Jul 29, 2011

A Couple of Friends


I did a post a while back talking about Momma Friends. 

Those ladies are important in your life for sure!  But one thing I am realizing more and more, is that couple friends are really imprtant too.

Because you can't always leave your hubby behind when you go out.

And because it's important that when you go out as couples, that the men get along as well as the women.

And because when your kids are grown and out of the house, you will be glad that you have close friends in the same life stage as you.


My husband and I are so lucky to have a lot of couple friends that we really love.

Some have been friends with us for a REALLY long time.

Some are new friends that we are having fun getting to know.

Some have helped us in our marriage when we've had hard times.

Some have prayed for us when we have been struggling with other life issues.

Some have encouraged us when we were feeling down.

Some have taken us to dinner to celebrate.

Some have stayed up all night dancing and playing silly games with us.

Some have held us accountable when we've needed it.

Some have become like family to our children.

Some have made us laugh until we cried.


I am so thankful for the relationships we have with these friends.  My husband and I truly value the time that we get to spend with these dear people, and we know for sure that without them, life wouldn't be nearly as fun, or nearly as great!

So I am encouraging you to spend time together, not just with your girlfriends, (although that's important too!), but as couples.  Invest in those friendships and make time for them.  It's time you won't regret.

Jul 27, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup


Years ago I found out about this cafe that served Chicken Pot Pie Soup. 

That sounded A-MAZ-ING to me!

I LOVE Chicken Pot Pie, and of course, my favorite part is the middle, so I was pretty sure I would like the soup.

And boy was I right!

It was perfection in a bowl.  Simple.  No elaborate ingredients.  Not the least bit pretentious. 

Only problem was that the cafe is about 45 minutes from my house, and not in a direction that I travel to much.  Not exactly convenient.  So we rarely go.

Cut to a couple weeks ago, my family was out and decided to try a new cafe that is again, not exactly in our back yard, and sure enough, they had chicken pot pie soup too!

I was skeptical that it would be as good as the other place, but I was wrong.  Just as good!

But I was bummed because even though this place was closer, it was still not close enough to be convenient.

Soooo, I decide to try and recreate the soup myself.  And wouldn't ya know, I DID IT!  And it's SUPER SIMPLE!

And I am sharing with you so that you can enjoy the same goodness at home!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup:

4 Chicken Breasts, cooked and shredded, (or you could use a whole cooked chicken-just take the meat off the bone and discard skin)
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 T. Butter
1 26oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Qt. Half and Half
2 C. Chicken Stock
2 12 oz. bags of frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp.salt (or to taste) 
1 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

First, melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and saute until soft.  Then add the cream of chicken soup and stir together for about 5 minutes.  Next, slowly add the half and half while stirring.  Once all the half-n-half is incorporated, add the chicken stock. Then, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder and continue to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes until the flavors start to combine.

Next, add the frozen vegetables and shredded chicken.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly.  Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to medium low and continue stirring as needed, for about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese until melted.

Serve with crackers or biscuits.  (NOTE:  This is a BIG recipe, but freezes well so you can have a second meal!)

There it is, easy as pie...chicken pot pie to be exact! :)

I am linking up with Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday!  Be sure to Check out all the other lovely Things on the list today!

Jul 26, 2011

Things to Do Before The End of Summer


As I was saying the other day, summer is coming to a close.  Some of that makes me happy, and some, not so happy.

So I have begun to think about all the stuff I want to do before it's gone.

Here's My list:

-Spend a few more long days at the pool, (we haven't done that nearly enough this year!)
-Get to Boomerang Bay Waterpark (we haven't done that at all!)
-Go to a drive-in movie with our girls.
-Take some evening walks in the neighborhood.
-Get Addy a new bike and teach her to ride without training wheels
-Visit a farmers market and get fresh corn and fruit
-Use our grill more!
-Do a Friday night at The Greene and let the kids enjoy the spray ground while we listen to music
-Let the girls catch lightning bugs
-Go camping, (those who know me are SHOCKED by this!)
-Do a surprise PJ ice cream run
-Spend one more late night at Kings Island and let the girls see the fireworks.
-Go to The Cincinnati Zoo
-Go to Caesars Creek or Cowan Lake (two near-by beaches).
-Have a water fight in our backyard
-Go to Cosi
-Catch a Dayton Dragons Game
-Have one last summer picnic in the park

I know.  My list is ambitious.  Especially since my summer sort-of ends this Sunday. 

