I’m not going to lie, I already have a handful of Christmas presents.  I usually start shopping in September.  And there may have been a few days where I have thought I really want to put up my Christmas tree.

So what a perfect time for Shopbop to have an amazing SALE!

You can’t go wrong gifting a beautiful, versatile handbag.  Or a beautiful necklace.

This sale goes from today until Friday, so make sure you don’t miss out on a fantastic way to save!  And if you are wondering what to get me for my birthday in a few weeks…I love Kate Spade.

HJ and I are finally in our back to school routine.  Which is amazing, since he has yet to have a full week!  The last few weeks, we had flood days, which made things a bit hectic. (and no, we have never had flood days before)

Before school, we get ready, have breakfast, and HJ goes to daycare while I head to work.  For now, HJ is in lego club, football and faith formation at night.  This leads to early/late dinners, and rarely do I have time to cook.  I am ready for football to be over, so we at least have 2 nights at home :).

At night, we play, do homework and read a few chapters before bed.  We just finished Fudge-a-mania, and started The BFG.   There are times I am amazed at how quickly he is changing, like when I heard him read out loud in front of a group.

He also likes to help around the house.  This weekend, he wants to learn how to clean the fishbowl by himself (YAY!).  The dog and him have become best buds.  Many times, HJ would rather stay in with the dog and play then to go outside and play.


Yes, that is the dog eating his ice cream.

I love that we live in a neighborhood where there are always kids running around, and the neighbors can help each other.  While we would love a bigger space, I would be too scared to leave our comfortable ‘hood.

I love going and watching HJ play flag football, although it makes me laugh.  HJ HATES being chased, so will do what he can to avoid getting the ball.  He also is afraid to grab people’s flags.  So he runs after them and then slows wayyy down once he gets close.

With him getting so big, I savor the moments he is still “little”.  Like when he came into my room and asked to snuggle.  Or when he falls asleep in the same position he did as a baby.  Or when he suddenly wants to get out a toy he hasn’t played with in two years.  But then, he will walk out of the room “dabbing” and yelling “DUDE” to his friends.

I always knew how much I wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t expect to love it this much.

With all of the craziness that the first weeks of school brings, HJ and I have been finally getting into a routine.

And…I officially have a 1st grader.


I can’t believe it.

He is loving 1st grade, even though it isn’t quite as fun as kindergarten.  He has started flag football, he likes everything about it except for the stretching (who has time for that?!?).  He still wants to be a vet and an animal trainer, going on 3 years now!  We fought about getting a haircut, and finally last weekend he agreed to getting his bangs cut so he could see.  I only had to bribe him with 6 Pokemon cards, a stop at his favorite ice cream shop and letting him stay the night in my bed.  Totally worth it.


He loves to watch EvanTube, play minecraft and run around outside with the neighbor kids.  Yesterday, I told him I signed him up for Lego club tomorrow morning and you would have thought I told him we were going to Disney World.

He already decided what he wants for his birthday in November…2 guinea pigs.  And I already told him he should think of something less stinky, and less work.  He is pretty adamant about what Santa should bring this year.  Good luck on finding a jet pack, Santa.


Every day I am amazed at how caring, silly and sweet he is.  But I also love his feisty streak.  I can’t believe I have a 1st grader, time goes by so fast when you’re having fun!

Recently, we have had a licensing worker doing home visits so we can be an approved foster family.  This has led to magnetic baby locks, locked up medication and safety plans posted in the house.  It also has me thinking of other ways we can make our home safe for a new little one.

One thing I want to do is to be able to keep our dog, Ty, and the child, separated.  That has led to me researching child and baby gates.  Yes, I am totally one of those mom that researches things before purchasing (I can give you an earful about car safety standards in the US vs. Europe).

The thing about child and baby gates is that I need to be able to install it, and open/close it without throwing a fit and jumping over the top.  I started by looking over this article that describes the different gates for different spaces.  With our house set up, I think it would be best to have it in the hallway, that way the dog can still have access to his foot/water/window he likes.  I also read over this article that describes the kinds of child and baby gates, and decided pressure mount would be the best for us.

I also worry about injuries from the gates.  Pinched fingers, leaping over, etc.  This video helped me see that my fears were not unfounded, and I am sure I will still turn to YouTube to watch easy install videos.

With HJ, I never had a gate.  This was mostly due to the fact that he would prefer to climb and leap over things, and I knew he would view it as a toy.  I am hoping that being able to keep Ty and a child separated, I will feel a little less anxious about not always being in plain sight.

What other safety must-haves do you think we will need?

“AHHH!” I had bit my tongue while on a bike ride with HJ.  And it hurt like a *@&#*.

“What was that crazy noise you made, mom?”

I explained to him that I bit my tongue, and it hurt so bad I almost said a swear word.

He replied with, “What’s a swear word?”

I love that he made it almost 7 years without knowing what that means.  I told him it is a naughty word that you shouldn’t say.

“Oh, like the “f” word!”

“Um, HJ, what is the f word?” My fingers were crossed that he wouldn’t actually know the word, but I had to know if he did.

“You know…” He hesitated to say it, but I gave him a nod of approval.

“Frick”, he whispered.

Sigh of relief.  Yes, the “f” word is frick.

“I also know the “a” word because of *insert neighbor boy name*.  It’s ass.”


PicMonkey Collage

I love our neighborhood.  We continuously have kids running around and playing, and even the parents get in on the fun every now and then.  This past weekend, we all decided to have a little gathering as the heat was finally going away.

As the evening wore on, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out a bunch of products that Premier Glow had sent my way.  And I think it’s safe to say the everyone had a blast!

