10/31/12

So What Wednesday

So What Wednesday


  • I hate Halloween.  In that I love it.  Stupid candy EVERYWHERE.
  • I did my first push-up in about 6 years this weekend.  I had troubles putting my hair in a pony tail the next morning, never mind washing my hair!
  • I almost didn't wear a bra to preschool drop off this morning, but thought better of it when the thermometer read 35 degree.
  • I work in our church nursery now and attended a "Safe Church Training."  It made me really really sad that our world is a place where we need to be trained to spot adults who may be taking advantage of the church's goodwill in order to hurt our children.  Major yuck.
  • I am so UNBELIEVABLY sick of political ads.  One more week.  So grateful for our DVR.
  • I wish I still had that wonder over snow.  A few flakes fell and I groaned and moaned.  Liv was so gleeful, she could hardly sit still.
  • Avery's tantrums are so cute and funny to me.  At this age with Liv I was beside myself with guilt and frustration.  Now I watch Avery get "mad" at me and have to hold back my smile so I don't frustrate her any further.



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10/30/12

Halloween Party at Dance

Our second year of dance with Olivia means we're starting to get comfortable there.
She knows her teacher, Miss Tracy (a classmate of mine from 100 years ago!)
She is starting to have "best friends" in the class (with whom she sings Call Me Maybe at the top of their lungs during breaks.)

I do love when they let the parents in the class to watch them perform, rather than pressing our noses against the glass to catch a glimpse at the cuteness.

I wish I had more photos to share, but I have to admit, a majority of the record taking was done in video form.
I will spare you all the 12 minutes of video that only a mother (or family member) could love for the FULL 12 minutes.

I do have a few cute pictures.
And Monday was only the first of three days of Halloween.
Tomorrow brings our church party - more cuteness to come!




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10/29/12

Stenciled Workout Tank

At the end of February, my entire family will pack up, drive to the airport, take 2 flights and land in the gorgeous and beautiful tropical land of Turks & Caicos.  The last time we went, I was nearly 8 months pregnant with Avery.


Don't get me wrong - it was easily the best vacation I've ever been on.  All-inclusive, Beaches resort.  Wonderful for families with kids, awesome staff, it was 9 days in paradise.  Except for the gigantic belly and moral-fiber to not drink in excess while pregnant.  I certainly hit up the dessert table more than once a meal, however.

This time around, I will NOT be pregnant (thank you Mirena.)
I will not have an excuse for wearing a frumpy mom suit.
I will have a hot mom bod, and even though I still may not want to wear a two-piece I want to have the choice.
Slowly, I have been working out more.  I am not even up to a 5K in one sitting, but I'm getting there.  And once I got over my fear of looking like a jackass at the gym (and avoiding jumping jacks) I've been kicking ass.

I wear grubby t-shirt to the gym, and I'm fine with that.  I see other women wearing lipgloss and I want to tackle them and scream "You friggin' poser!  Go home!  We're here to sweat and be UGLY.  Get pretty AFTER your workout."
But of course, I'm a lady so I refrain.
I've wanted to take some of those t-shirt and use {this} tutorial to make a cute tank out of them.  I tried to take my own pictures along the way, but hers are way better.

I did make my OWN t-shirt however.  And that I can teach you!


No matter how slow you go, you're going faster than you would be on the couch.  Or you're lapping everyone on the couch.  Or however you need to say it, but it's totally true.  It's hard not to compare yourself to the speed demon on the machine next to you, or the perfect body lifting weights like they're bath towels.
But your speed is perfect for you.  Just MOVE.

All you need is:
* clean t-shirt (mine was three bucks from JoAnn's)
* fabric paint
* a dobber, sponge brush
* Exacto knife
* waxed paper



Depending on your printer, you could print your phrase out directly onto the waxed paper, but that didn't work for me, so I printed it on regular paper and traced it on the waxed.  Make sure that the waxy side is down because this is what you'll lightly melt onto your sheet for the stencil. Grab your Exacto knife and start cutting.


One you're all done cutting, use a low-set iron and iron it right on your t-shirt.

