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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Helping Moms Eliminate Stress With #LuvsLeakFreeHoliday

Please include the following in your post: “This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Luvs. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.


The holiday season is a lot of fun, but it also has more stress than any other season. As a mother, diaper leaks at the worst times are a stress I want to eliminate, not only at the holidays but all of the time. We are using Luvs and loving them because they are less expensive than the other big brands and they give us great protection and a great fit.






Let me share a little more about Luv's and how they can help you this holiday season.




This holiday, Luvs wants everyone to celebrate a Leak-Free Holiday.
·        Luvs with NightLock offers its largest absorbency area EVER to help lock wetnessaway, which means less leaks during the holiday season for baby and more time for parents to enjoy the festivities.
·  Leaks can disrupt even the most routine baby’s sleep schedule during the holidays. Keeping baby leak-free through the night will make for a merrier morning.
·        LuvsLeak Barrier Leg Gathers ensure leaks are kept away from holiday outfits and in our diaper - where they belong!
·        Have you checked out Luvs adorable "Will It Leak" video series yet? Well,
tis’ the season of holiday miracles! And this year, Luvs is turning clicks into
free diapers. From December 9th - 25th, for every view their Will It Leak
"Santa Suit" video receives on their social media channels, Luvs will
give a diaper to a child in need through the Children’s Miracle Network.
·        Watch the video here:
·        The holiday fun doesn't stop there! This holiday, Luvs is also inviting parents to whip up a baby book for their child in a few quick clicks with Luvs and
Tweekaboo. Get yours here:
https://www.tweekaboo.com/luvs'


 Please join Luvs and celebrity dad, expectant father and Donald Faison for a #LuvsLeakFreeHoliday Twitter Party on Thursday, December 11th, from 9-10pmEST, where we’ll be sharing personal holiday leak stories.


As a mom of 2 we have tried every brand of diapers, from fancy organic brands to the bottom of the barrel so cheap no one has ever heard of it brands because face it, baby will use thousands of diapers in a few years.

We always look for Luv's when we buy for Miss Harper because they work and the work well! She knock on wood never leaks and that is enough to make me keep coming back to the brand.



Guess what one lucky reader is going to get a chance to win a  Branded Luvs tote bag, #LuvsLeakFreeHoliday travel coffee mug, Hot chocolate, Luvs branded purple star ornament, MyFirst Kwanzaa book, Plush Musical Dreidel, Hanukkah gelt, Two packs of Luvs diapers and a tub of Luvs wipes!




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Gifts for Babies: The Nice List


If you are shopping for sweet little ones, these items are adorable, affordable and sure to bring a giggle of delight to any child!


Please note this post contains affiliate links and products I was sent in exchange for inclusion. If you make a purchase I may receive a little commission to help keep this blog running.


Jelly Cat Woodland Babe Bunny
Pretty Woodland Babe Bunny is the picture of bunny style, with her fluffy two-tone fur and sweet, friendly smile. Is she grey or orange? Silver or fawn? Who knows, but she’s lolloping out on the lawn!



Manhattan Toys Brilliant Bear Magnetic Stack Up Toy
A fun stacking toy for babies!


Words to Sweat By Onesie
Onesies for babies that will make fitness minded adults snicker.



UMI Cassia Cocoa Shoe
A perfectly posh wrap that allow her feet to feel as free as when they’re bare. A generous fit for those chubby baby feet and an easy hook-and-loop strap ease in even the biggest toddler shoe-skeptic. - See more at Umi 




Tiny Tots Pink Bike

Kinderfeets Tiny Tot is a 2-in-1 bike that easily converts from a tricycle to a 2-wheel balance bike! Designed for "tiny tots" ages 12 to 24 months, Kinderfeets Tiny Tot starts off as a tricycle and when needed it easily converts into a 2-wheel balance bike.










Biscotti by Kate Mack
Adorable coats and fashion for girls!








Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gifts for Him : The Nice List

Are you looking for gifts that a special guy in your life will adore? From amazing coffee to things that smell good, here are some ideas to get you started on what to get him.



This gift guide does feature links to products I was sent for inclusion or affiliate links.


iCoffee Steam Brew Coffee Machine
 

The coffee grounds are steamed, releasing the flavors, the same way they are with steamed vegetables. Then, rotational jets properly. The jets continue to steam and stir until all the exquisite coffee flavor is released. You get a “French Press Effect” coffee, only faster, easier, less messy and smoother. And, since the grounds never compact, there’s no acidic taste. No bitterness. Ever.


Visit iCoffee to learn more



Don Pablo Coffee

Exceptional Coffee available in blends such as Italian Espresso, Colombian Supremo Gourmet Coffee and Signature Blend Gourmet Coffee to name a few.



Visit Don Pablo to learn more
Montagne Jeunesse
 

Give the special guy in your life a little pampering for his handsome face with Montagne Jeunesse masks for men, they have an impressive selection of products for men.


Visit Montagne Jeunesse to learn more.

Enjoy Hair Care for Men
Give your guy the gift of great hair with Enjoy!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 $G LTE
Portability and power: Get the best of both! The lightweight, 7.0 Galaxy Tab 2 is truly designed for life on the go. With the dual-core processor, running on Verizon’s super-fast 4G LTE network, you’ll have enough multitasking power to check email, surf the web and download a movie, all while playing a game. And at only 7.63 inches tall, it will fit anywhere - even in a pocket.

Nautica Voyage By Nautica For Men
 
Fragrance Notes: Amber, Apple, Drenched Mimosa, Greenleaf, Cedar Wood, Water Lotus, Moss, Musk, Sailcloth Accord.


A Nice Tie
 

It is soft, light weight and exceptionally comfortable.

Cuisinart 14-Piece Deluxe Stainless-Steel Grill Set
Grill set includes chef's spatula, grill tongs, silicone basting brush, 4 pairs of corn holders, cleaning brush, and extra brush head. Also includes aluminum storage case--perfect for the on-the-go griller 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Traditions: Wunderland Lights

My kids are small. It is a rare event for them to be out after dark. In fact, the moon is completely magical to my son Roo, at the age of 4. It is a treat for him to be up late enough to see it during the summer, but now that it is winter, he is still amazed to get to go outside and go anywhere when the moon is out.





Last Christmas we made a magical moon light ride for Roo super special by visiting the Christmas Wunderland in Mansfield, Ohio. This is a fun drive thru display of lights and decorations that kids of all ages enjoy.







We listened to Christmas music and enjoyed the sights of too many to count lights, displays and best of all cups of cocoa.



I am really glad we did this, it created a magical memory for my 4 year old, who saw an advertisement for the display and squealed with delight. We will do this again this year, as a part of our family tradition. Complete with music and cocoa.
Friday, November 21, 2014

Making Thanksgiving Tastier Than Ever With Honey Baked Ham

When the topic of Thanksgiving came up in my home, flashbacks of last year overcame me. Suddenly I was transported back in time to a chilly November morning, I rushed around stirring, measuring ingredients, setting timers and chasing a 3 year old out of the kitchen. We had a newborn baby that was fussy on that day. But, I am a Mom! I can handle this! No biggie... right?

Right? Well, I had it under control until I burnt the pies and then caught a strange sound coming from our laundry room. The washer had malfunctioned, smoke and water were pouring out of the machine... This Mama sat down and cried. I cried over the washer needing replaced, I cried over the dinner I was ruining. I cried a great hormonal cry.


This year, I have wised up! I am not even going to try to cook for my crowd, why would I when there is a magical place on Sawmill Road in Columbus, Ohio that is ready to come to my rescue? To Honey Baked Ham I ran!

