I turned the key in the lock, pressed down on the brass handle and pulled open my front door. My one-year-old son, Dude, had just fallen asleep upstairs and I made it my mission to be productive for this nap. I had scooped the cat box, called AAA because my car battery died (thankfully in my driveway) and was now taking out the trash. I felt so productive and accomplished in those past five minutes. I could have conquered the world! I threw the trash in the bin and turned back to look at our house. We had just moved in 2 weeks ago and I loved it. New neighborhood and a new place to raise our family. I gripped down on the handle of the front door and pushed. It wouldn’t open. Thinking I was mistaken, I pushed again. Nothing. I’ve been locked out of the house before, so I have a habit of always checking the outside handle before closing the door. I checked this handle. The handle pressed down when pushed but the door wouldn’t budge. Apparently this handle doesn’t announce when it’s locked. It just shuts you out. All the blood in my upper body dropped down to my stomach. My cell phone was inside the house. My keys were inside the house. I glanced up to my son’s window. Since he had just fallen asleep, I knew I had a little time. I darted around to our back gate and silently pushed it open. Even though I was in panic mode, I couldn’t risk waking him up. I tried our back door. Locked. I checked all the windows. Sealed. I looked up to our bedroom windows. Closed as well. I ran out of options for getting inside without breaking a window. I ran back out to the front yard and looked up and down the street. That’s when I realized I knew no one. Sure, I’ve said hi to a few people, but I didn’t know anyone by name nor knew of anyone who might be home. Across the street, I saw a garage door open. I ran over and knocked on the door. A college aged girl opened it. “Hi. I just moved in across the street.” “Oh, hi!,” she said. “So, I just locked myself out of my house and my one-year-old is taking a nap inside. Can I use your phone?” (Stops for a second, stunned)”Oh sure, come on in” I got lucky. She was home on a break from the U of A. Usually, her family isn’t home in the middle of the day. She handed me her cell phone. As I dialed, I prayed that my husband would answer. He had been so busy at work lately that he wasn’t regularly answering his phone. It rang once. I paced back and forth in my neighbor’s kitchen, mentally running through my next steps if I couldn’t get a hold of him. It rang again. My stomach twitched. Should I be leaving […]
I’m not usually one to complain. Wait, who am I kidding? I actually complain quite a bit, but THIS TIME it’s for real. Something has to be done about the NFL.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I just really love Starbucks. I admit, I’m a bit of a Starbucks addict. The objective of my morning walk most days is to walk to Starbucks and back. I love the green straws. I love the mermaid. I love the red holiday cups. Recently, I had to trim back on my Starbucks expenditures because I was going twice a day. I got an Iced Grande Americano in the morning and a Iced Grande Caramel Machiatto in the afternoon right before I picked up my daughter from school. They know me well at my neighborhood Starbucks. From being such a frequent visitor, there are a few tips and hints that I would like to recommend for this Starbucks holiday season. From money saving tactics to holiday promotions, here are some ways to help you get your Starbucks on. Money Saving Tips #1 Put your Starbucks Card on your cell phone. Starbucks has a great app for both the Android and iPhone that lets you pay directly from your phone. I use this all the time because in addition to a fast payment, it keeps track of how many times you visit and gives you rewards. Once you reach 30 visits in a calendar year, you are moved to Gold level. At Gold level, every 12th visit, earns a free drink or food item. You also get a free treat on your birthday (regardless of level), free refills on coffee and tea in the store (Green Level) and promotions such as 25% Food items. The Starbucks card is a must have if you visit as frequently as I do. Downside: It counts per visit instead of per item. If you are ordering for a group, you only get one star. #2 Watch out for “Buy One, Get One” Every time Starbucks launches a new drink line, they usually have a “Buy One, Get One” promotion. I visited with my friend Brie in September when the fall drinks were announced and treated myself to a Salted Caramel Mocha. The new Holiday drinks will be promoted next week and my Starbucks sources tell me that you will be able to buy one holiday drink and get one free November 12-16th from 3-5pm. Take advantage of this to test out the new Chestnut Praline Latte. #3 Split a Venti with a friend. Frappuccinos are an amazing indulgence – especially with all the amazing combinations out there including special concoctions you can ask the barista to whip up for you through the Starbucks Secret menu. However, if you order two tall Frappucinos, you are going to be spending over $8. Instead, order a Venti with a tall cup on the side and split with a friend. You will get the same amount of Frappucino and will save $2. #4 Ask your Barista when the promotions are planned Behind every Starbucks cash register is a Starbucks marketing calendar. Laminated 4X6 cards on a little binder ring tell when all […]
