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Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your stories with me as well.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Elf on the Shelf

We introduced Elf on the Shelf to Bradley this year.  The first night Bradley was actually scared of the Elf.  It really bothered him and he made us promise that we wouldn't let Elf come into his room at night.  But when he realized the next morning how much fun Elf has at night, he decided Elf was pretty cool.  Bradley named the elf Gerald and Gerald has been busy the last 5 nights.  You can follow me on Instagram if you want to see what our Elf is up to the rest of the month!  

Gerald played Candy Land with his Super Hero friends.

Gerald is pretty good at drawing his self portrait.

Gerald cleaned up the entire play room for Bradley on this particular night and then
had fun with all of Bradley's matchbox cars.

Gerald sweetly reminded Bradley to wash his hands after he uses the bathroom.

I love this one of Gerald reminding us to show love to all.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Today was one of the happiest Thanksgiving's I've ever had.  We slept in (6:30 am is sleeping in for us) and had a leisurely breakfast.  We played Bingo while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade which was so much fun.  Mike and I took turns running on the treadmill so we could justify all the food we were getting ready to consume for lunch.  And then we did something I thought we would never do.  We went to Cracker Barrel for our Thanksgiving lunch!  And you know what...it was the best thing ever!  We waited for about 45 minutes which wasn't the easiest with hungry kids but our waitress was fantastic and got us our food as quickly as possible while keeping our drinks full.  After lunch, we headed to the movie theater in Falmouth to watch Trolls.  It was our first time to that theater so we were super excited to see leather recliners!  It was the best thing ever!!  We were so cozy and comfortable and the movie was really, really cute.  It was Savannah's first movie and we weren't sure how she would do, but she stayed awake for almost all of it and was really into watching it.  On the way home, we stopped at Cumberland Farms for our free coffees.  When we got home we played Monopoly in which Bradley beat both Mike and me big time!  And an evening of relaxation ended our Thanksgiving Day.  I'm so thankful for my family.  I'm so thankful for our home.  I'm so thankful God brought us to Maine. 
 I'm so thankful for simplicity. 

A very quick game of Checkers since it was freezing outside.

Bradley was super excited to see it start to snow!

 Savannah's first taste of lemon!

Waiting so sweetly for her first Thanksgiving meal!

My favorite little boy!

Movie time in super comfortable leather recliners!

Full bellies and a comfortable recliner makes for a perfect nap!

And he's the winner!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Latest and Greatest in Bradley's World

So much growing up is happening with you Bradley!  The biggest milestones would be losing your first tooth and having an official crush on one of the little girls in your class.  It's sweet to see young love but I'll have to admit there is a little jealousy when I hear you talking about another girl in your life.  I want you to love me the most even though I know that will not always be.  You are doing so well in kindergarten.  It's amazing to watch you spell words, sound them out, and read them.  Daddy and I have to be careful about spelling out our secrets now because there have been several times you've knew the words we were spelling!  You get so excited about eating hot lunches at school.  I love watching your eyes sparkle when you tell me about the things you are learning in school.  Your favorite classes are still recess, lunch, and snack.  Your appetite is getting bigger.  The other day we went to Red Robin for lunch and you ate the corn dog meal off the kids menu, 1/4 of Daddy's burger, and 1/4 of my chicken salad.  And you were hungry an hour later!  Bradley you are such a joy to watch grow up.  You have a heart of gold and I see so much of my Mother in your sparkling eyes.  You are my little sunshine and life is more beautiful because of you!

 This pile of wood was your fort for several weeks. 

 You wanted to take a nap at the top of the mountain we hiked.

You love climbing trees!

You and your puddles!

 You asked to walk to school so we could look at the colors of the trees.

 It's hard to believe my beautiful baby boy is 5 years old.

Your first school project!

You make one cute turkey!

Your first official school picture!

You loved Halloween this year!

Our neighbor gave you a full size Hershey's Chocolate bar which made you so happy!

You can make this mess in about 5 minutes.

But you are also the best in helping me clean and vacuum!

You wanted this pair of shoes so bad.  My heart broke because we didn't need to buy them at that time.  But I know for a fact that Santa has them ready for you on Christmas Day!

Your first missing tooth!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Our Weekend Recap

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.  My last weekend before going back to work was filled with lots of family time!  We celebrated Mike's 38th birthday on Friday night.  T-bone steak, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, sourdough bread, and vanilla birthday cake with strawberry frosting was on the menu.  We bought him the game Pie Face for his birthday present which gave us a lot of laughs after dinner.  Then we had family movie night and watched Finding Dory.

