest friends special day. We had such a fun time celebrating the day with the happy couple and their friends and family. I can say that I've been to many weddings (our 9th in 3 years) and it was one of the best, loved all of the small touches.

A fellow high school classmate, who is now a Deacon, helped perform their marriage ceremony.   One of my favorite things he talked about was love and your spouse and hopefully everyday when you wake up, ask yourself - "Is there anything I wouldn't do for my spouse today?".  It was a good reminder for me to let go of the extra crap that muddles my marriage at times and get back to us.

There were many different blessings given, great speeches, polish toast with shots of vodka for every guest. Instead of a bouquet toss - each single lady was given a single rose from the groom, the married ladies got to take home a mum (that was used for decoration).  A yummy cake *made by the bride*, 4 different dessert mousse's, variety of cookies.  Photo booth with props, great music - my Emma danced every song until we had to leave as Avalynn was so tired and wouldn't fall asleep. 

The line-up of the wedding party @ the Reception.

Emma and Tyler being introduced. 

Vehicle shot - the earrings and necklace were made by the bride as one of our wonderful presents. 

Picture of my bouquet.

One of the beautiful flower girls - decked out in a great dress, princess crown, and new big girl dangle earrings *also made by the bride*.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Miller!!!