Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

We just finished Halloween and here we are with the holiday season upon us.  Christmas is just around the corner and I have barely begun to think about outfits for the kids, pictures, presents or decorating the house. We recently visited HGTVs Santa HG at the Fashion Fair Mall which allowed me to check one of the items of my to do list for the Christmas season. 

  Santa and his workshop came alive as we toured HGTV Santa HQ 

Christmas 2016 at the Fashion Fair Mall welcomes HGTVs Santa HQ for the first time and they are excited for the 21st century winter wonderland. 

The children are welcomed by a Naughty or Nice O'Meter where the children put their names in the computer and wait to see where their names pop up on the naught or nice list. 

Giada showed up on the Nice List.

An elf selfie is another feature of the Winter Wonderland. Snap a selfie and watch yourself in an elf video which can be emailed to you for a keepsake.

While the kiddos are watching their elf selfie video, parents can take a peek at the DIY experts and learn some tips and tricks of festive DIY crafts and gifts inside Santa’s Workshop. 

Elf Ray Vision, who would of thought?! Get the inside scoop with an IPad and state-of-the-art technology and app that allows you to see Santa’s helpers.

I was able to capture a photo WITH smiles!

Once we finished our Elf Selfie and DIY cheer, Jocko was ready for his own photo inside the workshop. 


He had all of Santa's helpers smiling as he put on his charm.

As if all of this isn’t enough, every 20 minutes there is a light show with all the favorite holiday tunes. To wrap up the experience, a family photo opportunity is available just before the kids meet Santa. 


In the end, Santa is waiting for the main moment of HGTVs Santa HQ. Photo Time!

The HGTV Santa HQ experience was a provided to me in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Struggle WAS Real

Anyone that is a parent knows shopping or just going in public with kids is unpredictable. Everything is going along just fine then all of a sudden that successful outing can turn into whining kiddos or a total meltdown.  Thank you to  Binxy Baby for keeping my kids entertained and happy with one another in the cart. The Binxy Baby works perfect as it fits in the basket and is raised enough to where Giada can play with Jacko but he is still safely fastened.

At other times, it's just Jocko and me out shopping and his car seat takes up the entire basket.  With Binxy Baby, it allows me to put things underneath him and not struggle  with the car seat.

Binxy Baby was created by a busy mom with the same issues we all experience each time we enter a store with a cart.  One of the best things I read about Binxy Baby was said by the creator herself Lisa Binnell "I tried putting the entire infant car seat down in the grocery cart but had to cut her trip short when I couldn't find the baby under the piles of bread and coffee!

In addition, Binxy Baby is safe and has all the features to ease any moms worries. 
Safety features 

Rest assured,  Binxy Baby is always attached to our cart with my unpredicatable children smiling and playing together. 

In addition to the Binxy Baby website, you can also find them on Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you Binxy Baby for changing my shopping experiences!

The Binxy Baby was a provided to me in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Italian Minestrone Soup

As Giada just began to feel better, Jocko and Anthony are now fighting the cold. Growing up, that meant soup for dinner. Since I didn't have all the fixings for homemade chicken soup, the next best option was minestrone soup. 

I began rummaging through the refrigerator, freezer and pantry for ingredients. Even though I was throwing together the soup at 2:00 and substituting for the missing carrots and celery, the soup turned out delicious. 

Let's be real, anything with wine has to taste good!


1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. frozen green beans
Olive oil
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes with liquid
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 c. chicken stock
1 c. red wine
1 (14-16 oz.) can pinto beans
1 c. pasta of your choice
1 c. Water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper

 Here is the best part... Throw all the ingredients into the crock pot (except the pasta) and cook for 3-4 hours on high. Add cooked pasta at the end. Once finished, serve with sprinkled Parmesan on the soup and warm bread. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jocko's Half Birthday

Where did the last six months go! Last time I checked, Jocko was a newborn and barely weighing 5 pounds. Now, he is a solid 16 pounds and growing like a weed. Jocko and Giada are in the same size diaper… Yes, my 23 month old and 6 month old wear the same size diaper and only differ by 4 pounds in weight. 

He sits up, rolls over, babbles all day long and wants to do everything his big sister does! Jocko now wears size 6-9 month clothes and we are working on introducing food.

