MIMM – A Fun Filled Easter Weekend!

MIMM – A Fun Filled Easter Weekend!

Good morning!

I’ll be honest, after a long weekend of Easter fun, family and house stuff I’m pretty tired. So this Marvelous Monday post is going to be a mostly wordless one.

MiMM MIMM  #94 A  Pics of a Beautiful Easter <3

For one I’m feeling brain dead and for two I’m typing up this post Sunday night after driving home from a long day of festivities and honestly I’m just ready for bed.  But I had to drop in to share about our fun filled Easter weekend! [Read more…]

Candy Free Easter Basket Ideas

Candy Free Easter Basket Ideas

I remember Easter as a kid being about special treats, hunting hard-boiled eggs, getting together with family and spending the day having fun.

While some of that still happens it seems that Easter has become a bit more of a “sweets” holiday than it used to be.  Meaning the store shelves are over run with Easter themed candy, candy, and more candy!

I mean, you walk into a Target right now and you’ll find a good three aisles of pastel bags filled with sugar.  Sure, there are some toys mixed in but most are filled with candy!

The sad part is that millions of bags of that candy will be sold and millions of pounds of sugar will be consumed by our youth contributing America’s obesity epidemic.

[Read more…]

Friday Favorites St. Patrick’s Day Edition!

Good morning!

First off I can’t thank you enough for the love and support on yesterdays post.  It always amazes me how kind, caring and supportive my readers and blends are even though I’ve never met half of you!  You have helped me in more ways than you’ll ever know by just offering up the kind words you did.  Thank you!

I thought about not posting today after such a deep one yesterday and to be honest, I really want to catch up on responding to comments.  However, since it’s Friday I wanted to just drop in real quick with a few fun Friday Favorites.  I know it’s a little early for St. Patrick’s Day but I got carried away the other day on Pinterest searching for fun ideas to do this year.  I try to plan ahead but typically pin things then forget about them.  Maybe this will help me remember to go back and do some of these this year!

[Read more…]

Christmas Survey

Christmas Survey

Good morning!

Another busy week is almost over.  Woo hoo but also, yikes!  That means we are getting really close to Christmas and I am nowhere near ready.

 photo (3)

Disaster right!?!  The tree was leaning after we put it up but The Hubby said, “Nah, it’s fine.”  Then I’m standing in the kitchen the other day and crash!  Guess it wasn’t fine…. Luckily The Love Nugget was asleep in bed so I was able to clean up without him getting in the broken glass and mess.  On top of the falling Christmas tree it’s been a long week.  Luckily it’s almost Friday and we’ve got a few fun family things planned for tomorrow 🙂

For today I thought I’d update something from the archives that I did last year.

25 Question Holiday Survey

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Hot Chocolate for sure!  Although I do like eggnog (I think, it’s been years), I’d much rather have a warm cup of hot chocolate.  Especially one of these!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

The hubby and I just discussed this the other day.  When it was just the two of us, Santa wrapped them all.  Now that we have the Love Nugget, mom and dad will wrap a few but Santa gifts will be put together and unwrapped waiting for him under the tree.

3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white?

All white both inside and outside.  Although we don’t have our outside lights up and probably won’t this year.  We do have two lighted reindeer though 🙂  Our street is super decked out so we feel a little bah humbug being the only house without lights but we just haven’t had time.  Oh well!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

I haven’t in years!  We used to have a tree by our house that had mistletoe and we would climb the tree to cut it down and try to sell it.  Little entrepreneurs we were!

5. When do you hang your decorations up?

We usually put up our decorations a few days after Thanksgiving.  However, this year with moving we didn’t get a tree until last Friday night and didn’t get to decorate until Sunday.  Next year will be different though!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Hmmm… this ones a hard one because we are always sampling new dishes.  My aunt makes stuffed mushrooms every holiday that are pretty good and I always loved my grandma’s crab dip that she made every year :-)

7. What is your favorite holiday memory as a child?

I’m not sure I have one favorite memory.  I have lots of memories of my brother and I waiting up for Santa to come, my dad working us up by telling us he could hear jingling, decorating the Christmas tree with all of our ”special” ornaments and spending time with lots of family members.

8. What is on your Christmas wish list?

Since we just moved and renovated our house we aren’t really doing gifts this year.  A new house is a pretty good gift 🙂

9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?

