Sep 27, 2012

What A Week

This week has been ugly.

I started a 10 day cleanse last Thursday, and was doing great...until I got a flu like bug a couple of days ago.

I think it's safe to say I'm cleaned out :(

I'm gonna go ahead and finish out this cleanse, though, just because I said I would.  Then it's on to the rest of the 24 day challenge I'm on.

Which is basically eating the way I should and am planning to eat for the rest of my life.

But I'm excited for the "cleanse" period to be over so I can throw some whole grain bread and a little dairy back into the mix.

It's the small things...

And also, I had to cancel a MUCH NEEDED hair appointment because of being sick.

Not happy about that at all!

My hair has been in a constant state of pony tail for the last 3 months.

It's time for a new look.

And my husband thinks he might be getting sick, too, now.

Which is NOT good because we have big plans for this Saturday to go to COSI to see the new Lego Castle Adventure.

I had to miss last years COSI blogger event because of sickness and I am willing all of us to be well so we don't miss this years.

AND, I have had no time to put into Halloween costumes for the kids or myself, which makes me nervous because I usually start that whole process in July.

Who knows...all of us may end up being ghosts this year.

I think it's time for the sheet with eye holes to come back anyhow.  It's retro and cool.  Right?!'s just been one of those weeks.

What's your week been like?

Sep 24, 2012

What To Look For In A Home Child Care Provider

Over the years, I have worked with children in a variety of ways from teaching preschool to doing in home care, and obviously, being a mother to my own girls.

Often, I am asked by other moms who are looking for childcare, what they should be looking for, what questions to ask etc.

Here is a list of things to consider when looking for in a home child care provider:

1.  What kind of experience does your provider have?  I know this seems basic, but it's an important question.  Do they have any education or early education classes under their belt?  Have they worked with children, (other than their own), before?  Do they have references you can speak with?

2.  What is The Home Environment like?  This is a BIG deal.  Is it child friendly?  Do they have plenty of toys and play equipment to entertain the children?  Is it clean?  Is it safe?  Are there animals in the house?  Do they, (or anyone else in the house), smoke?  All are things you should know before making a decision.

3.  Who else will have access to your child?  For example, does the husband work from home?  Will he be present when your child is there?  Or are there older children that will be in the home?  Basically, what and who is your child going to be exposed to?

4.  What kind of discipline does the provider use?  You would be AMAZED at how many parents don't ask this question!  Make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to discipline!!

5.  Is she/he willing to submit to a background check?  It may sound extreme, but these are your children that you are entrusting to someone.  You want to know for sure that they have nothing to hide.  And if they were working in a daycare, it would be required under law anyhow.

6.  Do they have insurance?  Again, another question that parents often forget to ask about.  And don't forget about car insurance, (and a driver's license too!).

7.  Do they have an absence or payment policy?  Most providers have some kind of policy that allows for a certain number of days for vacations/sickness etc.  Make sure that you are both clear about the terms.

8.  What will your child be doing while in their care?  Do they have lesson plans or is it more laid back?  Are there structured activities, or will your child be watching TV all day?

9.  Will they be providing food for your child?  This seems like an easy thing, but it can quickly become a big deal.  For example, if you expect your provider to provide meals, but your child is a very picky eater or has a lot of dietary restrictions, you may need to provide your own meals, (especially is she/he is cooking for other children, too).

10.  Does your child feel comfortable?  This is the most basic, yet maybe the most important thing of all.  Even if everything else on the list checks off, if your child doesn't feel like it's a fit, it won't be good for anyone.  Take your cues from your child, and you'll probably make a good decision.

Do you have any other suggestions of things to look for or questions to ask?  If so, please share!!

I will be linking up with Many Little Blessings for Top Ten Tuesday and We Are THAT Family for WFMW.

Cheap or Thrifty??

There is a difference between the two.

For example:

-Purchasing off the kids menu in a restaurant, even though you're an adult.
-Being unwilling to purchase anything without a coupon.
-Returning things after you have used/worn them.
-Replying on other people to cover you all the time.
-Constantly finding reasons to not tip well, (or not tipping at all!)
-Asking others for their leftovers or for part of their meal.
-Being willing to lie or stretch the truth in order to save some $$.
-Asking for free samples instead of actually purchasing something.
-Re-gifting items so that you don't have to buy a present.
-Inconveniencing someone in order to save yourself a little money.
-Keeping track of every single dollar (or 50 cents), that someone owes you.

These are all examples of being CHEAP!

