kids and allergies! (a sponsored post) Chime in to win $100 giftcard!!


Hi friends!
Children's Allegra® and BlogHer have asked me to share how I, the mother of children with allergies, have learned over time to distinguish a run-of-the-mill cold from allergies and how using Children's Allegra has helped us to combat the latter! I was compensated for this post but the opinions here are my own.

My kids are 5 and 3 so I've been at this for a few years, I'm hoping that maybe this could help some of you just getting started! :) Of course, I'm not a doctor so if your child is exhibiting severe symptoms or you have general questions, you should consult one.

While we don't know specifically what indoor or outdoor allergens my boys, (mostly Moses but Aaron to some extent), are allergic to, we have learned there are certain times of the year they are more susceptible to the symptoms that plague them.  Spring is prime allergy season for both boys, though Fall brings about another bout of symptoms. Humid Summer and dry Winter air are generally good to us.

Thus, for us, the time of year is the number one sign that they may be suffering from allergies and not a cold!

We can also count on allergies to not bring a fever, stomach issues or bathroom issues.
For us, the most common allergy symptoms are runny noses, "nose twitching" (from it being itchy), and dark eye circles from eye rubbing for Moses.
The great news is that we can live with allergies thanks to Children's Allegra!

As you know, I have boys.  Active boys.  Boys who run and jump, who scream and yell, who play and skip and everything in between...all before 7 a.m.  There aren't many moments outside of sleep where my boys are still. The only things that slow them down are allergies and illness.  It stinks to see their pep stolen by runny, itchy noses and eyes. They aren't in real school yet, but there are definitely days where their allergies get in the way of what they may have wanted to do.  I'm sure if they were in school, bothersome symptoms could have a drastic effect on their grades and overall performance. I see them get distracted, irritated, and lethargic when their allergy symptoms are bothering them the most.

Allergies definitely affect their sleep, too...runny noses equal lots of sniffling, coughing and nose-wiping in my house. Restless nights don't stop them, but they sure slow them down.
They love life, and I want to do anything I can to help them continue on with their joyful life as normal! Kids are only kids once. I don’t want to let allergies rob them of it.
Children’s Allegra relieves kids' toughest symptoms (runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and itchy nose and throat), and does so safely (of course, read all the Drug Facts on the label before using to make sure it's a fit for your child). As their mom I want to be sure that what I'm giving my boys is safe for their growing bodies! It also makes me glad that not only is Children's Allegra effective, but it's also long-lasting (one dose lasts a full 12 hours), and non-drowsy. Right now you can get a coupon to try Children's Allegra for your child.
Thanks to children's allergy products like Children's Allegra , my boys are given a chance to get back in the game, forget about their allergies and worry about important things like climbing trees and building forts.
By providing 12 hours of relief, Children's Allegra helps them to get through the day whether it includes preschool, play dates, or sports. It helps them do the things they love and allows them to get a good night's rest, too!

It's safe and effective at relieving a wide range of symptoms. Children's Allegra helps to tame the itchy eyes and noses, so their worst symptoms fall into the background of their day.
It's definitely a tool I am grateful to have at my disposal. More than anything I want my kids to just be kids and not worry about how they are feeling or if their noses are annoying them.

Are you interested in Children's Allegra? Good! Click here for more information and click here to get some money saving coupons! Also, let me know:
What do YOU do to manage your children's allergies?
Leave me a comment answering that question and you will be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, courtesy of BlogHer and Children's Allegra.
Rules:
No duplicate comments.
This sweepstakes runs from 4/30/12 - 5/31/12.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment (see question above in bold)
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
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life with an imp.

I am posting this for one reason: to refer Aaron to one day, when he has kids that are making him crazy and his memory is foggy about how crazy he made us.

Last night, Aaron decided to see what would happen when he put Doug's toothbrush in the toilet.  And then he peed on it.  You know, just because that's what an imp does.  NBD. 
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In defense of the super mom.

