Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday, Friday, Friday!

Dear Friday, thank you for being you. Stay classy.

Dear Good Friday, I extra appreciate you for getting me out of work today. Yes, I said it. And I have no shame. This mama needed to take her baby to the doctor and get packed for a weekend away.

Dear Doctors offices, my child totally rocked the waiting rooms this week with the patience of a cheetah. Or whatever animal is suppose to be patient {while simultaneously running wild, but only in a cute manner}.

Dear Jackson, I can't stop thinking about your 2nd Birthday Party with Emma. It was beyond words. {cake photos and party detail posts are already up}

Dear Chi Omega Active, we met yesterday to plan for next year and you used the word "Salty" as an adjective for someone acting in a sketchy manner. Is "salty" the new "sketchy"?

Dear Easter Weekend, all of the Easter Egg hunts I found for the weekend run from noon to 2 p.m. What's that about?! Clearly parents didn't plan this as 80% of kids NAP from noon to 2 p.m. Here's to hoping we can work this out somehow.

Dear Work, we did my first annual review yesterday. Still can't believe it's been a year. Oh and? Thanks for the raise, my budget appreciates it lots! More on this milestone next week :)

Dear Readers, next week I'll be sharing some unsolicited advice with a guest post, perhaps a little DIY, a little weekend recap from the mountain trip and birthday weekend outtakes!

Here's a little taste of a Birthday Blooper to hold you over for the weekend.


Happy Easter Weekend, lovely friends!

*linking up for Friday Letters

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cause My Kid Likes Cake More Than Yours

Before Emma and Jackson's cake even hit the table, hell before it even reached eye level, Jackson was blowing out the candles. Perhaps all those afternoons blowing bubbles were all building up to this very moment. Cause my kid? Kind of stole the candle thunder.



One down, three to go...


I can hear him thinking: I got this, Emma! The quicker these things go out, the quicker we get to eat this cake! Trust me! That sweet girl had no idea he'd hoard all the candles. Thankfully, she was kind enough to let him. 


So, to give Emma her glory moment of blowing out the candles, we relit them. Not even a moment before that party director had her lighter next to the candle, Jackson was headed to dig in.


A little Mommy restraint and one candle later, Jackson started back at blowing out all the candles. Again! 


One more down...aaaaannnndd screw it, let's just eat this cake!


At this point, I knew Emma was not going to get her moment.
However, all were happy and no forks were used as weapons :)


In fact, forks weren't even used at all.

I had a tough time containing myself with all the cuteness that was Jackson {and Emma's} 2nd Birthday party, for obvious reasons. I've reflected on this party all week, day in, day out. It's one of those days that turns out so fabulous you'd give just about anything for a redo.

We may or may not still be walking around singing Happy Birthday. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Put Mah Name On It

This is a post written on behalf of Custom On It.

Being Southern essentially makes it a requirement to love a good monogram. I think, in fact, we may just be born with this love flowing through our veins. And? This love for a good monogram knows no bounds. Shirts, cups, towels, you name we've got it. Hell, I even have a monogrammed lamp shade. No bounds, people, none.

As the years pass, my little love of monograms has evolved. Nowadays, you'll find me walking around with everything stamped with my work logo. Cup, coat, coffee mug every.single.day. So, you'll understand how I manage to all too often find myself scheming ideas for our office use from Custom On It.


After six years, Custom On It is just few months away from relaunching their site to feature up to 800 more customizable products. For real! They're already offering items such as koozies, wristbands, coasters and more. Can you imagine the possibilities with this site after adding 800 more products? Um, yes, please.

Visit, follow, like; you know the drill:


This is a post written by me on behalf of Custom On It. All opinions above are my own, find full disclosure here

The Days Are Long, The Years Are Short

Only in motherhood do the most cliche of quotes pummel you with such reality.


The innocence oozing from every childhood moment reminds me far too often just how fleeting life is. As a client told me yesterday: you never know when it'll be your last day and I'd hate to leave it knowing I didn't give it my all. He caught me a bit off guard to which I finally replied with a well said, sir, well said.

And it got me to thinking, lately, my all has been given to this toddler. To his curiosity. To his tantrums. To his every.single.demand. Meanwhile, this has also been the greatest gift I never expected. Watching him grow into a laughing, loving little spirit is humbling.




It's no secret that all too soon there won't be muddy foot prints running through my house. In the blink of an eye he'll be off to soccer practice, baseball practice and whatever other activity he can find to get out of the house. One day not too far off, I'll have to let him go trusting we taught him well.