Now you may notice two things about my picture:
1.  The font changed (because it was a pain in the ass to cut out)
2.  I'm using washi tape to hold my stencil in place (because in my haste and frustration about restarting my cutting I used the wrong side)  To be fair - the tape worked just fine.

Let your paint dry according to the label's directions.  You may also need to cure it with an iron or steam - read your label.

Grab your scissors and follow {this} tutorial and you'll have your own hot-mama workout tank in no time at all!




Beats the grubby t-shirt look!



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10/26/12

Join me in November!

You're smart, I can tell.
Otherwise, why else would you be reading my blog?
We'd probably be besties IRL (if we aren't already!)
I'm funny, I'm cute in a self-depricating way.  Plus, if we were in a foot race, you'd more than likely beat me.  And to see you win would make me happy.
And that's what I would offer you as a sponsor on my blog - support, excitement.  Your own personal cheerleader!


Buy your ad space now - and get two for the price of one!  That's right!  You can get TWO months of space, for the cost of one 30 day stint! (not valid on daily post spot)

Why would I offer such an amazing deal?
Simple.
November is my birthday month.
And I do mean birthday MONTH.
I expect to be celebrating for a full 30 days.
So, celebrate with me, won't you!?

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10/25/12

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Check out this week's giveaway for your own FREE blog design {here}

I am not a baker.
I love to cook, but baking and I don't always get along.
I do try.
And cakes.
Forget about it.
I make CUPcakes.  Easier, smaller.  Neat little cups to decorate (and contain the mess).

The hubs turned 33 over the weekend, and asked for a chocolate cake.  Cake.  Not cupcakes.  I offered a brownie truffle (thus a freeform shape would be allowed in the bowl).  I lost.  Cake.  Which means not only frosting dolloped on the top, but spread neatly and evenly.

The cake wasn't pretty, but it was tasty!  And I'm not even a chocolate cake fan.


And the frosting was the best part (because the cake was a cheat box mix!)

Here's how I made it:
* 8 oz softened cream cheese
* 1/4 c (1 stick) softened butter
* 2.5-3 c powdered sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 pt of raspberries

Cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and fluffy (just like creaming butter and sugar for any other batter).  Stir in vanilla.  Start adding in sugar - at least 2 cups and the more depending on the thickness and sweetness desired.
Then comes the fun part - add in the raspberries and turn on the mixer.  The beater will macerate the berries, turning the frosting a lovely pink and adding the sweet flavor throughout.  So yummy!  Perfect with chocolate, or straight out of the bowl.  Whatever you desire - I won't judge!!

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10/24/12

So What Wednesday

Be sure to click {here} and enter to win your very own blog design from Jess Wright!!

After what seemed like the world's longest weekend, I'm starting my So What's early so I don't forget any in the next two days!

So What Wednesday


So What!
  • We started watching season one of Homeland and I'm having a hard time listening to the fresh-face mopey teen from My-So-Called Life drop the f-bomb so many times!
  • After getting through the first two episodes one night, I was really mad that Nate was at work the next day and I couldn't watch more without him.
  • I am dragging my feet on buying Halloween candy to resist the temptation of eating before the kids come ringing my doorbell.
  • I am very pleased with the winner of Project Runway.  I won't spoil it for anyone - but I LOVE the winning designer!  Not that I would ever have a place to wear any of the fashions, but it's fun to dream!
  • I have now decided that ever fit Liv throws in public, I will just walk away from her.  Every time I call her bluff and she comes running.  Beats trying to drag her kicking and screaming; I'm done with that tactic.
  • I made mac and cheese from scratch for Nate's birthday and I may never buy another box of Kraft again.
  • I am an auntie again (as of 3:23 PM on Saturday) and am thrilled to death to have Peyton be my new headband model!!
  • Holding her made my uterus glow like ET for a moment.  And then my demon children were jumping on beds, pushing nurse alert buttons and causing havoc and I remembered I'm good.  Two's my limit.
Check out Shannon and her gripes this week too!

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10/23/12

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

Be sure to click {here} and enter to win your very own blog design from Jess Wright!!

I am certainly not a hyper-organic, natural, health nut.
I love Doritos.
Sometimes more than my own children.
But that doesn't mean that I still don't want to make good, healthy food for them.
I also don't want to spend a lot of time or money completing my task.

