Thursday, 27 August 2015

What would you do with #MoreMinutes - treasure the time you have and make the most of life!

This beautiful lady is my mother - I cherish the friendship we have and the bond that is evident for my own daughters to witness and hopefully want for themselves as they mature. 

Today, as she does every 1.5 years or so, she donated just over 13" of her hair to Wigs for Kids - I love her heart and that she always gives back to so many. While at Great Clips she saw a sign that asked what she would do with #moreminutes - without batting an eye or pausing to think about it, she said she'd spend more time with her granddaughters which is hard for her to do with a full time job and somewhat limited mobility. 

I would wish for her to have some more minutes just to go do something fun with the girls. It always seems like the only time she can spend with them is when we're running errands or going to appointments. She's been a rock for me during the trials of having had 3 preemie babies in the NICU and I honestly don't even want to try and imagine what my life would be like when we run out of those minutes. Don't take time for granted. That's my PSA for today!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

KUBKID building blocks by Janod... the toys that grow!

With the celebration of Paisley's 1st birthday, she ended up with some pretty cool toys. I have to say that some of these toys are just absolutely amazing! Why didn't they have this when I was little?! I love the combination of educational and creative and fun all in one. A particular gift that really stood out for me were these Janod KubKid Building Blocks. Enough so, that I wanted to make sure I shared with all of you. Each block/cube has a different side and they make up 6 different illustrations. Janod is an educational toy manufacturer based out of France, however, you can order from most retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Scholastic.

They blocks are hollow and designed with high color graphics of farm animals. It's fun to watch Paisley learn to stack and build with the blocks. They are rated 18months and up, which I imagine is meant for the puzzle aspect. Each side put together creates a vibrantly colored farm animal. Absolutely adorable. I've watched Paisley play with them until she falls asleep, as they are constantly entertaining to her! Whether you are giving these as a gift for a child, or for your own child, these are highly recommended! I think I may just pick up a set to drop off at the girls' daycare.

Janod fb page: Click here!    Janod twitter: Click here!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Life goes by in the BLINK of an eye!

Truer words have never been spoken! I'm not sure when it happened, or how even... it seems like we were on the countdown until Paisley could come home from the hospital. Then just days until Linda (MIL) came in from England, then the holidays, then the pre-op for each surgery... and we were saying.. oh, that's next week. And oh, that's in 2 weeks... and then suddenly - it's AUGUST! 

The preparations for a celebration of a life hard fought and won were looming in the back of my mind. I mean, how do you not go overboard? But how do you reign yourself in from being psycho-crazy-decorating-madness-mama? Thankfully, with the help of a realistic, yet supportive hubby - and some really great friends!

I wanted to show you some of the prep that went into this occasion, and then of course, some pics of the party and some pics of the birthday girl!

Making BUNTING. My friend KeKe and I decided we were going to hand paint ... that's right, HAND PAINT bunting for the party. I went a little nuts and said something like, "Hey let's make this look like a used car-lot!" And the next thing you know, I'm painting a scene from Super Mario Bros on a triangular piece of canvas at 2am. *shakes head* At one point in time, we roped the guys into painting with us, but our OCD nature took over and they were quickly fired.

Rolling LUMPIA. *This part of the post is directed at Katie, since I'm SO NEGLECTFUL and constantly forget to email her my recipe*

Recipe (this makes approximately 100 rolls):
Lumpia Wrappers (aka Spring Roll Wrappers)
1- head of cabbage
2c- carrots
1c- snap/snow peas or green beans
2.5 lbs.- boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked or ground beef uncooked

- Use a food processor, it's so much easier! Food process everything until it is minced. Mix with 2 egg yolks (separate the whites for later). Add seasoning. *As with all my recipes for lumpia, pancit, etc... if you don't eat a particular thing, don't add it. Ex: you don't eat cabbage, you can sub bean sprouts. Or sub ground pork for ground beef. Season with seasonings you prefer. Some people prefer salt and pepper. or some prefer a little more spice. I typically always add in some sort of meat tenderizer, because it does help when cooking.*

Deep fry lumpia until they turn golden in color and float in the pan. If you are using the precooked chicken, you only need to cook for a short time.

Big THANK YOU to Jenn, Rosemary and KeKe for your lumpia rolling slave labor assistance! And a big THANK YOU to Martha and Mary... for everything else :)

As you can see, the party was a success, the birthday princess made out like a bandit, and we are once more reminded how quickly time flies, how much our family is blessed and how grateful we are to have the friends that we have! Thank you to everyone who came out, who sent well wishes, who helped us through this year... just... THANK YOU. Know that while our time is hectic and limited these days, our appreciation for our steadfast friends is strong and never wavers. Thank your blessings, appreciate the silver linings, and share in the happiness when you have it. Oh, and share the cupcakes too!

Also, a big humongous, long drive thank you to Jane & her daughter, and Ate Gina & Uncle Jimmy and family and honorary Aunt Mary - for making that drive out to come party with us!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Trying out the Contours Twist Grow With Me seat

We recently had the opportunity to test out the Contours Twist Grow With Me Seat in the Adkins Asylum. It's always fun to try out new gear, and as our family grows, we find our needs for different baby gear adapts as well. We really loved the design and the bright color selection that it comes in. But more importantly, we loved the fact that the foam insert comes out completely for cleaning! If you have children, you know there's really never a time when "clean" and "eating" are used in the same sentence!

We used this for feeding Paisley, who at the time was 7 months old. She seemed to be dwarfed by the seat, but then she is particularly tiny. Ella tried it out as well, and she managed to fit in just fine - however, we buy things that will grow, so I wouldn't necessarily suggest buying it for a 3 year old with the intent to use it long term, if you get my understanding. Paisley seemed to enjoy it though, as she liked to sit up and look around.

As for Kevin and I, it really made feeding easier and the Contours Twist Grow With Me seat is very versatile for all types of feeding. We have a counter height table and stools, so finding a highchair to work with that isn't always easy. I loved how I was able to strap it onto one of our stools (with a back) and sit and feed her, especially post-surgery. Kevin, on the other hand, likes to sit on the floor and feed the baby. So it worked for both of us! We're particularly fond of the Contours line of baby gear. They are consistently striving to make something that is good for more than a 3 month use. They care about safety and are always open to suggestions. I love their customer service, having dealt with them when we purchased our Contours Options Elite Tandem Stroller!

Click here to read my review of the Contours Twist Grow With Me Seat on Amazon.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Blue Water Seduction Series by Ava Branson

On a personal note... There are few opportunities when I feel I get some bragging rights, but in this instance, I'm going for it! I read a book by author Ava Branson (contemporary romance) and ended up becoming friends with her on facebook. Lo and behold, we discovered she lived only a stones throw away from me. Our fb friendship became a series of messages and giggles, a severe love of wine and a lost purse, and a trip to the beach and I was never more excited to have been able to celebrate Paisley's 1st birthday - and that both she and her daughter attended. Nothing cooler than having one of your go-to authors become your real life friend! Having said all that, you also get a bit of a glimpse of the trials and struggles an indie author really goes through to get out there. As well as the triumphs and personal accomplishments! 

I recently attended IndieBookFest - which if you didn't go this year, definitely make it a point to go next year! Not only can you meet your favorite authors, but you can meet new ones, attend panels, learn if you want... it's a wealth of information and wrapped up in one big class act! In any event, Ava was attending, along with several other new and seasoned authors, and it was so cool to hear her talk about this past year. 8 books in less than 2 years, that's all I can think.... whew!

Ava Branson (far right) with other indie authors at the IndieBookFest author panel

Time to get bookish! 


What that means is, sometimes I just love a go-to-grab that I can pack in my bag, read at the beach, or in the doctor's offices or wherever. The Blue Water Seduction Series is awesome because not only does it give me my HEA, as they aren't so heavy that I walk away needing an ugly cry, box of tissues and lots of concealer. Although... I did get a bit watery-eyed during a read of Ava's most recent book coming out! But also, I love the fact that they take place.. on the beach! or the ocean... it works, I can truly transport myself.

The first book in the series, which ultimately led to this astonishing friendship, is Rough Seas. I loved this story of a young woman and an accomplished CEO. Who doesn't like the thought of being swept off your feet by a gorgeous Greek yachting magnate? Thought so! Here was my review... but honestly, if you really want to know JUST. READ. THE. BOOK. 

The second book, called Fiery Seas, was just as tempting. Talk about hot! If the cover model alone doesn't lure you in... Ahem, anyways, I loved the chemistry between the main characters and I loved reading little snippets about the characters from the first book. What's nice about this series is that even though it's technically a "series" - they are all standalone. So you don't feel like you have to read all of them in order to know what's going on... although I highly recommend reading them, because you'll definitely want to! You can find my Amazon review for this here.

The most recently released book (look out! there is another one coming out shortly though) was Sapphire Seas. A lot of this takes place in hot and sultry Belize. But what I loved about this particular book was our heroine's go getter take no BS attitude! She's already accomplished and in fact, brought more to the table than her counterpart. She wasn't just swept off her feet and actually stands her ground on several issues. I love it when the heroine can do that without losing her femininity and said as much in my review. Definitely another book worth reading... now to wait with bated breath for the release of Ava's next book, Sensuous Seas, to come out! 

Another great thing about Ava Branson is that she is FAN-tabulous! What I mean by that is that she is great with connecting with her fans! You can follow her on fb and twitter, and even see much of her inspiration for her books on Pinterest! It's so awesome. Once you've read her books, hop on over to her webpage and sign up for her newsletter!

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