Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Second Shield Book Review...

...I have finally finished Stacy Eaton's Romance Behind the Badge. The last book in the series was Second Shield. The first was Garda: Welcome to the Realm and the second was Liveon: No Evil. I really enjoyed the first two books and Second Shield did not let me down.
Second Shield
Detective Sergeant Mackenzie McAllister leads a team of police investigators. When the new kid, Drew Bradley, joins the squad Mack is bound by duty to show him the ropes. The chemistry between them is immediate, but with Mack being twelve years older, she fights becoming entangled with the young sexy detective.

Drew enters the unit, not only to help with the investigation they are conducting, but to find out what is really going on inside the walls of the unit. Working with the intense and strict Sergeant Mack is invigorating, but between the need to protect her and his second shield, he is at a loss and falling hard.

Together they will uncover the evil from within, and try to deny the passions that rage between them. Who in her unit is trying to keep her from finding out the truth? Who will take a life that will draw them closer? And what are the secrets hidden behind the shield?
Stacy Eaton delivered the action and romance in this book from page one. Each turn of the page brought on excitement and uncertainty. I'm not a fan of long, drawn-out should I/shouldn't I drama so I'm glad that Mack and Drew didn't fight their chemistry too long. However, on the action page, sometimes it's easily spelled out from the very beginning. While it was pretty obvious who all was involved, I still didn't have the mystery solved until the book told me what was going on! Well done, Stacy!
I have to admit, I was not a fan of the ending. Specially, the last few pages. That was a bit obvious and with the book ending the way it did, I really feel like there should be a follow-up book to let us know how things work out. I did love the romantic gestures Drew left for Mack in the end though, if only all men were that thoughtful! If you're looking for a book with mystery and romance, this is definitely the book for you.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


...Okay, you know my weight struggle is an up and down battle...literally. I did so well in the fall right up until Christmas when I fell off the bandwagon. Ever since January, I've been doing my best to get back on it but to no avail. Then on Easter, I started to look through my profile pics on Facebook. I came across this pic of AR and I from her birthday party last year.

After seeing that pic, #operationpacman has been in full effect!
After seeing that picture, I knew I didn't want to look "fat" in AR's birthday pics for this year. Every year I write AR a letter and put some pictures in an envelope with some money. Then I put it away to give to her later. We don't really give her birthday presents so this is like a present down the road for her. Anyways, I want to look good and feel good at her party! Plus I ordered a shirt that needs to fit by then too. The theme this year is Ms. Pacman hence #operationpacman which is code for lose 10 pounds by May 18!
I got back on My Fitness Pal and started counting calories. I've tried working out every day, even if it's just going on a walk around the neighborhood with AR. I've cut out sodas and limited sweets, I mean if I have calories and I want that small piece of candy then I indulge...I just don't eat ten of them! So there you have it, if you follow me on Twitter, now you'll know what #operationpacman is. After the birthday party then it'll be #operationpurplebridesmaid to lose weight for my SIL's wedding. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 28, 2014

To All the Mommas to Be & New Mommas...

...Be sure to let your newborns watch this message from #Kidpresident. He knows what he's talking about and you want your kiddos love for corn dogs to start early, right?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"I Kick!"...My Little Kickaroo...

...We started soccer classes at Vetta. Those of you that have recently met me probably don't know this, but in the day, soccer was my life! I played it from kindergarten all the way until I tore my ACL my senior year, even then I still played a couple games with it torn. When I moved to St. Louis, I knew it was the Mecca of Soccer in the Midwest. I couldn't wait for our hypothetical kid to start playing soccer.

For those of you that know my husband, you know he is NOT a sports fan, especially not soccer. Remember he bought me Ambush tickets for Christmas but didn't go to the game? Anyways, I was pretty excited to find out that Vetta offers classes starting at 18 months! For her birthday, my grandma paid for this first session of Kickaroos. It's a 10-week class that meets for 45 minutes/week.

Yes, I wanted her to do soccer because of my love for it, but I also feel like all the classes for toddlers are geared toward swimming, tumbling, and music. No problem with that, but I saw this as an opportunity to work on other gross motor skills that we don't do in gymnastics or swimming.

So far we've had two classes and I'd say she likes about 60% of the class and the other 40% she wants nothing to do with. I'm not sure if it's new, it's dinner/bedtime, or she just plain doesn't like it. When we get there, it's kind of free play until everyone shows up. She loves when I chase her around and she dribbles the ball. Then they stand on their dots and stretch which she loves. After stretching, we head to the big white wall. Sometimes she's a fan of this, sometimes she's not. Particularly, she hates Red Light/Green Light and never wants to participate in that game. However, when Coach Corey throws the hula hoops and she has to go get one and bring it back, she loves it! She could do this all day! Here she is loving on her Em-Dog before class last week.

Sometimes Coach Corey blows bubbles and they have to stomp on them. Again, AR is a huge fan of that! Last week, I remembered to bring a water bottle which turned out to be a problem because all my kid wanted to do was drink from it. It was like an actual water bottle, not a sippy cup, so I'm sure she thought she was a big girl.

