Friday, September 30, 2016

Apple Recipes, Crafts And Activities #SoFabSeasons

I absolutely love fall and apple season! There are so many great ways to use them and fun crafts for kids also. We go apple picking at the same orchard every year and it's a great way to spend outdoor time together at this time of year.  Today I have joined up with other members here in the Social Fabric community. We know that you will enjoy them and hope that you can create some new fall memories for yourself and the ones you love.   

SoFabSeasons Apples

Home and Garden Cafe - Apple Pie Coconut Ice Cream
Joy's Life - Apple Pie Dessert Pizza 
Kitchen Concoctions - Toffee Apple Pie Cookies
The Bandit Lifestyle - Delicious Apple Fritters Perfect for Fall
Roasted Beanz - Easy Crustless Almond Raisin Apple Pie
Wondermom Wannabe - Clean Eating Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce
Anti June Cleaver - Mini Dutch Apple Pear Pie to Get You Ready for Fall
Basic N Delicious - Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake
Mostly Homemade Mom - Caramel Apple Pie Fudge
Little Blog in the Country - Pressure Cooker Canned Apple Pie Filling
Diana Rambles - Apple Spice Dump Cake
The Tip Toe Fairy - Apple Plum Skillet Cobbler
Five Marigolds - Sweet and Savory Salted Caramel Apple Dip
Intelligent Domestications - Apple Cinnamon Roll Cake & Apple Cream Cheese Icing
Home Maid Simple - Easy Apple Crisp
More or Less Cooking - Best Apple Fritter Coffee Cake
My Big Fat Happy Life - Skinny Caramel Ice Cream
An Alli Event - Apple Bundt Cake with Praline Frosting
Tobin's Tastes - Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
Ginger Casa - Delicious Apple Cranberry Pecan Crumble
Sweet Sensations - Apple Cobbler with Oatmeal Muffin Crust
A Labor of Life - How to Make Delicious Apple Roses
Julie Is Coco and Cocoa - Fried Cinnamon and Sugar Apple Rings
Polka Dotted Blue Jay - Mini Carmel Apple Bites
Finding Sanity in Our Crazy Life - No Bake Oatmeal Apple Pecan Cookies
Being Tazim - Strawberry Apple Crumble Vegan and Dairy Free
Upstate Ramblings - Caramel Apple Cake
Lily the Wandering Gypsy - Fresh Apple Donuts with Bacon, Caramel Pecan Glaze
Rebecca Lately - Baked Apple Recipe
Simple Food 365 - Light and Fluffy Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Mama Plus One - Homemade Apple Cider Donuts
Bento Lunch (dot) net - Caramel Apple Pudding Parfaits

Broken TeePee - Salmon and Rice Noodles on Apples, Carrots & Zucchini
Revel & Glitter - Autumn Cranberry Apple Pear Salad
Happy Go Lucky - Bacon Cheddar Apple Dip
Honest and Truly - Delicious and Easy Mini Apple Pancakes
Smiling Notes - Healthy Apple Pie Oat Pancakes
Creative Southern Home - Apple Bread
Beyond Mommying - Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese
Momcrieff - Apple Pancake Rings for Breakfast or Snack
Tiaras and Tantrums - Favorite Autumn Apple Snacks
Injenious Life - Gluten Free Applesauce Muffins
Everyday Party - Simple Caramel Apple Cider
A Paper Arrow - Apple Bread for the Fall
Happy and Blessed Home - Delicious Apple Recipes
Mom Saves Money - DIY Dehydrated Apple Rings
Gluesticks Blog - Baked Apple Chips
Life With Lorelai - Caramel Apple Crumbly Bread Recipe
Ava's Alphabet - Baked Apple Pancake
Life with Lovebugs - Spiced Applesauce and Oatmeal Muffins
For the Love of Crust - Homemade Crockpot Apple Cider
Oat & Sesame - Maple Your Applesauce
Southern Mom Loves - Cheddar and Apple Goldfish Snack Mix Recipe
My Life Cookbook - Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Bread (Gluten Free)