But, here are examples of being THRIFTY:

-Purchasing something that is used but still in good shape vs. buying new
-Getting a great value instead of just looking for a deal.
-Choosing to eat at home instead of eating out.
-Researching in order to get the most/best for your money.
-Sticking to a budget.
-Choosing to drink water with your meal when you eat out.
-Bartering for services.
-Growing your own food.
-Waiting to get something you want when it goes on sale.
-Eating leftovers for a second meal instead of wasting.
-Choosing a matinee over an evening movie.
-Taking advantage of free and discounted events and services.

Have you done/Do you do any of these?  Do you have other examples?  Do you have any funny "cheap" stories??

Oh, and BTW, if you want something for FREE, check out my Giveaway for a FREE $50 Visa Gift Card that ends this Sunday!!  (And there aren't a lot of entries so far, so you've got a good shot at winning!)

Sep 17, 2012

Confession Time: My Truth

Okay, so first, I must tell you that this post is going to be LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG.

So if you don't read all the way through, I understand.

BUT, if you really want to know my truth, then stay tuned for the whole thing.  Because I am REALLY honest in this post.

Like, scary honest.

Here goes:

Almost a month ago, I told you that my dad had passed away.

But at the time, I wasn't ready to talk about the details.

But to tell you the truth about me, I have to tell you the truth about what happened.

First, I want to say that I LOVE my dad, and always will.  I'm not telling you any of this to make him sound bad or to take away from any of his goodness (because there was a lot of that).

But I want to be honest.

My dad was an alcoholic for as long as I can remember.

A very high functioning alcoholic, but an alcoholic nonetheless.

And it was something we all knew, but never talked about (with him).

Oh sure, a few times someone would challenge him on if he was drinking too much, but that never ended well.

And we never had any kind of intervention.

{One of my BIGGEST regrets in life!}

So, to make a long story less long, my dad went into the hospital on a Tuesday afternoon and died exactly one week later.

His liver and kidney's just completely shut down.  All because of the alcohol.

He had literally drank himself to death.

On that first night in the hospital, I cried with him as he explained that the doctors told him that he probably wouldn't make it.

And I asked him if all of the drinking had been worth it.

Was it worth ending up like this?

Was it worth all that he had missed out on in life with his kids and grandkids?

His answer was No.

Then why had he done it, I asked?

His reply: "Because I was addicted."

I had NEVER heard my dad admit that he had an addiction to alcohol.  Never.

And it struck me in that moment that he didn't just realize that day that he was addicted.

That was something he must have known for a long time, but been unwilling to admit.

And I couldn't help but think of how different life could have been if he had admitted that sooner.

As I drove home that night, something was nagging at me.  But I pushed it away, because I had too much to deal with at that point.

But as the week went on, and as he declined, the nagging kept coming.  And I kept pushing it away.

Finally, after my dad's death, I couldn't ignore it anymore.

I was an addict, too.

Not to alcohol, or to drugs, but to food.

I was using food in the same way that my dad had used alcohol all those years.

To celebrate, to cope, to entertain...essentially to make me happy.

But that isn't the job of food.

Food is for nourishment, and I had been abusing it to the point that it was now having the opposite effect on me.

And I knew that I was headed down a dangerous and somewhat similar path as my dad.

My addiction was keeping me from fully enjoying my family the same way his kept him from doing that.

And no one would call me on my addiction because they loved me and didn't want to hurt me or embarrass me, the same way that we did for him.

And if I kept going the way I was going, at some point I was going to end up in the hospital with the doctors saying that I had ruined my own body and that the damage was irreversible; the same thing that happened to him.

I didn't want that for my family.

I don't want my girls to EVER feel like I chose food over them.

I knew I needed to make a change, but it was overwhelming.  Where did I start?

Well, I started by praying.

I knew God was giving me this wake up call.  This second chance.

I knew He would direct me in the right way.

Then I admitted my addiction to my husband.  And to close friends.  And I asked them to pray for me and to hold me accountable.

And I sought out a plan to help me get on the right track, and I didn't hesitate in signing up.

And I continue to pray for God to transform my mind so that I will view food differently.

And finally, I am coming clean on this blog.

Because I know that some of you will pray for me in this journey.

And because it's another form of accountability.

And because there may be others out there who are silently struggling with the same thing.

Maybe food isn't your addiction, maybe it's something else.  Maybe it's drugs or alcohol.  Maybe it's sex or pornography.  Maybe it's gambling or shopping.  Or maybe it's an eating disorder.

Whatever it is, if that's you, please know that you are NOT alone!

Shame, denial, and pride are what kept my dad silent about his addiction for so long.

Don't let that happen for you.

So there it is.

My truth.  My confession.  My addiction.

I really do hope that you'll pray for me as I walk through this.  And also, that you'll hold me accountable.

And periodically, I'll post an update.

And hopefully, somewhere down the road, I'll be able to tell you that I have conquered my addiction!

Sep 13, 2012

Disney Disney Disney

My little Princesses

Ya'll know how much I love Disney World!

It's my real life happy place.

Nothing bad happens at Disney, right?!

(Oh yeah, except when my kid got the stomach flu there the last time and we spent 3 days of our vacation in the hotel room with her puking her guts out.)

But never mind all that.

I am excited to tell you that we will be going to Disney World again this November, and OHHH how excited I am!!

We'll get to try lots of new things this time because 1. ) they are opening a whole load of new stuff like the Be Our Guest Restaurant from Beauty and The Beast, Celebrate The Magic, Enchanted Tales With Belle, and Under The Sea- Journey of The Little Mermaid, (click here to find out about all the new stuff!) and 2.) because both girls are tall enough to ride almost every ride at every park now!!

Plus, that feeling, when you walk into the Magic Kingdom, is indescribable.

The first time we took Addy, I cried.


Because I'm an emotional basket case.

But also because I think taking your kids to Disney World is something that almost every parent dreams of.

I never got to go as a kid and I always felt like I was missing out on a kind of right of passage.

And I just knew that when I became a parent, I wouldn't let them miss out on that opportunity.

(BTW, don't feel too sorry for me.  I got to do lots of other fun vacations as a kid, and even go to Italy when I was in High School.  Rough life, I know).

So when we walked into The Magic Kingdom with her, it was as if I had fulfilled that promise to myself and was able to make one of her very first dreams come true.

Our first visit with Addy when she was 4

And that's what Disney is about.

Making dreams come true.

You want to be a princess?

Then that's what you are!

How about a Pirate?


And you want to spin in a saucer, fly on an elephant and ride a magic carpet?

You can do all that, too.

It truly is Magical.

And also, we are getting a great deal.

Which makes it Magical for our bank account, also.

If you are interested in planing a Disney trip of your own, check out their site here.

(And I am NOT an affiliate or making any money off of this recommendation!  I just REALLY love Disney!)

So tell me, have you been to Disney World?  Are you a Disney freak like me?  What's your favorite part?  

Sep 11, 2012

Ten Ways To Give A Gift Without Spending Money

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I LOVE to give gifts.

I have said before that it is a gift to me to be able to give someone a gift that they really love.

And often, we think we have to spend a lot of money to make someone happy.

But often, the best gifts cost us nothing at all.

Here are Ten Ways to Give A Gift Without Spending Money:

10.  Offer to Babysit!  If you have children, you know what a treasure it is to have a date night and know that you won't have to pay a babysitter.  And don't just put it out there and offer, actually have them give you a list of dates that work, and choose one (or more) that work for you!

9.  Make a Meal!  Sometimes it's nice to get muffins or cookies.  But what really helps out is when someone delivers an entire meal to your door.  No cooking and no having to pay for dinner.  Awesome!

8.  Do some Housework!  Oh the luxury of having a housekeeper!  That is something most of us can't afford.  BUT, if a friend would be willing to come and do it for you, that would maybe be the best gift ever!

7. Write a Note!  Sometimes, the people we care about just want to hear the words.  Take time to sit down and write a letter and tell them what they mean to you and why.

6.  Become a Photographer!  Everyone loves great family photo's, but photo sessions can be pricey.  But with a decent camera and good editing software, almost anyone can capture at least a few great pics.  Offer to accompany them and their family on an afternoon outing and be their own personal photographer.

5.  Get Crafty!  Knit a scarf, repaint a frame to look pretty, or put together a really cool wreath.  We all love those cute little things we see on Pinterest, but we rarely have time to do them.  Try doing one of them for a friend!

4.  Give a Lesson!  Maybe you know how to sew, but your friend doesn't.  Or maybe you're a really good cook and she can barely boil water.  Whatever skill you have that your friend may want to learn, (but maybe is afraid to ask you about), is a great opportunity to give of yourself!

3.  Coupons!  This one is a no-brainer.  It has been around a while, and for good works!  Write a coupon book that the receiver can exchange for items.  We did this with our girls one year for Christmas and they loved it.  Some of our coupons were for: 30 minutes of staying up later, ice cream for breakfast, having a friend spend the night, and getting to choose what we have for dinner.

2.  Make a Scrap Book!  This one is great for anyone, but especially family members.  Collect old photo's, write down memories, and be creative.  We did this for my Father-In-Law's Birthday one year and I think I loved it as much as he did because I got to learn so much more about him while I was putting it together.

1. Give them Your Time!  If the receiver is anything like me, it's your time that means the most to them.  Take a whole day and spend it doing fun stuff with your friend.  And it doesn't have to cost a lot (or anything!).  Hiking, cooking together, watching TV movies, or just sitting and chatting are great bonding activities.  OR, if it's a guy your giving to, let him have a day just to watch sports or listen to his favorite band.

Do you have any other good ideas for ways to Give without spending Money??  If so, Please Share!!

I will be linking up with Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings and WFMW at We Are THAT Family!

Sep 10, 2012

The Monday Soup Swap

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It's Here!

The Monday Soup Swap has officially begun!

AND, to start it off, I am sharing one of my favorite soup recipe's with you!!

Easy Peasy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup:

3-4 frozen Chicken Breasts
2 cans of diced tomatoes (or 2 cans of rotel, which makes it a little spicier).
1 can of corn
6 cups of chicken broth
1 pkg. of taco seasoning
1 pkg. of ranch salad dressing seasoning
1 can of cream of chicken soup

Tortilla Chips
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream (optional)
Chopped Cilantro (optional)

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Then, go ahead and pour the tomatoes and corn over the chicken. After that, you can mix the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, ranch seasoning and taco seasoning together, and pour over the chicken. (or do it in reverse will taste exactly the same.  It's almost impossible to mess this one up!)  Cover and simmer on low for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken breasts and shred them with two forks.  Place them back into the slow cooker, stir, and cover.  Cook on low for another 30 minutes. 

Place tortilla chips in a bowl, sprinkle a little cheese on them (or a lot if you're like me!), and ladle the soup over the chips.  You are now about to get the most melty, gooey, yummy cheese....mmmmmm.

And, just before I eat it, I like to place a small dollop of sour cream on top.  It gives it that little extra creaminess.  And if you're REALLY feeling crazy, go ahead and add some fresh snipped cilantro!

There you have it!

Now it's time for you to share a yummy soup recipe! 

Link up below the direct link to your soup post.

And after you link up, make sure to visit some of the other links too...we could all use another soup recipe and a little blog love! 

Oh!  And while you're at it, go ahead and grab the Monday Soup Swap button below and add it to your page to let your readers know you linked up!

Family Fun Mom

And just so you know, I'LL be linking up at Still Being Molly,

and at The Brassy Apple

Sep 7, 2012

Random Friday: Stuff About Me

-I like tuna sandwiches but only when I have frito's to go with them

-I sleep with an ice pack every night because I have this thing called costochondritis.

-I am going to buy a good camera soon, but I can't decide on which one is best (any sugesstions??)

-Sitting in front of a bonfire or on a beach are two of my favorite things.

-I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and I have yet to use it.

-If I were rich, my #1 luxery would be to hire a housekeeper.

-Not really a fan of caramel apples.

-I am obsessed with celebrity news.

-I have a fear of heights.

-If I didn't have an alarm clock or kids, I would probably sleep past noon every single day.

-I don't really have a favorite song...there are too many to choose from.

-Sometimes I think about adopting a little boy.

-I used to be a super political person, but now I can hardly stand to talk about it at all.

-I have never taken my kids camping....and I may not.  Ever.

-My favorite dessert is Chocolate Lava Cake.

-This blog has started to feel like a personal friend of mine.

I shared.  Now go ahead and tell me one random fact about you!

Sep 5, 2012

Who Wants Some Soup?

Doesn't everyone love soup?? 

I know I do!

In fact, during the fall and winter months, we have it at least once a week. 

One of the things I love most about soup is that it makes a lot and I can eat it one night for dinner, and eat the rest of it all week for lunch.

OR, I can serve half for dinner and freeze the rest for another week.

And BTW, I consider all chili's and stews a soup also.  So LOTS OF STUFF can fall into my soup category!

And the thing is, I can never get enough soup recipes.  I would love to try a new soup each week!

Which has lead me to the decision to start a Soup Swap on the blog! 

Next Monday will be the official kick-off!  You'll be able to link up all of your soup recipes and share with the soup loving community!

It can be an old or new blog post, but make sure you're linking up your *own* recipe.  (ie, don't link up someone else's blog post please!).

And be creative. 

It can be a detox soup, your grandma's favorite beef stew, or a chilled soup.