She's thrown a few straight-up tantrums to which I let her be and go play. When she sees me playing with the other kids though, watch out, don't mess with her momma. She jumps up and runs over, sometimes participating, other times just clinging to my league. There's also inflatable bumpers that separate the big field into four smaller fields. AR thinks it's great to play on those and she actually flipped over it the first night onto the other field. She doesn't like when I redirect her away from those.

Still, it's a work in progress. She loves gymnastics, but it didn't happen over night. I constantly have to remind myself that we need to keep trying and not give up. I'm not pushing it on her, she does love to dribble even at home and she loves even more when I chase after her or vice versa. Oh and did I mention she's the youngest in the class? The class is technically for two year olds but her birthday was right in the middle of the class so we went older rather than younger. And there's these tiny black balls that's part of the field and gets on her hands which she hates (all the kids do).

Anyways, that's where we are two weeks into our Kickaroo class. She may not love it but she definitely enjoys herself. She comes home and tells Matt, "I KICK!" She's so proud of herself. To be honest, her favorite thing is helping Coach Corey pick up and collect all the supplies. Ahem...whose that remind you of, Sha?

Here's my big girl in her soccer jersey and socks. Don't mind our plaid Polo tennis shoes, its all we have that fit right now! Is she not freakin' adorable???

I'm planning on taking my DSLR one night later in the session so I'll give you another update then. Happy kicking!
Happy birthday to the best big sister out there! I love you!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Ozeri WeightMaster II Bath Scale Review...

...Technology is so crazy these days! I remember back in high school when the health teacher used pinchers to literally pinch your fat and figure our your BMI (Body Mass Index). Then it changed to holding a machine directly in front of you and your BMI would magically appear. Now, Ozeri has come up with a bath scale that will figure it out for you!

I'll admit, I was a little intimidated when the package came in the mail. 1. Because I've gained back about 10-15 pounds that I lost in the fall and 2. I didn't want to read the instructions to figure out how it all worked.

I waited until AR and Matt went to bed and pulled it out of the box. I decided I'd mess with it first before reading the instructions. I turned it out and voila, easy peasy, it was set-up telling me my BMI! I couldn't believe how simple it was.

You can set up to 8 profiles so that every time you weigh, it will tell you your previous weight and save your height so it can figure out your BMI. It's super cool and kind of depressing all at once! Since my normal scale model was already in bed, I decided I'd use her baby doll as my helper. Check it out, she's got a super low BMI!

Now that I've seen the "number" in front of me and see it creeping back up, I'm determined to drop some LBs. Starting on Monday last week, #operationpacman has officially began. Stay tuned for more details on it!
*I received this product in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cakeway to the West: Part 4...

...This is probably the last of these posts for awhile. I'm still having fun with the search and I'm still loving everyone sending me pics as they find theirs (even my boss!), but I've found all of them that are close to me and I'm not sure when I'll get to other areas to find more. Don't worry though, as soon as I find them, I'll be sure to post on here...and Twitter...and won't miss it!

Cake #25 The Lewis and Clark Boat House
AR no longer wants to be photographed by herself with the cake. Apparently, I've traumatized cake which I guess could be a good thing. Nah, she still loves to eat it! I yelled at some kids walking by and asked them to take this pic. They were the only ones around and were walking away from us so I didn't have time to mess with the settings too much hence the overexposure, but hey, we got the pic!

The cake by itself. This was after AR found the boats and we saw the boys making out behind the boathouse.

Cake #26 The Shrine of St. Rose
OMG! This two were killing me with their cuteness on the cakes. We ran into fellow cake hunters here and they were really nice. We exchanged a few tips to each other and went on our way.

Cake #27 St. Charles County Old Courthouse
This one originally sat on 2nd Street and I'd seen it a few months ago. Now it sits on the courthouse steps. I am in love with this picture and the angle-go me!

Cake #28 St. Charles First Missouri State Capitol
I almost counted this as a half cake. It was dark and it was behind a fence so you couldn't get close to it. On my camera, you could hardly see it. Luckily, when I got home, I was able to mess with the lighting so it officially counts as a full cake now and I don't have to go back in the daylight to get a better pic.

Here is the Brink Family and AR with the cake way back in the background. Can you see it?

Cake #29 Katy Trail
AR hasn't been feeling the cakes lately. This time, I didn't push her by setting her on top. I let her walk up to it and lookie there, she climbed up on it all by herself!

Cake #30 St. Charles Heritage Museum
After that, she was excited about cake hunting. She saw this one and took off running while yelling, "CAKE!" Don't mind that my child looks a bit like Phoebe Buffay when she runs.

This was definitely her favorite so far. It had pictures of boats all over it. She walked in a circle saying, "Boat...boat...boat." Then she told Mommy to sit down so we sat on the corner of the cake and took a little rest.

Which ones have you found?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Interview with AR...

...Monday night we got home from work and AR and I played in the yard. I loved watching her talk to her dogs, patting her leg, telling them to come, and even yelling at me, "Momney-come!" while she patted her leg. I ran inside and grabbed the video camera, only for it to run out of battery a few minutes in.

