Wednesday, December 24, 2014

In the "Nick of Time" Santa Pic 2014

You know when you have everything perfectly planned and then it all goes out the window?  Yes that was my weekend.  We had waited until the weekend before Christmas to go visit Santa.  Well Saturday came and my baby came down with the most feared thing in my house.... THE STOMACH BUG.  Well you know how this one goes, Mom went down at 6 pm Sunday night, my 6 year old woke up just before midnight on Sunday and then at 6 am on Monday my oldest was struck! 

Dad was our hero, he took care of us and we were just about convinced ourselves he was spared.  That was just until about 9 pm Monday night.  Luckily he had a quick case of the bug.  By Tuesday night we were all doing well.  As I was laying in bed with my 6 year old, he asked why we hadn't seen Santa yet?  Uggh!!  Why did I wait until the last minute?  Why didn't I think we would all become insanely ill the weekend before Christmas?  Next year I won't procrastinate!

Tuesday night we all went to the mall.  We all waited in line for about an hour.  But finally we got to see the big guy.  Everyone was excited and then this happened, the scream of fear!  Well, kind of describes my weekend, the awful "Christmas Bug of 2014"!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Three Days in NYC With Friends - Day 1

I was able to do an incredible girls trip to New York City for three days, with two of my dearest friends.  We met in college and lived together for two years.  We still get together quite often for dinner and laughs, but this was our first trip together since graduating college in 2000.  I hope we can make this a yearly tradition because we had a beyond amazing time. 

We arrived on a 8 am flight into LaGuardia so we had an entire day to spend exploring the city.  We stayed near Times Square at the Row NYC.  We were able to walk and take the Subway for our entire trip.  Day One adventures included:

Times Square

 Rockefeller Center
Central Park

At night we went up into the Empire State Building and visited Macy's.  It was a lot of walking, we took the Subway once, and saw so many sites!

Stay tuned for Day 2...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Let It Go" and "Shake It Off" Through the Holiday Season

Holidays can be a stressful time in any household.  Add in three kids eight and under, and the stressful situations can bubble up instantly!  There is so much to be done between Thanksgiving and December 25th.  The house needs to be decorated, inside and out, cookies need to be baked, Christmas pictures need to be taken, holiday cards need to be sent out, church services need to be attended, presents to buy, food to prepare, concerts to attend, the list goes on and on...  Am I making your head spin yet? 

When stress gets the best of you, I find it very helpful to sing and dance your way through it.  You may find it common in my home for me to bust out a song or start dancing in the kitchen.  As I progress along this path of motherhood, I am finding new ways to relieve stress instead of resulting to yelling.  I hate yelling.  I hate when I yell. I ALWAYS regret it after it happens!  So when I am feeling the stresses of the holidays, my two remedies are:

1.  Belt out "Let It Go" at the top of my lungs and maybe add a twirl or a spin in with it!
2.  Break out in "Shake It Off" and let the stresses all shake off your body!

Try it, it works!  Don't get caught up in all the "to do's" of the holiday season, step back and remember why we celebrate December 25th, it is Christmas Day, the day Christ was born!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It is a special day to be with family and friends and count the multitude of blessings that God has given us for each year.  The amazing food is way to sit down and share time with others you love.  This year I am so thankful for my kids and husband.  They are my biggest cheerleaders in life and always forgive me and love me unconditionally. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving day and pray you are able to spend it with friends and family, and of course a wonderful meal!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Checkout 51 – It Works!

I’ll admit it, I completely doubted that Checkout 51 would work.  Why would a company pay you with a check for buying certain items and uploading a copy of your receipt?  Well, I was wrong!  I received my first check from Checkout 51, here it is!

I joined Checkout 51 back in August, so it took me about 3 months to get to the $20 threshold to request the check.  Once the request was complete, the check came in 7 days!  The money I earned was from mostly buying the fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and some other dairy items that the rebates were available on the app.

How does Checkout 51 work?  It’s really quite simple.


    Download the app on your smart phone (or you can do this online)

2.       Every Thursday at midnight, new rebates load to your account.

3.       Purchase these items at any store!  (Most of mine were from Aldi’s).

4.       Upload your receipt and indicate the rebates you are using.

5.       Normally within a couple of hours your rebates get credited to your account.

6.       You must load your receipt by 11:59 am the following Wednesday when the new deals load.

7.       Once your account reaches $20, you can request a check.

It is really that easy!  You do not have to shop at certain stores, anyone works.  Rebates that I have redeemed have been for bananas, apples, oranges, pumpkins, tomatoes, milk, salad mixes, yogurt plus more!  There are some name brand items that are always available in my area.  I normally claim between $1-$2 each week with my app!

