It’s 6 AM On Monday… Where Are You?

It’s Monday morning, 6 AM and I am sitting in the airport.  I’m off to the great white (?  maybe not white yet, but definitely cold) North.  Ohio to be exact.  Until a few minutes ago, I was heading into Akron.  Since I started writing this, my flight has been cancelled and I’m rebooked for Cleveland… but not departing for a few hours.  Oh, and since I started this, I have confirmed that it is in fact quite white up there and with my reroute, I get to drive in hour in that mess.  There are a lot of Ohioans (?) about to hate this Southern girl.

Since I have some time on my hands, now seems like the perfect time for a quick “life” update.  Here we go….

Fenway and the BunnyI have the best dog ever.  Seriously.  How many dogs do you know that will just hang out with a random bunny without trying to make a Scooby snack of it?  His only concern?  How much longer was I going to pet/take pictures of the bunny before I gave him some more lovin’.  The only animals I don’t feel safe turning Fenway loose with?  Chickens.  For some reason, he just can’t not chase them.  I mean, chickens are delicious.

Frozen Birthday CakeWe’ve finally gone to our first Frozen birthday party.  I’m surprised it took this long.  My sister made this amazing Frozen cake for the birthday girl.  Everyone loved it, as they always love my sister’s cakes.  I can’t wait to see how Addison’s Dolphin Tale cake turns out next month.  I am sure it will be amazing.

Giant JengaGiant Jenga.  It exists.  It is crazy fun.  I need to own one of these.  Setting it up to be darn near ready to fall, then walking away to wait for the poor people who decided to finish our game… that was epic.

Homework dramaI present to you, my almost 8 year old’s homework.  She actually thought this would fly with me.  Really kid?  Do you even know me?  I do love the exclamation point in the first section though.  She was committed to her lack of understanding of the questions, despite the fact that she’s done the same worksheet every week this year so far and this is the first time the instructions suddenly didn’t make sense.  Nice try kid.

Furminator ReviewDear Furminator, You are awesome.  I love you, I am sorry I didn’t buy you before now, and I will never let you go.  I could have sat and scrapped hair off Fenway for hours!  I pretty much removed a small puppy’s worth of fur from him.  I’m looking forward to bathing him and doing it again.  That’s a little concerning.

Taylor Swift 1989Things that make me happy?  Right now, that near the top of that list would be Taylor Swift’s album, 1989.  I can seriously listen to it on repeat, especially Blank Space.  Have you seen the video?  Taylor does crazy really, really well.

If it makes you happy, do itIf you’ve made it this far, I’ve saved the best (well, in my opinion) for last.  Despite the fact that I haven’t been separated that long, at least by some people’s definition, I have started dating.  Actually, not just dating, but I have a boyfriend.  I’m hearing a lot of “too soon!”, but the fact is that he makes me happy and I make him happy too.  As long as things stay that way, I’m going to do what makes me happy, regardless of the opinions of others.  I’ve gotta do what makes me happy and not worry so much about everyone else.

So, that’s my Monday morning update.  I’ve got to pack up and get ready to *hopefully* board a plane.  I’m not counting my chickens until the eggs have hatched.


Posted in Life in General, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How To: Handmade Holiday Gift Tags {Kid Craft!}

With the holidays rapidly approaching, the kids will be spending as much time at home as they will at school. This practical little art project can help combat the holiday break boredom and leave you with unique art that doubles as beautifully original holiday gift tags.

Christmas Gift Tag Printables

The kids and I started making our own gift tags two years ago. Just as I said before, it really started as a little art project to occupy some down time. I stopped buying gift tags years ago and took to writing people’s names on the backs of their gifts with a Sharpie. Practical, but lame. After sketching out some quick candy canes and snowmen for the kids to color, I decided to cut them out and use them as gift tags. They were a huge hit and something that I’ve decided to repeat as long as the kids are interested in doing it.

