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Stuttering Shell: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Sweet Life...

When I got home from work this afternoon I found a package on my front porch.

Inside was a special surprise...one that I was expecting...but still very much special nonetheless. A very sweet & special surprise!

What it is?

Well, I can't tell you....not just yet, at least. One of you knows what it is...the rest of you are just going to have to wait. I know, I know...it's not nice for me to say that, but {TRUST ME} you'll understand why when you find out.

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BUT...

If you really ARE that curious and are dying to know then I'll give you a hint.
{Can you tell that I'm HORRIBLE about keeping surprises??}
It's sweet & it's currently sitting in my refrigerator.

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MIRACLES AWAIT

Please join me as I help my friend, Catrina, in celebrating the lives of two young people from Mt. Pocono, PA...

Miracles Await is a fundraiser/benefit that is being held in Lauren & Zachary's honor. Both were students at Pocono Mountain East High School and both lost their lives back in March. The purpose of the benefit is two-fold -- to establish two separate scholarships in each teen's honor and to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs.

This cause is near & dear to my friend, Catrina's, heart. Catrina's family & Lauren's family are close...so close you could say that each was like a second family to the other. Catrina has fond memories of babysitting Lauren and she has told me so much about how talented Lauren was and how much she enjoyed art.

So, here is where I turn to you - because we are a tight-knit blogging community, ya know. Catrina is asking that we help {in any way that we can} by either giving a financial donation to Miracles Await or by donating items to be included in gift baskets that will be raffled at the benefit. Anything and everything is appreciated, so please click here for more details. It is a bit of a short notice - the benefit is on July 12th - but there is still plenty of time to help this noble cause.

Miracles truly DO await for those who believe...

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We Have A Winner!

I'm sad that my blog's birthday bash has come to an end...can you believe that today is the LAST day of June already?! Where does the time go??

Anyways, as promised, I have a winner for the last of the blog birthday bash giveaways - a few of my favorites from Kiehl's. I used random.org to choose the winner...

LovesPINKandPEARLS

Congratulations on your win and email me at shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com with your mailing address and I'll get your goodies out to you soon!!



And a big, huge, special THANK YOU to all of you who participated all month long! Thank you for making my blog's birthday month special. I'm glad to have been fortunate enough to connect with you all!

I'm kind of sad...now it's back to my regular blog antics...but, like I keep telling ya, I have a few tricks up my sleeve!!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

D-U-M-B

Last Thursday, as I was packing for our beach trip, Aidan asked me a question:

"Mommy, why does Daddy's name have 'dumb' in it?"

I left this one alone.


By the way, his name is Adam. Yeah, just say it out loud and you'll see where my witty six year old is coming from.

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Expecto Patronum

Is anyone else as excited as my family & I are about this summer's release of "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince?"



The kidlets and I are anxiously counting down the days until the movie's opening date - July 15th. This day cannot come soon enough. We have been chomping at the bit ever since seeing "Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix" a couple summers ago.

I have re-read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count (I am even one of the *fortunate* souls who owns a copy of Deathly Hallows that's missing, oh, about 30 pages of print) and now I'm contemplating on whether or not I should read Half-Blood Prince again {or should I just move on and expand my horizons - and get with the times - and get myself engrossed in all things Twilight?}.

We've got Harry Potter fever in this house and it's starting to burn out of control. We're currently in the process of wearing out our DVDs (A is in the living room right now watching "Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets" for the 3203850324674th time). Aidan's Harry Potter wand (seriously, don't hate) is broken and is taped up so much it looks like Ron Weasley's wand in Chamber of Secrets. The kids fight over who is better - Ron, Harry or Hermoine. And, I, well, I just cackle every now and again like Mrs. Weasley or make random threats about Lord Voldemort.

July 15th...why aren't you here yet?

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Chicken of the Sea

When the hubs goes fishing we eat like kings!

(gosh, that sounds awful...like I'm starving my kids we don't have any food in the house or something)

A few weeks ago he went fishing with some friends and we reaped in the bounty that was their day because, out of the three guys, only the hubs (and *ahem* his family) eats fish!

The Gorton's fisherman's got nothing on this feast...behold:


Fresh flounder - right from the Chesapeake Bay - fried (yes, fried) to perfection and served with home-made tartar sauce, leftover (I'm not ashamed) pasta salad and hush puppies.

God bless House-Autry for their Seafood Breader and their Hush Puppy Mix {with onions}...my pantry would be incomplete without either item.

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We Went Out Last {Thursday} Night...