I’m a believer and now I am patiently waiting for the new rebates to load tomorrow night!

Monday, October 27, 2014


With three kids, a husband, and two dogs, the amount of laundry in my household is often overwhelming.  I probably average about 2-3 loads a day with a day off here and there.  It can be intimidating especially when you have towels and sheets to wash.  Laundry for a household of five is a daunting task!  We also live in Ohio, which means the change of seasons.  With the change of seasons, comes the heavy winter laundry.  A couple of sweatshirts and a few pairs of jeans, and you have one full load.  Granted, I do not have a high end front loading machine, I have do have a High Efficiency washer, but the normal top load model.

I think my boys (now 5 and 8) feel guilty when they bring me muddy clothes.  It means more laundry for Mom and isn’t she always hanging out in the laundry room anyways?  My response to them?  I do not mind muddy laundry.  I will do muddy laundry anytime of the day.  You know why?  Muddy laundry means my kids were outside playing and having a good time.  It means they were not stuck in the house (as we so often are in the cold months) playing videos games.  Truth be told, I LOVE muddy laundry.  It is part of parenthood, part of having boys, definitely part of having fun!  So whenever my boys come in the house with muddy knees and muddy sweatshirts, I gladly point them to the laundry room and tell them to leave their clothes in there.  Mom will take care of the muddy laundry, it doesn’t bother me at all.  Really. It. Does. Not!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cheesy Baked Penne

This recipe is super quick to put together and have on the table in less than an hour.  It would also be a good recipe to take half and freeze for another night!

1 box of Penne noodles (16 oz)
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (10 oz)
1 container of Ricotta cheese (15 oz)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly cut parsley (you can sub dried parsley)
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Cook Penne according to package directions and drain.
2.  Combine Penne and Alfredo sauce.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine Ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and parsley.
4.  Spray a 9x13 dish with non-stick spray.
5.  Put half of the Penne in the dish then top with Ricotta mixture, put remaining Penne on top.
6.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
7.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Note - if you are going to freeze, before baking cover with foil and freeze.  To cook, thaw completely and then bake at 350F for 30 minutes.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Our Adventure With Pete the Cat

My 5 year old was so excited when he was the first one to be chosen in his kindergarten class to take home Pete the CatPete the Cat is from the popular children's book series by James Dean and so happens to be my son's kindergarten class pet.

Every weekend, one student gets to take home Pete the Cat and have an adventure with him.  We then have to take pictures and write a story about Pete the Cat's adventures in an album.  My son will also get to talk about Pete the Cat's adventures with our family in class.  Lucky for Pete the Cat, he just happened to go on an adventure to King's Island with our family!

Pete the Cat got to enjoy a ride on the bumper cars!

Pete the Cat also enjoyed some yummy pizza for lunch!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sew Many Wishes!

My daughter got to try out this new design from Sew Many Wishes!  This cupcake dress has 3 different fabrics.  The top is multi-colored polka dots followed by a pink cupcake fabric, a brown cupcake fabric, and finally purple with white polka dots.  The top ties in the back with a white ribbon.

As you can see my daughter loved wearing her new cupcake dress and having Mom snap a couple of photos.  The quality at Sew Many Wishes is top notch!  I can see this dress lasting a long time in our house!

Sew Many Wishes also made a custom designed dress for my daughter's 1st birthday in 2013.  It was absolutely gorgeous and made her Hello Kitty themed party perfect!
Visit Sew Many Wishes on Etsy and Facebook and tell her Spend Less 2 Save More sent you!

First Day Back to School

Is it just me or does summer break move at lightning speed?  I remember the last day of school and all the plans we had for our LONG summer break.  Then it is August 1st, you blink and its the first day of school.  Granted, my kids did go back a few days earlier this year than normal, but really?  And of course, its like 90 degrees now (where were these temps the rest of the summer)?

This year marked another milestone, I now have two kids in school all day!  My other son started kindergarten!  A week later, it still seems odd that I have to wake both of them up and hustle them to the bus stop.  The house is A LOT quieter, however my little girl has adjusted just fine to getting all of Mom's or Dad's attention while her big brothers are off at school!

