Cleaning Crew...

For some reason today I HAD to clean out the garage. Life seemed a bit out of control and it was something I could be in charge of. (Shocker). So, we cleaned out the garage, and had the best dressed cleaning crew around.

They LOVE dressing up. 

Landry would live in "dance clothes" and I have gotten smart enough just not fight it. If they get dirty and torn, oh well. 

This was a hand me down from Karli that Emmy fell so much in love with, it was immediately promoted to princess status. (Which allows her to wear it everyday instead of just hanging in her closet). 

They come home, change clothes, and play for hours. 

And their brother tolerates it the best he knows how.



Let the Games Begin...

For the past nine months, I have been working along side some incredible women on Radley's annual school festival. My co-chair partner and I speak the same kind of crazy and made everything harder than necessary because we think big, act big, go big.... but I think it was totally worth it. 

AND after all those months of hard work, long hours, insane amount of text messages we got to see all of that "crazy" pay off...

We had a lot of "firsts" this year ... first year for a theme, first year for a shirt, first year for prize booth... and I think it paid off. The theme made it easy to tie all the components together  - silent auction, games, prizes, snacks, etc... I mean how cute were our Candy Crush Silent Auction tables??

(I've actually never played Candy Crush, but apparently the colors mean something, so the higher priced items were placed on corresponding colored tables. 

And we of course had bounce houses, slides, and all the fun carnival games that you'd expect.

As we were setting up, I got that nervous feeling when you think no one is going to show up at your party. But, just like in the Field of Dreams... we built it and they came. 

and everyone had the BEST time! A serious shout out to the sweet ZTA Big Event Volunteers that painted faces... y'all... they were SOOOOO good. Like INCREDIBLE! We had everything from craft tables to donut trees (think bobbing for apples but dangling from a string) and hot wheels racing. (Radley turned that into gambling - if his car won, he kept all the prize tickets and if the other person's car won, they kept all the prize tickets. SMH) (But my Sicilian genes are strong in this one. Uncle Mitch would be proud).

And plenty of shade for these guys. :)

(Actually this is the only time I saw Ryan sitting down. He went from hustling for me, to coaching a soccer game and back to helping with Festival all in one day. What a sweet man of mine I have!)

Donut Dangle y'all. It's a thing.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I stopped and grabbed these four so we could get a picture.

This was our team (minus Lisa) at the end of the day. We had been there since 7:30am and this was about 5pm that evening. Still smiling because, it was done! (HA!) Really because the hard work had paid off, those sweet kids smiles were amazing and we were able to raise so much money for our school. 

Until next year... 


Friday Favorites: Baby Products

Hi, this is one of my most popular posts so I thought I'd share it with all of the Friday Favorite followers! It first posted in August 2014 after some recent outings to baby product vendor events. The original post was titled: If my Bestie was having a Baby. Hope you enjoy!

I would like to begin by saying that my best-friend is NOT having a baby. So Cotton and Josh on the off chance that you are reading this post, you can relax. (But on the off chance you are reading this post, everyone else should be scared because, a very hot place has just frozen over.) 

Any who... if my bestie were having a baby, and more importantly her FIRST baby, I would take it upon myself and do her big giant favor by telling her exactly what she needs and what she doesn't. And not because I am just a big giant know-it-all but because it is my duty as a seasoned momma to help a sister out. 

In the six, almost 7(!) years that I have received the title of momma, approximately 103,827,010 unnecessary things have been developed and marketed to the overwhelmed, overinformed, over-read, mom-to-bes. (Give or take a few). These women are in panic mode. They want only the best for their child. They are more than likely on the cusp of the GenX/Millenial Generation which means they are overachievers. They only succeed. They will read every book, listen to every expert, and then google what they still have questions about. 

They will buy every type of sleeping contraption, blanket, bottle, and pacifier and then question whether or not their baby should sleep, be swaddled, be bottle fed or even given a pacifier because any of the above may influence brain development and social skills. 

And I'm not kidding. 

I've seen these women up close and personal. I have had them ask me questions and I have watched their overwhelmed reactions when I give them answers. And y'all - these sweet women are being suckered into thinking that what is right for their babies are things like LEATHER STROLLERS. 

Bless them.

So, friends, Romans, readers... do your bestie a favor. Have her check out this list. While I am no official baby expert, I have birthed 3 kiddos, and they are all now above the age of 2 with no real signs of damage. They all slept through the night by 6 weeks (see item number 9) and I only locked one of them out of the house. (Well, actually, I locked myself out of the house...he was inside the whole time).

You really want to pin this one and pass it on to your besties.

Like everything, there are degrees to what you "must have". 