...and one thing started leading to another...

Well, no, not really. But, just like in the Kenny song, we did go out, but not because we swore we wouldn't. And, yes, just like the Kenny song, we drank too many beers that night, but it's all good because summer isn't summer without some Kenny in it!

My screams didn't pierce any eardrums. I didn't get out-of-control crazy. I had a great time with our friends, Catrina & Fred. And, even the hubs enjoyed himself ('cause y'all know he's a closet Kenny fan, right?!).

Kenny Chesney Concert

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Life's A Beach...

At least it seems that way for us during the summer months!

Ocracoke Collage

Although we only live about 10 minutes from {OUR} oceanfront, we find that we spend more & more time on the beaches of North Carolina. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is one of our favorite places to visit and we cannot get enough of it's beauty! The seashore is close to home, yet far enough from home to make it a relaxing getaway.

We had a wonderful weekend in Ocracoke. We're covered in skeeter bites {a special kind of skeeter lives down there...Off doesn't even scare them}, but we still had a great time. The weather was perfect despite the thunderstorm during our ferry ride from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island. We played on the beach all day and slept hard in our tent at night.

We've managed to stay & play at all four National Park Service campgrounds found along the Cape Hatteras seashore...and we're looking forward to heading back down again - this weekend - for some more fun in the sun!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

On The Road Again...

We're {almost} ready to go.

The truck is packed minus us & the kids.

We're in tank tops and shorts. The ball caps are on. I've got a magazine for the ride. Hopefully, the kids will take a nap.

In just a few hours, we'll be here:(Photo Credit)

Enjoying this:

(Photo Credit)

We'll only be gone for the weekend, but it's a well-deserved trip that is well-loved by our whole family. Usually, we spend our free time on the beaches of Hatteras Island, but this time we're venturing just a bit further south. We'll take the ferry and enjoy all the natural & raw beauty that is Ocracoke Island.

If you ever get a chance to visit North Carolina, be sure to head to the coast. Dare County (where Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras Island are) is a relaxing vacation spot. And, definitely be sure to head south into Hyde County where Ocracoke Island sits. You won't be disappointed.

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I'll be back Sunday with recap of my Kenny Chesney fun! Miss me while I'm gone and everyone have a safe & wonderful weekend!!


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Think His Tractor's Sexy

My summer officially starts tonight.

The kids are coming home. We're headed to Ocracoke Island, NC tomorrow. But first...

A date with this man tonight...{sort of}:

(source)

OK, so I won't be the only lady actin' a fool for Kenny's attention, but still...in my mind, it's a date. A date that my husband will chaperone. I mean, I need someone with me to keep me in control and to make sure I don't scream away my voice.

Summer + Kenny Chesney = LVE

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BLOG B'DAY BASH - Kiehl's for YOU!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING & PARTICIPATING! WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON.


Happy Hump Day and welcome to Week 4 of my blog's birthday bash giveaway extravaganza. I'm a little tardy on this one considering all the other giveaways have been posted on a Monday. Ah, well...the hubs has been hogging the computer I've been limiting my time on the computer, but...

Why not try & win some of my favorite products from Kiehl's??

Kiehl's has been around for a while. I first became acquainted with Kiehl's back in 2001 after reading a magazine article about different beauty products. I headed straight to Nordstrom and came home with a ridiculous amount of new things courtesy of Kiehl's. And, to this day, there are a few Kiehl's products that have become a regular part of my beauty regime and this giveaway gives YOU the chance to win some of my favorites! Yay!

(If you're skeptical about new beauty products or this line, I urge you to check out their website and read about the company and what they are all about...)

Here is a rundown of the products you have a chance to win and a reason why I love each one:

Creme de Corps Nurturing Body Washing Creme - so silky & creamy...this body wash will keep your skin soft and moisturized and will not dry you out nor will it overwhelm your senses with fragrance or perfume. If you're like me and have to be careful about what types of soap you're using, this is perfect for you! If you're not, well, it's still perfect for you!

Ultimate Strength Hand Salve - OK, confession, I have eczema...on my hands of all places. Basically, it means that 364 days out of the year, I have dry, cracked skin on my hands. It's gross and, ironically enough, it's the result of OCD hand washing thanks to many years in the restaurant industry. Go figure. Anyways, I am NEVER without this lotion. It's thick, gooey, not greasy and it moisturizes like a champ! I use it on my tootsies, too!

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 - I am a lip gloss/lip balm junkie and this gives me the shine of a gloss with all of the benefits of a balm including sun protection! This keeps my lips soft and kissable.

Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant - This is the ONLY deodorant I've used for the last, oh, nearly EIGHT years. I will never, ever buy deodorants from those other brands again. This is a cream that you rub on right from the tube. It keeps the stink away and moisturizes at the same time. And, an added bonus is that it softens your pit hair which results in smoother shaving!

So, there you have it...my four favorites from Kiehl's and they can be all yours -- all you have to do is enter!
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You know the drill, but we'll keep it simple this time:
  • Leave a comment and you'll get TWO entries
  • If you are a follower of my blog you will get an extra THREE entries

You have until 11:59 pm EST on Tuesday, June 30th to enter and I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, July 1st!

This will be the last of my blog birthday bash giveaways - thanks for making my blog's birthday month a lot of fun & a big success! But, stay tuned for more fun things for you, the kids and this blog (you know, since I'm closing in on 100 followers and I'm working my way towards my 500th post).

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Currently Lusting...

...for this:

The Triple Strand Freshwater Pearl Necklace with Silver Starfish by Kristin Pearce.

It's available now at her Etsy shop and it's so me. I'm thinking that if I drop hints then maybe the hubs will get a clue? My birthday isn't until September and there's no telling if this beauty will still be available then, but Kristin Pearce has many other fabulous creations available. Seriously...go check out her website and her Etsy shop. And, while you're at it, venture on over to her blog, Summer in Newport.

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I Should Buy a Lotto Ticket

I am on a roll and I'm feeling lucky - and absolutely blessed! In the last few days I have managed to win three different giveaways. THREE! I am so excited!

I won a blog makeover courtesy of The Design Girl. I love, love, L♥VE my current layout which was created by the lovely Melanie at Sassy Chic Designs, but I am excited to see what Danielle from The Design Girl comes up with! I have a feeling I'll be switching back & forth between my current layout and my new layout from time to time!Definitely check both gals out and see what kind of fabulousness they can do for your blogs...tell 'em I sent ya! Danielle also creates some awesome stationery...you can check that out by clicking here.

I won a personalized cakeplate from Fancy Schmancy Designs. I can't wait to receive the cakeplate in all of it's monogrammed and polka-dotted glory! It will be displayed proudly on my kitchen counter and will be home to a Black Magic cake as soon as I feel like baking one. Ha! In the meantime, be sure to check out Amy's Etsy shop by clicking here.

And...

I won LuLu's follower giveaway over at Life With LuLu and Pete. It's a package chock full of goodies like note cards, Bath & Body Works, Vera Bradley, kitchen/cupcake things (did she know I won a cakeplate...perfect!!) and a few surprises. I cannot wait to receive that package in the mail!

I know it's not lady-like to brag, but I wanted to share my extraordinarily good luck with you all because I'm never this lucky. Never, ever.

Thank you to Danielle, Amy & LuLu...I am a truly happy (yet wide-awake at the moment) girl!

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The Sheep Don't Even Want to be Counted...

I can't believe it's nearly 3:30 IN THE MORNING and I am sitting here. Wide awake.

I should be in bed with my head buried in pillows and sleeping peacefully like the hubs is right now.

But, no.

I am up. I am here. I am drinking Kool-Aid of all things (I got a craving for some a few weeks ago...man, the Tropical Punch flavor is good). I may feel fine now, but man it's going to suck when 6 o'clock rolls around and it's time for me to REALLY be up -- because you know THAT'S when I'll finally become tired enough to actually WANT to go back to sleep.

Figures, huh?

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Monday, June 22, 2009

ALL CRACKED OUT!

I did something last week that I didn't think I would do...

I caved and traded in my phone for a Crackberry BlackBerry.

I am in love.

I don't know how I managed to go for so long without one...now I can't see myself without one!

(picture courtesy of my cell phone provider, T-Mobile...thanks, T-Mobile!)

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BLOG B'DAY BASH - Bare Escentuals WINNER!

Hello friends! Sorry for the delay in this post...but I am pleased to announce the winner for week 3 of my blog's birthday bash...

BroncoMom!!

Congratulations!

I used random.org to choose the winner...and this is what BroncoMom said:

And finally my comment for your post on today's giveaway.My favorite Bare Escentuals product is the Foiled Eye kit. My makeup artist genes are telling me this kit would be tons of fun!

Enjoy your Bare Escentuals Siren of the Sea Collection - it's a really great gift set. Email me your mailing address and I'll get your gift out to you this week!

