Friday, August 29, 2014

EB's Bridal Shower...

...Last weekend was my SIL's pre-wedding weekend. On Friday night, we celebrated her Bachelorette Party or as I like to call it, her Pre-Wedding Birthday. We went to dinner at Bar Louie's (yummy and great happy hour specials!) then we went to Florida-Georgia Line and Jason Aldean concert. It was great!!! I haven't been to a concert since before AR was born (three years ago) and it was a lot of fun other than it was hotter than Haities. We cut out early and headed to Main Street for dancing...I danced, I had fun, but I felt old...maybe because when we were leaving, all the young crowd was coming and I got really excited about "Jessie's Girl" when it came on. Or it could have possibly been because I pulled out some dance moves from Hitch...Q-tips anyone???

Saturday we had a day to rest and then Sunday we had the Bridal Shower. All the aunts did the food and the bridesmaids did the rest. Here's little Miss Ham who insisted on wearing her boots that she gets to wear in the wedding.

She was so excited to see her great grandma!

AR with the Bride-To-Be!

She was so excited to see her Great Grandma

This was the welcome table which I think turned out really cute.

Mommy and AR

Laughing at her groom's answers to questions about the two of them

"Look, EB, we both wear boots!"

An entire box full of coupons for her to use at Bed, Bath & Beyond, each one decorated!

I was taking pictures of the gift opening and every five minutes, "What you doing, Mommy?"

In between throwing away wrapping paper of course

Thank goodness for these booster seats as entertainment.

She was a busy, busy little girl!

And a happy one too!

EB with all her bridesmaids!

Now that the pre-wedding festivities are over, we have the countdown to the wedding!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Library Photo Contest...

...Our local library offered a Summer Photography Contest. There was four categories: Local Landmark, Nature, Library, and 2014 Summer Reading Theme: Fizz, Boom, Read! I entered every category except Local Landmark. Time got away from me and I just didn't get around to taking a picture.

I found on last Thursday that I won second place in the Library category!!! I won $25 and my photo is in the running for the People's Choice Award. You can go and vote here from now until September 12! I'm sure you'll be able to figure out which one is mine. :-)

Here are my entries:

Summer Reading Theme: Fizz, Boom, Read!
This was an entire family experience to get this pic!

Library-2nd Prize Winner! Woot, woot-go me!!!

I figured everyone would do flowers and such for nature so why not corn???

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Driveway!!!

...Little by little, we're getting things fixed around our house. Our driveway had settled and there was about three inches that one slab was lower than the others. Luckily, Matt's friends are very talented and work for trades so we were able to get our driveway done for pretty cheap.

The project started last Saturday when I was at work. I called my mom and told her to take some before pics. I forgot that I'd set the camera on manual for pics I'd taken the night before so yeah, no real good before pics...sorry!

Breaking up the concrete.

When I got home, all the sidewalk/driveway was gone so took these pics.

Sunday morning AR woke up asking, "Where's my sidewalk?"

AR was pretty excited that she got to ride in the machine in the driveway.

Daddy showing her how it works

On Tuesday, the boys came over and started pouring the concrete. AR was the supervisor.

It was so hectic and crazy because you have to move really fast!

Site boss AR! The guy out the window is Matt's friend, Dusty. O...M...G! AR LOVES HIM!!! She talks about him all the time, recognizes his truck, and when he's here, she'll dote over him the entire time.

Checking it out from both windows

Sorry for all the inside shots but we were kind of trapped inside!

Putting in the crack and look at the guy in the background in the orange shirt. Concreters must have the tightest abs!

Don't believe me? Look at this, balancing on a fence to do the finishing touches!

Of course, we had to put our handprints in and we included a penny that had the year in it.

So woot, woot new driveway-woohoo!!! Only bad thing is that we left one slab that wasn't broken only to have it snap under the weight of the concrete truck SO next year's tax money will go toward that last slab. Now on to the next project!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

AR's First Day of Preschool!!!

...Let me tell you a little something about my child. She is and OMG we were going rounds on her first day of preschool!