Tales of Mommyhood - Apple Picking Favorite Family Activity
Mama Luvs Books - Apple Picking in Rhode Island
Kori at Home - Apple Tot School Unit with FREE Printables
Jenny at Dapperhouse - DIY Apple Basket Sorting Game
To & Fro - Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family


Little Mama Jama - Apple Stamping Sensory Activity for Preschoolers
Creative Ramblings - Fabulous Fall Wood Apple Sign
Woods of Bell Trees - Quilted Apple Pillow
For What It's Worth - Apple Themed Party with DIY Apple Craft
The Kennedy Adventures - Paper Plate Apple Craft
Babs Projects - Apple Scented Potpourri Pouches
Great Contradictions - Apple Themed Candy Bar Wrapper Printables

Momerish - Apple Pie Sugar Scrub Perfect for Fall Pampering

Can you believe all these incredible Apple themed posts? Bookmark this page so you can come back and try out all the recipes, crafts and activities with you and your family! Check back next month when Social Fabric features posts with a pumpkin theme. You can always search the hashtag #SoFabSeasons to find more of what you're looking for!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tips To Help Keep Your Vehicle Clean And Organized

I have written in the past about how disorganized I am. I think I have even shown pictures of the inside of my vehicle before.  When I got the Malibu, I decided that needed to change. I was tired of having to clean the car and move things around just so we could have someone else sit in the vehicle.

One thing that drove me nuts after having kids was the salt and dirt on the back of the front seats. They are constantly putting their dirty shoes, or mucky boots on the seat backs.

Diono has car accessories that help with this. They attach to the head rest and have clips on the bottom to help keep from swinging. They also have pockets that you can use for storage (books, electronic devices, magazines, pens/crayons etc)
the one on the right is specifically meant to save the seat back :) the other is for organization/storage

Mr. K and I just did a long road trip (Ottawa - Kitchener and back) and having a storage container would have been so handy for his water bottle and snacks to be kept in.  Unfortunately I didn't have mine at the time, but now that I do it's lovely.

My number one tip would be to empty the vehicle of garbage and junk every time you get out of it. Use a pop up trash bin or have a box/bag handy that all wrappers and waste can be placed into - then have someone grab it every time you exit the vehicle. Even if you aren't home, most parking lots have garbage cans in them somewhere.

Do you have any tips?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It Doesn't Hurt To Ask

When you are buying something or paying for something, it never hurts to ask for a discount or if the company is willing to price match local competitors.  I try and price match my groceries when possible (although the quality at our local price matching store has gone down hill, so I now pay more and go to Farm Boy recently).  When I am purchasing furniture and what not I always ask if there are any discounts that are available.

I saved my mom some money on her snow removal contract for the upcoming season by asking if the company she prefers (and has had great experience with in the past) would match a local competitor that offered a seniors discount. They emailed me back with an updated contract within 30 minutes.

It never hurts to ask - all they can do is say no.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 Gift Guide Open For Submissions

I know, I know - it's only September, and way too early to be thinking about Christmas and gifts. However, there is a lot of work that goes into the gift guide, and I need to get prepared early.

I am now ready to accept submissions for this years gift guide. If you have a product or service you would like to see featured, then please send me an email with "2016 Gift Guide" in the subject.

There are a few ways to be featured during the upcoming holiday season with featured posts, side bar ads and more.

I look forward to working with some great brands again this year.

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

This weekend Mr. K had a sleepover with his grandparents, so we only had Mr. J at home (he went for a sleepover last weekend). I always love to have that 1:1 time with the kids (or 2:1 when hubby is home - he worked all day Saturday, so was only home in the evening).  I think it's important for the kids to have alone time with us - and it's also nice for them to have time alone with their grandparents.

Today is hubby's birthday.  We don't go all out for each others birthdays in terms of celebrating, normally just a card, gift and of course cake! We do love our cake so that can't be forgotten.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mommy Time Out....With Fudge

Today was a day when I needed to take 5. I had to catch my breath, and let myself calm down.  Mr. J has trouble with homework.  He really dislikes it, and so he lets that get to him and decides he can't do it.