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Thank you to all who entered & participated! I have another giveaway up my sleeve...maybe two...as a way to wrap up my blog's birthday month.
Also, stay tuned...I know I keep promising some fun things for those of us with kids and those fun things will really happen this week! There is also another giveaway up my sleeve - it's all still in the works - but if you love mommy juice like I do, then you're going to love what I'm working on. *hint, hint*

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

BLOG B'DAY BASH - Bare Escentuals Siren of the Sea Collection

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR ENTERING & PARTICIPATING!
We're halfway through the month of June and it's time for WEEK 3 of my blog's birthday bash giveaway! I can't believe there's {technically} only one more week of June left - next week - and that summer officially starts this weekend - on Father's Day!
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Anyways, you're going to look your absolute best if you are the winner of this giveaway. I love, love, LOVE mineral makeup by Bare Escentuals. I've been hooked on BE products for years - thank you, Mom, for my addiction to QVC. Leslie Blodgett is my hero and I cannot say enough about how wonderful Bare Escentuals is. I have visited BE boutique stores in San Francisco & in West Hartford, CT and I'm longing for the day that one of MY local malls gets a BE store (a girl can dream, right?).

The winner of this giveaway will win the Bare Escentuals Siren of the Sea collection that is exclusively sold at Sephora (love that store!). This LIMITED EDITION 7-piece collection will kick start your summer fun and have you looking fabulous!

Here are the deets from Sephora's website:

What it does:
Bare Escentuals Siren of the Sea Hydrating and Brightening Seven-Piece Collection reflects the powerful, breathtaking beauty of the mythical mermaid—the "siren of the sea." Create a high-shine, reflective effect that's layered with cool, velvety depth like the ocean. The hydrating blush and hydrating finishing powder—both with water-encapsulated technology—deliver a cooling softness and natural color. Treat your lips to hydration, too, with the natural lipgloss. Dive in and immerse yourself in the sexy, glistening opulence that is 100% pure bareMinerals, and bring the beautiful temptation of mythical mermaids to modern day.

This set contains:
- 0.02 oz bareMinerals High Shine Sand Dune (gilded sand, high shine)
- 0.02 oz bareMinerals Mermaid Eyecolor (dark blue-green velvet)
- 0.02 oz bareMinerals Hydrating Coral Blush (coral dusk)
- 0.07 oz bareMinerals Hydrating Mineral Veil (brightening finish)
- 0.14 oz bareMinerals 100% Natural LipGloss in Chiffon (nude sand)
- Double-Ended Hydrate & Brighten Duo Brush with Custom Bamboo Handle
- Straw Clutch

This collection is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Synthetic Dyes
- Petro-Chemicals
- Phthalates

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, June 21st at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 22nd.

And, I think by now you all know how to enter, right?? But, to spice things up a bit, I'm adding a little twist! *wink, wink*

Comment on this post - that's mandatory!
Go to the Bare Escentuals page at Sephora (click here) and look around - let me know which BE product you'd like to try or (if you're already a BE addict like I am) what your favorite BE product is - this is mandatory!

You get extra entries if you follow my blog, follow me on twitter (@maliasma), subscribe to my blog, have my button in your side bar, post about this giveaway...just let me know in your comment below!
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GOOD LUCK!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why Isn't Jim Cantore in my Yard?

We're under a tornado warning. It's not the first time. It won't be the last time. But, this time, there was a tornado spotted - or at least there was enough rotation in the storm - to justify the warning.

As I type this, there is a ridiculous amount of lightning flashing outside. We called my FIL who lives in northern Virginia Beach where the supposed tornado was spotted...according to The Weather Channel, there is a hook to the storm (times like these make me wish I had paid more attention in Weather & Climate when I was an undergraduate). He said there was nothing to worry about..."Oh, it's just a lot of lightning and some hail." Ha. Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature is my motto.

My husband is outside like a fool. The kids are on the couch listening to Alexandra Steele & Jim Cantore. Malia is worried. She said - and I quote - "I don't want to die tonight, Momma." Bless her heart. Aidan said, "Don't worry, Sis. We're here together and a tornado won't get us."

Aww.

So, I'm shutting down for the night because I love my Vaio too much. I also need to go find the flashlight.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Vacation Starts WHEN?

Here we are - three days away from the last day of school - and both children were home today thanks to the wretched vomit monster.

I'm happy to report that both children ate well today and nothing was regurgitated. Thank goodness.

