Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seattle's Best Frozen Coffee Blends {review & giveaway}.

>>>Disclosure: This is a sponsored post<<<

When I went to Blissdom back in March, one of my favorite things that I got to try was a Frozen Coffee Blend made by Seattle's Best. Oh my goodness yall, it was like heaven in my mouth. Which is why, when Seattle's Best contacted me to see if I'd be interested in doing a review of their frozen coffee blends, I jumped on the chance.

What's great about this product is that you can whip it up really fast; all you have to do is dump the package contents in the blender, add 8 oz of milk and blend away. That's it. Super easy to whip together for even the busiest of people.

Of course, if you're like me, you like to add a little pizzazz to things. Here's what we did to add our special little touch:
I like vanilla caramel flavored coffee. Doesn't matter if it's cold, frozen or hot, that's my go to flavor. So for the Frozen Coffee Blends base, I used Very Vanilla flavored (it also comes in other flavors like Creamy Caramel and Mega Mocha). Once the Coffee Blends was blended well and to the desired consistency (we added a bit more milk than the package called for, but that was just our personal preference), I stirred in a bit of the caramel syrup. Then topped with whipped cream-- because what frozen coffee is not complete without a little whipped cream-- and then drizzled more caramel on top. As a finishing touch, I added a few of the little chocolate mini marshmallows on top.

I enjoyed my Seattle's Best Frozen Coffee Blend on the back porch before church, but I think Drew beat me in how he froze the day away.....
sipping his Coffee Blends poolside (or should I say, sipping it while IN the pool ;) )
And for the record, Drew's never been a big frozen coffee person, but he LOVED this drink. Like, his eyes got big after he drank the first sip. We'll definitely be keeping this as one of our go-to coffee staples at our house this summer! 
Seattle's Best has partnered with me to offer 50 of my readers with a free coupon to try their Frozen Coffee Blends! 
To enter into the giveaway, simply leave a comment on the blog 
(entries must be logged through Rafflecopter in order to count... be sure I have your email so I can contact you if you win!).
This contest is open from 12am June 26, 2013 to 12am July 3, 2013
This contest is open to residents of the 48 contiguous states ages 18 and older.
1 entry per person/household.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Seattle's Best provided me with the Frozen Coffee Blends product to review, and is providing the coupons to giveaway to my readers. I was in no other way compensated, and all views and opinions are my own. To read my blogs full disclosure, click HERE.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fun in the Sun {Weekend in Review}.

We have had a fun family weekend this weekend. It's getting HOT here in Arkansas, so there's not much more that we really wanted to do but play at the pool.

Saturday we had all taken naps and Drew was still a bit tired, so we switched roles and I took the big boys to our neighbors pool while Drew and Tyler stayed home and slept. I actually liked the change of pace, and was happy to bond with the bigs alone for a little while. Of course, Connor had to go and make me laugh...
he cracks me up.

Sunday we went to church. The boys usually either watch a tv show or play on our tablet while Drew and I get ready. I love that they will sit and play together... they are such great friends and it just melts my heart.

After naps on Sunday we headed back to our neighbors pool (I should note that we have awesome neighbors that let us use their pool A LOT. We are so grateful for the blessing of good neighbors!). I lugged my big girl camera over to snap some pics of the boys in their summer element.
Tyler was all ready for his first big swim. How cute is he in his little swim suit?
he lasted all of the walk over (the pool is just right next door). And then he was out. This is what he did the entire time we swam. Also, I promise I didn't teach  him to flip the bird.
Drew cracked me up. He sat in the deep end and took it easy.

And then my bigs. They have my whole heart. I love them so, and love watching them swim. It makes them so happy, and they will do the funniest things in the water.

One of Connor's favorite things to do is to be thrown in the air at the pool. Thank goodness his daddy is strong... he will ask to do this all day long!
this picture made me laugh. I was about to delete it when I was editing pictures, and then I noticed Brayden in the bottom left corner. Hilarious.

Hope yall had a good weekend too! If you need us this week, we'll likely be in the pool more, as the highs are going to be in the mid-90s all week.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

From 2 to 3 {The Transition to 3 Kids}.

