July is for Birthdays

June 30th kicks off a birthday bonanza in our family! Today is my younger brother’s birthday {who is turning 25…I think this is where I stop referring to him as my *younger* brother??!!}

Then we launch into July which contains me, hubby, Tyler’s, my niece, my younger sister, and my Grandma’s birthdays–all in rapid succession!!

As I mentioned I’m already planning on a super fun trip to How To See Your Dragon Live for my birthday.

I’ve been hemming and hawing over what to do for Tyler’s 2nd Birthday, however. Not quite old enough for a “friend” party we’re also much too far away this year to do a “family” party if we want anyone other than the 4 of us to attend.

When I heard about Storyland New Hampshire I knew I’d found the answer!! Totally geared toward “little kids” I know that Amber and Tyler would have an absolute *blast* here! Storyland offers all-inclusive rides, shows & attractions, reasonably-priced admission ticket, FREE parking, and FREE pet kennels. How fun is that?! I’m super excited about going! (now I just have to talk hubby into being excited about going…..haha)


What even *more* fun is that right now you can Save up to $21 on regular admission

 Superly awesome! I’ll be sure to let you all know how much fun we have! Also here’s something just for you if you have a blog and you’re interested in finding out about great local offers and opportunities!

I will receive and item to thank me for my post, all opinions, birthdays, and excitement are my own.

National Camera Day featuring TCBY Frozen Yogurt

Today is National Camera Day!

If you’ve been around awhile you might have noticed that I love taking unique photos. I’m a details person–I love to really *zoom* in on a subject and get to the good stuff! When I found out that I was going to get to feature  TCBY Frozen Yogurt in a Most Creative Photo shoot I couldn’t wait to get started!

Of course, in order to do a photo shoot of any kind, first you need the props! So off we headed to Walmart to pick up our tasty photo stars. Amber was pretty excited–can you tell??!! We picked out her favorite flavor, Strawberry, and decided to try to out a new flavor–English Toffee Crunch. (After all sometimes even newbies need a chance to become famous models!)

After adding a bit of “makeup” it was time for our stars to shine!

{am I considered the meanest mommy ever because I made her sit there and watch me do the yogurt photo shoot??!!}

Our classic star proved to be tried and true. Full of fun, life, color, and flavor-there is something about Strawberry Frozen Yogurt that just can’t be beat (at least in Amber’s mind!)

With our new star, English Toffee Crunch Frozen Yogurt, I opted for a more sophisticated approach. Playing off of the English theme I decided that my Most Creative Photo would involve a china teacup–naturally!

Which photo do you think deserves the title of Most Creative Photo for National Camera Day?

Would you like to get a behind the scenes peek at our shop and photo shoot? Be sure to check out the complete #TCBYGrocery & #CBias Shop Google+ Album.

Want more delicious yogurt-y photo fun? Of course you do! So connect with TCBY on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest

 I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and TCBY #CBias #SocialFabric #TCBYGrocery All photos, models, and yummy opinions are my own

Making A Rental Feel Like Home

When you’ve moved and/or temporarily re-located 8 times in the past 7 years like I have it means one thing–renting is an absolute must.

Once you move out of the newly wed stage though, renting can begin to feel like a bummer-especially if you grew up in home owning families, like hubby and I both did. As I’ve mentioned recently, however, I’ve purposed to let go of all my If Onlys and focus in on how to live the wonderful life I’ve been given and blessed with to its fullest!

While renting means no painting and no renovating there are SO many ways to make a place a home without ever lifting a brush!

My favorite way to make our latest rental feel like home is to use personalized pictures

Now, you’ll never find my apartment within the covers of Home and Garden, but me and hubby both LOVE our decor because every single piece and picture on our wall has a very special meaning behind it.

As soon as we get our pictures up on the wall, whatever rental we happen to be in at that moment instantly becomes our home.

Above is our mantlepiece collection. Along with the pictures of our wonderful kiddos and family we have candles from our wedding and if you read about my Uncle Robert you’ll understand why we chose the amazing and moving art piece.

Down our hall we have all our Coast Guard pride-(does the picture on the bottom look familiar at all??? Hmmm…can you tell that I love it?! I included the Owl City lyrics from one of my favorite songs on it) The artwork is of the boat and lighthouse that Bob worked on when we lived in North Carolina, and the picture on the far right is one of him that was taken by a co-worker in NC.

This wall is my favorite–proudly displayed in our front room it contains three pictures of my beautiful home state–Wyoming. The top two pictures were taken by my super talented younger brother of places we spent a bunch of time in growing up. The picture on the bottom I took last summer when we got to go visit the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.

