Saturday, October 29, 2011

iParent Giveaway Winners

WINNERS of iParent
Congratulations entry #3 Mrs. I 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{Kid}ding Around *Link Party* - 10/28

Welcome to {Kid}ding Around Friday
{Kid}ding Around Friday is the place to share your kid-related posts about:
Crafts, Milestones, Homeschooling, Kid-Friendly Food, Pregnancy, Decorating, Photography, 
A Funny Story, Great Deals, Organization and more!

{To Join the Party}

Growing Up Gardner
1. Follow your hosts, Katie & Amanda (first 2 links)
2. Link to a specific kid-related post.
3. We'd love for you to grab our adorable little button.
4. Enjoy reading through some of the other posts and make new friends!

Each week we will feature a few posts from the previous week.
By submitting a link, you are granting Katie and I permission to use the photos from your post.


Living Outside the Box - Homeschool Preschool
Wonderful apple unit activities for preschoolers. Sophie and my Noelle have so much in common. 
I'm sure they'd be great friends.

Under the Sea Birthday Party
Happy 1st Birthday, Kanai'a! This is one adorable party!

Trick or Treat Buckets
from Life With Both Hands Full
Noelle has used the same sad $1 orange plastic pumpkin for 3 years, I think it's time to upgrade her trick or treat bucket!

Thanks for linking up!
Come back next week to share your little ones costumes (and yours too)!


Things got much more hectic exciting around here this week. Noah started pulling himself up on everything. It began in his crib and now he has successfully climbed up every reachable object in the house. Furniture, cabinets, tables, chairs, beds, bath tubs, and toilets. Oh, and people. If you're standing still he'll climb your leg and hold on until you unclasp his death grip and set him down on his bottom.

Today he started tip toeing his way around the ottoman and made it almost all the way around before loosing his balance and plopping down. Poor kid has taken more head bonks lately learning this new skill than during his first attempts at sitting up.

Big sister is being such a helper for mommy. She tells me when he's up to no good. I probably ran the fastest in my entire life when I heard, "Mommy! Noah is standing at the bath tub!" My first thought was his head hitting the tile floor and when I brought him back to the living room I couldn't figure out how on earth he made it to the bathroom so fast. He was just right here.

So busy it has become. I already miss our time playing on the ground with expired coupons and measuring cups (I don't know why babies love paper and cups, but they do). These days he won't sit still for a minute and I'm beginning to think that's just how it's going to be from now on.

Gardner Grub - 3 Ingredient Fall Favorite

This seriously simple dish is a family favorite during the colder months. It's a twist on Pork Chops and Apple Sauce, which is one of my most craved meals. Something about sweet and savory makes my taste buds happy.

Like I said, this dish only takes 3 ingredients (I don't count EVOO, salt & pepper) and can be whipped up in no time.

1 can of Apple Pie Filling
4 Pork Loin Chops
Stuffing Mix (this time I used Fresh & Easy's Cranberry stuffing but I usually use Stove Top Traditional Sage - it doesn't contain MSG).

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the bottom of a skillet with EVOO on medium-high heat. Season the chops with salt and pepper and sear on both sides (time depends on the thickness of the pork chops). Make the stuffing according to the package.

Spray a 9x9 baking pan with non-stick spray and pour in the apple filling. Top with pork chops, then with stuffing.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the chops are completely cooked through.

Serve with a salad - this one is my favorite.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh Snap {LINKY} Going Boo'ing

{Oh Snap}


Boo'ing is a fun tradition that we do the week of Halloween. We don't go all out - baking several different treats and making elaborate goody bags - we keep it simple. This year Mr G baked his famous chocolate chip cookies and I made a little tag to tie onto the baggies.

With 10 bags of cookies, a flashlight, and running shoes we set off to BOO unsuspecting friends. 

Mission: Place cookies on the porch, ring doorbell and RUN!

Aaron and Noelle sneaking up to a friend's house. 

Boo'ing is more than a silly tradition. I get so much joy from giving and serving others and hope to set an example for my kids and show them God's love through my giving - even with the smallest gestures and acts of kindness. 

