Friday, September 26, 2014

The One Who Wins Hers...

I am an over-thinker of epic proportions. Combine that lovely little trait with the fact that my baby is turning two in less than a month and you've got a big 'ole mess sitting in front of the computer.

Today I was skimming through my most recent phone pictures and I got to thinking... Kylie melts a lot of hearts. She's the only grand-child on both sides and to say she is loved would be an understatement.

Watching her with people like my brother and sister, and Tyler's sisters, and our parents, you can just feel the love radiating off of them. Even when she's her most "spirited" (aka... being a royal pain in the tush).

These people all have a lot of love for our sweet girl and she adores all of them right back. She asks for them and pretends to call them and offers them milk from her toy kitchen any time she sees them! The realization that I am not the only one that has this kind of eternal love for my baby is not something that caught me totally off guard. It was only when I let my over-thinking brain over-think that I began to weep a little.

Someday, my baby will find someone she trusts to love her as completely and wholly as we do. Someday, they will earn her heart just like my family has. I just hope that like what I've seen with our families, they will reciprocate, and cherish it, and never break it. I could go on and on about my hopes and dreams for my little girl. I think as a parent, that's only natural and expected. Just knowing how my heart feels when she's around... I hope the person she marries feels similar. The overwhelming sense of she's perfect.

All of these thoughts are brought up because...: Kylie is almost two. THIS has been the forbidden phrase in the Knott house lately. A simple, undeniable truth that I just haven't been able to accept. Because after two comes three. And then Kindergarten. And then graduation, and her wedding, and grand children... it's a slippery slope, people.

I need to develop a coping mechanism for this time warp thing that we're all in. Doesn't it feel like just YESTERDAY we were celebrating her FIRST birthday??

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GO OUTSIDE!! #CleanItForward {Sponsored}

For my final post in the #CleanItForward Campaign by Finish Power & Free Alliance of Moms (which is a network that explores a new product line, Finish Power & Free, featuring less harsh chemical formulas, without sacrificing the power of Finish results – a win for even the tiniest members of your family! ), I want to discuss my family's favorite thing. Something I think all families should spend time doing. That is, playing outside.

I really truly and completely believe there is a lot to learn from the outdoors. I am 25 years old and I'm STILL learning things almost every time our family goes on an adventure. If not about the adventure itself, then it's something about my surroundings. Take my 25 years in comparison to my daughter's (almost) two years (which makes me want to cry) and you know that there is a wealth of knowledge for her to attain just by stepping outside. And when we DO get outside, it's almost PAINFUL to come back inside! From the minute the weather is bearable after a long cold winter to the moment our snot starts to freeze, we get out as often as possible.

We do several things outside as a family. Baseball, the zoo, parks, picnics, camping... The one that comes to mind immediately is gardening! Now I will say this, it takes several years to decide what you do and don't want to plant and what you will and will not eat. For example: I HATE lettuce from my garden. It tastes limp and gritty. Not my cup of tea. But I LOVE snap peas and fresh beans. Heck, even my baby tomatoes have yet to see indoors this year because they are DELICIOUS and so easy to just pop in my mouth right when they are picked. The food is heavenly. More than anything though, I LOVE watching my daughter's shock and surprise when she sees the garden after a day or two. She's astounded that her PEAS keep growing! Gardening has been such a great experience for us all.

Also, because I can't do a post without thinking about food or sharing a recipe, try this:

Sauteed Bacon Beans

1lb fresh green beans rinsed and ends snapped off
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 c fresh bacon bits OR chopped bacon (browned)

Heat up skillet (medium heat) and simmer garlic in olive oil until JUST browned. Toss in beans and cover, stirring every couple of minutes until the beans soften. Add bacon and continue simmering (covered) until beans JUST start to brown. Serve HOT! Soooooooooo good. Last time we made it (late last week) the main course was blackened salmon served over brown rice. Excuse me, my mouth is watering.

Speaking of blackened salmon, have you TRIED it?! Oh my word. My recipe is here. Get that grill out and make it. While you're at it, take off your shoes and run around in the grass. Nothing like the soft green blades of grass between your toes. And what a SENSORY experience for your tiny tot!

Moving on. (And you have to move on like Kylie is (with style) in the top right photo below.)

Our family also loves CAMPING! Even Kylie! We have been campers ever since I've known my husband and we hope that Kylie loves it as much as we do. It's great exercise and (as I have been saying) she's learned SO much! Last year she learned that eating sticks was not OK and I imagine that when we go camping this next weekend, she'll learn new, more valuable lessons. Like starting a fire or hunting for food. I'm totally kidding. But really, I hope she sees things that will amaze her. Like waterfalls and rivers and lakes and trails. Man, sometimes I really wish I could see things through her eyes.

I really believe that fresh air is good for the soul. If you don't have a yard or a garden, simply take a walk. I would suffice to say that at least 3 days a week, we pop Kylie into the jogging stroller and take her for a walk around town, often stopping at a park (or ice cream shop) or two. It makes for the very best memories (and pictures).

You'll never see today again, so the least you can do is appreciate it, learn from it, and remember it. Get outside, people!

To clean our grilling supplies and camping (food) gear, I have switched to Finish® Quantum. It has been SEVERAL months now since I made the switch and it was such a SIMPLE transition. In fact I rarely think about it anymore as all I have do is grab a tablet and toss it into the dishwasher! That easily I can control (and limit) the harsh chemicals I am using to keep my dishes AND Kylie's eating necessities clean. That's right - Finish® Quantum is mild enough to use on NUKs and bottles!!!  I like to say that I (try to) keep my kitchen a germ-free zone and Finish® Quantum has been an integral part in that.

You can help put Finish Power & Free to the #FinishMoms test! Share the news of a "less harsh chemical formulas" dish washing product and help us #CleanItForward!!

Learn more about the Finish brand from my previous Alliance of Moms post and my SMART SNACKING post!!!

Now, because this is the FINAL  post in the #CleanItForward Campaign by Finish Power & Free Alliance of Moms,  Finish® has decided to host a GIVEAWAY! Probably the best one I have ever done on my site. One lucky winner will receive a $100 Visa Gift Card!!!! Entry options are simple.

  1. Comment on this post with your favorite outdoor activity AND what you would use the gift card for. (Leave your e-mail in the comment so I can let you know if you've WON!)
  2. For extra entries follow the listed social media sites below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A winner will be chosen at random on August 6th. This contest is open to US residents only. Entries will be verified. If I do not hear from the winner within 24 hours of announcing (and e-mailing them), a new winner will be selected at random. GOOD LUCK!

disclosure: i received product and payment in exchange for my open and honest opinions/review of Finish Quantum products. These opinions were not swayed in any way, but simply reflect my experience with the product.
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