This post may ruffle your feathers a bit.  It's being written because mine are a bit ruffled...again, but I am writing in defense of mothers like me everywhere. 

Having done this writing game now for almost five years, I've learned a thing or two.  I've seen trends on topics come and go.  Some will peak my interest, some barely get noticed.  I follow a lot of blogs and keep up with the highlights of others through facebook or twitter or whatever...the point is...I see a lot of posts. 

One topic I am sick to death of reading about...hating on "over achieving moms".  Or the "overly multi-tasking moms".  Or the "super moms".  Or the moms who "do things for show" (their assumption).  Or the moms "who make others look bad"(again, their perception).  The mommy blogger who gets up on her soapbox and tells the world that moms like me are "fake", "neglectful of their children", and otherwise "not as good at mommyhood as they are for being able to get a lot done in a day".  Quotations paraphrase actual blog post content I have read in the last few months.     

They assume that because THEY don't operate in the same manner successfully, that no one can.  They work in extremes or if-then worlds.   

Can we please just knock it off?  Can we please just resolve ourselves to worrying about how we spend our own 24 hours.  What I do or don't do in a day has ZERO effect on what anyone else in the world does with THEIR 24 hours. 

I'm often asked, both nicely and not so nicely alike, "How do you get so much done in a day?". 

Here is my official answer:  
Most days I am up an hour before my kids.  I spend 30 minutes reading my Bible and devotionals.  Most days I do get in some creative time, some work time, some laundry time, some coffee time, some writing time, some other time filling activity time, some driving to and fro time, some couponing time and some other time.  I bust my buns to do it all.  I miss meals because I get distracted by cleaning out the closet.  I drink a lot of coffee.  We'll skip dinner sometimes and have a milkshake instead.  I don't watch TV much...but when I do, I am always doing something else to make it productive.  I only read books that are true or make me a better person.  I never stop moving.  We play hard, we work hard.  All days I am up hours after everyone else is in bed.  Every day I give something in my house a thorough cleaning/purge...a drawer, a closet, a cabinet, etc.  I add ten things to pinterest and maybe do one of them.  We are VERY picky about our time commitments.  Mess stresses me OUT.  We play with our kids, we discipline our kids, and we are involved with our kids.           
My favorite scripture is this:  "Teach us to make the most of our time so that we may grow in wisdom" Psalm 90:12.  My life verse.  The verse that automatically plays in my head when I am choosing between watching TV or washing the dishes.  This is just how I am wired.  I hustle.  I work hard.  I will be accountable for how every minute of my life is spent.  A lot of "I" statements that have nothing to do with any other mother on the planet.         

I'm not mentioning any of that to brag...I'm saying it to show who makes the choices on how I spend my 24 hours.  I do.  Do you know how many times in a day I think "well I need to get x, y, z done today to make me look like a good mom"?  None.  You know what I do think of?  My husband, working hard at his "real" job, my boys and the kind of childhood we are trying to create for them and Jesus, and what HE would want me to do with my time that day. 

I pray most days "Lord, show me how to use my time today".  And then I listen.               
Now clearly I can't speak for all moms like me.  But if they are anything like me they don't spend their days trying to make others look bad.  Our hearts are directed towards Christ and making our homes happy, fun and smooth running machines.   I do my best to follow what the Lord wants me to do with my days.  I love with my whole heart and do my best to show that to as many people in my path as I can. 

Fretting about how others perceive my actions takes away from the things that I should be doing instead.  I've learned over the years (and with the skin thickening agent known as public writing) not to care what others think.

Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who said
"Do what you know in your heart to be right,
 because in the end you will be criticized anyway".  

Yup.  I've arrived there and sprinkled it over everything in my life. 
And it's as nice as unicorns and rainbows.        