I'm slightly scared to even write about transition, as if somehow my written words will jinx the good thing we have going so far. And by good thing I mean the fact that I don't feel like I'm going to lose my ever loving mind by the time 5pm rolls around (most days).

But I'm not about to hold my breath and wait 3 years to type this post. Because Lord knows if there is one thing I've learned in parenting, is that nothing stays consistently consistent. As a mom I live in a world of near daily change. So for now, this is what I know.

Going from 2 kids to 3 kids has been (so far, knock on wood) easier for me than the transition from 1 to 2. Way, way easier (please know that while I say easier, I say it with a grain of salt. This aint no walk in the park, otherwise I wouldn't be living off of massive amounts of caffeine and chocolate). I'm not really sure why I feel like things are easier this go 'round. But there are certainly a few variables that I've been able to nail down so far. Here are my thoughts on why number 3 hasn't been quite the push into the deep end like I was anticipating it to be......

- A surprise baby made for a rocky transition to two. If you've read my blog for very long, you'll know that Connor was a big, BIG surprise. Hindsight is always 20/20, and Connor was and is the perfect addition to our family at the perfect time. But to my mortal mind, I was not ready for another child. I think that since I was not prepared mentally, the entire transition took longer for me to warm up to, even after the second baby had arrived.
- the age gap of 19 months compared to 2.5 years is STAGGERING. Dear Lady at the supermarket during the winter of 2010, you were right. 19 months is a GREAT age difference and my boys are best of friends now. Thanks for that tidbit of encouragement as they were both screaming in the buggy during checkout. I double heart love you. But let's be honest... when Connor was born, I had two babies on my hands. It's not like I could request a 19 month old toddler to run to another room to grab an extra blanket or a paci. I had to do EVERYTHING myself. And trying to nurse while entertaining a toddler is like trying to walk a cat on a rainy day... it just aint happening. So the age difference of my first and second children, while fabulous now that they are a bit older, was quite the juggling act at first. Of course, we still have episodes with entertaining two preschoolers that end in grill tipping disasters, but thankfully that's not every day. At least for now, anways ;)
- More stability in the husband's career. God certainly had a sense of humor when he sent us our second born deep in the throws of a new career path and the middle of an MBA program. Even if we had only one child on our hands during that time, I'm sure we would have been strained. Two children under the age of two? God bless us, I'm not even sure how we survived. That entire season was such a blur.I sometimes feel bad that I don't remember more of Connor's infancy than normal. Thank goodness for blogging, otherwise I'm sure I'd never be able to retell stories of what he did during that first year of life.
- I'm more laid back this go 'round. I remember when Brayden was a newborn and my best friend telling me that when your kids are newborns it's SO easy. And I laughed at her and thought she had fallen off her high seated rocker and bonked her head.  When you're a first time parent, the newborn stage is the hardest stage and you think you're going to die and never do anything else outside of your home again... at least that's how I felt. And then you have a second child, and things loosen up a little. You realize that you can venture out of the house without showering. Sure, people may look at you funny, but it's either their crazy stares or you and your children all going crazy yourselves. And then you have a third child and you just realize that for the next 5-10 years showering may be a distant memory, but that sweet little newborn will only be this little one time and the smell of brand new newborn diapers and cute little teeny tiny onesies are worth more than personal hygiene. There were points during Brayden's infancy that I found myself weepy in despair that my child might never ever nap, and now at those same points I find myself weepy in grief that my little bitty baby won't be little forever and he most surely won't want to hug me and snuggle under my chin (or fit under my chin for that matter!). [double sidenote: I had one of those "let's cry all day unless my mom holds me" type of days today. It's still not fun. But it doesn't fluster me NEAR as much as it did before, so I like to think that I've made progress in this department.] If you're a mom of a newborn and it's your first child, RELISH THE LITTLE MOMENTS. Because sooner than you'll like, they'll be sitting in the back seat asking 1039128 "why" questions and wanting to know if they can purchase every single item at the checkout counter and all you'll want to do is just get the heck out of the supermarket without spending $250 on cheap crap made in foreign country. And GOD BLESS NEWBORN BABIES.
- I now know that if my baby cries, he doesn't die, and that I can attend to more than 1 crying child at a time. Sometimes I laugh at my past self. Because my past self would have freaked if the baby cried while I was trying to do something. So I sat paralyzed on the couch a lot of days. Then the transition to two kids stressed me out even more. The first time both kids are crying I swear is the most horrifying experience of parenting. Which one do I attend to first? Will the first born come to regret the second born if the second born gets first preference during simultaneous crying matches? These thoughts ran through my mind. Seriously. Somehow we all survived. I'll leave it to Brayden's counseling sessions when he's an adult to decide if he harbors bitterness for preferential treatment during simultaneous crying.

