Thursday, April 24, 2014

Etsy: Mother's Day 2014 Gift Ideas

Mothers are special, and they deserve a little recognition for all of their hard work. I'm not just saying this because I'm a mom, but because I know moms all around the world love their children and expect nothing in return. Show mom a little love with these fantastic gifts from Etsy. She would love any or all of these items.


Dress Mom's tech with a girlie iPad cover from Sew Wonder. Now I just need to buy an iPad or take over my husband's.


Mom will proudly wear the initials of her children. Surprise her with this simple yet beautiful initial necklace from PT Inspires.


For the Mom who puts love into everything she cooks, consider a gift set from Pippens Kitchen. The colors are fantastic, and it might inspire me to get in the kitchen too.


If your Mom is a tea lover, then give a gift set from Mullein and Sparrow. She will love this thoughtful gift.


Ink Party Emporium has these classy, personalized note cards for Mom. I love these elegant cards.

Every Mom needs a go to clutch. Grab this beauty at My Beach Studio.


Aren't these tea towels from Hand Did Honey gorgeous? I would set them out, but tell everyone not to use them.

Happy Mother's Day!

Amanda

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Author Interview: My Kids Are Trying to Kill Me

Do you ever feel like your children are plotting against you? You wake up from just a few hours of sleep to care for their every need, and they whine and complain about every decision you make. You are not alone. We love our kids, but sometimes we it's hard to feel the love being reciprocated.  We need a little humor thrown together with words of wisdom and comfort to make it through the day. Today's interview promises just that.

Jennifer Mittelstet, author of the hilarious book My Kids Are Trying to Kill Me, is stopping by to answer some questions about her book and raising children. She is also giving away her book to one lucky reader!
Grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy a little time with Jennifer.


Tell us a little about you and your family that is not on the back of the book.

My husband and I are die hard OSU Cowboys fans! From September to January, we center our lives around Cowboy football.  One of our favorite family activities is bike riding with the boys (we generally end up at Bahama Bucks for snow cones).  The absolute favorite food in our home is cereal.  I have loved cereal my entire life, and I have passed that love of cereal on to my husband and now my boys.  We eat cereal for breakfast, snacks, lunches, dinners, even bedtime snacks a lot of nights.  I know, I know, terrible habit, but one I've never been able to break!

Why did you decide to write the book?
My husband came home from work one day and said, "Baby, you should write a book."  I've learned a lot over the years from teaching dyslexia, and I have quite a passion for helping the parents of children with dyslexia.  He told me he thought I should write a book for those parents to help them understand and help their children with their learning.  I prayed about it, and God said, "It's a nice thought, but I'd rather you write to encourage all parents rather than a small minority of them."  So after telling God several times that I was a horrible parent and no one wants or needs to hear my opinions on parenting and that he needed to find someone much more qualified, I finally decided to be obedient.  So, I wrote the book putting all of my fears, mistakes, and self-doubt out there for all of the world to see in hopes that it would help or encourage even one parent who might be struggling.

Did you always want to be a mom?

Heck no!  I never wanted to be a mom.  I told my mom several times growing up that I was never having kids.  I told her they were way too much work!  And let me tell you, I was right!  They are a lot of work, but I am so thankful and blessed every day (well, most days) by my kids.  God sure does have a sense of humor. Never tell him you don't ever want to do something. In my case, he'll make you do it times three!

You mention how plans seem to change even when you plan ahead. Do you have any advice on dealing with uncertainty when children are in your life?

My best advice on dealing with uncertainty with children is to always allow yourself extra time.  If I know it will take me 20 minutes to pack lunches, load a diaper bag, and dress children to get them to a certain place on time, then I always double that time.  So, I would start 40 minutes before we have to leave.  Just giving myself a little extra time, reduces my stress, puts less stress on the kids, and allows for unexpected tantrums, potty breaks, spills, etc.  I have learned with three kids, that something is always going to go wrong with your plans.  If you always expect it, then it will just be a nice little bonus when things go smoothly as planned!

