Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"...Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"





The Jackson 5's " I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" sparked a "Santa Myth Debunked" conversation on our car ride home the other night. With the two youngest asleep and the radio playing all my favorite holiday songs I was sort of a deer in headlights to the whole ordeal. It started with our 7 year old son shouting "What?!" in response to Michaels lyrics. Quickly followed by an "I know right..." from our 9 going on 19 year old daughter. While navigating through the conversation and traffic I overhear "just gross" and then nonchalant as always, A.C. our oldest, chimes in, "Are you going to tell them, or should I?".

Shocked and slightly amused I give her the go ahead. I mean, what better way than through song...and a classic at that. A.C. breaks it down and ends with "...so, your parents are your Santa Claus". Nicely done A.C.
Not to be one upped, of course the nine year old "kinda knew that already". Here she comes with a plethora of questions. I brake. Uggh, stop and go traffic and it's only snow flurries...get it together people.

 Before she gets her first few past her lips my sweet 7 year old son almost with tears in his voice says so loudly, "OR, maybe the Dad is one of Santas Helpers, he has lots of helpers you know". We all pause. A knowing pause. It's too soon, he still wants to believe and we let him. I agree with him and shift the conversation to "the Spirit of Christmas". Afterall, Santa Claus can be your parents, relatives, a lover, a stranger or a blessing from The Most High. Last year they each became SecretSantas (click to read about it) to one another and those are the types of memories and lessons I pray they hold fast to through the years

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guess what?

Or shoud I say 'who'? 


We're expecting! :) 

Monday, August 11, 2014

30 day Green Smoothie challenge complete!


So I've completed the thirty day Green Smoothie challenge!! I'm proud to say that I didn't miss one day. Well technically one smoothie was made and consumed after midnight but I still had at least one smoothie every twenty four hours for thirty(32 technically) days. Yay! I feel great! 

I think we all do! Here's a look back at some of our favorites!

This was Spinach, Pineapple and Coconut water.


Blueberry, Cherry & Strawberry. Another favorite, sometimes I'd add Almond milk and ground flax seed as well.

Of course you just can't go wrong with Blueberry Banana. Yumm!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Getting Back2School Ready with Cricut

This will be my first year teaching fourth grade and I'm a little nervous. I've started my classroom prep and decided that we'd have a word wall that also includes the ASL alphabet. My Cricut Expression2 machine allowed me to cut these letters with minimal frustration.




I like that I can connect my Cricut to my computer and access all the same great images available on cartridges. Once you get used to operating the Design Suite it's actually easier than using the Cricut alone. 




Cricut has a brand new machine out now, the Cricut Explore. If you're interested there's a link to the right. Meanwhile, check out there awesome machines, tools and crafting technology with the link below.

 

Where To for a Large Family

With summer travel in full swing I've been getting a lot of questions about "where to stay?" Especially where to stay for larger families. We are a family of seven and most hotels cannot accommodate our family size without asking "if we want two adjoining rooms???". No! With five children under the age of twelve we never want to pile all the kids in a room alone and ummmm, it's not a vacation if my husband and I can't share a room(we'd might as well be at home) lol!

Our go to place when traveling(outside of Disney that is) is Marriott's Residence Inn. Residence Inn offers one and two bedroom 'residences' equipt with all the amenities families need. Kitchens with apartment sized stove, refrigerator and dish washers; of course microwave, iron and great television channel selections. Most importantly they offer excellent breakfast buffets and awesome pools. Here are some photos of our most recent stay.
 




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Green Smoothie Challenge

My aunt recently invited me to try a 30 day Green smoothie challenge. We'd been talking about juicing, smoothies and overall just trying harder to eat and live well so I was so excited to start. 

To prep I simply added a few extras to our usual weekly grocery list. I wouldn't want to pulverize all of our green veggies into smoothies. Then what would the kids have to go with their pizza. 


I washed, cut and sorted out a few days of fruit and veggies for the smoothies. There are a ton of recipes out there and each combination contributes to our mental and physical health in various ways. To keep it simple I'm starting with fresh spinach, fresh cubed pear, 1/4 water and two ice cubes. 

We have a Ninja mixing system but any blender will do. Just be sure to cut and core your veggies according to your systems capabilities. Before we got this  one I worked the crap out of a Rival. 


This combination is said to give energy, help detoxify as well as aid digestion and manage weight. I'm getting everyone on board. Hubby likes the spinach and pear too. I think it's a great 'gateway' smoothie. Wait till he gets a load of the Kale and Swish Chard :) * blends.
 >insert awkward wicked laugh< 


The kids have always loved smoothies. But they like the berry banana yogurty yummy ones. As do I. It's the "green" smoothies that are a hard sell. Apparently they all love this apple and carrot combination. 