That night at bedtime, she started clipping her nails so I grabbed my Note to take some video. I wanted to document some of the things she was saying these days. Here's the first take:

I should've called it good but it was really quiet on my Note so I decided to try again...Here are some outtakes. The child's name is not Emma:

Outtake #2-our tongues make funny noises!

Outtake #3-Oops! What's your favorite double-u? #mommymessup

Outtake #4-Momney got distracted...

Outtake #5-Someone's trying to take over as videographer!

Finally, got it done...finger in nose and all!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Huntin' Eggs & Easter Activities...

...We had a great Easter and what a beautiful day it was! We spent the day hunting eggs, attending church, enjoying our time outside, and spending time with Matt's family. First off, I had to work Saturday night and Matt sent me this picture. AR is showing me the grape she's eating. Talented, huh?

On Sunday, we woke up to AR talking in her room. You know, the usual talk that comes over the Hey, she lays in bed and talks away, it's sweet to listen to her through the monitor. Anyways, the Bunny had come and hid eggs. AR was super excited when she saw them in the yard and immediately started hunting.

A few eggs in and she dumped her basket upside down then set it on the front porch. She much preferred to find one or two eggs, go to the bucket, and then keep searching. I hid eggs for her and eggs for Daddy, his were a little harder, but she found ALL of them!

She was pretty excited with each egg she found!

After our egg hunt, we went to church. We met Matt's family where we had breakfast then attended church. I was pretty proud of my girl. She "sang" with the hymns, clapped when they were over, and folded her hands to pray when we all did. I brought a bag full of books, stickers, and coloring books/crayons. During the sermon, she was entertained with all of that. Unfortunately, communion went LONG and we started to have a meltdown. Luckily, that was the last thing.

Side note: She even went to the front of the church for the Children's Message BY HERSELF! I started to walk up with her and she just took off, so I let her go. She stayed the whole time, looking around at all the other kids, and shaking her shaker when everyone else did.

Second side note: Originally, she didn't get a shaker. Since she was by herself, she didn't know to get one and she was kind of hidden in between a bunch of older kids. The lady started talking and then the preacher noticed she didn't have one. He stood up and gave her one. Such a sweet gesture! I was hoping they had a children's Sunday School class for her age, but unfortunately, it doesn't start until three years old.

This was the best family photo I could get. She fell asleep on the way home. I set the camera up on the tripod and hit the self-timer. Hey, whatever, it's memories, right? At least Matt looks good!

We headed inside and I got some good AR loving while she slowly woke up. Daddy snapped this shot of us.

Finally, she woke up and let me snap this pic of her in her Easter outfit. Not the best backdrop, but oh well. One thing I dislike about the change of wardrobe with each season is that she always has tons of clothes but never any shoes. I let her pick today's shoes-navy dress shoes!

Side note: I was so proud of myself because I found some Nike sandals for her last fall. They were like $5 and now I can't find them ANYWHERE. It's driving me insane and I'm flipping my house upside down to try to find them. Update! The sandals have been found! They weren't ever at my house.

We changed clothes and headed over to Matt's parents house. This is one of the new outfits I'd bought on clearance last year. I didn't realize until today that it was a camera hanging around her neck on the shirt-I love it!

AR and Aunt Liz played with the airplane. AR loved watching the plane do loop-de-loops, but she loved when Daddy got it stuck in the tree even more!

We took our soccer ball over to practice. She's really actually pretty good at dribbling...when she's in the right mood for it. And who knew, Daddy has mad skills, too!

After outside fun and games, we started Egg Hunt #2! Daddy hid the eggs this time, he did a pretty good job. Oh and did I mention he hid 70 eggs!?! He wanted us all to wait and even the "big kids" aka adults look for them. However, while playing with the plane and soccer, AR kept finding eggs. She'd say, "Uh-oh..." then go get it and say, "Egg!" After she put it in her basket, she'd say, "More egg, please!"

I know I've shared this before, but my child has no fear (except of the vacuum cleaner) and doesn't mind getting dirty. I'm guessing that our summer is going to be filled with lots of mud, dirty feet, and numberous boo boos. Any time she falls, she says, "Boo boo, Momney" or whoever will listen. Sunday afternoon, she told me, I kissed it then she ran to tell Daddy. On the way to tell Daddy, she saw her dog Emma so she said, "Boo boo, Emma. Kiss it." Surprisingly, Emma did!

Here's my girl climbing under tree branches for an egg. there an egg in here?

She had to call Daddy over to inspect with her. But again, no fear sticking her hand in there to get it!

This hiding spot was MUCH easier to get to!

Whew! Hunting eggs makes a girl thirsty. Sipping on some milk...

We headed home shortly after that and she took a two hour nap! Mommy took an hour nap, too. When she woke up, we played in the yard while Daddy worked on a project for her birthday party. Then I went to get lighter fluid so Daddy could cook dinner. I totally forgot all the grocery stores were closed, but luckily Walgreens had some. When I got home, AR saw our neighbors walking by and insisted going to the park. She had a fun time playing with the neighbor girl there. By the time we got home, it was bath time so AR dined in the tub that evening! I was exhausted and I'm sure our summer will be like this every day...I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bomb DOT Com Deviled Eggs...

...Seriously, ain't no joke, I made the BEST deviled eggs EVER! Last weekend, I finally read my Parents magazine. I ripped out the recipe for deviled eggs. I forgot about it until we unpacked from our trip to Cape when I pulled out the crumbled piece of paper. I glanced at the recipe and decided to mix it up and add my own touches. O...M...G-it turned out amazing. Okay, so now I'll stop teasing you and share the recipe with you.

Dozen hard-boiled eggs, peeled
2/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Package of taco seasoning

First I boiled the eggs. I know everyone does it different. I put a pot of water the stove. When it starts boiling, I put the eggs in and set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, I pour out the hot water and replace it with cold water. I let it set then started the peeling process.

After I peeled all the eggs, I cut them in half and put the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. Good thing I did this after bedtime, otherwise, AR would gobble all the whites up!

Then I mashed the egg yolks up in a bowl with a fork.

Mash, mash, mash...Matt walked in at this time and picked up the camera and started snapping pictures.

Next, I added the cheese, mayo, and sour cream to the mashed up egg yolks. Matt did that part, thanks for your help! After it was mixed up really well, I added about 1/4 package of the taco seasoning. Add more, use less...whatever you prefer. When you have it to your liking, fill the white egg part with the mixture then refrigerate until ready to serve.

I had no idea what to expect, just hoping for something edible. I have to be totally honest, Matt and I were eating the mixture straight from bowl it was so good! I was just hoping we had enough to take to Easter the next day.

And my husband enjoying one of the "bad" eggs. I'm sure you all know someone who insists on one egg that isn't pretty or looks "bad" so then they have to eat it. Yeah, that's totally my husband!

What are you waiting for? Go make them, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Start Your Week with a Laugh from Kid President!!!

...It's Monday. It's Monday after a holiday. Are you dragging? I know I am. I discovered #Kidpresident last week on Facebook. I am seriously in love with this kid! I've decided for the next few Mondays, I'll post a few of his videos on Mondays to help get your week started. Take the time to watch this, it will make you smile, hug your kids, and put down your phone (unless your kid's name is Phone!). Seriously, it's a loaf of meat!

I think my favorite part is: stop cleaning. Partially because hey, I'll stop, but mainly because I love "Our house is awesome because we live in it." Family is what makes a house a home, right?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hoppy Easter!!!

...Good morning everyone and Happy Easter!!! I can't believe it's already Easter. Is it me or does time go by faster the older we are? I don't really feel like we did many Easter activities this year so I tried to cram as much as I could into this weekend. Unfortunately, I had to work yesterday but Momma did the best she could! We have a full day of church and family outings today, more on that later this week.

Friday afternoon we went on a #cakewaytothewest hunt in St. Charles (check later this week for a post). AR isn't really a fan of the cakes unless her friends are with her so I have to let her explore a little, it slows down the hunt, but hey, whatever makes her happy, right? When we were at the Lewis and Clark Boat House, she was obsessed with the boats (one on the river and one in the museum) plus she kept saying truck-zoom! whenever they would pass. Luckily, she didn't notice the boys making out behind the boathouse.

After the first cake, we met Jenni, her husband, and Emma at Bass Pro. They had a few crafts, we got our picture with the bunny but, of course, both girls loved the fish the most. I have to admit, they were pretty cool.

Then we all headed to Denny's for dinner where AR ordered fries. She orders it herself, she's obsessed with them lately. She was pretty good, although kind of being a stinker to Emma. No worries, I got all of Emma's hugs instead of AR so I didn't mind. Then the Brink Family went cake hunting with us after dinner. Unfortunately, I'm still not great at night time photography but these pics were too cute not to post. Besties-I love it!

I missed some really great shots because I was messing with the settings. They were so sweet hugging each other, it makes my heart melt!

I hope everyone has a Hoppy Easter! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Take Responsibility: Adult Choices...

…I don’t normally post controversial topics on my blog, but when I read this story, I knew I had to say something. It was weighing heavy on my heart, I couldn’t get it out of my mind, tears fell from my eyes as I couldn’t even imagine the pain of sitting in that room staring at the monitor.
You can read the original article here, but I’ll give you a brief summary. This couple struggled to conceive on their own until they finally had a baby through IVF. Ready to add to their family, they decided to undergo another treatment of IVF transferring three embryos. All three took and the mother opted for terminating two embryos and only carrying one to term.
When you go through fertility treatments, most people wish and hope for twins, or even triplets, but the likelihood of having multiples is slim. Still, it’s exciting to think about. I remember after my ER (egg retrieval) when Dr. K retrieved 16 eggs. I internally freaked out, thinking OMG, what are we going to do with 16 eggs! But only 12 were mature enough to fertilize. Then only eight fertilized. We transferred two and three made it to freeze. You see where I’m going with the thought of multiples quickly diminishing?
As the days led up to our FET (frozen embryo transfer), Matt and I debated whether to transfer all three or only two. We discussed this in depth, consulted with our doctor, and fully understood that by transferring all three, we were accepting the responsibility of potentially three or more children…at the same time. Let me again, repeat, we were accepting the RESPONSIBILITY that should all three embryos implant, we would be ready to love, care, and be the best parents we could be to ALL of the babies.
After my second beta test, I scurried the Internet and realized I was off the chart for triplets. My immediate thought was OMG-Matt is going to kill me, he was in favor of transferring two, while I said let’s transfer all three because the third probably wouldn’t survive another freeze. That thought was quickly replaced with the thrill and excitement of having our dream come true…whether it was one or two or three babies. We’d been trying and praying for a baby so long, and whether we had all of them now or later, it didn’t matter. After my first ultrasound, it was determined that I was indeed pregnant with twins.
I’m not going to sit here and say how exciting it was and yada yada yada, because I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was internally freaking out a bit. How was I going to handle two babies at the same time??? But I had to sit back, relax (an infertile’s favorite word), and remember…God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. He made us go through this difficult and heartbreaking time for a reason and if He wanted us to have twins, He’d help me make my way through it. U
But this post isn’t about God or about our sweet Baby B who had double bubble trouble, it's not even about pro-life or pro-choice, it’s about being responsible and making informed choices. Whether its fertility treatments or breastfeeding or vaccines, you are responsible for another life/lives. You are your child’s protector, cheerleader, coach. It’s YOUR responsibility to stand up and do what’s best for your child and your family which may not be the same for every family. We’re all different, we can all make our own choices, but you need to make responsible choices. Maybe this was what was best for their family, but if they weren’t prepared to have triplets then why transfer all three embryos??? I couldn’t even imagine sitting in that room and staring at the monitor as they ended the life of the child(ren) they’d prayed for every day. I think this story is heart wrenching to anyone, but especially those of us who have been through the process and especially for those who have been through it and still have empty arms. Then there’s stories like this that break my heart for an entirely different reason. 
My advice to anyone going through fertility treatments is to know what’s going on, understand what you’re doing not only to your body but to your children as well. My heart and prayers are with those two precious angels.
To our sweet Baby B, although we never met you, we love you more than you'll ever know.

Friday, April 18, 2014

SURPAHS Ultra-Thin Tempered Glass Digital Kitchen Scale...

...Alright, it's time to break out the scale again. By scale, I mean the kitchen scale. Now that Reese's eggs are off the shelf (well, they soon will be), it's back on the diet and counting calories. I pulled out the SURPAH'S Ultra-Thin Tempered Glass Digital Kitchen Scale. I saw some people on my weight loss challenge post pics of their scales that were glass like this. I don't know, but for some reason, I'm loving this style!

Anyways, this scale makes portion sizes a breeze. All I have to do it guesstimate what I think a portion size is, place it on the scale then see how close I am. If I'm off then I just add a few more (this rarely happens) or I take a few off (hopefully not eating the excess). It's an easy way to correctly measure out my lunches for work without having to think too much about it.

Now, here's to keeping up with it and saying bye bye to the extra ounces those jelly beans put on my mid-section! You can buy your own SURPAHS Ultra-Thin Tempered Glass Digital Kitchen Scale at Amazon.
*I was provided a SURPAHS Ultra-Thin Tempered Glass Digital Kitchen Scale at no charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

Disney and Dessert...

...Last Sunday I signed AR up to go to an event at the community college. It was called Disney and Dessert. I wasn't really sure what it was but it turned out to be awesome! It was put on by the Young Children's Theater so there was probably 50+ kids dressed up in all kinds of Disney characters. We got there and found seats. I think AR was more excited that I let her drink pink lemonade than she was about the princesses. Unfortunately, she didn't know hardly any since we don't watch them at home and I only knew the ones from my day and age. Still, she enjoyed dancing around, drinking lemonade, and all the other kids there.

She gave Ariel a big hug when she saw her!

This lion was so friendly. She was maybe ten years old and you should have heard her belt out Queen of the Jungle!

Here's Nemo, who also happened to be my boss' daughter! She was really sweet to AR and took her off to meet some of the other characters and sat in the front row with her. Of course, AR thought that was awesome!

She was pretty excited about the cookies too!

Luckily, the characters were all nice and told us who they were. This is Sophia from Sophia the First. AR liked her despite the look. I think Sophia was struggling not to drop her.

This is Clover from Sophia the First. I told AR we needed to get a pic with the bunny because it's probably the only one we'll see this Easter season.

As I said before, AR didn't know who any of the princesses were. She was a big fan of the warthog (The Lion King), the Genie (Aladdin), and the snowman (Frozen). As one mom pointed out, she was a fan of all the male characters!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Double Walk Weekend...

...This past weekend, AR and I went to Cape to visit my dad. We *thought* we were doing a 5k, turns out my dad signed us up for TWO 5ks. Whew, it was exhausting!!!

We started off the day bright and early but started with some basketball before we left.

I never knew a ball was so much entertainment for my girl. We'll definitely be playing at the basketball courts now just as much as the playground.

