Sunday, October 30, 2011


I had the fabulous privilege of hosting a HEXBUG Nano Halloween party at my house last weekend.  It was an absolute blast.  If you haven't seen these things yet, you should really come over and play with them because they're a lot of fun.  HEXBUG has created the most realistic little battery powered toys made to look like insects and habitats for them to crawl around in.  They sent me a kit and we invited friends over to play.

My kids and I opened the box right away and of course we had to open up a couple of the bugs to play with right then.  I tried to tell them to wait, we're going to have a party, yadda yadda yadda but they weren't having it.  We played with them a few minutes and got started planning the party right away.

HEXBUG sent game ideas and recipes for hosting the party and we loved the ideas.  We served Mummy Dogs, Swamp Punch, and Graveyard Dip with Veggies.  Even the adults enjoyed playing with the bugs and my engineer husband commented on how well the parts of the track were made (especially in comparison to some recent assembly of popular toy pet tracks).

We had a variety of kids from 18 months to 10 years old over and we played with the bugs and built tracks for them to crawl on.  We kept making the track bigger and bigger and having to move it from one room to another.

Julianna already had one of these Nano bugs that my mom had given her about 9 months ago.  She loved it so much that the battery had already run out and she had just saved up enough money to buy a new bug on her own.  The second bug she purchased was one of the larger ones.  You may have seen them advertised on TV.  The one she bought is called an ant and it is just downright creepy how realistic it is.  So obviously when I heard about these Limited Edition Zombie bugs and the possibility of hosting this party I jumped on the opportunity as fast as I could. 

We definitely enjoyed this experience and I would highly recommend these little creatures as stocking stuffers, etc.  I can't think of anyone who wouldn't love playing with them.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated to write this post. I was sent a HEXBUG Nano Halloween house party kit in the mail and asked to post one photo on Facebook in exchange for the products. I am writing this post on my own accord because I truly enjoyed the party and wanted my readers to know about the products. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Bread Kits (plus a coupon giveaway)

We've had such fun lately at our house with all kinds of festivities like birthday parties, spontaneous hiking trips, and now bread-making.  Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade® bread kits were delivered to my door a couple of weeks ago and I invited some ladies over to my house to try them out. 

Confession: I've never made bread before.  It was a lot easier than I expected; it was no big deal and it was all delicious.  This party totally exceeded my expectations and I will definitely be buying these kits again when my samples run out.  Anyway, here's how it all went down.

We dumped the ingredients in a bowl and stirred it up. Then we had to let it rise on a greased cookie sheet for 25 minutes in a warm place.

After that we put it in the oven and when it came out it looked like this:

The result tasted like fresh, baked from scratch bread and was absolutely delicious.  It took less than an hour and the actually prep time took less than ten minutes.  I will definitely make this again and I will probably try a bunch of the different mix-in suggestions as well. 

Giveaway: I have extra coupons to giveaway.  If you'd like me to mail you one, please leave a comment below and I'll randomly pick three people Wednesday morning to send these extra coupons to.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated to write this post.  I was sent a Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade® house party kit in the mail and asked to promote their products on Facebook in exchange for the products.  I am writing this post on my own accord because I truly enjoyed the bread and wanted my readers to know about it.  The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Julianna has been learning a lot lately.  I thought this kid would NEVER get how to swing by herself.  I mean, she's five and a half.  Don't most kids know how to swing by then?  No matter how hard she tried she just couldn't get it and I really don't know why.  I'd try and try to teach her and so would Jonathan.  For a couple of years now she's been able to keep the swing going for a bit and then she'd lose the rhythm and need a push again.  She just didn't have it right.

I don't know what changed, but Jules finally figured out how to swing sometime in the last month or two.  My mom would say it was a lot like me learning to ride a bike.  Anyway, I'm really proud of her!  She asked me to take this video so she must be pretty proud of herself as well.

That's Josh in the background talking to our cat, Simon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

twenty four months

Dear Joshua,

Here's just one little example of how you keep me on my toes.  You had an ear infection a couple of weeks ago and the doctor started you on Amoxicillian, which you enthusiastically enjoy to put it mildly.  You were chewing your bite of pancake one morning and I set the dropper of medicine down on the counter and turned my back long enough to tuck Julianna's lunch box into her book bag.  By the time I had turned back around a large portion of your pants and the bar stool were covered in pink goopy medicine.  You obviously couldn't figure out how the dropper worked at first and squirted it everywhere.  We started the process of getting dressed all over again.  I hope your bite of pancake tasted good with that little bit of thick pink goop you managed to get down.