I'm hoping to continue my green smoothies beyond the thirty days; you know they say once you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit. Well....Cheers to day one!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

TheMommeBoutique

Hi Readers, Family, Friends! :) can you sense the smile that's on my face right now? Well...there is one. It's all because my Etsy shop is now open. It's called TheMommeBoutique and right now we have little girls Patriotic pillowcase dresses for sale. Available in Sizes 2T to 14. 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMommeBoutique?ref=search_shop_redirect

There are a number of different Patriotic themed patterns. Plus more styles coming soon. Head over and check it out. Follow, like if you please. Thank you...love you all!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Best Shoes 4 Summer Travel

Every year around this time I'm either shopping around or being asked 'where to find good traveling shoes'. This year it's been both. So that got me to thinking maybe I should write a blog post on the shoes that I think are best for summer fun and travel.

First up...for the little ones:


These are 'Trekkers' from LandsEnd. I love this for travel because these closed toes sandals protect kids feet very well. I also like that they come in a great array of colors for both boys and girls and NO LACES! No one wants to be stopping the fun to tie laces...especially not when your at any kind of park. Hopefully of the amusement or water variety! :)
There are quite a few companies who make variations of this shoe. My kids have also had the Jumping Beans brand available at Kohl's.

Now don't get me wrong gym or tennis shoes and socks are fine if you don't mind being hot and sweaty and stuffy on the foot all day. I also like the flip flops you can find around town for as little as 99 cents. They're great for the pool or splashing around but if you can find a Good closed toed sandal that protects the foot, let's them breath and is no hassle...Go for it!

For Mom and Dad: 
The boat shoe.

These Sebago leather shoes are nice but obviously if you invest in leather...just fly in them. The boat shoe is great for flying in because it slips on and off easily and if you've broken them in enough they're extremely comfortable.

Again, there are tons of options when it comes to the boat shoe. There are designers such as Prada and Sebago. Brands like Sperry and Polo as well as companies who make this style available at every price point. I found an awesome pair at Target a few ago.
These leopard print shoes are available at SperryTopsider.com. 

As for trekking across large parks, sporting around and the overall length of your stay I also recommend something similar to my kids pick. A shoe that you can walk, run and spend all day in comfortably. A shoe with the right support technology. 

These Keens are perfect for that purpose. They're available at a number of retailers including Scheels & DSW.


As are many shoes from the J-41 brand. I like to be able see my pedicure and I need some arch support. 

So whatever shoes you choose for your family's summer and travel needs I hope this blog post helped in some way. Thank you.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Still Sewing

In case you missed it, I've started sewing. I'll link that post here: http://lotsofloveandlaughs.blogspot.com/2014/06/sew-sew.html?m=1

We've decided to add it(sewing) to our 'Must Do on Summer Vacay' list. 

I've started out simple...with pillowcases. I found a great tutorial on YouTube, I'll link it here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MrYWCma9wgM

I've learned to press all the fabric before I sew so that the finished product comes out smoother.

I've also made some in satin.


:) I know right! 
Excuse my pie.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Neo To Go Plus Pain Relief

As you all may know from my blog post yesterday I'm participating in the Influenster TLC VoxBox campaign. One of the products I wasn't so sure how or when I'd get to review was the Neosporin  To Go plus Pain Relief. Well while making pretzels with the kids last night I cut my finger.

Now had I asked my eight year old to get the First Aid Kit from the pantry shelf and find this or that and unpackage something to end my pain...that might have taken FOREVER. Thanks to my Neo To Go plus Pain Relief (courtesy of Influenster) all I had to do was tell her to "grab my keys". One simple step. One easy thing for a kid to do while Momme is hurt. This Neosporin plus Pain Relief was a life saver yesterday because it REALLY was immediate pain relief. Pain relief in the palm of my hand.
My wound started to heal and the kids enjoyed their pretzels. Hence the Before & After below:
I did manage a few bites of cinnamon sugar buttery goodness. That helped too!  :)

Although I was sent this product complimentary from Influenster for testing and review purposes this is a VERY TRUE story and my absolute HONEST opinion. Thanks for reading!

First VoxBox

I've teamed up with Influenster and gotten my first VoxBox of products to try, to test, to review and promote. This Vox Box is called the TLC VoxBox for Moms on the Go. It includes some things for giving that Tender, Loving Care such as Ivory soap, NeoSporin Plus Pain Relief To-Go, Avon Anew and Puffs Plus Lotion to name a few.