Thankfully, that day is not today. Thankfully, even though he's not the tiny baby we brought home two years ago, he's still a toddler just learning the ways of the world aka the 2-year-old room. Thankfully, we have many long days, short years and neglected chores ahead and I look forward to soaking up each and every one of them.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jack Turns Two

Jackson's birthday has come and gone as quickly as the year itself, but all that mushy mama stuff is another post for another day. Today, I just want to bask in the awesomeness that was Jackson's birthday weekend. 

We celebrated his birthday in true toddler style with a joint party at the Little Gym with his first girlfriend, Emma. Emma and Jack met at his first daycare and were quite the pair since their days in the infant room, being just one day apart in age. 


When it came time to start planning their parties it was kind of a no-brainer that we needed a joint party. Thankfully, we were both looking for stress-free parties this year. The up-side for us, especially, is that the kids there would either be from Jackson's new class or his old one, so either way there'd be friends galore. And? If no one came at all, at least he'd have Emma there.

Our choice of hosting the party at the Little Gym paid off ten times over as storms and chilly temps invaded our spring weekend. As many as 15 little ones ran around jumping off of any and everything Saturday in celebration of Jackson and Emma's birthdays. 




After a whirlwind hour and half of gym time, the kiddos sat down for some birthday singing and cake. I must say, this was my favorite part of the day. The photos of Jackson and Emma blowing out the candles are priceless and have had me giggling all weekend. 


By the time we were pulling back into our neighborhood that night the sounds of Jackson's rendition of Happy Birthday could be heard coming from the back seat. Happy to you, Happy to you, he sang. Brandon and I looked at each other and just smiled. It was official, we'd given him a great day, a memorable day.


As far as birthday weekends go, this was an A+ weekend. We managed to shine a little extra light on Jackson in celebration of this special milestone. The entire weekend was yet another reminder of how blessed we are to have Jackson as our son. 

Many more details, stories and laughs to come on the birthday front. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

On your second birthday...


Oh sweet baby Jack, you are the light of our days, the laughter in our hearts and the mess that fills our home. Your light shines so bright it's as though you've always been a part of our lives. And, I can certainly not imagine any life without your silly self. 

I hope you enjoy fists full of cake today until your little heart's content.


To the moon and back, my love, to the moon and back.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Aunt Jemima: Lil Griddles Made From Scratch

Breakfast has always been one of my favorite meals, especially on the weekend when you can take a little more time to slow down, pull out the griddle to whip up some pancakes with the family and brew some fresh coffee. But let's get real, on a working mom's schedule those sweet moments are few and far between.

And when your toddler loves breakfast with the appetite of an army, you've got to be prepared with lots of yummy breakfasts! So, with little time and feed-me demands, I count on Lil Griddles to keep peace in the mornings. Fresh, fast and insanely scrumptious. A mama cannot ask for anything more!


Y'all, my toddler can easily pack away five {and then some} of these Aunt Jemima Lil Griddles. Pop these bad boys into the microwave for 30 seconds and they're ready to go. You'll be floored by the fresh smell pancakes filling your kitchen, it easily challenges mama's secret recipe.

Aunt Jemima offers these mini pancakes, blueberry mini pancakes and french toast sticks! All in a little bite-size package! Whatever you're little ones, husband and even your preferences may be, there's something coming off the Aunt Jemima griddle to satisfy those tastebuds.


It's no secret moms want to get the day started on the right foot and Aunt Jemima gets that. Now we can serve up breakfast with convenience that tastes as though it's coming off our very own griddle. Yep, just like your griddle just bigger.

For me and my home, Lil Griddles guarantees a filling, made from scratch morning on the go. So as you do your menu planning, peruse the grocery isles and wonder what in the world to feed your kiddos, don't hesitate to pick a up one {or two} boxes of Aunt Jemima Lil Griddles.

Thank you to Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coping or something like that.

My breath hitches and I hold back the flow of tears.

This brief moment has been on repeat too much lately. I could cry at the drop of a pin right now. The miscellaneous comment from my boss, an email from a friend, a NickJr commercial. You name, I'm tearing up.

Coping by definition means to deal with and attempt to overcome difficulties. I think I even read in there somewhere it means to do so successfully.

Damn you, Merriam-Webster. What if I don't feel like being successful on these difficulties? What if I just want to hang my head and cry? What if I just can't?



Deep breathes. It's crazy how much they help the soul. Deep breathes.

