Friday, April 18, 2014

Silence for the Dead Winner

The winner of SILENCE FOR THE DEAD is..............................................................................................................................................................Ashley!

Thanks to everyone for entering the giveaway.  If you didn't win and would like to get your own copy, feel free to click the photo below!

A Mama's Love for 14 Years

On this day, 14 years ago, I became a mother.  Our "baby" Patrick is 14.  He isn't so much of a baby anymore, in fact he is taller than me.

Last week I babysat for a sweet 3 month old boy. His mama had to go back to work and their daycare wasn't available yet, so I offered to help out on her first day back to work.

Oh, my heart broke for this mama who didn't want to leave her sweet boy.  I remember not wanting to be separated from Patrick when he was born.  I took him everywhere and thankfully, I didn't have to go back to work and leave him at daycare.  My husband and I decided that I would stay home with our children and I left my social work career to be a full-time mom.  I know that isn't a choice for everyone, but it was our choice and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Babysitting this sweet boy last week reminded me of a sweet boy 14 years ago.  Oh how those days rushed back to me.  I took books along that we read to Patrick.  I sang the songs we sang to Patrick while feeding and rocking him.  I soothed his cries the same way I did 14 years ago.

It also reminded me of that feeling of being a first time mom.  I was nervous to take him to Target the first time.  I think I put everything we owned in the diaper bag.  I remember fretting about driving alone with him. I worried about how to handle it if he cried while I was getting groceries.

I checked to make sure he was still breathing if his nap went longer than normal. I worried if he didn't poop every single day.  Since I struggled with breast feeding and not having enough milk for him, I also worried that he wasn't getting the "proper" nutrition.

As a new mom, there are so many uncertainties, first experiences, and questions we don't have all the answers to.  My dear new mama friend is struggling with many of those things.  I have offered advice and support, but have also listened to let her find her own way, just like I did.

Being a new mom is scary, I remember that feeling even though it was 14 years ago.  But, looking at this kid, I am guessing I did most everything right!  If you can't tell from these photos of Patrick, he has quite the personality.  He is talented musically and very bright.  He is growing like a weed.  I seriously can't believe he is taller than me! Anyway, as I look over these photos and relive the many memories with Patrick I guess I did something right.  Even though I was a scared mama 14 years ago, I figured it out.  I made mistakes, I learned from them and became a better mom for it.  Happy 14th Birthday Patrick!  I can't wait to see what life has in store for you!

If you know a new mama, be sure to offer her a hug, a few hours off, or a chat.  I am sure she will appreciate the support and the chance to brag and show off her new baby!

Patrick clearly isn't a baby anymore, but he will always be the baby that turned me into a Mama!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some of My Favorite Things

Every once in awhile I like to share my favorite things that make me happy.  You might just find these make you happy too!

One song that I get excited to hear when it comes on the radio is THE WIRE by Haim from their CD Days Are Gone.

I just love the tune and how it just automatically makes you want to bounce along to the beat.  The video is kind of funny about the men who get dumped by the Haim gals.  They aren't taking the break-ups so well.

To keep talking about music, Martina McBride has a new CD out called Everlasting. The CD features covers of Soul and R&B singles from the past.  As a Martina fan, I am actually thrilled with her country twist on these classics.  Some of my favorites from the album are "Come See About Me" and "To Know Him is to Love Him" and her duet with Kelly Clarkson, "In the Basement" is super fun!

Finally, the last music related favorite is from iTunes Radio.  I have it on my iPhone and the app allows you to choose different stations like Rock Anthems, One Hit Wonders, Pure Pop, etc. My current favorite to put me in the best mood is "Frozen Radio".  It plays all the songs from your favorite Disney Movies such as "Just A Spoonful of Sugar" from MARY POPPINS, "Under the Sea" from LITTLE MERMAID, "Let It Go" from FROZEN, etc.  You really can't help smiling and singing along!

While I was in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, we went to a Thai restaurant.  I have been to a Thai restaurant several times and order within my usual genre of Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry.  Which is what I ordered, but my aunt and cousin were talking about getting Mango Sticky Rice for dessert, so I decided to order one too and try it.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was amazing.  The rice was warm and gooey and the mango sliced on the top was sweet and cool and the perfect complement to the rice.  It is my new favorite treat.

