Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The cookies have been baked

The homemade gifts have been finished

The presents have been wrapped in cute paper

The fire is burning bright

The good deeds have been done (like paying for drinks for the person behind me at Starbucks)

And I've marked off most of my Thirteen by 2013 list. Here's to a Christmas filled with fun and excitement!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas this year ...

... will be a little different for us. My Dad and step-mom live in North Carolina and have decided to rent a beach house in South Carolina for the week of Christmas. So DH and I are packing up and heading south for Christmas. This means we won't be home to do Christmas in our own house this year. I didn't see the point of dragging down the tree, setting up all the stuff so that I could rush back from vacation to disassemble everything. It just didn't seem like fun to me. (Oh and leaving up the tree after New Year's Eve is just unacceptable in my book) So we've been trying to do things to make the season special for A and J and hoping that they don't notice that we don't have a big sparkly tree this year.
Step one to faking the holidays at our house, put up a tree of some sort. We opted for the Charlie Brown tree. This led to a discussion of why the kids haven't seen a Charlie Brown Christmas. Where did my parenting go wrong?!
Our next festive event was spent looking at lights. Of course hot chocolate and jammies were required to view the lights. Some people go all out like the house above. I could only get part of their house in the photo but their entire yard (front and back) is covered in lights. It's pretty cool. I pointed out an inflatable Snoopy and the girls once again proved that I have failed to raise them correctly when they had no idea who Snoopy was. Next up on our list is watching some Charlie Brown because apparently my kids don't know what good, classic TV is all about. I'm hoping that baking Christmas cookies this weekend will help fill them with the holiday spirit and that nobody will notice we only have one lonely Christmas decoration.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Here's what has been going on lately ...
We had a sickly child who just wanted to sleep all the time
I continued to try and style my mustard skinny jeans
I got my baking on ... Strawberry Muffins (I should post the recipe)
The 5 lbs box of Cuties won't last long in our house
And we had sickly child number 2 ... who did more puking than sleeping :(

*Follow me on Instagram, I'm @amazingmommy
*Linking up for InstaFriday with Life Rearranged

Friday, November 30, 2012

Give Back

It's stories like this that make me remember how good I have it. I have a job, I have a happy and healthy family and we have a home to live in. We are very fortunate. We should do something for those who are not as lucky as we are. No, I'm not rich and I can't give away hundred dollar bills like Secret Santa does, but I can donate things we can live without to someone who has nothing. 
This past week there was an apartment fire in my city and many people lost everything. We got lucky with our fire, everything could easily be replaced and nobody was hurt. My mom knows of one family who wasn't so lucky. They are staying in a hotel with 3 kids and have nothing. Not a single item they can call their own. This weekend we will be giving this family who we've never met our extra couch and a shelving unit we don't really use. It's not much but we can live without it. Somehow this just doesn't seem like enough. 
I feel like our family should do more. Like society should do more to help people out. Everyone gets wrapped up in the "what's in it for me?" part of life and they forget to look at what they do have and be grateful. 
What can you do to give back? How are you and your family making a difference?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

OHP link up

Wine Ice Cream ... shut up! [via]
Farewell Twinkies, I won't miss you! [via]
Peppermint Oreo Krispie Treats - yum! [via]
This might just be my favorite ecard yet! [via]
*Linking up with Michelle from The Vintage Apple

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Fact Is ...

Fact: I truly enjoyed my Black Friday shopping even though some things were sold out on my list.
Fact: I may be am obsessed with entering blog giveaways. I never win anything but I still keep entering!
Fact: I've got A home with me today because she's sick. At least she's just got a runny nose and fever sick and not pukey sick. I despise puke.
Fact: Trying to find a new job sucks. 
Fact: I really enjoyed having 4 days off work, but now this week of 5 days seems much more difficult and LONG.
Fact: I haven't written a blog post for so long, I feel like a slacker.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My lesson from the weekend