In the past The Hubby and I have opened gifts whenever we could get a night together.  We’ve always been on the road Christmas Eve and  Christmas day so we usually spent an evening opening gifts and hanging out the night before Christmas Eve.  This year my best friend and I are starting a tradition with our little ones where we send them each a Christmas Eve package to open.  We’re hoping to continue it through the years with our kids as they grow.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

We decorate with all red and silver ornaments but I’m dying to change it up a bit. Red and gold maybe?

11. Snow? Love it or dread it?

I love to see snow, be in it for a few minutes, then sit inside with a warm mug of hot chocolate looking at it from afar :-)   I hate being cold!  My extremities freeze and turn purple!  I’ve been snowboarding a few times and it always ends up in me being frozen.

12. Real tree or fake tree?

Real!  I love the smell of fresh Christmas tree and there is no candle that can replace it!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Gosh, I don’t know that I have a favorite gift.  A few years ago right before Christmas we found out Love Nugget was going to be a boy and that was a pretty cool gift :-) Then we got to share it with everyone else by gifting cookies that were decorated like a little boy!

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Spending time with my family, especially grandparents.

2ndxmas4

My brothers, cousins and I with my Grandpa

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Oh my, I don’t think I could choose just one!  I love to bake during the holidays and usually end up making way too many sweets!  This year will be a little more difficult since we are just so busy with the house.  I’ll make a few things but not the huge spread I usually do.

16. What is your favorite tradition?

With so much traveling and being in so many different places, it’s hard to really have traditions.  With my family, we always enjoy playing games during the holidays which is a lot of fun!  Now that we have The Love Nugget we are trying to start new traditions.  The Elf on The Shelf, Advent Calendars, Holiday cookies, crafts then making sure to wake up at our house Christmas morning.

1stxmas2

Playing a Christmas game last year

17. What tops your tree?

A star that I’ve had since college when I bought my first Christmas tree.  I’m feeling like it’s time to switch it up soon…

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love giving gifts!  Especially to The Love Nugget.  This year will be even more fun than last year as he’s really into Christmas and totally believes in Santa.  So fun with kids!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

I love Christmas music!  Our Christmas playlist has a combination of songs from Michael Buble and the Elf soundtrack.  The Love Nugget is obsessed with Christmas music which I can’t really blame him.  I wouldn’t mind listening to it all year long!

Christmas

20. Candy canes…yuck or yum?

I like candy cane or peppermint flavored things more than actual candy canes.  Peppermint mocha, peppermint patties, Peppermint Green Tea, Peppermint Cake Pops 🙂  Oh and if you would like to help me win a contest you could pin these images on this link.  That would be awesome!!!!

frost11

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

It’s a toss up between the Polar Express and Love Actually.  We watched The Polar Express the other night with The Love Nugget and he was freaking out when the boy would lose his ticket.  Crying hysterically because, “He needs his ticket!”  The anticipation in the movie was killing him!

Love Actually [Blu-ray]

22. What do you leave for Santa?

Usually nothing but this year we’ll leave out cookies for him.

23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

Opening stockings and gifts then we usually are hopping in the car to go to the next Christmas.  This year I’m looking forward to being home both Christmas Eve and all of Christmas day 🙂

24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

I used to do most my shopping in the store however, I’m quickly learning that shopping online with a toddler is much easier than trying to purchase in the stores.  Especially as he gets older and pays more attention to what I’m putting in the cart.

25. Christmas letter or Christmas card?

Christmas Card with photos.  Although this year they are still sitting here waiting to be sent.

Questions – Your turn!  Choose a few questions and answer share your answers :-)

Toddler Tuesday – How we plan to tackle Halloween.

Halloween is one of my least favorite Holidays.  Sure, I loved it when I was a kid but now it’s just not my thing.  I hate being scared so I don’t go to haunted houses, I majorly dislike blood, guts, or any gross death related things, and you’ve probably guessed that I’m not huge on the massive amounts of candy that is devoured on October 31st.  When I say massive I mean MASSIVE!

Did you know that Americans purchase over 600 million pounds of candy?  That’s 158 TRILLION candy corns!  Talk about sugar overload!  Out of that 600 million, 90 million pounds of it is chocolate topping the only 48 million that is purchased before Valentines Day.   Even though Americas may be trying to cut back and budget more these days, we still spend $44 a year on Halloween Candy alone.  I personally think that is a lot and am happy I’m not contributing much to that statistic this year!