On sale, I bought a family-pack of cheese tortellini.  Who doesn't love cheese and pasta?
I'll give you a hint.  The answer is: no one.
Making a simple dinner (meat-free = cheapskate win for mom) I whipped up an Alfredo sauce for a couple bucks.  Basically, the cost of the half and half, because I had everything else on hand - I knew there was a reason that we buy parmesan cheese in bulk at Costco!


* 1/4 c butter
* 1/4 c flour
* 1/2 tsp garlic salt
* 1 pint container half and half (16 oz or 2 cups)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbsp dried parsley
* 1/3 c grated parmesan

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and garlic salt until smooth.
Slowly beat in half and half until completely incorporated.
Stir in garlic, parsley and cheese and mix over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the cheese is melted, above 4-5 minutes.  The sauce will begin to thicken as cheese melts and all of the goodness is  simmered together.

Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

I also helps if you have a budding sous chef tasting the quality of the cheese along the way!





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10/22/12

Jess Wright Blog Design {giveaway}

Have you noticed my new look??  I totally love it.  I love the colors, the sleekness.

What I really loved was the process!

I stumbled upon Jess @ Wrangling Chaos some time ago, and knew we would be instant BBFF.  She's sarcastic like me.  Curses like me.  A straight shooter, who still beams with cheesy pride at the adorableness of her four kiddos.

She even finds time to write for the Poop Whisper.  Love this blog.  If you haven't read it, you should.  Lots of guest writers, all real - fabulous content.  You may remember my {Advice from a Perfect Mother}  This was my first "real" post where I felt like a respected blogger.

On top of being a super star mom, blogger and I'm sure, the occasional kick-ass wife, Jess does blog design.  You can see some of her samples





 and obviously my personal favorite of the bunch...

And now, Jess is offering up her services to ONE lucky blogger!  Super awesome deal here - if you've been thinking about freshening up your look - now is the time!!

Her services include:
* header
* nav bar
* sidebar labels
* social media icons

Hell of a deal here folks!  Enter using the Rafflecopter below - only three tasks to get you the prize.  I promised I make this easy for you! Good luck to you!!


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10/19/12

Workout Advice for Moms

So I've been trying to work out more.
Actually, I've been trying to use our gym membership because Nate keeps threatening to cancel it.
Never mind the motivation, it's getting my body moving, which is a good thing.

I stumbled on this workout on Pinterest.  I went to the original site and can't find the same graphic, but the blog has AMAZING workouts.  Note to self:  revisit often.


Sounds good, right?

I asked Nate if he would go to the gym with me and do this circuit training, so I wouldn't feel like an asshole doing jumping jacks in the middle of all the grunting weight lifters.  Rationally, I KNOW no one cares about what I'm doing.  The insecure me feels like everyone is silently watching and judging me.  I never thought of what we must have looked like as a pair doing these exercises in tandem, but whatever.

I share this tale and routine so I can share this warning for MOTHERS.
I say MOTHERS because you know that if you sneeze the wrong way, you might need to change your Victoria's Secrets.
Clearly the creator of this workout has never experienced the delight of a peri bottle and wearing an ice pack in your undies for three days.

Jumping jacks.
Worst.
Idea.
Ever.

Avoid them.

Do something else in that placeholder's stead.

First time around, I hit 37 and thought, oh GOD.
Then at 45 I stopped short and Nate scolded me for quitting.
"I'm going to pee my pants!!" I whispered angrily at him.
"Oh.  Well good then.  Please stop."
And then we laughed.
If you can't laugh at peeing your pants, what else can you doing?

I did mountain climbers, which was equally difficult for me, but not so much jumping.
I also did a 60 second plank in place of the 50 second wall sit.
My abs need attention too!

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10/18/12

Sensory Rice

Have you entered to win your very own Owie Owl yet?  Click {here} and good luck!!

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared the colored rice I made for Olivia's birthday party decor?  Well, the vases have been sitting around for a few weeks, still with their cute little candles, but I needed to make room for some Halloween decorations.

But I couldn't just get rid of the rice.  Too many ideas!  And as those fall days get colder, and we can spend less and less time outside, Lord knows I need some indoor busy-body activities.