Example - you "must have" shoes. You probably don't need the 4 inch neon orange street walker pair.

Same thing with babies. There are certain things that they must have - to care for them, to comfort them, and to give you some sanity as well. This is a collection of things that I would put on my must-have list. This is just my OPINION. Sadly, no one is paying me to write any of this stuff. 

Traveling Baby

This is a priority for all tiny humans, because you can't stay home forever. So, since you must travel, you want to keep them safe. Most people are on the go all the time these days and kids spend lots of time in cars. Ryan and I currently own 10 car seats. TEN. 

That's ridiculous - mainly because that means there is basically an all-inclusive family vacation sitting around in safety gear. But, it's worth it. We love our Britax seats. They are consistently rated among the safest seats for infants and toddlers, have a huge selection and provide a great, quality product. We have the Marathon and the Roundabout. Both have lasted through all 3 kids and can either be rear or forward facing.

Out of necessity, we discovered Diono carseats. We only have one car that fits all three kids in the back, and only because we purchased two of these seats. They are narrower than other carseats which allows people with big(ish) families and small(ish) cars to not have to purchase that SUV. (Or minivan) (Although I am DYING for a minivan) (I am just not dying for a car payment).

So, while the cost of these seats is a bit pricey, it was only a one time investment rather than a 5 year payment. For us, it worked. We have been pleased with the quality and also thrilled with the safety ratings.

Carrying Baby

I didn't carry Radley that much as an infant. Well, I carried him, but I used my arms and not a carrier. Then we had Emmy and I discovered that I needed my arms more than with just one kiddo and fell hard for the Moby Wrap.

Some people are slightly intimated by the "wrapping" process but don't be. It comes with easy instructions and a video. Piece of cake. I loved the wrap because I could put Emmy/Landry in there and she was all safe and sound and out of the danger of those pesky stranger hands. You know, the lurkers. The people who feel that it is their right to touch your six-week-old. You know the ones. 

Having her wrapped kept unwanted dirty hands and it kept my hands free to shop, cook, or hold Radley/Emmy's hands. I used this a ton with Landry! 

We could go anywhere and she was as content as could be. She would nap and even nurse if she needed to. 

I wish I would have also purchased an Ergo. Technically I still could since some of them can hold up to 45 lbs. I have friends that swear by them and think that it would be a great addition for any new parent - something that would last through all babies!

Strolling Baby

As I mentioned, we are always on the go... which means that you need stroller. There are tons out there (even leather ones). (Y'all. Do not buy a leather stroller. I will judge you.) (In the nicest way). 

If I had to buy a new stroller today as a first time parent, and I knew that without a doubt, I would need a stroller again. I would be extremely tempted to go with the Orbit. I will not lie. These things are PRICEY, but they are ingenious. I have seen them up close and personal at a few baby events and I am a fan.

The carrier can face any direction - out, towards mom/dad, to the side. The handle bars extend up so taller parents aren't slouched over, which can sound silly, but pushing a baby through the zoo, a park, the city and you want comfort. You can switch the bottom out for a traditional "basket type" storage or a diaper bag. It's easy set up/break down and very light weight.

Now again. It is pricey. But, it would be a worthwhile investment if you plan on having multiple kiddos!

Stinky Baby

All babies need baths. 

All babies need safe baths.

All babies' mommas/daddys need an easy way to give said bath.

I did not know of this product for any of my kids, but if I would have, I would have been a fan.

You don't have to fill a cumbersome tub with water and then empty it out and hang it to dry. You simply fill your normal tub and then place this in the water. It won't get that nasty goop on the underside that you don't really check for until it's there and it just dries in the tub. 

Hungry Baby

I am a nursing mom. Well, I was a nursing mom, so I know nothing about formula. BUT, I do know about breastfeeding helpers. My MUST have items for nursing moms...

Lanisoh and Medela are the names in breastfeeding. Both companies offer such great support to nursing moms. True story - my pump broke... and Medela overnighted me a new one... FOR FREE!!! I just had to send mine back in. 

I used the Medela Pump-In-Style and Pumpy survived all three kids. I had to buy a couple of replacement parts but serially, their representatives are so helpful and nice and it was a breeze!

I also used a few Lanisoh products. Starting about 3 weeks before my due date to about a month after, I used their lanolin because well, the sensitive bits are sensitive. 

I preferred the Lanisoh storage bags... they were a little longer and provided more room to write. I estimate that I probably stored at least 25,000 ounces of milk through all 3 kiddos which is roughly 4400 storage bags. These were great!

They also have the best nursing pads. Thin but absorbent and extremely discreet. 