Here are some first day of school pics, I hope yours went as smoothly as ours did!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



Kidecals personalized Waterproof Labels are great for the entire family. These personalized stickers are washing machine and dishwasher safe, making them great for clothes, water bottles and sports gear. Durable personalized labels for kids and adults of all ages. Great for school, daycare, camp, travel, and home. Better than the old iron on labels, these personalized stickers for kids are easy to apply and will stay stuck! With over 80 decal and label designs to meet trends and interests, there is a style of kids labels for everyone – even grownups!

Recently I was given the opportunity to try some Kidecals!  I ordered the Rainbow Dots with our name and address.  I chose the Mega Set which was $28 dollars and included 24 two inch labels and 48 one inch labels.  There is ALWAYS free shipping no matter how much you spend (can't beat that)! I received my order in less than a week, which was amazing customer service.  They came in a large heavy envelope so they were not folded or creased in any way!

Since it is back to school time and we all have to label everything, I used some of my labels on the kids backpacks and they stuck wonderfully.  The labels are really thick and I am fully anticipating them lasting the school year.  I will use some as return address labels and whatever else we need to label in our house.  When fall comes and I need to label coats, I will definitely be using my Kidecals because they are machine washable!

If you want to try Kidecals out, use discount code ilovelabels which will give you 15% off any Kidecals order!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grilled Tomato Mozzarella Basil Sandwiches

If you love the flavors of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, then you will love this twist on a grilled cheese sandwich!  I was able to use fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden and it was amazing!

3-4 slices of fresh tomato
4 leaves of fresh basil
4-6 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
2 slices Italian bread

1.  Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on a medium-high.
2,  Butter one side of each of the slices of bread.
3.  Put one slice of bread (butter down) on the heated skillet.  Top with 1/2 of mozzarella, basil leaves, tomato, and then other 1/2 of mozzarella.  Top with other slice of bread (butter side up).
4.  When golden brown, flip sandwich to brown other side.
5.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mom and Dad Need A Vacation Too!

I know you have heard it all too often, Mom and Dad need to take time for themselves and their relationship from time to time.  The truth is though, we all get so busy being “Mom and Dad” we sometimes forget how to be “Husband and Wife”.  I’m sure everyone has experienced that awkward silence when we have nothing else to talk about except the kids! 

Within the past five years my husband and I always made time for a monthly date night in our relationship.  Actually, we forced it!  We joined a bowling league with my sister-in-law and her husband so that we were guaranteed one night out a month.  This monthly night always includes dinner and then bowling; it is a perfect opportunity to get away.  We also now have about 3 different couples we like to go out with, so we normally try and go out with one of them also once a month.

At the beginning of this year, we were looking at goals and one that I had that kept getting pushed off was for my husband and I to take a mini vacation, just the two of us.  Beside an overnight for a wedding or the kids spending the night at their grandparents, we have not taken a vacation, just the two of us, for NINE years!  Yes NINE years, this happen to coincide with right before I became pregnant with our first son.  Well, our kids are now 8, 5, and 2, I was out of excuses, and it was time to just book that vacation!

We had always intended on taking a really nice trip on our 10th wedding anniversary, however that snuck up on us one month after our 3rd child was born!  So we decided, we were finally taking our 10th anniversary trip on our 12th anniversary.  She would be 2 by then and we had willing grandparents to watch our children.  Once again, no excuses!  It was decided, we booked a vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, and it would be our first vacation without kids since kids!

Thoughts of spending days on the beach and at the pool laying in the sun, eating fancy dinners with only adults, sleeping in until we wanted too, quiet alone time, was all so appealing to us.  We were so excited and could not wait until the day our plane took off to our sunny destination.  Then the week before hit us like a rock, my husband suddenly had a horrible ear infection and then my daughter had one!  Was this meant to be?  I was a nervous wreck (to say the least) the day before we left!

In the end, we got on that plane and had the best 4 days of our married life.  I am so glad we took that giant leap and the next time it will be easier.  The kids were just fine; they actually had a blast with all the activities their grandparents had planned for them.  They kept them a lot busier than we would ever had!  My husband and I spent days floating in tropical pools, had our toes in the sand, and enjoyed wonderful food just the two of us.  We are so glad we took this trip and we are going to make a yearly trip for just the two of us a priority.  It does not have to be as extravagant as this one, but definitely at least three days away a year to reconnect and just be us again!