As I review or promote each product on my Social Media channels I earn more product and in some cases gift cards and prize packs. 

I'd be especially excited to win one of the Ivory prize packs...mmmm, I just love the smell of Ivory in the Spring. They should definitely expand their product line!

This VoxBox also included a Shell a Fuel Rewards program card. Although there isn't a Shell gas station where I live I was able to use mine on a recent road trip home. 

The best part of this VoxBox aside from the prizes....the Breyers Gelato and the chance to win a years supply. Yum! 


Check out my latest pins all about building a fabulous date night for those stormy Spring nights...featuring what else??? Gelato!

http://www.pinterest.com/mrsrachelrenee/at-home-date-night/

  
Thanks Influenster, It's been fun!


"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."


Monday, June 16, 2014

New Music from David Gray

I was contacted by One2One Network to review music from Grammy Nominated artist David Gray.




I was initially somewhat hesitant to review this album because I'm fairly new to the Folk Rock genre. After listening to some of Grays past work including 'Babylon' and 'This Year's Love' I was extremely intrigued by his incredible songwriting. Grays tenth studio album is set to release tomorrow June 17th and music lovers are in for another array of incredible lyrics fused with beautiful melodies.



My favorites on the album are 'Beautiful Agony' and 'Girl Like You'. Mutineers is available for pre-order on iTunes: http://bit.ly/DavidGrayMutineersiTunes and Amazon: http://bit.ly/DGMutineersAmazon  .
I am honored to have been given a sneak peak at the 'Mutineers' album and have fast become a fan. If you get the chance check out the British singer songwriter sensation that is David Gray.

 http://www.davidgray.com/
 https://www.facebook.com/davidgray
 https://twitter.com/DavidGray
 https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealDavidGray
 http://instagram.com/davidgray

Although I received a free download of the album to review from One2One Network all opinions are my own, Thank you.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sew Sew

I've decided this is the summer I learn to sew. I can sew by hand but if it's more than a few buttons or a hem my hand cramps up. So I'm investing in learning to use a sewing maching and the first things on my list are...(drumroll please)....pillowcases. I want to make a bunch for the family. I figured my Dad could use some more in the coming weeks and the kids love any kind of craft, so they've been the perfect place to start.

Once I've stocked everyone with enough I plan to move on to decorative pillows, pencil skirts and maxi dresses. Wish me luck :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Moms' Wedding

Hello my beautiful blog readers. I've been super busy with the last couple of weeks with the end of the school year, preparing to go home for my Moms wedding and just everyday life responsibilities. We had a great time in Chicago even though our stay was uber brief. The wedding turned out beautiful and if I do say so myself my Mom was an absolutely gorgeous bride. The three oldest were in the wedding and our gruesome twosome were Honorary flower girl and ring bearer as well. We really enjoyed being with family. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Our Weekend




This weekend our oldest daughter turned ten years old. Since it was her "golden" birthday we just had to make it special with what else but a party. Being the inquisitive creation that she is we thought the Science Center was most fitting. Here are some snapshots from the party.

Everyone was uber excited that GrandDadde came in town!




Baby Girl wasn't too fond of the animal exhibits.

Most memorable gift "Mr.Crabs" given by our family friends. Thanks again you guys!

Well as you can see a good time was had by all. 



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Good Buy

I want to start sharing things that I think are "good buys". The first item I 'd like to share as a "good buy" is this bean bag toss game I picked up at Bed Bath and Beyond. 

This game came in its own carrying case with two sets of bean bags (4 blue/ 4red) and two wooden goal nets to toss the bags into.


This set was 39.99 and of course I had 20% off coupon (Sign up for postal mailings, email and/or text alerts). 

The kids helped me break the game in this weekend , although I think Coby thought it was a bean bag drop.
He loves shouting " hooray! for himself.

Bed Bath and Beyond has become one of my "must shop stops". I look forward to their mailings and can pretty much always find a few things that we must have. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easter's coming

If you follow me on Twitter @Momme2Five you may have seen me post about these awesome felt Easter baskets I found at Aldi. If you know me personally you know I love to shop and I always try to shop around for the best quality item for our dollar. I've seen other baskets as high as 7 dollars each, which I guess is an alright price for someone with less children or a longer Easter basket budget. Honestly these baskets were the best quality I'd seen and they were only a dollar eighty nine. I couldn't MAKE these baskets for a buck 89. 

It's been a tradition for me since I've had children to make their Easter baskets; the way my Granma made ours for years and years. I think I was still getting a homemade Easter basket from her well into my college years. So the tradition lives on. It's fun! It's healthier than those store bought ones packed with dyed candies and sugar coated high fructose corn syrup. And...it's just what I do. So what are some of your Easter traditions? Please share in the comments section. Thank you...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hi

Hi all.

