How To Print Your Instagram Photos

how to print your instagram photos at Walgreens.jpgAre y’all doing Instagram?

I am a MUCH better Instagram-er than blogger these days!

{{You can follow me on Instagram HERE.}}

Instagram is such a fun way to capture those every day moments that you never want to forget (like the one I posted the other day when we were at the mall and the Happy Baby got to go on his first train ride with his big brother.  It was an epic moment, people.).

After being on Instagram for several months, however, I began to wonder how in the world does one print these adorable little square photos with the cool filter options?

If you happen to be a little slower in the area of technology like I-really-should-be-Amish me, then hopefully this post will help!

Low and behold – you can print Instagram photos at your local Walgreens in just a few easy steps.

how to print your instagram photos at Walgreens.jpg4.jpgStep 1 – Download the Walgreens app (FREE).

how to print your instagram photos at Walgreens.jpg3.jpgStep 2 – Open the app and click on the PHOTO icon.

how to print your instagram photos at Walgreens.jpg2.jpgStep 3 – The photos menu will pop up and give you a few different options of where to print your photos from (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

Step 4 – Click the Instagram option.  This will then prompt you to log in to your Instagram account.  After that, you will be able to see all of your Instagram photos and can then proceed to click on the ones you would like to print.

Step 5 – Choose a Walgreens location for pick-up and then check out.  **Don’t forget to do a quick Google search for a Walgreens photo printing coupon code.**

Step 6 – Wait for about an hour and get an email saying your photos are ready.

Step 7 – Drive to Walgreens and pick up your super cute 4×4 Instagram photos from the photo counter.

how to print your instagram photos at Walgreens.jpg5.jpgStep 8 – Hang them somewhere in your Happy Home.

And that is the 411 on printing Instagram photos at Walgreens.

Let me know if I just blew your mind and changed your life for the better.

Or if you’re actually living in the 21st century, then you’re probably like, “Been there, done that, Fairy.  Now ask me how I print them at Costco.”

I have to get back to my horse and buggy!!!  Lol!

Happy Instagram Photo Print-ing! :-)

Flying Solo with Kids – Travel Tips for the Brave Mom

Sorry things have been a little quiet at Happy Home Fairy this week.

I took the Happy Buddies on their very first airplane ride to New Jersey to visit my extended family!

To say the Happy Buddy was excited about flying is the understatement of the century.

To say that Mom was apprehensive about traveling with 2 unpredictable children (one of whom got sick the day before we left) is the second understatement of the century.

Flying up I had the help of my parents (Mom and Dad = my heroes!), but the flight home was all me, 300 bags, 2 car seats, and my 2 crazies.

Here are some do’s and don’ts I learned about flying solo with kids.

airplane2

DO - Have your Happy Buddies run like a pack of wild animals up and down the airport terminals, climb on the chairs, roll down the ramps and play on moving sidewalks before boarding.  This will {hopefully} make them happy to be cooped in an airplane seat for the duration of your flight – and maybe, just maybe even sleep a little.

DO – Pack several new toys, books, coloring books, etc. that your Happy Buddies haven’t seen before and dole them out every thirty minutes or so.  This will help break up long flights as well as give them something to look forward to.

DON’T – Leave these new toys in their brand new packages.  This will create lots of problems as you try to figure out how to rip open, assemble, and deal with the trash in a space about the size of the inside of your oven.

Click Image to Buy

Click Image to Buy

DON’T – Pack the above toy as one of your ‘new toys’.  Because when confined to small spaces for extended amounts of time your Happy Buddy will get creative and curious and figure out how to break open above toy and suddenly there will be 1,567,896,982 microscopic magnetic beads all over his lap and you will have a crying baby in your arms (who is trying to eat the magnetic wand that goes with above toy) and no idea how to clean it all up.

airplane4DO – Pray that the person sitting next to you will be Mother Teresa’s sister.

DO – Whip out any form of chocolate or {insert-your-child’s-most-prized-treat-here} right before things are really about to blow up.

DO – Pack your carry-on bag for the end of the world.  Someone will probably poop or throw up or snot everywhere on themselves and you and a change of clothes for all involved will be necessary.

