Saturday, September 29, 2012

31 Days

Happy Saturday, everyone!!

So I saw on The Nester blog that she's hosting a "31 Days" blog series for the month of October.  This is her 2nd year doing this - first year it was her and seven other bloggers; last year it was her and 700 other bloggers!  Who knows how many it will be this year, but I'm going to be one of them :)

Basically, you choose a "mini-series" to blog about for 31 days (everyday in October).  It can be anything...31 days of living by faith, 31 days of baking, 31 days of being a better blogger, 31 days of making your kids happier, 31 days to being more productive at work, etc.  You want to choose a topic that's broad enough that you can write about it for 31 days.

Anyone want to join me??!  You have to create a blog button for this series, which is pretty easy.  I used this tutorial for mine, and I'm assuming you link up on Monday, which is Day 1!

Looking forward to this challenge.  It's going to be a very busy weekend, to say the least.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday's Letters

 Linking up with Ashley over at Adventures of Newlyweds today
Dear Husband, thank your for working so hard so I'm able to stay home with our crazy baby.  Dear SheKnows, so happy to be working for you!  You're a great company and I'm blessed to be able to bring in a little extra income from home.  Dear Fall, I'm happy you're finally here, but AZ...please start cooling down!  Dear Scale, I was very happy with the number you showed me this morning.  I was scared you'd be a lot higher due to me eating an entire pumpkin cake in two days.  Dear Sister, I'm currently waiting on you to finish getting ready so we can go to the mall.  It's been well over an hour.  Hurry up already!!  Dear Dad, thanks for ordering a pizza for us for lunch while I wait!  Dear Weekend, super excited for you!  I get to see a bunch of awesome friends tomorrow for lunch, followed by wedding dress shopping with my bestie Kendra

Simply Right Formula


Camdyn had Simply Right gentle formula (pictured above) all day yesterday.  If you recall, this was the formula that I found for $15.99 for 48 oz (or 87 4 oz bottles!) at the consignment store.  I knew it was risky, but I figured it was worth it to see if she liked it.

Guess what?

She loved it!


No fussiness, no problems drinking it, no spitting up (which is amazing since normally she does spit up), no gas.

This is a huge blessing for John and I.  Originally, we were spending $25 every 3-4 days on formula, then I found it discounted so it was $15 every 3-4 days.  Now, it will be $15.99 every 8-10 days.  HUGE savings here people!!

Of course, it's only been one day so this could backfire, in which case I'll put her back on the Enfamil, but for now...we like it :)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Best Pumpkin Cake...Ever

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake 
with Apple Cider Glaze

credit goes to big red kitchen and my bestie, Christina

pic credit to the noble pig

For the cake:
1 box yellow cake mix (I used spice cake mix - highly recommend this)
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

Preheat over to 350 degrees
Mix cake mix and pumpkin puree until well blended
Bake in 13 x 9 inch pan for 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean

For the glaze:
Powdered sugar
Apple juice

Pour powdered sugar into a bowl (roughly 1 1/2 cups)
Add in a few tablespoons apple juice
Sprinkle in some cinnamon
Mix well (add more or less sugar/juice until it's the consistency you want)

Pour glaze over cake and voila!  Best pumpkin cake...ever.

You're welcome :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Iced Caramel Vanilla Lattes and Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is now in full-force.  Everywhere except in Arizona, that is.  Just because it's still 100 degrees out doesn't mean I'm not going to partake in my favorite fall activities - things like decorating, lighting pumpkin-scented candles, making stew (it's in the crock pot now), and wearing scarves and boots (ok...scratch that last one).

As most of you know, I'm obsessed with Starbucks.  I go there every day, even though we're on a budget.  I'm able to justify it in my mind since it's my breakfast and lunch (bad, I know).  Normally I get an iced venti iced coffee sweetened with cream (yes, you do say "iced" twice), but today I tried something new.  Something delicious.  Something that blew my mind.


An iced grande skinny salted caramel vanilla latte.

You read that right.  It's even better than it sounds, if you can believe it.  Credit goes to one of my besties, Shelley, over at Courtepointe Amour.  This is now "my drink", even though it is a bit pricier than the iced coffee.

This isn't actually mine, as I drank mine in 5 seconds flat before having a chance to photograph it, but you get the idea.

