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I Got What I Wanted – Did You?

16 May

Hurray!  I got what I wanted for Mother’s Day!  Well, let me qualify that by saying “I’m in the process of getting what I wanted for Mother’s Day!!!”

As is every dream of every mother on Mother’s Day, my husband said “Let’s go to the stone yard and pick out the rocks you want.”  If you think is just plain mean for a husband to do to his wife on Mother’s Day, maybe it’s because you missed last weeks post – check it out here.

Mid-morning on Monday I hear the truck in the driveway:

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Monday morning delivery….

 Now we just need these landscaping rocks to get from my driveway, to the appropriate parts of our yard…

Considering here are a few examples of the current state of affairs in our front yard:

One of the beds near the street...

One of the beds near the street…

A bed near the house - OUCH!!!

A bed near the house – OUCH!!!

I am more than willing to put up with not being able to park my car in the garage for a little while.

A little inconvenience is OK

A little inconvenience is OK

To his credit, my husband came home and started to work on the first bed right away.  Our priority system is to start with the worst/most visible areas (near the street) and work our way back toward the house which is not as visible to the general public just driving by…  Our house is set a bit higher than street level, although not up high on a hill by any means, but the little height gives us a little visual buffer when choosing where to start with this project.  After day 1, this is what it looked like from the front door:

Looks somewhat done

Looks somewhat done

I was impressed because there was a lot of work to do to get the old junk out of the bed before they could add the stones.    They worked until dark so I didn’t get a chance to go outside and check it out.  It wasn’t until the next morning when I looked outside from the 2nd floor of the house that I got a little bit of an aerial view to see there’s more work to be done:

Day 1 progress - aerial  view

Day 1 progress – aerial view

OK – so it needs more work, and now he has had meetings the past 2 nights so it’s still looking like this as of this writing.  Considering the before pictures, I am so thankful for this Mother’s Day present.  And if I wanted to, I could claim that I got A HUGE (pile of) ROCK(s) for Mother’s Day.  I can’t make that claim every year, but this year, I am grateful for it (them).

What did you get for Mother’s Day?  I hope it was just what you wanted.  Share your Mother’s Day presents with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com
Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com to let us know what you think.
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Her First Mother’s Day? How to Make it Memorable…

2 May

After pregnancy, childbirth and a new born baby, a woman’s first Mother’s Day should be a memorable one.  Whether it’s your wife, your sister or your good friend, we’d like to share some ideas to help you make her day special.

Let her Sleep…

Woman Sleeping

Let her sleep on Mother’s Day

What new mother wouldn’t love to sleep in on Mother’s Day?  It’s amazing how a little more sleep can make her feel like a new woman.  After the last feeding at night, make sure you are ready to hop right out of bed once the baby starts stirring so they don’t wake up mom.  If she is nursing the baby, make sure you have a supply of breast milk, or formula, at the ready to feed the baby while she sleeps.  One missed feeding will not hurt baby or mom, and in the long run, a well-rested (well hydrated) mom can produce more high quality breast milk.  Turn off the baby monitor in mom’s room and take the baby to a location in your home where mom can’t hear a fussy baby.

Feed her…

Breakfast in bed is the classic Mother’s Day meal for Mother’s all around the country.  How fun for a new m

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Romantic Dinner at Home – enjoy it together after the baby is in bed.

other to actually get spoiled by getting to experience this very traditional activity!  Just make sure that this meal doesn’t end with the ‘sitcom-esque’ butter in the sheets, or having to face a disaster of a kitchen that will take a ½ hour to clean after her ‘treat’.

Another option for ‘feeding her’ is to take her to a favorite restaurant that you may not have been to since the baby was born.  If going out is not really an option due to a lack of babysitting options, then get that very special meal ‘To Go’ and enjoy it together after the baby is in bed.

Show her the Memories…

Framed Picture of Baby and Mom

Framed Picture of Baby and Mom

Take a favorite picture of mother & baby and have it framed.  If you have a little advance time, you can make a photo book with all sorts of pictures of mother & baby.  There are tons of websites that have templates where you can just choose a style and ‘drag & drop’ your digital pictures right into place.  My favorites are Shutterfly and Snapfish, but there are TONS of options including Wal-Mart and Walgreens where you can go and pick up the book at your local store.