On Saturday morning we had our last Marriage Oneness class at LifeChurch.  It's been a great 8 week study and Mike and I are excited about some changes we are making to our marriage which will help us grow closer together.  Mike taught me how to change the break pads on my Honda Pilot on Saturday afternoon.  I'm very thankful it hit 50 degrees and the sun was shining.  I was dreading this job because of the cold weather but it ended up not being as bad as it could have been.  Mike helped me with the first set of brake pads and then he let me do the second set completely on my own.  I finished the job in 17 minutes!  There was one point I really struggled with the tire and I was ready to give up and walk away.  A couple deep breaths and possibly a curse word and I finished the job.  I was proud of myself for finishing and I was extra proud of the money I saved.  I had a quote from Meineke for $150.  I bought the brakes for $50 at the Auto Parts store and saved $100 by doing the job myself.  After the brakes were installed, we raked the yard for the last time this year and put away all our outside chairs and patio furniture for the Winter.  We finished in time for quick showers and then headed to church.  After church we had another family movie night watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. 

Sunday started off with a nice surprise with the kids sleeping in until almost 8 am!  I worked on laundry all morning and Mike cleaned the entire kitchen which included washing and drying all the dishes since our dishwasher is out of commission right now.  Bradley had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon and Mike took him while Savannah and I stayed home.  I caught up on some blogging while Savannah took a nap.  A relaxed evening finished out our weekend.  Another weekend is in the books and more sweet family memories were made.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Make Christmas Magic with Portable North Pole - Save 20%

I love seeing the magic of Christmas come alive through my 5 year old son, Bradley!  Portable North Pole is an online platform used by Santa and his elves to send personalized video messages and calls to the people you care about most anywhere around the world.

In just a few simple steps, you can help Santa gather all the information he needs about your loved one and create a tailor-made video message or phone call that is positively magical.  But that isn't all Santa and his magical elves have in store!  To create truly unforgettable memories, you can even download a HD version of your video to keep for years to come.

Setting up an account is fairly easy.  I had Bradley's video message ready to go within about 10 minutes.  One tip would be to have pictures ready that you want included in their personalized video.  You can even take a picture of your house and that will be included in your video showing where Santa will bring their present.

Bradley is 5 years old and thought the video and the phone call was pretty cool.  Once you have created an account, you will have unlimited access so I'm going to have Santa call him once a week to help with the countdown for Christmas.

Right now you can save an additional 20% with Portable North Pole by using code PNP6BLG20.  Click here to start the creating your magical Christmas memories!

*Disclosure - I'm a member of US Family Guide and I received free access to Portable North Pole in exchange for review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Coobie Comfort Bra Review & Giveaway

Women know that finding the perfect bra is one of the hardest things to do.  With the gazillion options out there, no wonder it's overwhelming and frustrating.  Underwire, push-up, seamless, extra support, front clasp, back clasp, extra coverage, and the list goes on and on.  I received a Coobie Comfort Bra last week and I'm so impressed with it.  I can't remember the last time I wore a bra that was so comfortable.  I love that there aren't any adjustable straps where you have to tighten to make it stay on your shoulders or loosen so the bra isn't riding up.  There are no annoying clasps on this bra.  It's an easy pull over bra that provides great coverage, comfort, and support.  The best part about this bra...it's extremely affordable!  I've paid a lot more for bras that didn't get worn as much as this one has.  Coobie Bras has many different style options and you can check them all out by clicking here.  And right now you can save an additional 20% by using code USFG.

  Two of my lucky readers will have a chance to win their own Coobie Bra!  Simply enter below and two winners will be randomly selected on Black Friday, November 25th.

*Disclosure - I'm a member of USFamily Guide and I received a free Coobie Bra in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gaia Herbs Daily WellBeing for Women Product Review

 Gaia Herbs has been a leader in the herbal industry since 1987.  They offer hundreds of products for a wide variety of health support options.  With respect for both the plants and the people who use them, they are driven by the concepts of purity, integrity, and potency.  You can be sure that all Gaia Herbs dietary supplements are 100% Vegan, Gluten-Free, GMO-Free, and are purity tested.

Daily WellBeing for Women provides a convenient, once-daily blend of pure herbal extracts and plant-sourced Magnesium, Calcium, and Vitamin D3 to help you maintain whole-self wellness.  There are four unique herbal combinations in this supplement to help with Inflammatory Response, Immune Health, Stress Management, and Women's Health.

I've been looking for a great daily supplement to take and I was so happy to be chosen for this sampling promotion.  I take two capsules every morning.  The soft capsules are easy to swallow, however, there is a slight herbal taste to them.  If this should bother you, simply drink it with something other than water and you won't taste the supplement.  After a week of using Daily WellBeing for Women, I noticed an increase of energy and a positive difference with my night anxiety.  I felt more in control of my anxiety and an overall better disposition due to not being exhausted and feeling zapped of energy.

