Find the Beauty in the Mess Challenge : Plus a GIVEAWAY #SweepTheMess

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweepTheMess #CollectiveBias
 #SweepTheMess #Ad #Cbias
The kids woke me up early this morning. It was the weekend and we had nowhere to be, but they still wanted to get up. Silly kids. We wandered our way out into the kitchen past the toys that were left from the night before. The bright overhead lights hurt my squinting eyes. I will never understand what the rush is to be up before the sun on the weekends, but part of me know’s that someday I will miss this. I looked around the house and made a mental list of all the chores that needed to be accomplished today. The dishes needed to be done, the floors needed swept, the laundry still needed to be finished from our road trip last week. Beating me into the kitchen were two bright eyed little sweetpea’s who waited patiently to see what my first move was going to be so that they could make the opposite. If there is one thing my kids have learned over the years, it’s how to disappear on house cleaning day. I looked around the house and then brought my attention back to them. “How about some cinnamon rolls?” I asked. They both burst into excitement. Inside I told myself that I didn’t have time for this, but in reality, it was the weekend, we had nowhere to be and I did.  

 #SweepTheMess #Ad There's Beauty in the Mess
I watched as both of my kids quickly put on their aprons and found their way up to the counter. They love helping me bake and I love having the in the kitchen with me. It is one of those special moments that I wish we had time for more often. 
 #SweepTheMess #Ad Flour

As they took turns measuring out the flour, I watched as big clumps of it hit the counter and then fell quietly onto the floor. It bothered me, but I remained quiet and let them continue on with preparing the cinnamon rolls because quite frankly, they were doing a marvelous job.

 #SweepTheMess #Ad Feet

I watched as they continued adding the ingredients one by one. The sugar. The salt. The yeast. I became sad. My babies were getting so old. Yes, I was happy that they were becoming comfortable in the kitchen and learning skills to take them into adulthood, but did this whole baby thing have to be over so soon? I mean, just look at these toes. Those used to be the itty bitty baby toes that I would kiss and nibble. I wanted to cry and hug them and never let them go but instead we made cinnamon rolls.

 #SweepTheMess #Ad Making Cinnamon Rolls
As we finished spreading out the cinnamon and sugar and rolled the pastries up to cut, I looked around at the big mess we had made together. And let me tell you, it was a very BIG mess. 
 #SweepTheMess #Ad Cinnamon Rolls Squares

Yes, that’s right. Right now our house is a bit of a mess, but it is a beautiful mess. Each toy laying out on the floor from the night before represents the fun that I remember we had. The pile of clothing in the laundry room represents the trip that we just took together and the messy kitchen before me represents this time that we just shared growing and learning. Please don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to admit that I like a clean house and sometimes stress too much about keeping it that way. Ok, I ALWAYS stress about keeping it that way. But this morning, right now, I am going to enjoy it because in this moment I want to hold on to THIS mess forever.

 #SweepTheMess #Ad OCedar Angler

As the cinnamon rolls baked in the oven, the kids ran off to play and I decided that forever was too long to have a dirty kitchen. 🙂 Besides, it’s the memories made from the mess not the ACTUAL mess that’s important, right?

You see, a few days ago I was challenged by O-Cedar to find the beauty in the mess somewhere in my life. I struggled with this idea because I didn’t know how I could turn something that I saw as ugly into something beautiful. Then I realized that it wasn’t about changing the mess into something beautiful, it was about changing the way I looked at it. These messes aren’t just another chore added to my list, but they are memories to be cherished. I am thankful to have been given this challenge because far too often I rush through life, getting things done and trying to contain the mess instead of sometimes just letting it happen. Today was fun.

Do you need to take a moment to see the beauty in the mess in your life today? Here is a fun video on how O-Cedar does it.

Enter to WIN:

Come here for the cinnamon rolls? Check out our tasty made from scratch recipe below.