Honey Baked Ham has the best ham, so moist and delicious it literally falls apart under your fork and melts in your mouth. The turkey breast? Oh my goodness. One word only addicting! Did you know you can also get super easy to serve sides, gravy and pie to complete your meal too?



Now why in the world would anyone want to cook for their family? Honey Baked Ham is more than happy to do the cooking and let you enjoy the smiles, the oohs and ahhs and the moment of family time in general.

My family loved the Green Bean Casserole, My daughter loved the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the pie and the cheesecake sampler we picked up. My son was over the moon for the ham. He is 4 and he is fascinated by Giants... He told me "Mommy, this giant bacon is yummy!!" 






From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.

Check out this limited time coupon for $7.00 off any Sliced and Glazed Whole Turkey and 4lb Quarter Ham (Or Larger) from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (Offer Valid at Participating Retail Locations: Forestville, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fields Ertel, Beechmont, Kenwood, Colerain, Florence, Salem, Centerville, Sawmill Road, McNaughten, Louisville, Lexington, Fern Creek, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Superstition, Tucson East, Tucson North, Overland Park, Independence, Barry Road, Norristown, Parma, Willoughby, Rocky River, Strongsville, Maple Heights, Canton, Fairlawn and Chapel Hill.)

HoneyBaked Ham is giving away a $500 Gift Card! You can enter below!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Car Seat Safety Tips

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in San Diego just released findings that 93% of parents leaving the hospital made at least one critical error when installing or using their car seat. While this is a troubling statistic, it’s an issue that can be easily addressed by spreading the word about car seat safety and proper installation.  

Let me tell you a little more about a great car seat from Safety 1st that will help you keep baby safe and comfy. Safety 1st car seats are quite easy to install and use by the way!



Air Protect + combines the advanced protection of the Air Protect® cushion system with patented GCell HX™ foam designed with hexagonal shapes for superior protection around the torso. TOGETHER they provide full body side impact protection.
Retailing for about $170 this rear facing seat can be used up to 35 pounds offering a safe ride for baby well into toddler-hood.

Enjoy these tips from the Experts, and safe travels to you and baby!


Car Seat Safety Tips
By the experts at Safety 1st

Importance of Rear Facing
In March of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their car seat recommendations advising that children should remain rear facing until the age of two.  According to a study in the Journal of Injury Preventionchildren under the age of two are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in the event of a car crash if they are rear facing. When a child is rear facing their head, neck and spine are better supported and in the event of an accident, crash forces are distributed over the child’s entire body.

Location
Typically the center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat, and never install a car seat in the front seat.  If your car does not have a latch connector for the middle seat, you can use the middle seat belt to properly secure the base.  When installing, make sure the base of the car seat moves no more than an inch from side to side. An easy way to test this is to hold at the belt path.

Car Seat Expiration
Car seats do have an expiration date, it is recommended that car seats be replaced every 5-8 years, or immediately after a crash.  The reason for an expiration date is because plastic can warp and materials can fray, which can make car seats not as effective in the event of a crash.  Additionally car seat technology and state and federal car seat regulations change over time.  Important warning labels may wear out and instruction books may get lost, which can lead to improper use of the car seat.

Safeguard the Car
Childproof the inside of the car and eliminate projectiles.  Anything in the car that is not secured is a possible projectile – even a child’s toy, or a water bottle. In a crash, objects take on greater weight due to crash forces.
Thursday, October 2, 2014

Black & Blue Pancakes With Krusteaz

My family loves breakfast! Every other weekend we go to breakfast together. My husband likes scrambled eggs, my daughter likes biscuits. My son, he is a sausage guy. Me? I like runny eggs and toast. But there is one food we can all agree on. And it is not uncommon for me to make a huge batch of pancakes on a whim and feed them to my family as breakfast, lunch or dinner, or sometimes a combination of the three.

This week has been a very busy one. So busy in fact that I have not made it to the grocery store yet. After looking in an empty refrigerator and an empty freezer I considered my options... We could order out. But we do pizza way too often...