Now, on to the second part of my post:

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I am by no means a food photographer, so don't let this picture scare you.  These cookies are more like a cake.  They're soft, fluffly, pumpkin-y, and topped with a sweet, subtle glaze.  I averaged about 5 per day until they were gone.  

I'd post the recipe, but it's easier for me if you just click here.

The only thing I did differently was add cinnamon to the glaze to make them more pretty.  

Hope everyone's having a great day!  Happy fall!

Monday, September 24, 2012

What I've learned about formula

As most of you know, Camdyn is now a formula-only baby.  I breastfed solely for the first two months, then slowly started incorporating formula.  By 3 1/2 months, she was weaned from breast milk completely.

Knowing what I know now, for our next baby I am going to try and breastfeed longer. Formula is SO expensive, and breast milk is so much better for the baby.

I wanted to give a breakdown of my experience with formula so far:

  • Similac - $25 for 23 oz.  Camdyn was a little gassy with this, but overall she liked it.  
  • Enfamil - $24 for 23 oz.  This is our favorite.  No fussiness, no gas.  She takes this very well and has only had a positive reaction to this.  I discovered a second hand store that sells 23 oz for $15, brand new of course.  GREAT deal.  
  • Parents Choice - $14 for 23 oz.  I tried this before finding my discounted Enfamil.  It said it was comparable to Similac, so I figured I'd give it a try to see if she liked it.  She did NOT.  It gave her horrible cramps and gas.  She would eat it (I've come to the realization that she'll eat anything), but would cry for a long time afterwards in pain.  Needless to say, after a few bottles I threw it out.
Parent's Choice - Advantage Infant Powder Formula, 23.2oz
  • Simply Right - $16 for 48 oz.  Yup, that's right.  This is half the price of the discounted Enfamil for double the amount.  It's the Sam's Club brand of Enfamil, essentially.  I compared ingredients and vitamins, and it looks exactly the same as Enfamil.  I haven't tried this yet - but will definitely provide an update after a few days of her eating this.  To me, it was worth the investment.  If she loves it and reacts well to it, than I'm looking at hundreds of dollars being saved.  If not?  I'll take the loss and go back to Enfamil.  No big deal.

Any moms out there have a favorite brand of formula?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below!  Would love to hear from you!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social
Happy Sunday, everyone!  Today John and I went to church for the first time in longer than I'd care to admit, and really enjoyed it.  We had lunch at Jimmy John's, went to Home Goods, and are now spending the remainder of our day relaxing.

1. What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid of?

My husband said "decide on home decor" lol.  This is actually probably true.  I can't make decisions regarding paint colors, art work, what to do with certain rooms, rugs, or general decor AT ALL.  There are WAY too many options!  It also doesn't help that I'm cheap and hate buying all that stuff.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Still living in our same house or about to upgrade, 2-3 kids, a more developed and experienced writer, and just enjoying life

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?

A few of my friends will have their babies!!  And more friends babies to come at the beginning of 2013!  Can't wait!

4. What are your hopes for your blog?

That I'm persistent about writing.  I hope to meet people and grow my blog.  I can't wait for my kids to look back at this - it's such a great way to document and cherish memories :)

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?

For awhile at least.  My husband works for himself and has established himself here in AZ.  If we move, it won't be until we're both retired.  Ideally, we'll live here and have a few vacation homes :)

6. What is your morning routine?

Wake up with Cami sometime between 5:30-7:00am, feed her and play with her, goof off online, laundry, give Cami a bath, and start working.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Believe In...

Linking up with Erin today!

I believe in honesty. Always.

I believe in love, though I do not believe that love is perfect.

I believe in Starbucks iced coffee, everyday.

I believe in hard work.

I believe I have the prettiest baby girl.

I believe happiness is a choice.

I believe that I'm good enough.

I believe in long walks with my husband and daughter.

I believe in date nights.

I believe in God.

I believe in alone time, and feel it's good for the soul.

I believe best friends make everything better.

I believe in living everyday to it's fullest.

I believe in flowers making everything ok again.

I believe in waking up early and going to bed late.

I believe in eating dessert first.

I believe in my husband.

I believe in Tresemme's new dry shampoo.

But also believe I still need to wash my hair after three days max.

I believe in wearing makeup every. single. day.

I believe in cleaning every. single. day.

I believe in being responsible with money.

I believe in saving money.

I believe in fighting for what you believe in.

I believe in myself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Day

After a very long few days, I suggested we have a "Family Day" on Sunday.  John agreed, as long as he could be home by one to watch football.  Deal.