Then we went to the SEMO Walk for Women. AR got a face tattoo, she played soccer with the players from the women's soccer team, then we went on the walk which was at least two miles, if not more.

After that race, we stopped by K-Mart and H snapped the sweetest pic of AR and me. You can see her redhawk tattoo on her cheek.

In the afternoon, we did the Color Me Cape 5k. It was like the Color Run we did last year. It was the least colorful run I did because AR decided to nap during the 5k so I bypassed all the color stations. Once we got back to my dad's, she was ready to go! Papa grilled us pork chops for dinner while the kids all played outside. Eh, well played and did Sha's toes.

Then we got the ball back out, she was a busy, busy girl!

She tried her hand at football too!

Where'd it go?

You can hear the train at the house. So every time it drove by and we heard it, AR would run over to the fence, wave, and say "Bye Choo Choo!"

Have I mentioned she's obsessed with her shoes? Here she's trying to put them back on after Sha doing her toes.

Whoa-big throw!

Taking a break and watching the boys play some.

I told my dad I'm not coming back down again if I have to walk five miles in one day!!! But hey, hopefully it's motivation to get back to it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cakeway to the West: Part 3!!!

...Being as there's no way I'll ever get to 250 cakes by myself, we've decided to make this a family effort! So my sis and I both are on the I have all my friends that send me texts with cakes they find. I have at least four different people send me cake pictures over the weekend. I love it so please keep doing it! Here's the latest we've found this weekend:

Cake #11-Manchester City Hall
My sister found this one and since the girls weren't with her, she improvised with a Flat H and Flat AR to pose with the cake. I really like this one!

Cake #12 AKC Museum of the Dogs with Flat H and Flat AR

Cake #13 World Bird Sanctuary
We got out here and actually got to see some awesome birds like owls, bald eagle, hawks, vultures. AR thought this place was pretty cool.

Cake #14 Lone Elk Park
So yeah, my model wasn't very cooperative here. She refused to have her picture taken alone so here's both of us with the candle and she insisted on hitting the button on the camera herself.

The actual cake and not just candle of the Lone Elk Park.

Cake #15 The Blue Owl
Unfortunately, they were closed so no pie for us. :-(

Cake #16 Mastodon State Park
At this time, we realized it's much easier to have a 10 year old get in and out of the car vs both her and a 2 year old in and out of a carseat.

Cake #17 Jefferson Barracks
Some lady was there before us getting a picture of her dog with the cake...and I thought photographing a 2 year old with it was tough!

Cake #18 Civil War Museum

Cake #19 Grant's Trail
This one was really hidden and definitely off the beaten path!

Cake #20 St. Anthony's Hospital

Cake #21 Six Flags
My sis and H found the following three on Sunday after we headed home.

Cake #22 Purina Farms

Cake #23 Shaw Nature Reserve

Cake #24 Union Station
Nanny and AR found this one!

Twenty-four down...Happy Cake Hunting!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Label Daddy Discount!!!

...Have you heard of Label Daddy? If not then you are missing out! With AR headed to preschool in the fall, I'm already trying to figure out how to make sure she gets home with her jacket, lunchbox, etc...since I won't be there for drop-off/pick-up. Lucky for me, I've come across Label Daddy!
Label Daddy labels keep your belongings from getting lost or mixed up with others. These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels -- they're washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! 
Pick from many colors, sizes and logos, including Disney and Marvel characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. Our exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must for camp, school, or just because they're plain cute! These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide. Save 10% on Label Daddy labels! Go to their website and use code USFAMILY10 at checkout.

Ozeri Serafino Double Wall Insulated Beverage and Coffee Glasses...

...I love getting mail and I was especially excited when I opened a FedEx box with Ozeri Serafino Double Wall Insulated Beverage and Coffee Glasses.

They are the perfect glasses our family has been looking for!

  • Set of 4 heat and shatter resistant borosilicate glasses that each hold 12 oz.
  • Stronger and more durable than common glass, each glass features a wraparound contour that provides a natural aesthetic grip
  • Patent-pending double wall design that suspends drinks within an inner wall, creating an engaging optical effect
  • Designed to keep your hands cool with hot drinks and free of condensation with chilled beverages
  • Completely dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe; Ships in an elegant 4 color printed box with a 1 Year Warranty; Satisfaction Guaranteed

  • It fits perfectly in my hand as to reduce the chance of spilling. You can put freezing cold milkshakes or warm coffee in it and it will stay hot or cold without sweating. They look elegant yet not too fancy so perfect for our household. Plus, I don't have to worry if they do drop, they won't break.

    Now to go and dream up what yummy, delicious drinks I can put in my new cups!!!

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Drive-In at the Library!!!

    ...Last Wednesday, Nanny was in town. I always try to find fun things for AR and her to do when she watches her. I checked out the library's calendar and saw that there was a Drive-In Movie. I signed AR up and sent the two of them on the way. As soon as I got this picture from Nanny, my heart melted-how adorable is this!!! Don't mind her missing wheel in this picture.

    Every kid got a box and supplies to decorate. Nanny had to do most of the decorating but AR loved driving it around.