And finally...

-I can firmly believe that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. As a first time parent, it's easy to doubt the veterans that tell you that it will be over soon. Because the thoughts run through your mind that maybe your child is just different and they'll always wake up 3 times to nurse in the middle of the night and blow explosive poop all over you right before you leave for church. Sometimes when you're in the middle of the foggy season (that's what I call these little years, because I do indeed feel as though sometimes I'm walking this parenting path in dense, dense fog), it's easy to forget that millions of other people have birthed, parented and lived to tell the tales of their own foggy seasons, and they (well, most of them) still function like normal human beings. Clinging to the fact that this too shall pass gives perspective during those times when you're just not sure you can handle one more incident of 45 minute intruders or explosive poopy diapers or spit up down your back or 3 days in a row of not showering. Perspective is like a parents best friend. I like perspective. And if you need me, you'll find me clinging to her as I stomp my way through these foggy days of motherhood.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tyler {1 Month Old}.

Dear Tyler:

Today marks one month of you being on this earth. I'll go ahead and admit that I'm clinging to every day a bit tighter this go 'round. I feel like I finally can see through this foggy stage of newborn nights and millions of poopy diapers, to realize that time indeed does travel fast, and before I know it you won't be a rolly polly baby who wants only to snuggle. If I could freeze time, I certainly would. You are definitely a sweet baby and I'm enjoying every minute that you're little.
I have loved this last month with you. Seeing your brothers love on you has been precious for me. Watching your daddy interact with another little boy just melts my heart. He's a good one, that dad of yours. I hope all three of you boys will grow up like him. The world will be a better place if you do.
Tyler, you don't know it now, but you're fiercely loved. Your brothers are super protective of you, and hate to see you cry or in discomfort. Your daddy and I, well, we're pretty big fans of yours too. I can't wait to watch you grow and am so glad that God chose us to be your parents. We love you little man!
::1 month summary::
  • weighed 8.5lbs and was 20.5 inches long at just under 3 weeks old. I have no idea how much he weighs at just over 4 weeks, but I'd venture to say it's at least 10 pounds.
  • wears mostly 0-3 month clothes (some newborn stuff still fits, but it's getting snug).
  • wears size 1 diapers. He can wear Huggies and Pampers interchangeably, which is nice since we got so many diapers as gifts.
  • exclusively breastfed, but takes a bottle like a champ (we're using Tommee Tippee bottles and Similac bottles). He eats every 3 hours during the day, and wakes up twice during the night (usually at 2:30 and 5:30).
  • He has tried to suck his thumb since he came out of the womb, but I have battled it with a vengeance. I feel like I'm finally gaining traction with him and a paci. He pretty much has to have the paci all the time now, especially to go to sleep. I know a lot of people will say that this is not a positive thing, but after having a baby who LOVED a paci (Brayden) and one who never too one (Connor), I can vouch that the paci helps A LOT and I for one am a big BIG fan. 
  • takes atleast 3 naps a day. I'm not really tracking naps and a schedule that much, other than just making sure we follow eat/wake/sleep.
  • I started letting him nap in his crib on his tummy. I was SO hesitant to do this, but he won't really nap any other way (unless it's on me), and I just have too much to do during the day to lay on the couch. Sometimes he'll nap in the swing or baby carrier too.
  • He has really "woken up" from his newborn slumber this past week, and will focus intently on objects/people.
  • Given nicknames include: T.Paul, Ty Ty, Ty, Booger, Boo, and of course, the boys both call him "baby Tywee", so we sometimes even call him that :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Big/Little Brother Shirts.