Send her to the Spa…

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Total relaxation at the Spa….

There is no better way to have a new mother feel re-invigorated than to have her get away for a day to relax and re-charge her batteries while she is pampered at a Day Spa.  Send her with a sister or friend so they can relax and re-connect.  If a whole day isn’t feasible, then a massage, manicure, pedicure and a relaxing lunch will certainly do the trick.  Just be careful that you don’t plan something so elaborate that mom will be more stressed out for having to leave baby for a really long time – especially if the baby is very young and mom isn’t ready to let go.  If baby is very young, maybe your best option is just to send mom for a pedicure at a local salon where baby (and baby-sitter) can go along.  That way, mom can relax knowing baby is safe and doing well, but mom still gets a bit of pampering for herself.

Don’t forget the card from Baby…

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Card from Baby to Mommy

Almost two years ago my sister delivered her first baby on Mother’s Day (5 ½ weeks early).  On the way to the hospital to meet my niece, we stopped off to get a Mother’s Day card.  I signed it to my sister from the baby.  Since the baby was in the NICU and my sister couldn’t visit her due to her medical condition, I must say that that card got quite the emotional reaction.  More than I intended, because there were a lot of hormones in play at the time, but I’m still glad her very first Mother’s Day was somehow acknowledged.

Whatever you decide to do for her First Mother’s Day, just remember, that becoming a mother is the best gift of all.  Share with us how you celebrated your very first Mother’s Day by commenting on this post.

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CAPTURE THE MEMORIES, NOT JUST THE MOMENT

25 Apr

by Dawn Gorneault

Let me start by saying that I am by no means a professional photographer. I am just an average mom who likes to take pictures of her children, family and friends. I am usually the one lugging the camera bag around during sporting events, vacations and holidays. I take great pride and joy in capturing moments and sharing them with others. While I am a fan of the traditional “posed” picture for family vacations and holidays, I really do enjoy those memory triggering, emotion capturing shots. I thought I would share a couple of my favorites with you, and hopefully they will inspire your creative side and you can take some pictures of your own to share with us to help inspire myself and others as well.

My first pictures are from when my family and I went to Hershey Gardens in Hershey Pennsylvania. It was my family, my sister’s family and my parents. I will start by saying that the gardens are beautiful, and if you ever get the chance to go, I recommend it as a nice relaxing day for your vacation.

What first caught my epeople pics (12)ye, was when my kids were wandering through the rose gardens. There were dozens of rose buspeople pics (7)Bhes in all different colors. I watched as my children passed by one rose to lean and smell another. I grabbed my camera and focused on their noses in the buds as they inhaled the aroma of the flower and enjoyed not only the beauty of the rose, but the smell as well.people pics (8)

Continuing through the gardens, we encountered many flowers, trees, shrubs and fountains.  Many photo opportunities came about and I took advantage of all of them. But my most favorite shot from the gardens is my “Family Tree” photo. We came upon this grand tree towards the end of the garden. The large branches hung down to the ground. There was a “doorway” into the tree, to get to the trunk. As we were all entering the tree, and climbing on the massive branches underneath, I couldn’t help but think of the photo opportunity available to us with this tree. I could have my family hide in the branches of the tree with only their heads or faces being seen and take a picture from outside the tree. The end product was more than I could ever imagine. This picture hangs in my dining room and when new guest come over to visit, they get to explore the picture to see if they can locate all the members of my family in my “Family Tree

people pics (121)

My next picture is from one of our many vacations to Myrtle Beach. This destination has become a favorite of our family. We have gone therePictureb 152hh for the past 5 years and I can honestly say that we have had a different experience each time we have gone. On the day we took this picture, the husbands and the boys went to play golf, so the girls (and Grampa) went to the pier. We walked along the pier and did some shopping, played in the arcade and had some ice cream. As we walked further down the pier, we decided to go down to the water. It splashed at our feet at every wave. We started to play and run and jump around in the water. I handed my camera to my Dad and told him to take our picture as we all tried to jump at the same time. I will say that it took some time for us to get the perfect shot, but we had a great experience while doing it, and it is all we could talk about later when we meet up with the guys. So much so, that the next year, they boys had to take one just like it.