He CAN do it. There isn't even all that much, and it is assigned on Tuesday night to come back on Monday.  He has 6 full nights to work on it. Honestly though, if he sat down and focused, he could have the entire assignment done in less than 20 minutes.  The amount of work assigned is very doable, he just doesn't want to do it.

This has been an ongoing battle since he started Grade 1. Every year, it ends up with the same fights and the same level of frustration from both of us.

Today, we took a break and went to Toys R Us. He had a gift card from his birthday, and he wanted to buy a board game.  When we were done there, we went to Cabelas (it opened last week) to buy his dad a birthday present and get some fudge.

Once we arrived home, he had his back up AGAIN because he had to finish his homework....I decided to take a 5 minutes fudge break.  I savoured that piece of fudge and let myself forget all about the homework woes.....until the 5 minutes was up.

He eventually finished and then I kicked the kids outside to play.  Nothing like some fresh air and playtime before bed :)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beautiful Fall Days

Today was an absolutely beautiful fall day.  The air was crisp and fresh, and it was perfect sweater weather.  Whenever the autumn hits, I get into a home made soup mood.  I like chicken soup, hamburger soup, minestrone and potato leek soup.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Apple Picking - Favourite Family Activity

I have to admit that while back to school time is hard for me, September is actually one of my favourite months.  Not only is it my birthday (yay for birthdays) but it's APPLE PICKING season. One of my absolute favourite things to do with hubby and the kids is go apple picking.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bedtime Conversations With A 6 Year Old

Mr. K - my special little guy

Tonight was program night at the kids school. It's a night for the teachers to let the parents know what is going to happen in the classroom and a bit of a look ahead for the year.  The kids always stay home with hubby, and I go to program night - since I am the one that generally deals with school stuff and teacher meetings etc.

I got home after Mr. K's bedtime, but he was still awake so I went in to read him a story and have a bedtime chat.  As I was getting ready to leave, he wanted an extra cuddle.  I gave it to him and a kiss, and told him I always come back to say goodnight before I go to bed, even though he is asleep.

He looked at me very seriously and said "not when your dead". I said no, but I hoped that would not be for a long while and that even when I do die, I will be an angel watching over him, just like Papa Rick watches over all of us.

He told me it was going to happen soon. Sooner than I think, apparently.  I asked how he knew, if he had conversations with God.  He said yes, and that God told him I was going to die soon.....

I am not quite sure what to make of that. It reminded me of something my mom told me happened when I was little.  We were heading on a trip to Toronto, and as we were driving I told her she was going to meet God later that day.  I am happy to say, that did not happen and she is still alive and well 30+ years later.

Hopefully Mr. K is wrong and I still have many years left on this earth.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When Things Don't Go As Planned

Today was a day I had set aside for writing. I had an errand in the morning, and a quick appointment for my mother, but then I was coming home to write. I have a bunch of posts in my draft folder that I wanted to work on.

That changed, however, when Mr. J woke up with an upset tummy at 1am. He was up, uncomfortable and in pain, until 230 when he finally managed to go back to bed.

I didn't want to send him to school in case it was a bug upsetting his tummy, even though he seemed ok this morning, so I kept him with me.  I have no trouble keeping my kids home when they are sick. They tend to sleep most of the time, and while they want me to cuddle with them, my laptop allows me to work anywhere.

In this type of situation, where they aren't REALLY sick, I find it hard. Normally we will play board games, or watch a movie or build lego - but that leaves me not able to get my stuff done.

Today was one of those days, and while he wasn't SICK, he is still struggling with the emotional adjustment of back to school, and that made for some minor episodes/outbursts today.

All of my plans for today are now moved to tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

His First Apple Crisp

When we came home from Apple Picking on the weekend, Mr. J asked if he could help me make apple crisp.  I love that he wants to expand his skills in the kitchen, and so I said of course.

