Mommy Link Up Party – Week 14 – Silly Photos

I'm thrilled to be joining Mandi from Sweet Tiny Blessings with this fun, prompt based weekly linky party!  Big thanks to Mandi for this opportunity!

Mommy Monday

Welcome to Mommy Monday!

Mommy Monday is a prompt based link up party with a theme.  We'll supply the prompts and you link up your related posts.  Anything and everything family friendly, old, new, even reviews and giveaways are welcome, as long as they relate to this week's prompt.

This Week's and Next Week's Prompt

This week's prompt is to share your favorite silly photo of your family or kids.  Add your link to your post with this theme in the linky below.  

Plan ahead!  Next week's prompt is how do you handle allowances in your house?  

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Why Replacing Your Old Fridge Can Save You Money

Why Replacing Your Old Fridge Can Save You Money

Why Replacing Your Old Fridge Can Save $$$ ad

A few days ago, I went to Best Buy to pick up Hubby's birthday gift that I had bought online.  I noticed signs for their Earth Day sale, where you can get up to 30% off of major appliances.  I was intrigued.  It has been a few years since we have bought a major appliance, so I know they have done big things to make appliances more Earth friendly.  

Appliances and "Earth friendly" did not really fit in the same sentence until recently, but now they do!  Recent improvements in insulation and compressors have made the refrigerators of today use much less energy than older models.  Look for an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator, and you know you are maximizing your energy and dollar savings.  And you will not even be able to tell a difference in the features.

ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators are about 9-10 percent more energy efficient than models that meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.

Recycle Your Old Refrigerator

There are an estimated 170 million refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers in the United States.  More than 60 million of these are over 10 years old.  It is great that they last so long, but they are actually costing us consumers more money in the long run…..up to $4.7 billion a year in energy costs!  By properly recycling your old refrigerator and replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator, you can save between $35–$300 on energy costs over its lifetime. Find out how much money you will save by using the ENERGY STAR Savings Calculator.

What is so special about ENERGY STAR?

ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators use less energy and help us reduce our impact on the environment.  One might assume that all of the refrigerators sold in the United States are ENERGY STAR certified, but sadly, that is not true.  If all the refrigerators sold were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $400 million each year and 8 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, (equivalent to the emissions from 750,000 vehicles.)  That would make a HUGE difference!

Where to Start?

Now that you know how important recycling your old fridge and replacing it with an ENERGY STAR fridge is, where do you start?  My suggestion….start with the LG Studio Collection at Best Buy.  It's beautiful, but more than that, the features are drool worthy, too.

Why Replacing Your Old Fridge Can Save You Money

This Nate Berkus-inspired line has pro-style features like hefty metal knobs and flat doors.  It is well-designed, looks amazing, and it does it's job well.  Refrigerators, cooking appliances, dishwashers, over-the-range microwaves and more, you will find the perfect kitchen with these appliances.

Now at Best Buy, get 18 months major appliance financing or 10% rewards (increased from 5 to10% for April!) and 10% back in grocery purchases.  You will also get free delivery on purchases $399!

Fun Mother’s Day Printables – Mom and Grandma Facts Sheets

Fun Mother's Day Printables – Mom and Grandma Facts

Mother's Day Printables

contains affiliate links

May means flowers, sunshine, bbqs, and Mother's Day!  This holiday is a day for moms, grandmas, and any other special women filling the role of mom this year!  

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What’s Your Coffee Mood?

What's Your Coffee Mood?

What's Your Coffee Mood?

This post is sponsored by Folgers and She Speaks. All opinions are mine.

We have three little boys and only one can sleep soundly and sleep in late in the mornings.  Hubby and I both enjoying sleeping, as well, so this presents a bit of a problem.  I am so thankful for my programmable coffee maker in the mornings because coffee is a must.  There is never a morning when I say "you know, I think I can go without coffee today."  Nope.  Three kids.  Two of which we are pretty sure hate sleeping.  

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Spring Clean Your Backyard with One Simple Cleaning Hack

Spring Clean Your Backyard with One Simple Cleaning Hack

spring clean your backyard

This review was made possible by iConnect and Mr. Clean. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are my 100% mine.

Is it just me or was that the longest winter ever?  I have no idea why I feel that way, I mean I'm in TEXAS, I should not feel that way!  There were plenty of warm days, but I just hate the cold more and more as I get older.  Or maybe it is because I have three little boys that do not thrive indoors!  I am SO glad that Spring is here, but Winter sure did leave a huge mess in our backyard!

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Stock Up On Essentials For Holiday Guests – Easy Storage Hack and Free Printable

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HostingHacks #CollectiveBias  Stock up on essentials for holidays guests and use this easy storage hack for keeping it all handy!

Stock Up On Holiday Essentials for Holiday Guests – Easy Storage Hack and Free Printable

easy storage hack

We have lived in some pretty tiny spaces since we have been married and have had to come up with an easy storage hack or two along the way.  Now, we are very lucky to be able to live in a decent sized house with lots of room for us to live and play, but it gets cluttered very quickly.  It still seems that there is just no room for extra stuff, especially with the Christmas tree, gifts, and decorations out.  Last year for Christmas, my hubby installed some awesome wire storage racks in our laundry room.  The space was being wasted, so he just measured the wall, bought two 4' long storage shelves and installed them in less than an hour.  I am able to use them to store extras of everything AND hang clothes to dry on the bottom part.  It has been SUCH a nice thing to have!  He also installed one in our bedroom closet.  Basically anywhere that you have unused wall space, you can add extra storage, which really comes in handy when you have guests over.

Materials Needed:

  • wire storage rack(s)
  • level
  • electric drill
  • pencil for marking wall

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Every Two Minutes, A Woman Dies From Preventable Birth Complications, But We Can Help

All three times that I was pregnant, there were lots of things that I complained about.  Yes, I had morning sickness and there were times I could not think of anything to eat. I complained about having to wake up so much during the night (ha!  Little did I know what was about to come!)  I complained that I was uncomfortable in my nice, warm bed.  We tend to complain a great deal, it's true, pregnant or not.  When I take a moment to peruse the Samahope website and see what the people in other parts of the world are dealing with, my nice warm bed and the food that we DO have sound pretty good.  

And what about medical care?  I remember complaining about little things when I was pregnant, whether it was a nurse brushing off my concerns or an old, outdated sonogram machine that was fuzzy so we weren't able to make out the sex of Baby #2.  Then there was the gross stuff that I had to drink for my gestational diabetes test that made me feel absolutely gross the rest of the day.  Of course, all of these things are silly and pale in comparison to some of the real issues that pregnant moms around the world really do face.  Imagine waiting for months, worrying if you and your baby will even survive.  Imagine being in labor and not having any access to any kind of health care.  I think we can all agree that prenatal care and trained personnel during labor and delivery can be lifesavers…truly.

Every TWO minutes, a woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and birth.  Something that is a beautiful gift and "routine" in America can be life threatening to those without the proper help and care.  Samahope is here to help those women who are in that exact situation.  It is a fantastic organization that allows anyone, anywhere to directly fund doctors’ life-changing medical treatments for women and children in need.  This year, Samahope is on a mission to protect even more women and children in need.  

Cigna SamaHopeThe 10,000 Lives Campaign will help 5,000 moms and 5,000 babies – 10,000 lives.  Samahope is dedicated to helping this many people and won't stop until they reach their goal of funding enough birth kits!  They are currently only half-way there.  At Samahope, $5 helps fund a birth kit that includes the sterile tools to enable a Skilled Birth Attendant to protect a mother and child from life-threatening complications during childbirth.  $5 can save the lives of a mother and a baby!

The Cigna Foundation is supporting Samahope while it focuses on helping people overcome barriers to their health and well-being related to factors such as ethnicity, race, gender, age, geography or economics. This year’s Cigna Foundation World of Difference grant to Samahope is helping to train local nurses and fund doctors in India to provide treatment and surgery for people in need.

If you want to help, $5 can buy one birth kit that will help one mother and baby.  You can donate at the Samahope site.  

Samahope is on a mission to help 5,000 women deliver their babies safely, and we can all help!  With the cost of a coffee or two, we can save two lives.  That is just mindblowing to me and gives me chills.  Can we all pitch in to help women and babies in need?

Cigna SamaHope

Pregnancy and Oral Health: Facts You Need To Know

This pregnancy and oral health post has been brought to you by Jefferson Dental.  All opinions are mine.

Pregnancy and Oral Health: Facts You Need To Know

There is so much to learn about being pregnant.  What to eat, what not to eat, what vitamins to take, what random things to avoid, what things are safe, etc, etc, etc.  It's a lot to take in and remember, especially with "pregnant brain!" Something that is just is important as prenatal doctors appointments is prenatal dental appointments and this infographic shows you exactly why.  It's imperative that pregnant women take care of their teeth and mouth because gum disease is a real problem in pregnancy.  Just let your dentist know that you are pregnant and he or she will know exactly what to do.  They won't do x-rays unless absolutely necessary, and the best part for me was always the awesome rest I was able to take while I had my teeth cleaned.  You really can't beat that!

Find a dentist near you!

Did you visit a dentist during pregnancy?

Things That Stress Me Out and How To Relieve The Stress of Parenthood

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.  #StressLess2BMyBest  Relieve the stress of parenthood!

There is nothing like becoming a parent to quickly figure out what truly stresses you out.  For me, I have about three things that really get under my skin and have made me go a wee bit crazy in the past.  As the boys have grown older, I have learned that life happens and not to stress out about it, but it has taken some practice! 

1.  Spills and crumbs – One time the Captain spilled a whole can of salted mixed nuts all over and under and inside of our couch.  I was furious.  I tried to hold it together as I stomped to the hallway to get the vacuum cleaner.  I think he was 2 or 3 then, and he was just trying to serve himself a delicious snack.  We found nuts and salt for months after that, though.  I was reminded of this incident tonight when Baby Brother grabbed a bag of popcorn we had bought at the zoo and dumped it all over the carpet.  Instead of getting mad, I just stayed calm and vacuumed it up without yelling or stomping or anything.  I'm not sure how I reacted when D pulled this stunt and ate dirt out of our houseplant:

RESCUE

2.  Sick kids – I know, that makes me a horrible mother.  I just can't deal with sick, whiny kids for very long.  I love to hold them, cuddle them, administer medicine to make them feel better, but if I can't help them, I feel helpless, and that stresses me out.  And what's worse is when they're sick and cannot tell me what hurts or what would make them feel better.  Again, I've learned to be patient and do what I can and realize that I cannot always solve their problems.  Time will heal them and I just have to make them comfortable.

3.  Kids that don't sleep – Sometimes I cannot believe I'm still dealing with this one.  Seriously.  Baby Brother is 16 months old and he will go a few weeks sleeping mostly through the night and then, bam!  Newborn mode activated.  I try to be patient, but being woken up three times between the hours of 11 PM and 6 AM is NOT fun.  I think I'm patient the first two times but after that…nope.  I get mad.  And stressed.  And hubby usually gets the brunt of it.  I'm working on it!

I have learned that yelling benefits no one, kids deserve respect, accidents happen, and we are all human and make mistakes.  I have also prayed for patience and matured through my years of being a mother.  I think I have done alright, but we all have our moments!  I think a big thing that helps is to laugh it off.  If I cannot laugh about something, I'm probably more tempted to yell, so I've been trying to find the humor in all potentially stressful situations. Along with finding the humor, these are five ways that I relieve the stress when these parenting stressors come up!

stress

1. Ask for help – We moms think that we are showing a sign of weakness if we ask for help, but really, we cannot do it all.  I've learned to ask for help from Hubby, friends, family, etc, when we need it.  It benefits my children because it allows me to lessen the stress and recharge.  Last week when I had been sick for ten days, I asked my parents to take the older two boys and I felt better because my sons were being taken care of and not forced to sit around just because Mommy was sick.  They got bonding time with their extended family and I got some extra rest.  

2.  Say no – Some may think I say  no too much, but I just have learned when I have to say no to things.  If I'm not confident that a situation will be doable, I say no.  Sure I feel guilty, but it's okay to say  no!

3.  Do whatever works best for your family.  People love to give advice and that's okay, but in the end, you have to do what's best for your family.  I had to wear Baby Brother a LOT when he was an infant because it's what worked for us.  It worked for him and worked for me and we were happy.  Same thing with when the Captain had a cot in our floor for when he was scared in the middle of the night.  It worked for him, it worked for us, it was better than the alternatives, and we all got sleep.  And you know….he did grow out of that phase!

4.  Find a hobby you love and let go of the stress.  If you have a lot of stress built up, it's important to let it go.  Whether it's gardening, cooking, watching a movie, running, or something completely different, do what you love and let go of the stress!  Channel your inner Elsa and LET IT GO!

family playdates

Be ready for anything your children throw at you with Rescue!  AND, click on the image below to download a BOGO coupon and be entered for a chance to win prizes from Bose and GoPro in the RESCUE #StressLess2BMyBest Sweepstakes.

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Multi-Functional Convertible Dress by Henkaa Will Last Through Life’s Many Stages

I'm excited to partner with Henkaa for this convertible dress post.  All opinions are my own.

It's hard to believe, but I have not bought many clothes for myself over the past 6+ years.  I have bought a few pieces when I absolutely had to, like for my brother's wedding when the Captain was 8 months old, or when I needed new jeans at some point, but shopping for clothes is not something I have ever enjoyed, especially after having kids.  It's amazing the size variations that I have been through, but that is probably true of most women.  I just did not want to buy anything that I was not going to be able to wear for long.  Through three pregnancies, baby weight, and fluctuating sizes, I have made do with what was in my closet.  That does tend to get boring after awhile, however!

I was thrilled to learn about the Henkaa convertible dresses.  These beautiful, luxurious dresses are good for maternity and post partum, but Henkaa convertible dresses are great for all women, in all sizes, in all stages of life.  Another reason that the Henkaa dresses are perfect for moms is the wrinkle resistant fabric.   The signature Lenaa™ fabric has a beautiful sheen that is perfect for any occasion or photograph, is machine washable and easy to take care of.

convertible dressAs you can see, Henkaa convertible dresses are adorable as maternity dresses, and very forgiving as post partum dresses.  They can be worn in so many ways, it will definitely be a new mom's go to dress. 

Henkaa Convertible Dress

The possiblities are endless with Henkaa.  You can choose colors, lengths, styles, and on top of that, each convertible dress can be worn in multiple ways!  Sleeveless, long sleeved, halter, one sleeved, and more.  These dresses are good for weddings, church, holiday parties, formal dinners, and just about anything else.  The style is up to you!

Henkaa Convertible Dress

Learn more about Henkaa on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Also, make sure to check out Henkaa YouTube to see the many wonderful dresses and ways to wear each beautiful dress.

How would a convertible dress be beneficial to you?  Could you see yourself wearing one through all of life's stages?