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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

*GIVEAWAY* Small Business Saturday

If you want to help stimulate the economy this year, be sure to shop at a small business. One that I personally recommend is Pumpkin Butt Creations.

Pumpkin Butt Creations is owned and operated by Jeannette and Kevin Bowie, the parents of a precious little girl named Alenya. Alenya has severe claustrophobia and is undergoing play therapy to help her overcome it. She is hitting a lot of milestones right now so a disruption to her schedule, such as Mommy leaving to get a job outside of the house, could be detrimental to her progress. Kevin is a wonderful, very involved father. However, financial obligations in addition to Alenya's phobia, have required him to put in extra hours at work, which prevents him from spending as much time with his family as he'd like. In order to lighten the load, Jeannette works from home creating adorable tutus, aprons, headbands, and other adorable accessories for kids.

Check out this adorable apron she made for Jacob:

You can help out the Bowie family, and many other families like them, by doing your holiday shopping from small businesses. In honor of Small Business Saturday, Pumpkin Butt Creations will be having a sale for 20% off your total order. This is an awesome discount on top of their already low prices! Use code sbs20 at checkout for your November 26th purchase at their online store

Additionally, PBC would like to offer a $20 gift code to one lucky reader of my blog! Simply comment here with the name and a link to your favorite small business. If I don't know you personally, please be sure to list your email address so I can contact you if you win. For security, be sure to type the word AT instead of using the @ symbol. Entries will be accepted until Friday, November 25th at 4:30 PM CST. Winner will be drawn at 5:00 PM and the code will be emailed to you immediately so you'll be able to use it on Small Business Saturday!

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't be jealous

We were doing our grocery shopping and totally fell for the center display that had Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips along with assorted other baking things. I HAD to get them!

I was checking out the back and it had a recipe for some awesome looking cookies. They looked good and I figured Jacob and I could make some.

click to see a larger version
Are you kidding me? aside from the awesome peppermint chips, it's got brown sugar, oats, coconut, and pecans? Oh yeah, we definitely needed to make these. We picked up the ingredients we didn't already have and headed home. While the pizza we were having for dinner was baking, we started working on the cookies. Jacob may just open a bakery when he grows up!

He's a pro with the mixer

Cracked the shell in the cookies!
Looks gross...smells AWESOME!
We made a bit of a mess, but that's one of the best parts about baking!

First batch is in the oven!

We got the first batch in the oven. Oh Em Gee...the house was filling with the most wonderful mixture of peppermint, vanilla, and coconut aroma. This was the longest 18 minutes of our lives! We had the second batch on the other cookie sheet ready to go. Jacob put them in while the first batch was cooking.

I couldn't believe it...they even looked as good as the picture on the bag!
Your mouth is watering, I know

These cookies were so, so, so, so, so good! Plus this recipe makes so many cookies! Chad's in the process of joining a motorcycle club out here so I told him to bring the leftover cookies to the meeting tonight. I can't wait to hear how it went!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just like old times

Shadow, Joshua, and me at the walk on Saturday
     We spent the night at my parent's lake house that's about 20 minutes or so from us now so in order to drop Chad off at our house and get to the Breathe Deep DFW walk before it started at 10, we had to wake up at 7:00. My mom made pancakes for breakfast and we were on the road by 8. We were in a rush so I had to feed Shadow her breakfast in the car on the way to Arlington. I got to the highway before I realized that I forgot my "camera (my old Blackberry Storm that I got service taken off of). Total facepalm.

     We got there around 9:45 and it was probably 10 by the time I got Jacob, Joshua, and Shadow out of the car and over to the event. I waited in line to pick up our shirts and headed over to the kid area to change since I had a tank top under my shirt. I took Joshua off my back and put Shadow's leash around my foot and proceeded to take off the shirt I was wearing and right as I was putting on the new shirt, Shadow decided to slip out of her harness and run off. I threw the new shirt on and chased her down; she was busy trying to make a new friend with one of the other dogs at the event. I get her back into her harness and start heading back to the kids area when I looked up and saw another one of the volunteers holding Joshua! In the excitement, I had completely spaced on the fact I took him off my back! Lucky for me, the kind lady grabbed him before he could run off. She actually said she was sorry for picking him up! I guess some psycho people have a problem with a kind soul helping them out, but definitely not me! I thanked her profusely and strapped Joshua on my back again. I met up with the Jewell family and was able to hang out with them for a little bit until Shadow decided she *had* to make friends with at the event. So we wandered around and she sniffed more butts than she ever dreamed of. I kept Joshua firmly suctioned to my back. Jacob jumped in the bounce houses, got his face painted, and made a wooden helicopter (courtesy of Home Depot). The walk started and so we headed down the path. We saw that they also had a petting farm set up (not a petting zoo because all the animals were farm animals). The kids checked it out for a little bit before we started back down the path. The weather was so beautiful this year. Last time, it was so cold! We had a pleasant walk and arrived back at the main area where they were serving Jason's Deli sandwiches and cake. We ate then the kids took off for the bounce houses again. Daddy Jewell was kind enough to offer to hold Shadow for me so Joshua would get to stretch his legs a bit. He had so much fun in the bounce house!