If you are having doubts about taking a trip and are out of excuses, take my advice and book it now!  It only has to be a few nights, but it will be a wonderful rejuvenation to you and your marriage.  You need it, your spouse needs it, and your family needs it.  In the end it will make you a better parent to your kids.  The best part was definitely seeing the huge smiles and great big hugs we got from our kids when we walked back in the door at the end of our trip.  They were so glad to see us and could not wait to tell us about their adventures with Grandma and Grandpa!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014 Goals - June Recap

Better late than never, here is my update for my 2014 through June.

I am making a real, conscious effort to set goals in 2014 and stick to them. The best way I can think of is to hold myself accountable on a monthly basis. Be sure to check back in the first of every month to see my progress as well as link up your progress.

1. Relationship with God - Do one activity a month to strengthen my relationship with God (going to mass on Sunday does not count).

I need to work on this in the upcoming months, summer should not be an excuse to take a break!

2. Relationship with my Husband - Go on one date night a month with my husband. Plan an overnight trip of at least 2 nights away to take in 2014

My husband and I did a golf date on a Sunday afternoon.  It is so nice to be back into a sport I love and able to spend some one on one time with my husband!
I'm so excited (and nervous about the kids), our anniversary weekend trip is booked for August!

3. Family Time - Do one activity as a family once a month. Take one family vacation and one long weekend getaway in 2014.

We took the kids to Niagara Falls for a long weekend.

We went to Orlando over Spring Break. 
We have another weekend getaway planned over Labor Day!

4. Relationships with my Kids - Do a one-on-one activity with each child each month (3 a month).

I took my middle son and daughter to the library this month.
I took all three kids to the playground one evening while my husband was working.

5. Declutter - sell at least 5 items per month.

I sold $28 worth of items in June 

6. Debt - Pay off Debt #1 and reduce Debt #2 by 50%

Debt #1 is paid. We are back making progress again on Debt #2, I do not think we are going to make our year end goal, but we will make significant progress this year!

7. Me Time - Say "no" to one extra commitment a month. Do an only me or "girls night" activity once a month.

I said "no" to donating items for an end of the year school party. I had donated a lot this school year and it always seems like last minute to me.

Sounds odd, but I had to take a work trip and I was able to spend a few hours on the beach by myself (heaven)!

8. Budget Buster - Keep library fines to under $5 for the entire year (this is so hard for me).

No fines this month again!  I have succeeded in zero fines for 2014!  The bad news?  The library is changing its loan period from 3 weeks to 2 weeks, I wonder how that is going to affect me!

9. Work/Life Balance - Friday at 5 pm - until Monday at 8 am - do not check work e-mails (I am off the clock).

I did an excellent job of staying off my computer in the evening and weekends.  I think this is due to the fact that we have been so busy that I just do not have time.

10. Have an online business (this idea has been in my head for over a year) fully functioning by the end of 2014. I need to take one giant step every month to achieve this goal!

This is the only goal I do not seem to make time for? Maybe its not that important to me? I need to reflect on what I truly want to do!

How are you doing on your goals thus far? Feel free to leave a comment or link up!


Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango - Review & Giveaway!

Experience the Ultra Fresh Hydration of NEW Dial Coconut Refreshing Mango Body Wash
Introducing NEW Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango body wash, the newest member of the Dial Coconut Water family.  Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango is the first of its kind to contain coconut water and refreshing mango for clean, healthy and hydrated skin.  Let the fresh hints of green coconut and tropical mango whisk your mind away to distant island shores without ever leaving the shower.
Coconut water is a leading trend known to be rich in antioxidants and electrolytes that help provide replenishing hydration.  Mango is known for being nutrient rich and adds a touch of tropical freshness.
My ideal vacation is laying on a beach smelling all the scents of the salt water, fresh air, suntan lotion, and fresh fish.  This new product from Dial definitely takes me to that type of scent experience right in my shower.  I also loves how it moisturizes my troublesome dry skin.  It also helps to hydrates my psoriasis, which I love in this product!
Want to win a bottle?  Three readers will win a coupon for a FREE bottle of Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cedar Point!

