Tips For Taking Winter Road Trips With Kids

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Thanks to State Farm® for sponsoring this #AssistPatrol post about family road trips and their Assist Patrol program.

Road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel with my family. Whether it’s just a day trip, or we are headed out of state, it’s fun seeing different places as we travel to our destination. Over the years I have learned some tips and tricks that make traveling with kids smoother, and I want to share them. These tips are great for year-round traveling; but, I’m sharing some that are particularly helpful for traveling during the winter months.

The first tip is to make sure that your vehicle is ready for a road trip. You’ll want to take your car in to get an oil change if needed and also check fluid levels (brake, transmission, power steering, windshield washer, coolant, etc.) to make sure each reservoir is full. State Farm suggests checking air pressure in all tires, making sure the wiper blades are functioning properly, testing the vehicle’s lights and making sure your car battery and brake pads are in good condition.

When packing for a road trip, bring more than you think you’ll need (if you have the space to do so). Whether you get stuck in town an extra day due to bad weather, discover a pool you didn’t know your hotel would have or find yourself in unseasonably cooler or warmer weather, you will never be sorry you brought that extra stuff. It’s always better to have something you don’t need than to need something you don’t have.

The second tip is to pack the car in a thoughtful manner. I know when you are in a hurry to get on the road it’s easy to just throw things in the car but resist the urge to do that. Trust me, a few minutes of planning will make the trip easier. I’ve provided a diagram (above) of how I pack our minivan, and I want to share a few tips that are especially helpful on longer road trips.

In between the two front seats, put a basket of anything you’ll want handy while the vehicle’s moving, or during a quick stop. This includes things like wipes, paper towels, a first aid kit and plastic grocery bags (for trash, wet clothes, etc). I recommend keeping a bag of snacks within reach as well. Make sure to include some zip top bags and/or chip clips to keep open bags and packages from spilling all over.

Children who are older should be able to access toys, games and books that can keep them busy during the trip so I recommend keeping things next to them. We place a container in the middle of our two boys’ seats that holds a backpack for each child. The container catches anything that might fall out of the bags and the backpacks make for easy transport of their things.

In the back of the vehicle make sure to keep a bag accessible for any stops you may make. We keep an extra set of clothing for each person and towels at-the-ready in case there are spills or someone gets car sick. You don’t want to be digging through suitcases to find an extra shirt. Also, if you’re stopping overnight anywhere, make sure to keep a separate (easy to get to) bag full of everything you need, including toiletries, so you don’t have to unpack the whole car for a short overnight stop to get some rest.

The third tip is to pack an emergency roadside kit. Don’t forget this! You’ll want to make sure that you have extra blankets, food and water in case you get stranded. Additionally, you may want to include jumper cables, a flashlight, emergency flat-tire repair, road flares, an ice scraper, and road salt for tire traction in snow.

Once you are on the road, enjoy the time with your family by playing a variety of fun car games like “eye spy,” “this or that” and “guess who I’m thinking of.” Another thing my family likes to do is stop at rest stops near state lines and take pictures with the different state signs. However you choose to pass the time, you can feel confident traveling from point A to point B knowing that there are great companies, like State Farm, that are helping keep our roads safer. 

I’ve been a State Farm customer for years and am proud to say that they are committed to keeping drivers safer on the road. Recently I learned that they sponsor safety service patrols called the Assist Patrol program, where they have teamed up with 15 state transportation agencies to promote highway safety. (Here in Illinois they are called the Illinois Tollway’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) Sponsored by State Farm.)

Each fleet of Assist Patrol vehicles patrols the highway looking for crashes, dangerous debris, and stranded motorists to provide assistance and help drivers get safely on their way. The limited and completely complementary roadside assistance may include services like a tire change, fixing minor mechanical problems, and removing debris from the road. These services are meant to assist all drivers on sponsored public highways; you do not have to be a State Farm customer in order to be serviced by the Illinois Tollway H.E.L.P or other sponsored patrols. Learn more about State Farm Assist Patrol here.

Thanks again to State Farm for sponsoring this post and letting me share some of my tips with you all. I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks that make traveling during the winter months easier.

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Purse Organization Tips For Busy Moms

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GIVEEXTRAGETEXTRA #Walgreens #CollectiveBias

As a mom my purse is many things. It’s a bag for all of my important things like my money and my smartphone. It’s a place for everything my kids hand me that they don’t want to carry like their snack, random toys and the change they find on the ground. It’s a catch all for every paper I get at scouts, sports practice, swim lessons and just about every other activity my kids are in and all the business cards and receipts I get. Then there are the random things I end up putting in there like gum wrappers and used gift cards.

This is what my purse looked like this morning. I had switched to a new purse and not yet moved over my organizational pouches and had done some traveling and had a few busy weeks where I didn’t have time to organize it.

Yikes! Everything is all over and it’s impossible to find anything. The worst is when I go looking for a piece of gum and find my pack has opened up and all my gum is on the bottom of my purse getting squished. I am so excited to have discovered the new Extra® 35-stick pack of gum because it’s in durable, recycled packaging with a flip-top lid. Whoever thought of this was a genius! Not only is the pack perfect for my purse but it’s perfect for sharing because it has more sticks of gum than the other packs. I bought two of them at Walgreens, Extra® Gum Spearmint for myself and Extra® Gum Polar Ice® for Sinisa.

I decided to get back to my old way of organization that I had set up in my old purse where everything had a home and when I’d clean it out every Sunday evening. It was easy to find things and easy to keep organized because everything had a place.

I use makeup bags to organize most of the items by category. I have one for receipts/papers, one for smartphone accessories and one for personal care items. I use the built in pockets of my purse to hold my keys, my business card pouch, my Extra® Gum and my phone when it’s not in my hands. I also use a Life Planner which contains my calendar, to-do lists, and important notes. I put important papers in my Life Planner as well so they don’t get lost.

Look how much more organized everything is!

How do you organize your purse? I’d love to hear your tips! Get more great ideas here and find Extra® Gum in the checkout area or the candy aisle of your local Walgreens!


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Fresh Seafood Anytime


Seafood meals are my favorite. Something about seafood reminds me of home and summers spent on the Adriatic Sea riviera. Fish and seafood always sounds great for lunch or dinner. I love going out to seafood restaurants but since I have a busy schedule that’s very rare and only reserved for special occasions. Recently I have discovered Bumble Bee’s SuperFresh® line of products and it has been a life changing culinary experience for me. Now I can serve my family delicious seafood meals on a regular basis- without having to leave home!

Bumble Bee SuperFresh® is a complete line of naturally-seasoned, restaurant quality, “fish-forward” prepared seafood solutions for the home. It raises the bar for what seafood lovers can expect from frozen food! Bumble Bee SuperFresh seafood is no mess, and no fuss; just pure perfection, time after time. Their premium Salmon and Tilapia come with their own parchment paper baking pouch and go from freezer to table in under 25 minutes. High in protein, richly seasoned with pure and simple ingredients that let the fish shine through! I could hardly wait until it was on my plate while I was cooking. The smell that filled the house was amazing and the flavors were beyond words. The biggest reason I fell in love with Bumble Bee SuperFresh line is that Bumble Bee SuperFresh® offers unparalleled quality. The seafood is “fish forward” – with nothing to hide under heavy breading, sauces, or a long list of unpronounceable ingredients.

The meals can be made in less than 30 minutes which is great. I can have lunch ready quickly on my days home from work to have a middle of the day getaway from the honey do list. The new line is frozen fresh and comes with specially made parchment paper envelopes for each fillet so the fish stays juicy while baking quickly. Suddenly I was a top chef.

The first creation I made was the Tilapia with Garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It was so easy to enjoy a delicious Premium Tilapia fillet! Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Tilapia has ground black pepper, fresh garlic, sea salt and extra olive oil – making every flaky bite fantastic! For me it naturally made sense to jazz it up with some salsa and pair it with a side of spanish rice and beans for a tex-mex flavor that would make an amazing lunch.

The next one I tried was Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Salmon with Garden Pesto. Salmon is my favorite fish. I could literally eat salmon every day. Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Salmon with Garden Pesto is richly satisfying with Parmesan cheese, basil, almonds and a touch of garlic. It is so flavorful, made with all natural ingredients and has no preservatives. I paired it with a fresh garden salad with tuscan dressing and cheese tortellini in a light red sauce. The whole meal felt like an upscale dinner I’d eat at a restaurant but was super affordable and quick to prepare in my own home.