DON’T - Pack your carry-on so tight that you can’t remove anything without having to take out top objects and put them on the floor and then sadly see them roll underneath a seat that is 4 rows away.

DON’T – Wear those cute new lace-up sneakers you just bought.  You might fall over will struggle to stay balanced trying to take off and put back on said cute laced sneakers while wearing a baby during the security screening process.  Slip-ons, friends.  Slip-ons.

DO – Plan to give your Happy Baby a bottle during take off and landing to help their little ears handle the air pressure changes.

DON’T – Start giving them the bottle when you think the runway has arrived because in fact, the airplane has several more turns and stops before the runway actually begins and your lil’ guzzler will have devoured the whole thing before you have even lifted off the ground.

airplane3DON’T – Wear a watch.  This will just make those 60 seconds from one minute to the next feel even longer.

DO – Sometimes sticking your potty-trained kid in a Pull-Up before flying will work in your favor.

DO – Be prepared to sing every song ever written to your inconsolable baby (and everyone within a 2-row-vicinity).

DON’T – Forget to pre-measure your baby’s powdered formula.  Trying to scoop formula from a can into a tiny bottle opening while holding a small squirming octopus will result in a giant mess.

DO – If your baby starts crying, pass out earplugs with a smile to those in the seats closest to you.

DO – Lean over, point out the window and whisper to your Happy Buddy, “Your steadfast love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5

airplane5

DO - If all else fails and things are looking rather bleak, just plan on saying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Drinks are on me!” :-)

But most importantly, DO – Remember that you are an awesome Mom who now, if motherhood was like Girl Scouts, has an ‘I survived flying alone with my kids’ badge.

Now that is something to be proud of!!!

Do you have any airplane travel Do’s and Don’ts???

 Happy Flying Solo with Kids-ing! :-)

Extreme Pumping – Confessions of an Exclusive Pumper

The BEST article on how to pump for your baby written by a gal who pumped exclusively for her baby for 14 months!! This was really helpful and funny to read.My son, the Happy Baby, was born full-term, via C-section in April of 2012.

He was in respiratory distress and required oxygen support immediately.

One of his main health issues is a condition called hypotonia.  Hypotonia is a muscle weakness that effected everything from his breathing to his ability to suck.  His suck was particularly weak and uncoordinated and feeding became a big issue.  He even ended up needing a feeding tube for several months (you can read more about him and our journey HERE).

Because of that (and after several unsuccessful and emotional attempts to nurse), I decided to pump for my boy.

And I ended up pumping exclusively for him for 14 months!

You can read more about why I chose to do that HERE (as well as see some pretty funny photos of my family and me having a funeral for my pump once I finally stopped).

I got pretty good at pumping after all that time and thought I would share some things I learned along the way in case you ever find yourself hooked to a Medela!

