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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Day At Kelley's Island With My Sweetie #LakeErieLove

I just returned from a few lovely days from the Shores of Lake Erie. I can't wait to tell you about a simple adventure I took with my 5 year old and why this was the highlight of the trip.

Since I gave birth to Harper, Roo and I don't get a lot of one on one time. He is now 5, and I have missed him in many ways, despite the fact we spend most of our days together. On Monday night I whispered to Roo "Wanna go on an adventure with me?" He whispered back "And Harper?" I shook my head no and said "No, this is a special day for just you and me." Roo smiled and drifted off to sleep.

At noon my husband dropped us off in Sandusky and Roo and I strolled over to the Jet Express to get tickets for our adventure. We were headed to Kelley's Island, Ohio.



We had some time before our boat boarded, so we strolled around the area. We stumbled into a great shop featuring basically every old fashioned candy imaginable as well as a vast selection of soda. (I believe it is called Soda Pop's on W. Water Street.) This was a fun stop to make as we waited for our ferry. Roo got an apple juice and a few gummy candies to hold him over until lunch.

We made our way back to the ferry, and my little guy snacked happily on his sweets and a small bag of local chips. As he saw the boat approaching his eyes were wide with excitement. He said "Hold my hand Mommy!" and he bounced his way to the line to board. We climbed to the top deck and sat down, he slid closer to me and said again "Mommy! Hold My Hand!!!" He was excited and a touch nervous.





We enjoyed taking a few photos together and of the scenery. The ride wasn't too long, I didn't time it as I wanted to savor the moments with my growing son. I did hear that the boat can travel 34 mph, which is impressive!

Roo was quite impressed by the sight of Cedar Point from the water!



As we arrived my son was happy. We looked at the boats, we walked around town for a few minutes, scoping out restaurants. We held hands and happily walked around taking it all in. I asked him questions, he answered, we laughed. He very cutely told me that sometime he was going to have 20 babies of his own. I smiled. I said "What will you name all 20 babies?" He said "I don't know. I have to get 20 beds first Mom!"

We wandered into the Captains Corner. We weren't really hungry, but we knew we would be eventually. Roo opted for lemonade and we shared a basket of fries.



The conversation with my son, giving him the chance to make all the choices. My heart pinched me to savor every second, to let him eat junk food, to laugh with him and soak it all up. We rarely get the chance to do anything just the two of us these days.


We rode back after a walk around, we admired the view of the lake, the boats, the peaceful atmosphere, the feeling of community in such a lovely place in the world. I have been going to Kelley's Island since I was just a kid, my first trip was at the age of 14.  But, experiencing it with my son.... having a day alone. It made the experience new again.





After we arrived back in Sandusky, we sat on a bench and talked, looking at the boats and water. We walked around town, enjoyed a fountain and decided we had a great day.


If you are looking for a trip that takes you away to a slice of paradise, hidden in Ohio, I have to recommend that you get Jet Express tickets and exploring Kelley's Island. It is so much like being at the ocean, that you will forget you are in Ohio!

June is a lovely time to visit in my opinion. The temperatures were perfect (high 70s, low 80s) and going on a weekday gave us plenty of time to explore without the crowds I normally encounter on weekends. If you are looking for a great getaway in Ohio, #LakeErieLove the Lake Erie Shores and Islands make an exceptional option for families!

Thank you to my friends at Lake Erie Shores and Islands and Jet Express for hosting this day of #LakeErieLove with my son.





Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Journey: NutriSystem NSNation

A big thanks to my friends at Nutrisystem for sponsoring today's post!

Since having my children, I have struggled with my weight. It goes up then down, then back up again. I am an active woman. I walk several times a week. I play with the kids, I use an elliptical, but still my weight is not where I would like for it to be in a perfect world. I know why I can't get a grasp on maintaining my weight... I make poor choices. I eat left over kid food over the sink instead of cooking for myself. I snack... on whatever sounds good. Every day I ask my husband Why is there no chocolate in this house? Inevitably one of us will dash out for candy, donuts, whatever chocolate looks appealing.

My daughter is 20 months old now. I can't blame having another baby for my issues with my weight. I have had 20 months to shape up. It is time to be accountable. I let my weight go up, then I basically yo-yo diet, drop some weight, then go right back to my old ways of eating food that I know is not good for my body, my weight or my self esteem. 

I am active! But in reality my weight will never be where I want it if I don't learn how to make healthier food choices, and stick to them. I need to swear off kid food in general, including gas station candy bars. I am aware that the change will come from me.

I do want to say, that weight is not the most important thing in the world to me. My kids love me as I am. My husband loves me too, if I weight 100 pounds or 500. But, I want to look better in my clothes, I want to not shrink away from the camera, for fear of a fat picture. I want to pass along a good example for making good choices to my kids, so that they are healthy for life.