Last week I tried transitioning him to a 4 hour schedule, but he was not ready. Therefore, he still eats every 3 ½ hours and naps three times a day. Bedtime is still 8:00 and we get him up at 7am.

Easy going is an understatement for Jocko, as he smiles and gives loves all day long. Jocko loves his sister, is obsessed with the dog’s ears and my sidekick.
As I look back on the last six months, I feel blessed to be his mother and look forward to the adventures to come!

We love you Jocko James!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Docking and Toting Around

For anyone who knows me, my kids do not sleep in our bed or spend much time in the bassinet when they come home from the hospital.  Giada and Jocko were in their crib two days after we came home.  It not only allowed me to get some sleep but I think they also slept better as they couldn't smell or sense me in the same room  (Anthony was fine either way). Also, their rooms are so close to our room, I can hear every little move without the monitor on. So.... the co-sleeper concept was and is not necessary in our house. However, an area for Jocko to play and be protected from the hardwood floors, dogs and two year old sister is a MUST! Enter the DockATot!

The DockATot Grand is the perfect place for him to play and be comfortable while in the living room, bedroom or my office. Jocko is at the age where he is rolling and wanting to play on a consistent basis. This causes a problem when he continually hits he head on the hardwood floors. Now, with the DockATot, he plays with his toys and enjoys being propped up or laying down while in the DokATot.

DockATots are a multi-functional lounger, co-sleeper and playtime lounger. They come in two sizes: Deluxe for 0-8 Months and Grand 9-36 months. I use the Grand because Jocko is growing so fast, I was afraid he would be out of the Deluxe in no time! It is all natural, 100% cotton and the perfect comfort for you little one.  

Not only is the DockATot comfortable for my 6 month old, Giada has also found it to be entertaining while Jocko watches her play. 

 Jocko is all smiles when laying in his DockATot.

Now that he likes to sit up, this is how he spends the majority of his time in the DockATot.

Or, just being silly...

Either way, the DockATot is the new favorite location for this growing boy!

The DokATot was a sample in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Just Hanging On Halloween!

Wow! Amazing how life changes happen so quickly.  Last Halloween I was pregnant with Jocko and living in our old house; now he's almost 6 months old and we're in the middle of transforming our fixer upper home.  I'm not sure if Halloween snuck up on me or it's having 2 kids in less than 2 years, working from home, doing my fixer up projects and trying to blog as well as life getting in the way.  I'm definitely not as efficient as I once was. Is there a song about that? Thank goodness for Amazon prime and adorable kids costumes. The house, well it wasn't exactly as I imagined.  Oh well, there's always next year!

Talking about homes.....We began our Halloween escapade last weekend at my cousin Gio and Casey's house. Halloween is their HOLIDAY and it's amazing what Casey did with their home! Best described as creative, creepy and crawly with the unknown around every corner. Not sure if I'll ever quite live up to their creativity! Since we celebrated my 30th the night before with a 80's theme party, I sported the same costume. It was decided that Anthony was dressed like Woody in Toy Story.

Last Sunday, we hit the pumpkin patch with the kids before Anthony headed off to Colorado on his deer hunting trip.  Giada could have cared less about the pumpkins! Instead, she headed straight to the horses and took a ride. (Dad's in trouble if this is any indicator of her future hobbies)  Jocko enjoyed the pumpkin patch through his closed eyelids, thank goodness for pictures!

By now, you know that family tradition is very important to me.  This year was the first for us to introduce Giada to carving pumpkins. first she wasn't too keen on the idea, but after watching daddy it wasn't such a bad idea and she didn't want to share scooping the seeds out of the pumpkins. 

Halloween is here, friends and family are coming for appetizers, then trick or treating for the kids and.......I'm running around trying to prepare for the festivities as usual....

Do you notice anything unusual about my trick or treat?

The kiddos all looked amazing and we enjoyed a night of food, candy and laughs. 

By the end of the night, Giada was more intetested in dumping her candy in and out of her halloween bag (aka pillow case), than actually eating the candy.

Another successful Halloween has come and gone... Let's hope next year I'm a little more prepared.
Though the decorations we at a minimum, the kids looked great and we had a successful Halloween party at our house.

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