If seeing what other moms do, via any social media outlet, makes YOU feel inadequate, then stay away from those outlets.  Better yet, just stop comparing.  Comparison is the enemy of joy and contentment.  Take a look at your own heart and get right with you.  You could very well be doing exactly what you are called to do each day, but if you are so busy using someone else's to-do list to check off your own tasks, then you will miss it.  Miss the reward of knowing the JOY in that moment.  It would be like packing for a trip to the hot and sunny beach but making sure you have everything for Alaska instead.  It just doesn't make sense. 

Making assumptions on others based on the tiny fraction of their lives that you DO see just hurts everyone involved.  You are hurt because you aren't living up to perceived standards and they are hurt because you casting untrue characteristics on them.  It's dumb.   

My heart for women everywhere is to do EXACTLY what God has called them to do.  Because truly, right there, in the perfect little nest the King has made for you, will you find what is ultimately more fulfilling and satisfying for you anyway.  Love yourself enough to do that.  Look up. 
And for the record this is what I did today.  And I wasn't even sick. 

This confession, ironically enough, puts me at odds with a whole other group of moms who ask:
"What DO stay at home moms do all day??".   We won't even go there. :)
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20 minute crafter-wire bird nest pendants!

I thought I would whip up a little tutorial for these sweet little nests...because they are much easier than you think and Mother's Day is just around the corner.  Make one for your ma, grandma and all your girlfriends.  :) 
You can use any and all color of beads and wire.  
Here is what you need:
20-22 gauge wire-both produce a little different look
small beads that will fit on your wire
wire pliers (that is not what they are called is it?  but that is what comes to mind so I am going with it)
a round object that is roughly the size you will want of the INSIDE of your nest...a spoon handle, marker or something like that.  
Leaving a 2-3in tail start to wrap your round object with wire...
Wrap around lots of times...15 or so depending on the gauge of your wire...or whatever suits your fancy...
 ...slide the wire off when you are done wrapping...
 ...use your little tail to wrap around the nest once to hold everything together...cut the other tail (still attached to the wire supply) down to 6-8in...
...add your beads...
 ...curl the ends in with your pliers to hold them on there...
...curl that wire around the cozy them down in the nest...
...start to wrap your nest...around and around...
...in and through...
...when your long tail is down to 3-4in it's time to make loop for hanging...
...straighten it UP...
...fold it down...
...twist...
...and then continue to wrap around the nest if need be...then tuck the end into the nest.  Be sure to hide the end of the wire well so it won't snag clothes or skin!
...and you are done.  Go make some for every lady you know!!
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what i made for monday-white chocolate snickerdoodles

Julie posted this recipe forever and a day ago...onto my to-do list it went.  And sat. 
I bought the snickerdoodle mix months ago and it sat. 
Then in my search of what to make for this Monday it resurfaced.  And I had a cookie jar to fill. 

Now a disclaimer.  I'm lazier than Julie.  And our personal family crest says something to the effect of "thou shall not put fruit in cookies unless there is oatmeal to go with it therefore making them a breakfast food" or something like that.  The wording is fuzzy to me. 

So I tweaked Julies recipe just a bit...making them lazy and not as good for you but still AMAZING.  Like go find some snickerdoodle mix to make these, AMAZING! 

I have no trouble finding it at Target on a regular basis. 
So here you have it.  My version of Julies version of Betty Crockers version of this amazing snickerdoodle cookie.  I'll call it "white chocolate snickerdoodles".

Make them today and you will not regret it.

You need:
1 pouch Betty Crocker snickerdoodle cookie mix
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
1 bag white chocolate chips

Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.

Add water, egg and cookie mix (setting aside cin/sug mixture) to cream cheese mixture.
Mix until soft dough forms.  Add the white chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


(Here comes the lazy part).

Place ping pong ball sized balls of dough two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon and sugar mix.

Bake a 375ยบ for 8-9 minutes until edges are golden brown.  The tops may still look very light.
Cool a minute or two then transfer to cooling rack.  Resist the urge to eat them all.  If you are planning on sharing them like I am do that IMMEDIATELY!!


