About Me

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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'm addicted to coupons and every penny counts. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your success stories with me as well.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Label Daddy Review


With one kid in school and the other in daycare, name labels are a must have in our household.  Between water bottles, lunch boxes, and food containers, the kids are always bringing something to school or daycare with them.  And more than likely, someone else is going to have that same water bottle or lunch box.  I was recently able to try out labels from Label Daddy and I had positive results with them.  They are easy to apply and don't bubble up.  They have been through the dishwasher many times and haven't come off the container.  I have even put these labels on clothes which get washed and dried without affecting the label at all.  When I do want to take them off, they pull right off without any sticky residue.


The website is easy enough to order from and they have lots of designs to choose from.  I was disappointed they no longer offer Disney characters like they have in the past.  It took awhile for me to receive the labels despite choosing priority shipping so make sure to order at least a couple weeks before needing the labels.


To check out Label Daddy and order your own labels, please click here.  

Disclosure -  I received free product in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bradley's Minecraft Birthday Party

Bradley has asked for a Minecraft birthday party for the past 2 years and he finally had his little dream come true yesterday!  I don't understand Minecraft at all.  I've tried watching him when he plays it on the Xbox but I can't help but to space out.  So planning a Minecraft birthday party wasn't exactly something I was excited about.  But thanks to a couple Pinterest ideas and my husband's amazing hidden decorating talents, the party was a huge success!

The birthday invitations were ordered on Etsy by seller CENDETGACOR.  I received the download within an hour.  I printed the invitation on white paper and then glued it on yellow card stock.



The best decision I made was to have his cake professionally made.  That saved me a ton of time and it was one less thing to stress about.  Cakes Extraordinaire did an amazing job and the cake was delicious!  


I ordered all of the party favor trinkets from Oriental Trading and Amazon.   The party favors included a mini rubix cube, a Minecraft bracelet, plush toy and sticker, a rock shaped bouncy ball, and milk chocolate rocks.  I used clear boxes to put everything in and printed out the Minecraft picture from his birthday invitation to insert in the front.




Mike made all the wall decorations and I was blown away with his creativity.  He got the main Creeper piece idea from Pinterest but the other pieces were his own.  He's pretty amazing like that!





 We had a bounce house for the kids to jump in and of course the tire swing and tree house was a big hit.  We had one group game that was a lot of fun.  Mike and I hid 8 bags of Legos in four different locations in the backyard.  One set was hidden in a tree, one set was in the fire pit, one set was in the tree house, and one set was buried in the ground.  We split the kids into 2 teams and each team was given a map.  The map had a drawing on where they could find their bags of Legos.  Once the team had found all 4 bags of Legos, they brought them to a table and created their own mini world as a team.  After they finished, we had bean bags the other team could throw at the mini world.  The mini world that stayed in tact the longest won.  

Bradley said the bounce house was his favorite thing about the party!

And the hunt begins!
Digging the Legos out was pretty cool for them.

Working hard to build their mini world out of Legos.
The finished results!

I kept the food easy by just offering cake, ice cream, and juice boxes.  That saved me a lot of prep time!  My favorite thing I did was to take pictures of all our party decorations and post them on our local online FB yard sale page.  Mike had spent so much time and hard work putting these decorations together that I hated the thought of them ending up in the recycle bin just a few hours after the party.  I had a lady contact me right away asking for them since her son was having a Minecraft party in August.  It made me feel so great to give her these decorations to be reused! 

The cutest birthday boy ever!  
Presents Time!


Opening Presents!  I love how Savannah is sitting right next to him.







Wednesday, May 24, 2017

English Lessons by Andrea Lucado Book Review





Andrea Lucado is the daughter of Max Lucado who is a very well known author.  Andrea writes about her journey of changing faith and an unchanging God in her book English Lessons.
This book took me awhile to finish.  I had a hard time following her at times and even became bored with the book at times.  BUT I did pick out a few things she said that stuck with me.

"The labels we like to slap on people from a distance begin to peel off as we get closer to them."

"How much faith and trust is required of you when you go home versus when you step into something unknown?"

"Sometimes when a chapter isn't finished, it's best not to force its ending."

To read more about this book and the author, click here.

