Jun 30, 2015

10 Things to Smile About #10Things

I can't believe June has come and gone. I was so looking forward to school ending and just like that June is over and summer is going by too fast. Here are some things that made me smile in June. 

1. Preschool water day. Molly was able to attend and when they decided to get into the big bubble together they instantly hugged. I love seeing their unique bond! 


2. Snif snif, Mark's preschool graduation. He was so stinkin cute!


3.The twin performed in their first dance recital. All three kids did great and we've watched the video about 20 times already.


4. Ahhhh sibling love. Is there anything better???


5. Pool days with friends. My kids pretty much live at the pool these days.


6. Father's Day dinner at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. Eating at Chuy's always makes me smile.


7. Regal's Dollar Movie days give me tons to smile about. Going with friends makes it even better.


8. Our oldest went to camp this weekend. She was very cute the day before she left wanting extra hugs. I snapped this picture when no one was looking. I can't help but think awww every time I look at this picture.


9. Speaking of camp here's our big girl when we dropped her off at camp. There were no tears, just big smiles and more excitement than I've seen in a long time.
 

10. Look at this face! Molly loved her Daddy's soup and charmed her way into eating half the bowl. This sweet girl has a daddy that really loves her, he rarely shares food with me.


What is making you smile this month? 

Jun 29, 2015

Sweet N' Low Truck Tour #DontHesitaste

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Sweet’N Low. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”





Every summer since moving to North Carolina my family attends the Peak City Pig Fest. It's an awesome BBQ festival with tons of booths and fun activities for the kids. My kids love trying the award winning BBQ and playing in the kids area. What kid wouldn't love an area filled with bounce houses and games to play? We pretty much eat and play our way through the festival and have a great time. 

Last year the BBQ chicken pizza was the kid favorite. 


This year we stopped by the Sweet'N Low's national truck tour to check out their iced tea sweeten with Sweet'N Low. I warned the kids going in that mommy needed to work there and that we would be in that area a little longer than normal. What I didn't realize was that I would eventually have to drag them out of the truck area so other families could enjoy it. 

They had a blast!




There were a few activities for the kids to do at the truck. They took several pictures with the props and played corn hole for almost an hour. I should mention that the festival was on an extremely hot and humid day so going to a truck with tons of shade and iced tea was welcomed! 

Growing up my best friend's mom always had ice tea in the kitchen. We used Sweet'N Low to sweeten our tea back then and her tea was my favorite. After moving away from the South I stopped drinking iced tea since it wasn't served very often and when it was the tea was awful! There is no comparison to Southern Iced Tea, 


Trying a sample and enjoying the shade!


I forgot how much I love iced tea! After taking one sip of that tea it was like going back 25 years in time. I instantly remembered just how sweet Sweet'N Low makes the tea, but without all the calories! One pink packet of Sweet’N Low is about as sweet as two teaspoons of sugar.Talk about a win/win for this mom! If it's also been years since you've tried Sweet'N Low, you need to try it again. I bet you'll like it as much as I did.

Even more surprising was that my husband liked the ice tea. He normally hates ice tea but he liked it at the Sweet'N Low truck. He grew up with sweet flavored tea and never liked it. I'm shocked that I actually found some ice tea that he will drink but I'm not complaining. He needs an alternative to soda! Clearly a company that has been around for 56 years has stood the test of time for a reason. Check out the Sweet'N Low truck tour schedule to see when they will be in your area so you can try their sweetened beverages for yourself. While you're there, stay awhile to play and have some fun. 




While you're at the truck, be sure to take some pictures and enter their #DontHesitaste contest. Sweet’N Low’s “Don’t Hesita(s)te” represents that moment when you hesitate before tasting something, which means you could be missing out on something great! For me and my sweet tooth it usually means I skip dessert. Growing up I only used Sweet'N Low to sweeten my drinks but now they have recipes using their product for desserts as well. Now there is no excuse, #DontHesitaste anymore when it comes to treats. 

To enter the #DontHesitaste photo contest, upload a picture of your favorite Sweet’N Low-sweetened drink for a chance to win money, prizes and more! To be considered you must use the hashtags #DontHesitaste and #contestentry in your post.

My daughters liked the props and posed for many pictures for the contest. Of course mom had to get into at least one picture! 



Want to learn more about Sweet'N Low product or their #DontHesitaste contest? Visit Swett'N Low on their website and on Facebook for more information. And don't forget to check out their truck tour. Chances are they are coming to an event near you. 

Is the SweetN' Low truck coming to your area? What is your #DontHesitaste moment? 

Jun 26, 2015

Sleep Away Camp Confessions

I confess....
We go to the pool almost everyday.



I confess....
The pool is basically a sleeping pill for my kids. When we go to the pool they fall asleep instantly when we put them to bed at night.

IT
IS
AWESOME!

I confess....
My daughter is going to camp on Sunday. She is jumping out of her skin excited. I hope that excitement continues, it will kill me if she doesn't want us to leave when we drop her off.

Camp Open House Event


I confess....
It will be interesting to see the change in dynamic next week with one kid gone. My twins give me a run for my money and really like to team up against their older sister.

I confess....
I'm hoping things will go smoother next week with one less kid but something tells me it will be harder. Isabella is the one who clues me in when they are misbehaving.

I confess....
I am looking forward to cooking next week with my picky eater at camp. I had a fantastic time planning all the meals she hates and complains about but everyone else loves.

I might not be a good person based on that last confession.

I confess....
I know I'm going to miss my girl but I also know she's going to have a fantastic time. I loved camp as a kid.

I wish I could go for a week.

Without my family.

I mean I would take my husband but someone has to watch the kids :)


What are you confessing this week?


Jun 25, 2015

Enchilada Style Pulled Pork Stuffed Shells

There is nothing I love more than putting a pork butt into the Crock Pot and getting the world's best pulled pork after eight hours. I love pulled pork sandwiches but using the pulled pork in other dishes is actually my favorite part of making pulled pork. Last summer I made a grilled pulled pork pizza that quickly became a family favorite and top requested leftover dinner.

This spring I set out to make a pasta dinner that I could use with the leftover pulled pork. I tried a few macaroni and cheese dishes that missed the mark and then hit the jackpot with some stuffed shells. It's a dish that happened by accident and then was repeated many times.

My husband wanted pulled pork enchiladas and I realized when I went to make dinner that I was out of corn tortillas. There was no way I was running to the store at 5 o'clock with three kids. I looked into my pantry and since enchiladas were on the brain I decided to make an enchilada pasta.



Everyone loved these shells except my oldest who is beyond picky when it comes to meat. I made hers without the meat and she liked them. I didn't use the whole box of shells when I made this dish. You could easily add more pork to finish the shells but I was out of pork the first time I made them. Instead of throwing them away I made some ricotta stuffed shells since I had everything on hand for that dish. I liked having two types of stuffed shells so I continued the trend every time I made these shells.

The best part about this meal is that you can make them ahead of time. When life gets busy I like to prep meals over the weekend or at least the night before so all I have to do is pop it in the oven. You can make this meal up to three days ahead of time, just cover with foil and store in the fridge. If you do make it ahead of time bring the dish to room temp on the counter (about 30 minutes) before cooking it.

I hope this will become one of your family's favorite pulled pork leftover recipes.

Enchilada Style Pulled Pork Stuffed Shells

Ingredients
1 box jumbo shells
2 cups pulled pork
1 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 can chili beans
1 can corn - drained
2 cups enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare the jumbo shells according to package directions.
2, Meanwhile chop the veggies and shred the cheese.
3. Combine pork with the chopped veggies, drained corn, and chili beans in a large bowl.
4. In a 9"X13" pan put a thin layer of enchilada sauce.
5. Once the shells are cooked and drained, stuff them with the pork mixture and place in the 9"X13" pan.
6. Once the pan is full top the shells with the remaining enchilada sauce.
7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Remove foil and top the shells with the shredded cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let the dish rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Jun 23, 2015

Tips on Sending Your Child to Camp



My daughter is heading off to camp for the first time on Sunday. She is very excited and we are excited for her, my husband and I loved going to camp when we were kids. We attended an open house for the camp in April which was great since we were able to talk to the staff about what to expect and experience the camp. The open house got my daughter excited about camp and reminded us why camp is so much fun. I'm not going to lie, I wish I could sneak away to camp for a week.

I went zip lining with my daughter while we were there. 

I'm teaming up with MinuteClinic to bring you some tips in this sponsored post on how to prepare your child for camp. From what to pack to what to do if your child gets poison ivy at camp, these tips from MinuteClinic will help you. 

No trip to camp is ready without a pre-camp physical. You can take your child to a MinuteClinic near you to make sure your child is in good health for camp. MinuteClinic's nurse practitioners and physician assistants are ready to:

  •  Review health history and immunizations 
  •  Perform a thorough physical exam 
  • Complete and stamp required paperwork


Before you leave for camp, make sure your camper is ready. I'm not talking just about packing, they need to be ready to leave home.
  • Stay in Touch - Ask if the camp offers ways to connect with your camper, such as email or by phone.  At my daughter's camp they allow one way email so we can write to her everyday, but no phone calls. Include some of the things you are doing at home and make it upbeat. You don't want your letter to make them sad they aren't with home. 
  • Talk to Your Child - Let your children know that it’s okay to be worried, a little nervous, or to miss home at first. Be encouraging and remind them that this will be an adventure and home will be there when they return. 
  • Pack Something Familiar - If they’re ever feeling homesick, a trinket from home can be comforting – whether it’s a photo, blanket, stuffed animal or their favorite toy. Ask your camp what is OK to bring, we are sending a family picture and a stuffed animal with our daughter. 
  • Have Them Log Their Trip Encourage your children to preserve camp memories. Disposable cameras and journals are great mediums for them to share their experiences with friends and family, and to relive their adventure. 
With camp right around the corner my daughter is starting to get a little nervous. I told her that she might get a little homesick, especially at night when she's going to sleep and that it's normal. But then I reminded her that it's OK to have fun at camp and be a little homesick. Kids need to know that they can still have fun even if they miss home. 

Remind your kid that s'mores are a must at camp!

Once you're ready to pack make sure you check what your child's camp wants you to bring as well as anything that is not allowed. At my daughter's camp they want rain gear since we live in a rainy area but they do not allow electronics of any kids. They also don't allow any food. It's good to have what they recommend, but there are a few extra items that you might want to pack. 
  • First and foremost, your child is never fully packed without a camp physical. Physicals ensure your campers are in good health before they head off for a schedule full of physical activity 
  • Sun protection: broad spectrum sunscreen (this protects against UVB and UVA rays), lip balm with SPF, and 100% UV protection sunglasses 
  • A small first aid kit: bandages, antiseptic, poison ivy cream and insect and bite relief cream. 
  • A flashlight and spare set of batteries. 
  • Medications with dosage instructions. Remember to inform camp staff of your child’s specific medical needs. 
  • If you child has allergies, make sure to inform staff and provide the appropriate over-the-counter or prescription medications. 
Hopefully your child will have a wonderful camp experience and everything goes smoothly. Once camp is over MinuteClinic again with any bug bites, poison ivy, or sunburn problems just in case everything didn't go smoothly. 

Are you sending a child to camp this summer? Do you have any tips that will make camp great for kids? 





Jun 17, 2015

Motherhood is a Marathon

I've never run a marathon since I despise running. I blame swimming my whole life, whenever we got in trouble for anything in swimming we had to run. Still to this day in my head running is punishment.

Even though I've never run a marathon, I get the concept. You have to pace yourself and refuel your body during the race. That is the whole point of the refueling stations after all.

If you go into a marathon at a full sprint you won't run a good race. You may not be able to finish at all.

Motherhood is a marathon and yet so many of us are treating it as a sprint.

How many times have you said.....

you don't have time to exercise? 
you don't have time to see the doctor?
you don't have time to see friends?
I haven't sat down all day?

And all the other excuses that we moms are famous for?



I know that I'm just as guilty as the next mom. I went for my annual check up 6 weeks late because I didn't make the time for my appointment. My doctor was less than impressed seeing as how I need to get blood work down for my medications before he can refill my prescriptions. I was less than impressed with my blood pressure and weigh in after not working out as often as I did before I went back to work.

I kept saying I didn't have time but that's not true, I simply put myself last.

Why?
Why do we do that?

I don't know why but I don't like it. I'm going to try to stop my sprinting ways and realize that I'm running a marathon. I need to stop at the stations and refuel. That means putting myself first occasionally to recharge physically and spiritually.

After all, I can't take care of anyone else if I'm not taking care of myself.



Jun 10, 2015

How to Get Kids to Sleep In

My youngest daughter has a really annoying habit, she wakes up at the crack of dawn. And nothing and I mean nothing will convince this child to sleep in. We've tried blackout curtains, white noise machines, keeping her up later, putting her to bed earlier and nothing works.

She looks so angelic.......when it's not 5:30 in the morning.


How was I possibly going to start sleeping until 7am? That's all I want is to sleep until 7am.

OK that was a big fat lie, I want way more than that but sleeping until 7, but asking my kids to never argue again and eat everything I cook seems too far fetched. Even for my dreams.

I just want to sleep until 7 this summer.

So I did what any good parent would do, I bribed her.

That's right, I told her I would make cinnamon rolls if she didn't wake me up until 7 on the first morning of summer break. I wasn't sure if it was going to work but I knew she needed a little motivation to get things rolling.

It totally worked.

She stayed in her bed until 7! No 5:45 wake up from a little munchkin bribery works! For now.

Yes my kids came in my room screaming that it was 7 and time to wake up which scared me to death. Seriously I didn't need any coffee to get moving after that wake up call. We are working on how to nicely wake up mommy.

But so far so good, she is letting me sleep in. And I didn't have to offer up a bribe for today, that was a one day only deal.

I'm a total hypocrite over bribing my daughter to not wake me up and surprisingly I'm OK with it. I'm tired and there are no naps this summer, at the very least I need to sleep until 7.



After all the pool doesn't open until 10 :)

Do you have any tips for getting kids to sleep in? I'm willing to try anything. ANYTHING!
 
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