You absolutely love the song "Whatever It Is" by the Zac Brown Band and you request it any time I turn on music in the car.  Fortunately, I don't mind at all.  I've tried several times to record you singing along, because it is just too cute for words, but I haven't been able to capture a good clip of it yet.  There's just something about the way you say "she's got a gentle way that puts me at ease" and "I do."

The other night in the car we were all fighting.  We were grumpy from a long day of work and school and it was a Friday night so I had no dinner plans and we headed out to pick something up.  You were in the backseat screaming, as usual about the sun being in your eyes.  Over and over again you declared, "Sun in MY EYES! SUN IN MY EYES! SUNINMYEYES!" Daddy finally just told you to close your eyes, after all we'd already tried everything else.  You stopped screaming and looked right at us and said, "I close my eyes in my bed, Daddy, every night."  It was another one of those moments you want to remember forever.

Josh, I'd like to say thank you for improving your eating habits this month.  The other night at dinner you ate your 4 piece serving of broccoli and then asked for more.  I mean it; you really did.  I couldn't believe it either.  And the icing on the proverbial cake was the way you said "Brock-ee."  I died.

You know so, so many words and your teachers still remark on your verbal abilities.  You do tend to get some funny ones confused occasionally.  You say, "Look at that airplane down in the sky!" and like a lot of toddlers, you don't use the proper form of certain words like when you use him or her instead of he or she and it makes me chuckle every once in a while.

Just this past week we were at a steakhouse and sitting underneath a neon Budweiser sign with the "King of Beers" crown.  You are obsessed with Humpty Dumpty and this book about him and his friend King Moe that we read every night.  So naturally you looked up at the sign and said, "It's King Moe's crown!"  You've heard the video featuring the way you say Humpty Dumpty, right?  Of course we're making your birthday cake a Humpty Dumpty cake.  You've been practicing blowing out your candles and I hope you don't freeze up when everyone looks at you.

Because you talk.  And then you don't talk.  If anyone speaks to you when we're out in public you practically climb my leg.  You rush to find someone you know and cling to them for dear life.  Heaven forbid anyone glance your way and smile or ohmygoodness if they ask you a question you bury your head as far down as you can get it in the folds of Mommy or Daddy.  But it's OK, Buddy.  Your aunt wouldn't order pizza until she was practically in college because she didn't like talking to people and she is a fully functioning adult today.  I think you'll survive.

Plus, Julianna and I have a plan. You see, there's this woman who works at Julianna's school and she sits outside by the door to the school every afternoon when we go to pick Jules up from school.  For whatever reason, you're terrified of her.  You won't speak to her.  You hide your eyes from her everytime we go by and you won't even begin to walk down the sidewalk near her.  You make me carry you every time.  So Julianna and I intentionally tell the woman goodbye as we pass her every day.  I'm optimistic that by the end of the school year you'll be jabbering to her like you do to everyone else in the family (so much so that Daddy doesn't think you ever stop talking).

You'll go to the doctor for your two year old check up in a few weeks and we'll learn more then, but I know that you weigh around 28 pounds (compared to your sister's 30 lbs at this age) and you're wearing 2T clothes (something she never really did when she was 2 so I know you're a little shorter than she was.  I love that you're different than her.  And I love that you still long to be just like her.  I know that won't last forever.

You still have that beautiful dark blonde/light brown hair and big brown (yes, still leaky) eyes.  You go down the stairs standing up now instead of scooting on your bottom.  You've cracked your head more times than I can even count.  You are young enough to still like to go grocery shopping with me and in general, you're just a good little boy to have around.

I love you, Buddy.


Friday, October 21, 2011

learning how to do a cartwheel

practicing and practicing
cartwheels and splits
practicing and practicing
over and over again

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love at First Bark

The back cover of Julie Klam's book "Love at First Bark" says that the author uses wit and warmth to describe her journey(s) to rescue stray dogs and find foster homes for others.  I couldn't agree more.  This was the latest book I was sent by Penguin Books for BlogHer Book Club.  You can check it out here

I read it in one and a half days which is a huge feat for me nowadays, but then again it's only 173 pages and with the hilarious little quips Klam includes in her storytelling, it was easy.  Doesn't everyone give puppet shows and Power Point presentations to their pets while house-breaking them?  