(Source)

Other than the fact that candy is overloaded with sugar, harmful dyes and high fructose corn syrup, there are some gross ingredients that make me avoid it as well.

  • Lanolin – basically sheep sweat and is used as  a “gum base” in some candy products.
  • Carmine – a red dye made from dried, boiled and crushed beetles.  YUM!!
  • Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) – A form of butane used in lighter fluid as well as a preservative in foods such as Butterfingers.  One of The Hubby’s favorites!!!
  • Castoreum – An extract from beaver perineal in other words, beaver urine.  Mmmm… sounds good right!?!  This one hides under the label “Natural Flavoring.”
  • Shellac – A sticky substance from bug secretion used to give Jelly beans their shiny coating.  Also known as confectioners glaze.  (Source – Huffington Post)

Eeek!  Makes you think twice about unwrapping that candy bar right!?!   It’s easy for us as adults to say no to the candy temptations on Halloween but what about the kids.  You can’t take away the fun and excitement associated with Trick-or-Treating, right?  Also, is it fair to not allow them to enjoy any of the treats that they excitedly collect and that their friends are probably going to be eating?  These are a few questions I’ve been thinking about as “the big day” arrives.  How will I tackle this night that as a kid I loved but as an adult I loathe?  Well, after much consideration and discussion with my husband, here’s some things we’re going to try out this year,

1. Discuss with The Love Nugget about why candy isn’t healthy for him.

    • This is something we’ve already begun doing and surprisingly he’s sort of getting it.  At the few Harvest Festivals we’ve gone to there has been candy passed out and he’s been very good at giving it to us and waiting for a small piece or a healthier treat later.  Yesterday we were talking about candy because he saw a wrapper at the park and said,  “I like candy but I like healthy treats more!”  Made me feel so good!  Don’t worry, we won’t be doing away with treats completely or replacing them with some of the mentioned ones in this commercial…

2. Dress The Love Nugget up in his Pirate Costume and take him Trick-or-Treating in a family oriented neighborhood.

      • It’s no secret we’ve been trying to move out of our neighborhood.  Unfortunately over the past few years we’ve lost most the families that lived nearby and it’s not as kid friendly as it once was.  We live on a court that has a few empty houses as does the rest of the neighborhood so we just figure we’ll have a more pleasant experience going to a friends neighborhood with some more kids to see dressed in their costumes.

2. Purchase some healthier candy that I feel better about giving him and trade for his Trick-or-Treat candy.

      • At Easter he got tons of candy filled eggs which I took, filled with a better version and allowed him to have some with his friends.  This worked since he didn’t feel left out and I didn’t feel as bad about him eating it.  Some of my favorites are,

                       UnReal Candy Bars – Even The Hubby loves these 🙂

                       Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops – Although these make him sugar crazy!

                        Surf Sweets – They even have spider treats

                        Funky Monkey Snacks – Freeze Dried Fruit with no sugar added that are pretty good!

                        Justin’s – One of The Hubby’s favorites!

3. Make Halloween more about the fun activities than just about the candy.

      • So far this month we’ve enjoyed some really fun Harvest Festival events, carved pumpkins, painted pumpkins, and done several pumpkin/Halloween crafts.  Teaching kids that Halloween is more about the fun than just the candy will help them to be less interested in just eating candy.  While this was easier in the activities that we did before actual Halloween day, I expect it will be more difficult during and after Trick-or-Treating.  So what I plan to do is purchase a few Halloween themed books, coloring pages, and other fun non-candy related things for The Love Nugget to do after Trick-or-Treating.  This will hopefully re-direct his attention from wanting to eat all his candy.

4. Not spend too much time Trick-or-Treating.

      • There’s no rule that you have to get to a certain amount of houses before you head in for the night.  For us it’s easy since The Love Nugget is still young and won’t care too much when we say it’s time to go.  With older kids I’m sure this is easier said than done.  I mean, I remember wanting to hit every house in the neighborhood before we could be finished.  However, you could easily establish a time limit before leaving the house.  You could also draw out a map of the neighborhood beforehand and allow kids to mark the 7-10  (parent chosen number)  houses they want to visit.   This could also help certain kids who might be frightened by scary decorations – like The Love Nugget – as they may choose to avoid specific streets and houses altogether.