*Disclosure - I am a member of Blogging for Books and received this book for free in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.
 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017




I started my Mother's Day by running a 5k.  My doctor told me about this particular 5k since she knew my Mom died of breast cancer.  Proceeds from the race went to breast cancer patients and research which made this more meaningful for me.  I had not trained much for this 5k.  I ran one 5 years ago with my siblings that I trained over a month for.  Life has been so busy for our family the past couple of months that training hasn't been a priority.  I have run twice outside in the last 2 months and twice on the treadmill.  I began dreading this race last night especially when I saw the weather.  Cold temps, rain, and wind were all in the forecast.  It's not what the weather I imagined when I signed up for the race.

I arrived at 8:30 am and by 9 am, I couldn't feel my toes.  Standing in the street with the rain coming down waiting for the race to begin was not easy.  But then I started to realize how appropriate this kind of weather was.   Motherhood isn't easy.  There are days of sunshine and flowers but there are also days full of rainy, gray clouds that I can't run away from.   Mistakes will be made but love overcomes those mistakes.  Every time.  I can only hope and pray that I won't allow my pride to stop me from admitting when I'm wrong.  I hope I'll always be humble enough to ask for forgiveness.  Because life is too short to believe that I've failed at Motherhood.   There's beauty to be found in knowing that when I fail, forgiveness is always there.  All I have to do is ask.  

 
Bradley and Savannah, you have made me a Mom.  You are truly my world and bring out the best and worst in me.  You have made me laugh and you have brought me to tears.  And Savannah, you have made me drink.  But my heart is full knowing that I have two incredible children that call me Mom.  Always remember how much I love and adore you both.


 I finished the race in 33:41.  It was a tough run for me.  But I never stopped running.  And I'll keep running through this journey of Motherhood, mistakes and accomplishments.  Because there is no greater feeling than reaching the end and knowing you didn't give up. 

 "It's never too late to be what you might have been."

Monday, April 3, 2017

Our Weekend Recap

Our weekend began with Easter pictures for Savannah and Bradley on Friday afternoon.  I told Bradley that his reward for cooperating for pictures would be a trip to Build a Bear and he put on his best behavior for the photographer.  Pictures were a breeze and we were off to Build a Bear because God knows we don't have enough BAB's in this house!  We went to Qdoba for supper.  It was our first time there.  I'm a huge Chipotle fan but I'm now a bigger fan of Qdoba.  Their guacamole was incredible and the chips were super fresh!  They have so many yummy options and the portions are very filling.




We woke up on Saturday morning to 8 inches of snow and it was still coming down.  We had a total of 12 inches and it was the perfect kind for building a snowman so Bradley and I went outside and had some fun.  We went to the Gorham Business Exchange event at USM and Bradley had a blast in the bounce houses and getting his face painted.  I was super happy to get stocked back up on fresh meat, eggs, and my absolutely favorite granola!  Bradley did a great job helping me get Easter cards out in the mail.  Savannah was hyper on Saturday night so she stayed up with Mike and I while we watched a movie.  She was quite the ham bone for us on Saturday night.










Saturday, April 1, 2017

25% off Label Daddy Labels



Save 25% on Label Daddy labels! Label Daddy is the number one solution for labeling your belongings! Their exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must for camp! Remember to label all clothing, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, vacation, and other places. Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others. These labels are great for adults too! -- Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more.
These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels -- they're washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on your entire Label Daddy order - this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code USFAMILY25 at checkout. www.usfamily25.labeldaddy.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Our Weekend Recap

I'm trying to keep up with these weekend recaps but lately it seems like I'm failing miserably.  We had a fantastic weekend that was slammed full of fun activities!  We started Friday night off with Bradley having a friend over, homemade pizza and the new Disney movie, Moana.  None of us liked Moana and the boys didn't even finish watching it.


We had a pretty relaxing Saturday morning with chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.  Bradley and I had an afternoon date and went to go see The Wizard of Oz at a local community theater.  We had two friends in the play and it was so much fun to see their talent at work.  I love these one on one dates with Bradley!