A long time ago I had a friend and I told them seafood is awesome, but they disagreed. My response was let me cook you a seafood meal and change your mind. Now I wish I had Bumble Bee SuperFresh® to help. Unfortunately I can not cook for everyone, but I can do something better. I want you to visit the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® website for a coupon so you can try these delicious SuperFresh® products for yourself! Leave a comment below telling me which product you’d try first.

<p><i>I was selected for this opportunity as a member of <a href="" target="_blank">Clever Girls</a> and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.</i></p>

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Mom’s Homemade Cheese Lasagna Recipe

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Disclosure: This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable

When I was growing up I used to love when my mom made lasagna. It was my favorite meal that she made and it’s really hard to eat lasagna any other way. Meat in lasagna? No way! ;)

I’ve been craving lasagna for a while now and I kept pushing it off because I’ve been too busy to cook anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to make. I remembered yesterday though, while making it, how easy it actually was to put together. Also, since it makes more than my family can eat at one time, I have a couple days of leftovers so in the end I’ve saved myself cooking time.

My mom (with Jacob)

Today I want to share my mom’s homemade cheese lasagna recipe. It should be noted that my mom spent her last years of life sick and slowly losing her memory with every seizure she had and during those years rewrote a lot of her recipes. This one I believe was one of those rewritten ones because sliced provolone cheese was the fourth kind of cheese she used and it was omitted from the new recipe. I made it without provolone and it was delicious but you can add it in if you want the flavor of another cheese.

Mom’s Homemade Cheese Lasagna

Oven: 350 degrees

Bake Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes


  • 4 Eggs
  • 30 oz Ricotta Cheese (2 small tubs)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (2 cups for mixture, 1 cup for topping)
  • 2 tbl Basil
  • 2 tbl Parsley
  • 2 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce (I used Barilla® Sauce)
  • 1 Box of Lasagna Noodles (I used Barilla® Lasagne noodles)


  • Cook noodles according to directions on box, set aside
  • In large bowl, mix 3 cheeses (just the first 2 cups of the mozzarella), eggs, basil, and parsley together
  • Spray an 11×17 baking dish with non-stick spray
  • Layer ingredients: sauce, then 4 noodles, then 1/3 of cheese mixture and continue to repeat. Note: the top should be noodles covered with sauce
  • Bake covered in pre-heated over for 2 hours 15 minutes at 350
  • Once that time is up uncover it and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese
  • Return to oven uncovered and let back for another 15 to 30 minutes for the cheese on top to melt and brown a little
  • Remove from oven and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving

I used Barilla sauce and lasagna noodles for this recipe. You can find them at your local Safeway store. They are having a special: $1 off the purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce.

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VTech Cordless Phones {Walmart Gift Card Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I received a phone and gift card but all thoughts are my own.)

VTech is well known for their innovative products and their newest cordless phone, model  CS6829, is no exception. With Quiet Mode, ECO Mode and DECT 6.0 for the best audio quality, this product offers consumers a dependable phone with loads of functionality at an economical price.

This phone features:

  • DECT 6.0 Digital technology
  • Digital answering system
  • Caller ID/Call Waiting
  • Full Duplex handset and base speakerphone
  • Backlit cordless handset keypad and display
  • Large backlit base display
  • Expandable system up to 5 handsets (uses CS6709 accessory handset)
  • ECO Mode power-conserving technology
  • Quiet Mode silences the ringers
  • 50 name and number phonebook directory
  • 50 name and number Caller ID history
  • Intercom between handset and base unit
  • Conference between an outside line and up to 2 cordless handsets
  • Voicemail Waiting Indicator
  • English/Spanish/French setup menu
  • Table- and wall-mountable
  • Up to 14 minutes of digital recording time
  • Call screening
  • Call intercept
  • Remote access
  • Message retrieval from handset
  • Message time and date stamp
  • Flash
  • Last 10 number redial
  • Mute
  • Volume control
  • Any key answer
  • Battery Type: 2.4V 300mAh Ni-MH

My favorite features:

  • It’s thin! This phone is smaller than my cable remote and really thin (check out the picture above).
  • It can store 50 names/numbers in the phone book. I love being able to see who is calling so I can decide if I want to pick it up or not.
  • The phone has an Energy Star label so I know that it is an energy efficient phone.
  • I can talk on the phone without having to worry that I will hear interference on the line.
  • There is a quiet mode so if I want to turn the ringer off it’s easy to do.
  • The Digital Answering System is a nice feature and I love how high-tech this phone is.

This phone can be purchased at Walmart.


One reader will win a VTech cordless phone and a $100 Walmart gift card.


{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what your favorite feature of this phone is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Follow VTech Phones on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my posts

6) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends October 25, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident, 21 years or older to enter.

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Goldfish Swim School Grand Opening Event {Naperville, IL}


(Disclosure: My children are receiving free swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School. Thoughts are my own.)

Do you have a little one who loves to swim and live in the Chicago suburbs? You might have visited a Goldfish Swim School but this weekend a new location is opening and they are having a special event to celebrate.

Goldfish Swim School Naperville Grand Opening Event
When: Sunday, September 15, 2013 from 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Where: 1688 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL
Details: They will be offering free family swim, delicious snacks, balloon twisting, bounce houses, face painting and more!

Here’s a little more about Goldfish Swim School from their website….

What makes Goldfish so special, you ask? We cater to the comfort of your children. Our pools are kept at 90 degrees to make the water inviting. Our class sizes are small-no more than four children per instructor-so kids receive the personalized attention they need to advance their learning. And, our state-of-the-art water purification system guarantees a clean, safe environment for learning swimmers.

We teach children of all ages and varying stages. Classes range from introductory parent-tot programs to beginner swimmer lessons to advanced pro-level lessons. We also offer a recreational swim team, weekend birthday parties and open swim times for families.

(Disclosure: My children are receiving free swim lessons in exchange for my time spent promoting Goldfish Swim Schools.)


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Super Why! Live Coming To Chicago

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Super WHY Live will stop in 27 cities across the U.S. in April and May, taking kids and parents on a live reading adventure traveling inside a book to find the answer to the question, “Who has the Greatest Super Power in the World?” The show is uplifting, entertaining, and educational. It features kids’ favorite literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig with “Alphabet Power,” Wonder Red with “Word Power,” Princess Presto with “Spelling Power,” Super Why with the “Power to Read,” and their puppy pal Woofster. Fans who want to sing along at the show can get a head start learning the music, as the soundtrack album, Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power Soundtrack from Razor & Tie is available now at iTunes,, and retailers nationwide. For an extra special experience, You’ve Got the Power! Party Packages offer premium seats and a meet & greet with your favorite characters after the show. Super WHY! Live Tour is coming to Chicago Get Your Tickets Today!

(Disclosure: I am receiving tickets to the show for posting.)

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Hot Mama Heirloom Jewelry

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Shannon Sunderland & Sahra Cahoon form the dynamic duo of Hot Mama Designs.  Hot Mama Designs rejoices in celebrating motherhood, family and the one-of-a-kind feeling of the handmade object. Their inspiring designs are created to tell stories and celebrate life. Celebrate Family ~ Celebrate Motherhood ~ Celebrate You!

We rejoice in the art of metalsmithing!  As artists we are intrigued by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is (loosely translated) the beauty of things that are unpretentious and unconventional. In our mass-produced world, our jewelry celebrates the one-of-a-kind feeling of the handmade object.

My Readers Get 20% any order of $100 or more.  Promo Code: mamalove226  #mamajewelry

(Disclosure: I received a pair of earrings for posting this.)

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Photo Gift Ideas For Moms & Grandmas

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Mother’s Day is coming up and photo gifts are a great gift idea for any mom or grandma. I love anything with Jake and Luke’s faces on it and I know that my mom, their grandma, does as well! I wanted to share a few of my favorite products from Shutterfly:

iPhone Cover


Canvas Print


Desktop Plaque


Tote Bag


Photo Bracelet

If you are a mom, which of these would you want to receive?

Enter to win a $30 gift certificate to Shutterfly HERE {Ends 4/22/12}

Find Shutterfly online: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

(Disclosure: All thoughts are my own. I am receiving a gift certificate for posting about Shutterfly but I am giving it away to a reader.)

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Enter To Win An iPad2!

Head on over to Woman Freebies to enter to win an iPad2! All you do is fill in your name and email address in the form that pops up. Contest ends January 15th. Good luck everyone! :)

(Disclosure: I was compensated for posting about this contest but I want one of you to win because if you win an iPad2, I win an iPad2!)