5.  Host or meet at a friend’s house to enjoy each other’s company, let the kids play and spend less time focusing on the candy.

      • I’ve heard of lots of people who host progressive parties on Halloween where they meet at one persons house for an appetizer and cocktail then go to few houses to Trick-or-Treat before making a stop at the next house for another appetizer and cocktail.  I wish we lived in a neighborhood where we could do this but hopefully we’ll be spending the majority of our evening hanging out with friends instead of collecting candy 🙂

6. Donate unwanted candy to others who do want it.

      • Teaching moment!  Donating is a great way to teach your kids about generosity, caring and sharing.  A quick search on Google led me to a few different options.  The local Children’s Museum is hosting a Sweet Exchange where kids can bring in their candy Nov 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in exchange for a goodie bag to take home.  The candy is donated overseas for troops to enjoy.  On November 1st  Personalized Dental Care will buy back Halloween candy for $1 a pound which will again be donated to troops overseas.  If you can’t find anything local, Operation Shoebox is an online organization that supports troops overseas.  They accept and appreciate candy donations throughout the year.

Those are just a few things we hope to do this year.  Regardless, we plan to have fun and enjoy seeing him experience his first Trick-or-Treat experience 🙂

toddler1

QUESTIONS – 

  • What are your plans for Halloween?  
  • Any other suggestions? 
  • If you have kids, do you have any non-candy activities planned?  

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Marvelous in my Monday Thanksgiving recap and Cyber Monday deals!

Marvelous in my Monday Thanksgiving recap and Cyber Monday deals!

Hi there! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days. Busy family week/weekend! We got home yesterday afternoon from 5 days of being gone. It’s so nice to come but unfortunatly we came home to an infestation of ants! Ugh! They had made their way to the White Coyote’s food dish 🙁 So annoying! I hopped on Pinterest and found a natural remedy to kill ants and they are gone! Thanks Pinterest!

Since it’s Monday, it’s time yet again for Marvelous in My Monday with Katie at Healthy Diva Eats. I’m sure many of us will be sharing our Marvelous Thanksgiving recaps for this fun link up!

Where to begin… As you know Wednesday we spent the day at my grandfather’s house (the grandpa who just lost his wife, my grandmother). It was nice to be able to see him and spend some time with him. He’s been having a really hard time since her passing and we have been trying to be as supportive and helpful to him as possible. It always melts my heart to see the Love Nugget crawl into his lap to read stories together.

The best part about this past week was getting to see the Love Nugget with his Great Grandparents.  With the passing of my grandmother recently, it’s reminded us that as we’re getting older, so are they and as much as we hate to say it, their time in this world is fading.  With that said, we’ve been soaking up every minute we can spend with them 🙂

From left, my grandpa and the Nugget, the hubby’s father, grandfather, the Hubby and the Nugget and my other grandfather and the Nugget 🙂

The next day we drove up to my hubby’s home town to spend the day at his grandparent’s house. He has a large family and everyone gets together on the holidays for a big, delicious dinner. This particular Thanksgiving was extra special because my sister-in-law and cousin-in-law took on the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner!

They made so much yummy food which was joined by a few other side dishes brought by family members.

So much food!

The Love Nugget couldn’t wait to dig in and as we finished our prayer and cheered on the chefs, he decided to dip in for a little sample.

Little stinker!

After dinner we drove another hour up to my mom’s house for the rest of the weekend. My other Grandfather is selling his house so we spent the majority of the weekend cleaning, packing and having an estate sale.  Friday morning was spent pricing and packing for the garage sale  However after that, we came back to my mom’s and enjoyed some more yummy food and fun times!

In case you didn’t know, I grew up on a hunting club and my two brothers are huge hunters. With a hunting family, there were always guns around and on holidays we would often go out on the ranch and shoot clay pigeons, logs, cans, etc. I know, talk about country living! Anyways, the hubby also grew up around guns and has recently become more interested in owning his own. So he’s purchased a few and even built his own gun over the past few months! So talented my hubby is! So he was itching to not only get out and shoot it, but to have me do so as well.

Now, even though I grew up around guns, they scare the crap out of me. But… I joined in with the boys and auntie Gigi to shoot off a few rounds.

Haha! I have to admit I look pretty funny in my skirt and boots holding a gun!