Kids Coloring

The process could not be easier… Card stock, a ruler, a Sharpie, crayons and scissors… and if you like the design I free-handed, you can skip the Sharpie and ruler (Grab the printable here!) If the kids want a purple snowman, let them do it! This should be a stress free project. Even I got down on the floor and colored a sheet of tags (shhh… I LOVE to color!)

handmade gift tags

Once colored, it’s a easy as cutting the holiday gift tags apart and getting some presents wrapped! This year, I think we will go with simple solid colored papers and maybe some twine. A quick punch with a single hole punch will make attaching these tags a breeze, but tape would work just fine as well.

Handmade Gift Tags

What do you think? If you’ve used traditional holiday gift tags in the past, how do you think these compare?

If you have any fun holiday projects like this, we’d love for you to share them with us on Facebook!

Posted in Crafts | 9 Comments

Santa Claus is Coming to Charlotte

This post was sponsored by Portrait Innovations.  Compensation was received to share this great deal with my readers.

Santa Clause Christmas Pictures Portrait Innovations

Santa Claus is Coming to Portrait Innovations at the Promenade on Providence Shopping Center

Appointments Available November 11th-16th to Meet Santa and receive  Same-Day Prints!  Skip the lines at the mall and get a jump-start on your holiday planning with Portrait Innovations. These professional portrait sessions including Santa Claus are available Tuesday, November 11th through Sunday, November 16th during regular store hours at the newly renovated Portrait Innovations in the Promenade on Providence Shopping Center in Charlotte, NC.

In addition to getting creative family portraits with Santa Claus, Portrait Innovations is offering a 43 Holiday Portrait Package for only $19.99. Plus, not only will you receive 43 printed photos of various sizes, but the package includes 5 free 5×7 holiday greeting cards and a choice of a free 11 oz portrait mug or ceramic ornament (with coupon found on!

Kids with Santa

Portrait Innovations, located at Providence Road and I-485, redesigned its South Charlotte storefront in September 2014. This prototype store has re-invented the portrait studio experience to give customers even more creative options for beautiful, professional portraits and personalized gifts and keepsakes.

Camera rooms have been enhanced with new lighting and background textures including brick, plank and slate, for an authentic look and feel. The photographers at the new studio have been trained in the newest posing and shooting techniques.

Combined, the updated studio with skilled photographers brings Pinterest-inspired images into reality with styled one-of-a-kind portraits, custom personalized gifts, and home décor canvases and prints, perfect for holiday gifting.

santas lap 2

In addition to portraits with Santa Claus, NEW holiday backgrounds, props and poses are available for families to choose from. Portrait sessions are typically an hour to 90 minutes, and portraits and 5×7 holiday greeting cards are printed in studio, available the same day. Portrait gifts and keepsakes can be ordered and make the perfect gift for family and friends any time of year, but especially during the holidays.

About Portrait Innovations:

During the past 12 years at Portrait Innovations, we’ve reinvented the professional portrait studio experience at our over 200 studios throughout the U.S. We understand that our customers value the importance of capturing and sharing, cherished family and personal memories, events and milestones and we feel honored to be the one selected to capture those memories.

Connect and share with Portrait Innovations at, on Facebook, and Twitter.


Posted in Life in General, Photography | 1 Comment

Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetary

Parts of this post originally appeared on Mama.Mommy.Mom. November 23, 2013.

It wasn’t until just a few weeks before our departure that we realized we’d be in Washington for Veterans Day.  Where better to spend the day than at Arlington National Cemetery?  On even the least notable day of the year, Arlington is nothing short of breathtaking.  On Veterans Day, it will awe you into silence.

This is only a handful of the hundreds of images I shot at Arlington National Cemetery, and while it is a tiny sampling of what we saw, I hope they evoke the emotion of Arlington to you…

Take a moment today to thank those who have served and made it possible for us to enjoy the various freedoms we enjoy everyday.

Tomb of The Unknown Soldier Guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Arlington National Cemetery Graves on the Hillside at Arlington Markers at Arlington Graves as far as the eye can see - Arlington Gravesites at Arlington Flowers on a Monument at Arlington(*Pretty, pretty, pretty please don’t steal my images.  You can pin them, you can share this post, but if you’d like to use them for something else, please email me at – Thank you!)

