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Finding The Perfect Gift For Mother’s Day

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Yourkidvid.
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I always have the hardest time finding the perfect gift for my mom and mother-in-law, affectionately called “the moms” in our house, for Mother’s Day. What do you buy for women who are no-nonsense and no-frill? Anytime I ask for suggestions or ideas they both tell me they don’t need anything. Sigh. That’s so not helpful. I can’t buy them flowers- my mom is adamant they’re a waste of money and my mother-in-law is allergic. I can’t buy anything spa related- both of the would laugh themselves silly at the mere thought of going to a spa. I already buy photo books and photo calendars for Christmas so those are out. It’s all very stressful for me. 






So how do I choose something that lets them know how important they are, and how much we love and appreciate them? I can’t give the moms something generic, it has to be special. After all, I gave them the most special gifts of all when I gave them grandchildren. Right? And there’s my answer. What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by giving the moms in my life unforgettable and personalized gifts centered around their grandchildren. 






I have so many cute and short video clips of the kids on my cellphone and on the computer that the moms never get to see because, well…tech savvy they are not. I just don’t have the time or the ability to edit and share them all. Why not take all those video clips and turn them into a handcrafted mini movie, complete with graphics and music? Now with Yourkidvid I can let professional video editors create a beautiful Mother’s Day video that the moms can show off proudly to their friends. All the little moments that they miss during the year- an Honor Roll ceremony, a first tooth lost, a new dance move- all put together into one video for them to enjoy. Now through May 12th you can get 20% off any order with the promo code 1in85million. Discount can be used towards all products, including gift cards.






Starting at $29, Yourkidvid brings Hollywood movie magic to family memories with graphics, color correction, sound mixing, and hand-picked music to create a unique and personalized gift. One of the things I like best about this service is being able to use all those little video clips on my phone that otherwise never get seen. Some of the best videos I have of my kids are just little funny clips while we were out and about and all I had to capture the moment was my phone. 




Yourkidvid is holding a Mother’s Day contest to find America’s #1 mom. There are 85 million moms in the U.S. so here’s your chance to show why your mom is #1! To enter for a chance to win an iPad mini for your mom, like Yourkidvid on Facebook and publish a description sharing why your mom is #1 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram using the hashtag #1in85million.  Your entry can be as simple as sharing a moment, quick story, or even a video about a lifetime of motherly love by May 11, 2014. A winner will be selected by the video editing geniuses at Yourkidvid, to receive an iPad mini plus a gift card for a free Yourkidvid Premium Video. Go to www.yourkidvid.com/1in85million for details and rules.




This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Yourkidvid.



250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In April


I didn’t read as much in April- mainly because the temps warmed up to above freezing and we spent a lot of time outside soaking up the sunshine for the first time in months. But I will still exceed my goal of 250 books in 365 days. I know I won’t be reading as much during the summer because the kids require supervision at the pool, which is where I plan to spend all day every day. I can hardly wait!


1. Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt– Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.

 This book was a tear jerker. It’s classified as young adult but it deals with serious stuff- face it, cancer is never young adult. I adored the main character, Mia’s, relationship with Gyver. One of my best friends growing up was a guy so I could really relate to their relationship and I think I felt the story more because of that. I highly recommend this one. 

 2. Leverage by Jessica Wilde– Adventure. That’s all Aislinn ‘Ash’ Brannock wanted in her life. Her dad and two brothers – all cops – got to see it all, but their over-protectiveness made her feel like she had been locked away in a tower with three fire breathing dragons watching her every move. Yes, it was that bad. The only silver lining? Lucas Shade. Her brothers’ best friend growing up, and apparently the only man she will ever love because let’s face it, none of the others even come close. After an unfortunate mistake lands her back in her father’s home, her world is turned upside down and Lucas is there in a tightly wrapped package of serious with a big red bow on top. Life just got interesting, but it comes with a price, one she never wanted to pay. Detective Lucas Shade never had a real family, but the Brannocks took him in as one of their own and he never took it for granted. Ash was a big reason for why he stuck around, but in order to save himself the beating of a lifetime from her two older brothers, he kept his feelings for her hidden. When the case he has been working on for months takes a turn, Ash could become the leverage the bad guys have been waiting for, but keeping her invisible may destroy everything Lucas has worked so hard for. Good thing Ash is the only person he would give up everything to protect. 