    I love the back of her car! That's her license plate with her initials and there's red reflectors on it. They watched two five-minute videos that were projected on the wall. It was Cars and Toy Story which she's never seen either. My mom said AR was laughing hysterically which made all the other kids and parents laugh. She had such an awesome time! I'm sad that I missed it because I had to work but I'm happy that she has the grandmas to take her to these fun opportunities.

    After they decorated their cars, then they had to go gas them up and then go to the car wash before the "movie" started. This was such a sweet, adorable event. It almost makes me want to do a car wash birthday party but we're knee-deep in our theme already so there's no turning back. Oh and did I mention that this whole thing was free???

    AR does monthly classes at the library and we do special events with them when it works into our schedule. If you haven't, be sure to check out your local library because they offer amazing programs!

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent Review & Giveaway!!!

    ...I'm a mom and I'm lazy. There, I said it. I don't sort my clothes. Sure, I used to when I graduated load for whites, one load for colors, and one load for towels. Then I got a job, got married, had a kid and sorting went out the window. Especially when the baby spit up on my last clean shirt and I need something to wear or I'm walking out the door topless and NO ONE wants to see that! So I was pretty stoked, yes I just said stoked, when Purex came out with a new detergent that prevents coloring bleeding and has a dye transfer inhibitor. It's the new Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent!

    Uh, don't mind my dirty lid on the washing machine but instead fix your eyes on the awesome detergent that allows me to stop sorting laundry without feeling guilty.

    Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent-you have saved my life! Okay, maybe I'm being dramatic, but you've definitely saved my clothes and saved me time so I can stop sorting.

    To celebrate the release of the NEW Purex No Sort for Colors detergent, the Purex brand will be hosting a Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will receive $1,000 while 100 second place winners will receive a coupon for a free Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent. Enter the contest here!

    No worries though, enter my giveaway to win a coupon for your chance to try them out yourself!!!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    AR & H Open Gym!!!

    ...Before the cake search last weekend, H invited AR to open gym at her gymnastics studio. Last time AR was there, she was only 9 months old! She was able to get into a lot more fun this time.

    The big kids were on the bigger trampoline but AR still had a ball on this small one. It's just her size!

    Look at H helping AR do a backbend. I think she'll make a good teacher one day!

    Balance beam time!

    AR ran down this tumble track and then jumped right into H's arms in the foam pit.

    My little monkey, always loves to hang!

    Table Time!

    Of course, AR thought doing a table this way was much more fun!

    And they had a slide there that was just her size so she went down it over and over and over...

    She didn't always land so gracefully...

    But most times, she'd jump up with a ta-da!

    Thanks for inviting us, H and Sha!

    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Tank Top Arm Workout...

    ...I found a pin on Pinterest for Tank Top Arms. The workout is from Caitlin at Fit Fab Cities. It seemed simple enough and wouldn't take up a ton of time either. I feel like of all my body parts though, my arms are the most in shape since I carry a 25 pound toddler around! However, they aren't, so when I need a quick workout, this is my go-to.
    Firm arms equals happy ladies!

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    The Impaler Legacy: Interview with Character Maximilien Hess...

    ...I'm extremely grateful that author Ioana Visan's blog tour is stopping by here TWICE this week! As stated before, I've read the entire Impaler Legacy Omnibus. You can read my reviews here: The Impaler's Revenge, A Victory That Counts, and Order Restored. The stores make me want to keep turning page after page so you'll have to go check it out yourself. Today, I'm Mr. Maximilien Hess has decided to grace his presence on my blog and answer a few questions I had. Read on to see how the interview with a 1,000+ year old vampire went...

    First, in case you missed it on Tuesday, here's a summary of the series.

    "In a world crawling with vampires, Romania is the safest place left on earth. Thanks to the Little Council, there hasn't been a vampire on Romanian ground in over five centuries, until one day when Liana Cantacuzino is ordered to bring one in, covertly.

    Enter Maximilien Hess, a thousand-year-old vampire determined to ruin the existing order of things. When all is reveals, Hess's secret changes everything, and a reluctant alliance is formed because of the alternative is much worse."

    The Impaler Legacy Omnibus, a vampire series like no other, includes:
    The Impaler's Revenge (novella)
    Sweet Surrender (short story)
    A Victory that Counts (novella)
    Causalities of War (short story)
    Order Restored (novella)
    The Third Wheel (short story)