Diet/Lifestyle

  • If you’re going to nurse or pump, you’ve got to drink a TON of water to keep up your supply.  Buy cute straws – it makes drinking water a lot more fun.  I kept a glass of water next to my pumping chair at all times.
  • Eat a healthy diet.  Take advantage of all that awesome food people are bringing you and your newborn.  Do not worry your pretty little head off about losing baby weight.  God made it so that your body burns a ton of calories when it is busy producing milk all day.  But you need to balance that burn with enough calories in your diet so that your body doesn’t start eating away at your own reserves – eek!
  • Eat oatmeal.  If my supply ever dipped, I went to Starbucks and got myself a cup of their Perfect Oatmeal – it is perfectly named, in my opinion. :-) Or, I simply made some of the old-fashioned kind (not instant) at home.  I also ate a lot of THIS KIND of granola.  I honestly don’t know the science behind this little bit, but it always seemed to help my supply get back on track.
  • SLEEP.  I know it’s hard to do this with a newborn in the house, but if you have an opportunity to sleep, do it.  Seriously, nobody cares if you haven’t vacuumed in 4 months.  You need your rest.  I read somewhere that your body actually needs at least 3-4 hours of sleep in order to produce milk.  And if you can’t get that much, ask your Happy Hubby to help.  And if you’re still struggling to find a few hours of shuteye, call a friend for help.  Your whole Happy Home’s sanity depends on it.
  • Stress effects your milk production.  This one is easier said than done.  I set up a nice, cozy chair in our living room as my pumping chair.  I tried to do most of my pumping there because it helped me to relax, but that was not always realistic, so on the times when I had to pump while at the dinner table (yes, I did that) trying to wrestle broccoli into my crazy 3-year-old, you can bet I didn’t produce as much milk.  But I produced awesome amounts if I sat with my computer open to Pinterest. :-)  Another good tip is to pump with a photo of your baby in front of you (or better yet – at crib side).  My precious mom framed a photo of the Happy Baby and brought it to me in the hospital the day after he was born.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting bras, certain underwire bras, or super supportive sports bras.  I had this one tank top that was really fitted around the chest area.  It took me awhile, but one day I finally made the connection that whenever I wore that tank top, my milk supply went down.  The same thing happened if I spent an extended amount of time in a tight sports bra.  I really loved wearing THIS BRA at night.
  • Keep off your tummy!  If you thought just because your baby’s out of the way that you can go back to stomach sleeping – think again {so sorry!!!}.  This type of pressure on your breasts all night long can also effect/slow down milk production.
  • Check out THIS ARTICLE for other hidden hindrances to a healthy milk supply.

Pumping

  • If you are going to exclusively pump, you will need to buy an AWESOME pump.  They are expensive, but just think of the radical amounts of money you are saving in the long run by not having to buy formula (I have even heard of some health insurances that will actually cover a pump purchase, so check that out for sure!!!).  I have the sweetest, most generous friends who knew my pumping predicament and bought me THIS PUMP (1) while we were in the hospital.  I loved its size – perfect for on-the-go.  You can’t get away from the obnoxious woh-woh-woh-ing sound, but if you hide the mechanism under a pillow it helps.  My 3-year-old got pretty good at mimicking the sound and I would hear him doing it in his room at night while trying to fall asleep.  Ha!
  • After about 7 months of using that pump, the mechanism started to make funny sounds and occasionally would spontaneously shut off mid-pump session.  As soon as this started happening, I called Medela (you can get their info HERE) and they sent me shipping labels to send them my old pump and they overnighted me a new pump.  All free.  It was awesome.
  • If you want to establish a good supply, you will need to pump every 2-3 hours for the first 3 months – even through the night.  I know this sounds crazy, but it was a really important key to my success.  Plus, when you think about it, this is usually how a baby would be nursing during that time.  Once I got past the first 3 months, I was able to slack off a bit and let myself skip a pump or stretch some to 4 hours between pumps.  At night my routine eventually became pump at 9 pm, skip the midnight pump, then wake up at 3 am to pump.  I kept pumping at 3 am even after the Happy Baby was sleeping through the night because it is a really important pump.  Your body produces the most milk between the hours of 1-5 am, so try to pump in that window, if you can!  (I once fell asleep while pumping and woke up to a lap covered in milk.  Not kidding.)
  • The nurse I had in the hospital told me to pump for 30 minutes.  So that is what I did.  And it was LUDICROUS.  I literally spent 4 hours of my day pumping.  I later found out that 15-20 minutes is actually what is recommended/necessary for pumpers.  That is much more realistic with a busy mom’s schedule!
  • Pump for an extra 5 minutes after your milk stops flowing.  This will elicit a second let-down and tell your body to produce more milk.  Sometimes I would have 2 or even 3 let-downs in a pumping session.  At my peak, I was producing about 16+ oz of milk per session.  But once my supply evened out (after about 7 months) my average was about 7 oz per session (10-12 oz at 3 am since that was my longest stretch) – which was just what the Happy Baby needed.  If you are concerned about your milk supply, read THIS ARTICLE and if you want to understand what is normal when it comes to pumping output, please read THIS ARTICLE.  I also think that THIS ARTICLE has helpful tips for increasing your milk supply.
  • When you’re done, wait 1 minute after milk stops flowing so that it is good and empty.  You DO NOT want a clogged duct or mastitis – take it from me.  NOTE – If you’re reading this post and do happen to have the ‘m’ word (ouch, I am SO SORRY, sistah!), check out THIS ARTICLE.
  • Massage your tatas while pumping.  This really helped to stimulate let-down and milk production.  Sometimes even just shifting my position in my chair would help me produce more milk.  Squeeze those things like lemons, ladies!  Also, if I was really having a hard time getting another let-down, I would increase/decrease the suction setting for a few minutes to stimulate it before going back to the setting I was most comfortable with.  NOTE – Setting your pump to the highest suction does not always guarantee more milk (as one would think).  What it does guarantee, however, is a blood blister on your nipple.  I am not even kidding about that. #speakingfromexperience
  • You will get awesome at pumping in random places.  I pumped in public restrooms (ick), closets, on the floor while playing with my 3-year-old, in the car coming home from date nights, in the first aid station at Disney World, and I even got to be a pro at pumping while driving (you can buy one of those awesome hands-free pumping bras HERE to help with this.  I always got a giggle out of wondering what an officer might think if I ever got pulled over while I was hooked up to my pump.  I am also sure I made many a truckers’ day – or scarred them for life – when they drove past me).

