Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Giveaway Extravaganza! (featuring WAHM's!)

Horray! It's giveaway time!!! A while ago, I said that I'd have a giveaway to celebrate my blog makeover and now it's finally here!

I'm so excited about this, because not only do I have SEVEN GIVEAWAYS, I also am trying something new with this giveaway...it's a unique spin on things and I explain that in the Vlog below!... 

Another cool thing about this giveaway, is that I am featuring WAHM's (Work-At-Home-Moms)...so all these things are the works of a momma's hands! Yea!
(Because these are all by WAHM's some of these are kinda geared towards moms and little ones, so if that's not you, remember these could make great gifts!!!)

(Update: EVERY giveaway has been unlocked!  So we will have SEVEN winners!  Keep spreading the word though...people can enter up until next Tuesday night!)

#1~An assortment of "Cupcake Kisses" by my friend
and fellow MOMYS, Cheryl
(Check her facebook page out by using the link above. She has an amazing selection and great prices!)

This assortment includes 1 salve, 1 lip balm, 1 bath tea,
and 1 aromatherapy roll-on

Personalized Baby Blanket by my friend Shelby at SewShelby.blogspot.com
(Be sure to check out the rest of her selection on her blog! She has matching bibs, onsies and burp cloths as well as a really neat "portable highchair" and more! Very creative and chic selection!)

#3~A signed copy of Lynnette Kraft's book,  
"In Faithfulness He Afflicted Me"

This book is an up-close, emotional look at Lynnette's life as she walked through the death of three of her children. Her journal entries are amazingly honest and raw...yet you don't feel discouraged or even "sorry" for her. If you're at all like me, you'll find yourself encouraged by her strength and spurred on by God's faithfulness and healing in her life! It's a book like no other and worth buying even if you don't "win" it for this giveaway!

#4~ Personalized Baby Bracelet by my friend Danielle
(here in my daughter's name, "Liberty")


On Liberty's hand:

(For information on how to order one of these darling (and affordable!) bracelets, send Danielle an e-mail at daremboldt@yahoo.com)

#5~1 fitted cloth diaper from my friend and fellow MOMYS at Angies Essentials

(Angie has all sorts of cloth diapering accessories at her site linked above! I love her selection because they are FUN, unique, homemade (of course) and are a display of her (and her helpers) awesome talents! Plus, your babies bottom will look oh-so-cute in an "Angie Essential"!)

#6~ "WAHMie" wet bag for cloth diapers
(or pool items if you don't use cloth diapers!)

*This WAHMie wet bag I bought at a second-hand maternity boutique
that is out of a momma's home, so not only is this wet bag made by WAHM's,
it was also sold to me by a WAHM! Doubly cool :)!

#7~Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God
by Stacy McDonald and Jeannie Chancey.

***How to Enter***
1- Leave me a comment telling me you are a follower of my blog AND which two giveaways you like. All my "followers" will be entered automatically, so just sign in under"Follow That Bus!" and tell me you did (along with your 2 top choices)...that is one entry.

2-Additional entry: Mention this giveaway in your blog and leave a separate comment with the link
to that post and that will enter you in a second time!!

3-Additional entry: Put my giveaway on your Facebook and leave a comment telling me you did
and that is one entry!!!

4- Additional entry: Twitter my giveaway and leave me a comment telling me you did so,
and that is another entry!!!!


1- You must be a follower of this blog.
2-You have up tp 4 chances to enter your name in for this giveaway.
3-For every 5 people (not entries) who enter, the next giveaway will be "unlocked".
4-The 7 giveaways will all go to 7 different people (no person will win more than 1).
5-The giveaway will be open for entries until Tuesday night, April 6th.

And one more thing, if you are visiting from Lynnette's blog, don't forget to mention that when you comment, so you will be entered into HER giveaway too!...

See?! Now you know why I called this a "Giveaway Extravaganza"!!! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Happy Wife" vs. "Spotless House"

These two rivals used to compete fiercely in this house. And what's worse, is that I used to think both of these competitors could win. And in the beginning of my marriage, they usually did, even though there was always a struggle.

After all, I am a complete and total neat freak--to a great fault. And my husband was..well, a guy!  Hence the struggle!

But then came along baby #1. And while it took some intense training, I quickly learned how to still end the day in a nice tie...10 points Happy Wife, 10 points Spotless House.  Everyone is happy.