The last picture is from another family vacationimage102. My parents wanted to take all their grandchildren to the Magical World of Disney. So we packed up our families and headed south for a week in Disney. With three boys and two girls in tow, we headed off bright and early for Magic Kingdom. My son was the only one who hadn’t been before, but like many say, the Disney experience changes as kids get older. So the other kids were just as excited because they could now ride the rides they weren’t tall enough for before or weren’t interested in before. After a long day of character meet and greets, long lines for rides, eating on the go and many, many pictures having been taken, I felt like I missed that picture that would spark that memory and sum up the day in a single shot. The sun was starting to go down. We came around the corner and there it was…the castle, lights on, sunset sky in the background, and the kids looking at it in awe. They were looking and pointing. They knew that that was the symbol of Disney and I grabbed my camera and took the shot. I got it, the shot to sum up the excitement and magic of the day. It hangs proudly in my house and every time I look at it a slideshow of memories of that day passes through my mind and a smile comes across my face.

My kids are now 12, 15 and 18. These days go by quick, and I am so happy that I have been inspired to take pictures that spark these memories. And I hope that I can inspire you to do the same.

You can share photos and ideas with us to keep our inspirations alive as well by commenting on this post.

 

Please feel free to visit our website at www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com or send us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com to let us know what you think.Let's Get Blogging!!!

Dinner? Who has time for dinner? It’s baseball season!

18 Apr

As the weather turns warm and the trees begin to bud, our thoughts turn to the outside… and baseball – or soccer – or lacrosse – or whatever outdoor activity your kids happen to be involved in this spring.  And as most youth sports are coached by parent volunteers, these practices and games are often scheduled to take place after work hours – right in the middle of dinner time!

dinner time clock

As most busy parents are familiar with, being organized is how they survive, and dinner time at a ball field is no exception.  As someone who runs the concession stand at our Little League field, there are a lot of hot dogs and cheeseburgers for dinner in our family this time of year.  For families that don’t have the option of a freshly cooked dinner, or refuse to feed their kids fast food night after night (remember, kids are what they eat…), I have pulled together some dinner options that are good for the family on-the-go.

dance class pictureskids playing baseball

The Crock Pot

When I think of a crock pot, I think of sitting down with a steaming bowl of stew or chili and a chunk of crusty bread.  Don’t think you need to put away the crock pot just because winter is over.  For the busy family, a little planning and a crock pot can be a big time-saver on the busiest of nights.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with a side of coleslaw and corn on the cob – I always use the McCormick Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork seasoning mix to give me a head start with seasoning the pulled pork.  In addition to the seasoning mix and the boneless pork shoulder roast, you will need ketchup, brown sugar and cider vinegar.  The best part of this meal is that it freezes really well so don’t be afraid to freeze any leftovers.

BBQ Pulled Pork mix          pulled pork sandwich

Southwestern Chicken with a side of tortillas and avocado – This easy recipe starts with frozen chicken breast!  It seems like when its dinner time in my house, the chicken is always frozen…  Of course this frozen chicken would have to come out in the morning when you are assembling the ingredients in the crock pot.  This dish calls for frozen chicken breasts, canned corn, canned black beans, small jar of salsa, top with cream cheese at the very end.

southwestern chicken

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with a side salad – Another great ‘cheat’ recipe because I start with the frozen meatballs and add grape jelly and chili sauce.  Enough said.

sweet and sour meatballs

Salads and Wraps

Salads and wraps are an easy, light way to have dinner on the run.  A little prep work can go a long way toward making these meals fast.  Prepped ingredients can be assembled in just a few minutes to get dinner ready so you are out the door in no time.  Individual containers allow family members to eat when they have time – your daughter can eat during her brother’s baseball practice and he can eat during her dance class.  These individual meals allows you to customize the ingredients per person – I love Craisins and cheese in my salads, my son only wants cheese and my husband doesn’t like either.