I peeled the apples and he sliced them up, and then he made the topping (it's not easy learning how to make the crumble topping - if you aren't careful, you can turn it into a cookie dough).

He did so well, and it was absolutely delicious.  After all of his hard work though, he discovered he doesn't like it.  Hubby and I really enjoyed it, and I made sure to tell him that just because he didn't like it, doesn't mean it isn't great.  He really liked the topping though :)

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

The last week was pretty rough in our house. The kids are in the midst of their 3 week back-to-school adjustment.  I have found that is how long it takes them to get used to back to school and for the emotions and tiredness to settle down.  It was a long week, and a rough weekend but we had fun apple picking on Sunday.  Mr. J even made an apple crisp for the first time!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Safety Habits For Driving With Kids PLUS Diono Radian RXT Giveaway!

I think we can all agree that keeping our children safe is a top priority. When it comes to carseats,  I try and follow best practice, and have gone beyond what the law states in terms of rear facing and 5 point harnesses.  When my oldest was 15 months old we switched him forward facing. At the time, I had never heard of extended rear facing, otherwise I likely would have kept him rear facing longer. When my youngest came along 2 years later, I knew we would extend that period to 2 years.  At 9 years old, my oldest still uses a low back booster in the car since he is not quite tall enough for the seatbelt to fit correctly.  Mr. K, 6, is in a high back booster. We kept him in a harness until 5 in my vehicle and 6 in my hubby's truck.  Before that he just did not have the maturity to sit still and not move around.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Summer Accomplishments

With summer vacation over and school back in full swing, I have been reflecting on the time we had together. At the end of school, I was very worried about how our summer would play out.  The kids fight...a LOT. There is a 3 year gap between them and it shows, both physically and cognitively. I was pleasantly surprised at how well our summer turned out. We all had our moments of not getting along, but overall it was terrific. We had lots of fun and the boys both grew so much (physically and maturity)

Mr. J has been quite the little bike rider since he was 4, and he and his dad often go biking around local trails.   Mr. K desperately wanted to join them, but training wheels just do not do well on them with all the rocks and tree roots.  We told him once he learnt to ride without them, he could join their bike rides.

His first day of pedalheads camp he had them off and he didn't look back.  He improved so much, and had so much fun. Mr. J really enjoyed the camp as well and we moved him up to a gear bike which he learnt how to use properly on the trails.  Now we will be able to take advantage of the great areas around us as a family on our bikes.

One of the best things we did was get a fitness membership that included pool use. The kids were in the water quite consistently over the summer, and they did amazing.  They are both extremely comfortable in the water now, and while they don't know how to swim in context of proper technique, they did great and came a LONG way.  To the point that I am comfortable with them in the water and me watching from the pool deck.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Letting Go Just A Little Bit

Today was a big day for us....the kids biked to school together.....without me.  This is a first. Last year Mr.J walked with one of the neighbours (she was in grade 6) and when she wasn't walking, he would take the bus.

At the end of last year, I started letting him walk or skateboard home by himself. I knew exactly what time he should be home by, and there was only once he was late.

This year, neither of them qualifies for the bus (although I have applied for empty seats, we will find out in October).  The last week I have walked or biked with them in the mornings, and met them after school.

They were so excited as they left this morning, they know the route they need to take (there are 3 or 4 ways they could go, but we decided on this one particular route so that I know exactly which way they have gone).  I will admit I was a little anxious about it. I think more because it would be more than 30 minutes before I found out they didn't make it to school. Coming home is much easier for me since I would know immediately something wasn't right.

How do your kids get to school?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Emotional Adjustment With Back To School

Every year at this time, we go through a few weeks of high emotions.  It's normally a 2-3 week adjustment period before they get back to normal.  In this time, it doesn't take much to get them riled up.  They could be happy as can be one minute, and then next they are crying or throwing things.

Both the boys have had their moments over the last week, and I have tried to counter them with hugs and kisses, and lots of understanding. It's certainly not easy to keep myself held together when the kids are running on such high emotions.