First off, she's going to 2 year-old preschool one day a week this school year. I really wanted more socialize, classroom setting for her and my MIL needed some more time to work so this kind of worked out. The class is only 9-2:30pm so my MIL will drop-off/pick-up and get more time to work so it's a win-win. When we went to orientation last week, we found out that AR is the only 2 yo registered for Wednesdays so she's actually in a class of 3 yos. We'll see how that works out but I think it should be fine. Oh and ever heard of a nap mat? Yeah, I hadn't and couldn't find one anywhere...all Targets in my area would sold out. But yeah, that's a story for another day.

So let's get back to AR's first day! Of course she woke up at 5:45am but the boys were outside working on our new driveway so she was excited to see them. We did our usual ritual...banana, milk and Super Why. We read a few books then I told her we needed to eat a good breakfast so I gave her a few choices and of course she picked cereal until she saw me making her lunch. FYI-not a good idea to have a 2 yo help make her lunch when she hasn't eaten breakfast. Case and point, she only had half a PBJ for lunch because she ate the rest for breakfast.

Okay, lunch/breakfast meltdown over and now we're in the backyard with the dogs. Come inside and another meltdown because her shoes are wet and I am pulling her hair while trying to put it in a ponytail. Over that and move on to the last step before we leave...first day of school pictures. O...M...G! I almost lost it and she did. See check it out:

And now I'm making her wear her backpack (which she's been wearing all week and loving!) dare I!!! #meanmommy But let me clarify that she's not upset about going to school, no she's downright pissed that I'm taking her picture.

"Mommy get in!" Okay, Mommy get in. Daddy probably going to yell at me about stepping on new concrete and AR is still going to cry.

Okay, maybe a change in scenery would work...more tears than Divine Intervention and my child SMILES!!! Turns out to be a pretty amazing picture too. Thank you Lord and thank you AR because Mommy was about to join you in the tears.

Once the good pic was taken, we get into Mommy's car and tears begin again. I typically don't do this but for the sake of trying to save the day, I let her watch Frozen on the ten minute drive there. Once we arrived, she still refused to wear her backpack but walked into the classroom no problem. She started playing with toys and yelling at me, "Mommy look!" Before I left, I showed her the bathroom and had her go so that she was familiar with it. When we came out, she looked at her teacher and said, "I did it Susan!" Here she is with her teacher.

So yeah, that was our fun morning before AR's first day of preschool. When I picked her up, they said she had a great day which made Mommy very happy! No accidents!!! She did worksheets on tracing with the older kids, loved being outside, ate all of her lunch (and was super excited about her shaped sandwiches-score one for Mommy!), and went down for nap with only a small whimper. I was there when she woke up and she looked at me and said, "Mommy! I nap with my monkey!" Apparently she was really excited about her monkey that I'd packed in her nap bag. So overall, day 1 of preschool=success!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ozeri Electric Wine Opener...

...When I'm ready for a glass of wine, I'm ready. I don't want to waste time trying to get it open, I'm just ready to pour, drink, and relax. Woohoo for the Ozeri Electric Wine Opener to solve that problem! All you do is hit one button and presto-wine time!

  • As seen in restaurants, the Ozeri Prestige makes opening wine bottles easy and entertaining
  • New improved 2nd generation battery opens up to 80 wine bottles on a single charge
  • Opens a bottle of wine in just seconds with push button ease
  • Ultra-light cordless design features an ergonomic rubberized soft grip that fits in the palm of your hand
  • Includes an elegant recharging base, a new aerating pourer and compact foil cutter

    *I received this for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Bellemain Thermal Slow Cooker Carrying Bag Review...

    ...The Bellemain Thermal Slow Cooker Carrying Bag is what you need for all potluck dinners. It makes transporting your favorite crockpot meal a breeze.

    When you're bringing your homemade specialties to a family, work or church get-together, Bellemain lets you be sure that they'll arrive safely and ready to enjoy ... right out of the bag.

    Insulated Material Keeps Food at the Right Temperature
    Hot foods stay hot and cold foods stay cold inside this thermal insulated bag -- a great convenience if the event venue is short on oven or refrigerator space.

    Heavy-Duty Carrying Handles for Extra Security
    Two outer straps are made of super-strong nylon webbing to take the weight of a fully loaded cooker without tearing or ripping away from the bag. And the bag itself is tough, heavy-gauge nylon that won't split or come apart at the seams.