Here is our latest addition to our humble abode. If you hadn’t noticed I tend to have a great love for canvas prints. There is just something about them that adds depth and richness to a photo. This is hanging happily in Tyler & Amber’s nursery. I have wanted to add a picture to tie into the quote for awhile now and I  feel like this canvas is the absolutely perfect thing!

Do you love hanging custom art and pictures in your home? How do you make a rental feel like a home?

Bausch + Lomb’s Biotrue Challenge

I love my eyes. They’re one of my favorite things about me. Although I have always wished for baby blues (like my sweet Amber ended up with) My own unique and fun swirls of green and brown have come a close second in my mind.


As much as I love them, I’m pretty rough on them. From early morning Bible reading, to hours a day online working and blogging, to late night relaxing novels–I put a strain on my eyes all day long.
Ever since I was 15 I’ve worn contacts-and I love them! The only problem is that I love them all day and all night in those various activities I just listed. By those late night tub soak novel sessions my eyes are usually “wigging out”.
Contacts are amazing and wonderful things *until* you start having discomfort with them. Then they quickly deteriorate into a super annoyance!
I’m always looking for ways to improve the life of my contacts and decrease any end of day contact drama (because I hate drama in any form-well, other than BBC Drama that is…..)

So I decided to switch out my old solution and try Biotrue multipurpose Solution. I always say God does things best–and Biotrue multi-purpose is designed to work like your eye. Biotrue® incorporates a lubricant found in your eyes, and is balanced to match the pH of healthy tears. Cool right?
So far I’m enjoying the new solution and the decreased discomfort–I’ll be checking back in with you all in about a month to let you know the final verdict!
Please be sure to comment through the widget to win!
Switch out your solution today and see the difference yourself – take the Biotrue Challenge!
Thanks to Bausch + Lomb, one of my readers could be one (1) of ten (10) exclusive winners of a 1-year supply of Biotrue® multi-purpose contact lens solution! Share with us below the changes you’re making to be more comfortable at the end of day!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bausch & Lomb. The opinions and text are all mine. Bausch + Lomb BlogFrog Biotrue Challenge Sweepstakes Rules.

Summer Camp {At Home} DailyBuzz Moms June 9×9:

Ideas have been compiling into ever growing long to-do lists

Pinterest Boards stuffed to the brim with great ideas to use…someday…

Outdoor adventures have been put off for months for”when it’s nice outside”

Finally the hustle and bustle of the school year slows and trickles into Summer.

A week opens when there is nothing extra….so of course Summer Camp At Home is planned and blossoms!

And what would a Summer Camp be without….

Crafts

Silly Sock Puppets, perfect for giggles and Amber’s vivid story lines-fresh from a preschooler’s imagination.

Sensory Activities Oozy Gooey Goop

Just the thing for mixing, squishing, and yes–more giggling

Outdoor Games

Running, Hide and Seek, Red Light-Green Light, Swinging, Splashing, Sliding, and all things Adventure-ing

Learning

  

Seasons, Sounds, Flowers, Animals, How to Make Memories

The tip your head back and stare up-up-UP at the sunshine filtering through the green, green leaves kind of learning.

The best kind of learning.

All in all, a perfect week of Summer Camp….at home!

This challenge is in participation with DailyBuzz Moms–all giggles, ideas, and pictures are my own

How To Train Your Dragon Live ~ For My Birthday!

Normally for my birthday I pick something to celebrate the day like a mani/pedi, or getting my hair highlighted, or a nice dinner out.

This year to celebrate my birthday I’m choosing something that is a little unorthodox but I think that will be a TON of fun! Me and Amber are going to see:

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR will be DCU Center in Worcester, MA from Wed. July 11th through Sun. July 15th. Regular Ticket prices range from a low of $29.50 to a high of $69.50 (excluding fees). A limited number of premium seats and special VIP ticket experiences and family packages are also available.  CLICK HERE to purchase tickets, for showtimes and much more including the NATIONAL TOUR DATES. There are three amazing VIP packages as well. CLICK HERE for details on how to meet the dragons as well as other VIP opportunities! Check out a video of the show by CLICKING HERE


Awesome right??!! I’m super excited about it! We must have watched How to Train Your Dragon about a million times last summer, it’s one of Amber’s all time favorites (and me and Bob love it too, haha)

But it gets even more awesome: 

SPECIAL OFFER….SAVE 25% on weekday performances (including Friday nights) by entering the code MOM in the promo box which says “MOM Bloggers Discount Offer”.  Get great seats for a big discount!  (This code is valid nationwide as tickets go on sale!)

So be sure to check and see if it will be coming near you–my sister wants to go to the one in Salt Lake City and is totally jealous that we get to go first!

I’ll be receiving tickets to attend in exchange for letting you all know what a fabulous experience it is–happy birthday to me! 🙂

Mamavation Monday ~ Plugging Along

I’ve smoked my last cigarette, At least a hundred times I bet, I guess I’ll just keep quitting til it sticks ~ Jason Aldean

So I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life–but this line totally resonates with me because describes my feelings so perfectly about living a healthy lifestyle. Yes I might have ate scoopfulls of cookie dough, and 3 cookies a day, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I need to give up. I’ll just keep trying till it sticks!

So here I am–back to plugging away again. I totally bombed journalling last week but I will start up again this week. I did keep up with working out however, so here’s what I did for that:

Monday ~ 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates (this is on Netflix watch instantly in case you have it and want to try it!)
Wednesday ~ Marisa Tomei: Core & Curves
Friday ~ Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred

This week the cookies are all gone so it’s back to small plates for portion control, and no night time noshing (on cookies no less, lol)

I also just signed on for my very first 2 week challenge and I’m super excited and a little nervous–wish me luck!

Don’t Sweat It

“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things” George Carlin

 I love summer here in New England. It is the “just right” amount of heat and humidity, sunny and rainy days, green mixed in with the grey of the rocks.


Sweating, however, does not rock. There’s not much that runs your Hot Mom glam like sweaty armpits. And with all of the things that we have to handle and worry about as moms sweating because it’s hot at the playground shouldn’t be one of them! Of course having a great working, long lasting deodorant greatly helps with this! The quick roll on application can help you quickly check on thing off your “petty thing to do list”. Make sure that you do let it dry just a bit before putting on your clothing, however, white marks don’t look great on clothing either (if this is a problem you can always try the Clear Gel)! If you just give it a minute this won’t be a problem though!


Dry Idea helped keep me cool and sweat free on the playground during a super hot summer’s day, grocery shopping, and through church. I’m confident it’ll help you keep your cool while looking hot as well!


Be sure to like Dry Idea on Facebook so that you can stay up to date on all this newest promotions–like the amazing $1,000 Sweepstakes they have running right now! (Be sure to go enter!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wedding Plans

Wedding Plans fill the air with their delight.
Thoughts of gorgeous antique wedding rings, flowing shimmery wedding gowns, and bridegroom and groomsmen in converse shoes surround and swirl in the mind. 
Not my wedding of course–in fact it’s been seven years this month since My Happily Ever After began. No, in fact it’s my youngest brother, Ryan, who is getting married. 
Ryan–who I babysat, who I still want to call my “little brother” though he’s long since been taller than me, Ryan who used to cuddle up with me on the couch and hold my hand “to keep me company”.
How it’s possible that my baby brother can be getting married is beyond all comprehension.
However it helps that he’s getting married to someone I absolutely adore. I was able to meet and get to know his bride-to-be Brianne last year and I fell in love with her too. Sweet and spunky, soft and bubbly she’s an adorable mix of life and love and is going to make a wonderful wife. She happens to also be an {amazing blogger} and yes–the awesome ring and pictures in this post I err, borrowed from her blog! 
Much like me and Bob they have a love story that has been long in the making. In fact much of their long distance dating and now engagement reminds me of my own relationship with my hubby. So while they seem so young I know how anxious they are to finally be together, forever! I also have to remind myself that they are the same age now, that we were when we got married. (How is it that although 19 seemed young then, it seems REALLY young now??)
Every part of me adores weddings–especially when they’re happening to two people I love so dearly.

Dr. Scholl’s For Her Ball of Foot Cushions Review

As you all know, I’m all about looking fabulous and being comfortable at the same time. I also love adorable shoes–and it’s pretty much a well known fact that the cuter the shoe–the more uncomfortable it’s bound to be!

Take this pair of *aDORable* wedges for example. Ridiculously cute, got them for a song….and if I stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time in them I’ll be paying the next 3 days.

I had high hopes for Dr. Scholl’s For Her Ball of Foot Cushions. I’ve reviewed Dr. Scholl’s For Her products in the past and been very happy with them.

Sadly though, these cushions just weren’t quite up to par. I tried them with the wedges above, and a pair of strappy heels and they didn’t work for either. Perhaps it is my foot, or the fit of the shoes, but they actually made it *more* uncomfortable. They felt a little too thick and pressed my foot up hard into the shoe/strap. I definitely won’t be purchasing these in the future–I’ll stick to the whole heel insert that I reviewed before!