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When Mom Goes Down… Find Relief in a Fully Stocked Medicine Cabinet

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser. All opinions are mine alone and should not been taken as medical advice. #CollectiveBias #HealthySavings

Find Relief with Winter Medicine Cabinet Staples

When you move, there’s always something you forget. Maybe you forget to set up cable at your new place, maybe you forget to pack your toiletries from under you bathroom sink or maybe you forget to take the bird house out of the tree in your front yard. If you’re me, maybe you forget all about needing to stock your medicine cabinet…and you figured it out about the time you started looking to find relief from whatever symptoms descended upon you.

Stock Your Medicine Cabinet Pfizer

One of my oversights in the whole moving process was the medicine cabinet. I thought about it long enough to go through what we had, dispose of what was expired (proper disposal guidelines can be found here) and neatly replace it all for the father of my children. Moving out, but being the only one moving out, is quite a bit different than packing a whole house. I wasn’t taking the medicines he might need for the kids when they were with him, and I wasn’t taking medicines he might need himself either. I would just make a trip out and stock up on everything I needed for myself.

And then I move, then I unpacked, then I forgot all about the empty medicine cabinet… until this weekend.

Empty Medicine Cabinet Pfizer

I went down Friday night and I went down hard. A blinding headache and nausea that would sideline the best of them… and not a darn thing in the medicine cabinet that would help me. Oy! I should’ve been better prepared! With two tired, hungry kids, I was doomed. If only I had gone to Walgreens to restock my medicine cabinet sooner! I need to stay healthy, not be downed by some germs…because we all know that where there are kids, there are germs, and plenty of them.

Saturday was spent on the couch, at least as much of the day as I could. The kids enjoyed the free-ranging opportunity that a “mom down” afforded them, but by Sunday we all needed out. The first thing on my mind, getting to Walgreens to take advantage of Pfizer’s November promo and stock up on a few essentials for the medicine cabinet.


For us, there are a few must-haves to get us through the Winter months ahead. First, Chapstick. My daughter and I both have a thing about our lips being dry and we can never have too much Chapstick. Second, Advil. For whatever reason, my daughter is particularly prone to random fevers during the Winter. Neither she nor my son are old enough for the adult version yet, so we need to have both children and adult versions on hand. Advil is the only thing that will knock her fevers out. Third, Robitussin. I can not be down like this again this Winter, especially not for a cold. The Day & Night Combo pack is perfect because it lets me treat my symptoms 24 hours a day without worrying about being sleepy during the day or up all night.

Knowing that the November Pfizer Promo offers great savings on all of these products meant it was time to bring them home… just in case. I hope to not need any of them, but I learned my lesson about having the medicine cabinet stocked “just in case”.

Expired Medication

TIP: Before you store your new purchases, take the opportunity to go through the existing contents of your medicine cabinet to check for expired or expiring soon medications.

If you need to restock your medicine cabinet with essentials to help you find relief and stay healthy all Winter long, now is a great time to take advantage of Pfizer’s November promotion and save up to $10 on Pfizer products. Get the details here.

What medications and medicine cabinet staples do you keep on hand to help your family stay healthy and find relief, especially through the cold and flu season?

Posted in Health/Wellness, Life in General | 8 Comments

Fenway Goes To Work

I negotiated a new job two weeks ago.  One of the things on my list of must-haves?  Fenway had to be allowed in the office.  Daily.

Fenway - I Take My Dog To WorkFenway likes to go to work.  He is a working breed, after all, and he hates to be left alone.  My sister refers to him as my third child and I don’t necessarily disagree.  Fenway makes new friends everywhere he goes and there’s rarely anyone who doesn’t love him.  I have a co-worker already referring to himself as Uncle-Greg.  Of course, there’s also one referring to Fenway as “that dog”, but I guess not everyone can be puppy crazy like I am.

He spends most of the day laying under my desk or napping in my car (windows down – I would never leave him in a hot car).  If I move around the office, he follows me.  When I sit back down, so does he.  He’s my shadow, a constant companion.