My apologies for not blogging in all this time...I think its been about five weeks.
Well, so much has happened and there's still so much to share, so I'll jump right in.
The kids were on Spring Break last month and we opted for a "stay-cation" instead of our planned trip to Bloomington. Unfortunately we had a death in the family the week prior to Spring break and we weren't really in the mood for TOO much fun. Thankfully hubby and I were able to take some days from work to spend with the kiddos while they were on break and all in all it was quite nice.
We mostly stayed in the neighborhood, visiting the parks and library for the first time in a long while. We also managed to visit a few local restaurants, we went to see the 'Muppets Most Wanted' movie and most importantly we had some "Family" time.

Since then...the kids and I have been super busy and thankfully Spring has arrived! It was quite a long winter. This is the time of year when our kids get back involved with sports and other extra curricular activities. We kind of hibernate in winter. Anyhow, I'll be blogging about these sports adventures soon enough. In addition to all this...we have all had our beginning of the year health appointments and hubby and I have been trying to get a little more fit. Well, we were or we are...the point is we are still working on it...(that's another post).

I see I have my blogging work cut out for me, so while I get to typing...please check out my latest (*clears throat* "second") YOUTUBE video...


Sing Into Spring

 
You all Know our family are BIG Disney fans. We love Disney Movies, Music and most of all Disney Parks. The Disney Sing into Spring contest combines all three. Enter to win Disney Park tickets for four by submiting a thirty second video of you or your family member singing a song from your favorite Disney movie.
Submit your entry on One2One Networks Facebook page...here.
 
You can find a list of songs here.
 
How easy is that?
 
I'm off to get out entries ready...I promise I'll post or link them on the blog.
 
By the way Instagram users can submit a video via Instagram if it's tagged #DisneySingIntoSpring

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back in Business

Uppercase Living is a vinyl expression company that produces high quality inspirational, humorous, whimsical, and thoughtful expressions. UL also gives their customers the opportunity to create their own expressions using the MyDesign Suite tool.  
 
 
http://rachelrenee.uppercaseliving.net/Home.m
 
 
I've been an Uppercase Living demonstrator in the past but once we relocated I let it go for awhile. Now, I'm back and I'm SO excited about what they have going on now...please visit my page at RachelRenee.uppercaseliving.net to check it out.


 
Fantastic Friday Button 2 Fantastic Friday Link Up #23!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Any more?

"Do you all plan on having more children?" I am asked this question ALL THE TIME. I'm pretty used to it, although it is a bit invading. The other day, I was even asked this by our five year old son.

We were having dinner and he looked up and said "When we grow up will you and Da-Da have more kids?". I choked and hubby almost spit out his food.

Before I could answer my mind wandered to earlier that day when I was grocery shopping with the gruesome twosome. Suddenly all these Momme moments came flashing before my eyes, some of them good, some of them GREAT and some just messy. It's those 'Messy Mommy Moments' that make us question...like when Baby Girl dumped out a bag of popcorn in the middle of aisle four; or when our two year old wiggled his way out of the belt and stood in the basket yelling "HEEELLLLPPPPP" as I'm trying to put a case of water on the bottom. Why are you yelling help when you shouldn't even be standing???

Then I fast forward to just an hour before when I was trying to juggle one kid crying over multiplying fractions another kid pushing a book in my face asking "what word is this?" all the while I'm sweeping up flour that the toddler dumped out of the pantry. Top that off with Baby Girl singing "CINDERELLA, Cinderella...do the dishes and the mopping, they always keep her hopping..."(its one of her favorites but those are the only words I know). 

I'm back. "No son, we won't need any more children, even though you all will be all grown up...you'll still be ours". Boy do we day dream of those days...

 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentines Day prep


The kids and I have been getting ready for Valentine's Day. Which is not only a big deal in our family but is also a pretty big deal at school. Every year we make Valentines for their classmates and teachers and a Valentine box for them to collect their love notes and tokens in. We used boxes of various sizes, construction paper, card stock, the Cricut Expressions2 machine, various knick knack pieces and a hot glue gun to create the Valentines boxes.

Our Kindergardener wanted a Monster box.

Our second grader wanted a puppy box. 

Here's her "Val-mation".

And our fourth grader wanted an Owl Valentine box. 


She even came up with some cute owl themed sayings for her Valentines, like "You're Owl-some" and "Owl be your Valentine". 

Now if I could shake this flu enough to finish them and the thousand other things on my to-do-list. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.