October 2014Back Home Again: October 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Minnie Mouse Birthday

Cecily's 2nd birthday was last Saturday and she had a Minnie Mouse themed party with primarily family. It was a hit!


I, of course attempted to Pinterest her party with Minnie Mouse cupcakes and strawberry bows in addition to all the other goodies I made. Something I'm very proud of is the fact that almost everything was dye free and high fructose corn syrup free. I dipped my homemade rice krispie treats in white chocolate dyed pink with pureed strawberries and everyone loved them :-)



Cecily of course got lots of presents and had a blast. Because it was almost 80 degrees outside, the kids got to play in the backyard too. They were having so much fun that I had to bring the cupcakes to them so she could blow out her candles!


I'm so glad my baby big girl had a great day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Favorite Halloween Candy

My favorite candy ever is a 100 Grand bar. There's just something lovely about that gooey chocolate caramel rice krispie yumminess.


However, this is a post about Halloween and my favorite Halloween candy are the white chocolate KitKats that are orange. They're full of all sorts of stuff that we shouldn't eat, yet they are awesome. I normally purposely buy candy that I don't like so I don't eat it, but this year I bought my favorite for some reason. 

It's kind of a test to see if I can not get into it until after Halloween. 

Six days without my hand in the candy bowl and counting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Decorations

I posted about some of our fall decorations last year, but I wanted to share some of the things I picked up this year too.


We got that cute little witch this year. The kids love it and wanted a scarecrow too. 


We picked up this lighted Frankenstein at the fall craft show this year. It, along with our wreath is my favorite Halloween decoration.

It's hard to believe that Halloween is Friday and then it's November. This year has seriously FLOWN by!

What Halloween/Fall decorations are in your house?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

We haven't carved our pumpkins yet this year, so I thought I would show you a few from years past.

2006: First year of grad school.

2007: Second year of grad school.

2010

2011

Have you carved your pumpkins yet?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Cecily!

At 5:34 PM, my baby girl is officially two! Where have the last two years gone?


It seems like it was just yesterday that I was in labor on our wedding anniversary, debating on when to go to the hospital. Now we're celebrating this little girl's birthday.


She may be the messiest little girl I know, but she has so much fun. She loves her mommy, her daddy (when mommy isn't around!) and her big brother. She has to do everything he does and be just like him.


She is very attached to her mommy and wants to be with me almost all the time. She's still nursing about once a day and even though I'm more than ready for her to wean, I do it because I know she's not ready. She's full of so much joy and I just love watching what all she gets herself into. 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! I love you to the stars and back!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Years Later...

Even though we celebrated in September, today is our actual wedding anniversary. 


I cannot believe we've been married five years already. 


I know I have posted about my wedding before, but I just love looking at the photos. The theme was elegant harvest and it encompassed everything I love about fall.



And you can't forget the cupcakes! I have friends that still talk about them - they were that good.


The day wasn't perfect - believe me, there were a few mishaps. My mother choking at the reception being one!


But, overall it was amazing and one of the best days of my life. And, we got the best anniversary present almost two years ago - that crazy little girl whose birthday is tomorrow!



I can't wait to see what the next five years has in store for us. Happy Anniversary my love!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

This past weekend we went to the pumpkin patch! We decided to go to a different one this year, a little further away, but the kids were free - and the best part for me, the pumpkins were included in our admission price - for us and the kiddos.



Not only did we get pumpkins, but the kids got to ride rides.



Have a rubber duck race. 


And play in a sandbox filled with corn!


There was also a corn maze and a hayride, but we decided not to do those since Alan was still not feeling very well. (He passed a kidney stone last week, poor guy!)

I'm so glad we decided to drive a little bit further and come here instead of our usual place. I think we have a new tradition.

And now...see how much they've grown!

 Nine months old

 22 months old

Almost three!

Almost one!

The Best Prank I've Ever Pulled Off

When I was I think a senior in high school, I totally got my friends Keith and Quentin good.

There was a subdivision called Devil's Hollow out in the woods and it was supposedly haunted. So, of course one night we decided to go out there and explore. This was when I had my convertible and since it was a stick shift I could slip the key out while it was in neutral, making it look like the car broke down. 

Well, my car "broke down" in the dark in the middle of the woods in the then under construction subdivision. So, I decided to go knocking on doors for help and left my friends in the car. 

I doubled back through the woods, grabbed a stick and crawled up behind the car. Then I started knocking on convertible roof of the car. 

Scared the you know what out of my friends...and just had a good laugh thinking about it!

Keith and I ran into each other at Laguardia Airport on our way back from Montreal!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Things I Love About Autumn

I love autumn. Love it.

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The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania...from our first fall foliage trip together.

I may be a December baby, but my heart lies with autumn. The changing leaves, the crisp temperatures, pumpkins everywhere, hayrides, bonfires, Halloween...there's pretty much nothing I don't like about this time of year. 


I recently spent a week in the Smoky Mountains for work. While I wish Alan had been with me (sorry Hallie!) because we always try to take a fall foliage trip together each year, the scenery was beautiful. The epitome of what I like about this time of year.



We're planning on taking a fall foliage hike through one of the nearby parks sometime soon...I cannot wait!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers and Natural Care Wipes: A Review

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
 
Ever since Ewan was a newborn, Huggies has been my favorite brand of diapers. We've been using Snug & Dry and Natural Care wipes going on four years now with both him and Cecily. Did you know that Huggies
have a SureFit* design for up to 12 hours of leakage protection? I can attest that this works. We always put the kids in Huggies before bed and they would sleep all night with no leakage. They also have a flexible waistband for your little one's comfort.
 

I won't use any other type of wipes. Huggies Triple Clean layers are thick instead of super thin and it seems like you use less of them while changing a diaper. Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I definitely don't like feeling what I'm cleaning up through the wipe. Something that I think is really awesome is that you can also use wipes for all sorts of things other than cleaning your baby's bottom. We use them to wipe faces, clean stains off of clothes and my favorite - cleaning marker and crayon off of the floors and walls!


My daughter LOVES to color, which is great. I love to encourage my kids' creativity....except that her preferred place to color is the floor or herself! She recently colored a wonderful purple picture for us...all over her belly and right after that night's bath. Our Huggies Natural Care wipes were a lifesaver because they cleaned her stomach so she didn't wind up taking her second bath of the night.
 
 
The wipes also come in designer tubs, soft packs, stylish containers and pop up tubs to meet all of your needs. I have several of these containers located throughout the house and in the car that I just refill as needed. I haven't tried it yet, but my husband and I were just discussing also using the wipes in the car to clean the dashboard. I'll let you know how it goes!

Target currently has several coupons right now for $0.50 off Huggies wipes and $1 off Huggies Snug & Dry diapers. You better believe I used them the last time I purchased diapers and wipes, which I did online using Target's in-store pickup program. Let me just say that if it hadn't have been for the store manager that day, that my experience would've been completely negative. We have two Target stores in my city and I never have a problem with in-store pickup at the location near my job, but every time I attempt to use it at the location near my house, there's an issue. I figured I would try the location near my house out again since purchasing online and just running in to pick up your items at Guest Services is supposed to be so much faster than waiting through the checkout line. I should've known that this time would be no different than all the times before. The team member first couldn't find my order, then there was an issue with my coupon, then there was an issue with my gift card - all of these things culminated in having to cancel my order and start from the beginning. I will admit I was quickly losing my patience, but with two tired and hungry children, it's no wonder. The store manager came up and was awesome in helping me sort out the issues, going above and beyond what she had to do - she even let me use the Target app on her phone since it wasn't working on mine!

However, I will never use in-store pickup again at that particular location. Which is why I am so glad Target is launching a new subscription program for automatic shipments of diapers, wipes and other baby and household essentials. Now I don't have to worry about even going to the store for products we use all the time since they'll automatically be resupplied when we're running low on a resupply schedule set by me. Probably the best thing about this new program is that you save 5% when you subscribe. As someone who loves Target and loves saving money this is awesome! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Angel Mounds Corn Maze

Saturday we went to the night time corn maze at Angel Mounds State Historic Site, which is about five minutes from our house.


You might remember that I posted about Angel Mounds last spring during my Travel Thursday series. It's a pre-contact Native American city comprised of numerous mounds. 

Friends of ours invited us to go to the corn maze with them and the kids had a blast finding their way with their flashlights.We had to find eight Native American gods throughout the maze and they got a piece of candy at each stop. Afterwards they got a smores kit and could play games if they wanted. 


Of course they just wanted to eat the smores :-) 

We all had a really good time and I'm so glad we went this year. Here's to more fall fun this coming weekend!

Don't forget to enter here for your chance to win two tickets to the opening session of LEGO KidsFest Indianapolis on November 7, 2014 from 4-8:30PM!

http://www.usfamilyguide.com/blogpromos/364/leaderboard_legokidsfest-indy-leaderboard.gif

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My Favorite October Memory

I actually have two. October 24, 2009 and October 25, 2012.

The day I married my best friend:


And the day my daughter was born:


But, since these fall in October, you'll just have to wait until October 24 and 25 to learn more about them!
 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Let It Go

I've been thinking about something a friend of mine said to me recently:

The ultimate lesson that took me too long to learn was to let it go. I'm not their friend, I can't make them be my friend (my true friend), and trying isn't worth it. It sucks but you'll be so much happier when you move on.

This was so eloquently stated and I can't get this out of my head. 

I'm the kind of person that puts my heart and soul into the relationships around me and I always wind up hurt because that effort isn't reciprocated. It's such a conundrum because I am so tired of constantly being in a state of being hurt and upset by this kind of thing, yet that's who I am. 

How do you change something that deeply ingrained about yourself? Especially when it's something that you value as a good trait - being kind unto others - and don't want to turn into a less caring person.

There have been some events recently that have left me deeply hurt and I just can't do this anymore. This isn't good for my health and I'm tired of always feeling like crap and like there's something wrong with me.

So, I am re-evaluating everything. Friendships, relationships with family members, organizations I'm associated with. Everything. 

I'm not a quitter, so I will finish out things I have already committed to or that I have paid for. But aside from that, we'll see. If it means that the only people I talk to are Alan and the kids, then so be it I guess. 

At least I know I'll be around people that really value me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis and a GIVEAWAY!

I was given 4 tickets to attend the opening night of LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis as well as 2 tickets to use in a give-away. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials. All opinions are my own.

We attended LEGO® KidsFest in Louisville in 2013 and it was seriously awesome! While Ewan loved it and had a blast, I think Alan and I had more fun that he did. We are all so so excited to attend in Indianapolis this year!

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If you don't know what LEGO KidsFest is, it's a giant traveling LEGO expo that's coming to the Indianapolis Convention Center from Nov. 7 - 9, 2014. There are millions of LEGO bricks, which include construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends, LEGO Chima, LEGO Star Wars, live LEGO Master Builders that covers three acres of space. Tickets sell out crazy fast so I encourage you to purchase yours online soon if you plan on going.

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This is no joke, it's a convention center filled with LEGO bricks! Did you know that there are about 62 LEGO bricks for every one of the world's six billion inhabitants? I wonder how many there are for each person who attends LEGO KidsFest...

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Guess what? I'm giving away two tickets to attend the opening session of LEGO® KidsFest in Indianapolis on November 7, 2014 from 4-8:30PM! Enter here to win. I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGOKidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities. Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG!

Maybe I'll see you there!

http://www.usfamilyguide.com/blogpromos/364/leaderboard_legokidsfest-indy-leaderboard.gif

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Favorite Starbucks Seasonal Drink

As you might know, I'm kind of a Starbucks addict :-)

If I could afford it, monetarily and calorie-wise, I would visit everyday. I love it. But, I don't want to gain tons of weight drinking calorie bombs disguised a yummy coffee drinks nor do I want to be more broke than I already am. 

So, I go to Starbucks on occasion, mainly before I head out of town for work or as a special treat. My go-to drink is a half-caf skinny cinnamon dolce latte. However, the fall and Christmas time bring all the yummy drinks out.

Pumpkin spice lattes, salted caramel mochas, peppermint mochas - it's all too much! I know they're full of not so great things for you, so I don't drink them often, but I would have to say that my favorite is definitely the salted caramel mocha. That mixture of salty and sweet is just so good!

Making Melissa
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