I had a few boxes of Krusteaz Pancake and Waffle Mixes in my cabinet. On a whim I came up with a delicious pancake that was as easy to make as 1,2,3.



Black & Blue Pancakes

2 cups of Krusteaz Blueberry Pancake Mix
1/2 cup of crushed black walnuts
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of milk


Mix ingredients well. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes. 
Heat your griddle to 325 degrees. Spray with cooking spray.

Pour 1/4 cup portions of batter onto the griddle.
Flip when the bubbling of the batter slows.
Cook for an additional minute.
Serve warm, with butter and your choice of syrup.





My family really liked these fluffy, nutty, fruity pancakes! This recipe is a keeper. My husband liked the strong nutty flavor that black walnuts offer, but if you do not like the intense flavor of black walnut, feel free to use regular walnuts, finely chopped. With the walnuts falling from trees right now this is a great time to pin this recipe for a great future breakfast.

If you feel lucky enter to win a great breakfast pack from Krusteaz! One lucky reader will win:
Buttermilk Pancake Mix (1), Blueberry Pancake Mix (1), Belgian Waffle Mix (1) and Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix (1) as well as Krusteaz coupons for free product.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pumpkin for Dinner: 5 Ways

As soon as I saw the first advertisement for Pumpkin Spice cappuccino, my heart started fluttering for all things pumpkin! I found some amazing pumpkin dinner recipes to share with you to help you get your pumpkin fix.



Baked Chicken With Pumpkin Rice makes for a hearty and tasty meal that is perfect for a blustery fall day.


Easy Pumpkin Chili is on my must make. This looks like a great meal for the crisp days of October.


Healthy Shrimp Etouffee makes a special dish everyone will adore that is as good for them as it is tasty.


Pumpkin Ravioli and Garlic Butter sounds like a dream come true for pasta lovers.


Black Bean Pumpkin Soup makes for a fantastic meal on a chilly autumn day.



What is your favorite pumpkin for dinner dish? I can't wait to read all about it in a comment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chewy Cherry-Nut Bar

We love healthy snacks that we can grab and go. With 2 very busy kids and a schedule that never stops I have to make choices that can satisfy the family and that can be eaten easily {as little mess as possible}. We love cereal. We can't resist the chance to try recipes that are made with cereal. I think you will enjoy this recipe too. It is perfect for back to school breakfast or an after school snack.


Chewy Cherry-Nut Bar

Ingredients 
1 cup Great Grains Crunchy Pecan cereal
Nonstick organic canola oil spray
2/3 cup whole raw almonds, very coarsely chopped
2/3 cup raw pecans, very coarsely copped
2/3 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons golden flaxseeds
1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup agave syrup

Baking Instructions
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, allowing some foil to hang over the edges of the pan, then spray the foil with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cereal, nuts, cherries, flaxseeds, and salt. Mix in the orange zest. Add the syrup and stir to coat. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, gently stirring the mixture occasionally with a silicone spatula to coat with the syrup. Pat the mixture firmly into the pan with a metal spatula. Continue baking (without stirring) until the mixture is golden brown and still pliable, about 40 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 25 minutes. Using the overhanging sides of the foil, lift the mixture out of the pan and press firmly on the mixture to help compact it on all sides. Then, using the bottom of the pan, gently press on the top of the mixture to compact it more. Cool on the rack until barely warm, about 10 minutes.

With the foil still attached, cut the nut and cereal sheet into 12 bars with a large sharp knife. Allow the bars to cool completely on the rack.

Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature. Remove the foil before serving.

Makes 12 bars.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Thanks to my friends at Post Foods for sending the recipe and inspiring me to share it with you.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Travel With Kids: What to Do in Richland County Ohio

My family had the chance to visit Richland County last month. This was a big step for us, to be branching out into the arena of family travel. Once upon a time, my husband and I could throw a few items in a bag and hit the open road, a trip to the beach {700 miles...} no problem... now we have 2 kids. Our traveling has up until this point has been limited to the time frame of 15 minutes between stops to wipe a nose, find a binky, retrieve a lost toy. Richland County was the perfect place to start our travel adventures as a family. Let me tell you why.

First off, Richland County offers so many possibilities for family entertainment and activities! My kids were thrilled to visit the Mansfield Fire Museum. The display of working firetrucks of the past had my son so excited he could not contain himself. My husband and I enjoyed learning about the history of the area, the fire chiefs of the past and the replicated scenes from Mansfield.

One of the many fire trucks on display at the Mansfield Fire Museum



My daughter adored the trip to the Richland Carousel Park in downtown Mansfield, but my son went wild for it. This is a lovely carousel that has the distinction of being the only new, hand carved carousel to be made in the USA since the 1930's. The animals are lovely, beautifully detailed. The ride goes surprisingly fast to the delight of kids. The music? Classic! It completes the experience in a wonderful way. We loved the gift shop as well, they had tons of great trinkets and toys to make ideal souvenirs.  We loved that the rides are affordable and the carousel was truly a work of art.

Girls just wanna have fun on the carousel...
funny faces for selfies anyone?

He loved it! He wanted to do it again and again! 
Roo loved the carousel. He is still talking about it!

Malabar Farm was the home of famed author Louis Bromfield, this is a lovely property with a rich history. Unfortunately I cannot share much of that with you, we found that the house tour and wagon ride of the property were not child friendly. At least not for our fussy kids. I managed to get a few photos before being effectively sent on my way with my squawking kids. My husband and I agreed we would love to return, without the kids someday. Either way, we are going to try to visit again for Heritage Days this month.

The desk of Bromfield

Papers still in the drawer of the desk.


I will be featuring the Ohio State Reformatory in a post later this week, as well as the scoop on where to stay and what to eat while you are in town with the kids. Have you ever been to Mansfield or Richland County? If so, give us the goods on what is good, what is fun and where feels like home!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday

I am so glad you returned to party this week. You have my deepest apologies about the last 2 weeks. School is back in session, and time short on my end. But, hey! We are back!




Let's Party!
Don't forget to visit the 2 links before yours in the party, just to keep it fair! Please visit and share as many as you can. We all love comments. {wink, hint, nudge} 
By linking up you acknowledge that the hostesses may feature your work in round ups, on pinterest or at the next party






Sunday, August 31, 2014

Little Tikes Hide & Seek Climber & Swing Review

My kids love to play! My son Roo spends a great deal of time outdoors swinging and sliding on his swing set. His baby sister spends a lot of time watching him, getting excited and wishing she could play too... if she were only a little bit bigger!

Her dreams of swinging and sliding have come true thanks to Little Tikes Hide & Seek Climber & Swing. Made with little tikes in mind, this is the perfect play center for my little girl. Let me tell you a little about this super sweet toy and what we love about it.

The Little Tikes Hide & Seek Climber & Swing features a 3 point harness swing, a little climbing wall, a fun tunnel to crawl through and a slide. Sounds really fun right?! As my husband assembled the Hide & Seek Climber & Swing both of my kids watched with anticipation. My 4 year old was begging to "Play!Play!" My daughter bounced up and down with delight at the sight of her very own swing and slide.



We loved that it was easy to assemble. It took less than 15 minutes to come together. The play center is durable, it is easy to keep clean and it keeps kids busy and active. Roo has a big boy swing set, but he loves to play on this with his little sister. They spend hours a day climbing, swinging and sliding together, which makes this Mom very happy.



Retailing for $149.99, this is a really great investment. It is fun for kids to play on, it is nothing short of adorable, and it is built to last through multiple kids, {bonus!} We have been very impressed with the Little Tikes Hide & Seek Climber & Swing. This toy got the squeal of delight approval from both of my kids. I would recommend it to other parents looking for a great way to keep little kids active and playing. We set ours up inside for the time being so that the kids will have someplace to play when the weather turns cold. It is the perfect size for turning any room into a fun play place in a pinch.

Connect with Little Tikes to learn more or to explore their line of products for kids.
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cute Comfort: Transitioning Summer Skirts Into Fall

Cute Comfort: Transitioning Summer Skirts Into Fall

One of the best parts of summer is all the cute summer skirts that fill your wardrobe and create a stylish and sometimes edgy femininity within an outfit. You may be tempted to pack all those summer dresses and skirts away once the weather becomes brisk, but with a few creative solutions, you can easily transition some of those summer skirts and dresses into fall. Here are a few ideas for recycling these summer staples and making them fall staples too.

Maxi Skirts are Your Best Friend
Maxi skirts are awesome, because many of them feel as comfortable as pajamas, but with a beautiful print a structured top, they can look quite chic and professional. As the weather gets colder, trade your t-shirts and tank tops for a fitted sweater or structured jacket as a top to go with your maxi skirt. Leggings worn underneath insulate the legs, and a pair of short or long boots finishes the look. As the weather gets colder, a scarf or beanie can add a cozy vibe to this chic outfit. Rue21 has some great and inexpensive options for beautiful maxi skirts.

Leggings Finish the Job
Leggings work with both short and long skirts to transition into fall. Toward the end of summer, you may still have some fun outdoor activities while the weather is warm. If you’re meeting in the late afternoon while it’s still hot but want to wear a short dress, grab a pair of cute printed leggings and take them with you. As the sun goes down and the weather gets cooler, you can put the leggings on under your skirt. With a short skirt, they’ll add a cute, refreshed vibe to your outfit. When the weather does get brisk, printed leggings with knee-high or ankle boots can carry your short skirts into fall. Top off with a long-sleeved button-up, a sweater vest, and a scarf.

Comfortable Fall Alternatives
If you do want to wear pants while retaining the same comfort and ease that skirts have, harem pants are a great option. If you’ve never worn harem pants, maybe it’s time to make a fashion statement and give them a try. Since they are loose, wear a structured or fitted top to finish off the look. A jean jacket or leather jacket adds an eclectic vibe.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My Kids Ruined My Body

Hello world, my name is Sara and I have issues. Lots and lots of issues. Big ones, small ones, weird ones, sad ones.  Pick an issue and chances are I have it, or have had it, or I will develop it at sometime in the near future. What can I say? My life is filled with drama these days.

I am having an issue as I type this blog post. A part of me wants to curl up in a ball and sleep for a week, while a part of me wants to develop an eating disorder, another part of me wants to flip a certain finger in the direction of some people and let it go.


Do you know how it feels to be told your body is "disgusting" after having children? This is my current all consuming issue. Body shame. It is a big one to me, I dwell on those words. I get angry. I break down and cry, feeling utterly ugly and unlovable. I spend hours each week obsessing about what I ate, or what I didn't eat, how many walks I took, how my clothes fit me. Goodness, clothes are so important when you are as disgusting as I am. Trust me, no one wants to see me in my naked glory of stretch marks, saggy skin or fat.

At the age of 35 I have 2 children. My son is 4 and my daughter is 10 months old. Having these children has ruined my body according to some people. Yes, you read that right. My kids ruined my body.

Here is the thing, I did gain weight since I had children. A lot of it too. I have lost weight which just makes my skin look... saggy, stretched out, not magazine worthy at all. Places I didn't know could wiggle have more jiggle than I want to admit. My butt? Applying for statehood status. Yeah, I got booty to spare and share if anyone needs a little. I had 2 c section babies. So I have a big scar above my pubic hair line.

My ruined body.