Thanks for sharing Julie!!

And I've been piddling around with wire and beads.  I've been wanting to teach myself to make these cute bird nests forever now and a photo of one popped up on my IG feed prompting a trip to Joanns.

A little bit later and here you have it.  I think this particular one would be wonderful for a foster mom...because of the rainbow of kids she is sure to see in her life! :)

Hope your Monday is SUPER! :)
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huggies num 5!


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

This week's topic is the diaper bag -- post two!

Now that you’ve survived the reign of the tyrant that is a newborn, you can lighten your load just a bit! You won’t need to haul around nearly as many diapers and clothes! Once your baby gets a little bigger, you will get into a nice rhythm and his needs will be a little more predictable. You will get to shed a few of the items from the previous bag and add a few new ones.

Stage Two of the diaper bag!

Here are some good things for the baby who passed through the newborn stage:
  • 3-4 diapers
  • travel case of wipes
  • one change of clothes
  • a few toys that they only see when you are out (keeps them “new” to them)
  • a couple of small books
  • spoons for feeding
  • food, when you start using it (both of my boys started solids around 6 months) (Confession: I almost never heated up baby food. Never. Terrible, huh?)
  • Cheerios or puffs once your baby can eat these
  • bags for diapers
  • hand wipes
  • nursing cover (good luck keeping it on now)
  • bottles, formula and water as needed
Don’t forget to update your emergency box in the car with bigger diapers and clothes! More than once I have reached in that box needing clothes for a 9-month baby and only have 3-month clothes and diapers! Oops!

You might also consider switching diaper bags at this point. I found that something a little more grownup-looking helped me feel a little better about hauling it around, though I always steered clear of anything that was obviously a diaper bag (think Pooh or Mickey). I was also able to use all my diaper bags with both boys so my investment was taken advantage of.
At this point I also bought one of those small bags that held a diaper, changing mat and wipes that I could pull out and hand over to the childcare worker, since at this point I was still carrying my personal items in the diaper bag.

What do you think? Anything you would add to this bag?

Be sure to check out my other posts on babies and their stages HERE! 

Don't forget to check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and then visit the Huggies page on BlogHer.com to read about other bloggers' who share their own experiences of motherhood.

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life lately.

I'd rather have long, uninterrupted conversations in the car with my husband than to be able to say "my kids never watch TV in the car".  Thank you DVD player and headphones on long trips.
Thank you robins for coming back!  Counting the days to see your babies!
Hi Jack.  Please stop growing. 
 Making a wish.  Please come true!
I love goodwill.  I love $100 file cabinets for 85% off.  
I love giving old things new life.
I love adding my name to my favorite things.  Just living my brand.
How old is he again?
Loving the freedom of "free sew" time.  And the mug rugs that are born of that time.
Love this bike fabric so much that I fussy cut out each bike to use one at a time. :)
My prescription for stress-ure.  {stress+pressure}.  Weight gain is worth it.  Totally.  
Loving this $3.08 trip to CVS.  My stockpile is a glorious sight.

What are you loving?  What are you up to?  Leave me a link to a blog post so I can come visit! :) 
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yummy lasagna!

It's my personal philosophy that you should try to make everything from scratch at least once in your life.  You just never know what you are missing out on by running to the freezer section of the store every time.  Sometimes it's nothing but sometimes you are missing out big.  Whether it's a pie crust or a cake or meatloaf...at least try to make it from scratch at least once, you might decide that you can't have it any other way. :)

Case in point.  This lasagna.  Or specifically this sauce!   Oh man...it was SO good that I was eating the sauce alone, by the spoonful!
For the sauce:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (cooked and crumbled-I had to buy the links and de-skin them)
1 pound lean ground beef (cooked and crumbled)
1/2 cup minced onion (I put the garlic and onion in my food processor and ran it until they reached the "minced" stage)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Mix all of the above together and cook on low in your crock pot for 3-4 hours.