Sleepy Baby

Remember that part about all 3 of my kids sleeping through the night by 6 weeks. Yeah, maybe a lot of that has to do with luck, and my super fatty milk... but I am also convinced it's because of our big belief in swaddling. SWADDLE your baby. Period. The end. They need it. They LIKE it. They will sleep better because of it. 

Our favorite blankets were by Aiden and Anais. They are super soft and airy... big enough to swaddle NBs to 6 months and adorable! 

Sickie Baby

All babies are going to get a runny nose, a cold, a fever, etc... Our pediatrician recommended a tilted mattress and a humidifier. And well, there is none out there better than Crane. And there is definitely none out there CUTER than Crane... I mean, I can't handle it. We own the frog and the elephant. 

Rashie Baby

Sadly all babies get diaper rash at one time or another. And it's pitiful. Radley got the WORST diaper rash ever the day before we were scheduled to take his 1 year pictures and I so wish I would have known about Dr. Smiths at that time. Instead, we were still using a different product and it didn't clear up for a few days. 

And I'm not sure if I've mentioned the SPRAY yet... but y'all... the SPRAY. It is amazing! It's not like sprays that you are used to... it is a concentrated stream, it doesn't linger in the air... you simply spray and move on with your day. It's almost reason enough to have another baby. ;)


(And because I want you to be informed readers... here are links to safety information regarding the products listed above. These are just my opinions... I want you to be comfortable with your choices as a parent and for your baby!)

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci


Tiny Tales Thursday...

If you've been here once or twice, you know that we follow a bedtime routine of bath, books, prayers and bed. We vary from time to time but for the most part, we follow that routine and the kids are aware of the expectations - especially during prayer time.  Landry decided that she didn't want to pay attention and instead chose to be silly and loud and got punished by Ryan.

She was mad.

She didn't want him to hug her good night.

She didn't want him to tell her good night.

She was pouting and "punishing" him in return.

But as I lay next to her singing "her song" to her, she ever-so-quietly whispered something to me.

Landry: I pwoligz 
Me: What baby?
Landry: I pawlogize
Me: You want to apologize to Daddy?
Landry: yes. 

All in a whispered voice.

And so she did.

And he of course accepted her apology, gave her hugs and kisses and she fell asleep.

And it got me wondering...

How many times do we do something in which we want to use a whispered voice to say we are sorry or wrong or scared or ashamed. We want to hush our indiscretions for the fear of admitting wrong or defeat. We don't want others to know that we messed up. Because, for some reason, being humbled is scary.

But even in a whispered voice, those "I'm sorrys" and "I made a mistake" moments can be heard to the heavens.

What a sweet lesson in humility.

Thoughts for Thursday


Fixer {S}upper...

Can we begin with a pause for how clever the title of this post is. If I am anything on this blog, it is inconsistent. I label things randomly, and act like I'm going to start a new traditional post every other week, BUT... I think this one may stick. Probably. Maybe. 

Anywho. I love discovering a new recipe, especially when they are easy. And ESPECIALLY when they are tasty and loved by the whole family. I have two new ones to share with you that I found while hanging out with my online bestie, Pinny. 

First up...

from Skinny Mom
(I need to invest in some plain white dishes. I love mine, but the photograph horribly).

For all the step-by-step beautiful pictures, click on her link above. For a run down of ingredients and what I changed, read below. (By the way, she gives you the nutritional value... definitely start following her!) 

6 small red potatoes, cubed
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
2 - 10.5 oz cans fat free cream of chicken soup
1 cup skim milk
1 cup water
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup celery (about 1.5 stalks), diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
10.8 oz frozen mixed veggies

  1. Place cubed potatoes on bottom of slow cooker and chicken on top of potatoes
  2. In small bowl, mix soup, milk and water. Pour over chicken and potatoes. 
  3. Throw in diced onion and celery.
  4. Sprinkle with seasoning.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  6. 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred. Place back in slower cooker and stir in frozen veggies. Cook for additional 30 minutes. 
  7. Serve over biscuits
How did I "fixer {s}upper"... 
  1. If you recall from my first round of power cooking - frozen onions are your friend. I used frozen onion and the pre-minced garlic to my liking
  2. I am pretty sure I didn't use the thyme
  3. I used fresh chicken, not frozen
  4. I added frozen okra instead of mixed veggies because it's what I had on hand
  5. To add a little crunch (and some calories), I crushed some ritz and mixed with butter and then placed on top of each bowl.
This was a big WIN in our house. Made PLENTY for left-overs and was filling but not heavy.

Next up... 

from Crem de la Crumb.

Again, for all the step-by-step foodie blogger pics, click on her link above. For a run down of ingredients and what I changed, read below. 

