Life Lately

I realize that a lot of my recent posts have been about sponsors and/or advertisers. This is wonderful -- I am loving the opportunities to share about some awesome businesses or help entrepreneur's get the word out about their product(s). While I want More Skees Please to be a place where I primarily write about our family, vent my parenting frustrations and share every day ordinary stuff, I'm starting to dip me feet in the "how to make money from this" side of things and I hope y'all will bear with me as I work out the kinks. I promise to only share products and/or businesses that I have direct experience with and hope to always do so with a genuine personal twist.

So on to what has been going on with us lately...

Ethan is in the last 9 weeks of kindergarten. I mean, really? How did that happen so fast? He has completely blown us away this year with his love of school and learning. Oh how I wish it stays that way. He was tested a few months ago for the Talented and Gifted program and we will find out how he did next week. With his abstract thinking and creative drive, I don't think anyone can argue the kid is both talented AND gifted but whether he needs the extra challenge at school is yet to be determined.

He has also been represented by a local talent agency for the past year and has gone on an increasing amount of auditions lately. I promise you I am not trying to live vicariously through my child in this regard. He  asked me how he could "be on tv like those kids on Good Luck Charlie". And come on, he was born to perform. Even if nothing ever pans out, the skills he is learning by composing himself enough to talk to a roomful of adults in front of a camera will serve him well. That takes guts. Could you do it?

Aiden - oh my sweet Aiden - where have you gone??? I do believe that the ONLY area this little spitfire is delayed in has been the arrival of the terrible twos. He was never terrible at two. But at 5...he shall I put this nicely? A HANDFUL. And a half. The stomping of the feet. The talking back. The use of mean language (words like hate and stupid are a regular part of his vocabulary). This boy tests me day in and day out. With big brother Ethan at school every day I do believe some of this behavior stems from boredom. So I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm counting down the days until both boys are in school and on the same schedule.

Medically, things have been pretty quiet. Ever since last summer's cranial vault, we have just been keeping regular check-ups and dealing with normal little boy stuff (like a broken clavicle a few months back). Nothing is on our radar surgically and I hope we can keep it that way. The time off has been a blessing.

As for Hudson, he is growing like a weed. He started sitting up at 7 months and is "army" crawling now at 8 months. This baby was born to smile. All you have to do is look at him and he wiggles and squirms in delight. He says "mama" and sometimes we catch a "dada". He loves being outside and in water (bathtime and swimming lessons are his favorite thing to do!) And so far, I've managed to take as many pictures as the other boys (thank you iPhone) and keep up with his baby calendar recording his milestones. Who says the 3rd kid always gets the shaft?

Other "stuff" that has been keeping me busy that I hope to write about in more detail soon:
- I lost a ton of videos and pictures when my old laptop bit the dust...
- a passion of mine is coming to life...can't wait to spill the beans!
- my engagement ring was stolen...oh this story just gets more unbelievable every day
- Aiden is officially registered for Kinder {I'm both excited and anxious about this}
- Hudson's "bump" update
- my summer plans...does anyone want to come pack for me??? {I mean how exactly does one go about packing for 4 people for a 6-week trip?}

And since I haven't been too good about writing about it all here, be sure to keep up with all the everyday stuff on Instagram and Facebook :)

Minted: Paper Goods and Design

If you know me, you know that I love to create. My "Things I've Actually Tried" board on Pinterest is getting bigger by the minute. I designed this blog and take pride in making things look pretty. I rarely order pre-made Christmas cards or birth announcements, preferring instead to create them myself.

BUT -- when the friendly folks at asked me to take a peek at their site and let them know what I thought, I was happy to do it. And WOW. I spent about as much time looking around as I do in any one time-waste session on Pinterest. Everything was just so...beautiful.

At Minted, we love the idea that our products will find their way into your most personal celebrations, and we don't take that honor lightly. That's why we only use fine paper stock, rich inks, and crisp printing methods. We guess you could say that quality is an obsession for us. We stand behind our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We are proud to offer a stunning and exclusive assortment of holiday cardsChristmas cards, and wedding invitations sourced through our global community of indie designers. Whether you're looking for non-photo or photo cards, modern or vintage designs, Minted allows you to customize a design to be uniquely yours.

What sets Minted apart from your average invitations and paper goods shop is this: They built their company by organizing "a global community of independent graphic designers" where their best designs are printed and then sold online. And believe me, these are some talented people. Even better? The prices are reasonable and the quality is great.

As a blogger, I use business cards to pass out info about my website. I designed the below a few years back, but since we have added to our family, I have been meaning to order some new cards.

This time around I plan to get those from Minted. I mean I've got 3 boys on my hands now...which unfortunately means less time for creative endeavors.


Okay so maybe I won't save much time by having Minted do it...because it'll be so hard to choose from all of their amazing designs! But they will be cute for sure :)

Head on over to to check out all they have to offer. From Wedding Invitations to Birth Announcements -- Business Cards to Personalized Gifts -- has you covered!


Groupie: Children's plate inspires healthy eating habits

The past few months I have been really focused on improving the healthy eating habits in our household. I've done the Dr. Oz 3-day detox not once, but twice and I have been trying to buy less processed stuff and more "clean" foods. Now I am not going to say that you won't find a box of Lucky Charms or a bag of Cheetos in our pantry still. This transition is a slow one, but one that I'm more and more motivated to do each and every day.

One of the most frustrating habits my children have is that they like to snack. All.Day.Long. My Aiden is a bean pole so when he says "I'm hungry SO BAD mommy" looking at me with those big hazel eyes, I usually give in to his incessant desire to graze figuring he could use the extra calories. At his 5-year checkup I spoke to his pediatrician about this and she suggested offering only high fiber, high protein snacks between meals to help curb the habit and keep him fueled longer. Let's just say...we're trying. You see he LOVES healthy food -- the kid asks for me to buy brussels sprouts for goodness sakes -- so that's not the issue. But what he WANTS is the junk. (Which is why I'm working on getting rid of those temptations...)

Meal time is also a challenge. Mostly for me as I try to come up with new, healthy, well-balanced meals for everyone. Sometimes that means making an entirely separate meal for the kids to accommodate Ethan's pickiness (total 180 from Aiden...the kid won't touch anything that's green or has specks of black or brown in it) and/or the later time that Ricky and I tend to want to eat. It's hard to keep things new and not just give them chicken nuggets, corn and applesauce every night.

I so wish I had a personal concierge who would stock my fridge with healthy groceries every week. Better yet, a family chef. Sigh...maybe when I'm rich ;) But in the meantime, I have been introduced to an efficient tool that will help make mealtime planning a little easier for my kids.

The Groupie - Children's Healthy Eating Plate was developed with a two fold concept in mind:

First, it serves as a reminder at meal time for the 'good eater' to continue to practice balanced habits. Additionally, it serves as a tool for the 'picky' eater and encourages balanced eating all while working toward...a small treat section.

What I like about it...
  • The bright colors and unique shape make it visually appealing for my kids (they argued over who got to use it first). 
  • Ethan, who is in kindergarten, was able to read the words printed in the divided sections describing what kinds of food goes into each which in turn led to an opportunity for my boys and I to discuss the different sizes of each section and why it was important to eat something from each of the food groups listed. 
  • It works as a guide as to proper portion sizes.
  • As an added incentive for eating healthy, my boys were allowed to eat the treat only if the rest of the food was eaten first.
  • Most of all, I liked that I was able to open my fridge and use the plate as a guide as to what to prepare for a meal.  Seems easy enough but as a stay-at-home mom who makes a zillion trips to the kitchen throughout the day, it was nice to have a little "cheat sheet" to keep things in check.
I am happy to welcome Groupie as a new sponsor for More Skees Please. As always, I strive to feature products and businesses that I truly believe in and feel that my readers would enjoy too!

If you are interested in getting your own Groupie plate, 
it is available on HERE.

DISCLAIMER: Groupie is a paid sponsor of More Skees Please. I was given a Groupie plate to review for this post. Opinions are always my own and always 100% honest.

Follow More Skees Please!

Just wanted to say hello to all the new readers and let you know of all the ways you can keep up with this little ol' blog of mine.

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BabyComfyNose: a better snot sucker

Those are actually their words, not mine! ;)

If you've ever used a bulb or battery-type aspirator to clear the mucus out of your little one's nose, you've probably said to yourself: "There has to be a better way!" Well, I just found a better way and it's called the BabyComfyNose Nasal Aspirator.

Here's the amazing part (or gross part - depending on your perspective) it uses your own suction. And that's why it's superior to standard aspirators. Think about it: your own lungs are a really strong and natural vacuum cleaner - much more powerful than a tiny bulb or battery-powered motor. And the result is just a more effective method of clearing your baby's sinuses. But have no fear; you won't suck boogies into your mouth because of the design of the receptacle and the tissue filter that you insert into the body of the aspirator. This is why pediatricians are recommending BabyComfyNose to moms and dads.

Recently, Dr. Sears of The Doctors TV Show recommended the BabyComfyNose as the best way to clear babies' noses. Take a look at the video 'How to Use the BabyComfyNose' here to see how well it works.

The folks at BabyComfyNose are offering all More Skees Please readers a 20%-off coupon. Details are here:

Disclaimer - I was offered a complimentary BabyComfyNose in exchange for this post. I'm excited to try out this product. Thank you BabyComfyNose and US Family Guide!

Dr. Oz Detox (Round 2) Review: Tips for Success

I feel like a pro at this detox now that I have done it more than once. If you missed my initial review be sure to read that first. Go ahead...I'll wait :) I Survived the Dr. Oz 3-day Detox: A Review

Now that you've learned all about what it takes to start the detox and how I felt after round 1, I'm back to share with you tips from my second time doing the Dr. Oz 3-day detox.

Dr Oz Detox Review
Let me start by saying that I am definitely still a fan of this program. I once again lost 5 lbs and feel like my tummy "pooch" is much smaller. In fact, I started the detox this month smack dab in the middle of my "monthly visitor". My husband was scared it was going to magnify my grouchiness (I don't know what he's talking about, I'm never grouchy), but I think it actually had a positive effect on my mood because I didn't feel so bloated.

While this detox is intense for someone who loves her bread and sweets (me), I was surprised yet again by my eagerness to dive in and drink my meals for 3 days straight. On day 4, you would think I would have wanted to start my day with a stack of starch like pancakes or french toast, but I found the opposite was true. I wanted to eat light - I made some scrambled eggs with Egg Beaters and 2 pieces of turkey bacon. I almost made my breakfast smoothie instead! So, more than ever, I am a believer that using this to kick-start healthy eating habits is a major bonus of completing this program.

Okay, now to the good stuff. Here are some things I did the 2nd time around to help make this a success:

1} Enlist a friend to do it with you - When I told my neighbor about it, she wanted to join me this time and it turned out to be such a good thing for many reasons. Not only did it give us each someone to share our experience with and keep us on track (misery loves company, right?), we were also able to share the cost. I already had leftover items that came in large packages like the coconut oil, flax seed, etc. So I packed up whatever I had enough of in small Tupperware containers and sent it on down to her with a list of what else she would need to buy on her own. I was out of a few things too, so when she grabbed her stuff from the store, she picked up extra bananas, almond milk and coconut water for me.

2} Choose your 3 days wisely - If you try to start on your son's birthday when you will be tempted with pizza, cake and ice cream, you are setting yourself up for failure. That is why although I originally planned to do the cleanse Sunday-Tuesday, I realized I should give myself a free pass for Sunday (my son turned 6) and start Monday instead. Take out your calendar, look at what you have coming up and consider your schedule when choosing when to begin. My neighbor had plans to have dinner with friends on Wednesday evening, so she chose to go ahead and start Sunday to accommodate her schedule.

3} Plan for curveballs and DON'T cave - Even if your calender seems open enough, there are always things that could pop up and cause a potential problem. I had a business meeting rescheduled for when I was on day 2 and we planned to meet at a restaurant. While the thought crossed my mind to "cheat" for just one meal, I made my shake ahead of time and brought it with me instead. In addition, my son had an early release day from school on day 3 and I decided to take the boys to an indoor playscape to let them burn some energy. As I sat there smelling the homemade waffle cones and watching others eat burgers and fries I cursed my green lunch shake with every sip, but I drank it. I did not cave.

4} Tweak the shakes just a bit - I have no idea if the small tweaks I made changed the effectiveness of the detoxifying process but I found a few things made a big difference in the taste, texture and overall enjoyment factor of the shakes. I figured if it kept me on track and allowed me to finish, then I could count it as a success either way. Here are some of the tweaks I made:
 -- Green Tea/Lemon - I am a fan of green tea and drink hot tea regularly anyway, but something about adding the slice of lemon made it almost impossible for me to finish the whole mug. By day 2, I omitted the lemon.
 -- Lemon - I wasn't sure whether to use the lemon rind, just the pulp or just the juice. The first time around I used lemon juice because I thought it'd be too difficult to do it any other way. This time I sliced the lemon, then sliced off the rind and used the pulp (but removed any seeds). I think it made it taste better this way. Not quite as acidic.
 -- Celery - The recipe calls for 4 stalks. I used 3. And I was sure to chop it up pretty good which helped it blend better, making it less stringy.
 -- Kale/Spinach - I picked the "stem" off each leaf. I read somewhere that this helped with the texture. Also, I ran out of kale on day 3 so I substituted spinach in the lunch and dinner drinks. It had little effect on the taste, but I actually think I liked it better with the kale.
 -- Apple and Cucumbers - Again, not sure if these were supposed to be used with the skin on, but I ended up peeling the cucumber and cutting the skin off the apple pieces.
 -- Cayenne Pepper - I played around with the amount used from day to day. 1/4 tsp was definitely too much. 1/8 tsp was a little less than I would have liked so I kind of eyeballed it on day 3 and it was good. But be careful, a little makes a BIG difference.