Sometimes in life you need to take a step back and just have some fun.  Not everything needs to be serious and stressful, especially when we have a baby to raise and take care of.  Though originally this "Family Day" was for her, it ended up being a great time for John and I.  It was just what we needed.

So, I suggested the zoo.  John vetoed immediately as it's 100 degrees out.  Can't argue that.  He then suggested walking around Cabella's and Westgate (Westgate is a huge shopping plaza where the Cardinal's stadium is).  Agreed.

Camdyn slept through the first half of family fun day, haha

Me and the babes (btw I'm finally at pre-pregnancy weight!)

John wants a rhino and a boat!
We got to Cabella's around 10am and walked around for a good hour.  For anyone who's never been, it's actually pretty fun (this coming from the girl who doesn't really like camping or the outdoors, haha).  They have clothes, a restaurant, a fudge shop, a "zoo" area consisting of dead, stuffed animals, and of course hunting, fishing, bbq'ing, camping, and anything else "outdoorsy" you can think of.  It's a great and free way to get out of the house!
yay! look who's waking up! i think she's confused.

um, the camera's over here, John :)


I've never seen a skunk in real life - it was HUGE

Other than the mtn lion attacking the deer, doesn't this get you in the
mood for fall!?
Afterwards, we went to Westgate and had lunch at Gordon Biersch.  Yum!  Overall, it was a great way to spend the morning and I'm excited to plan our next day of fun, haha.  

Hope everyone's having a great day!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

Happy Sunday, everyone!  John and I took Cami to Cabella's to walk around and just get her out of the house.  We had lunch at Gordon Biersch...yummy!  Photos to come soon :)

1. 5 items you can't live without on a daily basis(water, food, shelter, and clothes dont count)
Starbucks iced coffee, computer, makeup, diet coke, and diapers for Cami haha

2. All time favorite book? Why? 
Language of Letting Go.  It's extremely inspirational and a great daily read that can be read over and over.

3. Something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012?
Develop myself more in writing

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?
Hmmm maybe 2010?  My husband (then bf) and I had just moved in together and always had so much fun!  Not that we don't now, but we always played Bingo, went out, etc.  Just had less responsibilities haha :)

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
This is a tough one...I'm an open book so I always tell everyone everything, haha.  I guess that I always mean well and never would intentionally be rude to anyone.  I'm a strong believer in treating everyone with respect, even if they don't give you that same respect back.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


These past few days I've been thinking a lot about my day to day schedule and how I want more of a "routine" in my life.  As nice as it is to stay home with Camdyn, she's not really on a schedule yet and I'm fully to blame.  Part of me doesn't really care since I am with her all the time, but it would be nice to get a little more sleep and have a set time for when I work.

That being said, I went out and bought a cute day planner from Walmart to get my days in order.  I started with work.  I'm actually excited because I have something to do every day from this week forward, minus the weekends. I spend anywhere from 2 - 4 hours per day working.  Ideally, I'd like Camdyn to start taking a morning nap (she usually just takes one in the afternoon) and an afternoon nap.  I would love to be able to get my work done for the day in the morning to allow afternoons to be spent playing with her and running errands.

Any moms out there have any advice on getting their baby on a schedule?

A cleaning schedule would be nice too.  I tend to always keep the house "picked up" and the laundry and dishes in order.  I'm also pretty good at cleaning our hardwood and tile everyday.  Other than that, I don't really deep clean, like, ever.  I wipe my hair off the shower wall when I'm in it...and throw the trash out of my car when my cup holder's can't hold my current drink.  I'm going to try and come up with a "Daily Cleaning Schedule" in the next few days and will share once it's done :)

And, of course, a blogging schedule would be amazing as well.  Originally, I planned on posting each night, except Friday and Saturdays.  If you look at my posts for the month, that hasn't happened (and today's Saturday and I'm obviously blogging, haha).  Nights sometimes get the best of me and I lose track of time and decide I'd rather watch TV than blog.  I'm going to change this, I promise.  I enjoy blogging so much and need to find the time.

