$1650 HUGE cash GIVEAWAY

So, after you win this, you're totally going to take me Christmas shopping, right? And I DON'T mean so we can buy toys for the kiddos...Good luck friends!! I hope one of YOU wins!

Thanks to some amazing bloggers we were able to come collectively together with a
 CASH PRIZE of $1650.  
Yes, you read it correctly, $1650!   
What could you do with a little extra cash 
this holiday season? 
 Enter our giveaway and good luck. 

Giveaway to run November 1st - November 22nd  with the winner receiving their cash on Black Friday so they can start shopping for the Christmas Holiday.

Meet your Host and CoHosts

 Sew Crafty Angel      Cuddlebug Cuties      God's Growing Garden                      
         Mice In The Kitchen        The Interior Frugalista           
Natalie Loves Beauty       VMG206          The Weary Chef                        
Crsytelle Boutique           100lb Countdown            Saving 4 Six
bumblebreeblog             Magenta & Lime                  Everyday Hayley

Many THANKS to our Sponsors too!  
Please stop by and tell them hello.
PART 1  a Rafflecopter giveaway 

PART 2  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please read the rules of sweepstakes and contests held at Sew Crafty Angel.
Giveaway is open worldwide to participants with a verified PayPal account.
All entries will be verified. In the event an entry can not be verified participant chooses to forfeit that entry and another winner will be chosen.
Winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email.
Giveaway will run from October 31st 11:59 PM CST to November 22nd, 12 AM CST
Any taxes or fees associated with the winnings of this contest are the sole responsibility of the winner according to their county, state and/or country laws.
Prize money to be distributed by Angel Allen from Sew Crafty Angel.
CASH prize is in US Dollars and will not be converted to any foreign currency.
Void where prohibited by law.


Image Credit
It's no secret that I've been doing quite the balancing act since becoming a mommy over six years ago now. What with church, school, friends, babies, work, working out (luh u, gym), and of course, my main hobby of eating delicious foods, you could EASILY say that my life is rather insane. 

And at some point or other during each and every one of these last six years I've wanted to pull out all my hair, sit in a puddle of tears on my bathroom floor, eat a tub of nutella with animal crackers, and just give up. Give up on my degree (no really), give up on parenting (which you really kinda can't do), just give it all up and quit trying.

After I'm done with that little pity party, you know, every six months or so, I always manage to slip back into those big girl panties (though sometimes they fit a little more snugly than others, thx, Nutella) and keep on keepin' on. 

But no woman is an island. 

I've had a super supportive hubby reminding me all along the way that I can do all of these impossible, exhausting, incredible things, from the smallest to the largest. And let's not forget the friends (priceless, y'all) who help me keep my sanity, and the family that always serve as a sounding board and safety net. 

The hard truth, though? Finding balance in mommy life is really, like REALLY hard. I feel like there is always something that has to go undone. Always something that requires, nee demands, attention that I'm not always able to give in sufficient amounts. I cut ties. I release obligations (usually the things I love). I try to stay focused. 

And I try to show myself a smidge of grace when I fail. 

I recently took on an obligation that by all rights I had no business taking on. This particular obligation required me to step WAY outside of my comfort zone and trust in God's will and guidance. Man, was that hard and stressful for me. Cause I'm a bit of a control freak with this life of mine. 

But I did it anyway, and I neglected some other things, and I focused on that obligation and on some work items, and let the other stuff slide a bit. 

And you know what? That's what we might call BALANCE. This conscious decision that we all make to focus on certain things at the risk of others. We choose what to prioritize and then we go for it. And as long as we are shifting that focus from time to time, and sometimes from obligation to obligation, (and maybe from fire to fire), then we are achieving the ultimate result. 

We are keeping all the balls in the air and doing our best to refuse to juggle any more. There's power in that refusal--so much power in the two little letters that form the word N-O. And I'll admit, saying "no" is absolutely painful to me. It's like admitting defeat before we even try. I'm a "yes" kinda girl. 

Can you help me proofread this 200-page paper? 

Can you make 742 cupcakes for the end-of-year celebration? Of course, I can!
Can you just stop and take a break? 
You betcha! Wait, what?

So here's what I'm doing to "find" some more balance, lately. We, as a family, are simplifying. We are saying "no" to new obligations, when possible. We are focusing on the things we already have on our plates and trying super hard to not add more. 

Even you, delicious cupcake, get thee away from my overloaded plate!

It's a start, right?

What about you? What do you do to maintain some semblance of balance in these crazy mommy lives we lead?

The Worst 2nd Birthday Present EVER

Mr. M is getting a not-so-special birthday present this year. He's turning the big 2 and that means a certain "pashi" friend is hitting the road, Jack!

Unfortunately, it isn't our first time playing the pacifier game. Our oldest two also used a pacifier and we took them away at 18 months and 12 months respectively. Because we were evil parents then.

But now, we are nice, kind, loving, pushover parents and so 'the pash' has had an extended stay in Casa Crazies. This is good for 'the pash.'

This is not good for the parents. Especially when the baby has been using this thing for almost his entire life.  The first paci sighting was in this pic circa newborn-ish Mr. M. 

Since then he's loved it so much that he can sometimes be seen using TWO pashes. 

He's even discovered multiple uses for the pash. Like these wee finger warmers.

And the pash makes an excellent complement to any breakfast. 

You lookin' at my pash?

But it's our own fault! We've made our bed and now we have to lie in it--for whopping 30 second intervals during the entirety of the three nights (or more) that it will take Mr. M to adjust to life without his bestie. 'Cause that's our punishment.

So, in my desperation to make this transition as painless as possible, I turned to my old friend Google. Google is always there for me. Google knows EV-REE-THING (insert voice of Tom Hanks circa Toy Story 1).

So I said to Google, "Google, can you tell me how to get rid of this kid's paci? I know I've done this twice before, but I don't remember what happened then. Come on, that was FOUR YEARS ago, and we had a thumbsucker in between. HEPP MEH, GOOGLE!"

And Google, as always, responded with a link to Baby Center. Here's what it said:

1) Take it away early. (FAIL!)
2) Go cold turkey. (Can't wait.)
3) Make it taste bad. (Ew.)
4) Give it away. (To whom?)
5) Take it away gradually. (Kind of doing that...kind of.)
6) Sabotage it. (I have no idea what this means.)
7) Leave it for the binky fairy. (Pretty sure he has no idea what this means.)
8) "Lose It." (Um, yeah, I'm about to!)
9) Read books about it. (I'll get right on that. You can add that to the bottom of my TWENTY PAGE to-do list.)
10) Let nature take its course. (Yes, because I'd love to have a 30-year-old who needs a paci.)

Cold Turkey it is!

We're going to get started with this ASAP...and by ASAP I mean maybe next week, or the week after...

But it'll be ok, cause our little guy is STRONG, like Buzz Lightyear!

Or was that STRONG-WILLED?  We're in trouble. 

Did you ever have to take a pacifier away? So, um, how'd that go for ya? 

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