Friday, August 1, 2014

Keep Your Cool For Back To School Giveaway Event (ends 8/15)

I'm super excited to share this giveaway event with you. All of these products are worth $560 and there is something here for everyone. I would love to win myself! Good luck :) 

Welcome to the 'Keep Your Cool For Back To School' Giveaway Event!


One lucky winner is going to take home a prize pack worth $560 to help you get Back To School without breaking a sweat!


The Prize Package includes:

A Pimsleur Approach Spanish I Gold Edition language course boxed set, ARV $345! Get ahead of the class with your very own Gold Edition Spanish language-learning set based on the proven language-teaching methods of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, and Sponsored by Southern Mom Loves!

Read the review here.


A big sample box of school supplies from School Tool Box worth $47! School Tool Box works with your school's supply lists to get you everything in one box without the hassle of shopping for it!


A huge package of custom labels from Mabel's Labels! The winner will choose between the Stylish Scholars Combo and the Ultimate Back to School Combo, and design their own custom labels and tags for Back To School.

Visit the Mabel's Label's Sponsor Spotlight.
Read the review here.


A Mom's Daily Planner and a Weekly Schedule Notepad, generously Sponsored by Kahootie Co.!

Visit the Kahootie Co.Sponsor Spotlight.
Read the review here.


A Classic International Moonjar Moneybox. This durable moneybox will teach your children to save, spend and share wisely for a lifetime. A great Allowance tool!


A 3-Step Skincare Starter Kit from Good For You Girls! The kit will last from 4-6 months and is an all-natural, organic, chemical-free way to care for your child's delicate skin!

Visit the Good For You Girls Sponsor Spotlight and Review here.


A double-wall tumbler with travel lid from Tervis to help get you out the door in the mornings! The winner will choose between the 10 oz. wavy Disney Fairies or the 16 oz. Yoda Star Wars designs. Thanks Tervis!

Visit the Tervis Sponsor Spotlight and Review with a quick, healthy Breakfast Shake recipe here.


A 2014-15 Academic Planner from Order Out Of Chaos to help keep your school assignments on track and organized this year. The winner will choose their favorite design from Blue Kaleidosco​pe, White Out, Orange Crush, and Green Plaid.

Visit the Order Out Of Chaos Sponsor Spotlight and Review here.


A FunBite of the winner's choice! The winner can choose between Squares, Triangles, and Hearts to entice even the pickiest eater!

Visit the FunBites Sponsor Spotlight.


Giveaway ends August 15th at 11:59pm CST. Open to Continental US residents, ages 18+. Excludes AK & HI. Only one entrant per household. All entries are subject to verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!

Disclaimer: Southern Mom Loves and the participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household. Void where prohibited by law. Winner will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsors will be responsible for product shipment to the winner of this giveaway. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact Holly at if you are a company interested in having your product reviewed and/or holding a giveaway, or if you have any additional questions or comments.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hey Honey, there's a plane outside... {Farm Life}

A couple of weeks ago I was home alone and working on a few things for the website when I heard a really loud noise outside. We live somewhat close to an air force base (as in flying distance kind of close) and it's not unusual to hear planes flying around outside. But this time, I swear  it sounded like one was coming straight for our house. 

Within seconds of hearing the rumble, I saw a shadow of what I thought was a plane zoom across our front yard. Do you know how low a plane has to fly to cast a shadow on your lawn?!

I may have panicked... Okay, I freaked the heck out. So, I did what any person does in 2014 and I grabbed my iPhone. This was the first picture I got as he came back around-- 

Hey Honey, there's a plane coming right for us!

After watching him circle a few times over our house, I called Jordan in a panic. This 'city' girl has never seen planes just fly over peoples' houses! It may as well have been a fighter jet because I was convinced we were going to be attacked... or the pilot was drunk. 

Oh joy, he's coming back. 

Okay, so I guess it's not a huge mystery... it was a crop duster. He was spraying the fields across the road and then, believe it or not, going to spray some fields for Jordan! It just so happened that our house was in the right spot for him to fly over again and again. 

Needless to say, this farm wife got some pretty sweet pics. :) 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Is it really Monday, again?

That sounds exasperated but I'm actually having a good day so far! I've been applying for jobs this morning and managed to clean the house before having coffee. I know, I must be feeling pretty good. Good enough that I was slightly disappointed that  I didn't get this from my cup of Joe--

Anyway, it's Monday and it's time to talk a bit about weight loss and what we're eating this week.

I don't know that I've lost weight in the last couple of weeks but I do feel better. I've been drinking more water, having a smoothie each day, and eating plenty of vegetables. Portion sizes have been up and down, but overall smaller, which is positive!

The best part- I have more energy. I love my coffee, but I need to start getting my energy from better sources. I would like to shed more pounds, but I think this is a good beginning. Over 7 months of bed rest did a number on my body, inside and out... and I'm not done recovering. So, I'm going to decide to be happy with my progress and not start beating myself up just yet. :)

Now, on to the meal plan!

Monday- Homemade Chicken Potpie 

Tuesday- Chicken Alfredo Pizzas on Naan bread with salads

Wednesday- Tacos and Quesadillas

Thursday- Cheesy Ground Beef Casserole 

Friday- Spicy Sausage Pasta

Saturday- Dinner out

Sunday- Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Are you on Pinterest? Check out my "Loved it!" board, it has all of the recipes I've found on Pinterest and liked. I'll be adding more to this soon--

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dads and Step Dads

I've found that one of the hardest things for people to understand about our family is how Emily and Ethan's dad and Jordan each fit into their lives. I'm going to be honest, it's a very tough situation for me to work out myself. 

One of the biggest challenges for me has been keeping a positive attitude about my ex-husband and his role in the kids' lives. However, no matter what the issues are, he is their first dad. When I look at the kids it's hard to forget that he is half of who they are. Things may have ended badly for us, but there were things that I loved about him, right? 

It's easy to dwell on the negatives, but in the end all it does is just cause more stress. Not only does it make me feel crumby, it puts the kids' relationships at risk if I let on that I'm upset with their dad. So, I try to keep things upbeat when I can. When we do have to have the tough conversations (i.e. why we got divorced), I always be careful with what I say and how I say it. The last thing I want to do is create a wall between them and their dad, because things can still change for the better. 

With that said, I am also hopeful for the new relationships the kids are developing with Jordan. I grew up with a lot of 'moms' and 'dads' in my life, while still keeping my biological parents close. Each 'parent' I had taught me different things and helped shape who I am today. 

I don't think it's fair to 'replace' the kids' dad with Jordan, but I think they can both play significant roles in their lives. The most important thing is that they are loved and taken care of. One of the many things that I love about Jordan is how he loves the kids. They may not be 'his' but when you see him with them, you can't tell the difference. 

I understand that divorce and everything after can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be a contest or a fight. My strongest advice for any other blended family is to embrace the numbers. Having more than one dad or mom is okay. It can be a good thing if you're willing to put your pride aside and the kids first. Teach your children to be thankful for each parent in their life and encourage them to enjoy their time with them. We can never have too much love and support! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Trip to the Farm

We live on a farm and the most obvious sign is the pasture full of cows next to our house. However, we only have 1 out of 14 tractors that the family owns at our house. All of the other farm equipment is also at other locations. So, one of the items on our summer bucket list was to visit one of the other farms with the kids. 

After church on Sunday we told the kids it was time to see some tractors. The kids were really excited! 

 The first one we saw was the biggest one they have, I figured it was easily 1/3 bigger than the ones I normally ride in with Jordan. 

What we didn't know was that Emily is afraid of heights... I don't know how I missed that one. Needless to say, it was fun trying to get her down!

After we got her out, she said she was happier on the ground...

Ethan wasn't afraid of heights...or anything else for that matter. We figured out that Emily has too much of a fear, and Ethan doesn't have enough. He had no problem climbing in and out of things. 

No fear!
Emily learned a lot about what things were, including the planter and what goes in it. 

Before we left, we took the kids to see some of the cows at that farm. A few of them came from our house at the beginning of the year and we wanted to see if they recognized them. Emily noticed one right away! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday Goals

Now that I have the all-clear from my doctor, it's time to start losing weight again. Between actual bed rest and just feeling crumby, I gained a lot of weight. My goal is to lose 25 pounds by Christmas.

With that said, I am hoping to post about my progress on here each week with my menu plan. Exercising is the easy part for me, it's the dieting that I struggle with. I have decided not to follow a particular 'diet', but to simply focus on eating better in general. Smaller portions, better timing, and overall healthier choices. 

I've tried juicing before and had a lot of success with it, so I will be replacing one meal a day with a smoothie. To keep it real, I'll be making a 'dessert' each week too. Let's get to it! 

Favorite recipe of the week: 
Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Recipe adapted from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam 

You will need:
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1 banana

Preheat oven to 400° and grease muffin pan. In one bowl, mix dry ingredients and in another, mix the eggs, honey, milk, oil and banana. Stir both together until moistened. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 13-18 minutes. 

Menu Plan:

Monday: Jordan is making dinner for my birthday!

Tuesday: Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Wednesday: Taco Salad

Thursday: Breakfast

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Fettuccine Alfredo

Sunday: Quesadillas

What are YOU cooking this week? 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Have you heard of GiveForward?

GiveForward is a really awesome medical fundraising site. Since they began in 2008, they have helped families raise over 100 million dollars to help their loved ones and friends. I'm a fan of this website because they have outstanding reviews and a history of doing good work. Seeing the consistency in their organization helps me trust that they are a good choice. 

I have seen several family members and friends go through medical crises. It's bad enough to have to worry about the person that you love and how they are doing themselves. It's worse to see the financial strain that comes with that person's illness for their family. Medical bills are not the only concern- household responsibilities and bills at home continue to add up. And don't forget money for gas, extra food, and even hotels if necessary. It can be devastating, even if you are well prepared. 

That's where the power of community comes in. 

The GiveForward website makes it easy to set up a fundraising campaign and have a place to communicate with everyone at once. A lot of people wonder what they can do in times of crisis and long term situations. Creating a GiveForward site is a great way to let people know what the needs are and how they can help. 

To get started, just follow these simple steps-- 

1) Register with the site and create a fundraising page. From that point you will be connected with your own personal coach to help you as you progress. 

2) Spread the word about your campaign.

3) Collect hugs (words of encouragement) and donations. 

One of the best things about GiveForward is that they are up front and honest about how much money they take out of the donations to fund their organization. From their website--

"Approximately 2.9% + $0.50 goes to our online payment service provider. We use the remaining 5% to maintain our staff of fundraising coaches and developers who work hard to make sure you have the technology and personal support you need to make your fundraiser a success... The average fundraiser on GiveForward keeps 99.5% of the money it raises because of this feature... Fundraisers on GiveForward raise 21% more on average than our leading competitor." 

Not every situation is the same, but imagine being the family on the receiving end of the campaign. It's not just about money, but support and showing them that they are not alone. 

If you like the idea of this website and you would like to be a general supporter, check out the GiveFoward Ambassador Program

This is a sponsored post that I was compensated to write. However, all opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy at the top of the page for more information.