pumping accessoriesCleaning/Storage

  • You will probably go a little nuts at the absurd amount of cleaning that happens for the exclusive pumper.  Just getting that out there now. :-)
  • If you can, invest in a few sets of pump parts so that you can alternate and not have to clean as often.
  • Here is a neat trick that another pumping friend shared with me that she was tipped from a gal in the La Leche League – place your pump parts in a Ziplock bag after rinsing with hot water and then put it in the fridge between pumps.  You only have to wash the parts once a day if you do this.
  • I had a system where I kept a big bowl by the sink that I filled with hot, soapy water and tossed my parts in it after pumping and rinsing them.  I also had a big bowl that I used for cleaning the bottles (I use Dr. Brown bottles).  NOTE – I noticed that if I used colored/scented dish soap, my pump parts started to smell like it (which I naturally assumed might alter the breast milk’s taste), so I began buying dish soap that was free and clear of fragrances/dyes.
  • You will want to buy a cute drying rack to help ease the pain of all the cleaning.  I used THIS ONE (2).  NOTE – Your pump parts need to be completely dry before you put them back together and use them again.  If they are still wet it messes with their performance.
  • You will also want to buy a cute bag for your pump whenever you need to go out with it (which will be always).  The cuter the better.  This will help you feel better about having to take it with you everywhere.  I had an adorable personalized bag from thirty-one (3) that worked great.
  • You will love these quick clean micro-steam bags from Medela HERE (4).  NOTE – If you are using the Medela Freestyle Pump, do NOT put the backs caps in these bags (these are the clear plastic parts that clip over the membranes to the breast shield bodies) as I found that it causes them to warp and disrupts good suction when connected to the pump.
  • You will also love these quick clean breast pump and accessory wipes found HERE (5).  I kept a thing of these in my traveling pump bag at all times.
  • DO NOT SHAKE BREAST MILK.  I read somewhere that it damages the breast milk’s composition.  If you are using a bottle of breast milk from the fridge where the fat has separated and is clinging to the side of the bottle, in order to remix the fat you will need to gently swirl the bottle around until the fat has come off.  I hope that makes sense!
  • Breast milk storage guidelines – go HERE.  For me, one of the most convenient things about breast milk is that it lasts for at least 4-6 hours at room temperature.  A nurse friend of mine said that she heard that it’s good up to 10 hours!!  I loved that I could pump, put the milk in a bottle and head out without having to put it on ice.  I also loved that I could pump at 9 pm and leave the bottle out until the Happy Baby woke up a few hours later and I didn’t have to spend time in the middle of the night trying to warm it up (the Happy Baby does NOT like cold bottles).  It was all ready!  NOTE – Even with these guidelines, I still took care to SMELL the breast milk if it had been sitting out for a few hours.  Breast milk does not have a smell, so if it didn’t smell like anything, I knew we were good to go.  You will know if it’s gone bad.  Trust me.
  • Call me crazy, but I never froze my breast milk.  I always tried to give the Happy Baby fresh, or something that I had pumped a day or two before and put in the fridge using one of these containers.  One major reason for this is because I literally cannot even remember to take meat out of the freezer in time to thaw and prepare.  I simply didn’t trust myself!  So if my milk ever went into the freezer, it never came back out.  This site and this site have some good storing and freezing tips.  **And this lady has some excellent advice on building up a breast milk freezer stash as well as a whole pumping series that I found INCREDIBLY helpful!**
  • I also created a whole Pinterest board for pumping information and articles HERE.
  • When you are ready to stop pumping, slowly start cutting back the amount of time you pump.  Then you can gradually start dropping pumps.  The first pump I dropped was that 3 am one.  Holy cow was I doing a happy dance when I got to sleep through the night for the first time in a year!  My body was so thankful it didn’t even make me get up to pee – practically a miracle!  Next to go are your mid-day pumps.  Your morning and night pumps will be the last to go.  I stopped pumping rather abruptly.  One night I just said, “That’s it!” and I put it away.  I was down to pumping twice a day before that point, so for the next 5 days I was walking around with the greatest breasts ever.  I was all like, “Move over, Dolly Parton.”  My girls finally started to settle after the 7th day of burying my pump.  And now I do not even know where my boobs went.