Before Tyler was born, I was on the search for cute, matching big/little brother shirts. The problem was, everything I found that I liked was SUPER DUPER expensive. Like, $30-45 per shirt expensive.

Sorry folks. I have boys, and boys ruin clothes rather quickly. Aint no way I'm paying that much for a t-shirt.

So I kept looking and finally found some at Carters that I liked. $7-8 per shirt is much more reasonable and gentler to the pocketbook.

I took the t-shirts to my local embroidery store and had the boys names put on them, and -voila- personalized shirts for a fraction of the boutique cost.
I'm so blessed to have these three little guys in my life.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day Weekend.

In case you haven't logged onto social media today, it's Fathers Day.

I didn't tweet/facebook/instagram cute pictures of my baby daddy with his kiddos. I feel like I slighted him a little by not doing this. I'm sorry Drew. Hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me.

I did take the time to snap a picture of all of my boys together before church today.
They're a crazy bunch, these boys of mine. I double heart love each of them so much.

We had a good Fathers Day today. We made it to church on time, which is always a thing to celebrate when you have 5 people to get ready and out of the door. We treated Drew to Mexican food for lunch (and only had one meltdown between 3 kids, which is also a reason to celebrate), and then during naptime I sent him out to replace his grill. It had been on it's last leg for a while, but Friday while I was nursing Tyler, the big boys pretty much killed it.
(sidenote: the boulder that was keeping the grill in balance (yes, we're classy folks) fell on my toe when I tried to lift the grill back up. Pretty sure my toenail will fall off now. It was like a double dose of awesome, all while the baby was crying because his nursing session had been interrupted. I live a comical life. Also, please note the sidewalk chalk art on the grill.)
Hope you all had a good Fathers Day weekend too!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

These Are the Boys of Summer.

On most days, my backyard is filled with the laughter of two little boys.
Little boys who, like most boys, like to play with the least amount of clothes possible.
These boys get dirty, grimy and smell quite gross.
And I love every second (well, almost every second) of watching them enjoy the grubby dirty days of summer.
They are the boys of summer, and they make me smile.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Angel Baby.

It aint easy being this cute...
... But somebody's gotta do it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

First Day As a Mom of 3 {High/Low Edition}.

Well, I did it. I survived my first day on my own as a mom of three kids.

Truth be told, this has not been near as intimidating to me as converting to a mom of two. I'm not sure if the difference is because I'm more laid back, because my kids are older (lest we all forget that Brayden was only a mere 19 months when Connor was born... so I really had 2 babies!) or because I have so many people praying for me that the supernatural peace of God has subdued what would otherwise be my crazy mind.

We definitely had our highs and lows today, as most days do. And so I won't forget about my first day as a solo mom of three, here's my brief synopsis.

{high} Drew fed the big boys breakfast before leaving for work, which meant that I had time to feed myself before Tyler woke up. All 3 big people fed before 8am? yes, please.
{low} the amount of time it takes to load 3 kids into the car by myself. I grossly underestimate this time EVERY time we've gone out. Thankfully we made it to Brayden's swim lessons on time.
{high} Brayden's swim lessons. This forced me to be out of the house, which for our family, results in everyone being mostly happy. It breaks up the monotony, which is a good, good thing.
{low} Both Connor and Tyler had had enough of the car by the time swim lessons let out, so I had two whiny (and one very hungry) kids in the car on the way home. I figured I'd get myself a quick bite to eat at McDonald's on the way home, to save time, which brings us to my next....
{low} McDonalds not being prepared with grilled chicken. I had to wait for 15 minutes for a wrap. During that 15 minutes Connor threw his water bottle on the floor, dislodging the spill-free spout and getting water all over the van. Tyler was simultaneously becoming more agitated by the fact that he hadn't eaten in 4 hours (he normally eats every 3) and that his pacis did not produce milk. It was a bitter screaming chorus of tiny voices. Only the noise was not so tiny. Have mercy.
{high} having a four year old who can be a helper. During our McDonalds episode, I asked Brayden to unbuckle and help stick a paci in the baby's mouth. His eyes got wide because I asked him to break our cardinal rule of not getting out of the car seat unless we're parked (which we were kind of parked in the drive thru, just to clarify). Who knew having an extra set of little hands would come in handy so well?
{high} biggie sized Dr Pepper and McD's fries. It's the fuel that got me home with two kids screaming.
{low} realizing that Tyler was not only hungry, but also had a near blow out diaper. Bless his poor little heart, I would have screamed too. These are the moments that humble me as a momma.
{high} all 3 kids napped at the same time. Meaning momma got a nap and a solo trip to the bathroom.
{high} it's FINALLY hot enough to swim in our neighbors pool....
{low} the boys couldn't swim this afternoon due to Brayden having a make up baseball game. They were both CRUSHED, and sat peeking through the fence slats for 30 minutes.
{high} friends who will bring dinner during the transition period. Not having to cook during newborn chaos makes my heart happy (and my tummy full).
{low} dealing with a 2 year old who wants to go to a ball game and not wanting to bring either him or his newborn brother to sit in the heat. Crying occurred (on the two year olds part. Not mine. I prefer air conditioning over summer heat, thank you).
{high} Chick-Fil-A cookies and free ice tea. They even though I said THREE iced teas instead of FREE iced tea, so I got 3 times as many as I needed. Awesome!
{low} realizing that Tyler has decided bathtime is not his friend.
{high} all boys in bed sleeping at a decent hour.