Disclosure: We were given a Noggle for the purpose of review. All opinions are strictly our own. There was one time when I fortunate enough to own a high tech vehicle that came standard with air vents stationed throughout the passenger seat areas to provide equal temperature control for every person in the car. Unfortunately, that luxury was short-lived and I was stuck with my 2007 Toyota sedan that only boasted four modest air vents at the front of the car. In the summer time my littles melted while awaiting the air conditioning and in the winter they sat shivering because it’s not safe to harness children into their seats when they are wearing bulky jackets. I would have to arrange my busy mornings preparing to go to school by either preheating or pre-cooling the car so I could put my kiddos in without feeling horrible. Sigh! Then, the Noggle fixed my problem! With its easy flexibility, I can twist and mold it to aim exactly where I want so that my little ones cool down and warm up faster. I wondered what my children would think since it was foreign to them both, so I let my three year old have a go at it. She loves it and occasionally I see her using it as her microphone. Overall I was just impressed that it was user-friendly and fixed my temperature dilemma with virtually no work for me. To install it, I simply used ties (that were included) to clip a small, plastic attachment onto one of my front vents. I then screwed in the hose attachment and it was installed. It was fast and simple, and removes easily if I need to pile things into the front seat. The Noggle has turned our travels into something to enjoy. My three-year-old loves to play with it and control her own air flow. For more information about the Noggle, visit Noggle Nation. Want a Noggle of your own? We are giving one away! a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post contains affiliate links. When I am sick, I crave comfort. A nice comfortable couch, a warm blanket and copious amounts of pain medication are usually what I need to feel better. However, I do have my preferences for certain other products as well. When I was younger, my mom used to make feel better with Ginger Ale. I always remember that and I want to have some “feel better” stuff on hand for my kids as well as myself when illness strikes our home. When I or my family has a stuffed up nose, aches and fever, the last thing I want to do is run to the store. So, in preparation for this cold and flu season, I’ve put together my very own “Feet Better Box.” Here’s what I put in mine: Blanket In my opinion, you can never have enough blankets when you are feeling rundown. Mine bears the name of my hometown and fits perfectly in my kit. Gatorade I have to have the lemon-lime flavor. This is perfect for stomach aches and when you can’t keep anything else down. Always important to stay hydrated when you are sick. Chicken Noodle Soup Protein and veggies in a can. Easy to prepare when all you do is hobble over to the microwave and pop something in. Ramen This is pure comfort for me. I love Ramen noodles so much! It reminds me of my parent’s home and college. Both good memories. Kleenex When I’m sick and have to repeatedly blow my nose, I crave the lotion infused Kleenex. Makes my nose happy. Chapstick Dry chapped lips are par for the course with a cold. Mine like to crack right in the middle. Sometimes a burning lip is so much worse than whatever ailment has befallen me and my family. Kid’s Activities Better to be prepared. If I’m lying prone on the couch, my daughter needs something to hold her attention so that she isn’t asking me for something every five minutes. She loves Hello Kitty so this Crayola Hello Kitty Coloring and Activity Pad with Markers works perfectly. Thermometer I always look to the thermometer to gauge the total extent of any illness. No fever = rest and fluids. Fever = Call the doctor and get seen. This new Braun No Touch plus Forehead Thermometer is very cool! (Disclaimer: I received the Braun nN Touch Forehead Thermometer free from Influenster for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own.) I can hold the thermometer 2 inches away from my kid’s heads and get an accurate reading. I made a video to show you more of its awesome features. If you liked some of the items I included in my Feel Better box, we’ve included some of them below for easy shopping. What do you put in your Feel Better Box?