But I'm motivated to do at least *most* of these things before school starts!

So tell me, what's on your to-do list before summer is up?  Everyone has one...share yours! (PLEEEEASE!)

As always, linking up with We are THAT Family for Works for Me Wednesday!  Check out all the other great posts!

My New Addiction

I have a new addiction.  It's called Pinterest.

When I first heard of Pinterest I was all like, "that sounds like a complete waste of time."

And I was right.

I have spent WAAAAAAAAAY too much time on this little site.

If you haven't heard of Pinterest, it's a site that is kind of like an online bulletin board.  Once you get an invitation and join, (yes, you must be invited...but you can go to their site and request an invitation and they will send one to you.  Don't know why.  Maybe just to keep the not-so-cool kids out. But someone must have made a mistake and sent one to me.  So there goes that idea...), you can search the internet, and when you come across something you love, you "pin" it for later.  That way, you can come back to it when you want to try it.

You can also follow people, much like Twitter or Facebook.  Then, you get to see all the stuff they pin.  It's great for those of us who are not the least bit creative, but like to pretend we are by copying what other people do.

That would be me.

Plus, you create different 'boards' for yourself so you can pin things and keep them in order.  For instance, I have a style board that I have pinned fashion looks that I like.  So, when I am needing some inspiration, I go to my 'board' and see if there is anything I have that I can make the same kind of look with.

OR, if I am tired of the same old weeknight dinners, I can go to my 'Recipes' board and find a recipe that I pinned that I want to try.

I know this sounds all well and good, but I am here to tell you that once you start, IT SUCKS YOU IN!  I was up until 3am one night stalking looking at all the stuff people had pinned.  And during the day, I have to tell myself (OUT LOUD) to STOP getting on the site.  I mean seriously, it's like a collection of all the best ideas/looks/recipes/crafts etc. that are out there! 

For a person who likes to shop AND likes to spend time on the internet, it is Bad News Bears my friend.

Something is going to have to be done about this.  I have a feeling that this is going to cause real problems for me.  At the very least, my husband is going to eventually have the "time managment talk" with me.  And I hate that talk.

Well, now that I've said all that, I am going to spread the addition love by sharing a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I pinned.  They look like sin, so I'm sure it will be the best thing I've ever tasted.

I found this recipe through a friend I follow of Pinterest, (Check her out!  She has a great blog!)  So a shout out to Cortney for feeding my addiction, (not only for Pinterest, but for chocolate too...)

This recipe comes from the blog: Tender Crumb.  It's full of great recipes, so hop on over there too!


Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie RecipeMakes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies
Ingredients
1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.
- Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.
- Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

So there ya go.  I am planning to make these at some point soon, so I'll let you know how it goes.  If you get around to making them before me, let me know how they turn out.  Who know's, maybe it will be another new addiction for the both of us...

Jul 25, 2011

Too Hot and Too Lazy (Kinda...)

This week there will be no Mix It Up Monday.

Why?

Many Reasons.

First, it has been HOT here.  And honestly, no one wants to see me in grubby shorts and tanks with a shiny face.

It's Not pretty, (Trust me!).

And, the few times I *have* put something together this past week, I was in too much of a rush, (and too hot honestly), to take a picture.

Because besides it being HOT here, I have been super busy.

With what you ask?

Oh, let me tell you!

THE BACK TO SCHOOL SERIES!

I'm still pretty excited about it.  I have been working hard at getting posts ready and getting some guest posters lined up and I think it's gonna be OFF THE HOOK.

{What, the kids don't say that anymore?  It's not cool?  I'm like, 3 years too late?  Oh well, I tried...}

But seriously, I am VERY EXCITED for Back to School.

And nooooooo, it's *not* just cause I don't have to entertain my kids All.  Day.  Long.

But it's the fact that we get to pick out back to school clothes, and supplies, and meet new teachers, and the girls will be thrilled to be meeting new friends, and having play dates, and the weather will change, and I will get to wear sweaters again, and there will be football games, and cheerleading, and smores, and fall festivals, and corn mazes, and we will be making chili again, and the leaves will begin to change into glorious fall colors, and all the other goodness that comes once we are back into school!