Fenway at workSome people think I’m nuts because my dog and I have this crazy relationship.  I’d pick him above most people, my kids aside.  He doesn’t complain, he doesn’t demand things from me (food, water and the occasional scratch on the head aside) and he always knows when I don’t feel well.  He protects me by putting himself between the door and me.  He follows directions better than most kids and some adults.

fenway 2So if I let my dog curl up on my lap like my 5 year old, if I make special trips out to buy things just for my dog… call me crazy… it’s ok.  Crazy, happy, dog girl and her pup will be in the office Monday morning, ready to work.  Two peas in a pod.

Maybe I’m more of a dog person than a people person.

Posted in Life in General | 3 Comments

You Picked Them, Now What? 15 Delicious Apple Recipes

So, you headed off to the apple orchard in a Fall induced frenzy, picked a ton of apples (or maybe a few bushels) and now you have more apples than you know what to do with.  What do you do with all of those apples?!  Easy…  Here are 15 delicious apple recipes ready to help you rid your crisper drawer of all of that fruit.

15 Apple RecipesWhile I may be partial to my Deep Dish Caramel Apple Pie, the Caramel Apple Crumble Pie at Averie Cooks looks like it would give me a run for my money!  It looks good enough that I think I will have to whip one up myself this weekend (since I do have about a half bushel of Pink Ladies left from my own trip to the orchard.

If pie isn’t your thing, how about Spiced Apple Cupcakes from A Simple Pantry or Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  Or, you could take regular pie and give it a little twist for these Apple Pie Egg Rolls from Miss In The Kitchen.

Perhaps a cake, like the Apple Cinnamon Cake from Amber Nicole is more your thing.  You could always pair it with Caramel Apple Cider from Our Best Bites or Caramel Apple Sangria from Night Owl Blog for something a little more grown up.

Need something substantial as a side?  This stuffed acorn squash with apple, cranberry and sausage stuffing from Happily Unprocessed will fill you up!  If you’re looking for something a little earlier in the day… say breakfast… Jessica In The Kitchen has some pretty darn amazing Apple Pie Pancakes.  YUM!

Donuts and Fritters can’t be missed!  The Apple Cider Donuts from The Shabby Creek Cottage… they look amazing!  Did I mention that they are gluten free?  These may not be gluten free, but these Apple Fritters from Home Keteers… oh. my.

Cheesecake Stuffed Baked Apples… say what?!  Yeah, Le Creme De La Crumb knocked it out of the park with these.  Wake me for Thanksgiving.

And last, but certainly not least, 17 Apart has a great recipe for the Natural Spiced Fruit Leather and The New York Melrose Kids has some healthy snacks you can use those apples for.

Did you take your family apple picking this year?  How are you using up all of those ripe, juicy apples?  I think I have slow cooker applesauce in my future and definitely some of that stuffing!

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Creative Free Play with The Littlest Pet Shop

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Littlest Pet Shop. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

Littlest Pet Shop Party GirlsOne last summer get together planned with the extended family, and what does Mother Nature do? She dumps rain on us.  With a BBQ pork shoulder ready to go and our schedule cleared, we were determined to make the best of it!  That’s easier said than done when dealing with 2 boys and 2 girls who need to share the same space for a few hours.

Littlest Pet Shop PartyThe most important part, at least for us, of setting up a successful adult and kid friendly afternoon is getting the kids excited about whatever we have in store for them.  Being that we were stuck inside and our original plan of turning them loose in the yard had been squished, it was time to break out Plan B… The Littlest Pet Shop and part of their new line of Style Sets.  Now, before you get all “boys and little girl toys” on me, you’d be surprised how not “girl-sentric” The Littlest Pet Shop can be.

Littlest Pet Shop Party Getting StartedEven the boys were excited about the tiny little pets they were about to get their hands on, maybe even as much as the girls!  When they figured out they could swap the heads and bodies, it was on!

Littlest Pet Shop Party GuestsBefore we could turn them loose, we had to feed them.  The promise of some really cool Littlest Pet Shop toys was was enough to encourage cleaned plates and less playtime at the table than what I would consider normal for this little band of misfits.

Littlest Pet Shop Party BoysWhile the boys were most interested in the structures and the pets themselves, the girls were all about the tiny accessories and decorating their new spaces.  And there were tons of tiny accessories to decorate with!  It was all I could do to keep the kids off of me long enough to get the structure assembled in full before they started decorating it.