 #SweepTheMess #Ad Cinnamon Roll Recipe from Scratch

                                                                                                                          {PRINT}
 #SweepTheMess #Ad Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe
* Correction- the egg needs to be mixed in with the flour,sugar mixture as the liquids are added. 
Look around you. What’s the most beautiful mess you see right now? Can’t find the beauty? You may have to look deeper. 

Spring Break is Not Just for the Kids: Carousel Comes to the Lyric Opera of Chicago {April 11- May 3} + GIVEAWAY

Disclosure: Ticket Giveaway provided by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. All opinions are my own. 

A few months ago I had the pleasure of taking in a performance by the Lyric Opera with my six year old daughter at the Civic Opera House in Chicago. We went to see The Sound of Music and decided to make a “girls weekend” out of the show. We booked a room at a local hotel and headed out towards Chicago from Michigan with a little extra time before the production started so we would have time to explore the city. Luckily, we found several fun things to do within our short 24 hour stay. Read more about our past Chicago trip here: 24 Hours in Chicago

That short weekend together was such a great little getaway for the two of us and an evening at the Civic Opera House was the icing on the cake! The Civic Opera house is a beautiful historic building with tall ceilings, ornate details and an upscale feeling. Plus, the Lyric Opera puts on amazing performances with all-star casts. I would love to make another trip into Chicago to enjoy even more performances from the Lyric Opera soon and definitely plan to add it to my “date night” adventures list.

Rodger & Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL {APRIL 11-MAY 3}

Are you planning to take a weekend getaway to Chicago or would you like to take in a show at the Civic Opera House with someone you care about? Now is your chance! The Lyric Opera of Chicago has offered to give one of my readers two FREE adult tickets to see Rodger and Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL for their preview performance on April 10th. You’ll get to see it before the public! (Transportation, lodging and food are not included.) Enter below!

CAROUSEL is a musical about love and loss and features recognizable songs such as “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. The production stars Steven Pasquale (CBS’s The Good Wifeas carousel barker Billy Bigelow and two-time Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes as his true love. It’s a great date night type of story! I mean, who ever said spring break had to be just for the kids?


CAROUSEL ACTORS / Photo Credit: Lyric Opera
Find more information about this performance as well as other performances from the Lyric Opera of Chicago by visiting http://lyricopera.org/carousel

Enter to Win! Good Luck!

A Tour of My New {Vintage} Dining Room {#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Giveaway too!}

Ad Disclosure: This post contains a giveaway sponsored by Mohawk home. I was also provided with a free rug in return for hosting. #ilovemymohawkrug 🙂