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup original flavor bbq sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup pineapple juice
t tablespoon liquid smoke
16 taco-sized soft tortillas
1-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
Optional: ranch dressing for dipping

  1. Mix bbq sauce, garlic powder, pineapple juice and liquid smoke
  2. Place chicken in bottom of crock pot (does anyone else giggle at this? Where else would you place it? On the lid?)
  3. Pour bbq sauce mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. (If using frozen chicken, you may have to adjust time).
  4. Once cooked, shred chicken and place back in crock pot.
  5. Lay tortillas on flat surface and sprinkle with cheese down each tortilla. Top with shredded chicken and roll tightly. 
  6. Spray rolled taquitos with cooking spray and broil for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melty.
  7. Serve with pineapple salsa (she makes her own, I used some from HEB) and ranch is optional (But is it? Really? Is ranch EVER optional?)

    How did I "fixer {s}upper"... 

    1. I am adamantly opposed to liquid smoke. Instead I used Weber Hickory Smoke BBQ - we had a jar in the pantry and it had "smoke" in the title, so I figured it would work. 
    2. I am adamantly for pineapple chunks, so I used diced pineapples with the juice.
    3. We used corn and flour tortillas. Both delicious.
    4. We rolled our taquitos and then put them in the freezer to flash freeze them. They stayed in ziplocks until ready to eat and baked at 420 degrees for 15 minutes. 
    5. Ranch was NOT optional. 
    I can't give enough praise to this recipe y'all. First, by flash freezing them on Sunday, it allowed me to enjoy the awesome weather and hang with the kids for an hour or so when we got home. It was so easy to pull some out of their bags, spray with cooking spray and bake. 

    Radley ate two taquitos and the girls each ate one... every bite. No complaints. It was the perfect mixture of crispy outside with gooey middle. They have already requested to eat them again tomorrow (and since I froze them - they are ready to go!)

    No go fix{er} some {s}upper!

    Any fun recipes I need to try?? Let me know!

    **Edited I just saw that Andrea was hosting a recipe sharing linkup today...head on over there for more tasty treats!**


    Spring breaking...

    Our Spring Break was filled with fun and excitement in the great city of... WACO! :) 

    These kids could visit the Cameron Park Zoo 100 times and never get bored. We named those rhinos Emmy, Landry and Radley. :) 

    If you haven't visited CPZ, then make plans to go. It's the perfect size for small kids and has great animals to see! The giraffes were so close to us this visit and Landry didn't want to leave. 

    Can you tell Radley is over pictures? Can you also tell that he needs a hair cut? I think he's more attached to his locks than Emersyn. 

    We had great weather for our visit and the best part is that they've seen everything so much that they can give me a self-guided tour. This was the highlight... scary shark faces and beautiful butterflies.

    We made our way through the zoo, hung out with friends, visited the HOME of Dr Pepper, explored the Mayborn Museum and just enjoyed the company of us. 

    Thanks Gigi and Pops for being great hosts!


    I think for at least four of our wedding anniversaries, I have been out of town on the actual date. Whoever thought spring break was a smart week to get married? Oh yeah, me. Ha! So I was gone once again but I was excited to come home to this sweet surprise! He got me a new coffee maker and it's the most amazing thing in the world. 

    Well, this view is the most amazing thing in the world. We've been coming here since this place opened and I never get tired of what I see when I look up. 

    And it just so happened that this adorable couple was sitting next to us celebrating 49 years of marriage. And he was in a TUX. Because it was a special night for them and he wanted her to feel like she was worth the effort. And then I snuck this picture because #relationshipgoals.

    We keep it a bit more casual around here.

    The nine year anniversary is marked by pottery - so we got some pottery to go and painted tiny number 9s - one for each kiddo. The plan is to write 9 things we love about them on their 9th birthdays and have it framed. We shall see if I even remember where I put them!

    So what have I learned in nine years of marriage? That celebrating the every day is the key to making it to the big days. To love. To listen. To forgive. To kiss. To hug and to dance in the kitchen.

    A Year of Date: March Madness...

    The dating continues and this month was just plain "mad"! 

    March is a pretty big month for us. We have Landry's birthday and our anniversary so spending is at a level orange, so I decided to do a fairly simple date and celebrate another fun March tradition... 


    We had a simple "at home" date where Ryan got to pick ANY movie he wanted and I relinquished veto power. Y'all. Let me repeat myself...

    I. RELINQUISHED. Veto power. 

    And what did he choose?

    Robocop. The remake. 


    And what did he think of his choice...


    Maybe I'll be nice and let him pick one more.