However, now I'm listening to a very disgruntled SIX year old crying in his bedroom. Bedtime has always been 8:30pm (give or take a few minutes), but tonight he was just NOT interested in going to bed.

Honestly, I don't even know why he's crying. No fever. No tummy ache. No head ache. No sores, wounds or other bodily injuries. He's not hungry. He doesn't need to use the bathroom. He was kissed & hugged and tucked in. We all said good night. But the crying continues. Still.



Is it wrong of me to be looking forward to next week when both of my children will be away at my parents house? I don't think so.

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Please forgive me...

...for I have shopped.

Online.

Again.

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I am truly feeling sorry for myself because:

  1. It's Monday.
  2. I'm at home with a sick child.
  3. It's Monday.

(This whole "shopping because I feel sorry for myself thing" really has to stop. Really.)

Therefore, I purchased {for myself} a Lilly Pulitzer handbag. *deep breath*

I need another handbag like I need another hole in my head.

This is exciting because it IS my very first Lilly purchase ever. Yes, EVER. I cannot wait to receive it. I got the Loose Lilly bag; however, I ordered it from a reputable seller on eBay. *gasp*

I know, I know...but I did get a great deal on an authentic Lilly bag and I got it in a print not offered online anymore - True Navy Shaken Up - there's just something about those silly monkeys!

And, the added bonus is that eBay is one of the sellers that participates with Ebates so I am getting 3% of my purchase price credited back to me. All of that change adds up, y'all (so click here to sign up and start earning while you spend)!

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Sweet Summertime...

Kenny Chesney sang about it:
Perfect song on the radio
Sing along 'cause it's one we know
It's a smile, it's a kiss
It's a sip of wine, it's summertime
Sweet summertime

Will Smith sang about it:
And as I think back makes me wonder how
The smell from a grill could spark up nostalgia.....
Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind



Summer officially starts on Sunday - what do YOU love about the summertime?

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I Broke My Own Rule...

The boy's birthday was last Friday.

The question most asked was, "What does A want for his birthday?"

My response (it's been the same response for years) was, "Nothing that makes noise or runs on batteries."

So...

What did the hubs & I get A for his birthday present?



The Transformers-Revenge of the Fallen Bumblebee Voice Mixer helmet & the Transformers-Revenge of the Fallen Bumblebee Plasma Cannon.
They both make noise. LOTS of noise.
And, yes, he had on his matching Transformer 'unnawears,' too.

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Just Do It!

Get your bloggin' hindparts over to Life with Lulu & Pete and enter her FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY!

She's got a great stash of loot that she's giving away which includes:
  • adorable note cards
  • Vera Bradley
  • some cupcake/kitchen goodies
  • Bath & Body Works
  • a few surprises ;-)

The giveaway ends at midnight on June 20th so you have some time to enter...and, if you enter, please be sure to tell her that I sent you (Shell at Stuttering Shell)...thanks!

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Dear Vomit Monster...

Thank you for starting my week off with a bang.

There's nothing like waking up on a Monday morning to find your child doubled over with stomach pains on the couch. Even better is finding out she had an {accident} in her bed and that basically everything needs to be washed in hot water & doused in Lysol.

This is the last week of school. The last week. Is your timing perfect, or what? Why now? Why couldn't you have skipped over my house for a few days...maybe come back on Friday when the kids are out of school. I hate that my child has to miss one of the last full days of class, but it also tears me apart to see her feeling so sick.

You, Mr. Vomit Monster, are thoughtless, careless and downright mean. I don't like you. Of course, I hope that you don't retaliate and seek vengeance upon me. That would be awful, but - knowing my luck - you will. Anyways, just come & go...quickly. My child has to finish the 2nd grade...she doesn't need to be worried about where the nearest trash can is or what she can eat that will stay down (thank goodness she likes toast).

Just take a hike and move onto the next family (sorry to the next family...whomever you are!)...and spare my other child while you're here, too, will ya?

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And the Amazing Grace WINNERS are...

Melanieshea

&

Jen and Rob

Congratulations to the both of you! You are both going to love philosophy's Amazing Grace...I know I do!

Email me your mailing address and I will get your goodies out to you this week!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this latest giveaway - you guys are all awesome and I wish I had a set for everyone! If you are seriously interested in trying philosophy, check out their website, QVC or Sephora. Those are the three places that I purchase my philosophy products from.

And, don't despair...I have another great giveaway lined up for this week & I will be featuring two giveaways next week. Oh, and those other giveaways - for the younger set - that I promised weeks ago will finally be posted this week (sometimes I wish there was more than one of me!).