I bought some of this  ...
And decided this would be a good idea ...
This is what I ended up with ...
My lesson from the weekend ... don't drunken sew. It doesn't turn out pretty :)

Linking up with the Weekend Update crew - SamiLeeann and Dana

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Entryway re-design

The entryway to our house is the only thing that hasn't really been "updated". It still had the darker woodwork (the rest of the house has been painted white) and the colors weren't really our style. Benjamin Moore's Aura paint to the rescue!
From being a BzzAgent I was selected to try out Aura paint and let them know my thoughts. This was the perfect time to update our entry way. Here's all of the before pictures.
Looking down the hall to the front door

Stairway (don't mind the DH sitting on the stairs)
Front door on the left with the coat closet on the right (oh and our mess that I still need to organize!)
Here's the color I chose to use. Secret (AF-710) ... it's gorgeous!
The color went on so well we almost didn't need to do a second coat, but decided to so that it would be a rich/saturated color. The woodwork painting took up most of the time (it required up to 5 coats of some cheap store brand paint). So after many hours of painting we ended up with this ...
All the woodwork was painted white, including the front door
The banister got a coat of paint and the walls the lovely grey

And the corner nook looks a little more pulled together with everything matching (oh and I picked up all the shoes that were in the corner)

We are very happy with the transformation of our entryway! The white and grey make it much more modern to fit the rest of the house. I'm so happy to be rid of all the stained woodwork. I still need to add some things to the walls to bring it all together. You can check out my Pinterest board for inspiration on how I plan to decorate everything. What do you think --makeover success?

*I did receive a free gallon of Benjamin Moore Aura paint for this project from being a BzzAgent. I also received a few $5 off a gallon of Aura paint coupons. If you are interested in trying it out just let me know and I'll drop you one in the mail :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Book List

Winter Book List 2012

  1. Four of a Kind - Not sure how this one got on the list, but the reviews sound mostly positive on it. UPDATE: I liked how these 4 women connected throughout the book. I would recommend for a light/easy read.
  2. Gone Girl - This was recommended to me when I did my Fall book list so I'm going to try it out. UPDATE: This one was pretty good. It was slow to get into it but once the first bombshell was dropped it was good from then on.
  3. Queen of Babble - This looks like a good series and has a lot of positive reviews. UPDATE: This was a cute book. I'll probably read the other ones in the series.
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I actually read this in highschool and the school took the books away from us. It was the first book I had actually read in school so my mom demanded a copy so that I could finish it. Since they are doing the movie I thought I should re-read it.
  5. Arranged - This sounds interesting and like an easy read. UPDATE: This was an interesting read. Totally unrealistic but still entertaining. It felt a bit short, like they could've added a few more details.
What's on your reading list this winter?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Palmolive Fresh Infusions

Am I the only one who has a kitchen that looks like this? Yes that's right, I have a dishwasher and my dishes are still all over the place. It seems that I'm the only one in the family that knows how to work the dishwasher. Load dishes, put in soap, turn on. *Dishwasher magic occurs* Take out dishes, put in cabinet  repeat first steps. Well there's some things that just don't do well in the dishwasher like cookie sheets and lids to my pots & pans so those have to be washed by hand. Again, I must be the only one in the house who knows how to do this. Look back up at that mess. Do you see the shiny green bottle my the faucet? That's my saving grace. Palmolive Fresh Infusions dish soap in Basil Lime -- it makes my kitchen smell like a big margarita! Please don't drink the stuff though I'm sure it's not good for you in that way. It makes doing the hand washed dishes much more enjoyable (and it makes me crave a shot of tequila while I'm using it, shh!).

I received all three lovely scents from the good people at Palmolive. So of course I had to share with my MIL. The poor lady doesn't have a dishwasher so she goes through a LOT of dish soap.
I gave her the Lemon Thyme. She loved the scent but noticed after a few days of using it that it was really drying her hands out. It could be the weather (crazy Indiana) or it could be from the scent. I have ultra sensitive skin and haven't noticed any extra dryness but then again I'm not using it every day and maybe even multiple times a day like she is. Overall I'm giving it a thumbs up since my kitchen smells like margaritas without me having to get tipsy on a Monday night. You can pick up your own bottle at any Wal-Mart or Target.