I'm not a die-hard animals are equal to humans kinda gal, but I do love the love animals instill in us and I can totally get behind a good old sappy pet story.  Klam's real life adventures with a dog that proves good enough to be her marriage counselor and another (aka Jarhead) who teaches her about home, herself, and the protection animals need from other humans.  If you are an animal lover and you need a quick read or just a good book to discuss pick up a copy of this book and join the discussion over at BlogHer.

Oh and one other little note, from now on whenever I'm starving around dinner time and my family is taking forever to get ready for dinner, I'm totally going to say, "If you're not going to act hungry and tired, by gum I'll do it for you!"

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

my blue ribbon winning girl 2.0

This year Julianna entered three items into the Dixie Classic Fair competitive entries.  It was going to be hard to top last year and she really didn't want to do it this year anyway, but I persuaded her with some strong arguing and reminder that rides cost money and ribbon winners get prize money.  Although I don't want to make her do anything that she really doesn't want to do if I don't have to, this is one of those traditions in my life that is kinda important to me and I knew she would be glad that she did it when she saw her work on display at the fair.  In the end, we honestly scrambled a lot the night before the entries were to be dropped off at the fair grounds and we didn't have the energy to put much effort into it.  We got it done though and my mom was kind enough to take them by the fairgrounds while we were at school.

Jules entered a decorated potato, a craft made of recyclable materials, and a ceramic. Unfortunately, when we got the entry tags in the mail the week before the fair, it turned out that she was entered as a 1st/2nd grader for her recyclable craft.  The others she was included correctly in the PreK/K category.  Oh well. I probably made a mistake filling out the paperwork and I knew it really wouldn't be a big deal.

The theme for this year's fair was Everyone's a Hero and most of the entries had to reflect that theme in some way or another.  This is what stumped us. I know nothing about comic book characters and apparently my daughter knows more than I do.

Eventually Julianna came up with the idea to make some of the characters from the Fantastic Four.  She made The Thing for her potato by drawing lines all over it to look like cracked, wrinkly skin.  She made The Human Torch out of recycled materials by stacking yellow Solo cups and attaching plastic bottle caps and crepe paper streamers.  Her ceramic dragon was something we had made earlier in the summer and she didn't have to do anything to it to get it ready to enter.

When the fair started we were at the beach for a friend's wedding so we were so excited to hear from my mom that she won three ribbons to add to her collection (first, third, and fifth).  It was funny because Mom kept calling back to report a new result on the different entries as she went from building to building throughout the fairgrounds.  We're really weren't expecting her to place at all considering how hurriedly we finished the decorating.

Naturally, Josh was eager to participate.  He had no idea what we were doing, but he was all about doing it.  He painted an apple silver and we called it the Silver Surfer.  He got an honorable mention ribbon for his participation.

Have you ever entered anything in a fair?  Did you win anything?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Servin'

On Saturday we participated in The Big Serve through my church, The Summit.  There were groups all over the county serving the community in different ways such as making meals for the firemen, working the concession stand at local high school football games, building Habitat houses, and landscaping at local schools.

We served with a group at a nearby elementary school.  Coincidentally, it was Julianna's school, which made it a little more special for her.  There was one group of folks that raked leaves, pulled weeds, and planted flowers outside at the school and another group that helped paint in the gym and put some bookshelves together.  We did a little of both.

I, of course, did a bit more babysitting than working and I felt a little guilty about this but I decided to stay and at least let my kids see everyone else serving the Lord by volunteering in the community.  We had a beautiful day to do it too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Please tell me you've missed me.  Oh right, oh right, so you probably haven't really missed me too much.  But I've been here.  I'm OK.  We're still getting over sickness at our house and staying as busy as ever with life things, but I wanted to give you guys a heads up to stay tuned.  When I find a spare minute or two I've got several giveaways to post.  Coming your way I've got giveaways for more Van's products, a couple of toys, another food item or two, and a couple of book reviews planned for the next few weeks. Carry on.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

and the fist pump goes to...

  • My mother and mother-in-law for taking care of Josh this week while he recovered from a virus and ear infection.
  • My husband for getting my wedding rings cleaned and checked this weekend.
  • My daughter for winning first, third, and fifth place in the three competitive entries she submitted to the Dixie Classic Fair.
  • My husband for taking care of Julianna ALL night last night while she vomited repeatedly with a high fever (I was in bed with chills) thanks to the virus Josh brought home.
Here's to a relaxing and recovering sabbath!

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