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Giving Inexpensively in 2011


As some of you may know I am a contributing writer at Inexpensively where I write a weekly column called “Giving Inexpensively”. I share easy ways that those of us on a tight budget can give to others. Here are the causes I have written about recently:

1) Share Your Breakfast- I love this one! Kellogg’s is hoping to donate one million breakfasts to kids in need and we can help. All we have to do is take a picture of our breakfast and upload it to the site or send picture mail from our cell phones. In less than a minute I had helped feed one child and it cost me nothing!

2) Box Tops For Education- This one has been around for a while but I recently discovered that some retailers give eBoxTops when people shop online.

3) Donating blood- National blood donor month is over but that doesn’t mean the need is gone. Did you know one pint of blood can save up to three lives?!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Snow Day!

Uh oh! Lost a glove!

After the blizzard here in Chicago we went out to play in the snow. Here are ten of my favorite pictures. See more Top 10 posts on Amanda’s blog.


Jacob shoveling snow



Daddy had to help Lucas walk in some of the snow because it was so deep.



Jacob making a snow angel



Lucas is loving his first time playing in the snow



Jacob and daddy



Uh oh! Lost a glove!



Jacob fell in the snow



I have no idea what Lucas was trying to do but he was looking at the world from a new angle :)



Jacob kept wanting to take his mittens off so we had to keep putting them on.



A sign that it's time to go inside? Your child gets a runny nose.

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Pear Tree Greetings December Giveaway

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Holiday cards have been on my mind lately but really it’s time to start thinking about New Years cards.

Pear Tree Greetings offers New Years cards and I love the What’s Your Resolution? ones.


One reader will win 16 “What’s Your Resolution?” photo cards.

How to enter (leave a comment for each one):

1. Subscribe to Making Time For Mommy

2. Tell me what your favorite card is from their selection.

3. Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4. Follow @PearTreeGrtngs on Twitter

5. Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

6. Like Pear Tree Greetings on Facebook

7. Tweet: “Enter to win a photo cards from @PearTreeGrtngs from @aliciamarie112 at”

Giveaway ends on December 15, 2010 at 11:59pm.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post but as a Pearista do receive free products and discounts from the company.)

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World Kindness Day

Today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. I am joining with Bloggers Unite to encourage others to do random acts of kindness throughout the day.

Here are 20 random acts of kindness I shared in April in this post:

1. Hold the door open for people coming behind you.

2. In the drive thru? Pay for the car behind you.

3. Leave a dollar in a library book where a child may find it.

4. Keep gift cards to a local grocery store in your car to hand out to homeless on the side of the street.

5. Send flowers to a friend with an anonymous encouraging note.

6. Leave some cookies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

7. Drop off some food at a local food pantry.

8. Make a dinner for a new mom or a family going through a hard time.

9. If you are sitting somewhere and there are a lack of seats offer your seat to someone else who may need to sit.

10. Standing in line at the store and have a large order? Let the person behind you with only a couple of items go first.

11. Think of someone who you come into contact with on a regular basis that doesn’t get thanked for their hard work and write them a letter of appreciation and thanks.

12. Give a genuine compliment to someone- whether it’s their smile, their shoes, or the way they treat others.

13. Welcome new neighbors by visiting them and introducing yourself.

14. Be kind to those working in retail, wait staff, and anyone else that works in a customer service job.

15. Write a note to someone you love (spouse, parent, child) and leave it somewhere they will find it.

16. If someone drops something pick it up for them.

17. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk after it snows.

18. Volunteer to help with a cause you feel passionate about.

19. Give away clothes that don’t fit and items you don’t use to others who could use them.

20. Give someone your umbrella if it’s raining and they do not have one.

Here are 10 more:

21. Rake leaves for a neighbor.

22. Have your children make cards for someone going through a hard time.

23. Give a larger than normal tip to your waitress.

24. Complete a chore that your spouse normally is in charge of.

25. Visit someone in the hospital who doesn’t have many visitors.

26. Make a special breakfast for your family.

27. Send a text message to a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them.

28. See someone carrying a large load? Offer to help them.

29. Treat your best friend to a mani/pedi.

30. Get a group together to go caroling and visit some homes of elderly people who can’t drive.

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Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas


Last week over on I talked about how people could put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child without spending much money. You can read my post here.

A few of the items we bought for our shoebox

Since National Collection Week for shoebox gifts is coming soon I’d like to brainstorm ideas on what can be put in the box. Here is a list of items I can think of:


*Flip flops *Hard candy *bouncy ball *comb *crayons *paper/coloring book *playing cards *travel sized game *book *toiletries *small stuffed animal *socks *unopened happy meal toy *play dough *small puzzle *chalk and a mini chalkboard *animal figurines *small musical instruments *finger puppets *pencil case *stickers *stamps and stamp pad


*cars *dinosaurs *trains *paper plane kits *legos *trucks *baseball cap


*lip gloss *small purse *doll *princess tiara *dress up shoes *Barbie *comb/brush set *stick on earrings *inexpensive jewelry *jacks *hair accessories


What other items can you think of?

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Help Prevent The Spread Of MRSA

(Disclosure: By posting this I am entered to win a gift card but I really feel that this is an important cause.)

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Boys Are Always Moving!

My boys are ALWAYS moving. Even when they are sitting they are moving their arms or their legs or their heads. When I saw that Erin from Home With The Boys was doing a link-up for moms of boys to share their favorite action shots I just knew I had to join in. Here are a couple of my favorite shots:


Jacob running



Lucas crawling


Want to link-up or view more action shots? Here’s the link to the post- Enjoy! :)

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My Ultimate Family Vacation

Sponsored by: Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

My ultimate family vacation would be a family trip to a beach resort. Since I have two toddlers I would want to bring a sitter along with us. We would  stay at the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa because there are plenty of things for families to do there.

Day 1: We’d spend the morning at the beach playing in the water and the sand. We would then eat lunch in our room and take an afternoon nap. We would spend the afternoon letting the kids play in the kiddie pool while relaxing on a lounge chair. After eating a delicious dinner together we would head back to the hotel room where the children would sleep and Sinisa and I would sit outside together on our balcony overlooking the ocean.

Day 2: In the morning Sinisa and I would go snorkeling. We would then enjoy lunch and naptime as a family. We would spend the afternoon at Pirate’s Cove water park. In the evening we would enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants and end the day with ice cream.

Day 3: Sinisa and I would enjoy some couple time at the spa. We would then spend the afternoon together as a family enjoying the Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street. We’d go to storytime with Elmo and watch a Sesame Street stage show. At night Sinisa and I would go to dinner and sit on the beach in front of a nice fire.

Day 4: We would spend another day at the beach. The boys would nap in a “kiddie tent” while I read a book and Sinisa napped. Sinisa and I would have a romantic dinner together and walk along the beach holding hands while the boys slept.

Day 5: We would start the day going on a short cruise while having breakfast with Elmo and Zoe from Sesame Street. We would then spend the afternoon at the pool. Sinisa and I would end the evening at a beach party.

Going to an island resort would be perfect. We would enjoy time as a family but Sinisa and I would also have some much needed couple time. That to me would be the ultimate vacation!

Don’t forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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Check Out These Family Deals!

Below are this week’s Savvy Savings and Scholarhip offers:

$13 for: Family 4 pack of tickets to the Wenham Museum
($26 value)

Discover the treasures of childhood, from the 17th century to today
$19 for: Day pass for 4 to Ray’s Splash Planet
($38 value)

117,000 gallons of splashing, sliding fun
$50 for: Pack of 10 passes to the Chicago Children’s Museum
($100 value)

Playing while they learn, learning while they play
$24 for: Half off a family 4 pack of tickets
($48 value)

Corn mazes, pumpkin patches, a visit to the barnyard – all the makings for the perfect autumn outing
$120 for: 6 pack of classes at Art Mix Creative Learning Center
($240 value)

A perfect introduction to the beautiful world of art
$22 for: 4 Daytime general admission tickets to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
($44 value)

Discover what it was like to live and play in Indiana’s past
$25 for: Family fun time at Abrakadoodle
($50 value)

Spark their imaginations with an afternoon of art
New York:
$150 for: Family membership to The Art Farm
($295 value)

Art and animals: a perfect combination for our littlest learners
$50 for: Super Six Month Membership to Sahara Sam’s
($100 value)

A tidal wave of fun for the whole family
$6.75 for: All-day park pass to Enchanted Island
($13.65 value)

Experience the thrill and delight of this one-of-a-kind park
$40 for: 10 pack of open play tickets
($80 value)

A creative, nurturing environment for fitness and fun
San Francisco Bay Area:
$42 for: Family membership to Lawrence Hall of Science
($85 value)

Making science exciting and discovery fun for all ages
$75 for: Annual Standard Family Membership to the Orange Blossom Society
($150 value)

Arts, inspiration and laughter for the whole family

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Family Day

Tomorrow is “Family Day”, a national movement launched by CASA in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family Dinners Make A Difference! Substance abuse can strike any family regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age or gender – the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help prevent substance abuse in kids.