So, here I am, coping, hoping, praying that I come out of this situation successfully, more so, gracefully. Lord knows, extra emotional obstacles were the last thing I needed this week, but for some reason he's placed them here anyhow. Way to up the ante Big Guy.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baby Signs

You know those moments when you'd give just about anything for your toddler to just tell you what he wants already?! Those moments where he's been pulling at your leg, pointing in thin air and motioning to absolutely nothing but still demanding something. I know you do. Every mom does. 

I had those moments the most when Jackson was on the brink of actual toddlerhood. Around 15 months, he had so much more energy, curiosity and development than in months prior but something was still missing. That something? Words. He had the mama and dada but not really much else. 

Then began his biting streak. So.Much.Biting. Pair the biting with his chronic ear infections, and this mama was beginning to worry he was having some speech delay. This was a tough time for our little guy to say the least.

And then, he moved to a new school; a school that taught him Baby Signs. 

That's when heavens opened and the angels sang, ahem, what I mean to say is Jackson caught onto the signing quickly and each week appeared home testing out a new sign. It wasn't long before all family members were learning the signs with him. 

Thanks to our school, we even have a printout on our fridge for reference. 



The copy we have is based on the Baby Signs program. Which I now know has an array of products to help teach your child signing. Since he's been learning at school, we've kind of been learning along with him as he teaches us {along with our reference page}.

Jackson's most used signs are: more, please, coat, night night, eat, all done and cold. There are so many signs for them to learn as they focus on different words per monthly lessons. 

Time and time again, these signs have been a means of communication for Jackson in which he'd otherwise have acted out. I've seen these signs help ease his frustration which makes for a much happier home! Truly, I cannot say enough good things about teaching your little ones baby signs. It has helped Jackson's development by leaps and bounds. 

Have you done Baby Signs with your little ones? I'd love to hear about your experience!

*FYI this is not a sponsored post. Baby Signs is just so rockin' I had to share!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Funday Or So I'm Declaring With A Giveaway

Some days you roll out of bed knowing it's going to be a long one. Some days you know you're going in outnumbered. Some days, can seem a little intimidating before the sun even shines.

So, some days, I decide to begin the week with fun facts:

1. I completely ignored the St. Patty's holiday this weekend for the first time in forever.  With the exception of a few brews last night.

2. It is now, officially, the week that my baby turns two years old.

3. I'm still stuck on Fact #2.

4. DreamWorks newest movie The CROODS comes out this week. And, confession, I kind of love this line-up of actors even if it is an animation film {Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds & Nicolas Cage, to name a few!}. I can just tell this is going to be one for both the tots and the parents :)



To kick off our week and celebrate the upcoming Friday premier of The Croods, I'm giving away one plush toy version of Belt and a movie poster! Follow the Rafflecopter prompter below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Monday all!

Portions of this post are sponsored. I have been compensated with similar products in exchange for this giveaway. As usual, all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Little Party People {Guest Post}


When it’s a question of how best to celebrate a child’s birthday, chances are your offspring are more than likely to give you some clear indication as to how they’d like to mark the occasion.

As children get older, they tend towards trips to the cinema or theme parks and forays to fast food outlets. Their birthday outings tend to be in the company of a select few friends who are chosen carefully with all the solemnity of a state ceremony.

Prior to the serious business of school, however, are the pre-school and primary years and during this period it would seem that only a full blown party will hit the spot.

The thought of a room rammed floor to ceiling with overexcited infants may leave you quaking in your boots. Alternatively you may view a child’s party as the ultimate excuse to don your party planner’s cap and get creative and caught up in the magic of the event.

Your budget may allow you to bring in an entertainer, trained in the art of satisfying even the most insatiable infantile appetite for amusement. Your preferred professional will arrive armed with an array of party tricks up his or her colorfully adorned sleeve. From balloon modelling to magic and face painting, your partygoers will be amused, entertained and whipped into a frenzy of overexcitement and hysteria.

Of course, such services often incur considerable costs, so it may be down to mummy or daddy to play at being maestro.  If that’s the case, seek solace in the fact that young children are easily amused. A few pre-snack party games played to pop music will keep the little ones entertained for longer than you’d imagine. Old favorites such as pass-the-parcel and musical bumps are easy to explain and the additional incitement of prizes always piques the interest of even the most disinterested infant.

Encouraging the children to come in fancy dress always creates an additional distraction, as the guests spend a considerable amount of time admiring each other’s garb, relishing the role-play and eventually swapping suits and sharing outfits.

Before you know it, it’ll be time to cut the cake and pass around the party bags. The little people will be all partied out and should at least be pooped enough to guarantee the grown-ups a good night’s sleep.  