Sunday was my favorite day and I look forward to this day every year.  Every 4th Sunday in March is Maple Sunday in Maine.  The local sugar shacks are open to visitors and you can see how maple syrup is made and taste/buy all their goodies.  This year we went to 4 different sugar shacks with each one offering something different.  Hilltop Boilers has always been one of our must stops because no one can beat their maple whoopie pies!  Hidden Roots Maple Farm was my favorite due to the friendliness of the owners.  This was their first year in business and they were very informative with the process.  We had our first sampling of maple milk and they had some delicious maple peanuts also.  Dunn Family Maple was our 3rd stop and Bradley enjoyed sampling spoonfuls of light and dark maple syrup.  Our last stop was at Coopers Maple Products and the best part about this place was their maple cotton candy.  It was ridiculously addicting.  Another great year of touring sugar shacks and ending our day with headaches and stomach aches from all the sugar consumed!






Monday, March 27, 2017

Writing My Wrongs Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor

 Wow!  Writing My Wrongs is a book that I had a hard time putting down.  I found myself on a roller coaster of emotions with my heart breaking for Shaka and others who find themselves in circumstances like him.  Shaka Senghor was just a 14 year old boy when he got involved in the height of the 1980's crack epidemic.  His life spiraled downhill after the divorce of his parents and poor choices he made.  Shaka takes you into a deep personal side of his life.  The book goes back and forth from Shaka on the streets and his life in prison.  He was only 19 when he ended up in prison charged with second-degree murder.  Shaka doesn't sugar coat prison life in this book.  It's real, it's brutal, and it's heartbreaking.  Shaka spent 19 years in prison and it wasn't until his 19th year that Shaka began to confront the demons of his past and started the process of forgiving those who hurt him.  This is a book that I'll never forget.  A great reminder that our worst deeds don't define us.

*Disclosure - I am a member of Blogging for Books and received this book for free in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

20% off your entire order at SmitCo LLC


SmitCo LLC is offering my readers 20% off your entire order!  You can find quality, affordable gifts for girls ages 2 to 12.  Some of these items would make great Easter basket gifts!  Check out their different nail art sets, cute diaries with lock and key, and an awesome Mermaid themed scrapbook.  You can find all their great products by clicking here. Use coupon code N3CQD6AE at checkout to save the 20% off your order.

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs Review


A couple months ago we were experiencing bad chemical smells to our dishes.  I cooked eggs one morning and our eggs tasted awful.  Our glasses smelled like chemicals and the liquid inside had a bad taste inside.  We finally narrowed it down to some new dishwasher tablets I had bought.  These new popular tabs were scented and the scent was rubbing off on everything that was washed in the dishwasher.  

The number one reason I love Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs so much is because they use ZERO synthetic fragrances and ZERO chlorine bleach.   These Ultra Power Plus detergent packs have a dual action formula that is serious about washing off stuck on food and fighting tough stains.  I also love that Seventh Generation is serious about having their consumers know what is in their products.  They list every single ingredient on the back of the packaging. 

I received a free bag of Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs and I'm so impressed with them.  My dishes are clean (and I am NOT a rinse before washing type of person) but most importantly, there is no chemical residue left on them.  I love the convenience of the packs so there is no measuring or spilled, wasted detergent.  To find out more about Seventh Generation and their products, click here

*Disclosure - I received a free bag of Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

British Soccer Camp Sign Ups




Bradley has been wanting to play soccer so I'm so excited to see that the British Soccer Camp is being offered in our local town.  I'll be signing him up for a week in July and he's going to be so excited!

British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America - 150,000 campers!  With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed, and confidence in players ages 3-18, British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with a rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert's right in the heart of their own community.  In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!  Enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp today.  Get a free water bottle with code:  USFG16.  @ChallengerCamps @usfg





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Onion, and Garlic


I never liked Brussel Sprouts...until now.  I actually never tasted one until yesterday so I'm not sure how I came to the conclusion that I didn't like Brussel Sprouts.  But I'm trying to be braver with trying new vegetables this year and I surprised myself with how much I actually love these little guys.  Mike has always loved Brussel Sprouts and he said the ones I made last night were the best he's ever eaten.  They were like candy if vegetables could taste like candy.  These are so simple to make and I'm confident I will be eating a lot more of these.  

Ingredients
One pound fresh Brussel Sprouts
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 small onion, diced 
1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic
4 pieces of crispy bacon, broken into pieces
Salt & pepper

Directions
Cut the brown ends off each brussel sprout and remove any yellowing leaf.  Place them on cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Add diced onion, garlic, and bacon pieces and mix together.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.