     After the walk, we headed to a birthday party for the youngest 2010 baby in the playgroup. Since it was at a park and I didn't have anywhere to leave Shadow, she tagged along. Luckily, it wasn't a problem; the hosts had even brought one of their dogs! We had more sandwiches and cake and got to enjoy the company of a bunch of our playgroup friends. 

Building a sand castle
Joshua the Giant

Jacob spent most of the time in the sandbox while I grabbed Lucy's camera and went to town taking pictures. Have I mentioned how much I miss having a real camera? The birthday girl totally enjoyed her cake and presents. Joshua got to spend a bit more time off my back until he decided that it would be fun to run towards the street repeatedly so he had to go on the back again. I had him strapped on while I did a little photo shoot of Lucy and her kids. I kind of felt the need so since it was her camera I totally stole :P 

I really miss being able to hang out with everyone as often as we used to. I definitely can tell it's been a while since I've had a busy day like that. I am so sore today! Chad got a seasonal job and has to stay the night in the Metroplex so he can pick up the uniform tomorrow, so no massage for me until tomorrow, at least :*( I guess I'll just have to take a nice, hot bath instead.

Friday, November 11, 2011


They recently lifted the burn ban in our county so we got to have a campfire without the camping!

Jacob and Chad got the branches together while I made dinner. After we ate, we built a fire ring with some bricks we had laying around. We just wanted to have a small fire so Jacob could roast some marshmallows and have s'mores. He had a great time!

Our first fire at our new house!

The boys.

Jacob's friend came over for s'mores, too.

Mmm...graham cracker!

I want some more!


Chad stoking the fire a bit.

Shadow hanging out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dig Deep for Breathe Deep

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

3 years ago, a member of our playgroup and a good friend of mine, Katie Brown, started the DFW Walk for LUNGevity. The playgroup has participated every year since. This year marks their 4th annual event and biggest to date! The name of the event has been changed to Breathe Deep DFW. You can choose to do a 1.2-mile or a 5k. It is a stroller-friendly, wheelchair-friendly, bicycle-friendly, and dog-friendly event. They will have bounce houses, face painting, photographers, raffles, name it! Jacob, Joshua, and I will be there as volunteers for the second time. We will also have Shadow with us since, this year, they are doing a new promotion called "Paws to End Lung Cancer" where dogs can get these adorable shirts for the walk.
Isn't Graycee the cutest?
I'm asking everyone to please, PLEASE consider donating or walking with us. If you wear pink for breast cancer or are growing out your moustache to raise awareness for prostate cancer, here are some things to think about (from
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, regardless of gender or ethnicity.
  • Lung cancer impacts one in 14 Americans and kills more than breast, prostate, colorectal, leukemia, and melanoma cancers combined.
  • Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer, and more than twice as many men as prostate cancer.
  • About 55% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
  • Lung cancer accounts for 14% of all new cancer diagnoses but 27% of all cancer deaths.
Any living thing with lungs can get lung cancer but because of the stigma that it's a "smoker's disease", research for a cure is severely underfunded. This is why I'm asking YOU to help.

Help by coming out to the event REGISTER HERE
Help by donating DONATE HERE
Help by spreading the word about the event EVENT LINK HERE
Help by learning about lung cancer and teaching others LUNG CANCER FAQ HERE

Thank you and be sure to BREATHE DEEP!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Starting Over

We've lived out here in the Cedar Creek Lake area for about 2.5 months now and I miss all the fun we had playing with other families! I went ahead and started a sister group out here called "Cedar Creek Lake Fantastic Families". I only have one other family in the group right now and our only events so far are the story time at the library but, hopefully, we'll have a rockin' group soon! I love all my friends from the Metroplex but we just can't get out there often enough to hang out like we used to. I can't wait to have our first playdate at our new house!