How are your kids handling back to school? Are mine the only ones that need a few weeks to get back into it?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What You Find When Your Husband Starts Halloween Preparations In September

One day last week I needed to get something from the storage area in the basement.  It had been a few weeks since I had been back there, so when I opened the door I was not prepared for what I saw.

I will start off by telling you that my hubby likes to decorate for Halloween.  As the kids have gotten older, he has gotten more excited because we can get spookier decorations.  I must say, I was very surprised when he started getting into Halloween.  When we were first dating, he would sit in the basement at his parents while they answered the door to trick or treaters.

When we first moved out, he would stay in the tv room (which is upstairs) and get annoyed by all the doorbell ringing while I handled giving out the candy.  Once Mr. J came along, he was excited by the prospect of taking him trick or treating, and the enthusiasm for Halloween has grown more and more every year.

As soon as he found out Spirit Halloween was open, he and Mr. J went to check out what they had. A week or so later, they went through all the stuff we had from previous years, and what they had purchased this year as well.

So, on the day I went into the storage room, as I said above, I just wasn't prepared for what was waiting on the other side

This life sized witch on a swing, hanging from a shelf. It is immediately in front of the door, so the first thing you see when you open it.  I screamed and probably lost 10 years of my life when it happened.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Photo Memories

I know I keep saying how much fun we had this summer, but it is true. We had a great time together and did so much fun stuff.  I have a lot of photos from the summer break, and I decided to do a picture post to share some of my favourites!

Our first week of Summer kicked off with a Canada Day bbq and fireworks with neighbours.  Next up was Mr. J's birthday party.  We continued into the week with strawberry picking and a stay at The Brookstreet Hotel.

Middle of the summer had the 21st anniversary of my fathers death (which meant a trip to the graveyard and ice cream), a visit to the Canadian Museum of Nature, mini putting and another bbq with neighbours.

We spent an awful lot of time at the pool this summer. These are just a few of the shots I took during our many visits. 

End of summer brought Mr. K's birthday and an Ottawa Fury FC game, we took a trip to Upper Canada Village and I bought a new car!

These aren't the only memories or pictures, but they are some of my favourites.

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

The first week of school is behind us, and we are starting to settle into a routine.  Last week was pretty busy, so I haven't quite felt the difference of being at home without the kids. They are both really enjoying their classes and being back with their friends everyday.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Harvesting Tomatoes and Making Homemade Salsa

Now that September is here, my cherry tomatoes are really starting to come in.  They are coming much faster than we can possibly eat them.  Last year I discovered that they work well in home made salsa.

I like quick and easy, so cooking the salsa is not for me. Immediate gratification is what I want. I also don't like really chunky salsa, so using the blender or food processor works well.

Want to try your own? It's pretty easy

What you need:

Blender or medium sized food processor

20-25 cherry tomatoes
1/4 of a small onion, cut in chunks (I have used spanish, red and sweet - just depends what I have on hand)
1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 Jalapeno, cut in 4 (seeded and de-veined for mild, leave them in for spicier)
1 tbsp dried cilantro (fresh would be great, but I used what I have)
1/2 lime (just the juice)

Put everything in the food processor in the order listed, and then pulse a few times. Since I don't like mine chunky, I hold down the button for about 7 seconds and then check the texture and do it again. If you like it super chunky, then you probably only need 3-4 quick pulses.

The salsa I made today I did in two batches. The first I made mild (1 Jar), and the second I made medium (2 jars).

I use it for dipping nacho chips in and have also used it spread onto a tortilla with cream cheese - delicious!


Friday, September 9, 2016

The Car Shopping Experience

The Malibu is my fourth vehicle purchase. My first vehicle I was 19, my mom and I made a spur of the moment stop in to a dealership and walked out after signing papers on a used car. At that point in time, I knew nothing about car buying.  I had no idea that the interest rate on used cars is so high - I could have purchased a brand new vehicle that was $8,000 more and had the same vehicle payment. It was a lesson learned.