I am telling you all of this because I am embarking on a 3 month journey. My health is my focus. I want to lose fat, gain muscle, learn to eat better and ultimately feel better about myself! I am now a part of the NSNation! I hope you will follow along with my on my journey to a healthier me.
Friday, June 26, 2015

Go Fly a Kite!

On a Sun drenched Sunday morning, my 5 year old said "I wanna fly a kite!" That sounded like a fine idea, so we headed out to a nice open area and got the kite into the air.


Harp was thrilled to have a chance to just run. She needed to stretch those cute baby legs!


But she wore down after a bit and she rested in the grass. Then the excitement of Roo getting his kite in the air attracted her attention. Off she went!


As you can see this was a big deal to a cute little boy. Dad cheers him on!


The kite flying was a success. The wind was perfect. My kids had a ton of fun, the sunlight and exercise of playing in an open field was enough to get everyone happy with endorphin's! I hope we get a chance to have another kite flying day soon!

Do you ever enjoy the small pleasures of life like flying a kite on a beautiful day with your kids? Sometimes there are the days that are the best!k



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Home Sweet Jellystone Storybook Activity and Name Writing Practice

Did you know kids can lose months of the things they learned at school when they are on summer break? With that in mind I set out to have 30 minutes of preschool/play school with Roo that involves tracing, counting, reading and fine motor at least 4 days a week.

So far this has been a great thing! He can spell, he can read, but his handwriting needs a little work.

I found some old printer paper, like the kind that is connected. This gave me an idea. I asked Roo to go to his bookshelf and find a book about cars.








He picked Home Sweet Jellystone, A Yogi the Bear Book. The Ranger inherits money, leaves the park and the Yogi the Bear gang longs to get him to return. Cute book!

So, as we finished the story, I started drawing out my son a tool to practice writing his name, in an addicitve way!


We made the object of this activity to drive over the roads that spell his name, and get from Jellystone to Yogi.



This was a lot of fun for Roo. We tried to make a name road for Harp, but she saw paper and decided to destroy it rather than play along.


While the story wasn't about cars really, I can't complain, he did find a book with a jeep on the cover!
And we made it into a storybook activity in a flash that he keeps coming back to that will help him with writing his name!




Monday, June 22, 2015

My Dream Summer Oasis Contest #BackyardOcean

I have a fun contest to share with you guys! Don't forget to vote for your favorites!



Mission: Create a Pinterest board entitled "Dream Summer Oasis" and pin your summer picks from the Backyard Ocean website and other inspiration for decorating your dream backyard. Include the hashtag #BackyardOcean in your board and pin description. Complete the form on the Backyard Ocean Facebook page.

Winner Selection: All entries will be judged by Backyard Ocean according to the following criteria: (1) Board aesthetics, (2) Creativity in using Backyard Ocean products for decorating their summer backyard, (3) Point entries. 25 entries will be selected by Backyard Ocean from all eligible entries received as finalists. The Finalists will advance to the Voting Period where their Pinterest boards will be displayed via Third Party Contest Poll Application for public voting. The top 10 Pinterest boards with the most number of votes by the end of the Voting Period will enter a final judging by Backyard Ocean to select the top 3 best overall entries.

Prizes: $150 Gift Cards to 3 winning board entries

Participants can earn points by doing various actions from the contest app. You can also view the official contest rules within the contest app.


To get started visit https://gleam.io/fb/l8JBj


Saturday, June 20, 2015

DIY Kids Reading Nook and Book Storage Solution

We have moved into our house and are now in the stages of making it work for us. The rooms are all spacious, there are closets! But we have a mass of childrens books fitting for a small library. After filling the only 3 shelves available with books, I had to get creative about storing them but I also wanted to come up with something functional.

I got an under the bed storage tote. I filled it with about 50 books.



I placed the lid on it and immediately my daughter dashed into see what was up. She is a little bookworm and the idea of several hundred available books really appealed to her... and the mess maker in her too.



                  From here I got a soft blanket. and covered tote of books.



I added a few favorite stuffed animals, but they were instantly snatched away by the kids. so I gave them a pillow and a small basket of books at the side of this reading nook.


As you can see, it was instantly put to use by my sweet book loving daughter.


So, for about $8 I created a storage solution and a seating area for the kids! This has worked well because the kids like to lay down and read, and the tote filled with books supports their weight and is just the right length for them to do so.



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Get a FREE Sample of Poise for LBL and #RecycleYourPeriodPad




Ladies, lets talk about a serious issue facing women. Light Bladder Leakage. It happens and so often we don't want to admit it. In fact, I have had it happen to me, like recently, just days ago. I have had a cold. Coughing and a snotty nose have plagued me for about a week. A few nights ago, I sneezed and a look of horror must have come over my face. My son looked worried. He said "Mommy is sick?" I said "No honey, the only part of me that is sick is my pride..."