It would not be summer in NE Ohio without a trip to the world famous Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio!  Having grown up in this area, it has always been a tradition for a yearly trip for me and my husband and we are keeping that tradition with our children.
I think my favorite part is watching our children ride the same rides we enjoyed as children.  Now I get to ride them with my kids as I had once had with my parents.  We know the park like the back of our hands which makes navigation a breeze, almost to the point where I am frustrated when we visit new amusement parks and I have to look at the map!

The shock to me this year was that the Magnum XL-200 was turning 25 years old!  I still vividly remember riding that coaster the first year it opened, how can it possibly be 25 years old?

And you cannot forget the Snoopy characters!  They are available to hug throughout the park.  Cedar Point is always clean, which is something I really appreciate in an amusement park.  Taking the kids there is an annual summer treat for our family!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Baby Turns 2!

I cannot believe my baby is now officially two!  She is such a blessing to our family and the time as gone way too fast.  We had a Minnie Mouse birthday party for her.

I made the cake and this was my first time working with fondant.  I was quite pleased how it turned out, I will definitely try it again. 
Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet, lovable baby girl!

Go Knock On The Neighbor’s Door

There has been a lot of buzz lately about this blog post by DadNCharge, regarding banishing the playdate.  I completely agree with his premise of these “organized play times”.  To understand where I am coming from, I have been and always will be a full-time working Mom.  My husband is home during the day since he teaches at night and online.  My kids never really had a lot of “playdates”.  There are times we meet some kids at the park or swimming pool from preschool or some school friends are invited over to play, but we have never engaged in regular, organized play times. 

My husband and I both grew up in neighborhoods where we had friends to play with daily.  They weren’t necessarily our “school friends” but they were friends we could play with on a fairly constant basis.  We believe in the “open door” policy, if you are home and your garage door is open, come be neighborly.  This means, come over and talk with us, bring your kids over to play, have a drink as we watch our kids ride bikes and play tag, anything like that.  We do not believe you need to “make an appointment” to get together and have the kids play.

We are extremely lucky to live in a neighborhood where several families hold the same premise to be true.  We constantly have impromptu cookouts, bonfires, glasses of wine, and while this is taking place the kids play in whoever’s yard this happens to commence in on that certain night.  As my boys are getting older (5 and 8 now), they are able to play with the neighborhood kids without their parents physically sitting and watching them.  This is when I encourage them to, “Go knock on the neighbor’s door.”

This past Sunday, my boys played all afternoon and evening with the neighborhood kids.  They came home for a quick dinner break and then went right back to playing with them.  None of this was preplanned, it all came about when a neighbor kid knocked on our door and asked to play.  It continued when after dinner my boys went down and knocked on this same neighbor kid’s door and asked to play.  I love this spontaneous play and giving kids the courage to build and develop relationships on their own.  The best part?  We know all the parents and I know they are a simple text message away to say, “hey the boys are down playing, you can send them home when you need to.”  I did not need to “entertain” my children for the entire afternoon; they did that by themselves by running and playing outside!

While I am sure there is a time and a place for playdates, there is also the need to teach our children to be independent young men and women who can be assertive and form their own friendships.  I believe this helps their social skills in the school setting and eventually in the workplace.  Finally, it gets kids out of the house and unplugged.  Yes my kids use electronic devices to entertain them, but a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the summer is NOT the time to sit inside and play on the iPad!

The impromptu Friday night kickball games have definitely been a highlight of this summer, even to the point of the adults playing along with the kids.  Go out and be neighborly; you have nothing to lose but to have some fun!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Starting Chores Early - Age Appropriate Chores

Ok, maybe not that early, but she loves to help me!

In my house, the children do perform chores and we do provide a weekly allowance for them.  This allows them to have some spending money, while contributing to the upkeep of our home.

During the summer (and Christmas break) we do a formal chore system in the house.  During the school year, we do not do formal chores, the kids just help out when asked.  The focus during the school year must be on school, homework, and reading. 

Our system is very simple, I have a piece of paper (one for each of my two children) which resembles a calendar with blocks for the days Monday - Friday.  Each day I write the chore they must complete for the day.  Once complete, they place a sticker in that block.  I find it either to write the chore the night before or the day of depending on what needs to be done that day. 