A few weeks ago I had the nerve to go to the pool with my family. I wore a very modest tankini. I know no one wants to see me in a bikini. I wore something that would cover my body so no one had to see the mess that is my stomach. It is not flat, nor is it likely to ever be like a washboard. I tried my best to keep everything in place, constantly tugging my tankini to cover my belly and as much of anything else it could cover. I feel self conscious as it is. Being in a swimsuit is like... being in underwear that are wet ya know? I generally don't parade around in a bra and panties in front of my friends, family or neighbors, but I go to a pool to let the whole world judge me. I feel exposed. I feel like everyone is staring at me, are they? Who the heck knows, but I feel like they are. My husband hands me the baby and as I try to enjoy the moment, watching my son playing happily, looking at my beautiful daughter who is smiling and happy, the pool is new and exciting to her.

My husband wants a photo of the baby and I so I adjust to hold her at an angle that will allow him to capture both of our faces. As he is saying "Smile" I hear the laughter. I try to tell myself that people are having fun, it is a pool after all!  Then I hear it again, and again. I feel eyes on me. I know I must have blushed. I look up to see 2 teenage girls laughing at me and staring. I am the object of their amusement. Me and my ruined body. I feel the breeze on a strip of my stomach where my top has worked its way up. I feel like I could cry, or leave and vow to never go swimming again, unless it is in our backyard.

That was not a good feeling. It seriously impacted the day. The rest of the day every time those girls laughed, I knew they were laughing at me, or some other Mom with a ruined, gross body. When we got home I had a good long cry. I completely wallowed in self pity. I tucked the swim suit into the back of a drawer, or maybe it went to the attic... I won't be wearing it again probably.

When I tried to talk to someone about how I felt, it only made it worse. Foolish me picked the wrong person to go to for comfort or reassurance. I guess I wanted to hear that I was not gross. That I was okay, not inducing vomiting sessions or anything. But guess what I heard instead? "If you feel gross, do something about it. You can lose 20 pounds or maybe even 30. Stop eating, start working for results...." This made me cry harder. Much much harder. Little did I know how hard the next words would hit me. "I think your body is disguising since you had kids."

So, instead of having a friend say they liked me for me, I heard I should develop an eating disorder and work out until I see results that please others.

If there has ever been a day when I could fall apart completely, a day when I felt like maybe I was so gross that I could die and spare everyone I know from the pain and ickiness of looking at me, it was that day.
I spent a long time reflecting on that. I looked in the mirror. I searched to see signs of this hideous monster that I had become. I saw a 35 year old woman that looked tired. My hair is really cute in this style of pixie short. My outfit was good. A decent skirt and a casual yet nice top. I had on great shoes, pretty nail polish.... My butt is big! I know that, but I am okay with it. The last time I checked the booty size was not a factor in what was in my heart. My butt doesn't make me a monster. My belly is a belly. I wish it were flatter, smaller. But, really how many people are subjected to the scar, the stretch marks, the evidence that my body made not one, but two miracles happen? Not very many. My upper arms are a nightmare for me, but my kids seem to think these hideous monster-ish flabby arms give great hugs.

If I couldn't see these monstrosities that are worthy pointing and laughing and hurling harsh words about my disgusting body changes why were they so evident to other people? Why did it matter to anyone else what my body looks like?

My body changed. I may have "ruined" my body according to the standards of the general masses, but when it comes down to it, my body tells a story. A story of childhood, illnesses, accidents, drunken days of youth, adventures I am glad I took. Chances I gambled on. My body tells a story of loss, of love and of miracles. I made two little people in this body. Every stretch mark, flabby patch of skin, every jiggle, every inch of my booty was well earned. I don't regret one single imperfection. They have all been worth it.

So, to the teenage girls that laugh at me in a swimsuit, or to the "friend" that thinks I am disgusting now that I am a mother, I would like to say thank you. You have reminded me that I have to work harder to make my children realize we shouldn't measure a persons worth because of their looks or lack of looks. We shouldn't let someone else tell us we are gross because we have babies. We shouldn't tolerate that type of behavior. Anyone shallow enough to look at your beautiful miraculous body and point out your flaws isn't worthy of your time or your love. Your dress size doesn't determine what kind of person you are.