Overall it was a good day. I'm definitely pooped, but such is the life of a momma. And the best part is, that tomorrow's a new day. 

Tiny Tim Came Back.

Last year, we found a box turtle. Brayden called him Tiny Tim, after the little preschool song "Tiny Tim the Turtle." We let him go after a few days of fun, and we assured Brayden that someday he might be able to see him again.
That someday came two weeks ago.
Brayden was ECSTATIC. He ran outside and immediately said "oh Tiny Tim! We've missed you!" Lots of kisses were given, which meant that I had to restrain my germaphobic nature and allow boys to be boys.

There was a slight turtle poop incident that left everyone a bit dirty (to say the least), so Tiny Tim had to go back to his mommy a bit sooner than the boys wanted, which left everyone in tears. We're hoping that Tim returns again soon!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Crazy Lazy Week.

We've had a crazy lazy week this week. Drew and I decided that we wouldn't try to schedule our days while he was off, and just jump off a cliff when he goes back to work. So far that plan has worked out well for us this week; he's taken care of the big boys mostly, and I've been in charge of taking care of Tyler. Tomorrow when he goes back to work, well, it will definitely feel like we're jumping off a cliff. My two biggest concerns are when I will eat and go to the bathroom-- trying to do either of those tasks while 3 little ones are taking over the house adds just a little stress to my life :)

The boys have enjoyed unseasonably cooler weather (although they have both begged me to go swimming, so I'm sure they're ready for it to warm up). I snapped this picture of them yesterday on the four wheeler.... I love that they are such sweet friends.

our friends came over to play, and the kids watched Drew help our next door neighbor pump in concrete for a new patio. The boys were enamored with the big trucks.
Brayden's baseball season is almost over. Saturday he had a game, and afterward they got cupcakes. I'd say it was a hit :)

Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

2 Weeks Old.

Tyler's 2 weeks old.
Actually, he's really almost 3 weeks, if we're really keeping track and could blog on time. Aint nobody got time for that though. 
He had his newborn recheck today. Just to make sure he's gaining weight like he should.
And if there was any doubt before, there's definitely not now.
In a little over 2 weeks of life, Tyler has not only gotten back up to his birth weight, he's over achieved and gone and gained a pound and a half OVER his birth weight. That's right, weighs in at a hefty 8.5 pounds. Way to go, Ty-man!
On a more sad note, however, I had to open a case of size 1 diapers. I may have shed a tear. I don't like my babies growing up one bit. Someone send chocolate so I can grieve ;)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just a Little Bit of Tummy Time.

The hospital told me to try out tummy time, so we're trying it.
Tyler doesn't seem to care at all. He'll even nap like this if I let him!
his dimples get me every time.
so does this little view. It makes me squeal just a little.
he seems like such a serious thinker.
Such a tiring job being the littlest guy on the block.

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