5} Use the freezer - I kept most of the fruit in the freezer and found that it made the drinks much more enjoyable if they were ice cold. The first time around I didn't do this and added ice to the mix, but it turned watery really quick and then they didn't taste so good. And just an FYI - the flax seed should be kept in the fridge. I didn't notice that on the bag until this time. Oops!

6} Use a good blender - I cannot emphasize this enough. And by good, I don't necessarily mean super expensive. As I mentioned before, I bought the Oster My Blend for $30 at HEB and it has been amazing. I tried to prepare the shakes in the more expensive (albeit older) blender that we got for our wedding and it definitely left the drinks chunky. Yuck. My neighbor said she had to use her food processor at some points to make it really smooth. 

7} Make it easy on yourself...rinse or clean your drink container as soon as you are finished - There were a few times it worked out that I could clean my container in the dishwasher, but if I wasn't ready to run a load I learned quickly that just tossing it into the sink was a big mistake. The first time I did that after the lunch drink, I spent 15 minutes cleaning the stuck-on coconut oil and flax seed from the container so I could use it at dinner time. If you don't have time to clean it completely, at least fill it to the brim with soapy water. You'll save yourself time and frustration later.

8} Take advantage of the baths - Aaahhh, this was the best part of the day. I only did the detox bath once during the first time. I usually just wanted to get in bed instead of soak in the tub. But this time I made the extra effort to soak and it really made a difference. The detoxifying properties of the epsom salt and the soothing scent of lavender made me feel like I was at an expensive spa. HOWEVER - I will warn you that on day 3, my extended soak left me feeling extremely thirsty and a little weak. Perhaps I stayed in the bath too long or hadn't had enough water to drink. Either way, I urge you to proceed with caution.

9} Allow yourself a tiny "cheat" - I did better this time (no bites of a nutrigrain bar or plate of broccoli like last time) but I found that allowing myself a handful of almonds or a teaspoon of almond butter satisfied my urge to eat/chew something. Or while I was making the lunch shake I would eat a few chunks of cucumber before dropping them into the blender. I figure that eating the ingredients already in the drinks is better than "cheating" with processed stuff...

10} Give yourself a huge pat on the back at the end - Go get a manicure. Treat yourself to a frozen yogurt. Brag about your success to your friends. For me, doing the detox once was so satisfying. Doing it twice made me feel like a health rock star. While I have many more nutrition habits that I need to change to truly be a health-nut, successfully completing a 3-day detox is something I never thought I could do. So celebrate! Just don't indulge in a bunch of junk or you'll be back at square one!

Don't forget to read my initial review from my first time doing the detox HERE.

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My best 6 years

While it is usually true that a mother doesn't admit to love any one child more than another, there is a special something there for the baby that came first. Is that bad to say?

There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a mom. If I could have fast-forwarded through middle school and high school to be married and starting a family, I so would have. I could.not.wait. to start that chapter of my life. I probably scared off a few guys back in the day with the "how many kids do you want" and "I want a BIG family" talk.

I thank God every day that a) I suckered a guy into marrying me and b) my dreams of becoming a mother came true.

I'll be the first to tell you that my Ethan? He is destined for greatness. This kid is every mother's dream. As an infant, complete strangers would stop me in public to comment on what a beautiful baby he was and how his eyes just radiated happiness. As he grew older his sweet little voice and contagious belly laugh would leave me beaming with pride.

This boy has wit and charm. A huge heart and a sensitive soul. He is creative. Busy. Intelligent. Compassionate. He's got a sense of humor beyond his years. He is an amazing brother to Aiden and a huge helper with Hudson. It's easy to see why I am so beyond proud to have been chosen as his momma.

And BOY oh BOY this kid is handsome. Amiright?

I can honestly say that these past 6 years have been my best. Not necessarily always happy. And Lord knows not always easy. But definitely my best. And Ethan is one of the main reasons why.

"Do you feel like you're about to be six?" I asked Ethan in the car.

"Yes." He responded. "Because I'm bigger. I'm a lot smarter. And I just feel six."

Well there ya go. Happy birthday sweet boy. We love you SO very much!

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