I am about to do something that I cringe at when other people do it. I'm going to blog about blogging. Ugh. I give you my apologies now. Go ahead...roll your eyes. Feel better? Good. Feel free to turn away if it really appalls you. Or you can stay for the cute pictures too.
Blogging has been part of my life for over 7 years now. I started to write when my oldest son was about 10 months old. I had been following some blogs and reading and commenting. I finally decided it was time to start my own. I found that it was a great way for me to connect to other mothers like me. It is it's own online community.
I have made many great friends through blogging and social media. There are many times that they/you are the ones that I turn to first when a problem or challenge arises. Sometimes I take to Twitter just to let out a little frustration. It does make me happy to know I'm not the only one who does this. I try to repay my gracious online friends by being upbeat and positive when they need a little encouragement too.
My oldest, Zachariah, is now 8 years old. I still have no idea how the years fly by at such an alarming speed once you have children. And we've added our sweet little Jonah to the mix now. He is 13 months old. Life with one child was busy. Life with two can be pure crazy. (I can only imagine that compounded for those of you with more children.)
From having one little baby at home to having a busy toddler at home. It is busy, but it's not too bad. Those were the years I was really into blogging. I had time each day/week to write and share, research and work. It was even easier when my oldest started school and I was still at home. I had time to keep up with everything at home easily. I had time to start going to bible study each week. I had time to volunteer in my son's classroom. I had time to blog and start fun projects. Of course there were busy times with a busy school-aged child, but there was more free time for me to fill.
It threw me through a loop when we found out I was expecting again. This pregnancy was very wearing on me. I had such low energy the whole time. I seriously started to think that I was never going to feel a normal level of energy again. It was a pleasant surprise when I bounced back quickly after birth. I had so much energy, probably more than before I was pregnant. However, it didn't take long to realize that all my time and energy was going to be occupied with a needy newborn.
It was during this time that I really fell off the blogging bandwagon. Sure I've been around here and there. But I really haven't taken the time to write and stick with it. I do better at social media, but without blogging I wasn't keeping up with those things connected to my blog.
Here's the thing. I think about blogging a lot. I still compose posts in my head. I talk to PR reps about reviews. I connect with bloggers and readers on Facebook and Twitter and more. I still need this platform to open up about my life. It's a creative outlet of sorts that I still need. I was thinking for a while that maybe it was time to call it quits and focus on other things. But the truth is that my mind keeps wandering back to this blog.
So here we are. I do have a little more time now that my youngest is gaining more independence as a toddler. My oldest is pretty self-sufficient, but his various activities do keep us busy. Truthfully it's this blogger mindset that has me wanting to recommit to this blog.
I want some place to connect to other mommies online. I want to share the things that I have learned and am still learning. I want to find others with similar interests. I want to document things that are happening in my children's lives. I want to keep reviewing great products and hosting giveaways for my awesome readers.
Thanks for sticking around. (Or coming back. Or just finding me.) I'm definitely still here. And I look forward to being around more often. I hope that you'll stay and share with me. There is more adventure waiting for me.
I was searching Pinterest (Are you following my pins?) last week for a fun dessert recipe. Somehow I stumbled upon a great one. Today I finally made this yummy recipe. It was so easy and turned out wonderfully. I followed the directions and only had to bake a little longer. Otherwise everything was perfect. These brownies are delicious, especially if you love the chocolate mint combo.
*I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. All opinions are my own.*
Parties are fun! Disney is great. Put the two together and throw in a birthday, you have one great party. (And one cute, little, Mickey Mouse eared baby!)
We received our Disney Side party kit full of great things. First of all it came in a huge box. Inside was all of our Disney Side party supplies inside of American Tourist Luggage, which just happens to be the official luggage of Walt Disney World Resort!
There were lots of great party supplies like Disney napkins, cute, balloons, plates, a tablecloth and more. To play we had Disney bingo and trivia. The HP photo card packs were great for creating invitations and printing photos of the event.
We made up party gift bags with lots of goodies inside. Each person got a Mickey & Minnie Mouse poster, Craisins, a Run Disney poster and bumper sticker. Plus there were balloons, tattoos and stickers. It was a great goody bag without all the sugary sweets and cheap toys that parents cringe about.
Our Disney Side party was a little different. We incorporated it with Zachariah's 8th birthday. He had been talking about doing something a little different this year anyway. We typically have a low-scale party with all of our family at our house for birthdays. But the older he gets, the less fun that is (especially when he's the oldest cousin...by 4 years). So we discussed a few different options and settled on bowling. I knew we could do our Disney Side party along with the birthday fun.