How do you keep your marriage strong when you are so busy with little ones?

Sorry to be so candid on this one, but honestly keep your husband happy (if you know what I mean), and your marriage will be happy.  Men honestly only need one main thing.  Yes, there are a few other things, but if you make sure you are paying attention to their main need, then they feel loved in those other areas as well.  I speak from experience on this one unfortunately.  There was a time in my marriage where my husband and I were really struggling.  It was after the birth of our second son, and I was certainly in no mood to meet his needs with the extreme exhaustion from a newborn baby.  Additionally, I wasn't getting my needs met, so I figured I didn't have to meet his needs.  That was a recipe for disaster.  It wasn't until I put aside my own needs and decided to be the wife that God was commanding (and I use the word commanding here on purpose, because God was loud and clear) me to be, that our marriage improved dramatically.  I can't tell you how many times I begrudgingly "fulfilled" his needs, before our marriage began to show signs of improvement.  And here's the awesome part, my husband began meeting my needs (which mostly included breaks from the kids) and going above and beyond to help me and make me a happy wife.  I'm thankful that God worked so miraculously in our marriage at that time, because we have an amazingly strong marriage today. I am thankful to have him as my husband and my best friend.

What was the deciding factor on having 3 children?

We had our two boys and life was finally getting a little easier as our youngest turned two.  We were out of the newborn stage and had moved on to having a little more freedom to go places and do more things.  That's when my husband said, "I don't feel like our family is complete yet.  We really need a little girl."  I reminded him that there were no guarantees that we would have a girl, but I prayed about it and felt God telling me that Matt was right, our family was not yet complete.  I told Matt if we were going to have another one, then it had to be soon.  I didn't want to get any further down the road before having to start over with an infant again.  So, we went for it. We didn't get our little girl, but Logan has truly completed our family.  Now, I have a little girl kitten, so I don't feel so alone! 

Finish this statement. I wish someone would have told me...

I wish someone would have told me that the birth of the second child is the one that really rocks your marriage.  We went into it thinking we've already done this once, it's no big deal.  But what we didn't realize was that when you have more than one child, you really don't ever get a break in the first few years.  When you have one child and you or your husband are having a tough day, you can hand the child off and go take a breather.  When there are two children, and one is an infant, you really can't do that very often.  It's quite an adjustment to learn how to be "on the clock" all the time.  And as I stated before, it really does a number on your marriage.  I think I would have gone into it with a different attitude, possibly made sure our marriage was stronger with more date nights or whatever was needed, prior to the arrival of that second baby.        

Jennifer, thanks for taking time to answer some questions and encouraging us. Don't forget that she is giving away a copy of her book!

Amanda

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Pink Picture Panel for Baby Girl's Room

We have decided to go with a pink and gray theme for baby girl's room. I didn't want to do a character or baby animals because I need a room that she can grow into. A color theme seemed logical, but it's also so cute!

When the boys were each in the nursery, I used this picture panel to add color to the room. I have had this piece of furniture since I was a teenager, and you know how I am about using what's on hand. So, the picture panel has been repurposed once again.

I went to Hobby Lobby, and bought several different sheets of scrapbook paper. I also bought 2 gray and 2 pink pieces of card stock. It worked perfectly for printing scriptures, sayings, and her name.


First, I traced the outline of the cardboard back (of the picture frame) on the scrapbook paper.
Then, I cut the scrapbook paper, and it fit perfectly in the picture frames.

Four of the panels have sayings or scriptures. I used publisher to design and print these.



One of the design elements of the nursery is complete. I can't wait to show you the finished product!


Getting Ready for Baby,

Amanda

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday's Fave Five

Good Friday! Do you have Easter plans this weekend? We are going to celebrate Easter with my parents, and I'm looking forward to seeing them. The boys will be dressed in their Sunday best, and they will enjoy the Easter Egg hunt scheduled after the service. While I scramble to pack, check out this week's faves.