Then came baby #2 just 18 months later. I was still in the habit of obsessively arranging each and every toy perfectly on the "toy shelf" with each part in it's respected place and all figurines poised perfectly.

So needless to say, the competition really started to pick up then! The house was usually "a horrible wreck" (meaning toys were on the floor and I hadn't vacuumed in 2 days). Before, I had only THOUGHT the battle was fierce. Now it was getting ugly...and so was Happy Wife. Spotless House usually ended up on top most days. I kept wondering...how can I bring this whole thing into balance again? But it was an uphill battle.

Then the bell rang (per say) and the Lord faithfully stepped into my corner and started to do a work in my heart. It was then He showed me a hard, cold Truth that I had been blind to for years. My house had become an idol.

In many ways I was worshiping and valuing a tidy, "showroom" house above all else and the sad part is, I didn't even know it. The physical state of my home was directing my mood and my heart.

I decided something needed to change...and it was my perspective. I needed to start looking at the eternal things and not the temporal ones.

2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

It was STRAINING on my eyes, let me tell ya!  I was so used to letting my eyes rest upon the temporary things!  As I changed my focus, it was a difficult but it has been worth it--it's a much prettier view.

So by the time baby #3 came (again, just 18 months after the last baby), I was ready and prepared to do everything I could to make sure "Happy Wife" won every time. I was determined to keep my eyes on the eternal and not the temporal.

There were still definitely days when the gloves came out and fists were flying...But Spotless House and Happy Wife were learning that they didn't have to start every morning (and end every day) in a fight. In other words, I was learning the condition of my home did NOT need to rule my attitude.

So when baby #4 came onto the scene (yes, once again, just 18 months later!) I had really learned to master my flesh. I could logically talk myself into the fact that it's okay if laundry is sitting in the basket not folded, the dining room table hadn't been cleared off and all the linens and pillows in the house are in a pile in the living room for the conventional need of a "landing pad". I was training myself that those things were temporal and did NOT mean Happy Wife went on vacation!

Now that I have 4 little ones, there are often messes left here and there. More times than not there are dishes piled in the sink and laundry is still sitting on the couch waiting to be put away.

But Happy Wife has taken over this house. On most days, our house is still pretty clean and tidy (I'm still working on not obsessing!) but one thing is true...I have finally started to believe and apply what my husband has told me all along,

"I'd rather come home to a happy wife than a spotless house."

And if it's a Happy Wife he wants, I'm determined that Happy Wife is what I'm gonna strive to give him!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Am I Looking At This?







I keep getting distracted by these things in my children's lives.

I keep being tricked into thinking that what I see about my children, is what matters.

I keep being deceived that my kids should be at a certain stage in life because of what others say...or just because of what I see other kids doing.

But what does it matter...Really?  What if Samuel can't ever dribble a basketball?  What if Brahm never learns that head-to-toe camo isn't "cool"?  What if Trusten doesn't learn to spell until he's 10?  What does it matter?

Sure, the "experts" say...

Sure, my pride may get hurt at times...

But what I want to know is what does God say?

1 Samuel 16:7 
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

I'm convicted today that I need to do the same.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Getting A Vegetarian to Eat Meat

Is it just my kids or are all kids born as vegetarians?

Well, okay, obviously any kid is partial to milk when they are first born, but after they get older and have been introduced to every type of "grown up" food, my kids seem to remain vegetarians

Take my oldest son for example, he has never liked meat...well at least not meat that actually tastes like meat (he doesn't mind a hotdog or a McDonald chicken nugget)!  In fact, when I first started him on baby food, he was crazy about it all!  But the minute I introduced him to combos like "Chicken and Apples" he quickly learned to wriggle up his nose and purse his lips.

As he grew up and started eating more solid food, I had a hard time getting him to eat anything that even looked like a meat item. 

So has been the story with all my boys so far.

These boys of mine will eat everything on their dinner plate but still, the one thing that remains at the end of dinner, is the meat.  They will gladly eat all their sides (including the vegetables!) over their meat. 

So my question is: at what point does a kid start to *enjoy* eating meat...and I mean real meat.

Well, I'm applying the "this to shall pass" motto to this issue and in the mean time, I'm willing to choose my battles!

Here's how I get my "vegetarians" to eat meat...
1~Put it in a casserole!  My boys will gladly eat a meal like lasagna where everything is all mixed together.  Occassionally they will spot a dreaded piece of meat, but even they cannot resist an item dripping with cheese and tastey sauce!

2~Let them have their dips!  We have become a dippin' family!  And as long as they will eat their meat, I don't care what they smother it with... 

Barbeque sauce on your flounder fish?  Go ahead!
Sour cream on your pork bites?  Sure!
Honey mustard over your chicken fried steak?  Have at it!
Italian dressing for Grandma's meatloaf?  Be my guest!

Because I just want them to eat it without tears.

Eating a peaceful dinner without a struggle over food?  It's a dream come true for this momma!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I lied...

Well actually, I wouldn't call it a "lie" per say.  After all, I did title my last post "Finished At Last?" (Did you notice the strategically placed question mark at the end?)

I wasn't crazy about the old colors, so I took a few minutes and changed them around today...

But now I can say it with confidence...I'm Finished At Last!  

...Well, finished for now at least!  :)

(Celebration GIVEAWAY still to come!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finished At Last?

After 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there (over the past week)...I think my new blog design is finally complete! Thanks to my PR degree, I now love working with Publisher-type programs, so this was really fun for me!

I just didn't expect it to take almost a week to get a new format up! I should have known though, because...

#1~ I'm a perfectionist and I'm a little obsessive when it comes to projects like this.

#2~ I have 4 sweet children who give no gaurentee that nap-time will mean quiet time for me!

So when everyone cooperated at nap times, I went to work! Nap time is usually when I blog anyways, and most of the time I split up one blog entry over 2-3 days because of my need to multi-task! (Except for the nights Ryan is at board meetings or basketball games when I have lots of quiet time to blog--hence all the entries from February!)

But never-the-less, (slowly but surely) I got my blog renovation done!

When I first started the project, I wanted to simplify things. I like things that are practical and simple, like I've said before, so I knew wanted to make it look clean and fresh.

I also wanted to re-think my tag line. "More Excitement Than a Themepark" was fun, but I wanted to stick with the "wheel" theme rather than the themepark theme. Make sense?

So I joked with my husband about using "Jesus Take the Wheel-ers" and then I started teasing I'd just call it "This Is How We Roll"...

But after a long car-ride, listening to Samuel's favorite CD (Fisher Prices, "Things That Go") and answering his request to listen to "The Wheels On the Bus" a billion times, it just made sense to use...
"The Mommy On The Bus Says..."

After all, that's the boys favorite part of the song because I turn around and in a jokingly harsh voice (with a stern face and pointing finger to match) say "SHH, SHH, SHH!!!!" and they laugh and laugh and laugh!

To which Ryan usually follows up with "OKAY EVERYBODY...Whoops! I woke the baby!" In true Veggie Tales style!

As for the colors, those were easily decided...pink and blue for my boys and girls and a little brown to bring it together. Plus the combo is unique which I like!

And last, I just had to decide on the pattern...I had poka dots last time, so decided stripes would be a nice change!

So here it is, the debut of my new, improved blog.

Hope you enjoy the new look!

AND stay tuned for an UPCOMING GIVEAWAY in celebration of my new blog!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Pictures Of My Liberty Joy

Liberty had her pictures taken recently by my wonderful and gracious friend, Teresa!

Check them out HERE.

And leave her a comment telling her what a FABULOUS job she did!  :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On the Menu: Parmesan Chicken

This is my husbands favorite meal!  It takes quite a bit of work to put together, but the smile on his face is always worth it! 

What it takes:
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 eggs
1/3 c. milk
2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1 t. fresh, chopped parsley
1/2 c. olive oil
2 jars (15 oz each) Spaghetti Sauce
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

How it goes:
Pound chicken breasts flat.
Combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, basil and parsley.
Dip chicken breasts in beaten eggs and milk. Then roll in bread crumb mixture.
Saute each chicken breast in olive oil.
Layer bottom of a casserole dish with sauce.
Chicken sauteing, Casserole dish prepared. 
Layer bottom of casserole with sauce, then chicken breasts, then cover each with mozzarella cheese.
Almost ready!
Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
 Time for the oven...
Bake 30 minutes in a 350* oven.
Ready to serve!
Dress it up:
You can also make a few servings of spaghetti noodles or angel hair pasta to go along with it.

Ryan and I's on a bed of noodles
And for the kids, I cut it up and add spaghetti
(We had 2 little guests with us this night-hence the 2 extra bowls) 

Enjoy! This one is certainly "yummer yummers" and worth all the work!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaching Them To Be Doers Of The Word, Not Mere Hearers

James 1:22-25
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."

"A doer who acts..."
This is something we are always trying to do with our boys.  Well, actually, lately we've been slacking on this, but we're seeing how we need to get back in the habit of teaching this way.

When we correct them, instead of just telling them what they should have done, we try to always make them do it over the right way so they know what to do next time because they have practiced it.

This is one of the most effective discipline tools that we use.  But, it's also one of the hardest because it means more work for us as parents.  (Which is probably why we've been slacking on it lately)

It's much easier to just say "next time, do xyz" than to actually walk them through what xyz looks like.  It's pretty tiring, especially when it's three children multiple times a day!

In the long run, though, we know it will save us a lot of heartache and hassle.  It may take more time now, but the lesson of acting upon what they hear will hopefully benefit them in years to come.

"Being no hearer who forgets..."
We used to find ourselves correcting our boys for the same things over and over.  Were they just not listening?  Were we not explaining it the right way?  No.  We made them look at us (insuring we had their attention) and made them repeat it to us (insuring they understood)...

They were simply forgetting because they would act out of instinct since they hadn't tried another way.

But once we started having them immediately act (literally) on our correction, we started to see big changes in their behavior. 

We give them a chance to...
***Hear h
ow to do it right next time
***See how to do it right next time
***Practice how to do it right next time

This way, they have no doubt what was expected of them.

"He will be blessed in his doing"

The boys think this is great fun.  They call it "playing Do Over".

Once they re-play the wrong thing and replace it by doing the right thing, we always remind them that there is blessing is hearing and doing what the Word says.

We often tell our boys that even though it's sometimes hard to obey, there is great reward in doing so.  All three of our boys know by heart that scripture says their days will be long and it will go well with them if they obey us, as the Lord has commanded.  Thankfully, this is something the boys understand and desire!

And our prayer is that practice, will make perfect!

Matthew 5:48
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Hmm...Now if Ryan and I could only start practicing this with our boys all the time, instead of just talking about it :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lies Women Believe About Cloth Diapering!

I first thought about using cloth diapers when we were expecting our first child.  But it seemed the more I mentioned this idea to other seasoned moms, the more discouraged I got.

Everyone seemed to have a negative reaction, wondering why in the world I would hassle with cloth diapers when we could afford disposables?  Then I heard lots of stories about how "so and so" used to use them and their house always smelled, or they were always poking themselves in the middle of the night with saftety pins, etc.

Plus, I had my own hang-ups...like what do you do with the POOP????

Looking back, I didn't talk to anyone who WAS using cloth diapers, just people who had HEARD about them.

Then I met MOMYS :)  and *I* was the oddball for not using cloth diapers!  So I started asking questions and researching...

As I've said before, I've been using them for almost 3 years and I love them!

Good for the environment? Yes!  Good for my children's health?  Yes!  Less expensive?  Yes!

Misunderstood?  Yes!  :)  (Poor cloth diapers!)

Here are just a few myths I was tricked by...

#1--Cloth diapering makes you a tree-loving hippy, or worse, a backwoods hillbilly!
Well, sure, they kinda are kinda hippy/hillbilly, but just be aware that they have so many new choices now.  
http://www.cottonbabies.com/ is a great place to check out your options!
These days cloth diapering is fashionable and they are easy to use--it ain't your momma's cloth diapers anymore!

#2--Dealing with poop in cloth diapers is disgusting and messy.
Poop is always disgusting--cloth or disposable diaper.  There's no getting around that.  Unless you can figure out how to get your kid to not poop, it's just a part of life. :)
With cloth diapers, I actually think poop is easier to deal with...
~The poop "sticks" to the cloth diaper, so there is less mess on the bum. 
~Newborn poop is the easiest, you just throw the cloth dipe in the washer and let it run through one cycle before washing it with detergent.
~For more solid poop, you just plop it right into the toilet.  And there are actual sprayers that you can purchase that attach to your toilet to rinse it before washing, but I don't have one and have never felt I needed one.

Still, there is an easier solution!  My sister uses flushable liners that can be removed from the diaper and go right into the toilet.  They are pretty cheap (about $12 for 250 liners) and Target sells these!

#3--They will always smell like urine.
Not true!  If you're worried about this, there are a lot of things you can do to prevent stinky diapers.
I use a splash of vinegar in my pre-rinse which takes away any ammonia/urine smell in the cloth dipes.
Also, small bit of bleach (used once per month) in the hot water cycle will eradicate any stink.

#4--Once they are stained, they are stained forever.
The good ol' fashioned SUN does wonders for stains.  It's amazing!  Just hang them up outside in the sun or lay them on your lawn wet and stain up (and watch your neighbors stare) then rewash and the stains will be G-O-N-E!

#5--Washing cloth diapers is time consuming and inconvenient.
I really don't notice myself doing any more laundry than I did before, even though I know I do.  It's just that it's pretty easy and they are a breeze to fold (this is Trusten's job now-he loves to help)!  I usually do 2 loads of cloth diapers a week.

I wash on cold with just a dash of vinegar and detergent (the cold is to remove any left over yuck).
Then I wash the load again on hot to sanitize.
Usually I run one last rinse on them to make sure the detergent is totally gone.
Next, throw them in dryer!

For laundromat's, look HERE.

#6--Your baby will have a "bubble butt".
Welp, this one is true...especially if you use prefolds.  Some of the fancier diapers are just like disposables (in bulkiness) but if you use prefolds, it's inevitable...your baby will have a big rump!

But there are benefits to this...
~They will never crawl out of their pants again!  Pants will stay on securly thanks to the extra fluff offered by cloth diapers!
~Their fall will be cushioned when they're learning to walk!  Extra padding prevents tears!

Any other questions/concerns may be addressed here.

Any other cloth diapering Momma's wanna help dispel any myths???  Feel free to chime in!!!

Finally...The Laundry Detergent Recipe for Cloth Dipes!

About a year ago, I had found a homemade laundry detergent recipe for cloth diapers and just now found it again!

It's from ...

and it can be found HERE.

Basically, it's...
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup of oxiclean

Since it's soap-free, it can be used on any cloth diaper!
(and it's super duper cheap to make!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Homemade Baby Wipes and A Miracle Rash Solution!

Making your own wipes is simple.  

General Wipes Solution:
Boil 2 cups of water
Once boiled, remove from heat
Add 2 Tbs Baby Lotion
Add 2 Tbs Baby Wash
Stir till everything is dissolved

This is how I used to use this solution:
(I'll tell you why I don't do this anymore, below*)

1.  Cut Bounty paper towel roll into thirds

2.  Place one or all three cut rolls in old wipes dispensers.

3.  Pour wipe solution on top

4.  Pull paper towels through top, just like packaged wipes

Note: You don't have to have wipes dispensers.  You can also use any sealed container that will fit your paper towels.

*In order for these to wipes to work well, you have to buy the nice, more expensive Bounty wipes which ends up being about the same price breakdown as the store brand wipes.  We tried using Bounty Basic to save money, but they were still too thin.  So in the end, we fount out there is barely a difference in cost between these wipes and store-name wipes.  For us, we only get 12 extra wipes out of these homemade wipes verses Wal-Marts brand (for sensitive skin).

So now, we use store-brand wipes on Samuel and for Liberty I use cloth wipes...

If you're going to cloth diaper, you might as well, cloth wipe too!  
I shared about it in this post.

Basically, you use the same wipe solution, but keep it in a separate container.  

1.  Cut your own wipes from old blankets or old cloth diapers...

2.  Then you just dip your wipes into the solution right before you use them.

It's as simple as that!  They are nice and thick, so no tearing or sopping wipes like what can happen with the paper towel ones above.

For babies who often break out in diaper rashes, I have the miracle solution! 
Now I sound like an infomercial!  :)

Samuel used to always get Really Bad yeasty diaper rashes.  It didn't matter what I tried, he ALWAYS got them.  Cloth diaper or disposable, sensitive wipe or homemade solution, I tried all sorts of rash cremes...nothing fixed it.

We thought it was yeast in his diet and adjusted that, but still, the rash persisted...

And the last thing you want to do with a rash is rub a wipe on the raw bottom, right?

(((I got this tip from my MOMYS and it's a miracle!)))
I mix 1 TBS of white distilled vinegar in 1 cup of water.

That's it.  I use THAT as my wipe solution (with cloth wipes) and it not only cleared up his rash, it KEPT IT FROM COMING BACK!!!

Now that he's older, he doesn't have those rashes anymore, but whenever we start to see a sign of it, we just swipe his bottom with that mixture and VOILA--no yeast, no rash!

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