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April 25, 2016

Apple And Cheddar Panini

When I was looking at my good friend Tracy's blog the other night to see her "I'll Show You My" post, I saw that she had posted this recipe and I've been having a serious craving for it ever since!

I mentioned it to Chris and we decided it would be perfect for our snack tonight.. Every night we climb into bed with something yummy to eat while we watch some tv. Currently we're binge watching The 100! If you haven't seen it, do so now! 

It was really quick to make and so yummy!

What you need: 
George Foreman Grill
Bread/ Rolls 
Granny Smith Apples 
Cheddar Cheese 

Preheat grill. Slice apples and cheese. Layer them on your roll and grill until cheese is melted. Can't get any easier than that! 

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! Seriously, I might go make another! 

April 24, 2016

StickerKid Review!

My kids are ALWAYS forgetting their stuff at school or at practice and until recently I just used sharpie marker to write their names on/ in their lunch boxes, water bottles, jackets, etc. Which isn't so cute.. Until, I came across StickerKid! I contacted them about doing a review and they were absolutely wonderful to work with! Plus they're made in the USA, which as you know makes me so happy!

Because we have so many kiddos, they put together some mini packs for us.. Seriously, they're the cutest labels I've ever seen! I picked a color and icon according to each kid's personality or interest. There are so many to chose from! And the kids absolutely loved them as well! 

Water Resistant, Dishwasher Safe, Microwave Safe, Washer-Dryer Safe and Fridge Freezer Safe! Since we just got them, I'll have to see how they hold up over time, but for now.. They don't look like they're going anywhere!

So head on over to StickerKid and check them out! There's also a badge on my main page that will go right to their site (and since I'm an affiliate it will earn me some commision as well 😉). 

April 23, 2016

PinkBlush Maternity Review And Giveaway

I was absolutely over the moon to do a collab with PinkBlush Maternity! They have the cutest maternity clothes I've ever seen! Which if you've been pregnant you know it can be a challenge to find trendy maternity clothing. What I loved most is that many of their maternity outfits you can still wear post-baby with easy nursing accessibility! And they even have women's clothes for those of you who aren't currently mommas-to-be.

For my review I chose this adorable maternity maxi dress in a size medium. I love that because of the 3/4 sleeves I can wear it for more than one season, plus I can continue to wear it after Squish arrives! The damask pattern really caught my eye, if you've seen my wardrobe then you know it's one of my favorites! 

PinkBlush has also given me the opportunity to offer you a chance to win a $75 gift card to their online boutique! To enter just comment down below or on my Instagram post.. And for an extra entry, tag a friend! I'll be announcing the winner on April 30! 

Keep in mind if you've won a PinkBlush giveaway in the last 3 months you are not eligible to win this one. 

April 20, 2016

Our Love Story

After posting the "I'll Show You My... Family" blog I figured you would probably have questions about Christopher and I.. When, where and how we met? How long we've been together? Who's kids are who's? Etc. So I figured I'd share Our Love Story with all of you!

Christopher and I met during the summer of 2005, thanks to good ole MySpace! I was 17 and he was 21 (my mother was NOT thrilled haha). We were immediately inseparable and I moved in with him about a month later (gasp! what the heck was I thinking?!). I was ridiculously in love, I had never felt that way about anyone! We had so much fun together and he was one of the most romantic guys I'd ever met. Always surprising me with flowers, dinners for two, weekends away just us. He was amazing! But alas, all good things come to an end. We were so young and made so many mistakes. About a year later we broke up. It just wasn't our time back then.

I ended up getting back together with my high school boyfriend. Ultimately getting married and having 3 children with him; Nicholas, Jonathan and Aubrey. Christopher got married (to a woman he barely knew- hugeee mistake!) and had his two children, Jacob and Emma. Those relationships obviously didn't work out. My ex-husband is still involved with our children. He's a good person, he just wasn't the right person for me. Chris' ex unfortunately is none of those things. I won't go into too much detail, because it's not really anyones business, but I will say she's not involved and we're all better off this way.

In January 2015, Christopher and I reconnected. We were just friends at first and our kids totally hit it off too! But before we knew it, all those feelings from a decade ago came rushing back! We were inseparable again. We were/ are ridiculously in love. He is still the most romantic man I've ever met. Always surprising me with flowers, cooking dinner for me (and the kids) and while we don't have time for weekends away with 5 kids, he makes sure we do have time just the two of us! He is amazing!

We are older now, more mature. And it is the right time for us! Throughout the years we both always wondered "what if?". But life needed to play out the way it did for us to learn lessons and grow up before we found our way back to each other. Our pasts make us appreciate what we have now so much more. 