Hi friends! 
I have been on quite the cleaning and re-arranging kick lately. It must be because I am MORE than ready for spring to finally arrive and for all of this snow to go away. However, being stuck inside all winter has given me the opportunity to do some home decor updates. It always amazes me what a little bit of re-arranging and accessorizing can do for your home. Something as simple as adding a new rug can totally transform the look of a room and make being stuck inside during the winter months just a little bit easier to handle. 
Today I thought that I would share with you my new {vintage} dining room re-model. Sadly, this room has been more than neglected over the last few years in the decor sense. I just never really knew what to do with it but with my little kick of energy lately I decided to put myself in gear and make something happen. Doing things always starts with just taking the first step. .after that the momentum will get you going. 
As you may know I am a bit of a vintage freak. I love to shop garage sales and buy things that may have otherwise been tossed in the trash. I love to find the beauty in old products and bring them back to life, sometimes in a new way. My dining room really holds true to this. So let me take you on a little tour and at the end of this post you will have an opportunity to win your very own Mohawk rug and give one of the rooms in your house a little winter “pick me up” as well. 
If you don’t like color you probably will not like my dining room or my house. I am a color addict. Every room in my house is full of color and my dining room was going to be no different. 
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Dining Room Makeover
Here’s a look at the entire room once it was finished. I decided to go with a vintage America theme. That is one of the reasons I wanted to go with Mohawk for my rug as well. Did you know that Mohawk still makes their rugs in the USA? You don’t find many products made in the USA anymore so I am happy to support them. Plus, might I add that this rug is AMAZING, great quality and super soft? It is.. and one of you will get to find that out first hand when you win the giveaway below!
Watch the “Still Made in America by Mohawk Home video”
Let’s take a closer look at the room and the vintage things I used to make this look happen. 
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Room Makeover
My dining room is used as a place to gather. We have friends over in this room, we play board games in this room, eat dinner and also put together puzzles in this room. To sum it all up, it is our social room. So what better place would there be to have some wine? 
A friend of mine actually found this old wooden toolbox and brought it over to me, knowing that I would love it. . . and I did! I gave it a good power wash to get any dirt or debris off of it and sealed it with a wood sealant. Now it is the perfect place to store all of my un-opened bottles of wine, don’t you think? 
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Room Makeover
Another great find, that I absolutely love, are my two little car salt and pepper shakers. I actually have a quite extensive collection of salt and pepper shakers. . everyone has to collect something, right? 
#ad Salt and Pepper Shakers Cars Vintage
My car salt and pepper shakers are my favorite from my collection, so they are the ones you will find sitting atop my vintage yellow dining room table. This table I picked up at a flea market for $50. I think it was quite a steal. 
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Room Makeover
You may notice the buffet table sitting next to our table. . that is actually no buffet table, but an old wooden ironing board. 
#ad Vintage Red Ironing Board Repurpose
At one point I had this ironing board outside and was using it as a gardening table, but I just felt so bad leaving it in the elements to possibly rot. It was too nice of a piece and I thought it needed to be preserved better so I brought it inside. I absolutely love the lines and colors of this piece. To add a little bit of depth to the table, I brought in an old wooden wine case and some mason jars to accent. 
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Room Makeover
In the back corner of the room you will find more vintage decor. I found this old window for $1 last summer and loved the rustic appeal of it. The paint was a bit chippy on it, so I sealed it so none of it could come off. You do need to be careful when bringing old items into your home by making sure they are clean and safe. Remember, lead based paint was an issue in the past. 
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Coke Box
I also re-furbished this old chair {shown above} by giving it a new seat which I made out of pallet wood. You can find the complete tutorial here
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Old Window Decor
To the window I added a small pendant which reads {Joy, Peace, Love}. You can find the pendant tutorial here
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug
By the front of the room I have placed this re-furbished chair underneath two bicycle wheels that I’ve hung on the wall. My plan for this area is to create a large #2 out of wood and hang it with the wheels, but I need to wait for the weather to work with me so I can paint outside. That tutorial will be coming soon. . as soon as this snow goes away and the weather warms up. 
One of my best tips when looking to bring new energy into your home is to work with what you already have. Sometimes just moving objects to different rooms can make a big difference. 
I hope that you have enjoyed this little tour of my newly vintage dining room. Now it is your chance to perk up one of the rooms in your house by entering to win your very own Mohawk rug! Enter below using the form provided. Thanks Mohawk for this opportunity!!
#ad #ilovemymohawkrug Vintage Room Makeover
Giveaway Terms: Giveaway sponsored by Mohawk #ilovemymohawkrug campaign. The winner may choose any available and in stock Mohawk Home rug up to size 5×8 and under $150. The winner will be placed into contact with a Mohawk representative for prize fulfillment. Raising Dick and Jane will not be held responsible for prize fulfillment. Giveaway runs 2/6/14 (11:00 am EST) to 3/1/14. (11:00 am EST) Winner will be chosen 3/1/14 and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Available to US participants only, 18 years old or older. No monetary value will be rewarded in replacement for the rug. All taxes are the responsibility of the winner. No purchase necessary to win. 
<3 Dick and Jane

Ahhh….Germs!! {How to Deal} PottyCover Review & Giveaway

 
Ok, I must admit it.  I am a germaphobe. Everyone in my family knows it and its something I just cannot shake. Germs are everywhere, you cannot hide from them.  I have become much more germaphobic since having kids. It seems like if there is a germ somewhere, they are magnets to it. I do all the things most moms do like asking my kids to wash their hands before they eat, trying to keep them from sucking on the shopping cart handle and teaching them not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when were out and about but somehow they still find a way to do something weird (like lying on the ground and licking the floor). Agghh. . why do they do those things? Its so gross!