I know I'm not the first to come up with this idea, but hopefully my tale of keeping Olivia occupied for over FOURTY-FIVE MINUTES with this one afternoon.  Hello!  You can't buy that kind of freedom and time these days!!

I used a baking sheet underneath a food storage container (to help contain the mess) and let her go.  The imagination allowed for her to practice writing letters, bake a "cake", build a castle... a hundred different things.

Then I put in some macaroni noodles, mostly for Avery to keep her busy and digging (rather than trying to eat the rice)  Those ended up being birthday candles in Liv's cake.  But just watch this video and see how stinkin' cute my baby girl is.  So proud.

video


Bury legos, Barbie shoes, different kinds of pasta noodles, foam pieces, anything!  Let them make a game of their own - and enjoy the quiet!  Or giggles depending on who's playing!


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10/17/12

Cleaning Calendar

Have you entered this week's giveaway - there's still time {here}

As you may know, I am obsessed with Pinterest these days.  Instead of reading before bed, I snuggle under the covers and the warm glow of my iPad and surf Pinterest, looking for the next best thing.  I try to avoid food posts late at night because it only makes me hungry!!

I have a board specifically for cleaning and organizing ideas - you should check it out {here}  I recently pinned a page that had a graphic of a weekly cleaning schedule that didn't involve a ton of work each day.  Maybe 20 minutes, tops.  I liked the idea of breaking down the big chore list into chunks to make it more manageable.

Then I clicked the link and saw this:


I hate this kind of crap.  It's already annoying to click on a pin and find it goes to the blog's home page, rather than to original post.  But to not even get to a searchable place to find the source... well, what can you do?

So I made my own.  I used PicMonkey and tweaked a few things to fit my home's needs.




I will admit, the wiping down of doors and baseboards has pretty much never happened here.  But maybe having it on a list for be to be responsible for will help.  Or maybe I'll just use that time to surf Pinterest some more.

I'm only human.  Nobody's perfect.

So What Wednesday

Hello friends.
Happy Hump Day to you all!

So What Wednesday


This week has been better, though still not always 100% rainbows and butterflies.  Maybe the ladies over at Shannon's spot had better weeks (or maybe not, but that's kind of the point, right?)

So What:
* I went on my first school bus in probably 15 years for Liv's first field trip to the apple orchard.  She refused to let me take a picture of her.  Stinker.  This self-portrait was about the best I got



* I just about peed my pants doing jumping jacks this weekend at the gym.  Never again.
* We are looking at switching satellite providers to get a better deal.  I want to make it super worth it.  Saving 20 bucks to get get used to a new system isn't exactly my idea of a great plan.
* I was super pumped that someone from Ireland ordered my hair ties!  Ireland!!  So cool to see those international orders!
* I got a job helping out in our church's nursery on Sundays (or whenever else they may need me.)  Nate is thrilled this will get me to church more.  Plus the other mom who works there is awesome, so we get to watch Elmo or Dora and chat.  The only thing that would make it better would mimosas - probably frowned upon in the nursery environment, however.
* In an effort to make memories, we went to a local pumpkin patch.  It was miserably windy and Liv was in a "mood."  Needless to say it was not the magical afternoon I hoped for!
* I am struggling with the new requirement to lean on Nate more.  With the new working situation, our roles at home have changed too.  It used to be pretty 50/50 (minus me picking up his crosswords and baseball hats everywhere).  It's a new suit to wear - I'm still breaking it in.
* I am already dreading Christmas this year.  Pennies being what they are, I just don't want to disappoint Liv when she's old enough to know what's going on this year.
* I'm hosting a pre-Christmas rush Mystery Trunk show.  Anyone who makes a purchase enters to win all of the style rewards (basically free and half price pieces)  I'd love for you to check it out {here}  There are friendship bracelets for only $19 {love} {light} and {courage} {!!  Can't hardly go wrong with a price tag like that!


How was your week??  I love a note or two - let me know I'm not the only one writing this in yoga pants while the kiddos sit in front of the boob tube!





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10/16/12

One Picture

Be sure to click over {here} and enter this week's giveaway

The challenge is done.  Today is the last one.  And it's a toughie.  I've actually been thinking about this well in advance.





