Fun DIY Projects with All-New Tai Pei Single Serving Frozen Dinners

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

**This post was sponsored by Tai Pei and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.**

For as much as Justin and I love to cook, there are many days that it just doesn’t happen. I have a down day physically and mentally, Justin gets home from work, kids are ornery, we have plans to go out quickly, the house is a mess and there aren’t any clean cookware or dishes, we are out of groceries, or we just plain don’t feel like cooking. One those days, we typically have frozen pizzas, waffles, or cereal…or….we spend money on take-out. BLECH. It gets real old real fast. But, we don’t like a lot of frozen dinners. We think they are gross and way overpriced. Enter…Tai Pei single serving Asian-inspired frozen dinners!

I grew up with Tai Pei frozen single serving dinners. My dad loves them and takes them to work with him all the time. In college, I’d get them all the time. I remember my first year married to Justin, they were always on sell for $2 or less. So, we’d grab them for work lunches too. It was so nice to have Chinese rather than a boring sandwich or hummus and veggies. They were also in iconic Chinese take-out boxes. But, now they’ve done some major upgrades.

Wow! @TaiPeiAsianFood has all-new pure, flavor infused single serving dinner bowls! #ad Click To Tweet

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects! Continue Reading

Reading Roundup | July 2017

Holy cow I read a lot this month. I don’t know if you noticed, but I didn’t post a Reading Roundup last month–I didn’t read a single book during the month of June…well, no. I read one book but didn’t finish it in time. But this month, I read quite a bit. Granted, I read a lot of very easy 5th-grade level YA books. But, that’s because I’m desperately trying to finish reading all my classroom books before we move in a few weeks so I can pack them all up!

Reading Roundup Book Reviews on Adulthood is Hard, Blink, Esio Trot, the Magic Finger, White Fang, Little Women, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Continue Reading

Evelyn | Seven Months

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Dear Evelyn,

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Wow! This month just passed us by. I looked at the calendar yesterday and was surprised to learn it was your 7 month birthday! You are growing up just way too fast. You are closer to one years old than you are being a newborn!

You have grown so much. You seem taller, smarter, fuller, happier. Except at night. You have terrible separation anxiety–and not just at night. You are definitely a Momma’s girl. When I leave your sight, then you start to cry. It takes forever to put you down for the night because of this anxiety. But we are working on it.

We also took another trip to Utah this month to visit Grandma. She absolutely loved cuddling you and taking naps with you. You got so much attention from Grandpa, Aunt Paige, and Aunt Madison as well. We also a day down in Nephi with Daddy’s family. Grams was so stoked to see you and hold you, as were Aunt Jana and Aunt Rachel. Your cousins spent most of their time playing with Rhys, but they were excited to meet you for the first time.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Weight: 15. 5 pounds (22nd percentile)

Height: 26.5 inches (51st percentile)

Eat | You love your food. You have about 5-6 bottles of 4-6 ounces in a 24 hour period. Sometimes you won’t finish your bottle and sometimes it takes you an hour to snack on it. You have three meals a day–a mix of baby food and table food. You really love your solids, especially fruit, carrots, and peas. You love feeding yourself and will hyperventilate if we aren’t feeding you fast enough.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Sleep | Daytime: You wake up anywhere between 6-7 am. But, if you wake up before 6 to eat, you have a really hard time falling back asleep. You take 2-3 naps a day. You are transitioning your nap times. Typically you’ll take a 45-90 minute nap around 9 am, then anywhere from an hour to three-hour nap between 1-2pm. You are also going to bed anytime between 7-8pm depending on how tired you are and your separation anxiety.

Nighttime: We try to put you down at 7, but most nights it takes until around 9:30 for you to fully settle down. Sometimes you are up that entire time, sometimes you’ll sleep for about 20 minutes, then wake up. It really frustrates us. About 60% of the time, you’ll wake up once anywhere between 1-6 am to feed. Sometimes, you’ll sleep through the night. We are working on Ferberizing and crying it out to help you go back to sleep on your own. Your pediatrician thinks you may also have gas issues and your teething (still no teeth yet) may be really bugging you.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Milestones | Movement: You are officially a crawler. You crawl all over hous and have even mastered crawling over things. You easily go from crawling to sitting to turning to crawling. You can even pull yourself up. You can’t glide yet, but you can easily pull up to stand still on your legs. In your exer-saucer, you love to bounce. Being thrown up in the air is one of your favorite things, but you hate being upside down.

Communication: Still no words. But, you are trying to clap. It’s more of a flailing arms together movement, but it’s intentional! You love to receive and give kisses. You also love to smile and coo at people. You love to hear yourself make noises, especially an inhaling gasp type of noise.

Playing: You love playing with dirty laundry (socks, burp clothes, etc). I don’t get it. You love to fling them and put them in your mouth. Whenever a sock and a toy is placed in front of you, you’ll go after the sock first. You like toys that make noise–you love swinging them all over the place to make the noise. We also have to be careful with what you play with and where you play because everything and anything will end up in your mouth–toys, pieces of wipes, trash, old food on the floor. We have to be more vigilant with keeping our floors clean now.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Personality | You still are such a content baby and a happy baby. However, you do have baaaaaad separation anxiety. If you are uncomfortable, frustrated, tired, or nervous, you’ll fuss. But, you love being social and you love giving your biggest smiles to anyone and everyone.

Likes:

  • toys
  • random things on the floor
  • Rhys, Momma, Daddy
  • water (even if it is cold splash pad water)
  • solids

Dislikes:

  • not being able to see Momma
  • going to bed
  • having a sore bum from diaper rash

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Evelyn, I love you so much, as do your Daddy and Rhys. We can’t imagine life without you. It seems like you’ve been part of our family forever and yet, it was just a week ago we brought you home from the hospital. Every day is a struggle for me–I want to cuddle you the entire time you are asleep, but I need to give Rhys attention as well. You are the cutest thing on the planet. Never grow up.

Love,

Momma and Daddy

Things I Never Thought I’d Do as a Mother

Before I had Rhys, I had all my parenting philosophies figured out. I did my research. I read the books. I researched the articles. I believed I would learn from my parents’ mistakes and do better. I had friends who were parents already and I had things I liked and didn’t like. There were things I swore I’d never do as a mother.

For the first few month’s of Rhys’s life, I was very stringent–I let my Type A, anxiety-ridden, first-mom-self take control. It was hard. I absolutely loved every moment I spent with Rhys, but it was hard to change my philosophies. It kept happening and happening throughout Rhys’s life and now even during Evelyn’s short 6 months!

Has your parenting philosophy changed? Are there things you swore you'd never do as a mother, but ended up letting happen? Same here! Continue Reading

You Don’t Have to Be a Big Blogger to Be Successful

Did you know you don't need to be making a large income or have thousands of followers to be successful as a blogger. Answer these four questions to determine your success as a blogger.

I have mentioned many, many times why I won’t ever be a “big” blogger or “successful” according to the blogging world. However, for as slow as my growth over 8 years has been and the fact that I don’t make any money off my blog, I still believe I have been successful with blogging.

And really, what is success? To me, it’s not the amount of followers or amount of income I get with blogging. No. It’s more of the experiences, the feelings, the friends. I’m here to tell you small bloggers, you plateaued veteran bloggers– you don’t have to be a big blogger to be successful.

I’m not big by any means. I don’t have 1000 followers on any single social media platform–the closest is Pinterest at almost 950 followers. I barely get over 5000 views a month. I have no email subscriber/newsletter lists. I don’t work full-time on my blog and I earn peanuts…if that. I’ve been at this for eight years! But, I still consider myself a successful blogger. Here’s why.

Have I learned a new skill?

I consider learning and mastering a skill being successful. Before I started blogging, I had no idea about HTML coding, social media platforms (except for Facebook), graphic design, SEO, etc. In the past 8 years, I have successfully become proficient at both Blogger and WordPress, as well as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I’ve learned how to create branded pinnable images. I’ve bought a DSLR and learned how to take good quality photos as well as how to edit photos. I’ve learned to come out of my shell to network with other bloggers and companies.

With these newfound skills, I have been able to be a photographer for a newborn photo shoot, become a freelance writer, and ghost-manage a Beach Body coach’s blog, newsletter, and Twitter/Pinterest accounts. I call that pretty successful.

Have I made new friends?

I have gotten to know so many people very well through blogging. Whether it was from random followers in the early days of blogging before 2010, or people I’ve collaborated with and kept in touch…doesn’t matter. These friends know me just as well as my in-real-life friends do. We check up on each other. We support each other. We inspire each other. We joke with each other. When I lived in Utah, I got to know many other Utah bloggers who happened to be teachers as well. Since we all lived within two hours of each other, we would get together often. Now, we almost all have kids and are super close inside and outside of the blogging world. I’m an introverted person, so I’m very glad I have an easy way to ease into friendships.

Have I gotten anything from blogging?

Yes, I’ve had one paid campaign–with Eggo Waffles! But, other than that, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many brands and get a product in exchange for a review. Yes, I know that there is a trend now that bloggers believe they should be paid on top of receiving a free product, but I don’t. I look at the monetary value of the product. I only review products I would’ve spent money on anyway.

Have I changed from blogging?

I am an introvert, but I find it easier to talk to people now, online and offline. I pour out my heart and soul online, so I feel I have opened up to others. My self-worth has grown because of all the skills I’ve learned. I consider myself a work-at-home mom, which I never thought would be possible or that I would want it. Never would I have ever considered doing freelancing if I had not already been in the blogging business. I want to do more fun things. Yes, a part of that reason is “it would be cool to photograph and blog about!” But, the fact is, me and my family are getting out more and enjoying more adventures together. And….I typically forget my camera anyway!

Do I enjoy what I do?

I don’t consider my blog a business. Again, I know that the trend is to do so, but to me, although I may devote a lot of hours to it, I still consider it a hobby. If need be, I can easily stop blogging and social media for a while and not feel guilty, but I always come back to it. My husband has told me how proud he is of keeping with blogging, of learning new things, of getting my first paid campaign, of making new friends, of receiving new opportunities. It brightens my day and gets me excited.

I love blogging. I feel fulfilled with it. And, when it truly boils down to it, it’s not the size or income that matter. If you love what you do, then you are successful at blogging.