You can print the tag in a set of 4 here - "BOO" tag.

Happy Boo'ing!
{Current Giveaway}
iParent: Gender Trends, Online Friends & the Soul of Your Child (2 copies)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Team Mom {Part 4}

Go Tigers!
"A race is not well-run unless you've crossed the finish line knowing that you couldn't have kept going for one more step. If you could have, then you didn't give it everything you had." --Jackie Dugall

I made the boys some "puppy chow" for their game on Thursday using this recipe. Thanks for the suggestion, Lacey!
Unfortunately they took their first loss of the season :-( There are two home games coming up this week and we are hoping for a couple of solid W's!

Catch up on Team Mom Parts 1 -3 here.

iParent: Gender Trends, Online Friends & the Soul of Your Child (2 copies)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

iPARENT {Book Review and Giveaway} CLOSED

Don Pearson has written an enlightening book in which he analyzes the current and destructive trends in youth culture from social networking to casual sex and offers invaluable insight and practical advice. iPARENT Gender Trends, Online Friends & the Soul of Your Child, is a must read for parents.

Pearson, with 28 years of youth ministry experience, teaches that at their core girls seek to answer, "Am I desired?" while boys struggle with, "Do I have what it takes?" Before texting, facebook, and the other distracting and invasive technology, guys pursued girls. They took risks, faced failure and in doing so became men. And girls, by being pursued, had their core questioned answered. Pearson says technology has changed it all. "Currently, one of their best power tools is Facebook - and the guys couldn't be more pleased. They can learn everything about the girl they like without ever taking a risk." Consequently, guys have become "Beta Boys" and girls take measures into their own hands as aggressive "Alpha Girls."

I've noticed some of these trends surfacing in our youth but was shocked to read in detail just exactly what they are struggling with. I graduated high school in 2000 and although sometimes it feels like I donned my purple cap a short while ago, other times it feels like...well, 11 years ago. I'm out of the loop as I imagine you are as well, although you may not know it. Pearson says, "Our guidance must keep pace with the stages our kids are moving through." We cannot do what generations have done before us and use our own experiences as teens to parent. Because of technology those worlds are incomparable.

In iPARENT, Pearson explores the decline of dating as well as the blurring of gender, the hook-up culture, alpha girl, beta boy, the rise of social media and more. The book concludes with Authentic Parenting, an educated and knowledgeable chapter that reverses the attention from our children's actions to our own. "There is great power in parenting when you are the kind of person you want your children to be." Every day is a chance for me to show my kids how to live a Godly life, how to focus my attention on them instead of my computer, how to be a light in our dark and broken world.

If you're a parent of a tween to 20-something or interact with this age group, I highly encourage you to read iPARENT. Even if you have little ones like me, you'll find the book useful in preparing yourself for the challenges and dangers that await them. The Powerful Impact section with bible verses and prayer suggestions at the end of each chapter is especially encouraging. It's never too early to start praying for your child's heart, decisions, and soul.

I'm happy to give TWO readers the opportunity to win a copy of iPARENT. Just leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address. One entry per reader.
Bonus Entry: "LIKE" iParent on Facebook and leave an additional comment letting me know that you've done so.
I will pass on the winners' information to the publishing company who will then send the book.
Giveaway closes on October 29th at 3pm EST.
By entering this giveaway you agree to these Official Rules. Open to U.S. residents only.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

{Kid}ding Around LINKY PARTY - 10.21

Welcome to {Kid}ding Around Friday
{Kid}ding Around Friday is the place to share your kid-related posts about:
Crafts, Milestones, Homeschooling, Kid-Friendly Food, Pregnancy, Decorating, Photography, 
A Funny Story, Great Deals, Organization and more!

{To Join the Party}
Growing Up Gardner
1. Follow your hosts, Katie & Amanda (first 2 links)
2. Link to a specific kid-related post.
3. We'd love for you to grab our adorable little button.
4. Enjoy reading through some of the other posts and make new friends!

Each week we will feature a few posts from the previous week.
By submitting a link, you are granting Katie and I permission to use the photos from your post.


5, 10, 15, 20...
Autumn is 20 months old and is adorable!

Halloween Craft Wreath
A fun craft that can work for any Holiday

Apple "Pudding"
Wow. This looks amazing.

Cookie Cutter Art and Unexpected Banners
I love the cookie cutter art and I'm in love with this banner! 

Thanks for linking up! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gardner Grub - Cheesy {Jack-O-Lantern} Dip

The. Best. Dip. Ever.

And it's really cute.

This dip recipe was in my Fall edition of Food & Family magazine. It's obviously perfect for October, but it's also a great dip to make all year long served in a bowl and topped with shredded cheese and bacon crumbles.

3 green onions
2 pkg (8 oz each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg (8 oz) Cheddar Cheese
1/4 c. finely chopped red peppers
3-4 slices pepperoni or salami

Cut 4-inch length from green end of 1 onion (or use the end of a celery stalk like I did); slice remaining onions. Beat the cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups Cheddar with mixer until well blended. Stir in sliced onions and peppers. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Shape into a ball. Roll in remaining Cheddar. Cut pepperoni into shapes for the jack-o-lantern face and press the pieces into the cheese ball. Insert green onions (or celery) into the top.

Serve with Ritz crackers and/or tortilla chips.

Team Mom {Part 3}

The boys are continuing their undefeated season, now 7 and 0! For week 3, I put together a bottle of water along with a Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade drink mix, like I did for Teacher Appreciation Week last year. The team gulped them down during their meeting after the game.

Be a good team mate. When you help a team mate you are in a sense helping yourself. Take pride in making good passes. - Igor Milanovic (Olympic Water Polo Player)

(town name covered up)

This a really simple gift that would be perfect for any occasion for a large group of people. I just purchased a 24 case of water and a 25 pack of Crystal Light on sale at Target for $3. About $7 total.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkins and Airplanes with {friends}

I have some amazing friends. Really, really unbelievable friends. Kim and I have been best friends since 5th grade - almost 20 years. We know everything there is to know about each other and can have a conversation with just one eye brow raise. Now that we're both married and have kids (she's due with her 2nd in April), we don't get to hang out as much as we'd like but we talk on the phone at least once a day and every now and then we have a girls' night out at Target with our other best friend, Megan.

Last week we met at a pumpkin patch in her town - she lives about 30 minutes away - and had some fun watching our kids run around.

Kim's little turkey, Christopher 
Auntie Kim with the kids finding their way through the Hay Maze.

It's important to have a friend who laughs when you call them 10 minutes after you're supposed to have left the house and say that you're not even close to leaving. Why is it so hard to get out of the house with kids? Oh yah, because I have to pack snacks, drinks, hats, a change of clothes, diapers & wipes, pacifiers, sunscreen, blankets and the double BOB. 

Playing in the kernels


It takes some time finding the perfect pumpkin. She had several in her wagon before finally deciding on one.
Me and my loves.

We also have the Peterson's. The coolest couple of all time. Jeff was one of my Captains when I was a flight attendant. He's hilarious. I met Nicole, who also worked at the airport, soon after I started flying with Jeff and I knew we would be great friends. 

Mr. G and I invited them over for the first time when we had a Halloween party in 2005 
side note: they didn't have costumes so they pinned numbers to their clothes and came as "the couple you can count on"
and we hung out as much as possible after that...until 2 years later when Mr. G and I packed up and moved. They live about 3 hours away, we visit them anytime we are at the beach, but we really miss their company. Mr. G and I always talk about the perfect world where Jeff and Nicole would be our next door neighbors, we'd be able to raise our kids together, have Saturday afternoon BBQ's and impromptu game nights.

This weekend Jeff and Nicole drove down to visit us - but mostly to see the Blue Angels - and it was fantastic. 

I love a good air show. This was my first one in several years and I had a smile from ear to ear the entire time. Airplanes are incredibly fascinating.

It was a hot 86 degrees outside but we stayed cool under umbrellas and sipping ice cold H2O.

Those jets are LOUD. And I LOVE IT! The sound of freedom.
Although I didn't love it when a pilot broke the sound barrier right over Target a couple of weeks ago when I was there. It was terrifying. All of the panels on the ceiling started flapping and the displays swayed. Of course it was unbelievably loud. People started running for exits and screaming. Quite the commotion. Turns out, the pilot was on a training mission (with a safety inspector on board) and didn't know he went faster than the speed of sound until he landed - and got in huge trouble. 

Those crazy loud planes aren't fun for little ones so ear protectors are a must. Noelle and Noah wore them around the house the day before to get use to them.

Noelle thought her inflatable Blue Angel was more exciting than the actual Angels soaring above.

Because the the real ones made her "stomach rumble." It's true. You have to watch out for the number 6 plane. He's a sneaky sucker who screams over you from behind and makes you jump out of your chair. It's awesome.

My mom and I intentionally blink when the planes pass at the center point like this. Yikes!

Noah fell asleep almost as soon as the Angels took off. Poor fella was exhausted.

I love doing things with my kids that I did when I was little. I hope Noelle remembers these events and is thankful that she was able to experience them. That smile on my face is saying, "these are my babies and I am the luckiest girl on earth"...or was it, "I paid 5 bucks for that?"

Do you ever see a picture before you take it? I looked down at Noelle's shadow and asked Aaron to hand me the camera and just when I looked through the lens I captured it.
The picture of the day.

And in other super awesome friend news...Megan got engaged on Friday! She is going to marry Kim's best friends are going to be sister-in-laws. I'm only slightly jealous that they get to have the same last name and be sisters forever. :)

Congratulations, Meggie!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Noah, 8 months old

You are such a cool little dude. You crawl like a champ and have been picking up more speed each day. I love watching you explore the world around you - unless you're going for the front door in which a shoe is your desired object. My favorite is when you're headed for the playroom because you giggle on your way there. Other new skills this month are clapping and high fives.

We have been experimenting with new foods lately - you don't like anything too sweet (just like me and your sister) and you do not like anything with meat. So I usually mix a veggie with a fruit like spinach with pears or peas with apples. For snacks you like sweet potato puffs and Mums, and will occasionally sip water from a sippy cup. I feed you 2 "meals" a day and you nurse 7-9 times a day, not including a 3:30am feeding.

Which brings up your sleeping habits. For 2 weeks you were sleeping so well! What happened? Now you're back to waking up at least once a night and again at 5:30am, then waking up at 8am.

You are much more vocal these days, saying "mamama" and "bababa" sounds often. Daddy isn't thrilled with "mamama" because it's obvious what your first word will be, as it was with Noelle.

you have the longest eyelashes ever!

Your favorite toys are anything that you can successfully chew on, anything your sister is playing with, and anything in my purse. Real toys don't interest you that much, and if it makes loud noises you really don't like it.

I've put away all of your baby items, which was a pretty sad day for me. The bassinet, swing, bumbo, 0-6 month clothes, swaddle blankets, and baby books. Although it was tough, knowing that I will never use those things again, I'm loving watching you grow.

As I said, you're one cool guy. You know how to make everyone around you smile and when you reach your arms out for someone (even strangers) you make hearts melt. I love you, sweet Noah.
Happy 8 Months!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Team Mom Part II

The Team Mom post didn't published as scheduled on Monday so here it is:

Each week I make something small for my husband's water polo team. If you missed the first Team Mom post, you can catch up HERE
Last month the school supplies at Target went 75% off and I stocked up on Notebooks for 24 cents each!  Those notebooks were last week's gift. 

(Town name covered up)
It worked out perfectly because Mr. G needed to hand out the team Standards - a list of expectations of each player written by the team - so I printed them out and glued one to the first page of each notebook. Then added a tag. 

The season is flying by - already half way over. The boys are doing great, six wins & zero loses!
I need 2 more ideas for gifts, do you have any? Cheap, easy and for high school boys. I've already used cookies, notebooks and water bottles. Maybe a pen? I'd love to hear your thoughts.