BUT then again, we won't be able to swim anymore, and the bright and cheery colors of summer will go away, and no more cookouts, and playing in the park becomes more difficult, and the small tan I have accumulated will fade, and when we go out to eat, we won't be able to sit on the patio, and the girls will watch more TV, and the sunshine won't last as long, and I'' start to hear, "I'm bored" too often, and meeting up with friends will become more difficult, and my daughter's cheer schedule, (I'm her coach), will take up most of our weekends, and everything starts to be scheduled, and we lose our free time.

This is the kind of woman my husband lives with everyday people...

I know, you are starting to feel sorry for him.

But don't you see how this can all be true?!  I am excited for Fall, but already missing the oh-so-short summer.  I want my cake and I want to eat it too!!!!!  (Starting the 2-year-old tantrum!)

ANYHOW, getting back on track, I am busy because I am getting ready for the series, and also getting ready for the real life stuff that comes with back-to-school in my family. 

Like Cheer camp Monday thru Thursday for the first 2 weeks of August, (See why I'm pre-writing them?), and all the same stuff you are all preparing for.

So tell me, what do you wish you had more time for as the summer comes to a close??

Jul 24, 2011

Do You Like Me?


If you haven't "Liked" the Family Fun Mom Facebook page yet, then what are you waiting for?? 

As soon as the number of 'Likes" reaches 100, then those who follow me on Facebook will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Chili's Gift Card.

Who doesn't LIKE that?!

Check out this post for the Giveaway Details...and then get on over to Facebook! :)

p.s. Tell Your friends to 'LIKE' Family Fun Mom on Facebook too!  The quicker we get to 100, the quicker the Giveaway!

Jul 23, 2011

Where's The Love??


We were out with friends the other night and we got to talking about Kids Eat Free nights at various restaurants.

Now, everyone knows I LOVE Kids Eat Free nights!  I would do it everyday if my husband would let me.

{He won't.}

But then my friend piped up and said, "When is Parent's Eat Free night?  Who's doin' that?!"

I was stunned!

What a GREAT idea!

Now I know that the restaurant would lose a TON of money and all that.

BUT, I would be a loyal customer for LIFE!  And I'm pretty sure that other parents would too.

End of Story.

Jul 22, 2011

Social Media For Kids: What Age Is Right?



I spend a lot of time on Facebook.  And Twitter.  And my blog.  And now Pintrest.  (A post coming on that soon!).

The truth is, I probably spend way too much time on these sites.  But they're fun, (and I rationalize it by saying it's helping with the blog stuff, so whatev...), and all my friends are on them.  Plus, I NEED to know what that girl I met once in high school had for lunch yesterday.  My social life depends on it.

But now that my girls are starting to actually pay attention to what I'm doing, and my oldest can read, (which I have discovered is not always a good thing), they are beginning to ask questions about Facebook and Twitter etc.

{Side note:  My youngest daughter's name is Faith and for the longest time, she thought we were saying Faithbook.  We didn't realize that until one day she finally asked, "why are you always writing on my book?".  When we got what she was referring too, we laughed for a really long time.  Too cute!}

I answer their questions, but honestly, I get a little worried about their interest in it.  Because I know the day is coming too soon that my oldest is going to ask if she can get on facebook.  And what will I say?

Because I know that the other kids are all going to be on it.

And she will be the only one who isn't.

And I will ruin her social life.

Forever.


I'm kidding, (kind of), but it is true that kids younger and younger are cruising social media sites and I am just not sure what an appropriate age is.  I know for us it's not now, or next year, an hopefully not the year after that.  But what IS right?

And how do you teach your kids about being responsible on the Internet?  Not just staying away from sites that they know are wrong, but about protecting themselves from information that is not appropriate for them on sites they are on?  Because I KNOW I see lots of stuff that is inappropriate for ME, much less teens and tweens.

It's all overwhelming to me.  I know it's a while yet, but these are the things I worry about.  As a momma who loves her girls.  And a momma who wants to protect them from all the junk that is out there.  And I DON'T think I'm being overprotective.  I think I'm being smart.  And trying to plan for what is to come.