1 box lasagna noodles (I used the oven ready kind that you don't have to pre-cook)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups mozzarella cheese shredded (I actually used a mozz/provolone mixture)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together the ricotta, egg and salt.

In the bottom of a 9 x 13in pan add about 1 1/2 -2 cups of sauce, add a layer of noodles, cover with half of the ricotta mixture, a third of the cheeses, sauce, noodles, ricotta, cheese, sauce, cheese. :)

Bake at 375 covered with foil for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and bubbly. :)

Enjoy!
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huggies num 4!


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects surrounding babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons...I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too! 

This week's topic is the diaper bag (post 1)!
For the first-time mom, the diaper bag can be a little overwhelming. I will admit that we nearly took a suitcase to the hospital because, well, I had never HAD a baby before. I had no idea what I would need or want or desire to have with me. Lucky for me, I got a do-over with Aaron, and along with some experience with Moses I found a good rhythm with the diaper bags. I’m going to break this up into THREE separate posts because it’s been my experience that there are three different stages to the diaper bag.

Stage One is the newborn stage.
Honestly, it’s more simple than I made it the first time. You want to find a good solid bag with lots of pockets, inside and outside. Pockets will keep you more organized, and when you have a screaming baby you’ll know exactly where to find something.

Here’s a good list of what to add to your day-to-day bag:
  • 5-7 diapers
  • a package of travel wipes or one of those hard cases filled with lots of wipes
  • two changes of clothes, including socks (never underestimate the wide range that poop can cover)
  • if you are nursing, include your cover
  • if you bottle-feed, be sure to bring bottles, formula and water
  • a pacifier or two
  • a changing pad
  • small plastic bags (for diapers and blowouts)
  • granola bars or snacks for mom
  • sanitizing wipes for your hands
  • bum cream/baby powder
  • a small extra blanket
I carried my wallet and phone in the diaper bag for the first couple of months, but that was a pain whenever I wanted to leave Aaron and the diaper bag with someone.

I also had an emergency box in the car that had a little of everything above just in case. It stayed in the car at all times and saved my butt more times than I could count! More than once I have needed a diaper, wipe or change of clothes that I kept in there. In addition to the items above I also kept a towel (or paper towels).

That is what I carried with me everywhere I went for the first few months. It seems like a lot...but if you are organized, all of the above will fit nicely and keep you from getting in a bind!

Can you think of anything I missed? What else would you add to the newborn diaper bag?

Be sure to check out my other posts on motherhood HERE! :)

Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app!

Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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quilting again.







I've decided to make a HUGE quilt for my own bed. 
Like king size...that will be sent off to be quilted.

If you knew what was going on in my life at the moment, or what is on the horizon, you would think I am crazy for starting this.  And you would be right.  But...I need the distraction I guess.  And the prayer time.

I am using a simple method that results in a quilt that looks much more complicated than it is.  It's called a disappearing nine patch....maybe a tutorial is in order because it really results in an impressive looking quilt with not much effort.  The fabrics are randomly collected and put together on impulse but I am loving how they are coming together. :)

And because I know so many of you care...Friday is a BIG HUGE life changing kind of day for us.  If you could be praying for us that day, it would be much appreciated. :) I can't say why here, but if you would like the details just email me and I will be more than happy to oblige.

I'm praying that soon and very soon I can share the awesome story of what God has been doing in our lives lately...

Until then...have a super day friends!
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$5 mixer make-over!

Now there was nothing wrong with my delightful yellow mixer to begin with...but what isn't made better with a little wonder woman action?  I got two decals for $5 from etsy...
...and a few minutes later, my mixer became all I knew she could be. 
I'm pretty thrilled with it.  What do you think?
And while I was at it, I gave a little love to the other girl I spend so much time with.

I just might need to order a few more of those decals...
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