My next vehicle was 4 years later. I was 23 and I knew I was ready to get rid of my 8 year old vehicle.  There wasn't really anything WRONG with it, but it wasn't good on gas and I was ready for a different colour - sea-foam green just wasn't me.

A photo posted by Ashley Picco (@talesofmommyhood) on

I was fairly certain I wanted a toyota, so my aunt made me an appointment at the dealer she always used, and I again walked out having signed the papers.  I LOVED my 2004 Toyota Corolla.  The sales guy was really nice, I test drove it, checked out the Camry's but knew that it was out of the budget.  The Corolla was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I knew it would be much better on gas, and I was just ready for something new.

This was back when 0% interest was pretty unheard of, but the interest rate for 5 years wasn't too bad. I got a small amount for my trade in and a week later picked it up.  It was the best car. We brought Mr. J home from the hospital in that car. I had zero issues with it in the 6 years I owned it. When I was pregnant with Mr. K we decided we wanted a little more space, and got the Jeep.

That car buying experience was probably the most strange I had out of all 4 purchases. I wrote about it before, so you can read it here.  I loved the Jeep at the beginning. Being up higher was great, and I never had to worry about driving in the winter.  After a couple of years though, we started having major issues and I really regretted trading in my Corolla.

This time when we were looking at vehicles, I REALLY wanted to go back to Toyota. However, the Corolla was a little smaller than I wanted, and the Camry was out of our price range.  Toyota also did not have 0% financing at the time we were looking. So, we went to the Chevy dealer that my hubby's family has dealt with for the last 30 years or so (might be longer than that even).

When we went in, the experience was great.  Just like my 2nd vehicle experience.  They spoke to me, asked me questions and pretty much ignored hubby (knowing that it was my vehicle being traded in and I would be the owner/driver of the new one).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Will It Stay Clean?

So, you all know that I purchased a new car last week. With that comes the new car smell, and the cleanliness that goes along with it as well.  The problem is, cleaning and organizing are not easy for me. They really just do NOT come naturally.

I am happy surrounded by clutter, and seeing an empty plastic bag or 3 ball caps on the floor of the car doesn't seem weird at all.  Junk mail and receipts cluttering the console - oh well, get them another time. Crumbs from the kids bagels, crushed up goldfish? Oops - I guess the car needs a vacuum at some point.

Now that I have this brand new clean car though, I am really liking the space and emptiness of it.  I am *hoping* that I can keep it somewhat clean.  My goal is to not let the kids eat in the vehicle, and they are only going to be allowed water to drink.  I am not really sure how long that will last, but I hope it will continue.

One mistake with the JEEP was that I never did buy rubber floor mats, so all the snow, dirt and rocks ended up stuck deep into the carpeting.  I will be purchasing some new floor mats VERY soon to help keep things clean.

Is your vehicle clean or more "lived in"?  Please tell me I am not the only one.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week 9 - Our FINAL Summer Bucket List Update

At the beginning of summer, the kids and I sat down and created our summer bucket list. The list of things we were hoping to do over the summer.  We may not get to everything on the list, but it just gives us an idea of things to do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Day of School 2016/2017

It's here. The first day of school has arrived.  I will be completely honest and tell you that I am not ready.  I am not ready for them to go back. I am not ready for the routine that comes with it and I am not ready to fill the hours they are gone. We had an incredible summer together, and I would happily keep it going.

I know that isn't possible since I have no intentions of homeschooling, but I am also happy to admit that I know just how many days there are before their first PD Day (31) and Christmas break (108). I am already looking forward to those breaks.

Mr. K is going into grade ONE - how did that happen? It seems like such a short time ago that he started kindergarten.  He is a little nervous about it (now there is a little bit of homework) but I think mostly excited that he will have 3 recess breaks like his big brother AND get to see his friends he missed over the summer.

Mr. J is going into grade FOUR now - and that is even harder to believe. HOW on earth do I have a 9 year old?  He is going to be in a split 3/4 class this year.  He hasn't shown any outward signs of anxiety or nervousness, but I am sure there is a little bit of apprehension as we start the new year.