Are you in a daily schedule/routine when it comes to working, cleaning, and blogging?  Any tips greatly appreciated!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Camdyn 4 months

Camdyn was officially 4 months old as of September 10th.  Where has the time gone??!  She has brought such joy and companionship to my life.  I love this little girl more than anything :)

At 4 months, Camdyn:
  • weighs 15.8 lbs (76th percentile)
  • is 25 inches long (82nd percentile)
  • and her head is in the 93rd percentile lol
  • holds her head up all by herself all the time
  • is a pro at "tummy time"
  • can roll over, mostly tummy to back but sometimes back to tummy
  • eats 4-6 oz of formula every 3-4 hours
  • sometimes sleeps 8 hrs at a time, but mostly still wakes up every 3-4
  • takes a long afternoon nap!
  • has tried both rice cereal and bananas
  • hates the bananas
  • the rice cereal is growing on her
  • LOVES being held / attention of any sort
  • loves watching cartoons and screams at the television while doing so
  • has the biggest, most beautiful smile that lights up my life
Love you, Cami! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Has anyone heard of this?

It's stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November.  Anyone in the world can join.  Basically, you commit to writing a novel in the month of November and it has to be a minimum of 50,000 words.  Sounds cool!  Now if only I had an idea...

Anyways, today John and I saw the movie The Words.  Amazing.  I don't want to give anything away, but it definitely is going down as one of my all-time favorites.  It deals with writing and plagiarism, and how the choices we make affects our lives profoundly.  

I also made a batch of Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze.  They're delicious.  So good that I skipped dinner so I could justify eating three more.  Recipe to come soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Is it just me, or is it so hard to get back into blogging after a vacation?

John and I went to Laughlin to see Gary Allan perform.  This was probably the best concert I've ever seen (granted, I've only been to Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, N'sync, and the like, LOL...actually, I did see Tom Petty, that was pretty awesome too).  Gary Allan has a better live voice than he does on his albums.  I'm definitely a little obsessed now.  Unfortunately, there isn't much info on him on the internet.  I do know he was married three times, has three daughters, and his 3rd wife committed suicide a few years ago :( So sad.  

SO close to stage!

Gary Allan himself

The crowd - small & intimate

Seriously, he's awesome.  I highly recommend everyone going out and purchasing his "greatest hits" album.

John and I had an awesome time in Laughlin in addition to the concert.  We both love to gamble (we did get married in Vegas, after all), so gamble we did.  We're also both very cheap, so we don't gamble often (probably once or twice a year on vacation and once or twice a year when we go play Bingo).  We budget money for it and if we lose it all, that's that.  We're usually pretty good at making our money last and not losing it all the first night.  This particular vacation, we made money.  We had $140 gambling money and ended up buying all our food, souvenirs, onesie for Cami, drinks, a ride on the boat taxi, and more with that and managed to leave with $150!  I won $100 on blackjack and John won $136 playing Keno.  We also continually turned $5 into $20 on various machines.

First night out - clearly I didn't feel the need to get dressed up

Eating breakfast on Saturday

Beautiful river that Laughlin sits on

Sex and the City - this machine ALWAYS takes our money!

We won $600 the night before our wedding, ever since then we've done nothing but lose

Lunch at In N' Out

Waiting for the water taxi

Love my hubby

As you can see, we had a ton of fun in just the two nights we were gone.  We missed Camdyn like no other, but it's very healthy to have husband/wife time every now and then.  This is the cuteness that we came home to:

New outfit from my mom and sis!

Happy 4 month birthday baby girl!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday's Letters


Friday's Letters

Dear Vacation, I can't wait for you to start in T minus 5 hours.  Laughlin here we come!  Dear Starbucks, I need you.  Though I'm happy your pumpkin spice is back, I'm sticking with my iced coffee for now, as I need the extra caffeine at all times.  Dear Alcohol, I haven't seen you in awhile but intend on having a few cold ones tonight.  Please be nice.  Dear Dad, thank you for watching Camdyn all by yourself tomorrow.  Good luck!  Dear Husband, please hurry up and come home so we can start our vacation!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Taking care of business / work

I know a lot of you are interested in what I do for a living (ok, maybe not...but I'm going to tell you anyways).  

I have a degree in finance and worked as a finance counselor before having Camdyn.  Though I liked the people I worked with, working FT isn't in the cards for me (right now).  

Right after Camdyn was born, I got an amazing opportunity to write articles for SheKnows - a website of fashion, entertainment, food, parenting, pets, home decor, style, and more.  It's updated hourly.  I write for the home, living, and pet sections (adding food soon!).  It's funny, my whole life I've wondered about my "purpose" and always thought I'd be a mom and wife and that was my role.  I always looked at jobs as simply a way to make money.  I didn't think I'd ever find something I was actually passionate about.  Low and behold - I did.  I absolutely love writing (trust me, I wouldn't have this blog if I didn't).  I feel confident that this is where I'm supposed to be, and that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.