exclusive pumping tips and tricks at happyhomefairy.com

You will get in your own rhythm and groove if you stick with it!

If you have any questions for me, feel free to comment below.  Or if you want to toot your own horn about how much milk you are producing – join the convo! :-)  Also, if you simply want some encouragement to keep on pumping, I’d love to cheer you on!  But, as always, please make sure before you make a huge commitment like this that you consult God and your husband first (he needs to know and be okay with the fact that pumping is not exactly the sexiest thing in the world.  Although pumping in a negligee might help – ha!).  Make sure you are doing the right thing for your family.  And the second things start getting stressful and you want to throw your pump in a canal or you’re exhausted or you haven’t made dinner for your family in weeks or you find yourself saying no a lot to playing with your older children because you have to pump – re-evaluate.

In the end God’s not going to ask you how long you pumped (or even if you pumped) for your baby.

What matters is how you reflected His love and joy and peace and patience in your Happy Home. :-)

Happy Extreme Pump-ing!

*This is a GREAT post to PIN now and read later should you ever need it!  See the Pinterest button below*

Cleaning Grout – SECRET TIP

cleaning grout at happyhomefairy.com

Friends!  I have a fun tip to share with you today!

We have lived in our Happy Home for about 8 years.

In all these 8 years, I have never once (EVER) cleaned the grout on the tile floor in the bathroom.

Evidence:cleaning grout2

Eek!  I can’t believe I even shared that with you! :-)

I was recently set free from something that was taking up A LOT of my time.

(More on that coming soon!)

And would you believe that the first thing I wanted to do with that time was CLEAN MY GROUT?

This is the glamorous life, I tell yah. :-)

cleaning groutI saw this tip on Pinterest and got super excited about it because it seemed so quick and easy.

Did you know that you can use a Clorox Bleach Pen to clean your grout?

Simply paint the grout with the pen, let it sit a few minutes, then scrub it with a brush.

Wipe it clean with a towel and you’re done!

cleaning grout4Just LOOK at these results!

cleaning grout before and afterAnd now let’s put them side by side.

Doesn’t that just give you goosebumps?!

The whole bathroom took me about 30 minutes.

cleaning grout3Who knew clean grout could make a person so happy?

That’s it.

I would imagine that y’all already have awesome grout-cleaning wisdom, but I couldn’t help but share this bit of new news to me with all my favorite friends (you!). :-)

Happy Grout Clean-ing!

*Note – Please only use this tip if you have WHITE grout. :-)*

Tub Time Lifesaver

When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I thought it was pure BRILLIANCE.

We tried it out tonight and it worked great!

laundry basket in the tub! genius!Help your baby transition from a baby tub to the big tub by putting them in a laundry basket.

This is awesome for so many different reasons.

For starters, it keeps your little tyke from smashing his noggin’ on the side of a hard tub.