So here we are! Married with five children and one on the way. We're able to show those children a happy, healthy marriage where two people really love each other. He is without a doubt my soulmate and my very best friend. Every single day I thank God for this incredible life!

I'll Show You My... Family!

My good friend Tracy and I are going to be collaborating together and starting a monthly blog series called "I'll Show You My..."

Each month we will pick a new topic to share with all of you! If your interested in participating, please reach out to either Tracy or myself, we'd love to collab with you! 

Without further ado; I'll Show You My Family! 

The Watkins/ Knapp Family! 

~ Christopher and I ~

~ Jacob ~ 
Our oldest son. Cannot believe we are the parents of a 10 year old!
He loves to read! And is always so helpful with his younger siblings. 

~ Nicholas ~
8 years young, but he's such an old soul! He is so kind and patient.
Plus he's unbelievably easy going and generous. 

~ Emma ~
Is 6, but turning 7 in a few weeks!
This girl always has a smile on her face and loves making everyone around her happy!

 ~ Jonathan ~
Our 4 year old "baby" boy.
He is the house comedian for sure! Always has everyone laughing.
And he is full of energy... I wish I could bottle it for myself! 

~ Aubrey ~ 
Our 2 year old love! She is sweet, funny and super girly.
She is the baby of the house and she knows it! 

~ Baby Watkins ~ 
"Squish" is the last of our brood. And will complete our family. 
Due to arrive in about 6 weeks! 

Can't forget the fur babies! 

 ~ Shorty and Talon ~

~ Annabelle ~ 

April 11, 2016

Hospital Bag Checklist.. Post C-Section

On my old blog I had posted a hospital bag checklist and it was my most pinned and most viewed post in the 3 years I had been blogging. So I knew for sure this was something I would be posting once it was closer to Squish's arrival.

Now that I'm almost 32 weeks, I figured it was time. I haven't started packing yet, but I got my list put together and I'm starting to buy the things I don't already have. I try to have everything packed and ready to go by 36 weeks, since I've been known to go a few weeks early.

For Mommy
  • Maxi pads with wings
  • Maxi pads without wings (the best advice I ever got was to put a pad in my panties against my incision) 
  • Breast pads (you will leak, A LOT, in the beginning)
  • Lanolin nipple cream
  • Chapstick (hospitals have uber dry air) 
  • Shampoo and conditioner (I personally prefer travel sized so I don't end up with two big open bottles)
  • Lotion 
  • Deodorant 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Ponytail holders 
  • Makeup (because everyone will be taking a million pictures and you'll want to look half way decent) 
  • Razor
  • Flip flops (for the shower)
  • Slippers 
  • Nursing bras and nursing tanks 
  • A few outfits (unless you enjoy wearing a hospital for gown longer then you have to), make sure they're not super tight around the waist, you'll be sore! 
  • Granny panties! 
For Baby
  • 3-4 outfits 
  • Coming home outfit 
  • Carseat (make sure it's not used or expired and the straps fit behind the baby's shoulders) 
  • Diapers and wipes (my kids are all allergic to pampers and the hospital wipes are like dryer sheets and they suck!)
  • Binkys
  • Receiving blankets 
  • A nursing cover (if you're not comfortable without one)
  • Cozy blanket 
For Daddy 
  • A few outfits 
  • Deodorant 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sweat pants/ basketball shorts (depending on the weather)
  • Shower stuff.. Shampoo, body wash, etc. 
  • Laptop/ tablet with charger
  • Camera and extra batteries or charger
  • A book to read/ kindle
  • Wallet (with ID, debit card and insurance cards)
  • A few snacks for you and Hubby to munch on (so he's not constantly running out to grab food)
  • Boppy/ nursing pillow
  • Garbage bag (or laundry bag, for dirty clothes) 
Hopefully this helps you prepare a bit more! I'm sure there are things you won't need (especially if you're not having a c-section). If you can think of anything I haven't added and would like to share, please comment down below! 

April 4, 2016

Families Come In All Shapes And Sizes

I grew up knowing that families come together in all different ways. Because I was adopted. It was never a secret, it was never something I remember sitting down and talking to my parents about.. It was just something I always knew. And the answer "we chose you" was good enough for me. My mom and dad were the best mom and dad ever. Because let's be honest when you're 5, you idolize your parents (no matter who they are). 

As I got older, I started to question things. I wanted to know where I came from. I felt like this part of me was missing. I could've been a completely different person, and I wanted to know who that person would've been. So I sought out my birth parents. I won't go into huge detail (because it's way too long of a story), but I had an amazing life. My birth mother did the most selfless thing a mother could do for her child. She placed me with a family who could give me everything she couldn't. And I couldn't be more thankful she did. 