So what are your opinions?  What age do you think is a good age?  Will you let your kids get Facebook and Twitter Accounts?  How do you help them navigate all the info. they are seeing? 

Jul 20, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Sally Hansen Color Quick

It's no big secret that I am a girly girl.  I love hair, makeup, clothes, and nailpolish.  And I absolutely adore getting my nails done at some fab salon by someone else.

BUT, who has time (or money) for getting that done regularly?

Plus, I am the kind of momma who did her nails one day, and by the next, the polish was chipping off because I had been using my hands so much.  Which in turn meant that I wouldn't do my nails that much because I got tired of having to redo them all the time.

So the hunt began to find something that would be inexpensive, that I could use quickly, and that would last.

Ta-dah!  I found it!  It's Sally Hansen's Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen!


It is AWESOME!  It comes in this cool pen and is SOOOO easy to apply, (and believe me, if anyone could mess it up, it's me!). 

Plus, it drys SUPER FAST!  Which is important to me because I know that 5 minutes after I apply it, I am going to have to get someone juice, or buttom someone's pants, or fix someone a snack.

One thing I will say, is that it doesn't last quit as long as I wish it would, but then again, niether does *any* nailpolish.  BUT, because it is so inexpensive, and quick to apply, when it does chip off, I just grab the pen and reapply!  Two minutes later, it looks like I just had a manicure.  Yay for me!!!!!

I have tried it in several colors, but my new favorites are 'Smoke', (a gray color that I was wearing in this pic), and Purple Chrome.



So next time you're out and looking for some new nailpolish, give this one a try.  Pretty sure you will be loving it too!

I'll be linking up with Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday.  Be sure to
click on over and check out all the other things that are getting the Blog Love this week!

Jul 19, 2011

WFMW: Games While You Wait

It's always a pet peeve of mine when we go to a restaurant and they don't have stuff for the kids to do while we wait for our food.  I mean, seriously, is a coloring page and some crayons too much to ask for?! 

Sorry for the bad pic...it was taken with my phone...

And of course I know that I can bring stuff along to keep them busy, and I usually do if I know we will be at a place that doesn't provide something.  But what about when you spontaneously stop someplace, and Nothing.

This happened to us last week. We decided to try out a new little cafe that we had heard good things about.  It wasn't planned, but we happened to be out in that part of town and I remembered it.

The food was great, service was good, but it took a while to get our food.  (If you are a parent, you know that 30 minutes can seem like YEARS to a hungry kid waiting for food!), and my girls were bored.

Now, I don't know about your family, but when my girls are bored, they get grouchy, and loud, and start getting into trouble.  And then I start to get irritable.  And then my husband gets snappy.  And then I get mad at him for being snappy with me.  Now we are fighting.

Sounds like a fun night out, huh?

So when we were out last week and the place didn't have anything for the girls to do, I decided that I needed to come up with a plan for when this kind of thing happens. 

Here are a few things I thought of:

-Have the family build a story with each person adding one sentence at a time.
-Play "I spy"...my girls LOVE this but I always forget about it!
-Play '20 Questions' with them
-Practice Math with them
-Play Rock, Paper Scissors
-Play a little game called, "guess what's in Momma's Purse"
-Make stuff with the napkins, (animals etc.) and  have the others guess what it is.
These are great ideas, but I wanted more.  So, I came across this article from one of my Favorite Sites, and it has some super suggestions for stuff to do when the natives get restless.  Be sure to check it out and tell me what you think.

Also, do you have any great ideas that use you when your kids get bored when you're out?  Please share!!!

As usual, I will be linking up with We are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday.  Be sure to hop on over and see all the other great ideas out there!

Hooray For Hiking!

On Saturday, my family decided to head to a near-by State Park, (John Bryan) and do some hiking.  Never mind that it was like the hottest day so far and that when we left, I looked like I had jumped into the river because of how sweaty I was.  Nevertheless, we had fun!

I love John Bryan because it is close, and it has become kind of a tradition for my family to go hit the trails there and then go to Young's Dairy for some yummy ice cream.

Hiking (exercise) and eating ice cream (the anti-exercise).  Hmmmm, maybe I need to re-think our traditions...

