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Happy Halloween

Friday, October 31, 2014

Yay, it's Halloween, a day of fun for our little ones. They get to dress up and get some sugar filled candy. Sounds like fun to me.

I wanted to remind you to be safe and tell your kids the rules. I got the help of one of Audrey's favorite characters for this. Take it away Doc McStuffins.
 
Of course, have fun. Take lots of pictures and upload them for us to see! We love cutie's all dressed up.
 
 
*Alyssa* 

Mmmm... Did You Say Wine?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

If you haven't guessed it yet from my title, I obviously like booze. I like to call myself a closet alcoholic. Well, I decided it was time to expand my pallet. I have been a white wine drinker since I got into wine and have never had a red I was really a fan of, until now!

I love Yellow Tail brand. It is very reasonable in price and absolutely delicious. I get mine from Safeway and Total Wine. It's usually around $6 a bottle. I had being seeing reviews and posts online about their newest wine. Finally, I made the plunge and am glad I did.

Let's give a big round of applause to  Big Bold Red. She is big in love, bold in flavor and the sexiest redhead I have ever met (sorry, Jessica Rabbit). On the label, it states that it has raspberry and strawberry flavors in it with spice. Well, you won't miss the spice. I'm having a hard time defining the berry taste to anything specific. The berries do help the spice from being too overpowering though.

When I think of spiced drinks, I think of the holidays. This wine would be great as a holiday get together drink. It does say to pair it with a nice steak and yes, it is perfect with steak. Mmm, now I think I need to make steak for dinner. Not that I need an excuse to drink.

I think if you're looking for a fun and wild red wine, this is a great choice. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Cheers,

*Alyssa*

Last Minute Costume Ideas

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween is only a few days away. Kids will be dressed up in adorable little costumes and waddling up to our doors. Remember though, some kids may have motor issues still or speech impediments or maybe they are just terribly shy. Be kind and patient to each one. You never know their background.

Alright, on to the real issue here. When I was pregnant, my mother in law bought Audrey a cute little Minnie Mouse costume. I was going to use it this year for her costume because I was sure it was size 18 month. I went and get it out of the tub and instant hand to face. It is 6-12 month. So now I am scrambling to find an outfit to put her in.

I decided to call upon my blogging tribe for help. Lisa of www.lisakerr.net said to throw on cat ears and put her in clothes and jeans to match. Genius and super frugal. Ashley of www.smashleyashley.com suggested dressing her up like a gangsta baby with a bandana, simple and hilarious.

It all got me thinking about last minute ideas. I was seeing posts about kids who have already outgrown their costumes and now parents are struggling. So I came up with some ideas to help you.

Audrey has a Wonder Woman onesie and her skirt from the 4th of July, I could get her a gold crown and make simple gold cuffs and tada, she becomes Wonder Woman. We also have this adorable headband with a little witch hat on it. I could whip up a tutu and throw on a shirt and she could be the cutest little witch.

My friend was fortunate enough to find a Sully and pink poodle costume for her kids and got them for only $4 each. She was at Spokane Liquidations and they were $19.99 but they also had 80% off coupons she used. What!? Crazy! She's excited because they will be fun for dress up later.

If you're a sports fan, then why not dress them up like one too? Hockey players, football cheerleader or even a little baseball player.

There are so many ideas you can do. Pinterest.com will be an amazing site! What did you dress up your little munchkin as?

*Alyssa*

Oh My! Monday: You'll never have sex again... what?

Monday, October 27, 2014

*Note This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and not influenced by others in any matter.*
 
Sex Tape (film).jpgThis weekend we rented SEX TAPE. FUNNY! If you have not seen it, you should. I was rolling on the couch and cracking up. Jake and I kept looking at each other and laughing. It's easily relatable to anyone with kids because they were completely honest in it. They didn't try to add any Hollywood fluff.
 
It follows the story of Jay and Annie, they fall in love, have ridiculous amounts of sex, get pregnant, get married, have another kid and of course, they don't have sex anymore. When they announce their pregnancy to her parents, her father says well no more sex. Of course, every parent will laugh there. Again, easily relatable. They don't have sex and try to "schedule" it constantly. Finally the idea of making a sex tape comes up. Which the whole thing is hysterical and like typical movie stories, going to be a disastrous situation. Then it is the struggles of getting "back" the video after it's uploaded to the cloud. Hilarity over and over. 
 
For me, this was an amazing movie. Annie is a mommy blogger. She writes about her life and the real struggles. The movie starts out with her writing a blog post and asking, When was the first time your husband saw you naked? Then when was the second? Now do you remember the last time?
 
Before kids, sex is so easy and so natural. It's fun and there isn't any work in it. After kids, it's a whole new ball game. You have trouble feeling sexy, things don't look like they did before you got pregnant and where is the time? Any parent will tell you, it was hard to be intimate with their SO after kids came into the picture. You're too tired, the kid wakes up, or there is a kid in your bed. I know you're laughing and nodding your head in agreement with me.
 
Every romantic comedy has a grand epiphany with the moral. This one was that we, as parents, quite often forget about our significant other and devote all of our time and energy to our children. That's great but you can't forget about one another. Intimacy is something that we try to act like we don't need but we do. When I say intimacy, I don't mean just having sex. It can be, cuddling on the couch watching a movie. Back rubs for one another. A little flirting or even some fun texts.

I have made plenty of wise cracks about how we aren't even near intimate the amount we were before we were parents. That's ok. We flirt with each other constantly. We make jokes about sex and have fun with it. So, get a sitter, order in some food, and rent a movie. It will be worth it.

*Alyssa*

Mama's Apple Sauce

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oh me oh my,  I can't catch my breath! I have been a busy little bee around here. Orders have been coming in like crazy for the business. I have had a sick family (gross, hate when they're sick). Got invited to attend a big event as a vendor this weekend. Oh and I made applesauce. What? How did I handle it all? Elementary my dear, Watson. Okay, that's a lie. Wine and Sophia the First helped me, plus Jake was home in the morning this week.

Mmmm, back to the applesauce. Audrey loves it. She would eat it with every meal if we let her. When Jake was out hunting the family property, he picked me a bunch of apples. I agreed to make applesauce but was terrified at how hard it would be. Ha, it's so easy to do. Let me tell you about mama's applesauce.

I don't peel the skin, gets the nutrients out. Just core it and make slices. Takes about 24 medium sized apples to make 6 pints. Once cut up, put them in a very large pot with 2 cups of water, heat to boiling covered and then turn down to a simmer. Stir frequently. It takes between 25-35 minutes to get them all soft. Now here is the exhausting part. To save time and get the most out of your apples, use a food mill and add a little at a time. It will leave the peels in the mill as you crank so every once in a while you will need to empty it. Do be careful because it is all very hot.

Once you have put them all in the mill, you will see applesauce in the bowl. Place that in the pot again and add between 3/4 cup to 1.5 cups of sugar and heat to boiling. Sugar amount is dependent on the type of apples you used and taste preferences. We used tart apples so I added a cup. As it's heating up to a boil, make sure you are stirring it so the sugar melts and it doesn't burn. Once boiling, you're done. You have applesauce. Now canning it is a whole different game we will get into later. But enjoy it once cooled of course.

*Alyssa*

Oh My! Monday: Make them feel loved

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I know majority of my readers are parents but for those of you who aren't,  this article is still for you.

Think, how long have you been in a relationship? Not just the married years but from day 1 of meeting your SO. What was it that first caught your eye to them? Did either of you play hard to get or was it just like a magnet to the fridge attraction? How soon did you feel the sparks?

Now jump ahead to now. What is it that causes you to still be so in love after all of this time? Is it the way they laugh at your cheesy jokes? The fact that they still flirt with you? Do you ever just look at them and smile for nothing? Have you started to appreciate their obnoxious habits?

In every relationship,  there comes a time where we think we're about to break and contemplate the end of it. Work, money, having kids, family events, a multitude of things can create this. Here is the thing though, true love will bring you back from that and remind you of the good. We all fight. If you say you've never fought with your SO, then you're not in an honest relationship. There are a lot of things that can make you fight and the worst part of fighting... we start to feel like we aren't loved like they used to.

I know I have been there a few times and I know that I have made him feel that way. I hate it. When I feel that way, I make myself sick. I question everything about myself from my physical appearance to my personality, the things I do and the things I don't do. I start questioning him and if fidelity will ever become an issue for either of us.

My parents have been great role models for me about how to handle everything that comes up in a relationship. I can talk to them about anything I know, just choose not to ask them on things pertaining to our sex life (for obvious awkward reasons). But here is the thing, if you don't feel like your partner is sexually attracted to you it will affect how you act everyday. It is a blow to your confidence. You are less affectionate and start to say I love you less. When we're fighting,  I don't want to be near him let alone sleep next to him snoring.

You need to show your SO that you love them. Show them that they are important to you. My parents still gross me out with how much they love each other. They kiss and cuddle up in their giant bean bag while watching their shows. Go, pat her butt when she walks past. Whistle when he bends over and gets a plumbers crack. Don't ever let them begin to think that you don't feel like you used to. I show Jake by meeting him at the door when he gets home with a kiss. When I walk past him I will kiss his forehead. I do little things that I think make him happy. One of the biggest reasons people cheat is their needs aren't being met at home. It starts with emotions and can lead to sex. Never let that happen.

Go on a date. Rent a movie. Cook dinner together. Play a card game. Find something that you can do together and start from there.

Remember, someone loves you.

*Alyssa*

Let your fears help you!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fear, we all feel it. Some have serious phobias, others are silly. Me, I am scared of dolls, clowns, heights, flying and any body of water bigger than a pool.

But that's not all I'm scared of. I'm also scared of failure. Aren't most of us scared of that? Why? What is it that is so scary? Nothing honestly. Why? Because you can always change the course yourself! Sometimes failure can be a good thing. Fail at a relationship? Good, learn from it, maybe it wasn't a healthy one in the first place. Lose your job? You can always find another job if you look.

I was so scared to start my blog back up after it failed. Luckily, I had a group of amazing women who pushed me back into the saddle and made me try again. Now it is booming with readers. When I started Fab Flares by Audrey's Mom I stressed out about never making a sale. I began selling at a farmer's market and didn't make anything. I was mad that I failed. After licking my wounds, I started doing some research. I found new ways to market myself. Tweaked my products and added new stuff. It has been 2 months since that happened. Sales are great. I have been getting custom orders and been busy.

I channeled my fears and used them for success. I made them work for me. This is advice you can use in everyday life. Channel fears of parenting and use them for good. Become super parent instead of scared parent.

Stay strong and laugh in the face of fear!

*Alyssa*

October 15th: Rainbow Babies Are Still Babies

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday, I was swamped with orders for the business and was purposely trying to keep myself busy and my mind off of today. For those of you that don't know, today, October 15th is National Miscarriage, Stillborn, SID awareness day. More than half a million pregnancies will end naturally before the child is even born. Chances are most of you have been affected by that in one way or another. Either it was yourself, your spouse, a friend or even a family member.

This is a very hard subject for me to speak about. I still tear up and will cry in private. On this day, in 2011, I woke up like it was any other day, got ready for my job, threw on my scrubs and headed to the office with my giant coffee and snacks. I was 8 weeks pregnant and 1 day. I had just announced my pregnancy to family and friends the day before. I was exhausted from all of the emotions of it and of course, creating a human in my belly. Work was going fine, helping people get their backs adjusted and feel better until suddenly, I got a terribly sharp pain in my lower abdomen. It kept coming back very fast and was buckling me over. I ran to the bathroom thinking I was going to lose my breakfast. I decided that like every other pregnant woman, it had been 20 minutes and I had to go pee again. When I did, I noticed an unsettling amount of blood. I went to tell my boss and she told me to call my doctor.

So I called Jake and he rushed home from work to meet me. As we headed to the doctors office I began to realize what was most likely happening. I was having a miscarriage. No, this can't be. I don't smoke or do drugs and I haven't been drinking. I've been very healthy, exercising, eating well and taking my vitamins. They called us back to get an ultrasound and when we didn't see anything on the monitor we both knew it was true but still weren't saying anything to one another. They took us back to an exam room to see our OB. She walked in the room and you could see the words written across her face. I held my breath and clenched Jake's hand very tight. She did an exam to confirm the ultrasound.

Dr. M stood up, cleaned her self and came over close to me. She said, "Alyssa, Jake, I hate that I have to tell you this but the baby has passed." She leaned in and hugged us both and started praying over us. Once I stopped hyperventilating, she began to tell us what would happen now as I finished the miscarriage. She explained both the physical and emotional pain that will be involved. I will feel pregnant for a week or two after as the hormones leave my body. After she consoled us for a while and cried herself, she left us to have some alone time.

We left and called my dad and told him and then Jake called and told his mom, so they could relay what happened for us. I didn't need to deal with the pity. I was angry. Fuming and red in the face. I hated myself, Jake, God, all of our doctors and nurses, family and the world. I thought it wasn't fair that I have two friends who are healthy and pregnant right now and I lost my baby. I was the one who wanted to have a baby and be the mom. Why did this have to happen to me?

It took me a bit to not cry every day but I got there. It was almost 2 weeks after and I was at my cousin's birthday party. Suddenly, I had felt like I had wet myself. So I went to the bathroom to check and what the hell!!! I'm bleeding like a horror movie! It's Saturday so none of the doctors are in the office. I call the on call doctor and he tells me I need to get into the ER and he will meet me there. My mother in law takes me down and comes to find out, that my body was having the miscarriage all over again. I was still producing an insane amount of pregnancy hormones and so my body stopped the miscarriage. Once it realized the baby was gone, it started all over again. So they had me come back on Monday, and wouldn't ya know, still happening. They decided for health reasons, they need to schedule me for a D&C, dilation and curettage. Having anything left over after the loss or end of a pregnancy can cause serious health issues and even cause cancer. I wasn't crying and was actually being really brave. My anger was now only directed at myself and God. I had the procedure and was very loopy. When I fully came to, I lost it. Bawling hysterically and very upset. The nurse asked if I was in any pain and I told her just sore but I was crying because I had just realized I had nothing left of my baby. I never had an ultrasound, never heard a heart beat. Just the sight of a positive pregnancy tests and the memories of Jake kissing my bloated tummy.

In our society, miscarriages and stillborn babies, have become a taboo conversation. It's as if it's secretly forbidden. People feel like they need to avoid someone after they lose a baby but you don't. Reach out to the family. Show your support. Pray for them. If they already have kids, offer to help take care of them or babysit so they can get some rest. It is a very exhausting time for all involved. I shut down for a while and was depressed. I didn't want to even be near Jake and forgot, he lost his child too. It was hard watching everyone around me have these healthy and beautiful babies. I was jealous of them all but I was still very happy for their families.

Jake and I have been blessed by the Lord again, because we have Audrey. She's healthy, so beautiful and absolutely perfect. God gave us sticky baby dust and said here, get fat and have stretch marks. This is one of the biggest reasons I am not embarrassed of my stretch marks. They are proof of the battles I have fought in order to achieve my dream of being a mom.

Don't give up!

*Alyssa*

Oh My Monday! Love me some FOOTBALL

Monday, October 13, 2014

In our home, we use our manners, say our prayers and cheer for the Seattle Seahawks! We wear our Seahawks gear every game and watch it as a family. We get loud and we yell. We are the 12th Family!
In honor of such an amazing football season so far, I've teamed up with Macey's Closet for a giveaway for your little cheerleader. One lucky reader will win a pair of football leggings, a custom team colors tutu and a team themed headband. To enter, just fill out the form below. Don't have a little girl? Enter for a friend or family member!  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Going pro!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

"I probably won't get read by anyone. This will just be for me. I should use every foul word each time I write just because I can!"

Those are just a couple of the things that I said when I decided to start a blog. I honestly never thought it would have this much success. It has been a whirlwind success! I owe it all to you,  my readers. It is amazing how much love I feel. I don't use every foul word because my mom is reading this and I really don't need a lecture on how I have a potty mouth, I already know it exists.

Yesterday I spoke about how important it is with any business to network and I need to reiterate that. It is extremely important! Your best marketing will be referrals. We always hear the bad on the news but who do we hear the good from? Friends and family. If someone truly loves something,  you're going to hear about it. I will always rave about a delicious cookie. I believe in honest reviews. I've received a lot of constructive criticism since I started my blog. I listened and took it all in to consideration. I have tweaked and revised posts many times before I hit publish and sometimes even after. I'm my worst critic.

A few months ago, my friend Joanna at Motherhood and Merlot, teamed up with Lauren at Twin Tested, Pin Approved to start our blogging tribe. We have women from all walks of life who have been writing for different amounts of time. It has been the best resource for all of my questions and concerns. We are all so supportive of one another in everything we do. There were times I was about to shut down my blog because I just couldn't take that it wasn't going anywhere but they pulled me away from that.

I wrote this post about getting back my confidence after having my daughter and a few of the members shared it. That's what I needed. They were so moved by my honesty and knew so many other women needed to read it. Emails began pouring in about how much it helped other women and my page views sky rocketed! It was amazing to watch.

Success should not be determined by comparison to others but by your own opinion of yourself. I know most people don't think getting a hundred plus page views per day is success but for me in this stage, it's absolutely huge! I love getting texts from friends and family saying they loved today's post. Believe or not but I am really a private person, even in my own family. So to share what I do about my life can be really challenging at times. Honesty is what I believe brings so many of you back.

I have finally made the leap to having a self hosted blog. I am working on writing professionally some day. So in the meantime, I will do my best to keep the laughs rolling and the crazy glass full.

*Alyssa*

Networking is the key to growth!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The other day, my friend posted a picture of her daughter online wearing a headband I had made her. That was what I needed. Everyone kept asking her where she got the headband and she told them it was from me. Message after message was popping up in my inbox for orders. It's amazing. One photo can be such a huge game changer for you. Even the right person finding you. Now I have a busy weekend ahead of me making a bunch of headbands to send out next week but it's worth it to me.

I just met another crafter a few nights ago. She's so great at what she does. Her company makes the cutest little headbands and my favorite part is she has Seahawks themed headbands! Only, she is so new to this and has no clue how to find business. Here little birdy, let me take you under my wing and help you. When I started, there was no one around who would help me. It was all so hush hush. People had the mentality that if they did all the work then why should they share the secrets? I didn't understand that. There is plenty of business to go around for everyone. This is why I was more than happy to share my secrets with others.

She was so surprised by the things I was telling her. She didn't realize about PayPal invoicing to hide her privacy or that there were so many free ways to market. If you get a minute, stop by her Facebook page and show her some love Macey's Closet.  We have teamed up for a fun little giveaway coming next week on the blog to help her gain exposure and gain more business.

One of the best ways to network is to just be friendly with other businesses. Like their Facebook pages and participate in conversations. Tweet with them. Love their Instagram photos. More often than not, these companies will return the love. There are also plenty of linkup parties online too. Just search business on Facebook and you will be shocked at how many resources you can find. It does take time to grow but the best companies have been around for a long time because they were patient!

Don't give up!

*Alyssa*

Oh My Monday: Let him have an affair...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Now I am not condoning him to go out and have an affair with another woman or cheat on you in any way. I believe in fidelity and monogamy. Ok, now that you are not freaking out and thinking what a b, read on.
 
We all know the term bromance but as women, do we truly know it's meaning? No, we don't. We never will. We should not either. You're probably asking me why the hell not? Why should we? Men don't understand the relationship we have with our bff's. It is called "bro"mance for a reason. It's guy love between two guys (not talking about the physically intimate). I used to get jealous of Jake and his best friend. They've been together since they were 2 years old. The fact that he felt comfortable talking about certain things with him but not me really hurt me. I felt as if he didn't trust me or even really care about me the same way I did. It was ridiculous. Shouldn't he be coming to me with his problems? NO! Listen ladies, we think we want to hear it all but then when we do we get upset! I'm not saying it's every single woman or every single time but yea, we just don't like it. We are made different than them. We think different than men. That's ok. It's good for us and for them.
 
Take a moment and think about this, what is something you talk about with your best friend but would never talk about with your man? Yea, my best friend is reading this and dying laughing because she and I both know what that one thing is because we talk about it almost daily. It's something that I can't talk about with Jake with out giggling like a little girl and blushing. With her, we laugh and say sorry, dude that seriously sucks. Just because he asked you what you did today, doesn't mean he wants to hear the extreme primping and pruning you did. That's left for our girlfriends. You don't want to hear him talk about scratching himself or how he almost suffocated from his own gas. No, that's not our thing. I don't care if you think you're "one of the guys" because you never will be because you're a woman. I get along great with all of Jake's friends. His best friend is a great friend of mine. I love the guy and his little family. I've hung out with the guy with out Jake before because, yea we are friends. I've known him as long as I've known Jake and he's been there for me so many times but I will never have the relationship with him that he has with Jake.
 
After almost ten years, I don't care if he says, "Hey, Dickie and I are going to go grab a beer." My answer is, cool have fun. They need to get out of the house and talk with them. If we get to complain about them to our girlfriends then they get to complain about us to their buddies. Want a great relationship with him? Then stop getting mad when he wants a night with his buddies. If he dedicates most of his time to you then he deserves a night with the guys. If he comes home and crawls in bed and gets all lovey, be grateful. It means he's proud of you. He probably brags about you to his buddies. Now go give him a smooch and tell him to go get his buddies together for some beers. You'll thank me late.

*Alyssa*
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