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Christmas Family Traditions

Growing up my extended family did not live near us. Often times holidays were spent with just my immediate family of my mom and dad, me, and my sister. My family developed strong Christmas family traditions because it was just the four of us. Christmas Eve wasn't Christmas Eve, it was my dad's birthday. For as long as I can remember we'd get him a puzzle for his birthday each year. We'd spend the day (and the week after Christmas) putting it together as a family. For dinner my mom made a spread of appetizers and we'd snack while playing games. One of our favorite games was Uno. "Blue to you" became a family joke and a "disease" my sister often got as she never had blue cards. Instead of birthday cake we'd eat Ice Box Pudding, a traditional birthday desert handed down my dad's family for five generations. Christmas Day my sister and I would wake early and open our stockings. We'd then go wake our parents and eat Christmas Morning Sticky Buns for breakfast. After breakfast, … [Read more...]

9 Unique Advent Calendars

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and that means that Christmas is right around the corner! 'Tis the time to start thinking about The Elf on The Shelf and advent calendars. Just like The Elf, calendars can be as boring or creative as you want them to be. I've done some searching for ideas for my family and found these nine unique advent calendars... This DIY Paper Ornaments Advent Calendar by Sweet T Makes Three fascinates me. I can't decide if it would be more fun for my girls to make the ornaments or to open them! Hang these as a garland if you don't have a tree yet. How cute is this DIY Christmas Bulb Advent Calendar by The House That Lars Built?! Even if you don't make these bulbs as a calendar, you can make them to hang on your tree or just around the house. What I love about this Magnetic Bottle Cap Christmas Advent Calendar by Third Stop On The Right is  that there are no gifts needed. It's just a simple count down to Christmas. How can you go … [Read more...]

Pet Insurance Provides Peace of Mind

The Healthy Paws® information below, product, and gift card, have been provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance®. All opinions are my own. Hubby and I have owned 5 dogs in the 16 years we've been married. Until 2 years ago we were lucky when it came to vet bills. We co-owned retired show dogs and shared the cost of care with their co-owners. That made stomaching large vet bills much easier. In November of 2014, we decided to foster (and eventually adopt) from a rescue and we learned the true cost of owning a dog... Bentley came into our family malnourished and very under-weight. Fattening him up proved to be more difficult than anticipated as he developed pancreatitis from the "rich" food we were giving him. It took multiple visits to the vet, multiple tests, and a prescription diet to finally get him to a healthy weight. We spent money we didn't have to help Bentley but he has proven to be well worth the cost! Had we known about pet insurance when we got Bentley, we … [Read more...]

Top Apps for Moms

Today I'm excited to have Rebekah from My Circus, My Monkeys guest blogging. Rebekah has done her research and come up with the top apps for moms to help make life easier. I've heard of some of these but not others. I can't wait to check all of them out!... Moms’ lives are busier than ever these days. Apps can help you keep track of your calendars, plan your meals and even save money. Here are the top apps that all moms should have on their phones. Organization: Cozi - This app keeps track of all your schedules and calendars. It is able to sync across all phones and mobile devices, so all members of the family will know what is going on. Evernote - Need to make a note of an extra soccer practice? Evernote is great because it syncs with a desktop or laptop, so you can take notes while at work or on the computer and have them readily available later on your phone. Meal Planning: AllRecipes - The best part about the AllRecipes app is the dinner spinner. Simply enter … [Read more...]

Fall Leaf Bowl

I love fall. I love the smell, I love the colors, I love the temperature. It's my second favorite season next to summer. I'm always looking for new things to do with fall leaves so when I came across a fall leaf bowl on Pinterest, I knew the girls and I had to try to make one. There are many different versions of fall leaf bowls on Pinterest. Most use fake leaves but I wanted to see what would happen if we used real leaves. TJ and I gathered a bunch of fresh fallen leaves from the yard. The leaves must be fresh fallen so they can bend. Then we gathered the rest of the supplies: Modge Podge Sponge brush Plastic wrap A bowl We first tried to Modge Podge the leaves around a balloon like some people suggested. However, the balloon was too round and the leaves had a hard time molding to the form and staying on it. So we got out one of my mixing bowls and covered it with plastic wrap so that the leaves didn't permanently stick to it. The bowl worked much … [Read more...]

A Year Ago This Week – Finding My Happiness

A year ago this week, my world and that of my family's turned upside down when I was told they were eliminating my position at work. For six years I had been working in what was called a Baylor position. I worked 24 hours a week (every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 8 hour shifts) in exchange for getting paid what I would be making if I worked 36 hours a week. I gave up my weekends, but we didn't have to pay for child care, I made enough money to support my family (because my husband's income is unpredictable) and I could participate in school activities with my girls. It was perfect for my family. A year ago this week, I unintentionally started a journey to finding my happiness. You see, I thought I was happy. After all, I was, for the most part, a stay-at-home-mom but I also had a great job that supported my family. I had the best of both worlds. Who wouldn't want that? A year ago this week, I started learning that sometimes you need to let go. I cried. I cried a lot. I … [Read more...]