When I got married and had my own children, that empty part of me disappeared and never came back. I had these three little loves who were a part of me, I created them. And they needed me. I was their Mommy and to them, that's the most important person in their world. And they were my world. Ultimately my marriage fell apart, but those three babies were still everything to me. And they always will be. Because a real mothers love for her children is unconditional, it's forever. 

Unless of course you're not meant to be a mother. There's this stigma on women that we HAVE to get married and have children. And if we don't, there's got to be something wrong with us. If a man chooses to be a bachelor, it's totally acceptable. But a woman who doesn't want to be a wife and mom? Well that's just not okay! Ridiculous. You know what's not okay, expecting a woman who doesn't want or need children to be a mother. A good mother.  

So that leads me to here. My life right now. When Chris came back into my life, he had two of the most amazing children I've ever met with him. They were broken and they needed me. And let's be real, I needed them too. I just had no idea how much. They may not have grown in my belly, but they grew in my heart and I love them with everything that I've got. And they love me too. It breaks my heart that the woman they thought would never hurt them did. But I can promise I will be the best Mommy to them, to all of my children. Because it's what I was born to do. 

My children see their father. Just because our marriage didn't work out, doesn't mean he's suddenly not their dad anymore. He's a good person, just not the person for me. And that's okay. 

But when he's not around, my kids have the best bonus dad ever. See it's okay for a child to love more than two parents. It takes a village right? Chris is absolutely the most amazing father I could ask for for our children. He's such a hands on dad, he has the patience of a saint (something I'm seriously lacking haha) and he loves me so much. Which is so important, showing your kids how much you love their mother will teach them how to love someone and how to have a healthy marriage. "Staying married for the kids" isn't good for anyone.. But that's a topic for another time.

So here it is. Our blended family. It's complicated and confusing. Sometimes it's chaos. And quite frankly it took a lot of work before we got to this point. But it's wonderful and it's ours. Chris and I have 5 of the most incredible children on the planet and soon we'll have 1 more little one to complete our family. To bring us all even closer together. 

April 3, 2016

Replay Review And Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I'm happy to announce that I'm doing a review for Replay Recycled this week!

If you're not familiar with the company, they make kids plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc.. And their products are made from recycled milk jugs! 100% of production in the USA! They are durable, dishwasher safe and adorable! What more could you ask for?! 

I actually have purchased their divided plates in the past and absolutely love them! They have outlasted every other kid plate we've had. So when I got the opportunity to do this review and giveaway for you all, I was ecstatic! There is absolutely nothing negative to say about the company and I without a doubt would recommend their products to anyone! 

For this review, I chose the aqua color set since it's not gender specific and we have a few of each in our house 😉 and it's seriously so gorgeous! 

The set includes a divided plate, no spill sippy cup, fork and spoon. Like I mentioned I have tried the plates before, but this is my first experience with the cup and utensils and so far I am pleased! Aubrey seemed to really like them too.. She was the first to test them out. 

And now for everyone's favorite part! The giveaway! One of you have the chance to receive this feeding set in the color of your choice.. Just comment down below or on my Instagram post and you'll be entered to win! I'll chose and announce on Sunday, April 10, 2016.. You have until then to enter! 

If you tag your friends in my Instagram post you will be entered again! That's 2 chances to win! Good luck! 

April 1, 2016

Baked Caprese Chicken

Mozzarella cheese and tomatoes with fresh basil.. It's one of everyone's favorite things! 

Now put it all on chicken and bake it.. Best dinner ever! Right?! 

1lb thin-sliced skinless, boneless chicken breast (I have to use 2lbs for my brood) 
2-3 plum tomatoes 
1 block mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil
Garlic powder 

Preheat oven to 350. Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic. Thin slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Layer on top of the chicken chicken- basil leaves, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle oregano over the top. Bake for 20-25 mins. 

I paired this delicious dish with cesar salad and garlic bread for tonight's dinner. I'm so bummed there's no leftovers! 

April Is Autism Awareness Month!

And April 2 we "light it up blue"! 

My youngest son has been diagnosed with SPD and ADHD. Both of which most kids with ASD also have. It's a challenge to raise a child with special needs. But it's also incredibly rewarding. 

They learn differently, at their own pace. And when they finally get it, it's that much more amazing! For example, Jonathan was almost 3 before he said "I love you" and as much as hearing it from your child melts your heart, hearing it from him was so much more special, because it took him that long to be able to say it. 

These kids aren't "weird" they are unique, they are incredible and people need to learn acceptance and understanding! 

Which brings me back.. April Is Autism Awarness Month! Educate yourselves!