CASA provides a list of 7 secrets to effective family dinners:


I hope that you will consider joining in tomorrow to celebrate Family Day by eating dinner with your family. If so, please sign the pledge on their website. As a special thank you for supporting CASA and Family Day I have a great giveaway for two of you!


Two of you will win SIGNED COPIES of Let’s Fix Dinner by author Todd Parr.

How to enter (leave a comment for each):

1. Sign the pledge on CASA’s website and let me know that you’ve done so.

2. Subscribe to Making Time For Mommy by email or RSS.

3. “Like” Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4. Follow me on Twitter (@aliciamarie112)

5. Tweet the following: “Enter to win an autographed copy of the children’s book- Let’s Fix Dinner from @aliciamarie112 at “

Giveaway ends October 26, 2010 at 11:59pm.

A big thanks to Stouffer’s and Todd Parr for providing me with signed copies of the book, Let’s Fix Dinner. If you would like to purchase this book you may do so here. 100% of the net proceeds from sales of LET’S FIX DINNER will support Habitat for Humanity®.

(Disclosure: I received my own copy of the book and decided to share about Family Day because I support CASA and their mission. I was also given two extra books to giveaway.)

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Prayer Request

Jacob and Grandma Milica

Lucas and Jacob’s grandmother found out this week that she has brain cancer. Can you please lift her up in prayer?

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My Purple Toes Children’s Book Review and Giveaway

My Purple Toes is a creative children’s board book written for children under eight-years-old that tells a story about a father’s experience navigating life with purple painted toenails. From mom to the kids to their dog, everyone reacts differently to dad’s purple toes showing their surprise, embarrassment, and even laughter.

Throughout the book, children can look for dad’s toes in various environments and also find a friendly frog with purple toes that hides on each page. In addition to entertaining, “My Purple Toes” teaches a simple, yet relevant lesson about the importance of acceptance, enjoying life and being different.

“My Purple Toes” features cheerful, imaginative illustrations by artist Tate Nation on its board-style book, offering durability ideal for young children. “My Purple Toes” can be purchased online for $10.99. (above text taken from website)


I read this book to my two year old, Jacob. Though I’m pretty sure he did not “get” the lesson of the story he still enjoyed listening to mommy read it. We pointed out the toes on each page and then I’d ask “where are Jacob’s toes?” and “where are mommy’s toes?” He is at the age where he loves identifying body parts so he really enjoyed doing that.

As a mom I loved the lessons that the book taught which are being accepting of everyone, enjoying life to it’s fullest, and letting children know that it’s ok to be different and unique. I think those are really important lessons to teach children at a young age.

I was also happy to see that a portion of the proceeds from each book supports a charity called Soles4Souls, which collects and distributes shoes at no cost to people in need.


One person will win this review copy of My Purple Toes

How to enter:

Leave a comment below telling me one “life lesson” that you think should be taught at a young age.

Giveaway ends on September 27, 2010 at 11:59pm Central time.

(Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & My Purple Toes who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.”

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Executive Gift Shoppe Review

I recently received a product to review from the Executive Gift Shoppe website. I had a choice of products I could order but chose to review their Cherrywood Desktop Organizer because I am constantly trying to organize myself.

I loved the color of the item and the quality of the wood. The organizer has four compartments for letters and note pads and also two small drawers for paperclips, stamps, or any other little items. This item can also be engraved (for free!) which is perfect if this item is being given as a gift.

Some other items I like from the website are the travel duffel bag with side pockets (perfect for the golfer in your life), the personalized pewter train bank, and this personalized Rawling’s mini baseball bat.

Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & Executive Gift Shoppe who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.

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Herman T’s BBQ Sauce Mix Review And Giveaway

Grilling season is not over yet! My family recently tried Herman T’s BBQ Sauce in Mild on ribs. I’m not good at following recipes but it was pretty easy to make the sauce on the stovetop.

Bake the ribs in the oven

Combine ingredients to make the bbq sauce

Mix the ingredients and cook them on the stovetop until hot

Slather the sauce on the ribs while they are on the grill


I thought the sauce was delicious on the ribs and had kind of a tangy flavor. My dad tried them and thought that the sauce was good but said it didn’t taste like barbecue sauce to him.

Try it for yourself:

One person will win a 2 pack of Herman T’s BBQ sauce (one mild, one hot)

How to enter:

Leave a comment below telling me what you enjoy barbecuing.

HURRY! Giveaway ends MONDAY the 16th at midnight!

(Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & Herman T’s BBQ Sauce who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.)

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Wordless Wednesday: Fourth Of July




I have linked this picture to: Wordless Wednesday Home
5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom ~ Look What Mom Found… ~ Mom of 3 Girls ~
Momspective ~ MomStart ~ Two of a Kind… ~ Frosted Fingers

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Happy 4th Of July (& A Big Giveaway!)


I wanted to start this month off with a BANG and GIVE AWAY a:

Keurig Mini Brewing System!

The Keurig Mini brewer is a great solution for gourmet coffee lovers in locations where a compact size, and minimal features are ideal. It is an excellent companion for vacation homes, cabins, college dorms, boats, RVs, or home office desktops. The Mini is compact, easy to use and brews an 8 ounce cup anywhere you can take it along and plug it in. The mini heats 8 ounces of water in about 3 minutes and then brews just like our regular brewers with no water remaining in the brewer. Now you can enjoy consistently brewed gourmet coffee tea and hot cocoa, virtually anywhere.


Mandatory Entry:

Subscribe via email or RSS (subscription must be confirmed) and leave a comment below

One Additional Entry:

Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following-

“Enter to win a Keurig Coffee Brewer from @aliciamarie112 here:”

(Make sure to leave a comment below)


Giveaway ends:

August 31, 2010 at 11:59pm



Keurig sent me this coffee brewer but since they sent me one previously I decided to give this one away.

I was not compensated for this post.

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Readers, May I Have A Minute Of Your Time Please?

I am trying to get sponsorship to attend two blogging conferences this year. To do so I need to provide companies with an overview of my reader demographics. I have put together a basic survey asking four questions:

  1. Your gender
  2. Your age range
  3. How many children you have
  4. Your employment status

All answers are confidential and I just get the results. I would really appreciate you taking a minute of your time to do this for me!

Please click here to complete the four question survey. Thank you so much!!!!

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One Year Ago…

… this world lost a beautiful woman. I miss you, mom.

March 3, 1956 - June 17, 2009

The following is a copy of a post I wrote for her birthday in March about the 10 life lessons I learned from her:

My (step)mom dealt with Epilepsy for almost 9 years before being taken away in her sleep on June 17, 2009. In the almost 20 years that she was in my life she taught me a lot. Tomorrow she would have been 54 and in celebration of her life I wanted to share 10 things that I learned from her about life.

1. Spend time with God and read your Bible- My mom would sit for hours each day reading her Bible, praying, journaling to God, and seeking His will in her life.

2. Be positive- Having epilepsy meant that she had seizures. She didn’t know when the seizures would happen so her doctor told her that she could not drive. Once she went at least 6 months without a seizure she would be allowed to drive again. Every time I talked to her she told me that she would be driving soon. For over nine years she told me that she was done having seizures. For over 9 years she kept a positive attitude and believed that she would be able to drive in her near future (I really think she’s up in Heaven cruising around).

3. Always get a second opinion- When my mom was diagnosed with epilepsy she didn’t just take a doctor’s word for it. She saw specialists and got a second opinion. Her second opinion was medical but I think sometimes we need a fresh perspective and a second opinion from someone outside of ourselves.

4. Don’t forget what is important- My mom didn’t worry about being the best cook. She didn’t worry about keeping a spotless house. She didn’t worry about making her life look perfect. She remembered what was important in her life- God and those she loved- and that is what she focused on.

5. Be a good friend- My mom loved her friends. She spent time with them, she helped them and most of all she prayed for them.

6. Hug and kiss your children (even if they think they are too old for it)- My mom was a hugger and a kisser. You didn’t come or go in her house without them and she didn’t take no for an answer.