Anyhow, my girls really enjoy doing this together as a family.  It's funny how much kids will open up and talk about things when you take away all the distractions of TV, computers and games.  As a parent, I really appreciate that.

Here are a few pics from our fun day together:





 
I know, you're wondering where the pics of the ice cream are?  Well, we were too busy eating it to think about taking pictures.  But that Key-Lime Crunch I had was AWESOME! 

If you are local, I encourage you visit John Bryan and explore the beauty that it has to offer.  (Note:  There are lots of shelters and picnic tables if you want to pack a lunch.  we have done that many times and the kids love it!  You can also camp at John Bryan.  For more info. on that, click here)

If you aren't local, check out some of the State Parks or great hiking spots by you!  We have been taking our girls since they were 2, and I'm sure your kids will have a great time too!

Jul 18, 2011

Mix It Up Monday: Love Those Aviators

This week I only got one pic.  But I think it's a good one!  Why?

Because of these cool aviator glasses.  And the jewelry.  Can't forget the jewelry!

I have had these glasses for a long time, but got in the habit of wearing my black ones, (they are big and make me look like a movie star...I swear it!).  But they broke :(

Sooooo, I had to dig these out.  And whatdoyaknow...I LOVE them again!


                                          Church Outfit:

Glasses:  Old Navy, Earrings:  A Gift from a friend


Bracelet: The Flower Factory, Ring:  Charming Charlie,  Gray Nail polish: Sally Hanson 

Sandals, Tank and Sweater:  Target, Belt and Skirt:  Fashion Bug, Necklace: The Flower Factory


I feel like a cool chick. 

Even if it *is* riding around in my minivan.  With my entourage of 2 (ages 7 and 5).  With Kidz Bop playing.  While I'm going to the grocery store.  For the third time that day.

Whatever!  I am rocking these aviators like a rock star, (even if it's only in My mind!)

OH, and don't forget to check out my WAVY hair!  With this tutorial from my new close and personal friend Nina, (side note:  is it weird that I consider her my close personal friend even though we've never met?  I mean, I *have* been featured on her blog, and she did answer one of my emails, so there's that...  Sorry Nina if I am creeping you out.  But don't worry, I won't show up at your house or anything.  I'll just keep blog stalking you from this side of the computer :)  )

Anyhow, as I was saying, my close and personal friend, Nina AKA Momma Go Round, had this awesome tutorial for getting wavy hair!  And my hair has almost always been kind of stick straight.  Booooooo!

BUT, I have begun to notice some body in my hair, and thought I would try her tips to see if I could get some wave.  And IT WORKED!  It may not be Super Wavy, but it's enough for me and I am way happy with the results!  Thanks Nina!



Oh, and one other thing.  If you are thinking that you have seen this skirt a time or two (or ten), before, you're right!  I just can't get enough of this classic white skirt.  It's comfy, it goes with everything, and looks good.  What more could a girl want?!


As always, I will be linking up with Real Momma, Real Style at Momma Go Round, and What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy.  Click on over and see what all the other lovely ladies are rocking this week!

Momma Go Roundpleated poppy

Jul 17, 2011

Good Things to Come

Today is family day, so I am taking a blogging break to have a relaxing day with hubby and the girls. 

BUT, I *do* want to share with you something I am SUPER excited about!



Coming in August I am going to have TWO FULL WEEKS of Back to School Blog Posts!  There will be AWESOME guest posting going on, so be sure to check it out!

Plus, one of the guest posters is a Kindergarten Teacher!  She will be posting about all the things you can expect when your child starts school.  So, if you have questions for her, be sure to email them to me at thefamilyfunmom@yahoo.com BEFORE August 1st! 

ALSO, there will be a FEW GREAT Giveaways those weeks that YOU DON"T WANT TO MISS! 

Are you as excited as I am?!

I can hear it in your voice.  Or see it in your eyes.  Or whatever it would be via internet blog reading.

The point is, I can tell you're excited too :)

So enjoy your Sunday and I'll see ya back here for Mix It Up Monday tomorrow!

{Hugs}

Jul 16, 2011

Sunscreen...What do you Use?


My family Loves the Sun and Water.  We spend a good amount of time at the pool and at parks, and it's important for me to make sure my kids are properly protected from the sun.