    Cooker Lid Tie-Down for No-Spill Travel
    Inside the bag is another strap that keeps the cooker lid from coming off during transport, and adds even more stability to the bag.

    270° Zipper Allows Easy Access It's easy to load and unload the cooker from the carrying bag -- just unzip the sturdy zipper all the way around and flip open the top. It also makes cleaning easier. (The bag can be washed by hand when needed.)

    1 Year Warranty Heavy-duty construction and materials are guaranteed to perform to your satisfaction, so you can share your culinary masterpieces with pride and confidence.

    This was the ideal carrier. It's not bulky but lays flat when not in use. My favorite part of it was the Velcro straps that you loop through your crockpot's handles for extra safety. Now I'm not afraid to volunteer to bring a dish to parties!

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    TheraRelief Review...

    ...Can I make a confession? I love the feel that icy-hot feel on my muscles after a good workout. Now let me be honest, when was the last time I worked out??? Either way, I found TheraRelief which is the perfect relief for my muscles without the nasty, overpowering smell and doesn't leave behind a gross, oily residue.

    TheraRelief provides instant pain relief while helping the body fight inflammation in joints and muscles with all natural ingredients that are free of dangerous chemicals such as parabens. It includes over 27 deep penetrating clinically proven compounds including Glucosamine and Chondroitin that will help your body heal and recover, rather just mask or cover up the problem.

    It does NOT have a strong "menthol" smell. It is odorless, does not burn, won't leave you greasy and does not have any known side effects.

    It will help you fight inflammation naturally while soothing joints and muscles affected by arthritis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, overuse pains and other strains.

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Natizo Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Review & Giveaway...

    ...Making the perfect dish requires following directions exactly...a downfall of mine. Luckily, with the Natizo Stainless Steal Measuring Spoons, I don't have to worry about my measurements being off.

    Measure Small Quantity Ingredients Accurately and Easily with These Premium Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons.

    Your New Measuring Spoons Will be a Great Addition to Your Kitchen for Years to Come

    Strong and Durable So They Will Last and Last In Your Kitchen. Natizo measuring spoons are made from high grade stainless steel for a long life. They don't rust or tarnish and are designed to measure dry, liquid and think ingredients without bending or snapping.

    Quick and Easy To Use. The flat spoons edge design makes leveling off ingredients fast and accurate. When you've finished cooking, they are safe to put in the dishwasher for effortless cleaning. The easy to open ring that holds the spoons together allows you to use them individually or as a set.

    Accurately Measure Out Your Ingredients. Natizo measuring spoons are accurate and are in the 4 most used measuring spoon sizes: 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon.

    Measurements Are Engraved Into Each Handle So They Will Never Wear Off and you won't have to guess which spoon is which. US and metric measurements on each spoon so they are perfect to use for US and non-US recipes.

    Convenient to Store. The spoons nest together for compact storage and are held together on a ring so they won't get lost. No need to hunt through the drawer to find them.

    Lifetime Money Back Guarantee. We want you to be happy with your measuring spoons, so if you aren't completely satisfied we will refund your money, no hassle, no conditions.

    This spoons are made of sturdy material that wash and clean easily. They measure accurately and are compact for easy storage. 

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Fun times at Cape Splash!!!

    ...On Saturday, we headed to Cape. It's the first trip there all summer! We spent the evening at Cape Splash with my dad and AR had a blast! Before we swam, we hung out at my dad's who grilled us hamburgers and hot dogs. Here's me and my girl chillin'.

    We FINALLY got there and I got the infamous colorful rings pic that all my Cape friends post on FB of their kids. AR loved this!!!

    I seriously didn't think we'd make it past this part of the splash pad to see anything else!

    Of course, we had to snap a handstand pic!

    She loved this slide!!!

    Feet over head!

    And still...all smiles!

    Face in water!


    Snack time with Papa

    Mmm...bomb pop!


    Wrapped up like a baby burrito with Papa

    We surprised my grandma by showing up at her doorstep on Sunday morning and going to breakfast with her. She was shocked! Then after a long drive back and lots of Frozen, we stopped at Nanny's for naps and marshmallows-yum!!!