7. Tell others you love them- Don’t just assume that someone knows you love them. Tell them how much you do.

8. We touch more people than we know- At my mom’s wake I was amazed to see all the people she had touched in some way. She had left an impact on so many and I am sure that even she did not realize how many people she blessed with her love. Her kind words and smile made people feel welcome and cared for.

9. Take lots of pictures- As a mom I am always taking pictures of my children but am not in many of them myself. My mom was always taking pictures and more than that she was always including herself in the pictures. She didn’t realize it at the time but those pictures would be lasting memories of her short life and as a mom I want to make sure that my children always have pictures of me to remember me by.

10. Realize we won’t always understand God’s plan for our life- We don’t know why my mom got sick in the summer of 2000. We don’t know why she was taken away from us so abruptly in 2009. I do know though that God sees the big picture. God has a plan for our lives and sometimes we “must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God” (to quote Third Day).

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Birthday Clubs

It’s fun to celebrate birthdays and even more fun to get gifts. Here are 10 great birthday clubs to join. Enjoy!! :)

1.Baskin Robbins

2.Children’s Place, The

3.Coldstone Creamery


5.Kids Talk

6.My Little Pony

7.Red Lobster

8.Red Robin


10.Toys “R” Us

This post is linked up to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday :)

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Wordless Wednesday- Me and My Boys

Me and my boys

I have linked this picture to: Wordless Wednesday Home
5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom ~ Look What Mom Found… ~ Mom of 3 Girls ~
Momspective ~ MomStart ~ Two of a Kind… ~ Frosted Fingers

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Help for Haiti- How Much YOU Raised…


I am overwhelmed by all of the comments and link-ups to my ‘Help for Haiti’ post. I just wanted to let you all know that BECAUSE OF YOU I am donating $48 dollars and 22 hours of my time to Feed My Starving Children. Considering every $1 provides about 6 meals, we just provided 288 meals. That is awesome! The money will be donated this week and the volunteering will happen in the Spring (right now they are booked through March!). Thank you again to everyone who participated! I am so proud of everyone for coming together to help the Haitian people. Remember you can still help the people by praying for them over the next weeks, months, and years as they rebuild their lives.

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Help for Haiti- How You Can Help For Free!


Watching the video clips and viewing pictures of the earthquake’s aftermath in Haiti brings me to tears. Seeing the stunned faces. The battered bodies. The frightened children. The people sleeping in the streets…. I knew there must be some way that I could help them from where I was, with the resources I had available. When Crystal Paine a.k.a. Money Saving Mom asked other bloggers to come together and join her in giving to Haiti I immediately jumped at the opportunity to help. She has asked each blogger participating to choose which organization we would like to donate to and write a blog post inviting others to link up to us with how they plan to contribute. To do this I need your help.

Here’s what I would like you, my readers and friends, to do… Think about what you have done to help Haiti (or are currently doing). If you are a blogger please blog about how you are supporting the people of Haiti and add your link to Mister Linky. If you do not have a blog you can leave a comment below.

For every blog post that is linked up by midnight on January 21, 2010 I will be donating $1 to Feed My Starving Children. One dollar may not seem like a lot to us but this charity will stretch that dollar and provide six meals to hungry children. $62 will feed one child for a year and $170 will put food in one thousand mouths.

For every comment that is added by midnight on the 21st I will be donating half an hour of my time to volunteering at the organization helping package the meals. Financially I can’t do as much as I would like to so I want to offer up my time. Part of the reason I chose this organization is because it is within an hour of where I live and they use volunteers to package the meals. As of now they are booked through March with people wanting to help so I will be volunteering in the Spring- and into the summer if you guys overload me with comment love! I plan to have a ticker so you can see my progress and the hours served.

Most importantly please remember the people of Haiti in your prayers. This is the most powerful thing you can do!

Won’t you join me? Please link up or comment below.

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March Updates…

Jacob and I have been sick a lot lately. I think I can count on my hands  the number of days that we both have been healthy these past two months. It’s very overwhelming being pregnant and sick and then on top of that having to deal with a sick child. It’s been very difficult for me to stay at home and not go anywhere because the days seem very long and I miss all of the social interaction I get from my mommy groups. Being sick has kept us at home a lot more and I have managed to do a few things with the limited energy and time I’ve had.

My updated March “goal” list:


-Get a haircut :) I had not had one since before Jacob was born so for at least 10 months! And I actually got a decent one instead of the cheap ones I normally get.

-Have a “me” day

-Be more positive


-Take my prenatal vitamin every day -so far I’ve taken it maybe 5/13 days…


-Cook dinner at least once a week for Sinisa

-Write a letter to Sinisa

-Go on a date

-Start the Love Dare book (again)

-Buy Sinisa something he’s been wanting

-Do something special for Sinisa’s birthday- his birthday is Sunday and my grand plans were ruined thanks to his mother but I’m going to at least try to salvage them…


-Write Jacob, Lucas, and Avery each a letter

-Get Jacob’s 9 month pictures taken

-Take a belly picture

-Order Jacob’s birth certificate


-Spend at least five days with family- think I’ve spent 2 or 3 so far…

-Email my grandma


-Go on kid-free weekend trip w/ friends- scheduled for next weekend


-Sanitize all Jacob’s toys

-Get rid of 10 magazines in my “magazine” basket

-Organize kitchen cabinets- I did one cabinet so far…

-Make crib rail covers- material bought/washed already

-Clean vent and fan-


-Stick to monthly budget- so far we are doing good…

-Pay off car- thought I paid it all off but then got a letter saying I owe more… grr…..

-Become current or payed ahead on all bills

-Save a portion of each paycheck- we are on schedule to save $500-$1000 this month

-Open a savings account- want to do at the end of the month

-Get Renter’s insurance- got a rate quote online but have to check another place before deciding

-Make a menu for at least one week and follow it when grocery shopping- I forgot my grocery list at home but think I ended up getting almost everything I need.


-See a new movie


-Read one Nora Roberts book


-Complete scrapbook pages for Jacob’s birth and time in the hospital

-Start organizing pictures


-Do a random act of kindness

-Give away 50 items

-Leave a dollar somewhere a child will find it


-Read Bible every day (using year plan)

-Tithe each week- haven’t gone to Church because one of us has been sick each week…


-Complete 10 suduko puzzles

-Try a new restaurant or a new food


-Empty email inbox

-Print out pictures on Snapfish through 6 months

-Rename blog


-Buy crib

-Buy video camera

-Buy wii we are no longer buying this…

-Buy new phones

-Buy toddler carseat- it is out of stock online at Walmart which is where I found it the cheapest so I’m trying to holdout until it’s available again…


-Get oil changed

-Buy and use a fireproof box for important papers- bought it but it’s still in the box

-Resign lease for apartment


So far I think I am doing ok in working towards my month goals. With getting my tax refund back I was able to complete or at least work on a bunch of financial goals which was good.  I got a pedicure/manicure and, with the exception of this week, have kept my house pretty clean this month. I also made it to Walgreens to start my diaper stockpile while they are having this amazing sale. I figure whatever Jacob can’t use, Lucas will be able to use…

I am on an antibiotic so hopefully I will feel better in the next couple days and will have more energy to do things. The weather also should be nicer these next few days which should motivate me to get some things accomplished :)

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“Me” Time? What’s that??

So I had been looking forward to this Sunday/Monday for about a week or so. I was dropping Jacob off at my MIL’s on Sunday morning and then getting some things done around the house and running some errands. That I wasn’t looking forward to but Monday’s “to-do’s” were a lot more exciting. It was supposed to be a “me” day. First, I was going to get a haircut. A real haircut. Not the $10 bargain one I normally get. Afterwards I was going to come home and spend the day doing things that were enjoyable. I was not going to clean. I was not going to to laundry. I was not going to even think about doing those things or guilt myself into doing them. What a great day it would have been but life decided to “happen” so I had to cancel my “me” time.

It all started this morning with my MIL calling and saying she needed me to come at 1pm, not 11am. Ok, 2 hours. I can deal with that. So I decided to go over to my brother’s house to spend time with my SIL and my nephew. I couldn’t take Jacob to Church because he was still sick and we had the time since Jacob is on a “45 minutes is long enough for me to nap now” kick. While over there I was talking about maternity clothes and how I was going to buy a few things for myself. I told her I needed new jeans because the ones I was wearing (my go-to, great with gym shoes and flip flop jeans) were about to get a hole in the thigh area. While saying this I looked down and discovered that they weren’t about to get a hole, they already had one. Great. I knew they wouldn’t last another wash cycle so I added “go to store” on my to-do list for the day.