 I’m a sucker for a hot, alpha, cop. And this book has that in spades. Add in a forbidden love, some overprotective brothers, and a fiesty heroine and you have a fantastic book. I liked how the story flowed- there was just enough action and suspense to make the story a page turner and the romance was great!

 3. Fallen Crest Alternative Version by Tijan– This book was originally written to be the sequel to Fallen Crest High. It was scrapped and not used. Fallen Crest Family was written instead as the number two book in the Fallen Crest Series. However; this version was posted on the author’s page for free reading as a thank you to her readers. After reading what she posted, enough fans requested this story to be published so here it is. This book is not meant to be promoted or a part of the Fallen Crest Series. It has been published at the readers’ requests and it is for them to enjoy. With all this said, please enjoy. 

 I’ve mentioned before that the Fallen Crest series by Tijan is one of my all time favorites. I just love the characters and how they are with each other. This book is not technically part of the series but it was really good regardless. I do have to say that I love the story she went with as book 2 more than this one but that’s mainly because I liked where the storyline went in that book better than this one. The story itself is fantastic. 

 4. Pass Slowly by Danae Ayusso– Dr. Jackson O’Neil was a decorated Captain in the United States Army, and a well-respected doctor and talented surgeon who had a reputation with the ladies. He kept friends close, but always at arm’s length, women were disposable, his mother was the only woman he respected, and he had been called stubborn and incorrigible more than once. His life was exactly where he wants it to be…That was until an order barking woman rode into his E.R. with her finger knuckle deep in the chest of a victim of a hit and run. But this woman just wasn’t a bystander who happened to be at the wrong place at the right time. No. This woman was his new boss. The temporary Chief of Surgery at North Seattle General teaching hospital wasn’t what anyone was expecting. Dr. Max Taylor was a talented, passionate and mysterious young woman, that had traveled the world volunteering in some of the most poverty-ridden places on earth, and was always on run, never staying in one place for more than a passing moment. Max was from a family of talented surgeons and doctors, but she could never please her mother who was hell-bent on finding her traveling daughter a husband and stationary life; two things Max vowed would never happen so she ran. But as she found out, you couldn’t run forever. For the second time in their lives, Jackson and Max’s paths had crossed, only now there wasn’t a war between them, and they had a chance for a future together, if only he could convince her to pass slowly.

 I love stories that revolve around a medical setting and this one was fantastic. The main characters are both doctors and the story was fast paced and original. There were several smaller storylines that meshed with the main story and it made the book so interesting to read. 

 5. Hotshot by Julie Garwood– Peyton Lockhart and her sisters have inherited Bishop’s Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: The girls must run the resort for one year and show a profit—only then will they own it. A graduate of a prestigious French culinary school, Peyton has just lost her job as a food critic. Out of work and in a bad place personally, a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful. There are countless challenges and too many people who want to stop the sisters from succeeding. Among them are Peyton’s contentious cousins, who are outraged that they didn’t inherit the resort, as well as a powerful group of land developers who have been eyeing the coveted beachfront property. It’s soon apparent to Peyton that their efforts are being sabotaged, but she refuses to let the threats scare her—until she’s nearly killed. She calls on her childhood friend and protector, Finn MacBain, now with the FBI, and asks for his help. He saved her life once; he can do it again.

 Julie Garwood has been a favorite author of mine for years and she just never disappoints. I loved the main character, Peyton, in this story. She’s strong and stands up for what is right despite the cost to herself. I loved her relationship with Finn- the two of them together were dynamite. And who doesn’t love a hot FBI guy with a big gun?

 6. Only the Beginning by Laramie Briscoe– Hannah “Harmony” Stewart has lived most of her adult life in the spotlight. It hasn’t always been easy. One heartbreak almost ruined her. Some days it’s hard to keep a smile on her face and stay positive, but there are a lot of people counting on her to keep it together. Just when it seems like she’s at the pinnacle of her career, her life takes a turn. She meets a man who challenges everything she knows about herself and makes her question if the life she’s living is for her or for the Nashville machine. Garrett “Reaper” Thompson is tired. Touring and keeping up appearances with his band “Black Friday” is beginning to wear him out. He’s ready for a change, ready for something different. When he meets Hannah at an awards show, he knows that she’s the one, he knows that he can’t live without her. The problem? Their own insecurities, their fans, her ex-boyfriend, and the media themselves. Can they look past it all and come through on the other side? For their story – this is only the beginning.