The worst are public restrooms.  Every time my daughter has to use a public restroom its like a circus act. How can I possibly hold her over the toilet so she doesn’t touch the seat, but at the same time make sure she is aimed to tinkle in the potty and not down the front of my shirt. All of this being done in a 4×4 cubicle where it is almost impossible for both of us to fit. Why don’t I just use the toilet seat covers provided in the restroom you ask? Because they don’t work. If there is urine on the seat, it soaks right though. They always falls into the toilet before I can sit Jane on it and it doesn’t cover the front of the seat where her little legs inevitably touch. Trying to use the provided covers with a child causes more frustration than just holding her.  However, lately Jane has started to get too heavy for me to hold. I am beginning to think my back is going to give out mid usage sending us both crashing into the nasty germ filled pool.

 
Let me share with you a new product that I was able to try out this week.  It is one of those must have parent products. The product is called PottyCovers. PottyCovers are non-woven fabric covers that are lined in waterproof plastic to keep moisture from reaching the skin. The covers are also made to sit not only on the top of the toilet, but cover the sides of the toilet at well! Each seat covers is individually packaged and easy to stick in your purse or pocket for traveling. Going to the restroom with Jane is no longer a cause for concern for me. I no longer have to worry about trying to hoover her over the toilet or hurting my back. Right now as I am planning our summer vacation I am thankful I found these. They will be perfect for our long car ride and rest area potty breaks!!
 
 
Do you want to give these PottyCovers a try? We are giving that chance to one of our readers! Enter below. You can also purchase PottyCovers at Bed Bath and Beyond, Buy Buy Baby and online at Amazon.com or Ebay. 


<3 Dick and Jane

Enter to win using the rafflecopter entry form. All prizes will be shipped by the sponsor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Meet Sparkles, the Easter Bunny Scout

 
Meet Sparkles, the newest member of our family.  She came to us the other day, sent by the Easter bunny himself, to help seek out the best hiding place for the kids’ Easter baskets this year. You see, the Easter bunny cant possibly make all of his deliveries on time if he has find just the right spot to hide his baskets and drop his eggs. It takes far too much time! Instead, he sends a little helper to make sure everything is ready for him when he arrives. Sparkles is the perfect bunny for the job! Shes cuddly, cute and super quiet as she sneaks away from Jane’s tight grip each night to prepare for the Easter Bunnies arrival then carefully wiggles her way back into her arms before she awakes. A bunny scout by night and best bunny by day. Shes also happy to play whatever game Jane desires like tea party or lets see how high bunny can jump {or be thrown} into the sky. Sparkles never complains, because this is her job and she loves it. And to be quite frank, we love her too.

It may seem a little silly, but this is the story Jane made up about her new bunny Sparkles and how she came to stay with us. This adorable little bunny has not only won over the heart of Jane, but the whole family. Tell me though, how could you resist this face? This super sweet little bunny is covered in long fur that calls for you to pet it back away from its face only to uncover those little bunny eyes that melt your heart. Yes, this mommy wants a bunny too. 🙂 Its just so FLUFFY!!!
 
 
Sparkles is a Fuzziggles. A Fuzziggles is a amazingly handcrafted bunny that was dreamt of and created in the USA right in Salem, OR. Many of you know how much I love supporting Etsy Artists. Well. . Sparkles and her other woodland friends can be found on Etsy and shipped right to your home in time for the Easter bunny’s arrival. Don’t let the handcrafted label scare you. . these bunnies are perfectly constructed. The quality far exceeds my expectations and I have no doubt Sparkles will be with us for quite a long time. Besides, I think Jane has become quite fond of her.
 
Would you like the Easter bunny to send a scout to your home? You can enter below for your chance to win your very own Fuzziggles bunny just in time for Easter. Entry is easy, simply use the Rafflecopter form below.
 
