Unique Photo Canvas Giveaway

I’ve tried very hard over the last year to change our home decor to more of our tastes.

One of my primary goals was to put up more photos of our kids around the house.

Canvases are all the rage right now. And I happen to have a friend who is a talented graphic designer offer to create a few for me.

Only these aren’t just any old photo put on canvas. These are amazing pop art created from photos I gave her.

Aren’t they so cool? I swear I’ve never received more compliments on any piece of home decor than I have on these! Everyone wants to know how they were made/where I got them!

Josephine owns Retrospective Design and she creates these as well as awesome prints and invitations.

If you’re feeling lucky, she has offered one 12×16 canvas featuring 1-3 people. All you have to do is visit her Facebook page (linked above) and comment here who you would put in the photo! I’ll pick the winner in one week. This would be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day!

Also, be sure to like her instagram feed for more of the great, custom items she offers!

Good luck!

The Big Big Bridge

When Landon was two-years-old he became obsessed with Thomas the Train. This caused a chain reaction of Naaman and I to buy all the Thomas things available at Toys R Us. We also bought a lot of Thomas books to read. It really was his favorite thing. Thomas and reading. Of course Brigham went through a Thomas phase and now Sawyer loves the choo-choo too.

One of the books we bought was called Thomas and the Big Big Bridge. I just read it to Sawyer the other night.

In it, Thomas has to go up the mountain with the tourists in tow. He has to cross a Big Big Bridge to get to the other mountain where the view is lush and green and beautiful.

But once he gets up there he becomes very anxious. There is fog and he can’t see to the other side. So he closes his eyes when he crosses and his wheels go off the track. He has to call in Harold the Helicopter to help.

When he opens his eyes he sees that he has missed the great view and there was nothing to be afraid of at all. The tourists on the train are enjoying the ride and his anxious mind was not necessary.

Is it silly to compare my life to a Thomas the Train book? Maybe so. Or maybe, at this time of my life when we are smack dab into raising young kids and constantly reading children’s books, it is the perfect analogy.

Our family is coming upon a big change and the unknown is always scary. It feels like Naaman and I are climbing a mountain, trying to get ourselves out of a valley. We are going across a Big Big Bridge and there’s fog so we are blind to the other side.

Just like Thomas, it’s hard not to feel anxious and frightened. It’s hard not to shut our eyes tight as we cross. But I know we’ll miss the gorgeous view if we do. And we’ll miss the opportunity to show our children that life is an awesome adventure with winding roads that often lead to a better place.

I imagine the other side to be so beautiful. A dream come true for the tourists that are aboard (the kids).

So we choose to be brave. We open our eyes, pray for safe passage and await our destination.

If Thomas can do it surely we can too.

On Becoming a Runner

One year ago I laced up a new pair of tennis shoes and went for my first run. I didn’t have any fancy running gear. And I didn’t have any clue how I would feel. But I assumed it would hurt like hell and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

I’m not sure why the trend stuck this time. I just knew I was tired of feeling like shit all the time, physically and emotionally.

The past year was one of the most difficult years of my life. There are a few things that kept me going and that runner’s high they talk about was one of them. Running changed not only how I felt. It changed who I am. After so many years of feeling weak I found out I’m actually quite strong. Better than that I found out I can accomplish anything as long as I don’t give up. I’m so grateful for the multitude of chances we get in this life.

I’m not the fastest or the best. But the point is I get out there and I go for it. That’s what matters. I’m so proud of myself.

So to celebrate, I’m gonna buy a new pair of running shoes and go for a run. But this time I’ll do so with the knowledge that life is just one big marathon. There are bumps in the road, stop to enjoy the view once in awhile, watch to see who’s really rooting for you, and your breathing technique is really important ? 


Ridiculously Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps

This post brought to you by Manwich. The content and opinions expressed below are mine.

I’m a big fan of easy weeknight meals that fill up my family’s tummies. I’m an even bigger fan if these recipes don’t have twenty ingredients and take a really long time to make. For a working mom of three kids it just has to be easy and fast to garner a spot on my weekly menu. In fact, Manwich Monday Recipes are one of the favorite things we’ve implemented!

I’ve mentioned before that my family LOVES Manwich! sloppy joes. But I have found Manwich! to be so versatile and I often end up using it to make all kinds of recipes.

One of my favorite things are Asian lettuce wraps but most recipes have an ingredient list that is too longgggg. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So I decided to try using Manwich! Bold sauce to see if I could recreate it my own way!

The first time I tried making it I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. As usual, I used my husband and boys as my recipe tasters and what do you know – they were a huge hit all around! With only three ingredients these are a ridiculously easy meal. They are fast to make, not to mention low-carb!


  • Ground turkey
  • Manwich Bold
  • Romaine hearts

Brown the turkey first.


Add Manwich Bold


Spoon into as many romaine hearts your little heart desires!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Manwich Bold variety adds that special tangy taste that makes these Asian lettuce wraps soooooo delicious. I highly recommend adding this recipe to your list. I promise you won’t regret it!

For more creative recipe ideas Follow Manwich on Twitter or Sign-up for ReadySetEat eNewsletter.

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Homemade Pedialyte Popcicles for When Your Kids Get the Sickies

We recently had a round of the sickies go through our house. First, Sawyer started vomiting. Then it hit Brigham. And last, Landon got it. With low-grade fevers and a quick recovery I am thankful we were able to manage it at home.

It’s always disheartening to see your children sick. We can feel so helpless when they are in pain and we can’t take it away with the snap of our fingers! The only thing we can do is try to comfort them as best we can. And provide hugs. Lots and lots of hugs!

One of the ways we comfort our children when they can’t keep anything down is homemade pedialyte popsicles. You can easily make these at home by using pedialyte and fruit juice in an ice cube tray!

  • 12 oz of pedialyte
  • 4 oz your choice of fruit juice (we use grape)
  • Freeze in an ice cube tray with a toothpick in the middle.


But then there are times when the sickness is bad enough you need help. I always hate the realization that we need to head to the doctors but I’m thankful we have such amazing resources near us. There have been plenty of times we’ve needed Children’s Mercy Urgent Care Services due to the flu.

So how do you know when you need to seek treatment? What’s the difference between a cold and the flu?

  • Colds often build up over several days. If your child is fine one day and exhausted the next it’s probably the flu.
  • Colds can cause a low-grade fever. If your child has a fever above 101 degrees it’s probably the flu.
  • Colds cause congestion including runny noses and a wet-sounding cough. The flu can cause a hacking, dry-sounding cough so if there’s congestion it’s probably not the flu.

This winter, as many as 20 percent of Americans will get the flu. Your first line of defense is to Children’s Mercy Urgent Care Services, even if it’s late in the season!

I am proud do be a part of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Mom Blogger team. Read more posts by #CMHmoms on our webpage.

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