1:00AM Toddler wakes up. You walk into his room to find him standing in his crib. When you lay him down, he starts his banshee wail which you are positive half the neighborhood can hear. You start singing and within five minutes he starts falling asleep. 1:10AM Toddler is asleep. 1:11AM Toddler sits straight up in his crib. You lay him down and start over again. Repeat 5 times. 2:00AM Toddler is asleep. You sneak quietly back to your room. 4:00AM Toddler is crying again. You nudge husband awake. Tell him, “Your turn” 4:02AM Husband brings toddler into your room. Tells you nothing could be done. The baby only wants you. 4:03AM Toddler snuggles next to you. Ahhh! One blissful moment. Then, toddler sticks finger in your belly button. Toddler grabs your nipple. Toddler kicks his feet against your body. You think that he just needs time to calm down. 4:30AM Toddler has still not fallen asleep. Must be teething related. Give toddler some Tylenol. 5:00AM Toddler asleep. 6:30AM You need to pee. Try to gently disentangle yourself from toddler. As you are closing the bathroom door, you hear toddler scream. He’s noticed you are gone. You stay in bathroom 30 minutes longer than necessary. Your husband can handle this. 8:30AM Husband kisses you good-bye. Toddler is screaming. Five-year-old is watching another episode of Care Bears. Husband says, “Have a good day?”. You offer to go to work and he stay home. Hubby quickly vanishes out the door. 9:00AM You get the kids out of the house. You go to the zoo, grocery shopping, picnic in the park, shopping for new shoes for the five-year-old, wait in line at the DMV to change your address, drop off items at Goodwill, wash the car, hit up library storytime, feed starving children in China and gas up the car. 2:00PM Time for the toddler’s nap. Lay down on the bed with toddler. Five-year-old comes into bedroom because she can’t figure out the TV. You tell her to wait. Toddler wakes up and adds to conversation, “Eh?”. Reaffirm to five-year-old to wait. Mortally offend five-year-old who stomps to her room and slams the door. 2:20PM Toddler asleep. You hear five-year-old try opening the door of her room. Door is stuck. Five-year-old starts imagining she’ll be trapped in her room forever. Starts freaking out. “MOMMMEEEE!”, she cries. “MOMMEEEEE!’ 2:21PM Toddler wakes up. 2:22PM Mommy meltdown. You leave now screaming toddler, abruptly open five-year-old’s door and snap at her for slamming it. You take a time out in your own room. 2:25PM Sit kids in front of TV to watch “Yo Gabba Gabba” while you find your secret stash of Talenti Salted Carmel gelato. Eat stealthily behind them. The chocolate caramel cups are making you feel much better. Text best friend, tell her kids are driving you insane. She admits to locking herself in the bathroom today to regroup. Breathe sigh of relief. Every one else is having a rough time with this parenting gig […]
So you’ve decided it’s time to turn some memories into tangible objects. It’s time for a family photo shoot! It can be a little overwhelming when it comes to planning your family photo session. You want it to be extraordinary and special because, let’s face it, we don’t do this often enough with the busy life of a modern day family. These images need to really capture what it’s like to be “us” – the laughter, the silliness, the love. Who will it be? First and foremost, choose a photographer who has a photographic style you love. This is very important. Every photographer has her own style of shooting and editing. Be sure you love the work you’ve seen by your photographer. If you are after formal, studio style shots and you higher a natural light, lifestyle shooter, you may get beautiful images but be disappointed because it is not the style you were after. Talking to your photographer about your vision for the session is also helpful in really achieving your dream portrait. Dress for Success Choosing what you want to wear in your photos is also important. It’s fun to go shopping for a new look, but keep in mind that these photos are to represent who you are, not your alter ego or whom you wish you could be. Your attire should be a reflection of you, not a disguise or costume. Comfort is key. You will be sitting, lying down, possibly even jumping around, so be sure what you are wearing is comfortable enough to really move around in. Bring comfortable shoes to walk from location to location and then throw on those heels for the shot. Outfits should complement one another, not be matchy-matchy. Any color that suits your skin tone and hair is perfectly acceptable. Lots of color can be great for a shoot if you are after vibrancy. Layering and accessorizing is also a great way to add depth and texture, but we will talk more about that below. Don’t be afraid of pattern, either. Patterns can also add great texture to image, but you don’t want to take it too far and distract from what’s most important – your beautiful face! Large logos tend to be big distracters. Words like “GAP” or “NIKE” running across the front of a shirt will certainly draw attention away from faces. It’s best to avoid any advertisements on clothing for photo shoots. It’s All in the Details Accessorize! Accessories, as touched on a bit above, are a fantastic way to boost your photos. They can add an extra pop of color, texture, and/or pattern. Don’t shy away from those hats, scarves, and fun pieces of jewelry. Pieces of clothing and jewelry aren’t the only ways to accessorize. Props can also bring a lot of fun to a shoot. Blankets, furniture, a child’s favorite toy, signs – these can all be incorporated in really fun ways. Bring Fido! Family pets should not be considered “accessories”. I realize […]
A few weeks ago, Arizona had a rain storm for the records books. Seriously: It rained so much that many schools were canceled, leaving parents scrambling to find babysitters and activities to occupy their kiddos. My children have a ton of energy, so a day stuck in the house was a recipe for disaster. By ten in the morning I could feel everyone’s patience wearing thin, and it was too early for a glass of wine. I was getting to my last nerve and had to think on my toes. Streets were completely flooded so driving for a play date, even indoors was out of the question. Here’s what we came up with for our Arizona rainy day schedule:
Ever see a spectacular idea on Pinterest and then had it implode on you? This is one of those stories…
I like to menu plan. Scratch that. I don’t LIKE to menu plan, but I feel it is the only way I can keep myself and my family eating healthy as well as not go crazy trying to make meal decisions mid-week. My daughter tends to eat more (and complain less) if she gets input in the meal planning process. So, I created a chalkboard menu that we can use, as a family, to plan meals. See the simple instructions on how to create this fabulous menu board at East Valley Mom’s Blog. If you are not a crafter, check out our printable menu.