In the past I would buy the biggest bottle of lotion I could find at the beginning of the summer, lather them up every day, (sometimes twice while at the pool), and we were good to go.

But I HATED getting the lotion all over me, (because I lather my kids up with like 400, and me like 2.  I like them to stay ghostly white, and I like to be nice and DARK), and I hated the way the greasy stuff seemed to never come off all the way.

And then I discovered the most wonderful thing....SPRAY SUNSCREEN!  It sprays a nice little mist all over the kids and I don't have to get my hands all greasy.  PLUS, it is WAY quicker than doing the lotion lather.  Which obviously means less whining and wiggling while I try to apply it.  Yay for Momma!!!

But here is the downside to this little wonder:  I go through, like, a bottle every other day and it is more expensive, and it doesn't seem to work as well.

Anyone else having this issue?

Just wondering if maybe we are trying the wrong brands, (we have tried several), or we are applying it wrong.  Or maybe it's just the trade off for convenience.

But OHHHHHHHH How I love convenience!

So tell me, What brands do you Love?  Are you having some of these same issues?  What are you doing different?  I am interested!

Jul 15, 2011

Chili's Giveaway

Chili's Free Chips and Queso


I have spoken before about my love for Chili's.  And when I say love people, I mean LOVE!  Those chips and salsa and RANCH are like crack for me.  I don't know what they put in that stuff, (and believe me, I have tried to get that secret ranch recipe!), but it keeps me coming back for sure!

AND, I have also sung the praises of the Kids Eat Free at Chili's, (ours is Tuesdays.  Check your local Chili's for your day!).  It is the best deal under the sun as far as my family is concerned.  Lots of choices and healthy options too.  Kids are happy.  Mom is happy.  Doesn't that sound like bliss?!

And I want all of YOU to enjoy this goodness as well!  Here's the deal: 

I will be doing a $25 Chili's gift card GIVEAWAY as soon as I reach 100 followers on the Family Fun Mom Facebook Page!  So, hop on over to Facebook, 'Like' the Family Fun Mom page, and them come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did! Also, if you refer your friends and get them to 'Like' my page, you get an entry for each of them that you referred, (just make sure to leave a comment letting me know who you referred).  Plus, your friend gets an entry also!  Once we reach 100, all the followers will be entered into the drawing, (additional entries for referrals of course!), and someone will be enjoying Chili's before ya know it!

ALSO, there are additional ways to get more entries! 

Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did!  (FamilyFunMom)

Sign up to Follow My Blog (leave a comment!)

Check out the Chili's Facebook Page and 'Like' them, and come back here and leave a comment about it!

Visit the Chili's Website, check out their menu and come back here and leave a comment telling us what you will order with the $25

Click on the link above, (for a FREE coupon!) and sign up for their emails, (you won't be sorry you did...Free stuff and info on all the Chili's goodness!), and comment letting me know you did!

So what are you waiting for????  Good Luck!

Jul 14, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Date Nights!



So, occasionally I like to get out of my pj's and do my hair in some other style than the hair knot, and let my husband have a night out on the town with me.  I mean, after all, he didn't marry all this hotness to just keep me inside all the time.  He wants to show off his trophy wife.

Oh my word, I can hardly even write that without having fits of laughter.  No, the truth is, my husband and I do try to have a date night at least once per month.  Sometimes, during the Holiday season that gets difficult because of all the other obligations/invitations we have.  But other than that, we really make it a priority.

We are lucky to have both sets of grandparents near by and a good resource of babysitters to choose from.  In fact, there have been many times that my girls have actually asked us to have a date night so that they could have a babysitter. (I know, Feelin' The Love!)  So, we are able to pretty much stick to our commitment of once a month because of that.

And can I tell you how much of a difference that has made in our marriage?!  We, like every other couple, have had great times, and not-so-great times.  But sticking to that commitment of going out once a month, just the two of us, has kept us united.  It is a time for us to focus on our relationship, our family, and the things that we love about each other.

And honestly, I NEED time out away from the kids.  It is so easy to become mommy focused that you forget what dating was even like.  For instance, once upon a time, I could leave my house without stains on my clothes, (honest!), and I even ate hot meals, (swear on my life!).  And guess what?  I had *actual* conversations with people without having to stop in the middle to yell at someone to stop hitting their sister and I could talk about things other than child rearing.  I know.  Hard to believe but it's all true! 