It prevents slipping.

The sides of the basket are easier for baby to grip than the sides of a tub.

It keeps your baby in one place.

laundry basket in the tub!And, most important, it keeps the toys close at hand!

Once again, Pinterest, you have made me feel better about the 2 hours I spent pinning things the other night in order to find this fabulous idea.

Time well spent, indeed. :-)

P.S.  I may or may not have used a touch-up tool on PicMonkey so that the actual condition of my bathroom grout was not revealed.  Ha!

Happy Laundry Basket in the Tub-ing!

*NOTE – AS ALWAYS, NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PRECIOUS GIFT FROM GOD UNATTENDED IN THE TUB.  EVER.*

The Car Bin

car binI am no organizing genius.

My idea of Spring Cleaning is 1. Take item. 2. Open a door. 3. Throw item in room. 4. Close door.

Repeat with drawers and cabinets.

Just the other day the Happy Hubby went to get some Advil from the medicine cabinet and 3 pillows fell out on his head.

But I do enjoy a tidy car – an almost impossible feat, however, with 2 small children.

So I thought I’d share an idea with you today that I’ve found works pretty well to tame the car clutter.

car bin6car bin5Simply go to Target, purchase a small, cute bin, fill with toys and books, and then stick in between carseats.

car bin2The Happy Buddy can just reach into the bin for something if he gets antsy on long trips (our drive to his preschool is about 30 minutes).

I love that having some books in the bin encourages my handsome little man to read – using his time wisely at such a young age! :-)

I also stick a few pairs of kid sunglasses in there in case it’s too bright and someone is freeeeeeeaking out about it.

car bin3car bin4If the Happy Baby gets fussy, I simply ask his big brother to grab a toy and toss it over into his little brother’s lap.

car bin7car bin8At the end of car trips, we always make sure the items are thrown back in the bin so that nothing ends up on the floor.

Done.

Sad to say, though, that while this handy little bin is great for catching all the toy and book car clutter…

car bin9It does nothing about the crumb situation.

Happy Car Bin-ing! :-)

What I Buy At Costco

Does anyone else hear the angels singing at the glorious image above? :-)

I have a bit of a passion for a place called Costco.

There are so many wonderful things at Costco.

And everything comes in such large quantities!

I mean, who wouldn’t want a 300 lb container of cashews?

And since I have to use the potty every 13 seconds right now, that giant package of toilet paper makes my heart do a little jig.

A long time ago, a friend and I went shopping at Costco together.

Let me tell you!  I was so inspired by the things she put in her cart!  I learned about a hundred new quick and easy meal and snack ideas from just watching her work the store.

It got me to thinking that most people tend to get in a rut when it comes to grocery shopping.

We buy what we buy because we always have.

But…

It’s nice to every once in awhile get a peek into someone else’s cart and be inspired on how to provide for your own Happy Home.

So, for what it’s worth, here are the things I buy at Costco. :-)First stop, chips and snacks!

The Happy Buddy just loves these Veggie Straws!

And let’s face it, it’s hard to get veggies in Happy Buddies, so I am thrilled that at least a miniscule bit of spinach is getting in him somehow.Have you ever tried these chips?!

Good heavens.  That enormous bag is like $4 and will feed your Happy Home for weeks.The Happy Hubby and I like to dip those delicious chips in this yummy hummus.Let me introduce you to a little thing I call Heaven in a Jar.

Ohhhhh, Almond Butter.

I eat you every day for breakfast on toast with sliced bananas and raisins on top and I never get tired of you.

This is the only meal I wanted after I birthed our 10-pound monster baby. :-)

I am not even kidding when I tell you that I wrote a letter of thanks to MaraNatha for making this amazing-ness and they wrote me back and included some pretty awesome coupons for more almond butter.This is an extra-large bag of ground flaxseed.

I am always sneaking this stuff into the Happy Buddy’s applesauce.

It is a fabulous source of those good-for-you-fats everyone is talking about these days.Every Sunday after church our Happy Home enjoys chicken salad paninis made with this canned chicken!

I’ve also used this chicken in casseroles and it works great!!!The one meal I make pretty much every week is Spaghetti Goulash.

These enormous jars of tomato sauce are my favorite!I love that I can buy 3 lbs of organic ground beef for just $13.

I stock the freezer full of these babies!

You never know when the Happy Hubby might ask for his fave Taco Pizza or Taco Pockets.This huge-o bag of frozen organic broccoli is just $5 and has been our Happy Home’s preferred veggie for a long time now.

Next up…

Need a 3-Step Dinner Idea??

Here is what the Happy Hubby and I like to make for a quick and healthy meal.Step 1 – Buy a package of salmon filets with basil pesto butter and grill them.

Note – These salmon filets are sometimes a little on the pricey side, but we just think they are so worth it.

Step 2 – Top grilled salmons with Mango Peach Salsa.Step 3 – Serve grilled salmons and salsa over this easy-peasy microwavable quinoa/brown rice blend.

You will not even believe how delicious this meal is!

And I don’t even break a sweat putting it together (probably because the Happy Hubs does all the grilling – love that man).  I simply press the 90 seconds on the microwave for the rice.The Happy Buddy wanted me to make sure that you are aware of how incredible these Mickey-shaped chicken nuggets are.

First trimester=10 servings of these nuggets per week for the Happy Buddy (not to mention an overabundance of TV watching).

He is having the time of his life.

I am praying that the Lord will make up for what might be lacking in his nutrition (and mental stimulation) these days as I try to stay awake for longer than 5 minutes at a time. :-)And, finally, every trip to Costco needs a good companion.

And that good companion will generally need a snack, so bring plenty. :-)

Happy Costco Shop-ing! :-)

Teach Me 2 Save

Do you like FREE things????

Or things that cost wayyyyy less than they should??

Have I got a secret to share!!

My friend, Leanette, over at Teach Me 2 Save, has been a huge blessing to our Happy Home as we try to survive on one income!

What is Teach Me 2 Save?The title says it all!  Leanette regularly posts all of the great deals, coupons, and freebies that are happening in your neighborhood.  She is a coupon QUEEN and is known to leave stores having saved MORE than she spent!  Love that!  Leanette even does coupon WORKSHOPS for groups that live in South Florida and want to know how to work those coupons!

Her motto is, “You Work Hard for Your Money, I’ll Teach you How to Save it!”

Just the other day I was craving a movie night with the Happy Hubby so I popped over to Teach Me 2 Save for a deal, and SURE ENOUGH – there was a post about a FREE movie rental at Blockbuster!  I simply jotted down the code and headed to the store for some FREE Date My Mate Magic!

And with summer coming just around the corner, Leanette is a terrific resource for fun and FREE events!  I needed an idea of something to do with the Happy Buddy this weekend, so I popped over to Teach Me 2 Save for inspiration, and SURE ENOUGH – there was a post about FREE weekend activities in the area!  I think you’ll find us over at A.C. Moore today making a Father’s Day project!

What’s not to love?

I hope you’ll stop by Teach Me 2 Save – your pocket book will thank you!

Happy Teach Me 2 Save-ing! :-)

*I am not being paid to make this feature, I am committed to Helping Moms Build Happy Homes  and I believe that Teach Me 2 Save does just that!*

Favorite Parenting Books

I literally had my nose in a book for the first 3 months of the Happy Buddy’s life!

I had so many worries – so many questions!  Books were a tremendous help during that new season of life, but they were also a tremendous hindrance!  Let me tell you why…

The Happy Buddy is unique and special. :-)  He didn’t feel he needed to follow the formulas written in the dozens of baby books I read (Baby Wise, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, What to Expect…).  Everything from nursing to gas issues to sleeping…  The more I read, the more I was discouraged/anxious because I felt like my child didn’t fit any of the baby book molds!

It took awhile, but I learned to just rely on the Lord and on one or two solid friends for advice/support.  I started to learn how to put down the books in exchange for mommy instincts – which turned out to be a lot more reliable than what I was reading! :-)  God isn’t kidding around when He calls you to be a mom and He says that He equips you for it!