Littlest Pet Shop Play TimeWith the girls and the boys, The Littlest Pet Shop was a hit!  It definitely succeeded in entertaining the kids while the adults had some time together and it gave the kids a chance to use their little brains for some creative free play.

When you’re outdoor plans get pushed inside, what do you do to keep the kids entertained?

Posted in Entertainment, Reviews | 1 Comment

10 Minute Fully Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos

Did you know that November 6th is National Nacho Day? I’m a little early to the party, but these Fully Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos are the perfect way to celebrate!  I’ve partnered with Wolf® Brand Chili to share my Fully Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos with you just in time for the big day!

Fully LOaded Chili CHeese NachosI’ve long been a fan of nachos. Take me to a little cantina and the first thing I’m going to scour the menu for are their nacho options. I like mine loaded, the kind you have to finish off with a fork! There’s nothing that’s off limits. When the idea of chili cheese fries collided with my desire for nachos, the only reasonable solution was to make Fully Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos. By using pantry staples, like Wolf® Brand Chili, and a few fresh ingredients, I had an amazing dinner on the table in under 10 minutes.

Wolf Brand Chili No BeansThe key to super quick chili cheese nachos is using Wolf® Brand Chili. I like Wolf® Brand Chili because it isn’t fatty and full of oil like some of its counterparts. It’s flavorful, has a great texture and is the perfect nacho topping!  And, Chili is the only thing this brand makes!  It’s authentic and delicious.

What makes this meal (or snack) so great – outside of the amazing flavors and textures – is that you can have it ready, start to finish, in under 10 minutes. Using prepared salsa or pico gives you your tomatoes and onions without all of the dicing, and adding fresh bites of avocado and cilantro give a cool reprieve from the chili spices.

Wolf Brand Chili Nacho IngredientsIt couldn’t be easier to put this dinner together!  Just put your chili on the stove to heat, preheat your oven for cheese melting and chop a few simple ingredients.  Place your chips in an oven safe dish, top with warm chili, cover with cheese and toss it all in the oven for just a minute – it won’t take long for that cheese to melt.  Pull your nachos out and top as desired.  Delicious Chili Cheese Nachos are yours for the taking!

Wolf Brand Chili On The StoveI loaded my nachos up with cilantro, sour cream, salsa, avocado, black olives and more cheese!  How do you take your nachos? Grab a can of Wolf® Brand Chili and whip up your own special Chili Cheese Nachos for National Nacho Day.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Wolf® Brand Chili.

Tracking Pixel

Posted in Food, Recipes | 9 Comments

4 Things I Love About Fall

Everyone has a favorite season, and despite how much I love to see everything bloom to life in Spring, Fall takes the cake.

Fall Favorites ColorsThe Colors – From the bright blue sky to the fiery leaves on the trees, and even the bright crispy browns of the dying fields, the world is on fire with color in the fall.  Sunrise and sunset light up the sky with their own colors that seem unique to the time of the year.  I just love how it’s all so bright and glowing.

Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home with CandlesThe Smells – I’ve never been one to enjoy floral fragrances, but spicy things… cinnamon, mint, clove… I’ll take those all day long!  Something about them warm hints of those scents just screams “Fall!”  Burning leaves, logs on a fire (inside or out), that smell the air gets just before a cold rain…  Those are the things dreams are made of.

Fall Favorites BakingThe Baking – Who doesn’t love that Fall is the season for baking?!  If you don’t love the act of doing it, I’m sure most of you love the products it creates.  Living in the South, baking doesn’t happen much during the summer.  It just heats up the house too much to have the oven going and frankly my AC can’t keep up as is.  In the Fall though, those crisp evenings are the perfect time to crank up the oven and bake with the fruits of the season.  Apple pie will always be my favorite.

Fall Favorites TreesThe Weather – As far as the weather is concerned, there isn’t a more perfect season than Fall.  Cool, crisp mornings give way to warm, sunny afternoons.  The evenings bring a temperature drop that makes a night by the fire a perfect setting. Coffee, hot chocolate and warm cider are all perfectly acceptable beverages at any time of the day.  What weather could be better?

What are your favorite things about Fall?

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