*I received three bottles and a few coupons as a member of Influenster to review. If you'd like to join Influenster let me know and I can send you an invite.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Insta-Fave Friday

Favorite Grocery Store Moment
50% savings at the store ... I'll take it!
Favorite Fast Meal
Fastest dinner ever -- crescent rolls, ham, cheese -- bake. Done in 15 minutes or less
Favorite Mommy Cheat of the Week
And then the hubby got sick so this happened
Favorite Cold-Weather Drink
And to reward myself this week my first red cup of the season - Lite Peppermint Mocha
Linking up with Life Rearranged and The Bargain Blonde

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Black Friday -- I'm so excited!

I'm getting excited for Christmas shopping! Yes I'm one of those crazy people who go shopping on Black Friday. It's fun and people are actually very nice for the most part. There are a few nut jobs out there that try to ruin the fun and excitement of it all but that's ok. I go shopping every year with my MIL and SIL. That means DH is left with our 2 girls plus my nephew and niece while we shop it up all night long. I actually think he enjoys watching the kids and being the "cool Dad/Uncle". Last year he set up a tent in the living room and had them all camp out, they all had a blast. Not sure what he has planned this year :)

Of course the past few days I've been scoping and for the latest releases. We usually hit up Wal-Mart (the only time during the year that I shop there), K-Mart, Target, Mendards (it's  mid-west thing) and any where else we can score some good deals. Some things aren't good deals (example: DH really wants Halo 4 for Xbox ... Wal-Mart has it for $59.96, gee thanks for saving me 4 cents off the $60 Game Stop price) but other things are great for stocking stuffers or for the kids or just general stock up. I'm already making my list for what I need to get. 

Here's a few things I'll be picking up:
LeapPad 2 (reatils around $80-$100) $20 with $12 games -- A is going to be so excited!
Kids Slippers for $3
Board Games for $3.88
Toddler Pajamas $4

Men's Fleece Hoodies $10
Women's Gloves $1
Booster seat $8

Just remember these prices are not guaranteed since they are usually leaked by various sources. Always check the Thanksgiving ads for the real prices! The other big tip is that if everything holds true from last year you can price match at Wal-Mart. This means if something is on sale (at that exact time) at Target, Sam's Club, Lowes, etc you can price match it at Wal-Mart. This will save TONS of time driving around to each place and possibly missing out on a deal. Just remember to check the ad time so if that power drill is on sale at Lowes starting at 6 a.m. don't try to buy it at Wal-Mart at 4 a.m. because they won't match the price then.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All treats, no tricks

Our Halloween was filled with all treats and no tricks. Here are my happy little Minnie Mouse girls!

Monday, October 29, 2012


I had my last 5k race of the year on Sunday and I made a huge accomplishment. My fastest time previously had been 36:46 (hey I'm a slow runner, but I'm still lapping everyone on the couch) but on Sunday I finished in 34:57. I couldn't have been happier! I finished almost 2 full minutes faster than I ever have before. It was freezing and I pushed myself to keep going. 
I was too excited and forgot to hit stop so I was a few seconds slower on my clock.
I've been wanting to run a 35 minute 5k all year and I'm glad I finally accomplished that goal. Now to set my sights on bigger and better goal for next year. It was a good weekend :)

Linking up with the Weekend Update crew - Sami, Leeann and Dana 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thirteen before 2013