So we leave my SIL’s after Jacob and his cousin had lots of time to play together, or should I say around each other. I dropped Jacob off at my MIL’s and then went to the store. I had to pick up Jacob’s pictures anyways so I figured I’d go to JcPenney’s. After trying on about 25 bras (in three different sizes), some jeans, and a few shirts I left the store with a couple pairs of jeans. Then I thought that I might as well go to Motherhood Maternity and see if they had any bras that fit me and were comfortable. After trying on some different ones and not finding anything that worked, the lady at the store convinced me to let her take my measurements (cross that off my list). She came up with the same size that I had already been trying on. She found me some different styles to try on and I found a few that worked. I ended up leaving with five bras (2 sleeping and 3 regular) and was quite happy with my shopping day. Before I left I picked up the prints of Jacob from the photography studio and laughed again when I saw my son’s St. Patty’s day picture (the only picture I have of him crying his eyes out).

On my way home I mentally went through my to-do list and added up how much time I’d need to do each task. I figured the “make crib rail covers” would take a while so I knew most likely I’d have to use some of my “me” day to make that for Jacob. When I got home I had something unexpected happen and, long story short, ended up spending most of the evening in bed and sitting on the computer not wanting to do anything.

So basically I told you all that to get to the point that I now have to use my “me” day to do everything that didn’t get done today. I have to: dust, vacuum, organize kitchen cabinets, do laundry, clean Jake’s room, go to Walgreens, start the crib rail covers, clean the kitchen, and sanitize the rest of Jacob’s toys. Maybe if I’m lucky I can get a “me” hour in at the end of the day. Or maybe I’ll just want to crawl into bed. We’ll see….

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Tomorrow starts a new month…

I can’t believe tomorrow is March 1st already. It seems like 2009 just started. Since it’s a new month it is time to decide what goals I will concentrate on. I have chosen the following:


-Get a haircut

-Have a “me” day

-Be more positive


-Take my prenatal vitamin every day


-Cook dinner at least once a week for Sinisa

-Write a letter to Sinisa

-Go on a date

-Start the Love Dare book (again)

-Buy Sinisa something he’s been wanting

-Do something special for Sinisa’s birthday


-Write Jacob, Lucas, and Avery each a letter

-Get Jacob’s 9 month pictures taken

-Take a belly picture

-Order Jacob’s birth certificate


-Spend at least five days with family

-Email my grandma


-Go on kid-free weekend trip w/ friends


-Sanitize all Jacob’s toys

-Get rid of 10 magazines in my “magazine” basket

-Organize kitchen cabinets

-Make crib rail covers

-Clean vent and fan


-Stick to monthly budget

-Pay off car

-Become current or payed ahead on all bills

-Save a portion of each paycheck

-Open a savings account

-Get Renter’s insurance

-Make a menu for at least one week and follow it when grocery shopping


-See a new movie


-Read one Nora Roberts book


-Complete scrapbook pages for Jacob’s birth and time in the hospital

-Start organizing pictures


-Do a random act of kindness

-Give away 50 items

-Leave a dollar somewhere a child will find it


-Read Bible every day (using year plan)

-Tithe each week


-Complete 10 suduko puzzles

-Try a new restaurant or a new food


-Empty email inbox

-Print out pictures on Snapfish through 6 months

-Rename blog


-Buy crib

-Buy video camera

-Buy wii

-Buy new phones

-Buy toddler carseat


-Get oil changed

-Buy and use a fireproof box for important papers

-Resign lease for apartment

See you in March :)

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Looking ahead…

Today was my little sister’s 13th birthday and while debating on what I should get her, I thought about every other special occasion that was coming up this Spring and Summer for my family. I decided to make a list because… well, that’s just what I do :)

March- Stepmom’s birthday and Sinisa’s (fiance) birthday

April- Easter

May- Brother’s 1st Wedding Anniversary, Other brother’s birthday and graduation from high school, Nephew’s 2nd birthday

June- Son’s 1st birthday, my due date for baby Lucas, my sister’s birthday, my sister-in-laws birthday

July- My sister-in-law is due with my niece, my birthday is at the end of the month

That’s 13 gift giving occasions. And knowing me and my pregnant, mommy brain I probably forgot something. I’m glad I made this list ahead of time because I have just started budgeting (March is month one) and I will need to include an amount for gift giving every month from now until the end of Summer.

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A New Way of Doing Things Around Here…

So I have made and will be continuing to make some changes with this site. I’ve decided I really want to make this blogging thing a bigger deal than I have been.

The biggest change I’m going to make is the name of my blog. I named it “life” because I didn’t have any creative thoughts at the time. “Life” is just a little to broad and really doesn’t tell anyone what the blog is about. I don’t have a name for the blog yet but I’m brainstorming :)

Another change I’ve started with this post is actually giving the posts titles that make sense instead of just having the title be the date that I write the post. This way people will: 1) know what the blog is about and 2) it will maybe come up in search engines. I believe each post is dated anyways underneath the title.

I also want to add more: links, pictures, and media. I read about 100 different blogs so I’d like to introduce people to those blogs that I read by linking to them in my post if I think the blog (or a post in it) has to do with the subject I’m talking about. I also would like to add pictures that are relevant and maybe some videos/music that are as well.

The last thing I’m working on changing is the look of my blog. Every other blog I visit is fancy and professional and mine is just a template from wordpress. Guess I’ll have to figure out how to change it…

One thing I will keep the same is the theme of the blog which is talking about my life as a mom and also as a woman. My children are very important to me but a lot of what this blog is about has to do with achieving the goals that I have set for myself in all areas of my life, not just in motherhood.

Hopefully I can develop this blog into something more meaningful to my readers and encourage other moms to become the people they have always dreamed of becoming.

Now to end this lets try a link to my blogroll which will show all the blogs I subscribe to in a rss feeder:

FYI: It took about 5 tries to get the link above to be clicky… this may be a slow process :)

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February 17, 2009

I was thinking a lot today about how I always get my house clean and then, not even a week later, am looking at a messy home again. I tend to “clean” only once a week or every other week when Jacob goes to his grandma’s. The reason I do this is because I like to interact with Jacob as much as possible while he is home and then at night when he is sleeping I just want to relax because I’m exhausted. This clearly isn’t working for me so I’ve decided to try something new. I’m going to make a “daily” list, “weekly” list, and “monthly” list of things that need to get done around the house for myself to follow. I will also start each week with a to-do list and then each morning pick 3-5 things off that list to complete each day. I will try this for a month and see if this works better than the method I am currently using. First, I need to make the lists. This is what I have so far for the “daily”, “weekly”, and “monthly” lists…

Daily- Sweep/swiffer kitchen floor, one load of dishes (start to finish), pick up kitchen nightly, one load of laundry (wash/dry/AND put away), Bible reading/devotions, clean up toy room

Weekly- Dust, vac., menu plan/grocery store, clean bathrooms, clean up Jacob’s room, update blog/goal list, check voicemail, pay bills, change bed linens, clean up desk area, upload pictures on computer

Monthly- Budget, one project from goal list

Those are the things I can think of right now. I know there are more things that need to get done on a regular basis but I feel pretty good knowing that I started the lists. As soon as I get some color ink for the printer (it needs color ink even to print only black and white) I will make a check list in wordpad and then print it out so I can physically cross each item off the list. I do better having things written down because there is more of a chance I will complete them.

As for the daily goals I will give myself each morning I gave myself a few tonight. I am going to do my homework for small group tomorrow morning, post pictures on facebook, and research who can qualify as head of household so that I can file my taxes. I am also going to watch some tv, including American Idol :)

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February 15, 2009

I posted before that I was pregnant again and since then we have had the 20 week ultrasound where we found out that we are having another boy. This pregnancy I had hoped for a boy so I was excited when I saw that I was “growing a penis inside of me” (as one of my friends so eloquently put it…) As much as I would love to have a girl I know that financially we really wouldn’t be able to afford one. Having two boys means they can easily share a room, clothes and toys. Not to mention the fact that I hope they will become best friends :)

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December 6, 2009

I figured I should post considering it’s a new year and it’s been months since I’ve done so. I updated my 300 in 3 years list as well. So far I have completed 28 goals and have 65 in progress. I am pregnant again and circumstances in my life have changed so I will be updating this 300 list with some new goals and taking away ones that don’t apply to my life anymore. When I first created this list I figured that I would change the list once or twice a year and looking back on the list I created in July 2008, I can see that many things have changed since then.