We've got a ton of applications floating around right now and, chances are, I'll probably wind up working while Chad is a SAHD. He's currently in the process of finishing up his bachelor's degree and then he's heading to seminary for his M.Div. so he could really use the time at home to keep up with his studies. He's been doing great transitioning from an overworked father to a SAHD and I think he will do a wonderful job at home with Joshua by themselves. Hopefully, we can get this group up and going so he will have some fun things to do with Joshua during the day and maybe even meet some other SAHDs to hang out with!

Here are some photos from the first event at the library (I was the only one there):

Reading upside down.

YAY! Beads!!

Checking out the Audiobooks 
This one, Mommy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I totally get my love for it from my dad. He goes ALL OUT on Halloween!

So, of course, I have to dress up when we take the boys out trick-or-treating. This year, I was a spiderweb and Joshua was a spider. He was strapped to me in the Ergo.

Cutest spider EVER!

He was so tired by this point!

Jacob was Spiderman and Chad went as a biker. He wore his motorcycle jacket and a bandana. We had a great time! My little sister found this awesome house in the neighborhood that gets into Halloween at least as much as my dad. Here are some pics from there:
Awesome witch costume!

Skull birdbath
Lizzie Borden
Took an axe.
Gave her mother forty whacks!
When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Starting Them Young

Today Joshua came in the utility room while I was washing his diapers. I was loading them into the dryer and one dropped on the floor. Joshua picked it up and put it in the dryer, so I handed him some more, which he put in the dryer, as well. Yes, my one year old was helping me with the laundry! Granted, if I wasn't quick enough with the wet stuff, he'd pull items back out and throw them on the floor, but the intention was there!

I'm a firm believer in exploiting a child's interests. LOL

Jacob started doing "jobs" around the house and earning some cash doing them when he was 2 years old. He doesn't get an "allowance". Every cent he has, he earned in some way or received as a gift from a friend or relative. Unfortunately, with our financial situation, we haven't been in a place to "hire" him very often, but when he does get a job, he gets to divide his earnings up between his banks. I got these as a gift when I volunteered at the Dave Ramsey LIVE event in Dallas at the beginning of the month. Link to bank on Dave Ramsey's site.
The cup is so you can see just how large these things are!
Before the banks, he had envelopes with "Give", "Save", and "Spend" on them. The "Give" envelope, he would take to church and empty into the collection plate. The "Save" went into his savings account at the credit union. The "Spend" envelope would collect until he had $10-$15 and then he'd go to the store and get a new toy.

Don't get me wrong, we still get him little treats every once in a while, but for the most part, if we're at a store and he asks for something, we ask him if he has his money to buy it.

Being the lazy person that I am, you can see why I really enjoy this parenting technique. At six years old, Jacob can:

Do a complete load of laundry (washer/dryer/put away...folding still needs work)
Do a load of dishes and put them away
Sweep and mop the kitchen
Rake leaves and bag them (with help)

However, since we can't afford to pay him to do any of that right now, Chad and I are stuck with those particular chores.

We've also told him about things that are his "responsibilities". These include picking up his room, the playroom, and after himself in general. That means taking his own dirty dishes to the sink and rinsing them off, throwing away any trash he creates, and cleaning up any spills he happens to cause.

So, if you're wondering how to teach your kids about the value of money and personal responsibility, this is how we're doing it. Feel free to do the same thing and tweak it to fit your own family if it sounds good to you.

I just hope they remember these lessons in ten years. LOL

Monday, October 24, 2011

In My Own Backyard

I knew that moving out to the country would produce some interesting encounters. It seems that the most interesting ones occur when there's a creepy mist settled.

Scary fog!
I took Shadow into the backyard so she could go potty and I'm looking at the back of our house and spot this:

Find the stick bug!
Find the stick bug!
I don't think I've ever seen one in real life! Just to show you how much it looks like the sticks around here, I actually got a stick that I got it to climb onto.
Stick bug on a stick

I thought it would be fun to do some backyard exploring to see what else I could find.

Web of a Grass Spider.
Big old anthill

Moss and clovers 

Pretty flowers that just popped up.

Remnants of a cicada shedding

Shadow looking at me like I'm crazy. Probably because I am! LOL