    Hello, everyone! We have the honor of being in Maximilien Hess’s company today, a one-thousand-year-old vampire. May I call you Max?
    Maximilien Hess: I prefer Maximilien if you don’t mind.
    Very well. How is life treating you these days, Maximilien?
    Same old, same old.
    You’re over a thousand years old. Can life still surprise you?
    It can, and it does.
    Are those good or bad surprises?
    The new breeds were an unfortunate surprise. The collaboration with Miss Cantacuzino, however, fell in the opposite category.
    I take it you are contented with the way things turned out?
    It could have been better, many lives were lost, but it could have been much worse, too. We learn as we live.
    Even you?
    Even me.
    I’m sorry if it looks like I’m staring. I’m just thinking about what to ask you next. Interviewing people is not exactly my area of expertise.
    You’re a writer. How hard can it be?
    You’re obviously not one. Things don’t work that way. We’re used to making things up, not dragging information out of people … And I know exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to switch the focus of the conversation on me rather than talk about you. Smart.
    Thank you. It usually works. People love to talk about themselves, and I’m genuinely interested in listening. It’s a win-win situation.
    Only that writers are used to talking about other people. Even when they talk about themselves, they make things up more often than not. That would be of no use to you.
    So I’m stuck with this interview. Very well. It won’t hurt more than a new breed bite.
    You make it sound so tedious. How do you know what a new breed bite feels like?
    I was there when the new breeds attacked and then at the lab. I fought along our joined armies. Of course I know what a new breed bite feels like.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you. It’s just that, given the way they talk about you, it sounds as if you walk on water or something. The enemies drop dead just by looking at you.
    I wish it were that easy! Unfortunately, it’s not. I fought along their side, and of course I got injured not just once. It hurts like hell, but other than that … What most people don’t get is that it’s not about being invincible. It’s about survival. You should be able to understand the concept.
    I’m sure many of us do. But how important is one’s survival?
    It ranks as high as protecting the ones you love. Or it should.
    Not higher?
    Ideally not.
    Still, there must be a balance. There must be a limit.
    Like saving the world? We achieved that, didn’t we?
    Like a side effect? Is that how it’s supposed to work?
    Does it matter the reason behind it as long as it gets you the desired result?
    The problem with that logic is that there are a lot of paths on the way from A to Z. Lots of things can go wrong. There can be many unexpected casualties.
    You sound like Liana.
    Thank you, though I’m not sure it’s a compliment.
    She survived the war, didn’t she?
    So she’s a survivor.
    And a fine leader too.
    You sound impressed. Were you surprised to discover she’s a good leader?
    When I came to Romania, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was flying in blind so to speak.  I hate doing that.
    Because it’s not safe?
    Safety and Romania don’t belong in the same sentence when it comes to vampires. I’ve had pandurs assigned to protect me from their own people. That was all kinds of messed up.
    But you survived.
    Lucky for me, there’s corruption everywhere. But I must admit there were several moments when I wished I were anywhere else.
    Like that episode in Sibiu?
    The worst blood I’ve ever tasted! It nearly did me in.
    I don’t buy that.
    Maybe not, but you would believe it rather than accept the idea that I could be lying to you. Humans tend to dismiss threats too big for them to control.
    And vampires don’t?
    We’re more proactive than that. We did take action as soon as the first signs of new breeds appeared.
    I suppose we should thank you for alerting us about the threat. And fighting next to us.
    It was a big risk, but it was worth taking. It affected us too so the sooner we put an end to the threat the better.
    Why are you smiling?
    You got me talking.
    Not about specifics…
    It’s still more than others have succeeded doing.
    Then I’m not that bad at this after all. I’d pat myself on the back, but I reckon it’s better if I wait until we’re done here.
    Yes, you do that… I’m sorry I have to cut our meeting short, but we have tickets to the opera this evening. You’re welcome to give it another try next time.
    Is that a challenge?

    Take it any way you like
    Thank you for your time, Maximilien.
    The pleasure was all mine.

    Be sure to enter the giveaway for your own copy!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Creve Coeur Heart to Heart 5K, 10K and 1.5 Mile Fun Run/Walk...

    ...Now that I have AR, I’m always looking for fun, and most importantly FREE, activities to do in the community. The City of Creve Coeur offers free family events throughout the year like Flicks on the Fairway, Concerts in the Park, and Vintage Baseball Game. All of those things sound like so much fun! Plus it gets people in the doors of their community center to try out other programs.

    The City of Creve Coeur is able to do this because they host an annual 5k/10k and Fun Run with the proceeds benefiting their direct community through funding for these programs. Pay for a race, get a shirt out of it, AND get tons of free, fun family events throughout the year? YES PLEASE!

    The event is called Creve Coeur Heart to Heart 5K,10K and 1.5 Mile Fun Run/Walk. This year, it will be on Saturday, June 7 starting at 8 a.m. It’s a certified course that loops through a portion of the Creve Coeur business district and residential streets.

    Fees vary depending on race entry and registration date. Fee includes T-shirt, chip timing (5K & 10K only), finisher’s medal and post-race snacks and beverages. T-shirt availability and sizes are not guaranteed for late or race day registrations. Keep reading for a chance to win an entry! Click here to register!

    They’re also looking for volunteers! All volunteers receive a Heart to Heart Volunteer T-shirt and after-event hospitality. Email Kirsten Barnes or call 314-872-2570.

    And I totally love this aspect of the run being tied into social media-Let your friends and family know that you've registered for the race and share your training progress by using #runfortheloveof on your Twitter feed!
    Okay, so you’ve hung in for this entire post, so now be sure to enter to win ONE free entry for yourself!!! The contest is open right now and will close Sunday, April 13 at midnight. Good luck and share with your friends!!!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway