Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reese's Spread ~ Yum!

I received this product from Influenster for review purposes.  All opinions are my own. 

Recently I had the opportunity to sample the Reese's new spread. Reese's peanut butter cups are a favorite treat of mine (I may or may not be hording some from Halloween still)  

Even though I love them (because of the chocolate mix) I don't really love peanut butter, so I was curious to know how it would stack up.  

From that first spoonful I was hooked.  It is sweeter than I expected, but not in a bad way.  It just means that I can't have a lot of it in one sitting.  It does taste a lot like a peanut butter cup which is great!

I tried it with pretzels, bananas, apples and on a sandwich.  It was delicious on all.   I've been contemplating putting it on bacon because bacon and chocolate seems to be the in thing to do.  

You can purchase it at most grocery, convenience and drug stores for $3.89 for a 13 oz jar. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

13/14/15 Month Favorites

Apparently it's Fisher Price month over here.

Fisher Price Smart Stages Vacuum

I won this and she thinks it so much fun to get it out when I vacuum.  It lights up and makes music and is pretty fun.  It's pretty short though so I worry she will outgrow it soon.

Laugh and Learn Lamp

She got this for her birthday and she still plays with it almost every single day.

Fisher price laugh and learn play table.

This was a hand me down and it also gets used almost every single day.

Fisher Price Smart Phone

This was a gift from my friend.  She holds it up to her ear and says "hello."  She also likes to dance to the music it makes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Eleanor ~ 15 months

(I tried to get a nice picture but she would not still; I'll do a photo dump soon!)

She has had a verbal explosion this month.  She is saying so many words - to others they might sound
like jibberish but we know what she's trying to say. 

She's finally started saying "mama" again.  I hadn't heard her say it for what seemed like months.
  • Socks "ock"
  • Christmas tree "miss ee"
  • "papa"
  • "wuff wuff" All animals say this though according to her.
  • "Hi"  This isn't a new one but she says it all the time.  She will get in your face and say it over and over.
  • "Hello"
  • "Ball"
  • "Yellow" 
  • "Circle" 
I'm amazed at how much she understands now.  I can ask her to get a book and she will, tell her it's time to eat and she will go to her highchair, and when I say we need to change her diaper she will go right to her changing table. 

She can climb the stairs from the basement now.  I actually think she probably could have done it before but I never gave her the chance.

She can wave bye bye.

Her 12 months pajamas are starting to feel snug, and some of her 12 month shirts are turning into belly shirts.  Pants are 18 month.  

She's really starting to imitate actions and remember how things work.  For example she will get her socks or shoes and try to put them on.  

Eating with a fork and spoon have become a lot easier for her.

She still loves pasta in any shape or form, loves green beans, mandarin oranges, and donuts (although she only gets a teeny tiny bit of those).  

Another new tooth popped through.  That makes six now and a seventh is getting ready to push through.

Sleep this month was terrible.  We are finally getting it back on track.  She would be asleep and then I'd lay her down and she would immediately stand up and scream and scream and scream.  Get her back to sleep and the cycle would start over.  I'd try to lay on her floor and eventually she'd calm down and I'd slowly inch my way out of the room.  One night I spend an hour and half doing that only to have her stand up when she could no longer see me and scream.  So many nights I gave and bed shared with her.  But that wasn't working for me since she was taking up most of the bed.  So I set up the pack n play next to my bed and she's used it a few times.  I always start with the crib, but keep it there just in case.  We also tried cry it out.  After a few nights we were up to almost 45 minutes.  After that it got easier.  I've also been using a glo-worm and working to give her a lovey just at sleep time.  I'd tried before to do a lovey but she never took to it.

She's moving a lot faster now.  I'm not sure if I should call it running, but I will.

She loves to play the I'm gonna get you game.  When I come at her she runs away giggling.

She knows where her nose is.

Oh and she's a little stinker.  The other day she acted like she was going to drop her plate off her high chair tray.  She looked at me and pushed it, and then when I grabbed for it she pulled it back and laughed.  Well played Eleanor.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hoping for a better year in 2015

So it's been weeks since I posted and there is an explanation.

I mentioned a while ago about Rob having some health issues.  From the end of September when they began until early December we made 6 er trips, 4 requiring hospitalization. We spent so much money on pain medications and prescriptions flying past that deductible.   Doctors visits were at least weekly plus lab work and everything.

At the beginning of the December the decision was made to remove his colon and he had surgery.  He spent a few more weeks in the hospital recovering.  During the surgery part of his pancreas was damaged so blood sugar levels are now a issue and he takes insulin (although the hope is this isn't permanent and has to monitor his blood sugar levels multiple times a day.

The week after the surgery he had a blood transfusion as well which he was really hesitant to do but knew he needed it.

He hasn't worked in months (since shortly after Eleanor's birthday).   He's slowly getting stronger, but is still down 50lbs from when this started and doesn't really have much energy.  Really we only leave the house to go to the weekly appointments.

This week he was able to get his drain out that was put in due to fluid build up the week after the surgery.  That was a huge boost to his spirits because without it he can move around so much better.  The tubing doesn't hang down and get in his way and catch on things.  

He still has the illestomy bag and will until the summertime.  He will need two more surgeries before he can get rid of that.

On top of his constant frustration at being in pain all.the.time comes the stress at having no income (although the generosity shown to us by friends, family and stranger has been so unbelievably amazing.  Seriously we have been constantly overwhelmed and blown away).

I am going to start a babysitting job soon which won't bring in much money at all and will be a lot of work, but it's something and will cover a few of our smaller expenses.

As far as me I've struggled too.  I feel like I get overlooked by most in this process but it's been really tough on me.  I have had to do almost 100% of Eleanor's care.  I have to take care of her, and Rob.  It's been hard to balance their needs.  And constantly having to be 'on' means no mental break for me.  Rob can't even lift her - although now he is able to sometimes sit on the floor with her - so I can't even have him watch her for a few minutes while I run to the store or something.

Anyway 2014 didn't end on the best of notes, but I'm optimistic that 2015 WILL be better.

Monday, December 8, 2014

14 month update

Sweet girl is 14 months now.

Whens we use disposable we use size 4, although I think they are a smidge to big but I'm out of size 3 and don't want to buy anymore.

She's now in 9-12 month onesies, 18 months tops (with a few 12 month) and 18 month pants.  Her 12 month pajamas are getting snug.

She can sign please and I'm still working on all done.

She got another tooth pop through just a few days ago - she's now up to 5.

I've started to notice that she's become more verbal lately.  I can pick out a few words.  I probably wouldn't be able to tell but she uses them in the right contex "shoes" when she is trying to put hers on, and "iss" means kiss.

She's starting throwing little tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants.  It's hard not to laugh.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolate

I received this product complimentary for review purposes.  All opinions are my own. 

Marie Cavanaugh spent hours in her South Dakota farmhouse each Christmas season making pecan rolls and homemade chocolates for holiday gifting.

"It started when my aunt sent her pecan-rolls recipe," Mrs. Cavanaugh recalled. "I gave the recipe my own touch and started making the yummy specialties. Then I began dipping chocolates. Our friends and neighbors loved these treats, encouraging me to start a candy business. Finally, I decided it might be a good idea.'"

Her husband and children helped fill demands for her homemade sweet and in 1972, the family moved to Utah, leaving good friends and their beloved cattle ranch. 

"It was a difficult decision, especially for George," Mrs. Cavanaugh said. "He was excited about making our new venture, which we chose to call Mrs. Cavanaugh's Candies, a great success. We felt Utah was blessed with good chocolates and that we would enjoy - and could compete with - those who pride themselves on making excellent chocolates."

Millions of pounds of chocolates later, Mrs. Cavanaugh's candies have earned a reputation for unquestionable excellence....

You know this is a product to be excited about when my husband who is dealing with major stomach issues really is bugging me to let him have one.  

The carmel one was awesome!  This is the one we fought over.  The carmel was really rich and creamy.

This cherry cordial was amazing!  I love these things.  The cream was a lot lighter than in the more commercially produced ones. . That's the best way I can describe it.

Surprisingly I haven't devoured the box yet so I haven't tried all the kinds yet.

I also had a white chocolate coconut almond bar which was good.  I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate (I love the dark chocolate the best), but I still liked it.

Readers will receive Buy 1 lb Get 1 lb FREE of Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolateswhen they use promo code: usfamily2014 http://www.mrscavanaughs.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Baby Banana Brush Review & Giveaway

I was provided with this product for review.  All opinions are my own.

Like any other child teething comes and goes.  I almost always tend to blame her fussiness on teething and lately she's ramped it up, had spurts of drooliness, and chewing on things she normally wouldn't. 

So when the opportunity to check out the banana brush presented itself I hoped it would be a good fit.  The brush says its for babies up to 12 months, but Eleanor is close to the mark and with the teething symptoms I had to try it. 

The brush was invented by a mom who is also a hygienist.  It is made of silicone and helps to soothe sore gums.  The handles are easy to hold on to and it's dishwasher safe (which I think all kid products should be) and is safe for the freezer - which I haven't tried yet. 

It arrived, I opened it up and washed it, and handed it to her.   Or tried to, she didn't take it.  So I showed her what it was supposed to do, and handed it back to her.  She chewed it for a moment and then dropped it and wandered off.   

She didn't care to much for it.  It's not a product issue, but more so that she just wasn't interested. I guess she really was to old for it.    Thus the reason for the blurry pictures.  I had to try to be fast and failed. 

 I do plan to just keep it in her toy bin and I'm sure she will find it and love it periodically.

If you have a teething baby you can enter to win one!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ways to Earn Cash & Rewards

With Rob having health issues, and me being a stay at home mom, I'm looking for ways to add a little bit of extra income here and there.

All these sites and apps are free to sign up for.

Save up
This isn't so much a money making site but I've won twice from this website.  I have won a ipad3  and a $100 gift card to Lowe's I love how easy it is to use and even if you don't win anything it has great features.
Sign up here (Referral link, I get 10 free plays)

Swag bucks
This is probably my favorite.  I don't spend a lot of time on it, although I've been spending more lately.  I do the daily poll and the NOSO, and then occasionally some of the quick videos that you can watch to earn swagbucks.  I also use it as a search engine to try to get some points that way.  The points can then be redeemed for gift cards, discounts or other prizes.  I spend 5-10 minutes a day and could earn a $5 amazon gift card probably every other month. I've been saving them for paypal cash though since I've have earned a good amazon balance.
Sign up here (This is a referral link, I get a percentage of what you earn)

Inbox dollars
I've been using this since before Eleanor was born.  I've made around $35 but haven't cashed out yet. You can take surveys and use it as a search engine, but I haven't done that yet.  I get emails (I think at least 10 times a week) and just by opening it and clicking on the confirm button you make .2 cents.  It's a small amount, but takes less than ten seconds to do.
Sign up here (Using this link you get $5, and I get $2)

I've been using ebates for three years and in that time I've gotten over $200 back.  Before shopping online I always check to see if the store or shop is listed on ebates.  One of my favorite to use is groupon.  When I ordered our wedding invitations through vista print I went through ebates and got cash back.  I ordered some magazines on black Friday and got 50% of my purchase back.  Awesome!
Sign up here (I think I get $5 when you make your first purchase) 

This one isn't technically online..  Nexercise is an app (I think it's available on apple and android) and you track exercise and earn points that can be redeemed for other gift cards etc... I have earned a few dollars in amazon gift cards, but since I started using the app there  been a few changes and I don't like it as much. Since all activity is through the app if you want to be my friend let me know and I can email you my friend link (I think we both earn more points through this). You can still benefit from it even if you don't have friends on there.It does take a while to earn enough points for something, but I still will keep using it because I like tracking my exercise.

Pampers rewards
I've been using this for a while, and have yet to spend any money on it.  I follow some other blogs and they post when there is a free point code.  This usually happens on a monthly basis.
Sign Up Here

Kellogg's family rewards
Just by signing up and entering codes from eligible products I've earned a free children's book, and have enough points for free prints from shutterfly.  I'm saving them for something bigger, although I'm not sure what yet. They also offer free points codes (follow them on facebook) at least once or twice a month. Click the link below to sign up.

This connects you with brands and when you answer questions or participate in missions you earn points which equal entries for gift card drawings.  I did win a $50 gift card to restaurant.com, a walmart gift card, and then $5 to amazon (many times).  I've also been able to sample several different products (body wash, cleaners, throat drops etc.)
Sign up here

Feature Points
Another app that I just started using.  I haven't earned enough to redeem but it seems fairly easy.
Referal Link is XDKBBZ

The following are cash back on groceries etc... type apps.

I signed up when it first was launched and I didn't have a smartphone so I forgot about it. But I've been trying to remember to use it again.
Sign up here

An app you use to earn cashback on groceries.  You buy your groceries and then upload your receipt to earn cash back

Same as checkout 51.  This one does have the option to earn bonuses based on your team (friends who sign up) as well.  If you are wanting to check it out and sign up my referral code is nvggg

Another cash back savings site.  This one I'm pretty new to so I haven't earned much yet from it.  My referal code is IDMISN

Savings Star
Every friday they offer a freebie bonus and as a result I've gotten free snacks and even earned cash back into paypal account (which I actually already have had deposited).

Snap by Groupon
Yet another cash back site. I do have a referral link and if you want it let me know.  I can't seem to post it here. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

~Holiday Bundle of Gifts Giveaway~

Welcome to the Holiday Bundle of Gifts Giveaway!

Featuring: 14 prizes for one lucky winner!

bundle of gifts

Hosted by: Just Another Mom

Co-Hosted by:

The Cafe Coupon, Deliciously Savvy, Heartbeat Soulstains, Michigan Savings and More,

Joan's Five Star Reviews, Totally Temberton, Cupcakes and Flipflops

The Mama Games & Disabled Diva Reviews

With a BIG thank you to all of the bloggers who are helping to promote!

As we draw closer and closer to Christmas, Just Another Mom is pleased to present the Holiday Bundle of Gifts Giveaway! Featuring 14 gifts from The Holiday Gift Guide at Just Another Mom, one lucky winner will win over $300 in prizes with a little bit of something for everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Silly baby pick me up

The weather is crummy, I haven't left the house since Saturday and am in need of a pick me up.  Assuming you do too, I'm sharing a few cute things my girl has done lately.

1) If I'm nursing her and playing on my phone (so not looking at her) she will grab my face and turn it so I look at her.

2) If I have my phone out to take her picture she was say "eese" (cheese).  Maybe I take to many pictures?  Not that that's really possible. 

3) Rob has been in the hospital a lot lately.  When he got home from stay number 2 he walked in the door, Eleanor walked to him and just clung to his leg.  So sweet.

4) I had a little slide I picked up at a garage sale over the summer that I've pulled out.  She will sit and the bottom and go 'eee' (wheee)

5) I was using the bathroom the other day and she walked in, started pulling the toilet paper out.  I stopped that but let her have what she had already pulled.  She proceeded to rip it into tiny pieces and set it on my slippers

6)  See video below.  I did this once and now she will pick this (drum lid) up and hold it up to her face.

What cute things have your babies/kids done lately?