Most of the time our date nights are dinner and a movie, (we both LOVE movies!), but other things we have done are:  go hiking, shopping, going to a bookstore and browsing, getting dessert, renting a video, or just sitting down to talk and catch up.  Some of our best dates are the ones we don't plan.  We just get in the car and make an adventure out of it.

And FYI,  I won't tell you that all of our dates have been happy and great.  Some have involved tears and being upset, but even that has been good.  It was a time for us to be real and honest, away from everything and everyone else, and that may be the most important thing for a marriage.

If you and your husband don't have regular date nights, I encourage you to try.  I know it is harder for some, finding child care, money and everything else that can get in the way, but I promise you that it is worth it!  Making your marriage a priority and investing time in it is the best gift you can give your kids, and each other!


Also, I am linking up with Diaper Diaries this week!  Be sure to click on over and check out all the other Things I Love Thursday Posts!

tilt

Jul 13, 2011

Free Friday at Cincy Museum Review

Last Friday our family headed down to Cincy for Free Friday at The Museum.  While all the Museum's located at the Museum Center are free that evening, we spent our time at the Duke Energy Children's Museum.

Because a Free Night at a Children's Museum with thousands of cranky, hungry kids sounds like a blast, right? 

Actually, it wasn't so bad.  Yes, it was pretty crowded, but we got there right as it began (4pm), and so there was no wait for tickets, (they are free, but you have to have them), and the parking, (which was $4), was easy too.

The first thing my girls wanted to do was the Energy Zone.  This area is a netted enclosure and has like a gazillion little balls for kids to play with. There are these stations inside, and each station offers chances to figure out the path the ball has to take to reach its destination, and what kinds of energy forces help get it there. Plus, there is a HUGE ball catcher thing in the middle that dumps all the balls at random times, and the kids love that!

Next, we headed to  Kid's Town.  This is an child sized neighborhood complete with a diner, a grocery store, a bus, a vet clinic, a post office and more.  My girls spent most of their time in the diner serving up delicious dishes like smothered steak sandwiches, bleu cheese bread pudding, and pecan pie with caramel sauce.  (Okay, *maybe* we have been watching a little too much Food Network...)

At any rate, they had a lot of fun there, and I love to see their ideas go wild as they experience it all.  There is a freedom of imagination that comes with being in that kind of setting, and for kids, it is paradise!

They also had a great time with using their hands to build things.  They had blocks, a workshop area, and soft building toys to play with and I realized that maybe I need to incorporate more 'building' play at home.  I think with girls it's easy to get stuck in the rut of buying dolls, crafts, and other girly items.  So now, it will be, Bring on the blocks!

Some of the other areas we enjoyed were the water play area, (watch out!  You WILL get wet!), making music with drums, puppets, and The Woods.  The Woods is like a Huge Tree House area that kids can climb all over.  I will warn you, if you have really young ones, you may want to avoid this area.  It can get kind of crazy, and since it's a large area, it's easy for kids to start climbing and wandering and get lost.

The kids love it, but we did lose ours a few times in the chaos of it all. But alas, they found us.  (Oh well, better luck to us next time).  Hahaha, just kidding, (kind of...)







After several hours, we were worn out and ready to head home, (well, not without a stop to Red Robin on the way home!).  I have to say, I loved Free Friday and I am sure we will be back!  The dates for the next Free Fridays are:  August 5th and September 9th 4-8pm.  I encourage you to load up your own crew and check it out.  I'm sure you'll be glad you did!

Jul 12, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Our little Faith celebrated her 5th Birthday on Sunday, and OH what a happy day it was! 

(***If you missed the post on Sunday with her special story, I urge you to check it out!  She is one special baby girl!***)

The day was filled with all things that Faith loves:


Streamers to decorate her doorway


Donuts for breakfast


A NEW DSi!!


A Cheerleading and gymnastics Birthday party with all her friends



Chocolate and Pink Cupcakes


And a Pizza party at home with family later in the evening.

And as we prayed before bed that night, she said that she had a great day full of parties and gifts, but that the very BEST present was being with friends and family!  Now *that* was a present for momma :)