One picture (of yourself)
I have a lot of photos of myself from high school and college with friends.  And then you get married and it's a 14-hours of constant photography.  But then, babies come, and I end up being the person behind the lens.  I don't mind that.  I don't consider myself to be terribly photogenic, so behind the lens is a much better place for me, rather than in front of it.

But after consideration, I've chosen a photo from those 14-hours on June 9, 2007.  In this photo, our DJ is reading our "Love Story."  Both Nate and I answered questions for him, didn't compare notes, so when he was reading it, it was the first time anyone in that room had heard it.



This is my giddy, genuine smile.  I was so unbelievably happy that day.  You dream of that moment and when it's there, you can hardly believe it's not a dream.

I want to tell this skinny, young couple that today will be one of the greats.  There will be other wonderful moments, and some super crappy ones.  But I would remind them always to come back to this one.

When I was little, my dad would tell me that if I ever got lost, go back to the last place I could remember all of us being together.  I would tell this couple that if you ever got lost, go back here.  It's certainly not the last place we were together, but it's a good place to start.

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10/15/12

Dymant Designs {giveaway}

I'm so excited to introduce you to the very clever and sweet Pam, owner and designer of Dymant Designs.  Pam is a passionate sewer, printer and wife. Since she was very young, Pam has found enjoyment in being creative. She studied Photography and Graphic Design in High School while working at the local camera store. Pam went on to study at the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating with a B.S. in Print Media. She currently works in the printing industry during the day and enjoys sewing and teaching photography at night.

In 2011, when Pam’s husband, a US Marine, deployed, it was only natural for her to turn to the arts as a way to pass time. She taught herself to sew, launching Dymant Designs as a way to bring her unique product line of house wares, children’s products and baby accessories to the public.



The name, Dymant Designs comes from her late grandfather, Sam Dymant. His signature is the company logo and his high morals, love for family and dedication to pursuing a dream are stitched into every design. I told you - she's awesome!

And she's offering up her one of her super cute Owie the Owl's to one lucky reader!



This sweet little bird works double duty as a heating pack or ice pack - perfectly cute for any age!  Microwave for 30-60 seconds for a heat pack that is warm and snuggly.  Store in the freezer for a cold pack that is mess free and comfortable for kids to hold.  Unlike traditional ice packs, “Owie” are all natural, won’t produce messy condensation, and fits snuggly to injuries.

Just enter using the Rafflecopter below!  GOOD LUCK!

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10/13/12

Puff Ball Toddler Activity

Two and a half hours, two days a week, Avery gets to pretend she's an only child.  She doesn't have to share toys, or Mom's attention while her big sister is at preschool.

However, that does not mean that life can stop for her demanding toddler whims.   Target shopping lists still need to be crossed off, and laundry still needs to get folded (and the piles are always never ending!)  So while my darling daughter would love to have my undivided attention at all times during those blissful "only child" mornings, it's not always the case.  Mama still wants to watch The Price is Right with a Diet Coke every now and then.  I'm only human for crying out loud.

The trouble with a toddler is finding a game that will engage her for long enough that doesn't need my undivided attention and supervision.

I noticed that her favorite game is to take her snack and transfer the bites between two bowls.  Super obnoxious because I'm really not a fan of her playing with her food - but remember that Price is Right I mentioned?  Sometimes, you just pick your battles.

Then I thought - what if I could make this a game?  Similar to the shape matching buckets with different holes to drop blocks through, I could just give her some old containers and some puff balls and let her go nuts.


I used a few sour cream containers, a Cool Whip container, cut some holes and used a bag of craft puff balls we had around.  I think I had them for some craft project I intended on doing (probably something on Pinterest knowing me) that never came to fruition.


She prefers the open tops to the ones that are cut.  Duh.  Remember the snack games?


To my delight - it worked!
She was happy.
I was happy.
And I got to see the Showcase Showdown.
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10/12/12

Little Pink Potty

On August 5, 2010, I sat in the bathroom and watched my potty-training toddler proudly use her pink potty.