Everyone started by playing with the bubble guns.  And not only are they bubble guns, but light up bubble guns.  Everyone ran around chasing after the bubbles and seeing how many they could catch.  For the younger kids, this was definitely their favorite item.

PicMonkey Collage2

The older kids favorite was the red, white and blue lightsabers swords.  These would be perfect for any upcoming Olympic gatherings to cheer on the USA!

HJ and his friends though the light up sunglasses were “awesome”, and he is still sporting his a week later (and yes, they are still lighting up!).


And for the adults (although the kids enjoyed them too), we had light up straws for our drinks…you know in case we couldn’t find them in the dark :).

Premier Glow has a ton of fun and unique (and inexpensive!) items, so definitely check them out for your next event.  I know I will need to stock up before our next neighborhood party!

after side

My neighbor had a friend getting rid of a dresser, and I was lucky enough to snag it up.  Looking at it, it was just fine on its own. But I can’t but help re-do things.  Even perfectly “fine” things.

I started by staining the top a deep cherry, and painted the sides a plain white.  The drawers are where things got crazy.

I took all the drawers out, and removed the knobs.  I picked out “Divine Pond” during a target run for the darkest color.  The bottom drawer was painted.  When I was sure I liked the color, I added some white to lighten it up a bit.  Then I painted the next drawer.  I continued that process until the top drawer, making sure the color changed ever so slightly to give the ombre effect.  Once that was dry, I screwed the knobs back in.  I love how it turned out, especially considering it was free!  I had all the supplies except for the paint from target, so the project was completed for less than $10.

Here is a little side by side comparison:

PicMonkey Collage

What fun projects have you all been working on?

The wonderful thing about love is that there is always more to give.  It’s not something that has a maximum capacity.  It keeps growing.  You can give love out wherever it is needed.

I have thought of how to put this post into words for months now.  Nothing seems to be right, which is why I have been so vacant.

The thing is, my family has started a new and wonderful adventure.  We are currently in the process of becoming a licensed foster family.

I have been asked by so many people how we will manage, and why I would want to bring a random child into our house.  Do married families get asked this?  Or is it just single people?

It’s not a decision I made lightly.  The seed has been planted since I was a little girl.  I always wanted to be a foster parent.  The plan of how it was to work out may have looked different, but so many of my plans have changed from the way they were imagined.

After talking with people and researching for the past year, I finally took the leap in March and filled out the initial forms.  I talked with HJ about it.  I talked with family and friends.

This summer, I began taking the PS-MAPP classes.  This is a once a week, for 3 hours, evening class.  I have had a home visit, and still have 2 more to complete.  I have paperwork, lots of paperwork.  HJ and I have talked a lot about it.

And I am ready.

I truly feel that we were all put on this earth to help in some way.  No matter how large or small your impact may be, it makes a difference.

I asked a friend if it was hard when the baby went back to his birth family.  She said it was awful.  But she would (and has) do it all again.

These children need to know unconditional love.  The deserve to be loved, held and taught if only for a short time.  They have been placed in these situations due to no fault of their own.

In a way, I guess you could say our family is expecting!  And not only are we not finding out the gender…we also don’t know the age or the race.  Personally, I have always loved a good surprise.  HJ and I are both excited to start this journey, and have been preparing our house for a little one.

Please, ask questions and let me know experiences you may have!


Adoption Quotes shared every Wednesday on Tamara's Instagram. Follow Tamara @ http://instagram.com/adoptionmamablog:

Picture Source: adoptionmamablog.com


At Home Logo


With being a sorority advisor I still get to do some of the fun “back to campus” tasks.  In years past, I have had to purchase lots of items online.  There haven’t been too many places in town to shop for cute and affordable home items.  But this year, we had an At Home store open up.

They have amazing, affordable items for the home.  Perfect for the college home away from home!  The first area I decided to focus on was the outdoor patio and deck.  We needed new cushions, as ours have seen better days.  The At Home store carried the largest selection in town by far, and I was able to find trendy and inexpensive items.  Here is a little before and after of one area (amazing what a few cute cushions can do!):

PicMonkey Collage

The At Home store has their Back to Campus collections in store now, and they even have a checklist to help out the college bound people in your life.  My favorite new collection is the “Chic Free Spirit“, what’s yours?

*This post contains sponsored links, all thoughts and opinions are my own


A few months back, my grandma moved out of her house.  Her and my grandpa moved into the house in the 1950’s, so to say the house was full of fun little treasures is an understatement.  Can you imagine all the stuff that accumulates after living somewhere over 60 years?

In the downstairs laundry room, I uncovered a table that I some missed over my last 34 years.  The second I laid eyes on it I claimed it.  I assumed everyone would be jealous, but instead they all looked at me like I was bonkers.  But I knew, it could be super cute with a little TLC.


Okay, a lot of TLC.  I mean, it was basically rust.  I started by hosing and scrubbing it down really good.  Then, I took a wire brush and sandpaper to some of the really bad rust spots.  I covered up the stainless steel top with a garbage bag and tape, and I started with a quick coat of Rust-Reformer.  Pretty sure it’s for cars, but this was metal too.  I then added a coat of metal primer, this would make it easier to have the color stick.

I decided to go with a pretty mint color.  It took about two coats to color, and while the rust cover isn’t perfect, it looks amazingly better.

I then finished up by adding new hardware to the drawer.  I didn’t want something that would stand out, so I opted for little crystal knobs.


It is now sitting pretty on my deck with a flower pot.  I am hoping the Iowa weather isn’t to hard on it this summer, because eventually it would be super cute inside a house somewhere!