“He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

With that said, if God gives us a Happy Buddy #2, I am definitely going to spend more time enjoying him/her instead of crazily flipping pages for answers!

HoWeVeR…

God has gifted many people with wisdom and vision to write books for parents to use as tools in raising kids for His glory!!  I especially appreciate those that give me biblical advice on discipline, parental praying, and teaching my Happy Buddy about the One who created him. :-)

Here are my 3 favorites…

Click to Buy!

This book is precious to me!  It was given to me when I was first starting out as a teacher and it helped me so much in the management of my 21 monkey precious students. :-)

The author writes that rather than wanting to raise well-behaved children – because it makes us look good or because it gives us control – we want to raise children who love God so much that they want to live in obedience to Him (not us!).  It’s not so much the behavior as it is the attitude of our Happy Buddys’ hearts.

I tell the Happy Buddy all the time, “When you obey me, you are obeying God.  And obeying and loving God is the best thing we can do!”

Click to Buy!

Some days it’s hard with a toddler running around to have a ton of time for focused prayer – this flip calendar has been such a blessing!  I have it sitting on the bathroom counter next to the tub where the Happy Buddy takes his baths.  While he’s getting washed up, I pray the day’s verse or encouragement over him – out loud!  It has so helped me learn how to put every aspect and detail of the Happy Buddy’s life into God’s perfectly capable hands!

It’s a great gift idea!

Click to Buy!

This book is my favorite.

Susie Larson = my hero.

I personally believe that teaching children to be grateful is critical to their growth in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  But most of all, we – as parents – must exemplify thankful hearts in our own lives!  You will find such hope, wisdom, and refreshment in the words of this book!

And, of course, the Bible is the GrEaTeSt parenting book EvEr written!

There you have it, Happy Home Friends!

The 3 tools I am using to help train my ‘baby.’ :-)

Happy Parenting Book-ing!

Guest Room Makeover Part 2

A few days ago I posted about our ‘Slime’ room that I had the best time decorating on a budget!

Today I wanted to share how we changed that slime madness into a peaceful and restful nursery for the Happy Buddy.

Talk about a transformation!

The Lord sent us an amazing interior designer and family friend, Sue, who gave her time and talents to us as a gift to help us make our little guy’s bedroom a place where he’d feel loved.

First I want to show you what we hung over the door to his room…Isn’t that precious?

The Happy Buddy was definitely an answer to lots and lots of prayer (you can read about that HERE).

What do you think?  A little easier on the eyes, that’s for sure. :-)

We painted the walls with different toned blue stripes and then had one brown accent wall.

I am not even kidding when I tell you that one of my 2nd graders’ mom at the time of my pregnancy was going through her things and donated the changing table and crib to us!  I nearly went bonkers when I found out she had gotten them from Pottery Barn!  What a blessing to inherit such beautiful pieces!

Here’s another neat story – that chair literally showed up on our porch one day, totally out of the blue.  I had been praying for a rocker, but we couldn’t find one that was in a good price range.  Then that beauty arrived!  God cares about the details, my friends!

I found that cute Noah’s Ark painting dirt cheap at Homegoods.  That store is such a treasure trove of wonderment!

The Happy Hubby painted that saved-from-the-trash dresser and mirror from black to white.

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do!!!

*Note the magic fairy wand poking out of the piggy bank.  Every little boy needs a magic fairy wand in his room.  Teehee! :-)*

Had to use some vinyl lettering above the window.  I couldn’t have said it better!

And the wonderful Sue helped the Happy Hubby put up crown molding!  My dream come true!  Only the best for our little ones, right? :-)

There’s that yummy crib!  I often want to hop in there myself!

The Happy Buddy’s Aunt Tina made all of those cute bears!

I had to keep my plates!  I thought this arrangement over the changing table came out so cute.

And please forgive my horrible photography.  Beautiful pictures is one thing you will not find on this blog!  While the creative ideas are overflowing, the photography skills are not!

I love this giant toy bag I picked up from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child with a gift certificate.

And what room would be complete without a bunch of painted hidden Mickeys??  (My friend painted these for us – there are 5 total!)

I think he likes his room.

Thanks for being a part of our decorating journey! :-)