At the same time, on that same date, I was using my own big girl potty and realized that the extra late night Nate and I shared a few weeks ago resulted in two little blue lines to appear on that little plastic stick.

Now, more than two years later, that same little pink potty is back in my small, galley bathroom.  Even though Avery is only 18 months old, she is becoming more and more interested in what we do.  The bathroom being one of those curiosities.

I am not trying to potty train my 18-month old, but I am not dumb enough to stifle her curiosities.

Nate dug the chair out of the shed, we dusted it off and put it in it's rightful place on the bathroom floor.

Liv, being the good big sister that she is, she asked Avery after inhaling her juice box, "Do you need to go potty?"  And the dutiful little sister, followed her big sister to the bathroom.  We hung back, just wondering what would transpire.

Nate peeked in to find Liv had pulled down Avery's pant and diaper and was perched next to her baby sister while she sat proudly on her pink potty.  We all stood their in wait.  No great expectations - I just wanted to encourage her so she would WANT to do it again, should the time be right.

And then...
a familiar tune came from the musical pink potty (I may have forgotten to mention is makes music!)
Nate and I looked at each other - we've known the potty to make phantom noises if the connection hits just right.
Sure enough.  There it was.
We all cheered like we'd won the lottery!
Liv kept hugging Avery "I'm so proud of you, baby!  You used the potty!"

It won't happen again for another 4 months.

But I got to watch a big sister love her little sister.
My baby was prouder than she's ever been.
And I had one extra diaper that stayed dry.
Sounds like a good evening to me!


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10/11/12

Blue Cheese Bacon Dip

I first found and made for the first time for our 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Eve Party (way longer ago than I care to remember).

How could this be wrong - blue cheese and bacon - perfect for crackers, breadsticks or veggies. Or, as the Hubs said, just hook it up to a soft serve machine and I'll stand underneath it. Perhaps too far, but speaks to the level of flavor.

It has since become a fan favorite, and a staple on my party tables.  It's easy, delicious.  And delicious.


Round up:

8 oz sour cream
8-10 slices bacon, cookied and crumbled
1/2 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Mix well and chill for 1 hour before serving.  I wouldn't recommend making this too far ahead of time because the bacon tends to sog up a bit.  I like the crunchy texture you can get from super crispy bacon.  Overcooking = not a problem here.

10/10/12

So What Wednesday

I have to say, I've had some ups and downs this past week.

My decision to stay home, and basically cut our income in half has been the best and worst thing to happen for our home.
I get to be with our girls.
I get to work on my blog and shop, both incredible passions of mine.
I get to try to pretend that I'm a good little housewife and cook nice meals and clean.  Who am I kidding, the house is still a pit most days, but it's because the girls and I have been having fun.  Sue me.

We also live on a super tight budget that's hard to follow.
We watch every penny, something that's not too familiar of a practice.
We get to worry about the "what ifs" - what if the car breaks down?  What if the basement floods?  How are we going to pay for the repairs.
We worry about my income, because it is so variable.  The sky's the limit, but it could also be a very short straw too.

This past week was especially disappointing.
Those pennies are tight.
I feel an immense amount of guilt that my decision to leave a steady paycheck and chase a passion is causing this uncertainty.
That negative self-talk started.
My decision.
My fault.
My failure.

Then I had a chat with my Stella & Dot sponsor, Leah.  She encouraged me to overcome that negative self-talk.  It does nothing but poison a situation and blind you to the opportunities that may be hidden.

So this week, I say SO WHAT to all of it
all of the negative thoughts
the stress
the worry


We will stay afloat.
I am being the best wife and mother I can be.  Probably the best I've been in a long time.
You can't put a price on that (thank goodness, we probably couldn't afford it if there was a dollar figure amount on it!)

Be sure to stop by Shannon's site and see what everyone else had going on this week.

Oh and while you're at it, you can go nuts shopping my Etsy shop and use coupon code: OCTBLOG and save 25%
AND, there's also a Mystery Hostess Trunk Show going on with Stella & Dot where you can win ALL the style rewards -- FREE and HALF OFF JEWLRY!!  Each purchase gives you an entry, and any purchase of $100 or more, gives you two!  Super cute holiday stuff, very affordable.  Be sure to check it out!


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