Last year I participated in Twelve before 2012. I did about half the things on my list -- granted some of them were pretty ambitious. Here's my list for 2013 ... wish me luck!
  1. Finish reading all the books on my Fall Book List I was on on the waiting list FOREVER for the Sophia Kinsella book at the library.
  2. Create a Winter Book List See it here
  3. Make aprons for the little girls in the family for Christmas These are so cute, I can't wait for pictures with them all together matching
  4. Aside from the aprons make at least 2 other handmade gifts I made a mug rug for DH's aunt and yarn wreath for my step-mom.
  5. Refinance our current home I'm so happy this is done! 
  6. Get a massage or spa treatment of some sort 11/18 went to Woodhouse for the espresso mud body scrub
  7. Go on a date with the hubby (hey with two kids we don't get out much!) DONE! 10/27
  8. Finish potty training little miss J - boy is she stubborn YEAH! I might be happiest about accomplishing this one. Adios diapers!
  9. Bake Christmas cookies with my girls 20 some varieties later and we did it! 12/15
  10. Spend a couple hours scrapbooking (I'm sooo far behind!!) I did spend some time but I'm still really far behind.
  11. Commit to a healthier lifestyle (my snacking is out of control and my cholesterol hates me for it) This is a constant struggle for me but I feel like I've made some progress
  12. Do something unexpected for a stranger It was for a stranger but not unexpected. I also paid for the person behind me at the Starbucks drive-thru (12/18)
  13. Complete at least one project on my Pinterest boards I made homemade refried beans
What do you want to do before 2013?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mustard skinnies -- what do you think?

Style is something I severely struggle with. I know what I like and what I don't like. The problem comes in what actually looks good on me. Remember I bought those mustard skinny jeans from Old Navy? Yes that was back in August. And just last week I ventured out to wear them. I had a hard time finding something to pair them with and not feel like I looked ridiculous. I love the look of layering but at some point doesn't it look like you have way too many clothes on? Don't you get sweaty when you go inside? So what do you think ... did I pull them off? Should I have paired them with something else?
And yes that's the bathroom at work because frankly it has better lighting than my bedroom. However, the jeans look a little too bright yellow, trust me they are mustard. Go to Old Navy and check them out if you don't believe me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crock Pot Love

I am professing my love of the crock pot (side note: is there a difference between a crock pot and slow cooker? just wondering) -- I'm away from the house for about 11 hours every day for work so that leaves very little time for cooking dinner (and let's face it, DH has very minimal cooking skills). The crock pot has become my best friend. I tend to search Pinterest for new recipes. Here's some that I've pinned lately.
How to cook dry beans in your slow cooker
10 fall and winter soups in your crock pot
Crock pot pizza pasta
Crock pot garlic pesto chicken with tomato cream sauce
Now which one should I throw into the crock pot first?

Linking up with The Vintage Apple

Friday, October 19, 2012

Eat Out Of The Pantry Week

Welcome to eat out of the pantry week! The budget has been a little (or maybe a lot) tight around my house this month. I normally go grocery shopping every week and stock up on meals for the whole week. Well this week it's just not in the budget to do a big grocery trip. So I've decided we are having Eat Out Of The Pantry Week. I picked up the basics that we couldn't go without like milk and well that's pretty much it, I didn't even splurge on eggs. I got this idea from one of my favorite cheap meal sites $5 Dinners. If you haven't before check out some of Erin's recipes, she has some good tips & ideas!

Pizza bagels - top bagel with normal pizza stuff, bake in oven. Serve with side of fruit. For dessert (because it was still the weekend) we I had strawberries & chocolate.
Grilled ham & cheese with carrots and grapes. Not super inventive but that's not the point here; we didn't have to do any shopping for this meal!
Slow cooker ground beef stew with biscuits -- of course I only used what I had on hand and made a few substitutes
Ok we may have cheated. My MIL invited us over for dinner (ham, potatoes and carrots). We technically didn't buy anything so this is close enough to eating out of the pantry -- it just wasn't our pantry.


Asian night - chicken & noodles in a sweet sesame sauce (ok it was from a box and the picture does the flavor ZERO justice)
Luckily Friday is pay-day so I can do some real shopping over the weekend. It was nice not to have some of my fresh produce go to waste since we were only eating at home. Give "Eat Out Of The Pantry Week" a try, you'll be surprised at how much money it can save you. We will be doing this again for sure!