1. This Sunday is my Mom's birthday. In this picture you can see the pure joy that she gets from her grandchildren. My mom's brain cancer has returned, and she isn't doing well. I'm thankful to celebrate another birthday and Easter with her. This is how I want to always remember my mother. 

 2. My sister had a work event Wednesday at the Texas Ranger game. I was able to tag along. We got to go out on the field, watch the game, and eat funnel cake. It was a nice girls' night out.


3. Do you feel naked when you don't have a ring on your finger? I love these rings on Etsy.


4. Wednesday we had Tea & Testimony at MOPS. Our mentor mom decorated our table, and it was so elegant. We felt spoiled and ate chocolate. It was divine! 

5. I have a thing for green bags right now. Do you have a favorite accessory

Have a great weekend, and Happy Easter.

Amanda

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dress Up Any Outfit With These 3 Accessories

Schedules are packed, to do lists are made, and every day has a new agenda to accomplish. Looking put together is a special skill, and it can be achieved with 3 accessories you already have in your closet.  Whether you are going out with the girls after work or headed out for a weekend of running errands, you can be the envy of every fashionista within minutes.

Have you ever heard that shoes make or break the outfit? It’s true. A fabulous pair of heels or wedges will dress up a t-shirt, jeans, and a bomber jacket faster than anything else.  Use your closet full of shoes to glam up an outfit. When you are in a hurry, keep a pair of go to heels in the back of your car. You can slip them on before meeting your lunch date or when transitioning from a day look to a night look.

You would never leave home without your handbag. It carries all of your essentials for the day. Why not make a fashion statement with a functional and chic bag? The first step is taking the correct bag with you. If you are on the go, take a bag that will accommodate all of your necessities. A large handbag can be in a bright color or neutral. You will look like you planned ahead if the bag accents your look instead of clashing with it. Change over from your day look by putting only the necessities into a cute, sleek clutch.
The last thing to bring your look together is jewelry. There are a few simple rules that you can use for pulling together a night or day look. Balance is everything when it comes to jewelry. If you are wearing large earrings then pair it with a delicate necklace or no necklace at all. Layer one wrist with bangles and a large watch. On the other hand wear one ring. Think about jewelry in sections. The top half must be balanced and the wrists and hands have to be balanced as well.  Selecting the right pieces of jewelry will make you look put together for any time of day.
Using these accessories will look like you spent hours getting ready, when it only takes a couple of minutes.  Invest in a go to handbag, fabulous shoes, and balance out your jewelry for a style that makes a fashion statement.

Amanda

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Etsy: Rings

Do you feel naked if you leave home without jewelry? I have to put on my rings and earrings before leaving the house. Every girl has her favorite piece of jewelry. If you are looking for a new piece, check out these finds from Etsy.


The color of this ring by Hanging by a Thread1 is beautiful. It is simple and unique.


Mother's Day is around the corner, and this birthstone ring by Love Naomi Studio would be a great gift. 


This woven ring by Dogs Kin Jewelry is gorgeous! It's made of sterling silver, and it would look great with any outfit. 


Usually, I don't go for the animal themed rings, but this one is adorable. Apple Latte offers these brass rings for a great price.


Colby June Jewelry makes a rustic and beautiful twig ring set. 


There's just something about delicate jewelry that makes you feel more feminine. Check out this one from Green Tea Jewels.

I've always wanted a ruby ring. Bliss J Jewellery offers this fabulous ring in 14k gold.


Happy Shopping,

Amanda

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alternatives to Easter Egg Candy

Every couple of months there is a holiday where children collect candy. This means I need to teach my children the importance of sharing their candy with mommy. It's a tough job, but it's what we mothers have to do. If you would like to offer alternatives to Easter candy, then you are not alone. It's better for our children and our waistlines. What items would you add to this list?

Alternatives to Easter Candy:

Erasers
Crayons


Money
Parachute Animals
Small Dollar Store Toys
Balloons

Hair Clips
Coupons for Ice Cream at Chick-fil-A


Happy Easter!

Amanda
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