This is a guest post by a third party. For full disclosure visit my sponsor page.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wedding Invitation Oasis

Confession: I've mentally planned showers, celebrations and wedding details for both my best friend and sister-in-law, neither of whom are engaged.

Yep, no shame here. I mean really, in the days of Pinterest how could I not?! Six years ago when I planned our wedding there was no convenience of social media to store and share ideas. No, I just had a million bookmark-filled folders. 

Right now? I can't get enough of wedding planning, especially invitation trends. Due to my cousin's upcoming legit wedding I'm in need of several event invitations. So, I've been lost in a sea wedding invitation pinning thanks to Minted.


Oh yes, you can bet I've pinned these for future reference! 

The Minted invitations have such a range in style that I've been going through them for days and am still going. Just when I think I've found the most pinworthy of invitations I click to the next page to find yet another.

via
via
The cherry on top of this invitation sundae are Minted's inspiration boards. It's like their very own Pinterest. Right.There.In.Their.Site! 

Second Confession: I'm leaving you now to spend some more time with these inspiration boards. 

You know you want to, too. It's ok.

Thanks to Minted for sponsoring this post. I have received a form of compensation for this post; however, all opinions are based on my own experience.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr. Seuss Inspired Printable & Book Deal

One of the top priorities around the 510 house is organizing and decorating Jackson's playroom. You see, the majority of his toys once lived in the middle of our living room.

This was absolute chaos for everyone except the toddler. So, we began planning ways to actually utilize our third, mainly unused, bedroom as a home for all things Jackson. As we began brainstorming I realized this room would potentially become Jack's big boy room regardless of whether or not we welcome Baby 2 in the next couple years. The room is bigger than his nursery and well, he deserves more space than our very infrequent overnight guests.

All of the sudden, throwing a playroom together became a decorative task. I need to create this room in such a manner than in six months when J's ready to transition to his big boy room, it will need no redecorating or furniture with the exception of his beds.

With all of this said we've chosen a color scheme and are bouncing around as to whether the room will have a theme. All I know for certain, is I plan to have Dr. Seuss quotes artfully placed throughout the room. So, I thought why not start with one of my favorite Seuss quotes.



If you want a copy of this 8x10 quote,  follow this link >>> here.
The photo is an 8x10, and I hope to have many more headed your way!

While we're on the topic of good ole Dr. Seuss....

Right now you can snag five Dr. Seuss books for just $5.95. Yes, five books and a backpack is even thrown in to top off this great deal {if you order by Wednesday}!


Be sure you haven't missed out on the Thin Mint Gooey Bar recipe I shared over the weekend! Oh and? If you don't mind, spare a quick moment to show some of my sponsors some Monday love...you can find them on my sidebar!

Happy Monday!

*Links in this post may contain affiliate links, but as always thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thin Mint Gooey Bars

Girl Scout Cookie season is no laughing matter. 

In my 25 years, I've learned that your geographical location does not alter the previous statement as being a cold, hard fact. When cookie season rolls around all bets are off. 

In fact, Girl Scout Cookies are such a hot commodity that someone in South Carolina saw it fitting to steal nearly $19,000 of cookies from a warehouse! I kid you not, y'all, this happened! The lesson here? Get your Girl Scout Cookies while you can, and be sure to stock up! 

Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies

While the variety of Girl Scout Cookies tempt that tastebuds of many, Thin Mints have always held a special place in my heart. Aside from just munching away on these classic cookies, I've been dying to bake with them! 

Once you've tried this Thin Mint Gooey Bar recipe featuring handfuls of Thin Mints, you will be craving them all day! I planned to share half this recipe with our neighbors; however, they didn't get to try a single crum. It's that good. 


Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies

Ingredients:
1 yellow box cake mix
1 stick softened butter
1 egg
1 cup mint chocolate chips
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
20 Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line a 9x13 baking dish with wax paper (if you prefer, just use a good coat of cooking spray).

2. In a bowl combine the yellow cake mix, egg and butter until they form a dough consistency. Press dough into prepared dish. Cover with mint chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips.

3. Add the sweetened condensed milk by pouring on top. Last, sprinkle crushed Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies on top and bake for 30 minutes.

4. Immediately after removing from the oven, using a plastic knife to loosen the edges of the bars. Allow bars to cool completely before serving. Best served at room temperature.

Important things to note: be sure to line your pan with wax paper and loosen edges of the bars with a plastic knife immediately after removing from the oven.

*recipe adapted from Picky Palate

**linking up with All She Cooks, It's Overflowing

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's Ok...