I sulked my way upstairs. I ran into my husband who reminded me to smile... I looked at him with no humor on my face and said "Smile? About what? Peeing my pants a little when I sneeze?" He had nothing to say so I scurried off to deal with my light bladder leakage issue. Yeah that is a good old perk of motherhood, #PeeSneeze.

Ladies, just because we might tinkle a little bit when we laugh too hard, sneeze or get really physical working out, but did you know there are better ways to control the leak than by using your standard old period pad?

Let me tell you about Poise Pads and why they are better suited for this issue that women face than a period pad. These pads are thin, perfect for summer season and summer fashion!

•Women deserve the best options for managing LBL so Poise brand has introduced new Poise Thin-Shape pads, which are up to 40% thinner than original Poise brand pads and are made specifically for bladder leaks with the trusted absorbency of Poise brand.
•Designed to move with your body, new Poise Thin-Shape pads feature Super Absorbent Material (SAM) and a Thin-Flex design for extraordinary protection that’s still 3x drier than period pads† to help you take care of leaks with confidence.

I am ditching my period pads for LBL! I am finding lots of ways to #recycleyourperiodpad! I used one today to clean a window in our screen door.


I live with a 5 year old baseball player... he thinks spitting is all the rage. So yes, that is spit you see in this photo... BOYS!

So I got busy and cleaned it up in a flash.


Window sprayed with cleaner! Lets get that spit off the window!



                         I have to admit, this period pad fit my hand well for an impromptu cleaning session.


                                   And look! It collected dirt and spit from the window!

How about that #recycleyourperiodpad! by using it to clean up a dirty window complete with spit. This was a hack I hadn't thought about yet. Perfect timing too as I had just ran out of paper towels after my daughter decided that morning to dump a can of soda on her head. (Let me add she is not allowed to have soda, but is not above climbing on the dining room table to help herself to whatever she wants...)

This girl will never go back to a period pad to protect against Light Bladder Leakage again. Poise can handle my issues when a #PeeSneeze happens!

Now what are you waiting for? You never know when it will happen... so prepare yourself!



 Get a FREE sample of Poise Thin Shape Pads for the next time LBL or a #PeeSneeze happens to you.

Do you ever have LBL? How do you handle the situation?





Sunday, June 7, 2015

Veggie Pizza

Summer is here! I am perfecting my recipes for cold meals that will satisfy the family. I don't want to turn on the oven for any longer than necessary, and that makes this the perfect recipe for the hottest days!

My tip is to prepare the crust early in the morning. This gives it plenty of time to cool and you won't need to swelter with the added heat of the oven in the afternoon.



To make Veggie Pizza you will need

One can of crescent rolls
Ranch Dip
Raw veggies (We used carrots, broccoli and sugar snap peas)
Shredded Cheese 

Unroll the crescent rolls. Make some sort of odd shaped crust with them on a cookie sheet. 

Poke lots of holes in the dough with a fork. 

Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes until the crust is flaky and golden.

Allow to cool completely.

Spread about 3 tablespoons of ranch dip onto the crust.

Top with veggies of your choice.

Sprinkle on cheese to taste.

Cut into squares and serve cold.


This recipe is a great side, main dish, or appetizer at a party. You can use any veggies you like, which makes it a great recipe for varying taste buds!



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Time.... The Kick Off

Summer vacation started for Roo on Friday. He was pretty okay with the end of the year. So far he has had no complaints about hanging out at home with Harper and I.



On Friday, first day of summer for my little guy we loaded the baby into the stroller and we set off, downtown bound. The sun was shining. Life was pretty good. We were in search of a haircut as Roo was looking shaggy. We stopped at each place in our little town we could think of, hoofing it here and there. It must have been the day for haircuts. No one could get us in. My son, his lip quivered each time we left a shop. He really wanted a haircut. His heart was set on it.

I promised tomorrow we would get a haircut, even if we had to wait for 2 hours. He still looked sad. He looked at me with big blue eyes and said "Take Care of Me." I said "Aww, I will. What can I do Roo?"
He said "Take Harper Rae to lunch with me."

Smart kid, so to lunch we went. Our first lunch date in a long time. Just the three of us. After feeding the growing children, we were prepared to walk on home. It was a lovely day to have spent strolling about town with my kids. It was a shame about the haircut, but I didn't think the day was wasted by any means!


When I tucked my Roo into bed that night, he told me, "Today a happy day Mommy." I said "I thought so too honey. A good and happy day spent with you." I started to leave the room and he whispered "Stay, stay here." So I laid back down in his bed and he stroked my arm until he fell asleep.