Whatever it is, link it up so we can check it out!

And if it goes well, who knows...

maybe The Monday Soup Swap will become a regular link up.

So get to cookin'!! (and maybe take some pics too)

And we can all be eating delicious soup all winter long :)

I am linking up with We Are THAT Family for WFMW

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For The Love of Reading: Sacred Marriage

Last week, my husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary.

All the time, people comment on our marriage. And they wonder how we stay strong, and how we stay happy.

 Let me share a secret.

This past year has tried us on almost every level.  But I feel like our marriage is truly better and stronger than ever.

And part of the reason, is a book we have been going through called 'Sacred Marriage' by Gary Thomas.

We started this book with a few other couples in our house church who were also interested in taking their marriage to the next level. 

I really think it's one of the best decisions we've ever made as a couple.

This book challenges the idea that marriage is meant just to make us happy, but rather that it is more to make us holy.


For almost all of us, we go into marriage thinking that the other person will, in a sense, complete our lives.  We buy into the lie that 'happily ever after' really exists.  And then, when it isn't all happy and wonderful, we think that we must have made a mistake and give up.

"Marriage shouldn't be so hard."

"I don't have any feelings for him/her anymore."

"I deserve to be happy."

"I fell out of love."

These are all things I've heard before.

The person leaves the marriage and when the next guy/gal comes along who makes them happy, (for a time), they decide they are in love.  Maybe they get married, or maybe they don't.

But guess what happens?

Real life creeps in, the flaws start to show, and ultimately, they don't make you happy anymore.

But think about this:

What if God didn't intend for your marriage just to make you happy?  What if, instead, He intended it to make you more like Him?

Let me explain it a little...

As humans, we are pretty much all about making ourselves happy.

We surround ourselves with people and things that make us comfortable.  And when something or someone comes along that challenges that or makes us uncomfortable, we start to change things so that it works out that we are again happy and comfortable.


what is instead of doing that, you took a different approach?

What if you stopped and thought, "hmmmm, maybe I'm not always supposed to be comfortable.  Maybe God wants me to grow.  Maybe He wants to get my attention.  Maybe I'M the one that needs to change here."?

And then, instead of removing the people or things in your life that are making you 'unhappy' or 'uncomfortable', you decided to see in through, and see what God wanted to teach you?

Imagine what would happen.

Instead of always looking at your spouse's flaws, you remember that you, too, have flaws and are so thankful for the grace God shows you, that you realize that you can show that same kind of grace to your mate.

And after a bit, you decide to go a step further and not only do you start showing your spouse grace, but you start to actually look for ways to serve them.  To make them happy, even when it makes you uncomfortable, and even when you don't think they deserve it.

You know who this is beginning to sound like?


And that's the goal.

Marriage is meant to be a reflection of God's relationship with us.  And if we truly want to be more like Him, then the best place to start is in our marriages.

And the crazy thing is, when we actually do these things, WE are the ones who end up happy!!  Crazy, I know! 

This idea has changed the way my husband and I view our marriage.  And in return, we are stronger than ever. 

Does that mean we don't argue anymore?


Does that mean we have perfected our marriage?

Far from it!

But does it mean that we are committed to our marriage, flaws and all?


So tell me, have you read this book?  If so, what are your thoughts?

If not, have you struggled/are you struggling in marriage/relationships?

What do you think about the ideas above?

I will be linking up with WFMW at We Are THAT Family. 

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Sep 4, 2012

I Love My Followers {Giveaway}

As most of you know, this has been a pretty depressing summer for me.

BUT, one of the brightest spots has been this blog.

And recently, I have had a lot of new followers, and especially, a lot of new 'LIKES' on the FamilyFunMom Facebook Page.

Sooooo, to celebrate, and to thank you, I'm doing a GIVEAWAY!!!

Want to know what you can win??

A $50 Visa Gift Card!

That way, you can get exactly what you want!

How do you enter to win??

LIKE the FamilyFunMom Facebook page...

and then,

make sure to leave a comment letting me know you like the familyfun mom page!

That's it!!

How easy is that?? 

Ohhhh, you want more chances to win?

Okay then refer a friend to like FamilyFunMom on FB and when they do, leave a comment letting me know you did (and their name!)

You can also tweet about this giveaway (also, leave a comment), or link to the giveaway on your FB page (you know the drill....leave a comment).

The Giveaway will go through September 30th, and on October 1st, I'll reveal the winner!

Good Luck, and thanks again for reading this little blog of mine that makes me so happy :)