After dinner, a dear friend from high school who was up visiting her parents came over for some wine and catching up. My brother and hubby had collected some scraps from my grandpa’s house so they decided to build a bonfire.  Yes, I so grew up a country girl! Shooting guns, then standing around a bonfire!  Country living at it’s finest!

Then we headed out on the town to join up with another high school friend.

It was fun to get out and catch up but man did we feel old! We don’t get out all that often and the particular bar we went to was filled with a very young looking crowd. It was still fun though!

We didn’t stay out too long since we are so old but were still in bed much later than our normal bedtime. Unfortunately the Love Nugget didn’t realize this and woke up at 4:00 fussing and wanting to be in bed with us. Wiggling, grunting, crying until 5:30. Then we got up before 7:00 for the garage sale! Ugh! Exhausting! Thank god for coffee!

After a long day of helping out at my grandpa’s garage sale, the hubby and I went out to grab a quick bite while grammie watched the Love Nugget.  It was nice to have a little mini date night after a long day.  We were exhausted though and went right to bed after dinner!  Luckily the Love Nugget slept better but last night was another night with not much sleep.  We aren’t too sure what’s going on with him lately but hopefully he gets back on track!

Today the Love Nugget and I are going to head to the gym, then Costco and grocery shopping.  Fun!  I’m hoping to have some time to get online and do a little shopping for Cyber Monday!  I’ve already seen a few good deals but finding the time is a problem.

One of those good deals is $50 off the next round of Fitmixer boot camp!  This is the boot camp you heard me talking so fondly of for the past few months and I’ll be joining in again for this next round.  If you want to join me and take advantage of this great deal, just click on the Fitmixer button on this page and enter CYBER50.

Another great deal is for 20% off the first month of any new subscription including gifts at Healthy Surprise!  If you aren’t familiar with this wonderful company, you can check out my review here.  Then follow this link and enter MUNCHY20 to get your discount!

Last great deal I’ll share with you today is on another package deal.  I love these monthly healthy box subscriptions and this one is a favorite in our house.  Klutch club is offering 15% OFF 1 MONTH, 20% OFF 3 MONTH and 25% OFF 1 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION & GIFT PURCHASES OR 25% OFF OUR BEST OF BOX!  All you have to do is follow this link and enter the code for the option you would like to do.

“CYBER15” for 15% Off 1 Month,
“CYBER20” for 20% Off 3 Month OR
“CYBER25” for 25% Off 1 Year

“BB25” for 25% Off the BIG BOX

I’m sure there are a ton more awesome deals out there but those are a few I’ll be taking advantage of!

Hope you have a Marvelous Monday!

QUESTIONS –

  • What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving this year?
  • Are there any great deals you’ve seen for Cyber Monday?

 

 

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!!!

Talk about a busy weekend!

Grammie, A.K.A. my mom, came to stay with us for a few days on Thursday. 

I had high hopes of doing all sorts of fun stuff while she was here.  Zoo, wine tasting, gardening, brunch, park, church, and maybe some crafting.

Ha!  Things don’t happen like they used to with a 10 1/2 month old.  While we didn’t get to do a lot of the things I had wanted to, we still had a great time visiting with her.

Saturday we went to an Easter Celebration with some friends at a golf course.  It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun!  They had real bunnies for the kiddos to pet, an Easter egg hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny.  The love nugget hadn’t seen the Easter Bunny yet so I wasn’t sure how he was going to react but he seemed to like him!

I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to standing next to a grown man in a bunny suit to take a picture.  Strange!   I will say this Easter Bunny was much nicer looking than the one at the mall.

After our Easter extravaganza, we went to a nursery and picked out some plants for our yard.  Grammie helped the hubby get them planted while I went and got a pedi/mani.  It’s been way too long!  Then we went to one of our favorite sushi restaurants for dinner and splurged on frozen yogurt after.

This morning we woke up, made breakfast, then took off to go visit family.

Again it was such a beautiful day and we spent most of the afternoon outside enjoying it.  The love nugget made some progress with his latest hurdle, standing by himself.

He tends to do it more when we are away from home and this time he stood for the longest time yet!  Long enough for me to get LOTS of pictures!

He also hunted some Easter eggs….

 

Opened some easter gifts…

And posed for some pictures with his cousins…

We had such a fun Easter this year!   We are so blessed to have such an amazing family that we love dearly.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter as well!!!!

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