Motherhood, nothing ever goes as planned. From hair cuts, to ducking out of the room at bedtime. But, something I am learning along the way is that, being able to adapt, to make the best of the day, is the key to having happy days
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

30 Days to Move: Day 10

So, this is not working out as I had planned. Do you know why? Writing a month long series while moving is really not the brightest of ideas....


On Day 10... the guilt of the day before hit me (think hot mess cookie fest). I got busy, cleaning, packing and getting stuff done! Granted, as I packed a box, I had eager help to unpack my boxes. It was a process.

With a great deal of the toys, blankets, clothes, odds and ends from the kitchen and knick knack things tucked into boxes I felt better. This was going to happen, one way or another.


On Day 10, I had moved, mothered and worked several hours for my job. The long week I had was showing on my face.

Reluctantly I pushed my trusty mower out the door and got a good sweat rolling as I made attempts to mow the jungle that was a lawn just 10 days before. Of course, Carla came by and said she was so worried about me... I looked exhausted. I laughed and told her putting in 13 hours on a Sunday and then mowing will do that to a woman. She looked guilty and hurried away.


Overall, Day 10 was good. I mowed half the yard, packed a bunch of stuff and was half way fun to be around for the kids!

Gelato with Decadent Hot Fudge Sauce

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Turkey Hill Dairy. All opinions are my own.


We love all the gourmet things that life has to offer, this includes sinfully delicious yet simple all natural desserts! All Natural Gelato is no stranger to out list of yummy things that as a family we love!

We had the chance to test a few flavors of Turkey Hill Dairy All Natural Gelato and I have to tell you, this stuff is good! It is made with simple ingredients and it is nearly addictive!

We have been in the midst of a treacherous move. Living off of peanut butter sandwiches and take out pizza for weeks. As soon as our refrigerator was delivered yesterday I dashed out to the grocer to grab essentials including Turkey Hill All Natural Gelato.

My kids, both smiled their angel face smiles and asked for sundaes. How could I resist making something fantastic even better?

We selected Chocolate Peanut Butter and Mint Chocolate Chip Turkey Hill All Natural Gelato. We grabbed a box of waffle bowls and headed home, ready to be indulged without so much guilt.

To top off our sundaes I whipped up a batch of decadent hot fudge sauce. You will want to try this recipe!!!

Decadent Hot Fudge Sauce recipe
2/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup  light corn syrup
1/3 cup  brown sugar
¼ cup  cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (enough to maintain a low simmer), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regulary

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate, the butter, and the vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. Let cool for 30 minutes before using as it does thicken as it cools.  Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute until it's pour-able but still thick.

My son Roo went for the Chocolate Peanut Butter instantly, he begged for lots and lots of fudge sauce too!


Eating Ice Cream is not one of the events that we stay clean during... 


What can I say? The child was ready to get into this dessert!



My daughter and I opted for Mint Chocolate Chip, of course it was loaded with Decadent Hot Fudge too!





Not the best photo here.. I had a 20 month old clawing at me to get to dessert!


And as you can see, she was not at all disappointed with her sweet pure dessert!


Let me tell you what we LOVED about Turkey Hill Gelato:

Turkey Hill Dairy is the first major ice cream brand to offer an all natural gelato.  Their all Natural Gelato is made with simple ingredients like milk, cream, sugar and vanilla. We loved the dense texture and flavor. It seems to be more filling than ice cream.

You can find Turkey Hill Gelato where ever Turkey Hill products are sold.


Do you want to learn more about some of the amazing flavors Turkey Hill offers in Gelato? (Think Peach Mango, Coffee Chip and Purely Vanilla)... You need to get social with Turkey Hill to keep in the loop!

Here are your means to getting social!


Monday, June 1, 2015

30 Days to Move : Day 9

Well, the dream house... wasn't the dream house after all. There was just no way to make it work financially. I didn't get too discouraged. Remember I had a plan to fall on... campground living.

I half joked there.

Well the search continued. Houses were scooped out and promptly passed on when the insides were viewed, or the neighbors were sighted. House hunting proved to exhausting.



So, tossing in the towel for a day I have to admit. I wallowed in misery. I cried. I ate cookies.

That day feeling especially helpless and hopeless I prayed long and hard for God to shove me and I would do the work to get there.

So, on Day #9 of 30... Here are some more tidbits on what not to do:

Don't give up.
Keep Looking! Neighbors be damned, if you need a house, don't give up.

Don't cry.

Don't Wallow in Misery.

Don't turn to cookies.

Instead:

Keep sorting, packing and eliminating things that you really don't want, need or use. This stuff should not be moved to your new house.

Keep your attitude positive. There are houses!