chopping vegetables

Chicken Caesar Salad wraps are a ‘go to’ quick meal for our family.  My shortcut for this meal is to buy a chicken that is already roasted from Sam’s Club.  Their roasted chickens are the same price as a raw one, and I don’t happen to have a rotisserie oven at my house so it’s probably healthier than if I cooked one myself…

chicken caesar salad wrap

Cobb Salad is quickest to make when you have bacon bits made from real bacon or you can pre-cook bacon yourself in advance, crumble it and put it in the freezer until you need it.  I also make a bunch of hard boiled eggs early in the week which are also great for breakfasts on the go.

cobb salad

Chef Salad is traditionally made with ham, turkey and roast beef along with Swiss cheese & hardboiled eggs.  Any combination of meats and cheeses can be substituted – an easy meal to customize.

chef salad

What are some of your favorite quick-fix meal ideas?  Share them with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com Let's Get Blogging!!!

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com to let us know what you think.

 

5 Things to Do With the Kids on April Vacation – Without Breaking the Budget!

11 Apr

April vacation is upon us (well, next week in my town) and here are some ideas that you can do to entertain the kids that won’t break the bank…. flower

Bike ride to a Park

The weather is finally turning nice, and now’s your chance to jump on your bikes, feel the warm air on your face and have a leisurely day (or just a couple of hours if you prefer) with the kids at a local park.  Pack a picnic lunch in a backpack – grab a Frisbee or a tennis ball – and go.  Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers – and if the flowers aren’t bloomed in your area yet, have the kids notice the different buds that are hopefully forming.  You can talk about the ‘rebirth’ that happens each spring and have the kids notice what blooms earlier in the year and what blooms later.

family bike ride

Treasure Hunt

If you happen to be going on a long car ride, or just a walk around your neighborhood, create a Treasure Hunt for the kids.  You can write up the lists before you leave and challenge the kids to see who can find the most things on their list before you get back home.  Lists can be tailored based on the various ages of the children.  (Non-readers can get a list of pictures they need to find.)  Give each one a pencil or crayon to mark off the items as they find them.  After a successful Treasure Hunt, the reward at the end can be a trip to the ice cream shop!

scavenger hunt

Camp Out at Home

If chilly weather won’t allow you to really ‘camp out’ by sleeping in a tent in the backyard, you can still have your first camp out of the season.  Light up the fire pit in the back yard, sing songs, roast marshmallows and cook up some s’mores, and sing some camp fire songs.  When it’s time for bed, head in to the family room and sleep in sleeping bags on the floor as a family.  To make the effect of really sleeping in a tent, you can make an indoor tent by draping blankets over chairs or the couches.

kids around campfire

Work in the yard

As you do your Spring clean-up in the yard, challenge the kids to dig in and get dirty.  Who can find the biggest worm in the soil?  How many different plants are sprouting out of the earth?  And if you are really ambitious to have the kids help out, getting them their own ‘kid size’ garden tools might inspire them to be great gardeners someday.

kids gardening

Cook up a Storm!

Check out Pinterest to see a huge variety of ‘Fun Food’ ideas that are very kid friendly.  From a fruit kabob rainbow to no-bake desserts you make in a mug, there is something to excite just about everyone.  Here is a link to my ‘Fun Foods’ board on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/baptismalgownsp/fun-foods/.  Use some of these ideas, or search around to find other fun ideas.

rainbow fruit kabobs

Whatever you choose to do while the kids are off from school, doing it together is the best way to build fun memories!!!

Please share your favorite ‘wallet friendly’ ideas for the kids with us by commenting on this post.

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Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com to let us know what you think.

Let’s Get Blogging!!!

3 Mar


We are so excited to finally be able to add this blog to our site! We love to be able to reach out and talk to our www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com friends and have our friends have a way to talk to us. We thought a blog would be the best way to keep in touch with everyone. We are new at this, so please be patient as we learn what works best along the way.

Our hope is to be able to share news about babies, kids & parenting, products on our website, share tips and tricks and even have some fun with our youngest customers – well, maybe the littlest ones can just have their mom or dad send us a pic of their cutest moments…

We would love to hear any ideas or suggestions you may have for the blog. We would also LOVE to hear from you if you would be interested in writing a piece for the blog – the more input from our friends the better!!!

You can contact us by posting a comment to a blog, or sending us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com.