Where will the Easter bunny hide your basket?
<3 Dick and Jane

Disclosure: Raising Dick and Jane was provided with a free bunny in order to facilitate our review. We were not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Grow Organic Gardening Giveaway Bonanza

Spring is coming! Its almost here.  Even though there is still snow on the ground I began preparing and making plans for my new homestead garden several months ago. I am so excited for the ground to warm up enough so I can get outside and work in the dirt. This year is actually going to be the largest edible garden project I have ever done.  I am working on turning a large section of my backyard into several raised garden beds and I cannot wait to share my progress with you over the next couple of weeks.
Today, we have an awesome opportunity for you to win all the items you need to prepare for your very own spring garden! This giveaway was put together by my friends over at the Homestead Bloggers Network. Be sure to stop by each of their blogs and see what an inspiration they can be to starting your own homestead project. They have taught me a lot about how to get my organic garden project started!

Enter the Giveaway!

Grow Organic Gardening Giveaway Bonanza
 
Members of the Homestead Bloggers Network have partnered with Peaceful Valley/GrowOrganic.com to bring you this fabulous Grow Organic Gardening Giveaway Bonanza with a Harvest Basket overflowing with $200 worth of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supplyʼs organic gardening favorites, to take you through the garden year.
Start and sow certified organic seeds with a seed sower, and mark them with wooden plant labels. Feed them the finest organic fertilizers, and put on an organic cotton t-shirt to harvest them with garden gloves and snips. Carry and rinse the produce in the Harvest Basket. Chart your garden progress on a botanical calendar and plan for next year in a garden journal. Put up your produce with tips from a new book, then use botanical cards when you give those jars as gifts. Harvest Basket 4 seed tin collections, each with 10 packs of our non-GMO, certified organic seeds:
Additional prizes offered by Baker’s Creek and participating blogs: UntrainedHousewife.com, MomPrepares.com, springmountainliving.com, lillepunkin.com and harrisheather.com. Home Gardener’s Collection 30 Minute Mozzarella/Ricotta Cheese Kit Stainless Steel Compost Pail Ball Canning Lids and Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) – Signed by Angela England One really lucky person is going to win this amazing bundle of tools, seeds, books and more to get their garden off to a great start this spring! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. Then be sure to visit all the participating blogs listed below! a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway is open to US Residents ages 18 and over only. Entries close on March 20th and winners will be drawn March 21st. This giveaway is part of the Homestead Bloggers Network and sponsored by Peaceful Valley – Small review samples may have been provided but thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Participating Blogs

1. Chris Dalziel- Joybilee Farm 2. Dani Meyer- The Adventure Bite 3. Heather Harris- The Homesteading Hippy 4. Erica Mueller- Mom Prepares 5. Angela England- Untrained Housewife 6. Linsey Knerl- Lille Punkin’ 7. Gretchen Stuppy Carlson- The Backyard Farming Connection 8. Kristi Stone- Let This Mind Be in You 9. Annie Kaylor Bernauer- Montana Solar Creations 10. Krystyna Thomas- Spring Mountain Living 11. Mary Hitchings- Raising Dick and Jane 13. Amanda Jones- Adventures of Mommyhood
 
<3 Dick and Jane
 

March is Reading Month! {Giveaway}

{March is reading month. Help us celebrate with a giveaway!}
Do you read with your children? Reading aloud to your children at a young age can help encourage them to develop basic word knowledge, a greater imagination and a love for reading as they grow older. My husband and I always make it a point to read at least one book to our kids every night before bed. It has become a bit of a ritual in our house. Each night both of our kids will run into their bedrooms to grab the book they want to have read to them. They will then cuddle into our laps as we take them away to imaginative storybook lands. This time spent as a family is a special memory we will all share for a lifetime. Added bonus: If you have kids that fight going to sleep, reading to them before bed can help them to calm down and get in the mindset of bedtime.