We were able to set up our decorations at the bowling alley. The kids bowled, then we ate pizza and had our special Mickey Mouse cupcakes (in the Mickey Mouse cupcake wrappers, of course). They ran around and played like crazy little boys do. I think it turned out very well. They enjoyed the fun of bowling and the fun of our Disney Side too. They were so busy the whole time, I don't even have a great picture of the birthday boy himself (he's in the green hoodie).
With the winter we've had, I'm happy to know that today is the first day of spring. It doesn't mean winter is completely done, but it's time to think spring. I couldn't do it better than with my little lamb!
And now you can see what happens when Mom takes just one too many pictures. Ha ha!
This cute little lamb hat was made by me. The pattern was free from Repeat Crafter Me. Go check her out. Her things are so cute! I've used several of her patterns and adore them.
*Disclaimer: I received this product to review. All opinions are my own.*
Valentine's Day. The day of candy and flowers. Chocolate is good, but there are other great candies to celebrate the day too. How about Mike and Ike? Now that's a sweet treat that everyone in my house loves. It's perfect for this holiday with their special Valentine boxes too.
MIKE AND IKE and HOT TAMALES Valentine's Day Varieties
Are the Perfect Candy To Share With Loved Ones
Bethlehem, PA (January, 2014) - Share the passion of Valentine's Day by surprising special loved ones in your life this Valentine's Day with limited edition varieties from MIKE AND IKE and HOT TAMALES candy. MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix, is hitting the shelves just in time for Valentine's Day! Your favorite "hottie" will love to receive special edition HOT TAMALES Cinnamon candy with special HOTTIE Valentine's Day graphics. Go the extra mile for your Valentine this year and create some tasty recipes featuring MIKE AND IKE and HOT TAMALES candies! These recipes were created by Chef Jamie Geller as part of her recent alliance with the leading candy brands.
MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix and HOT TAMALES Hottie both come in a 5 oz box, and are the perfect addition to any Valentine's Day gift. The MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix blend includes Paradise Punch, Strawberry, Grape and Cherry flavors. HOT TAMALES special edition for Valentine's Day is the classic Cinnamon flavor everyone loves and the box comes ready to gift with a tag fully integrated into the packaging! SRP for both 5oz boxes is $1.00 - $1.39.
"There is nothing sweeter on Valentine's Day than candy," says Koren Ivie, Brand Manager for MIKE AND IKE and HOT TAMALES candy. "We are sure consumers will fall in love with MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix as well as HOT TAMALES with Valentine's Day packaging!"
What we thought: This family likes MIKE AND IKE and HOT TAMALES already. My son isn't a fan of the hot cinnamon, so he opts for the fruity MIKE AND IKE. And my husband prefers the HOT TAMALES. Honestly, I like both. We really enjoy the Valentine's Day packaging. They are great little packs that include a spot to write a special message to your loved one. I made sure to give the HOT TAMALES to Matt and sign it "Your Hottie"!
When I saw the recipes for using these candies, I was intrigued. I would have never thought to put MIKE AND IKE or HOT TAMELES in a recipe. But the cookies sound really good. I'm planning to try them soon. (See the recipes below.)
Where to buy: The Valentine's Day MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix and HOT TAMALES are available in stores.
BeJeweled MIKE AND IKE Cookies
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Ready Time: 25 min
1 1/2 Boxes of MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix
2/3 cup margarine - cold
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer bowl, put 2/3 c. margarine, 1 c. sugar, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Mix until well creamed.
Add in 2 c. flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
Add in chopped up MIKE AND IKE Passion Mix, mix into a dough (will be slightly sticky).
Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on cookie sheets lined with baking paper.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Centers will be slightly soft.
HOT TAMALES Snickerdoodles
Servings: 2 dozen
1/2 cup (4 oz) HOT TAMALES Candies, coarsely chopped*
1/4 (2 oz) salted margarine, softened
1/4 (2 oz) shortening
3/4 (5.6 oz) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt (increase to 1/4 tsp if using unsalted margarine)
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*This candy is quite sticky so the best way to chop it is with a lightly oiled knife.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream together the margarine, shortening and 3/4 cups sugar. Add the egg and beat until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients (except the candy) into the creamed mixture and mix until just combined. Add the chopped candy and mix until the candy is evenly distributed, a few minutes more.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes (this makes it easier to handle).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Form dough into balls the size of small walnuts (or use a tablespoon scoop). Roll the balls of cookie dough in the cinnamon sugar.
Place the cookies two inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets in the oven at the halfway point. They are done when they look puffed in the middle and slightly brown at the edges (the tops of the cookies will form cracks). Be careful not to overcook.
Remove cookie sheet from the oven and let cookies sit on it for another minute or so before removing to cooling rack; cookies will flatten out as they cool.
These cookies are best served warm, straight out of the oven, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.