I would like to encourage everyone who has “New Year’s Resolutions” or just goals in general to write them down and look at them often. You can also look back and see how much you have accomplished which is always uplifting.

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September 3, 2008

It’s been almost a week since I’ve updated. With fall tv season starting, becoming more involved in my social groups, and cleaning and organizing my house I’ve been really busy. I cleaned out Jacob’s closet and have a huge gathering of items by my door that I either need to sell or give away. I also rearranged things around my house to better use the space. I think once my house gets organized I will be able to spend more time on things that I’d like to do like blogging, scrapbooking, and reading. And working out, too. It’s been a while since I’ve gone to the gym.

Today was a great day. Sinisa had a day off so I got a chance to spend some time with him and also work on things that I normally wouldn’t be able to do while watching Jacob. He also had some time to build a bookshelf for all my parenting books so I could keep them all in one place. I’m looking forward to just relaxing for a couple of hours with him before going to bed at a decently early hour (yes, 11/11:30 is early for me).

Tomorrow is my first MOPS meeting. I’m excited to see what it’s all about. In the afternoon I have a dentist appointment. I’m hoping I can just get a normal cleaning which is $50 and don’t need a deep cleaning which is over $600. My insurance doesn’t pay for either of them so I’d rather pay as little as possible out of pocket. I hate going to the dentist…

Today’s Challenge: When was the last time you saw the dentist? If it’s been a while, schedule yourself an appointment.

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August 28, 2008

So it’s been a month since I “officially” started my 300 in 3 years list. I am proud to say that I have accomplished 19 of the 300 tasks and am currently working on a lot more. I credit my success with looking at my list everyday so that I keep my goals in mind.

Today was also the day that Obama became the “official” candidate for the Democrats. Obama seems like a nice guy and I think it is wonderful that MLK’s dream is finally coming true and a black man *may* be president. I really don’t care for either candidate but vote pro-life, so normally republican. What I read in a blog last night though changed how I viewed Obama. Go to and look at August 27th posts. Then go to and verify it. Obama had the chance, as a senator, to support the “born alive” bills and he did not… twice! I’m going to research this more over the next couple days.

Today’s Challenge: Do you really know what the candidates believe? If you are going to vote in this election (which I hope you are), you should know where each candidate stands on the issues.

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August 26, 2008

I decided today that I have entirely too much junk. I am a “pack-rat” and always keep things because I might need them some day. Jacob’s closet has been being used as a storage closet for various toys and items that I want to keep but don’t know what to do with. I finally took most of the items out today and created a big pile by my desk of items to give away or sell. Jacob will finally have a closet for all his clothes and I won’t have to have stacks of bins in his room which is nice because it kind of looked tacky. Plus I figured that I should pull the large toys out because he will be playing with them soon enough and I want to clean them before he does. Poor Sinisa, when he comes home he is going to have to navigate his way around our apartment. I seriously have considered getting a storage space or renting a garage to have a place for all my stuff. Next Friday I am babysitting two children here at my apartment so I have until then to clean everything up and organize it. Giving myself a deadline will hopefully ensure that it gets done but may just mean I find a hiding spot for it.

Today’s challenge: Join your local Freecycle if you haven’t already.

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August 23, 2008

I haven’t been on the computer much these past few days. I have really tried spending my time on “real life” activities. I’ve spent time with family, started making new friends, and worked on projects around my house. One thing I’ve realized is that I’m not going to miss anything important while I’m away from my computer (with the exception of my email because I did miss out on a free travel swing for Jacob because I did not see an email in time). If I don’t read my RSS feeder though, I might miss someone’s insight on life or a funny story but I am not going to look back on that time and wish that I had been on that website instead of spending time with my son. If I don’t check my facebook ten times a day I might miss out on a friend’s pictures or an update on what a friend is doing at that exact moment but I won’t look back on that time and wish that I had been online instead of spending time with my fiance. And if I don’t update this blog every night I might not get as many hits to my site as I would like but I won’t look back on this time and think that I should have been updating my blog with my day to day comings and goings instead of living the life that I would one day like to write about. At the end of the day I am doing what I should be doing…. living.

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August 19, 2008

Lots of things going on lately… This is just a short update because I am feeling like crap (allergies and a cold).

-Jacob slept from 7:40pm-6:20am last night. He did not wake up once so I was very grateful for that.

-I had the worst experience at a dentist ever! When I scheduled the appointment I asked them if they took my insurance and they said yes. Then I confirmed that they took it for adults (and told the lady I was 25) because I had called other places and they took my insurance but only for children. She said yes. So I drive all the way to another town for this appointment. I can’t find the building and when I finally do I get in a chair soon after filling out paperwork. I get x-rays taken of my mouth and the dentist looks in my mouth. He confirms what I already know: I need two root canals. He then says my insurance will pay for the front root canal but they won’t pay for a cap so I’d be walking around with a giant hole between my front two teeth. He also says that my insurance won’t pay for the root canal for the back teeth but they will pay to get it pulled. Ok. I can deal with all that. Then he tells me that a cleaning is $50 and my insurance will not pay for it. Great. So I came all the way down there, dealt with a rude dentist (didn’t tell you the story of how he laughed at me), and couldn’t even get my teeth cleaned. Great. What a waste of time.

-I picked up a garbage bag full of free clothes last night. They are really cute. I’m trying to find 9 month clothes but am not having much luck. Just a couple of items in the bag were 9 months.

-I went to Starbucks this morning with the mother’s of infants group. I had a caramel frappucino and it was soooo good. I enjoyed talking to the other moms and it was nice to be reassured that I’m not doing everything wrong when it comes to raising my child (which is how I feel sometimes).

-My scrapbook area is almost set up. I have the chest emptied of toys and most of the scrapbook supplies organized. I am discovering items I didn’t know I had so I am really looking forward to making these scrapbooks.

-I was thinking last night about why I always put off doing things that are important. I realized that it is always because of two reasons. The first reason is that the task takes more than one step or could possibly take a long time. I don’t like starting things I can’t finish at that moment so I put it off until I feel I will have more time (as a mom time is never in abundance so these tasks get pushed off continuously). This happens a lot with phone calls I need to make. I want to call old friends and family I haven’t talk to in a while but then I feel like I need big blocks of time in which to do so because I don’t want to call and then have to hang up because my son woke up or I have to leave. The second reason is that I don’t want to mess up or not complete the task perfectly. I worry so much about doing something just right that I put it off until I feel I can do it correctly, which normally results in having to finish the task quickly because I have a deadline of some sort. The most recent example of this is my thank you cards. These should have been completed a long time ago but I never feel like I can write just “thanks for coming and thanks for the gift”. I get such anxiety over what I’m going to write that I put it off until I have to do it because I am going to see the person. I still have yet to write thank yous to the two people who have done the most for me and Jacob because I can’t figure out how to let them know how important they are to us, but yet I know that by putting it off it only hurts them. The completion of important tasks is something that I am really going to work hard on these next couple of weeks.

-As I wrote this post my son woke up twice. I guess he thought he was too nice by sleeping through the night last night….

Today’s challenge: Get some sleep! (and take some for me too)

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August 15, 2008

Yesterday I went to a “mom’s of infants” group and was so excited to meet other moms that had babies. I joined the group because I am trying to get out more often and I want Jacob to get used to being around other children. Not only did I leave my house to go to the group, I made an even bigger step by going alone (well obviously I brought Jacob). In the past I would never have went anywhere alone so I can see myself growing in that aspect.

Tomorrow I am going to an annual yard sale that helps raise money for the homeless. I’ve gone in the past and found wonderful things. I am going, list in hand, and have decided I’m only going to buy things that I am looking for. After this I am going home childless because my sister-in-law is taking Jacob overnight. (Thanks again Jen!)

I am looking forward to accomplishing as much, if not more, than I did last weekend (wow it seems like my last time alone was a lot longer than a week ago…). On the list of things to do between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon: go to Target, go to Hobby Lobby, empty out car and wash it by hand, wash and put away all laundry, rearrange furniture in nursery, dye my hair, put together a shelving unit, setup my scrapbook area, finish baby announcements/thank you’s and send out, vacuum, put pictures in frames, find and print out a living will form online, empty contents of one file cabinet into a box to sort at a later date, compile week’s menu plan and grocery list, packup Jacob’s clothes, clean kitchen/wash bottles, rearrange my 300 list, and lastly blog about my 24 hours of accomplishments. (Congratulations if you read that entire list) I listed these things because I am hoping reporting on what I have done at the end of the time will push me to work harder. I probably won’t post tomorrow night because I want to spend as much time as possible working towards my goal but I might post an update, we’ll see.