With March being reading month our family wanted to share with you one of our new favorite books to read called Come Back Dear Sun by Geena Bean. Come Back Dear Sun is an adorable book that depicts a world with no sun. In the story the sun decides to move away and find a new place to live where she will be happy. She feels sad that the kids in her town no longer come outside to play with her. The children, who start to miss the sun after she leaves, write a letter asking her to please come back. In the letter the kids promise to start playing with her outside and she returns to once again brighten the skies. The children all decide that playing outside with the sun is much more fun than being indoors all day and promise to play with her everyday from then on.

I decided to ask my kids what they thought of the book to get a child’s perspective. Here is what they said.

Jane (age 5) says “I liked the book. I thought it was nice.”
Mom says “Dick, did you like this book tonight?” Dick (age 2) says “Yeah”

Geena Bean and Raising Dick and Jane want to encourage you to read with your kids and to help you get started are giving away a copy of the book Come Back Dear Sun to one lucky reader. It is a super cute book and I know your family will enjoy reading it together. So sign up to win, its easy.
Enter using the rafflecopter box below.

Be sure to check out Geena Bean’s website for more information and you can also purchase her book on Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
<3 Dick and Jane

Disclosure: Raising Dick and Jane was provided with one book to preview for this post. We were not paid for this post and all thoughts and opinions are our own. Our giveaway is being sponsored by Geena Bean.

Homemade Dog Treats

Last week I introduced you to our dog Manson during our Wordless Wednesday post. As you can see by his photo he is a big sweetheart. We treat him like one of the family by allowing him free run of our house, by letting him sleep in bed with us and by feeding him healthy “human-like” foods. He is quite spoiled for a dog. He even gets a stocking full of new toys and treats each Christmas just like the kids do. While we have a few things we need to work on with him, like getting into the garbage cans, barking like a nut when someone walks by our house or jumping on people when hes excited, he is a pretty good dog and deserves to have a good life (like all dogs do).

When Manson was a puppy, he and his siblings were abandoned and left to die. Luckily, a nice couple found them and brought them all home. They spent the next couple of months making sure the pups were healthy, feeding them and finding good homes for them. My husband and I were a young couple with no kids and decided that a puppy would be a great new addition to our little family. He was such a cute baby! Who could resist this face?
Manson quickly became a member of the family and has been with us as we welcomed Jane and Dick into our home in the years following. We could tell that our dog Manson was in love with our children just as much as we were. He is never cross with them and will let them play with him as children do. The sense of “these are my kids” can be felt whenever an unfamiliar face come to our home. I can tell that Manson would do everything he could to protect any one of us in the case of an emergency. He loves us and we love him.
In honor of puppy love this week, Howling Husky Bakery, has offered to give one of our pet loving readers two dozen of their all natural, handmade dog treats! Each treat is made to order before shipment to ensure maximum quality and the recipes are all taste tested by the bakery owners’ Siberian Husky named Siqua. Check out these flavors, they all sound delectable! How about serving your pup a peanut butter banana, blueberry cinnamon, cheesy tuna or savory chicken treat? I’m sure with treat like this even Manson would learn to stay out of our garbage cans and behave for guests.
Remember though, these are all natural and do not contain preservatives so when making or buying homemade dog treats store them in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent molding and lengthen the use by date.
Enter to WIN using the rafflecopter below.
Woof!
<3 Dick and Jane
 Disclosure: We were provided with a sampling of dog treats from Howling Husky Bakery in order to facilitate our review and post. While we were allowed to keep our review items, we were not compensated for our post. All of our thoughts are our own.



Its Friday and Its Snowing. . .

So, yes, we did finally get hit here in Michigan by this crazy snow storm sweeping across the top of the states. When I went to bed last night there was no snow. I could see our grass. When I woke up this morning, I saw this. Everything is cancelled.
 

 

Now as I sit snuggled into my big chair covered by my blanket feeling lucky to not have to go anywhere, I feel like being lucky in some giveaways! Anyone want to join me? Lets see them all! If you have any giveaways you would like to promote, add them below. And if your like me and just want to WIN, enter away!
 
Happy Friday (& good luck)
<3 Dick and Jane