Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Annual Pumpkin Carving Competition

October is my favorite month for many reasons! October is the month my husband and I started dating (8 years ago today) but it also means fall which means bring on the pumpkin spice lattes, corn mazes, haunted houses, costume parties, October skies, and of course pumpkin carving! 

Every October we get together with some of our brothers and sisters and friends and have a pumpkin carving competition. I am married to an extremely competitive guy and when you throw in his brothers, who are also very competitive, pumpkin carving gets taken to a whole new level. Let's just say your typical jack-o-lantern is not going to cut it in this competition. 

I thought it would be fun to share with you our pumpkin from this year and some of the years past. This year we actually won first place! Whoohoo! Go team Chelsea/Josh. Without further ado here is our winning pumpkin from this year:


Any Breaking Bad fans out there? We binge watched the entire season this summer so we felt it was appropriate to carve Walter White. For those of you who do not watch the show here is the inspiration:
Here are the other contenders...(can you believe someone else did Walter White as well?!? What the what?)


In keeping with the TV theme here is our pumpkin from last year, 2013:


Here were that year's contenders...the tiger won!:

And our 2012 pumpkin:

2011 pumpkin:

Here were some of the other contenders from that year...ET won:

And then I have to share with you my hand's down favorite pumpkin we have ever carved...this was in October 2009...no competition but clearly if there was this year we would have won!  This was the year of Knowshon! Any Dawg fans out there? 


What is your favorite pumpkin we have carved and what is the best pumpkin you have ever carved? Any ideas for next year?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How Being A Mommy is Changing Me

Ya'll this week I will have been a mommy for 4 months!!! Unbelievable! Time is FLYING! I fall more and more in love with my little guy every day. I honestly think he is the cutest, sweetest baby on the planet but of course I am partial. :) Hey, as mommies we are all entitled to think that about our baby, right? Here is a picture of him from this weekend. Oh and he decided to roll over for the first time last night. We wondered why at 4:30 AM he was up laughing like crazy. After about 45 minutes of laughter and talking to himself my hubby and I checked the monitor to find he had rolled over on his tummy! I'm impressed! Good job buddy!


The big adjustment for us in the last month is that I returned to work so my little guy started "school." I am incredibly blessed that my office actually has on site child care so my little guy is just down the street on property here with me and is in class with all my co-workers kids! So far it has truly been an incredible experience with a few minor hiccups here and there...for example he got his first cold last week from a fellow class mate. But all and all I truly am blessed! I think I have the best possible working mom scenario going on. 


That being said I am still working full-time, blogging (I promise I am trying to as often as I can), a mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter, member of my community and church and adding the whole "mom" part in to life makes it almost impossible to fit everything in.

I can honestly say the last four months have changed me. I would like to think for the better but I guess that would depend on who you ask?

I am learning how honest the statement is "You can do anything but you can't do everything." 

This means I am learning to say no and prioritize what I do say yes to.

I am learning to leave unscheduled time on my calendar to just be a wife and mommy. This is HUGE for me.

I am learning that there are things I am going to have to be willing to give up and sacrifices that are going to have to be made in order to be the best mommy and wife I can be to my guys!

I am learning to accept help when it is offered.

I am learning that you don't have to apologize when you do say no. It is your right to decide how you spend your time and with whom. 

But the struggle is real ya'll. 

So I made my first step in my mission to eliminate and de-clutter everything in my life and the hubby and I hired a house cleaner this week! So Thursday I returned from work to a BEAUTIFUL, clean home. Hands down the best money I have ever spent! 

My advice? If you are a full-time working mom or even if you aren't hire a house cleaner! Skip eating for a week if you have to. I'm kidding! But really if you can find a way to make it work financially do it! I can promise you that you won't regret it and it will change your life! We are only having ours cleaned once a month cause it was all we could fit in the budget but it is enough to make it manageable for me to keep up in the weeks between. 

Ok moms...or even dads...give me some encouragement? In what ways has being a parent changed you?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buy Crystal Light, Get Big Rewards

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for CRYSTAL LIGHT. I received a gift card to purchase CRYSTAL LIGHT products to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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This is a Lunchbox sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Did you know that purchasing Kraft Light CRYSTAL LIGHT from Walmart stores can earn you points for rewards? There is currently a promotion going called Platinum Points that can earn you exclusive Miranda Lambert rewards by shopping at Walmart when you buy the CRYSTAL LIGHT products, Platinum Points. And you only need to buy one CRYSTAL LIGHT product in order to qualify for a reward, the exclusive Miranda Lambert song download!

To participate all you have to do is create an account with Platinum Points, buy participating CRYSTAL LIGHT products at Walmart stores, scan your receipt, and earn reward points! Rewards include an exclusive Miranda Lambert song download, an autographed Miranda Lambert guitar, CDs, mugs, and lots of other great items! The Platinum Points Program coincides with Miranda Lambert’s Platinum Tour Presented by CRYSTAL LIGHT!

How to Sign Up for the CRYSTAL LIGHT and Miranda Lambert Platinum Points Program: • Sign up for the program here using your email address or Facebook account • Purchase participating CRYSTAL LIGHT products at Walmart and keep your receipt • Go to www.earnplatinumpoints.com in your mobile browser and log in • Click “Snap,” choose “Walmart,” and then click “Select/Take Photo” • Snap a clear photo of your receipt and click “Upload This Photo” • Redeem points for Miranda Lambert rewards


CRYSTAL LIGHT is my go to choice beverage. All I do is add a few drops to my water to enhance the flavor and I'm set! I drink a glass every day on my way to work which is at least 10 drops a week which is a 100 points a month! I love the Tropical Coconut flavor! It really enhances my water and tricks me in to thinking I'm on some beach somewhere with a tropical drink in my hand! :)

It was really easy to sign up for the program. I snapped a quick photo of my receipt, uploaded online, and instantly got a Miranda Lambert song download! I am SO excited because I only need 600 more points to get her Platinum CD! That's just three more of the CRYSTAL LIGHT liquid drops!
 






Points are earned as follows
CRYSTAL LIGHT Sugar Free On The Go Packs = 100 pts each
CRYSTAL LIGHT On The Go Multipacks = 100 pts each
CRYSTAL LIGHT Canisters = 100 pts each
CRYSTAL LIGHT LIQUID = 100 pts each
CRYSTAL LIGHT Jumbo Products = 200 pts each
Miranda Lambert Platinum CD = 300 pts each

Redeem Points for Rewards


100 pts = Miranda Lambert Automatic (Acoustic) Song Download
800 pts = Miranda Lambert Platinum CD
800 pts = Miranda Lambert Platinum Mug
1000 pts = Miranda Lambert Platinum Tumbler
1200 pts = Platinum Rhinestone Ladies T-Shirt
5000 pts = Miranda Lambert Logo Guitar
8000 pts = Miranda Lambert Signed Guitar

Share With Friends!
Refer your friends! Not only will your friends earn 25 points instantly for signing up, but you will also receive 10 points for each friend you refer who signs up.

I have an awesome offer to share with my readers! 
If you enter mirandaic when you sign up you will get 30 points

What are you waiting for? Get to drinking a yummy beverage and earning Miranda rewards today!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Woodsnap Review + Giveaway


I have the neatest product to share with you all today. When Woodsnap contacted me and asked if they could send me a product to review on my blog I jumped at the opportunity. I mean I'm a new mom...so when I was asked if I would like a free cool wood picture of my little one it was not a hard discussion. ;) When I thought of a wood picture I really was not sure what to expect but once I received their product I was super impressed. The quality was great and a picture printed on wood is such a neat idea! Without further ado here is the picture I received.


The picture comes with a kit you can use to hang it on the wall or a slot (in the picture above) you can use so it will sit on a shelf. As you can see I choose option two for now.


I am now a big fan of Woodsnap and plan to purchase several products from them as Christmas gifts for family and friends! 

I have some exciting news! Woodsnap is giving away a 16 x 20 wood photo to one of my lucky readers! Enter to win via Rafflecopter below!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Taking Advantage of Benefits




I can not advocate enough how important it is to spend time researching benefit options before open enrollment season. How many of you read over your policy from the year before? I can not encourage you enough to at least make the time to do this. I also make sure to take advantage of educational sessions provided by my employer on my benefit package. I find these sessions helpful as they give you highlights and encourage you to explore the other possibilities. You may be surprised to find that you could be saving money simply by making a few changes. By not researching benefits options ahead of time it can lead to very costly mistakes. For example, 42% of workers waste up to $750 a year on mistakes with their insurance. 



I highly encourage you to visit Aflac WorkForces Report website for more information on open enrollment. Did you know that Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company providing individual and group voluntary insurance products that help deliver protection to more than 50 million people worldwide and that for nearly six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress? They also offer voluntary insurance polices, designed to supplement major medical plans and even offer cash benefits that can be used to help pay rent, child car, gas, groceries, or other out of pocket expenses a worker may have. Aflac offers accident, dental, life, vision, cancer, hospital intensive car and more voluntary insurance policies. 

Selecting the right health insurance plan may be one of the most important decisions you will make this open enrollment period, yet many workers do very little research on their health plans. The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 41 percent of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season; and nearly a quarter (24 percent) spent five minutes or less. Interestingly, American workers typically spend more time:
      • Researching for new car purchases — 10 hours.
      • Planning family vacations — five hours.
      • Shopping for new computers — four hours.
      • Deciding what television to buy — two hours. 

Employees pay an average of $4,536 a year in premiums for an employer sponsored health plan but only 15 minutes of time devoted to benefit selection in comparison to time spent researching popular consumer purchases. 

Trust me...I understand it can be confusing! That is why I encourage you to take advantage of benefit education resources such as info sessions offered by your employer, and to take time to understand the financial implications your choices have on your budget, and, finally, to review and compare the benefit information at least annually.



      I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.