Here's a few articles I've written if you'd like to take a peak:

The hidden costs of home buying

How to invest your money

Top 5 must-read craft blogs

How to make money blogging

I don't want to bore you with all of them, but if you click my name on one of the links it will take you to all the articles I've written thus far.

So what does a day in the life look like for me?

Well I wake up to this:

around 6:30am (and 1:00am, and sometimes 4:00am haha).  I feed her and play with her for a few hours.  She typically takes a morning nap, and that's when I'll start either writing or brainstorming topics.  Lunch is normally spent at Starbucks with my mom or sister, followed by more hanging out with Cami. She normally naps for 2-3 hours in the afternoon.  This is when I plan on getting my articles done.  When John gets home (between 5 and 7), we hang out, have dinner, and play with Cami.  Whatever's left for me to finish I do after Camdyn goes to bed.  

Since my job is PT right now, every day doesn't look quite like that.  Some days I don't have work to do, so I'll spend them cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc.  It's crazy how fast my days go by even though I stay home!

Since finance is my major, I've decided to start a weekly finance column.  I need to narrow it down a bit - so I'm asking your opinions!  What is something you would want to read, weekly, when it comes to money and finances?  Budget tips?  Ways to save?  Family finances?  Finances for those "getting started" in the working world? Etc.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!  I know I personally like to read about investing, but I don't think most people do...which is why I'm asking you!

It's OK Thursday

Its Ok Thursdays
It's OK...

That I'm completely procrastinating working right now in lieu of blogging

That I have no idea how to "grab" someone's blog button - fyi I'm linking up with Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup

That I get Starbucks everyday even though we're on a budget

That I'm the cheapest person you'll ever meet (with the exception of Starbucks!)

That I'm hoping and praying Cami naps for a longggg time today

That I ate an entire large bag of banana chips yesterday...

and just got back from Fry's with another one

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Football Season!

Football season has officially begun.  Being completely honest, I am not the biggest fan and hate that I lose my husband for a few months, haha.  This year, though, I'm going to try and make the best of it and include me and Camdyn in all the fun!

John is a huge Cowboy's fan.  This year, he ended up with Tony Romo for his QB on his fantasy team as well...that means it's going to be twice as intense as normal!

So for tonight's opening game (Cowboys vs. Giants), I surprised John with homemade nachos, matching Cowboys headbands for me & Cami, and a Cowboys pacifier for the babe (of course).

For Christmas last year, my little sister made Camdyn a Cowboys blanket and Cowboys booties.  She was all set to watch the game!  Unfortunately, being the 4-month old that she is, she got a little too excited and fell asleep during the second quarter. 

Hahaha look at that face!!

This was prior to her falling asleep

Cheering on the cowboys

Big belly!

Almost half-time, time to convince John to go get me a chocolate dipped cone from McDonald's :)

Are you a big football fan?  What team(s) are you rooting for?

Camdyn lately

Camdyn is almost 4 months old!  I really can't believe how fast time is going by.

My parents got her a walker last week.  Though her feet don't touch the ground yet, she has a lot of fun playing in it.  I push her around the house and let her hang out with me in the kitchen when I'm cooking.  She laughs so much and really is a very happy baby :)

She's currently eating formula only.  I would guess she has 32 oz per day.  I gave her rice cereal last night mixed with formula and spoon fed her.  This was probably the funniest thing I've ever witnessed!  She made hilarious faces at me the entire time, and ended up spitting most of it out.  I'll probably try again in a few days, I don't want to force her to eat if she's not ready.

John and I are getting ready to go to Laughlin for the weekend.  I'm super excited to get out of town and see Gary Allan in concert!  John and I are both huge fans.  My favorite song of his is either "The Best I Ever Had" or "Life Ain't Always Beautiful."  

My mom and sister will be babysitting, with the exception of Saturday where they will both be at work.  That means my dad will be watching her!  Hopefully this goes well, haha :)

Here's to a good day!  And for some encouragement:

Remember, happiness is a choice.  Only you can choose to focus on the good in life and be happy.  If you want to be very happy and satisfied with life?  Do it!