    I also got to see a couple high school friends who bought some paperbacks of my book so it was great to catch up with them. As always, it was a whirlwind trip, but a great time!

    Sunday, August 3, 2014

    Homemade Almond Milk!!!

    ...Over the winter months, we switched AR to almond milk at home. She had this ongoing cough so we tried to eliminate dairy as best we could. I don't really think it made any difference but we've continued to just do almond milk at home and then she drinks regular milk everywhere else.

    When I saw the opportunity to try out an Everyday Kitchen Essentials Nut Milk Bag, I thought it would be fun to try to make our own almond milk. Other than blowing up my blender (operator error!), it was fairly easy and tasted delicious!

    First you need one cup almonds. I used this whole can.

    Soak them overnight in a bowl of unfiltered water.

    Other supplies needed (I improvised so just pretend): Cinnamon, sea salt, maple syrup, agave.

    After the almonds soak overnight, strain and blend with 4 cups of filtered water on high for 5 minutes.

    Eh...blender broken so we moved everything to the Magic Bullet which we just had to do in parts.

    Once well blended, dump blender into nut bag and strain.

    Squeeze nut bag like, well, like you're milking a cow. This was really easy but I feel like I should have done something with the leftover nut mess. Or maybe I wouldn't have had as much nut mess had I done it in a blender and blended longer...

    Pour back into blender and mix with couple tablespoons of maple syrup, squeeze of agave, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Blend for one minute and enjoy! I got two large glasses out of it!

    This was definitely sweeter than the almond milk AR was used to so of course she drank this down quickly! Overall the nut bag was super easy to use and did a great job keeping the nut mess out of our milk. The only thing was that I didn't know how to wash it??? I rinsed under sink water then put in a bowl to soak and laid out to dry. I doubt we'll be making our own almond milk on a regular basis but it was still a fun activity and something we'd do on special occasions.

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

    Saale Farm Tour with Monsanto...

    ...Last Thursday, Liz invited me to visit Monsanto and Saale Farm to find out more about sweet corn. We're big corn lovers at our house so of course I was in!!! It was a perfect July day with almost no humidity-score! Not only did I learn about sweet corn, and get to sample it, but I got to spend the day with my bloggie friends: Liz and Meg. When I showed AR this pic of us on the John Deere tractor, she was totally jealous.

    After breakfast at Monsanto, we headed to Saale Farm and were greeted by Roscoe. Say hi Roscoe!

    Julie from I Like Beer and Babies found a frog and was the only one of us moms brave enough to touch it.

    Hey Froggie! I like to admire you from a distance, thank goodness for zoom!

    We got to see some of the behind the scenes operation including this grain truck which all the kids thought were pretty cool.

    While we waited for the bus to load, I took some "senior pics" of Megan.

    What do you think? Next John Deere model?

    The tour moved out to the field where we saw soy beans, field corn, and sweet corn. I've always said I didn't like soy beans until I found out they helped move chocolate smooth and now I'm a huge soy bean fan! Field corn is used for feed, gas, cornstarch, and a variety of other items. Sweet corn is just deliciously sweet and you can eat it right off the stalk...which we did!

    This is Adam, our tour guide and farm owner, from Saale Farm who was great and passed on excellent information.

    After chatting with Adam, we were sent into the fields to pick our own sweet corn-yum!

    This was the very bottom of the stalk which I thought looked really cool.

    Mmm!!! Corn still on the stalk, looking beautiful and delicious!

    Playing around with our ears!

    Look at all that corn I got to bring home and yes, we had it for dinner that night!

    So we passed a cake on our way there and the bus was kind enough to stop and let me get a picture with it! Thank you Greg and everyone else on the bus for making the pit stop.

    When we got back to Monsanto, they were having a farmer's market. I want to work at Monsanto! They have a childcare facility on sight, a farmer's market where you can eat the corn straight from the cob, and an amazing cafeteria!!!

    Look, my Coke told me to enjoy it with my MIL!

    It was a very informative day especially since I knew almost nothing about Monsanto before the day started. Not to mention, my girl was VERY excited about corn for dinner!