Gaia Herbs delivers unprecedented traceability, testing every product for safety and efficacy-and sharing the results online.  You can see for yourself and learn more about each herb by entering your unique ID # that is on the box.  You can check out mine by clicking here

To learn more about Gaia Herbs or to order your own Daily WellBeing for Women, click here.  Subscribe to their newsletter and you will receive 10% off your first order!

*Disclosure - I received a free product from the Moms Meet program in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nacho Popcorn Recipe

Want to add some kick to your popcorn?  This is an easy, healthy way to do that!

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
8 cups popped popcorn

Combine yeast and spices in a small bowl.  Drizzle coconut oil over popped popcorn.  Add spice mixture and toss thoroughly.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Brady vs Manning by Gary Myers Book Review

I grew up in TN which meant I was a TN Vols football fan.  Peyton Manning was my quarterback.  I knew him from the very beginning of his college football career with the TN Vols.  Now I've never met the guy in person, but as a junior in high school, you can be sure that I had a huge crush on the best quarterback in the country...or at least in my world.  My husband grew up in New England which meant he's always been a fan of Tom Brady.  Obviously he didn't have a crush on Brady like I had on Peyton, but he knew everything about the guy.  

Brady vs Manning is the untold story of the rivalry that transformed the NFL.  Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are among the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Gary Myers does an excellent job helping you understand these extraordinary players.

 I knew within two minutes of reading this book that I was going to love Peyton even more especially as Gary Myers writes about Manning and Brady meeting each other for the first time.  Manning introduced himself to Brady even though Brady already knew who Manning was.  Brady says "It was a very polite thing for him to do, especially being on our field.  That really speaks to his character.  He always does the right thing, says the right thing, acts the right way." 

Brady vs Manning is a really cool book to read as you get to know these men in a different way than just watching them play football on TV.  There are some great photos in the middle of the book of both Manning and Brady, childhood memories, photos of their families, and some special shots captured on the field.

To order your own copy of Brady vs Manning click here.  To read more about the author, Gary Myers, click here

Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book by being a member of Blogging for Books.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Christmas Cards from AdoramaPix

It's hard to believe that it's time to think about Christmas cards!  Each year I tell myself I should just stop sending my cards and make life easier.  But there's something special about receiving a card in the mail and I just can't make myself let go of the tradition of sending out Christmas cards.  This year I ordered some cards from AdoramaPix.  Selecting the card and uploading the photos was very easy.  I redesigned this card to make it work with the three pictures I wanted to use and it was very simple.  AdoramaPix did a fantastic job with printing them.  The pictures of Bradley and Savannah came out great, showing beautiful crisp colors.  AdoramaPix has so many different options for cards and processing and shipping is pretty quick.  You can use code PXUSFAM40 to save 40% off your order!  This coupon code expires on December 20th.

**Disclosure - I received a free set of cards in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Savannah is 11 months old!

Oh my gosh! We only have one more month before you turn a year old.  How did this happen?  You are starting to show me that you can live without me and that you don't need to be tied to my hip.  If we are at home, you will crawl into the playroom and start playing with the toys by yourself.  When I drop you off in the church nursery, you scream while I'm in the room but as soon as I leave, you stop and start to play with the other children.  I left you for 3 days while I went to visit my sister, and you were a perfect angel for Daddy and the babysitter. So my dear, you are headed to daycare next week while I venture back out into the office world.  And I'm pretty sure it's going to do wonders for both of us.

 You don't like your pack & play but you find joy in sitting in a laundry basket.

You love laundry days!

You are obsessed with socks and dirty laundry.  Bradley will say that you are storing up socks like a chipmunk stores up acorns.  It's hilarious to watch you gather all the socks you can find and tuck them under your chin.  Hilarious and weird.

You dressed up as Minnie Mouse for your first Halloween.  The Minnie Mouse ears were not a hit with you and they only stayed on long enough for a picture.  

 You don't often smile like this but when you do it makes me so happy!

 I'm not quite sure why you love dirt as much as you do.  
It's another obsession you have.

You love waiting at the door when I tell you Daddy is on his way home.

 Those big, beautiful eyes make my heart melt.

 You are a terrible sleeper.  We have quite the routine to get you to 
take a nap or to go to sleep at night.  

 You're very regular after your morning breakfast and we all have fun watching you with your extreme facial expressions.

 The look of pure annoyance.

  I love watching your little hands tightly hold your little bear or your bunny.  
Your face lights up when you are hugging these stuffed animals.

 Those eyes send out curses when your breakfast isn't hot and ready.

 You think you are all that when you sit in the front seat waiting at the bus stop
 for Bradley to come home from school.

I love my little Mainer!