To my children, I want to say, you absolutely didn't ruin my body. You made it better than it ever was before. You have softened me in all the right ways. For that, I thank you.












Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saturday #227

So, here I am technically about a month behind again...it is summer. Hubs is home and the family is restless. 2 months of daily outings, but really not doing anything have taken their toll on us. If my google calendar didn't keep me on my toes I would be lost.


Going on memory here....

On Saturday #227 I had the honor of sleeping in a little. We went to breakfast in near by Mt. Gilead Ohio and Harper was really into that. She prefers whatever we are eating to baby food these days, so she had eggs, biscuits, pancakes, bananas. She was a happy girl. Mr. Picky Roo had sausage, so he was happy.

After breakfast we took a walk down one of the few hills in our area. Walking up reminded me I haven't seen many hills, nor walked them since moving to our tiny, very flat, town. We found a baby toad on the uphill walk.

After that, a dash into Kroger.

We returned home to play outside until Roo could take no more, he wanted to play cars inside where it was cool.

Not a thrilling Saturday, but we had an awesome breakfast, experienced nature, took a walk and enjoyed the summer day. I hope you had the chance to enjoy your children over the weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Banana Crunch Parfait

Does your family love parfaits? Mine does. I think the pineapple and banana in this parfait sounds amazing. This makes an amazing start to the day or a sweet treat without the guilt after dinner.


Banana Crunch Parfait



Ingredients
1 cup Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch cereal
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 cup honey
1 medium banana, sliced
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

Directions
Spoon half of the yogurt evenly into six parfait glasses; top with layers of half each of the bananas, pineapple, cereal and remaining whipped topping. Repeat layers. Drizzle honey over final layer.

Makes 6 servings.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Thanks to my friends at Post for sharing with me and inspiring me to share with you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saving Money On Back To School Shopping


It is time to send the kids off for another year of school. As you prepare to purchase clothes and supplies I have a few back to school shopping tips to share with you.



Tips From the Experts
Offers.com Vice President Howard Schaffer offered some tips for saving money on back-to-school shopping.
If you need school uniforms, you'll save a lot by shopping online. Look for coupon codes that will give you extra savings on sales items from stores like JCPenney, Sears and Lands' End.

Buy a quality backpack that will last through the whole year. Cheap backpacks are tempting, but if they aren't made well, you'll end up buying a new one before the school year's over. Spending a little more initially will save you money in the long run.

Do an inventory of the supplies you have at home before you shop. I'm always surprised at how many pens, pencils and folders my kids have lying around the house.

Always go to a coupon and deals site to find the best sales. You'll be surprised at how much you can save using a coupon code.


I also have an article on How to Save Money on Back to School Clothes that you won't want to miss.
Back to School doesn't have to cost a fortune, with planning and smart shopping you can get all of the supplies the kids need and great stylish clothes without going over budget.
Monday, August 11, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday

Welcome back to Tell Me About It Tuesday! We are glad to have you partying with us again this week!


In my world in the last week:


We took a little trip, we had relatives come to visit the day after we got back, and we hit up the Lincoln Highway yard sales. All in all it was a good week.


Make sure you hop over to see the features on Saving for My Family, Pin-n-Tell   and Woman of Many Roles. Be a dear and follow them or leave a comment if you would be so kind.

Among my favorites:

Deconstructed Smores by Our Mini Family


Haggling 101 by 702 Park Project


Let's Party!
Don't forget to visit the 2 links before yours in the party, just to keep it fair! Please visit and share as many as you can. We all love comments. {wink, hint, nudge} 
By linking up you acknowledge that the hostesses may feature your work in round ups, on pinterest or at the next party