Today’s Challenge: Choose one thing you have been putting off and do it! It will feel so good to cross it off your list of to-do’s.

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August 13, 2008

(*This was entered as a page yesterday accidentally…)

I cooked today for the first time in a couple of years (other than something in a box, can, or bag). It wasn’t much but the fact that I went into the kitchen with the intent on making anything is a huge step for me. I have always considered the kitchen to be my least favorite area in my house because it seems to get messy so quickly and I don’t think that I’m a very good cook. What did I venture in the kitchen to make, you ask? Zucchini. I know…I know… It wasn’t a meal but I have to work up to that. I cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and added salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. I broiled it for about 15 minutes. It was so good. My dad had given me the zucchini a couple of weeks ago and it had been sitting in the fridge because I did not know how to make it. My dad has a great recipe but I didn’t have any salsa so I couldn’t make it. I hope this will be the first of many adventures into the kitchen for me. I looked at a cookbook today and found a lot of great foods that seemed easy enough to make and I can’t wait to try them out. (If you are wondering if I always eat out- the answer is no. I just have a wonderful fiance who after work comes home and cooks me delicious meals.)

Today I was watching a recording of the Oprah show and it was about the health care industry. She was talking about Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”. Though I am not a fan of Michael Moore, this movie sounds interesting. It’s sad to hear stories of people who die because they can’t afford the treatments that they need after their insurance companies deny them. And then Oprah said that treating cancer can be around “600 thousand dollars” and some insurances have a “150 thousand dollar” cap. $150,000 sounds like a lot until you look at what that amount will get you if you become ill. I was amazed and I think you will be, too. I plan on trying to rent this movie or find a copy of it somewhere.

Today’s Challenge: Look at your health insurance policy. How much coverage do you really have? If you get sick will they pay a portion of the bill, all of it, or none at all?

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August 12, 2008

I finally figured out what is going on with my whole job situation… I am now officially a stay at home mom! My maternity leave was set to end tomorrow but my new availability does not work for them so I had to quit. I am still unsure as to how I feel about this whole situation. I’ve wanted to be a SAHM for as long as I can remember. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would occasionally say things like “a teacher” or “a writer” because you couldn’t study for a career as “a mom”. I never thought I would actually be able to be a stay at home mom and even throughout my pregnancy and since I had Jacob had assumed I would be returning to work. It will be hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people I’ve worked with and goodbye to the colorful conversations we had, but it is what I have to do.

Today I worked towards meeting my goal of becoming involved in “mom” groups. I went to a park play date with Jacob, Jennifer, and Camden. We got there early and nobody was there so we waited and waited and nobody showed up! I was disappointed because I did not get to meet anyone but proud of myself that I had made the effort to go. The old me would have stayed home. As for my other goals: today I finished a Nora Robert’s book and the crossword puzzle I had been working on. I started a sudoku book and tasted a snack item from another country that I had never had before. I also started working on cleaning/organizing my room. That is going to be a very long process. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to eating the papaya that S bought for me, spending a day at home with Jacob, reading the posts in my RSS feeder (481 and counting), and going through my books to see if there are any I’d like to donate.

Today’s Challenge: Make a list of your goals. It could be five or fifty or five hundred. What is it that you want to complete this month or this year or over the next 60 years? They can be little, they can be big. What would make you happy and fulfilled? Take as long as you need for this challenge. If you write down your goals there is a better chance that you will complete them. Please feel free to put a link to your post in the comment section. I’d love to read them :)

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August 11, 2008

Yesterday was a very busy day for me so I didn’t post anything. I had picked Jacob up from my mom’s after a relaxing morning spent with the man I love. My mom told me that Jacob had slept through the night. I was so proud of him and happy that we would be getting some relief from middle of the night feedings (well, his dad would since he wakes up with him- I know I’m spoiled). After I picked up Jacob we went to my Aunt’s house and spent the whole day with extended family. My cousin was in town with her two girls. They are two and four years old and this was the first time I was meeting them. They were so cute in their matching outfits- definitely something I plan on doing when I have multiple children. I was never close with my cousins like some people are but now that my oldest cousin and I both have children we have something in common. I found it easier to talk to her because of this. She gave Jacob an adorable bedding set with jungle animals on it and it will be great to use in the crib (which is currently sitting half finished in the middle of his room).

Once we got home from my Aunt’s I played with Jacob a little and put him to bed. He slept through the night again. I normally put him in his swing between 8 and 9pm and then when he was waking up between 12 and 2am we would take him out and, after feeding him, place him in his bassinet for the rest of the night. I found that at night he was so tired that he was not happy anywhere other than his swing. Tonight I decided I wanted to break him of this habit so I put him in his pack-n-play which is in his room. It took him an hour and ten minutes (and multiple times of me going in there to put the pacifier back in his mouth) before he fell asleep. I hope that he sleeps as well tonight as he has been.

Ok, enough about my son. I could go on and on and tell you everything about his day from his smiles to the toys he played with but I will spare you :) Instead I will tell you all about our stroller fitness class today. I went to the class with my sister-in-law and nephew with the idea of meeting new people and getting in some exercise. I was not prepared for the high intensity workout that was to come. I was exhausted half way into it and was amazed at the other moms who were doing the workout with ease. They assured my sil and I that we were doing great and that everyone had a hard time at first. Watching them I did not believe that they could ever have been as uncoordinated and out of shape as I was. (Though, to make myself feel better, I decided that this was because I had just given birth a couple of months before. I would not admit that I would have been just as lost pre-pregnancy as I was post.)

After we finished up with the class the instructor reminded us that this was a free trial class and asked if we had the pricing list. We of course didn’t and I assumed it was because they want to get you excited about the class before showing you how expensive it was. I assumed correctly. It was $50 a month. That is twice as much as my gym membership. I laughed when I saw it (in my head of course because I didn’t want to be rude). As soon as Jennifer (my sil) and I were out of earshot we quickly decided that there was no way in hell we were going to pay that price. We could meet on our own to push our strollers and buy $5 bands at the store to workout our muscles. Or I could just go to the gym and put my monthly membership to use.

Today’s Challenge: Call one person you haven’t talked to in a while.

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August 9, 2008

At 4:45am I was awake with Jacob and desperately wanting to crawl back into bed. At around 6 I was not just wanting to return to bed; I was wanting to stay there. By that time Jacob had fallen asleep and woken up about four times and each time he had done so after I returned to bed. The day seemed to improve when I actually was able to rest for a couple more hours. I then enjoyed playing with Jacob. We sang and danced, played with toys, and looked at all the colors on his mobile while it spun around. He also enjoyed time in his swing. Aunt Jennifer came over to spend time with mommy and Jacob. Then everyone went to Starbucks to meet Grandma Kelly. Jacob slept at the beginning but then woke up just in time to see mommy spill coffee all over. He was not very happy that he had to wait to eat while everyone cleaned coffee off themselves. After that Jacob went to stay with his grandma. Mommy and Auntie then got to spend some time “baby free” and remembered what it felt like to be “women” instead of “moms”. We started off getting pedicures (my treat for Jen’s birthday). It was so nice to be pampered. We then went to Subway to eat and Walgreens to pick up some essentials (and some things that were on clearance). After saying goodbye to Jennifer I walked up to my apartment and was thankful that I didn’t have to lug a heavy carseat and diaper bag up the stair with me (three flights of them!) I then wrote a list of tasks that I wanted to get accomplished this evening and set about doing them. I’m going to brag a little because I am so proud of myself… In three hours I managed to: do four loads of laundry, clean my closet, put clothes away, do a load of dishes, wash a sinkful of bottles, read all blogs in my RSS reader, e-mail three people, update facebook, go through some junk mail, read three chapters in the Bible, put away everything I bought at Walgreens, and read a chapter of the Nora Roberts’ book I am reading. I love when I set goals for myself and meet them. Tomorrow I hope to: write the rest of my thank you’s and birth announcements, wash two loads of towels, vacuum my apartment, dye my hair (brown this time), cleanout my e-mail inbox, go to the gym, visit family, and setup my scrapbook area. A lot to do but hopefully I will get a majority of it done before I pick up my son at two. Now I am off to spend time with my fabulous fiance and enjoy a night alone… reminds me of when we were dating :)

Today’s challenge: Do something nice for yourself- get a manicure, buy the shirt you have been wanting, spend some time outside in the sun… whatever it is that YOU want to do! Enjoy your Sunday.

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