I have a great feeling about this year. They both have fantastic teachers and I know it's going to be awesome!

Are your kids back in school?

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

Happy Labour Day! Welcome to the first giveaway linky for September.  School starts for us tomorrow, and I have mixed feelings about that as usual. We had such a wonderful summer that it is hard to wrap my head around getting back into routine. I have really enjoyed the time I had with the boys this summer.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

We Caught PIKACHU! #PokemonGO

Since we started playing PokemonGO a few weeks ago, the boys have been hoping to catch a Pikachu.  They had the chance ONE time, but he ended up escaping the pokeball and running away. One other time we saw him nearby, but never actually came across him.

The other day I was baking some cookies, and pulled up the app while I was waiting for them to cook.  I caught an Evee, and then saw pikachu.  I didn't tell the kids until AFTER I caught him.  I went through 1 regular pokeball, 11 great balls and 3 raspberries, but managed to capture him!

This probably sounds completely ridiculous to anyone reading that doesn't play the game - but if you DO play, then you know that Pikachu doesn't come around all that often.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Key To A Happy Marriage And A Good Nights Sleep

If you live with your significant other, I am sure you can relate to night time battles for the covers. It was a struggle in our house for many years - until a few months ago.  One night, I came up to bed and hubby was completely cocooned in the comforter.  I grabbed another heavy blanket and wrapped it around myself as I drifted off to sleep.

I woke up in the morning, extremely rested and STILL all nestled in my comfy blanket.  I quickly realized that was the secret - separate blankets.  It may not look pretty when the bed is made, but it sure helps for a better sleep at night.

Some people have separate beds for whatever reason, but that's not for us. Our own blankets, however - totally changed our nights!

If you and your SO are under a power struggle for the blankets, try this and let me know how it works out!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Out With The Old, In With The New

It's time for a NEW car!  I am so excited. We bought the Jeep 6 years ago as a resale (it was 5 years old). At the time, it was in pretty good shape and I loved it.  About 2 years later, it started giving me trouble. It would randomly just not start.  I would have it towed to the garage and as soon as it was off the tow truck, it would start without issue.
we said goodbye to the Jeep this morning
They suspected it was the starter, but we didn't really want to spend money replacing without knowing. After the FOURTH time in a year of being stranded, we went ahead and replaced it.  That was the problem, and it was ok after that....however, since that time, there have been multiple other issues and we have spent way more money on repairs than we should have.

We were hoping that we could get through the winter with it and purchase a new vehicle in the spring; however,  over the last 2 weeks my anxiety about driving it through the winter has been on HIGH. So, after some discussion last week, we went out earlier this week and bought a new 2016 Malibu.

It's all shiny and new and I was so excited all week - having to wait until today to pick it up has been pretty difficult. That's right - I picked up my NEW Malibu this morning!!! We all packed into the Jeep for one final time and headed to the dealership.

Coming home in a brand new vehicle was lovely. Such a huge difference in how it drives. It's a pretty smooth and quiet ride. No weird noises as we turn corners or go over bumps. Now it's time to get used to driving a car again, after having an SUV for the last 6 years.

What type of vehicle do you drive?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Be Back To School Ready With Kelloggs {giveaway}

The kids are heading back to school next week, and that means that the preparations have begun.  My kitchen is stocked with snack foods for both school AND home. The kids are always starving when they arrive back home at the end of the day, so quick snacks are a must.

September Writing Challenge Has Arrived

I have joined in with a group of bloggers for a writing challenge this month.  The goal is to write a blog post each and every day for the month of September.  Not sure how well this is going to go, but I am hoping it will help me get back into writing.

I took quite a bit of time off this summer and I need this push to get back to things.  As always, comments and shares on posts are a great way to show support and is always very much appreciated.

I am still in shock that September has arrived. It feels like not very long ago I was wondering about how the summer would go, and here we are with back to school looming only a few days away.

I hope that you all had an amazing summer - we sure did! I will be posting updates about our summer fun and adventures over the next few weeks.