My niece told me about a new app/game to try thinking we would like it. Well, I wish she wouldn't have told me because it sucks me in.  THREES is a tiny puzzle that grows on you, as the caption states.  By shuffling numbers on the board, you add the numbers and combine them thereby gaining more space on the board and adding up points.  1+2=3, 3+3=6, 6+6=12, 12+12=24, etc.  It is great for kids because it helps with those basic math skills and strategy in knowing which numbers to combine and when.  Check in out in your iTunes or Google Play app store.


My husband completely surprised me for our anniversary and gave me an iPad Mini with Retina Display! I was shocked and delighted.  I have been frustrated with my Kindle Fire for awhile kicking me out of websites and certain apps not always working right.  So, I was basically just using the Kindle Fire for reading and my phone for apps and web surfing.  I love the size of the iPad Mini and am using it exclusively for my eBook reading and then at night to play Scrabble, Words with Friends, and my other favorite social media sites.

My new favorite eye shadow that I wear nearly every single day is Mary Kay Shimmering Lilac Eye Shadow.  It has just the right amount of shimmer and is the perfect highlight when I am wearing blue, grey or black colors.

If I'm going to be in the car a long time, I like listening to Podcasts.  Some of my favorites are DEAR BOOK NERD, NUTRITION DIVA, THIS AMERICAN LIFE, and STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW.  I love listening to people talk about books, so Dear Book Nerd fills that need. I've learned lots of interesting health tidbits from the Nutrition Diva, for example the nutrient that can help treat restless leg syndrome, and it has helped me. The stories on This American Life make me laugh and cry and I love them because they are about real people.  In Stuff You Should Know you can learn all sorts of things, like how mudslides work, how 3D printing works, etc.  The best part is if something in the podcast list doesn't interest you, you can delete it.  There are thousands of podcasts out there in all kinds of categories.  If you don't already have the app on your phone/device, download it and start searching for things that interest you.  You might just learn something new or find a great story to share with someone.

I hope you have enjoyed my favorites.  If I have shared something that is now your new favorite, please let me know.  Or if you have a favorite you think I might like, feel free to tell me about it in the comments! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Iowa Blogger

Today I'm the Featured Iowa Blogger at!  

I am so honored to be featured.  Jenni is hilarious and spot on when it comes to thoughts on life! I've read her blog for a long time and am thrilled that she is featuring me today. 

Check out her interview with me.  You just might learn something new about me!

Click HERE to read the interview. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Applesauce Review Featured

I am excited to share with you that I have been reviewing products for another website, AWG Brands.  They will then be posting my reviews on their site and when they appear, I will share them with you here.

I will be comparing the Best Choice brand product with another more common brand of the same product and giving my honest opinion as well as that of our family.  It has been a lot of fun and so far I have reviewed 6 products for them.  In our area, we can find the Best Choice brand of products at Alco Stores and smaller independent grocery stores.  I think you might be surprised by our results.  Stay tuned to see all the great products we've reviewed.

My first review has been posted on their site, comparing Best Choice Applesauce vs Motts Applesauce.  To find out which applesauce our family preferred, click HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014


The winner of NO ONE COULD HAVE GUESSED THE WEATHER is........................................................................................................................................................Kelsey!

If you didn't win and you would like to win your own copy of NO ONE COULD HAVE GUESSED THE WEATHER by Anne-Marie Casey, click the photo below!

A Little Monday Inspiration

Today's inspiration comes from the book SILENT IMPACT by Joe Schmit. This book is full of life lessons including many I will be sharing here on Mondays.

"A life isn't significant except for its impact on other lives."

Jackie Robinson, first African American to play Major League Baseball

What kind of impact are you making on other lives?  Sometimes we may never know the impact we have made on someone.  A kind compliment may be just the positive comment your friend may have needed today.  A "thank you" and a smile may be just the thing to brighten a store clerk's day after a previous rude customer.  A plate of cookies for your elderly neighbor along with a visit may remind them they aren't alone in the world.

What kind of impact are you going to make in this world?

To purchase this book, click the photo below: