Happy Friday: November 3rd, 2017

{one} I hope everyone had a  WONDERFUL Halloween! 
We stayed home on Halloween night and opted to Trick-or-Treat the weekend before instead. The girls ate popcorn & candy and watched Goosebumps from their homemade teepee on Halloween night.

{two} Black Friday is coming. 
My favorite day will be here soon. Is everyone ready?

 {three} Christmas Shopping
Anyone limiting toys this year? When I say "limiting" I mean placing a limit on yourself. We all know there is no stopping Grandmas. 
We just have way, way too many and I feel like it's getting a bit chaotic in the house. I also feel like it's just getting to the point where I look at toys and they are all similar to things we already own. Add that Sophia is going to be 10 this next year and she also doesn't play with toys like she did when she was younger.  Heidi will still get some, but I am trying to be very deliberate about what I buy. 

Speaking of chaos and the clutter that causes it....I have been cleaning out all the kids clothes I have been saving.  There is such a large age gap between the girls and Sophia has so many that can be saved  for Heidi that it got crazy.  It felt like giant storage totes were taking over our storage rooms, laundry room and garage. I have been loading stuff up to Goodwill, consignment shops and only saving the best/favorites.
 Feels pretty good to be regaining my laundry room.

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The Battle of The Summer Bucket Lists

The Summer Bucket List is probably the best of all the bucket lists.I know there are all the pumpkin-spice-fall-loving lists that are pretty good, but summer is just something special. I should fill you in a little. 
I have a summer birthday, disliked school as a kid and really liked 4-H/4th of July/fairs, etc.. Even as an adult those things make summer a revered time of year for me. 
The problem with Summer Bucket lists are that they are often in conflict with reality. Or they create a giant to-do list. This problem isn't limited to just moms, but I do think we fill it a bit more with school age kids  at home. 
Please refer to the evidence below for further explanation.
 And enjoy. 😊

What are you doing to make your summer less stress and more fun ? 

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

I had to end the mom's list on a good note. Doing fifty different summer activities may seem like a good thing, but only do them if they make you happy too. I have had years where I created what felt like a non-stop schedule and some years that were more relaxed. My daughter is turning nine this summer. She has survived and enjoyed both. Relax mommas! Whatever works for your will be good for the kids. 

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Happy Friday 2017: 5.27

Happy Friday!
I'm back from a bit of a break right in time for the start of summer ☀
I am just going to jump right into things that have been going on.

Last Day of Second Grade
Yep, I have now have a third grader. Yesterday was her last day. First grade had been very bumpy for Sophie. I was relieved that second grade went smoothly. 
That's little sissy following her into the school on the last day. 

Dentist Appointment
A brain malfunction convinced me schedule Sophie a dentist appoint at 9:30 AM on her first day out of school. It's 45 minutes away. Evidently the day I made the appointment I didn't think I would want to sleep in. 

Facebook Page
I started a Facebook page to go with this blog. The Off The Vine Facebook page focuses more on saving money, bargains online, organizational tips, and sharing great things that can help you live better. 
You should like+follow. Really. I think you will ❤ it. 
(Like right now at the Disney store there are $45 dollar costumes marked down to $10. They are having a HUGE sale on lots of GREAT stuff.  )

I am going to keep this post a bit short.
I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

The Busy Mom's Shopping Guide for Easter

This post contains affiliate links, but using them to shop doesn't cost you anything extra. 

This post is for the busy moms, lazy moms, procrastinating moms, bargain shopping moms, i-don't-like-shopping moms, i-love-online-shopping moms, Amazon Prime-loving moms, and all the other moms (and dads). 

Here is the scoop: I am a bargain shopper. I love after holiday clearance sales! It saves you money to pick up discounted items for the following holiday if you are sure you can use them. So my Easter basket items were bought last year. I will pick up a bit of candy/trinkets for Egg fillers, but that's it. 

To be honest, I hit the mother load last year and have Easter books for my toddler to fill up her basket for next couple years. Literally. 

With that being said, I don't always find things after the holidays or life gets crazy so I don't get a chance to shop. I end up online at the last minute or in-store paying way too much out of desperation. I definitely get it if you wait until the holiday approaches.

So for all you moms that are waiting, for whatever reason, I put together an online shopping list to help you out ❤

I wanted to be sure to list items to teach about the story of Jesus and meaning of Easter. I found some faith based items that look really fun and included one we have already. Definitely check these items out. I also made sure to have some faith focused books that are reasonably priced. 
*Also, Amazon prices change quickly, so hurry if you want these deals. These are as of the posting date. 

Faith Based Items 
-Glow In The Dark Egg Hunt Kit (See The Light of Jesus)--Glow in the dark egg hunt AND learning about Jesus?!?! Sound like yes for the kids to me! → http://amzn.to/2naYYm5
-Resurrection Eggs--We have had these for years. Really nice tradition.→ http://amzn.to/2nrozsV
-Wooden Resurrection "Toy" Set → http://amzn.to/2mUmDoS

Bright Baby Touch and Feel Easter → http://amzn.to/2muPdSE
Where Are Baby's Easter Eggs? → http://amzn.to/2npWe6y
Clifford's Happy Easter → http://amzn.to/2nq43sH
The Story of Easter → http://amzn.to/2nq43sH
My Day With Jesus → http://amzn.to/2n9PQOr
The Beginner's Bible Come Celebrate Easter Activity Book →http://amzn.to/2n9JoXD
The Week That Led to Easter → http://amzn.to/2nGGZqf

Prefilled Easter Eggs and Candy
Car filled Easter Eggs (12)→http://amzn.to/2nsx3ju
Marvel Avengers Eggs (16)→http://amzn.to/2nsDjbc
Zoo Eggs → http://amzn.to/2nc1jNq
110 Pieces of Candy (M&Ms, Snickers, etc.) → http://amzn.to/2ncbLob

I hope this list helps you out!

Again, Amazon prices change frequently. Hurry if you want these deals!
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A Little Life Update: March 2017

This post may contain affiliate links.
 What's exciting this week?
*The swim awards banquet--Sophia got Rookie of the Year for her age group Monday. Woohoo!
*Grandparent's week at school

*Book fair
*Finally got my replacement phone yesterday--so glad I got the phone insurance. 

What's for dinner?
M: Dinner at sports banquet
T: Cheeseburgers, coleslaw
W: Steak Fajitas
Th: Pot Roast
F: Tacos

Bell's Palsy Update
I had a really bad weekend. Saturday was particularly awful. My head hurt so bad I was dizzy and puking. I called the doctor and they sent over a prescription and scheduled another appointment for this week. 
So I went to the doctor yesterday and found out some good news. Nothing abnormal on my MRI. They were checking for tumors. So that's really good.  I should know in the next few days how the other test turn out. 

What's on my mind? Easter!
I can't be the only person "window shopping" online. I actually got a lot of basket stuff already, but check out these goodies: 

Prefilled eggs without the candy → http://amzn.to/2moN1Mj
 Really Cute Easter burlap banner (super cheap) →http://amzn.to/2nGc9hS 
My First Easter Boardbook (another bargain) → http://amzn.to/2n9js01
Resurrection Eggs--these are such a great way to tell the story of the crucifixion and resurrection. We love them! → http://amzn.to/2nGf7D7 

Just a quick little update! 
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$10 @ Target: March 2017

Hey guys!
It's that time of month where I get to link up something I bought at Target for under 10 dollars. 
This month was so easy. I walked right into the Dollar Spot and picked up three small artificial plants. I needed something small to decorate a shelf. I ended up getting home and they were too small, but I still really like them. 

Each was $3.00. So I actually stayed under budget.  It's nice to have a little bit of green in the house.  

Recognize that rug in the background? Yep, those are sold at Target also. I have that rug design in all of my bathrooms. ☺

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Happy Friday 2017 #11

 We all know what today is...

In 2016 someone was angry on St. Patrick's Day ↓

This about sums it up↓

This week I posted about 
saving money & time with homemade pizza toppings. 

Anyone going to see this? 
Image result for beauty and the beast
I'm not sure we will make it this weekend, but I am kind of looking forward to it. 

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Saving Time and Money on Pizza

Do you know what the man and kids in my house love? No, of course you don't, but I bet you can give a good guess. Pizza. ❤
Judging from how much we order it you would think I love it too. We have ordered from a local pizza place so much this month it's gotten embarrassing to face the delivery person. I haven't felt great, not been doing big grocery shopping trips and it's the only food businesses that deliver. Besides avoiding eye contact with the delivery man, it is also does some damage to the wallet.💰
I decided to change that this weekend. Making homemade pizza isn't hard, but it's definitely not quick or convenient if you want a lot of toppings. That all changes when you make those toppings in advance.
With a little bit of prep you can have your toppings sitting in the freezer for those busy nights.
Let me start by saying I don't mention cheese, crust and sauce below. For me, those are the easy parts. I make homemade cheese pizza without much time or thought. I don't have any amazing homemade recipes for sauce or crust. I'm not particularly loyal to any brand either.  I just grab jars, bags or boxes of whatever I feel like using. Typically these products store well in the pantry or freezer. Toppings, on the hand, kill me.

If you have any questions or tips on how you save time/money on your pizza nights, let me know in the comments. 
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Happy Friday 2017 #10

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here

Hey guys!

This week I am feeling↓
This past week hasn't been the best week ever. My diagnosis of Bell's Palsy the previous week didn't actually prepare me for how painful it would be this week. There also hasn't been any improvement and I am on day 14 since I first had pain behind my ear (Day 12 since diagnosis). I went to the doctor once this week and I am now waiting to be scheduled for an MRI.  I wasn't planning on doing a post specifically about my experience, but since it can happen to anyone, I am working on one just to share with other people who end up with the same experience.

This week this is perfect for me↓
  You can get it here

This Week On Off The Vine↓

This weekend↓
I am looking forward to continuing to resting. Maybe next weekend or at least my next Friday I will be feeling completely different. I am sure I will tackle a few small projects, but I am not making any big plans.

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How An Inflatable Pool Made Us Talk About Differences

When my oldest daughter was 4 she got an inflatable pool. It was about 6 feet long and 3 feet high. Nothing special. She would play in it for hours. She loved it even more when one of her friends would come over and swim too.  They kind of rotated at which house they would play. One day Sophia went over to her house. She came home telling me that her friend had gotten a pool and had invited her to swim there. A swimming play date was arranged and the next day Sophia went there to swim for the first time instead.

When they came to pick Sophia up I overheard her say as they walked down the driveway, "I don't know why we don't swim at my house and play at yours later. My pool is big. Yours is a tub."

I cringed. At 4 years old I knew she didn't mean it in a negative way. She loved playing with her friend. They were best friends. I heard her mom respond to Sophia but saying some along the lines of, "You will still have fun. There are other toys in it."

When Sophie came home I asked the normal questions, but I followed up with one that I need a specific answer. Is her pool like yours?

Why did I need to ask? I had to open the door for the conversation. Sophie told me her pool was smaller and just a plastic tub. She compared it to one of my storage tubs. I asked if her friend was excited about having a new pool and she said yes.

 I reminded her that some people have real pools. Some people live by the lake. Some people live by the ocean. What if she had invited them over and they didn't like her pool? What if it was brand new and she was excited when that happened?

The inflatable pool prompted a conversation that I didn't realize I needed to have as a parent. 
She was 4 then, but we have a similar conversation a lot. It's not about pools, but about how 
→one person's very best may look different than someone else's. ←

 And when that happens, take the time to congratulate them. Compliment them. Acknowledge whatever that "best" may be for them even if you think there is something better. 
For kids it's frequently new clothes, shoes, school, winning a game, moving houses, parent's getting a new car, earning a grade on something at school...I find as adults sometimes it's even to forget these types of conversations or to stop having them when kids are little, but I wonder how many hurt feelings could be avoided if we kept having them.

What unexpected thing prompted a "parenting moment" for you? 
Or how about moments your kids said something that made you cringe?
Let me know in the comments.
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Happy Friday 2017 #9

 Have you guys heard about Liberty German and Abigail Williams? They were the teens murdered in Delphi, Indiana. If you haven't, here is a link to CBS News. I'm not sure how much exposure it has had outside of Indiana. I live in Indiana, so it is huge news here. It really breaks my heart. I really wish people could be kind and good to one another.  Really, if not that, just leave other people alone. Anyone else feel the same? It really is that simple.

Un-Pinterest Worthy Kids Parties I've Thrown That Were Still Fun

Today's post is all about kid birthday parties!
The truth is that kids birthday parties aren't a big thing for me. We have really small family and we just don't have tons of people to invite. So I have mastered the art of keeping it simple. I really enjoy colorful parties with lots of balloons and inexpensive decorations. :)
One day I may go crazy and do a Pinterest worthy party, but so far, these simple parties have worked for us. 

Bowling Party
Kids' birthdaycake
This cake was premade at Walmart. I just added the cake topper I picked up in the birthday decoration section.

$10 @ Target: February 2017

I linked up @ the $10 @ Target Link-Up.  I think I say this every month, but this is one of my favorite link ups. It justifies my Target trips. Kind of. ☺

When Motherhood is More Gross Than Beautiful

As you can see the title and image text don't match. One says  gross and the other says messy. I thought about using both at the same time, but I felt the title got a little long. Let's be honest, motherhood is gross AND messy.

Happy Friday 2017 #7

   Heeeeeyyyy Guys!
 Blogging has taken a back burner to me tackling one of my big goals this year: decluttering! For real, if you read my post about things I did as a new mom, then you know that I held onto EVERYTHING the first time around. This caused me to be super behind on scrapbooking and I really stopped enjoying it. So the stuff was all in tubs in our basement. I tackled about 90% of that this week! If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw some of this:

Warm Weather Coming
The weather this weekend is supposed to be really nice and I am kinda, really extra excited about it.
Image result for meme excited about warm weather

Face Masks
Last week I posted about the Target Beauty Box. There was a Masque Bar mask in it. I didn't have high expectations. I find that most masks don't do anything after I take them off. I knew right away it wouldn't peel off like it claimed, but after I wiped it off my skin felt great.  Normally I feel like the Crypt Keeper because my skin is so dry. I picked up a couple more when I was at Target this week.
Valentine's Cards
We printed these cards at home and added pencils from the Dollar General. 
I found the printable at dyi inspired.

Link Ups

This past week I found some new link-ups.You can go to my link up page and check them out. There are a few more Friday ones. It seems to be a really popular day to link up :)

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Happy Friday 2017 #6

I have to start with a serious topic that I need to get off my chest. The fun stuff follows. 

Target Beauty Box: February 2017

I just want to do a real quick post and share the February 2017 Beauty Box from Target. I haven't gotten the last couple of months, but there were a few things I wanted to try in this one. I also forgot to post the winter Walmart box, but there are plenty of ways to view it online. I liked it, but it wasn't my fave. I felt like it was a lot of lotion.
Let me know what you think about this one or if you get another beauty box you like. 
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Unique Baby Items For Every Mom's Style

This post is sponsored by Baby Cubby, but all opinions about their great selection are my own. 

Whether you are looking for someone else or yourself, Baby Cubby is a great place to do your shopping. They bring all kinds of awesome baby gear to one site. Trendy, hipster,  or classic....they have baby stuff to match every momma style. 

Baby Items You Will Love

// 1. Petunia Pickle Bottom - Galzed Hideaway Hobo Diaper Bag // 2. BabyLit Pride and Prejudice and Moby Dick // 3. Happy Baby Wrap // 4. Skip Hop Studio Select Diaper Tote // 5. Ju Ju Be- Be Neat Bib // 6. Little Sapling Toys Pineapple Teeth and Darth Vader Teether // 7. Chewbeads Juniorbeads Jane Jr. Teething Necklace

1. Petunia Pickle Bottom- Hideaway Hobo Diaper Bag- This diaper bag doesn't look like a diaper bag. I love the color and the straps. This diaper bag stands out in a really good way. 

2. BabyLit Books- I put Pride and Prejudice and Moby Dick, but there are so many others from which you can choose. Basically you can make a library of board books inspired by the classics. Check them out here at Baby Cubby. 

3. Happy Baby Wrap- This was my go-to wrap  for around the house during the newborn months. 

4. Skip Hop Studio Select Diaper Tote- A black tote matches everything. This classic style has plenty of space, pockets and straps designed to fit across a stroller. 

5. Ju Ju Be-Be Neat Bib- Ok, I would have never thought I would say a $20 dollar bib was a good buy, but this one stands out. This would make a great bib to keep in the diaper bag or car for those time you are out. It's soft, reversable, has a magnetic clasp, and fits into a matching bag. 

6. Little Sapling Toys Teethers- I don't really need to say much. They are wooden, nontoxic teethers, and so stinkin' cute.

7. Chewbeads Juniorbeads Jane Jr. Teeth Necklace- Isn't this necklace adorable? Your little one can still be a little lady while she is drooling all over. I love it. 

Let me know in the comments if you have any of these items. 
Be sure to check out more great baby gear at Baby Cubby

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