Friday, April 19, 2013

Raising my Daughter Has Been a Blessing

Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was be a mom.  I would play school and often dreamed of being a teacher, but becoming a mom was the most important thing on my list.  As I grew older and my other friends were planning their careers, I was dreaming about being a mom.  I was so sure of that desire that when we filled out our, "Where I'll be in 10 years" form my senior year, I wrote," I will be happily married and a mom of 3 kids."  Sometimes life does not turn out the way you want!

Fast forward 14 years and many miscarriages later.  I finally became a mom to a beautiful daughter.  Even though my marriage was unraveling, I was determined to be the best mom I could be.  I shielded her from from the fights as much as possible and I stayed there, until it became dangerous for both of us.  

Instead, I took my daughter and all the debt and never received one bit of child support.  I knew I needed to be STRONG.  Strong for me and a STRONG MOM for my daughter.  Moving in with my parents was hard for me, but I needed somewhere safe to start over.  People told me it was a mistake, but I went with my gut instinct, and it was right.  My parents did not try to take over parenting, they remained supportive and were awesome grandparents.

That was the last thing I was looking for.  I was concentrating on being a mom, and God placed my soul mate in my path.  Friends told me not to tell him I had a daughter, and not to introduce them if I did.  I consulted God and he reminded me that I was a STRONG woman and to follow my heart.  My daughter and I fell in love with new man, and shortly after my divorce finalized, the two of us became one, and the three of us became a family.  

My decision!  I was a product of the NC public schools, and although many advised me against sending my daughter there, it was the best decision ever.  She flourished in that environment and made lots of friends.  She has become an honor roll student and takes honors classes.  She has made me proud!  As my daughter, Kat, continues to grow, I pray that I have done all the right things and I pray that she will have a great life.   I know I did my BEST!

I always wanted to be the PERFECT mom, but no one is perfect.  The fact I was striving for it taught my daughter to try her best.  Although I am far from perfect, I have taught Kat to love, believe in God, be honest, never give up, and to forgive. Showing her that realizing you are not perfect is not a weakness, it is a sign of strength!
StrongMoms EMPOWER

The StrongMoms® Empower campaign, brought to you by Similac, is a call-to-action to create a more supportive and less judgmental environment, online and off.

Have you ever felt judged?  Belittled?  Accepted?  Empowered?
The time has come for Moms to start feeling good about themselves and the decisions they have made. We need to start supporting each other, instead of judging!  I went to and took the Strong Moms Empowerment Pledge and I urge you to do the same.  We need to start being supportive of each other!  Will you go take the pledge?  Leave me a comment with your thoughts on this campaign.  I would love to know where you stand!

Disclosure: I am participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network. I have not received any payment. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest Information

It's time to show America what you've got - enter the new Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest!
Hurry, the entry deadline for the next recipe category is May 9th!
Put on your best apron, roll up those sleeves and start creating a recipe for your chance to win $1 million dollars in the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest.
Enter online at
  For the first time in the 64-year history of the nation's premier cooking competition, America will vote for entries selected by the Bake-Off® Kitchens to determine which 100 recipes will vie for the $1 million grand prize. Those 100 finalists will compete at the Bake-Off® Contest finals, November 10-12, 2013, at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Recipes entered must include no more than seven ingredients (not including table salt, ground black pepper and water) and take 30 minutes or less to prepare (not including baking or cooling time).
To give creative home cooks more chance to enter, this year the Bake-Off® Contest features three recipe categories with separate entry periods. The first call for entries is now closed, but two additional recipe categories will begin accepting submissions later this year. That means you still have two chances to enter to win this year's contest!

The two recipe categories are:


Simple Sweets and Starters

These sweet treats and appetizers are the hit of any party. And even better, they´re a breeze to prepare, making entertaining easier than ever. Examples: cookies, bars, pies, tarts, bite-size appetizers, tartlets, pinwheels, puffs, bruschetta or focaccia.
  • Entry Period: April 4th (Noon CST) - May 9th (11:59a.m. CST), 2013
  • Voting Period: June 13th (Noon CST) - June 27th (11:59a.m. CST), 2013

Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts

These are the recipes that make mornings rock. Whether you´re hosting a casual brunch, fixing breakfast for the family or enjoying a lazy weekend morning, these dishes are the ones you turn to first. Examples: sweet rolls, pull-aparts, pastries, breakfast breads, egg dishes, breakfast sandwiches.
  • Entry Period: July 4th (Noon CST) - August 8th (11:59a.m. CST), 2013
  • Voting Period: September 12th (Noon CST) - September 26th (11:59a.m. CST), 2013
Disclosure: No compensation was received! Just Sharing.

Friday, April 5, 2013

MailPix and Picture Keeper Saving Memories, Not Just Pictures

We are a scrapbooking family and we take a LOT of photographs. We get prints of the photographs, enlargements, make collages, and turn them into wonderful gifts. The biggest problem I usually have is storage, the photo files are important to me, and I always want to be able to print copies, and to remember! My favorite way to save my files is with Picture Keeper
If you don't know what a Picture Keeper is, it is "The fast and easy way to save your memories." Just plug in your Picture Keeper to virtually any computer and protect all those irreplaceable pictures - safely and securely! Compatible with PC and Mac®, there's no software to install, no passwords to remember, no monthly fees. Picture Keeper automatically finds and saves your pictures fast, even uses your file names, giving you peace of mind never to lose your precious memories.

We have used and love all their wonderful products. You can get not only enlargements, but posters, collages, brag books, fleece blankets, mugs, magnets, grocery bags and more. The quality has always been top notch, and now, they are giving a Picture Keeper 4, which is a $30 value with your order. A PK4 will hold up to 4,000 photos. Also, now you can receive up to 100 free prints when you create a free account and join MailPix. It is a huge Win-Win situation.

Why not check out MailPix? I have always been happy with the quality and the speed of delivery, and they are one company I feel safe with my memories.

 Disclosure: I received a sample Picture Keeper to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are honest and my own.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Carmex Healing Cream and Hydrating Lotion Review and Giveaway

Dry skin is something I have had to deal with most of my adult life. As a child, I watched Mama and Grandma put lotion on themselves every morning and after every bath. I really did not realize, at the time, that it was a very important way that they kept their skin soft and smooth. Winter time was always worse than the Summer because the dry heat caused their skin to dry out and crack. I often heard them complain that the lotions were too greasy and that they did not last very long. My mom always seemed to be putting lotion on her arms and hands, and they were still dry.
As a member of the Carmex Blog Squad, I was offered the opportunity to review two of their wonderful skin care items. I received the CARMEX® Healing Cream and Hydrating Lotion.

The Carmex Healing Cream is thicker than the lotion and it goes on very smoothly.  I like the scent and love the fact it is not greasy.  The Hydrating Lotion is not as thick as the cream, but is also does the job.  My skin did feel more hydrated when I used it.  I am using the healing cream more on my elbows and heels, and the lotion everywhere else.

Want to try some for yourself?  The wonderful people at Carmex are giving one lucky Shelly's Bits and Pieces reader a pair to try for themselves.  Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below, and you could be that winner!