5 Year Old Chores Include:
  • Picking up toys
  • Cleaning his room
  • Empty the bathroom garbage can
  • Empty the recycles
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Empty dryer
  • Make the bed
  • Dust the furniture
  • Clear the table and put dishes in sink

8 Year Old Chores Include:
  • Vacuum the upstairs or downstairs
  • Help mow the grass
  • Take the garbage cans to the street
  • Take out the kitchen garbage
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Fold and put away his clothes
  • Change the sheets on his bed
  • Do a load of laundry
What kind of chores do your kids do?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 Goals - May Recap

Its June 1st, the weather has been gorgeous by my house, so that means it is time to check in on our goals for 2014. I had a really good May sticking to my goals for the year. 

I am making a real, conscious effort to set goals in 2014 and stick to them. The best way I can think of is to hold myself accountable on a monthly basis. Be sure to check back in the first of every month to see my progress as well as link up your progress.

1. Relationship with God - Do one activity a month to strength my relationship with God (going to mass on Sunday does not count).
My son made his first communion on May 2.  I attended the practice session with him as well as the ceremony the following day.  I am so proud of him.

2. Relationship with my Husband - Go on one date night a month with my husband. Plan an overnight trip of at least 2 nights away to take in 2014
We had 2 nights out this month, we had dinner and drinks with 2 sets of out friends on separate nights.  We are so blessed to have wonderful parents always willing to watch our kids so that we can enjoy some adult time!

 3. Family Time - Do one activity as a family once a month. Take one family vacation and one long weekend getaway in 2014.
We celebrated Memorial Day as a family at my sister's house with a picnic
We went to Orlando over Spring Break. 
Long weekend is booked for June!!

4. Relationships with my Kids - Do a one-on-one activity with each child each month (3 a month).
I took both my boys to Toys R Us as a reward for good report cards!
I took my middle son and daughter to a birthday party at a splash pad.  We also did 2 library trips this month.
My oldest son and I went furniture shopping together.  He thought it was pretty cool that we would make the decision.

5. Declutter - sell at least 5 items per month.
I was having a really slow month so one day I was home from work since my daughter was sick and during her nap I went through all the boys clothes and posted them on FB garage sale sites.  This month I ended up selling 11 items (lots of items) for a total of  $63!  I also compiled two garbage bags of clothes for my cousin!

 6. Debt - Pay off Debt #1 and reduce Debt #2 by 50%
Debt #1 is paid.   We made very little progress on Debt #2 this month.  We started a much needed home remodel project so the extra cash went to the completion of our new home office.  This project is now complete, so we are back on the "debt paying machine track" in June!

7. Me Time - Say "no" to one extra commitment a month. Do an only me or "girls night" activity once a month.
I said "no" to donating items for an end of the year school party.  I had donated a lot this school year and it always seems like last minute to me.
I was able to get my hair cut and high-lighted this month.  I also did a "cousins night out" with a bunch of my girl cousins!
8. Budget Buster - Keep library fines to under $5 for the entire year (this is so hard for me).
No fines this month again!  I had to arrange an evening trip to return some book that would of went past due the next day, but I made it in time!
9. Work/Life Balance - Friday at 5 pm - until Monday at 8 am - do not check work e-mails (I am off the clock).

I okay on this for May.  I had to leave work at 3 pm on couple of days to get home so my husband could leave to go teach.  My parents are on vacation and normally help us.  On those days, I had to come home and get back on my laptop.  Otherwise, I was "unplugged" on the weekends!

 10. Have an online business (this idea has been in my head for over a year) fully functioning by the end of 2014. I need to take one giant step every month to achieve this goal!
This is the only goal I do not seem to make time for?  Maybe its not that important to me?  I need to reflect on what I truly want to do!

How are you doing on your goals thus far? Feel free to leave a comment or link up!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese Pie - Easy One Dish Dinner

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup uncooked macaroni (I used small shells)
1/2 cup all purpose baking mix
2 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1.  Heat oven 375F.
2.  Spray 9" glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
3.  Place uncooked noodles in pie plate.
4.  Spread 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese over the top.
5.  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients until blended.
6.  Pour mixture into pie plate.
7.  Spray s sheet of foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover. 
8.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
9.  Spread remaining cheese over top and cook for additional 10 minutes.
10.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.


Next time I am going to try some different add-ins, chopped broccoli or diced ham would probably work well!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spending the Day at Sea World - Orlando

On our recent family vacation to Orlando, we spent a day at Sea World.  It had been about 6 years since the last time we were there.  All in all in was a fun day for every one.  We took our 3 kids with us ages 8, 5, and 21 months. 