Somehow this Thursday feels like it should be both a Tuesday and a Friday. Maybe even Monday, which makes no sense at all. In lieu of some serious mommy brain this week, I'm throwing my hands up and going with the theory it's ok.

It's ok that for a solid 30 minutes yesterday morning I thought my toddler had eaten my wedding rings. This realization, of course, did not come until after he'd been dropped off for daycare. So, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get into the mindset of a toddler. But alas, it was the mommy who'd simply forgotten where she left her rings. #mommybrain #everytime

It's ok that I just hash-tagged right in the middle of my post.

It's ok that I've been planning to share my latest kitchen creation with you today, but don't have the post anywhere near ready because we've been too busy munching of these delicious treats!


And then, just when I thought I was ready to write the post, I spent all night drooling over the photos. So, yeah, it's ok that you'll have to wait one more day for this Girl Scout inspired recipe.

It's ok that I'm on the brink of a party planning frenzy.

Invitations given to friends. Check.
Birthday shirt ordered. Check. 
Cake in the works.
Gift bags in the works.
Lots of Pinterest ahead. And wine.

It's ok, though, because it's Thursday.

*linking up with Neely and Jennifer

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Like Father, Like Son

Jackson loves nothing more than good day on the farm breathing in the fresh air and taking a little time from life for some fishing.


I should've known it wouldn't be long before he was venturing off the doc. Without a second of hesitance, Jackson was jumping on the boat as Brandon suited him up with a life vest. These guys were as happy as could be. I, on the other hand, was a little more than worried. 

But when their minds are set on something...well who am I to end the fun?


Plus? This moment was priceless. The smile on Jackson's face as the boat lifted into the water was pure joy. 


It's one of those parenting moments you dream of. At least, I would think this would be one of those moments for a father. I certainly know it was for Brandon. He's been talking of the day he could taking Jackson fishing with him for some time now. I'm fairly certain he brought home Jack's first fishing pole when he was the ripe old age of nine months. 



Oh yes, this is one for the books. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

When you blink

Another month flies by;
Another milestone met; 
Another day for the memory books, the good and the bad. 
The mood swings of a full-term pregnant woman couldn't compete with the roller coaster that is Jackson's personality. I don't fault him, though, this is certainly a classic onset of the so-call terrible twos.  However, from what I've been reading lately, three is worse than two. So? I'm soaking up the joy that two also brings. 

Despite his aversion to all meat and his refusal of many mommy-made meals, this kid is still growing like a weed. I mean, my goodness, we are well on our way to that Alabama offensive line, who knows maybe even defense. It'll be interesting to see what his height and weight ratios really are when we have his two-year check-up later this month. I, for one, am thankful he hasn't outgrown those chunky baby thighs.


I've realized Jackson's 2nd birthday is a mere 18 days away.

How can this be?! 

Oh wait, I know. We've officially endured almost two entire years of parenting. Of being "on" at every single second of the day. Of tagging in and out of diaper duty. Of late night screaming and early morning cuddles. We've done it. We're parenting. And we're kind of awesome, most days.

Some days we fail. Those days, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and take the same words of encouragement we give Jackson: Just keep going. 

Welcome March, my baby turns two this month!

linking up with Miscellany MondayLife Lately, Life Rearranged, 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Think and wonder, wonder and think.


Across the nation the past few days, classrooms have been celebrating Read Across America Week. And well, in my opinion the most exciting part of it all is the abundance of Dr. Seuss that can be found!

Tomorrow, March 2, is Dr. Seuss's birthday and in celebration, we'll be having a Seussical weekend in his honor. I'm thinking a little Lorax movie night, crafting on Saturday, and perhaps even a themed snack or two.

via Living Montessori Now
Can you imagine the many "whoas" I'll hear from Jackson when he sees a bowl full of red puffs just for him?! And with his incessantly picky appetite this week, I'm hoping by spicing up this weekend's meals, he might get a fruit or two down.

via Muffin Tin Mom
If you're looking to create a Seussical themed weekend for you and your tot see more ideas on my Toddler Activity pin board! Some cities even feature special events throughout the weekend at museums, libraries and parks in honor of Dr. Seuss Day.

And because I love you all so much, AND it's Friday, I'm going to let you in on a great Dr. Seuss deal...
Kohl's has this and a handful of other Dr. Seuss books and plush pet pairs on sale for just $10 total! To top off this great deal, 100% net profit of the sales of these items goes toward their Kohl's Cares initiative. Visit your local store for even more options than their site offers!

Happy Friday!

*This post is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Kohl's. I'm simply sharing a quality product at a great deal.