 I think this was my favorite book of April. I love books set in the music industry and this one was fantastic. It showed the struggle to keep a relationship alive with the demands of fame. Hannah was a great character who was struggling to overcome an abusive relationship and Garrett was the perfect man for her. Their relationship felt really natural to read and the pacing was perfect. Highly recommend this one. 

 Did you read anything great this month?




Bring On The Backyard BBQ’s

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV


One of my favorite parts of the warmer weather that arrives with Spring is the ability to eat delicious BBQ out on the back deck. Matt and I love to try new BBQ recipes and chow down on the deck with some yummy margaritas while we watch the kids play on the playground and wear themselves out. Plus, being outside helps keep my head from exploding when I see how messy my kids are when they try to devour a BBQ sandwich in 3 bites. Seriously, don’t they chew? I always make sure to grab a canister of Wet-Nap hand wipes during my weekly trips to Walmart when I know we’re going to be dining on BBQ. They really help make the clean up much easier and faster. 





Matt and I recently found the best BBQ Pulled Pork recipe and it has quickly become a family favorite. Normally we like to grill our BBQ but this one cooks in the oven. I think he would make it every single weekend if I didn’t insist on some sort of variety in our diets. It cooks all day so we have to endure the house smelling amazing and our stomach’s growling for hours before it’s time to eat. This makes me want to eat anything I can get my hands on which leads to ugly moments with the scale later in the week. So menu variety is needed. I’ve been dying to share this recipe with y’all. 







7 lb pork shoulder Boston Butt

1 bottle of beer

1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

1 jar of Jalapeno spread

Salt & Pepper to taste



1. Preheat oven to 260 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper.

2. Pour beer into bottom of roasting pan with rack. Place pork on rack, fatty side on top. Cover pan tightly with foil.

3. Cook in oven for about 8 hours. When it’s ready, the pork should be nearly falling apart.

4. Remove roasting pan from oven. Reserve 1 cup of the beer/fat mixture from the bottom of the pan. Let the pork stand until cool enough to handle, then pull apart into chunks and place in casserole dish.

5. Drizzle the reserved beer/fat mixture over the meat and toss to coat. 

6. Serve pulled pork on buns topped with a Tbsp of your favorite BBQ sauce and a tsp of Jalapeno spread for extra flavor. 






Look at all that deliciousness just waiting to be devoured. My mouth is watering right now. If you’re not a fan of spice then you can leave off the Jalapeno spread or substitute it with coleslaw. Trust me, it’s just as yummy! We always use a 7-9 pound pork shoulder because we’re feeding a lot of kids. If you prefer to use a smaller one you can adjust the cooking time to 72 minutes per pound. The 7 pounder gives us 2 nights of dinners and 3 lunches. 






Cleaning up the kids after a BBQ dinner has to be my least favorite part of the evening. Somehow they manage to have the sauce everywhere. I’m not kidding- last time I cleaned sauce out of Zoey’s ear. Her ear! How does that happen? I rely on Wet-Hap wipes to get the clean up done quickly because my kids only stand still for approximately 11 seconds at a time. Zoey likes the citrus scent so much that she’ll even wipe her own face for me. In this house, that’s a win. 






Next time you’re at Walmart you should grab a Wet-Nap product to help make clean up easier at your house. And in addition to Walmart’s everyday low prices, you can also grab a coupon for $0.55 off any Wet-Nap product while supplies last! Wet-Nap is currently running a Most Original Mess contest where you can upload a photo entry of your messy kids and share the link across social media. The photo with the most votes wins a $1,000 giftcard to Walmart and a year’s supply of Wet-Nap products. Voting will close on June 16. You can see more information at http://contest.wetnap.com/.



Give Me Some Design Advice

The only room I did not touched in the great redesign of 2013 was the master bathroom. Mainly because I ran out of steam after doing 11 rooms in 2 months but also because I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it. The room is a mix of 80’s gold, builder grade cabinets, and bad paint. Take a gander for yourself.




See? I am so over the burgundy. So. Over. It. But I really love that picture over my bathtub and I want to keep it with the new design. The only thing that’s not the same in this picture right now is the black wire shelves have been replaced by a 5 drawer chest that stores clothes. There is no where else to put that so it has to stay. 


The first thing I’m doing is painting. This color looks like baby poop and it’s horrible. I’m thinking of going with a light khaki color, almost a cream. But will that blend too much with the cream marble counters? Any other color suggestions? The cabinets are going to be gel stained just like the kitchen cabinets and the handles will be replaced with brushed nickel. 


I’m not sure what other color to bring into the room. If I keep the burgundy rose picture over the tub I could bring in a chocolate brown, which would blend well with the master bedroom. Light khaki walls with chocolate accents and the one rose picture with burgundy? Acceptable? 


Why is this so difficult? I didn’t have any trouble with the other rooms. Not sure what it is about this one room that prevents me from visualizing what I want. 





Motherhood Is A Tough Gig

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cardstore.
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Being a mom is tough. I didn’t realize just how tough of a job it really is back when I was a smart mouthed kid giving my mom grief because she required my shorts to at least cover the important parts. Now that I have 5 kids of my own I have a much better appreciation for the entirety of motherhood. In any one given day I play the role of chauffeur, negotiator, chef, maid, tutor, referee, and on particularly rough days, warden. 


I have kids in different stages of childhood- teen, tween, Kindergarten, and preschool. They all have such distinct personalities that I have to adjust how I react to situations based on which kid I’m dealing with. Motherhood is not a one size fits all type of a deal. And each stage of development brings so many different challenges to navigate. With my teenager my toughest struggle right now is just basic communication. Ty tends to communicate with grunts and one syllable words. Getting him to open up is tricky- a little like walking a tight rope. It requires finesse and balance but once he starts talking we have some fantastic conversations that remind me how funny he can be. With Maia being almost 10 years old we are firmly entrenched in the “my mom knows nothing” phase. The eye-rolling, the sighing, the hands on the hips- my challenge with her is to look past the bad attitude to see what is going on in her heart. Mase is 6 years old and stuck in between being a little kid and a big kid. He wants desperately do follow his big brother around but he’s not quite old enough yet. My big dilemma with him is balancing a little freedom with the need to keep him safe. Let’s face it- 6 year olds don’t have the best decision making ability nor the impulse control to be left to their own devices. But I really am trying to foster an independent spirit in him so I walk the fine line. With 3 year old Zoey I am battling the typical threenager attitude and stubbornness. Every day brings something new. 


All these stages of childhood have the potential to beat a mother down but you just have to take a moment and breathe deep while remembering they are only this age once. What seems like such a hard time will one day be something you look back on fondly and reminisce about. Motherhood is a tough gig, but it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever done. Watching my kids grow and learn and mature is the best thing in the world to me. You have to watch this hilarious and poignant video about #worldstoughestjob. 





I feel so lucky to be able to share motherhood with my sister. We only live a few minutes away from each other and she’s always the first person I call when I’m having a rough motherhood moment. We commiserate together and share funny stories about our kids. When you’re having a rough day it helps to know you’re not alone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve called my sister to vent about cleaning peanut butter off the ceiling, or something equally as fun, only to have her share that her 2 year old son filled the dishwasher with bubble solution. 






Mother’s Day is coming up and I wanted to find a card for my sister that truly captured our relationship now that we are both moms. I found the perfect card for her at Cardstore.com, the popular custom greeting card website from American Greetings. Cardstore.com allows you to create custom cards by adding personal photos, personalized messaging, and your signature. Then, Cardstore will print, stamp, and send the card for you. I alternated between wanting an emotional card or a funny card for my sister but the one I finally chose could not have been more perfect considering all of our “guess what my kid did” phone calls to each other.  This is the front:



The inside says “I could always use a good laugh” and I was able to add a photo of my sister and me along with a personal message. It was so easy to make the card and I loved that I could upload a picture directly from Instagram. 


Cardstore has so many really great cards just waiting for you to personalize for Mother’s Day. From now until May 5 you can use the coupon code CCF4249 to create your own Mother’s Day card for $2.49 to send to a special mother in your life. 


How many cards do you buy for Mother’s Day? Do you choose funny or emotional ones?


 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cardstore.