We arrived at the park around 9:30, parking was easy ($17) and it was a short walk to the main entrance.  We were using a stroller we had rented for the week from Simple Stroller Rentals!  I got an amazing deal on tickets, only paid $50 per person for a weekday ticket.  The baby was free which was a bonus!

We were right on time for the 10 am Blue Horizons show.  This unique, theatrical spectacular features dolphins, tropical birds and acrobats and all three of my kids were intrigued by the show!  Next my oldest son and husband braved Journey to Atlantis, it was a quick 20 minute wait!  While they were riding, I visited the Manta Aquarium and gift shop inside the Atlantis.  Next we waited for Antarctica:  Empire of the Penguin.  I was truly AMAZED by this ride and exhibit.  It was a 45 minute wait, but worth every minute of it, I wish we could have gone again!  It was a great family ride we could all enjoy together!

Right before lunch, we were able to see Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island.  This has always been my favorite show at SeaWorld!  I find it hilarious (my kids did too)!

After lunch we went to the Shark Encounter, rode the flamingo paddle boats, visited Shamu's Happy Harbor, and the Wild Arctic Ride.  We finished our day with the 5 pm show of One Ocean.  This show was definitely different than I had seen in the past.  The trainers no longer go into the water with Shamu and the other whales, but there is a lot of music, dancing, and water (you may get wet in the Splash Zone)! 

We left the park a little after 5:30, grabbed some dinner and headed back to our condo for a evening swim.  A perfect ending to a perfect day.  I cannot wait to take the kids back again in the few years!

Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets - A Review and GIveaway

I was so excited when I heard Purex Crystals has new dryer sheets!  I love Purex products and dryer sheets was never an option before!  I got the opportunity to try out Purex Crystals Dryer Sheers Lavender Blossom!

Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets don't just reduce static cling and leave your Family's laundry soft and smelling fresh, they can also keep your whole house smelling fresh!  They provide 30 days of a long-lasting fresh scent and repel pet hair and lint.  I added them to my Purex lineup for doing laundry!

My clothes came out of the dryer smelling amazing with no static cling!   Days later, when you pull them out of your closet or drawer, I could still smell the freshness. 
Want to try them for yourself?  Three Spend Less 2 Save More readers will receive a free coupon! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

It's certainly not the easiest "job", but it is definitely the best "job"!  My kids teach me so much each day and I'm still learning how to be the best Mom I can be.  My favorite part of being a Mom, is giving my kids all the opportunities I can and to re-live all the fun memories I had as a child through their eyes!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Coobie Seamless Bras - A Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to try Coobie Seamless Bras.  The two bras I was given the opportunity to try out were the Full Size Scoopneck and Full Size Vneck.

Coobie Seamless Bras come in two sizes from One Size (fits almost every body 32A to 36B) and a Full Size (fits sizes 38A to 42DD).  The bras come in 50 different colors and multiple different styles (including strapless).

I like the fact that they have adjustable straps and the bras were very easy to put on and take off.  They are a 88% Nylon/12% Spandex mix so they are comfortable to wear all day long.  They are stylish and can be worn under other tops and dresses as an attractive layer.  They are not a full support bra, but they gave me the support I needed when wearing them around the house and in the evenings.

If you are interested in learning more about Coobie Seamless Bras they can be found online here!

I received two complimentary bras in exchange for my review, all opinions are my own.

Monday, May 5, 2014

First Communion Brunch

My oldest son made his First Communion this past Saturday (where does the time go???).  The Mass began at 11 am so I decided to do a brunch at our house afterwards, below is what I served to my 20 guests.  I've always wanted to do a brunch, and I thought this was a perfect time to do it!

Fresh Fruit and Dip
Veggies and Dip
Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
Spinach Dip
Brie and Crackers

Main Dishes:
Sausage Egg Casserole
Perfect French Toast Casserole
Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Bacon/Egg Muffin Cups

Side Dishes:
Cheesy Hashbrowns with Ham
Sausage Links
Cinnamon Apples

Blueberry Muffins
Buttermilk Biscuits with Butter and Grape Jelly
Zucchini Bread
Banana Bread

Cross Candy Suckers

Orange Juice
Sherbet Punch

This post is linked up at Keep Calm and Blog On and Fearlessly Creative Mammas.