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Weekend in a Whirlwind

It's hard to believe that we're nearly halfway through the month of June - nearly halfway through the YEAR - and, as usual, another weekend has come and gone. I truly believe that weekends are not long enough. They never are. I believe - with all of my heart - that the work week needs to be shortened and the weekends need to be lengthened (anybody with me on this...ya think Congress would go for it??).

So, here's a recap of the whirlwind that was my weekend:
  • Friday was the boy's birthday. We took him out for dinner (I just didn't think it would be right of me to go to the George Strait concert on my lil' man's birthday) and, thank goodness, we talked him out of dinner at McDonald's! We were able to persuade him into going to Atlas for dinner - it had been a long while since we last ate there - and he enjoyed a chocolate milkshake and fried shrimp for dinner.
  • We got home from dinner right as my parents got to my house. They were back from a week-long stay in Mississippi where they visited my Daddy's family. I wish I could have gone...it's been far too long since I last went home to Mississippi.
  • Saturday was a busy day. Adam got up bright & early to do some yard work. My Daddy took care of the kids while my Mom & I did a few things around the house. God bless my parents who helped me out tremendously on Saturday morning getting the house straight for Aidan's birthday party that afternoon. After some cleaning, my Mom & I decided to head out and run a few errands which - go figure - included a side trip to the mall! We also ended up going to Trader Joe's and to Wal-Mart for some last minute party supplies - my Mom & I looked like fools walking out of Wal-Mart with a cart full of ice and Bud Light! While we were in Wal-Mart, the sky decided to open up and we spent the remainder of the afternoon (up until party time) with our faces glued to The Weather Channel's website checking the radar and hoping that the random thunderstorm would quickly pass - fortunately, it did and it cooled things off which made for the perfect party/BBQ weather!
  • The birthday party/BBQ was a success and I took a few pictures which will be uploaded sooner or later. Aidan had a blast with his friends, no one had a hungry belly and fun was had by all. A friend of ours told us that we put on "the best kids party...ever!" I don't know if it was the cupcakes, the kalbi ribs or maybe it was the rum shots. Yeah, maybe it was the rum shots.
  • My Sunday started bright & early - I heard the hubs getting dressed. He decided to go fishing after all. Was I surprised? Not really. Did I tell you how much I love having my parents around? I managed to sleep until 10am which is a rarity in this household. I got up, showered and dressed and then we headed out for dim sum. We ate until our bellies swelled.
  • Things got a bit tense towards the late afternoon when I got a phone call about a friend of ours who was in a motorcycle accident - thank goodness he is OK. He is home & he is recovering from some gnarly road rash. My heart is still racing thinking about the frantic phone call, though.

So, this brings me to now - the kids are snoozing, the laundry is drying and the hubs, well, the hubs is at work. *sigh* This past week has been different. I'm not used to the hubs pulling 15+ hour days. I'm not used to him not being home for dinner. I'm not used to going to sleep at night without him. But, he has an important bid on Tuesday and he wants to be prepared, so I'm absolutely supportive of him & what he does.

Tomorrow is Monday. I don't do Monday's. But, I'll be announcing the TWO WINNERS of my latest giveaway and also announcing another fabulous giveaway. Tomorrow also marks the very last week of school - summer vacation is right around the corner. And, of course, before I know it, the weekend will be here once again.

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BLOG B'DAY BASH - Amazing Grace, how sweet the SCENT!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED - THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING...THE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON!


It's the 2nd week of June and that means ANOTHER GIVEAWAY for Stuttering Shell's birthday bash!



I'm not going to lie - I'm a beauty product junkie. Seriously. Come over to my house and I'll show you my stash. It's sick, I tell ya. But, it's sick in a good way. Anyways, one of my favorite beauty product brands is philosophy. I have been a loyal philosophy girl for YEARS. And, one of my favorite things about philosophy is their fragrance line. I've worn many different perfume scents over the years, but the one I always go back to is philosophy's Amazing Grace.


From philosophy's website:
"amazing grace is philosophy's best-selling spray fragrance for women. it was created to make a woman smell amazingly clean and beautifully feminine. amazing grace spray fragrance allows a woman to embrace her beauty and express her femininity. finally people will say 'you smell so good' instead of 'what is that perfume you're wearing?'"




So, this week I have a real treat for you...I am giving away not just one, but TWO of philosophy's Amazing Grace gift sets. In this set, you will receive:
  • amazing grace shower gel, 4 fl. oz./118.3 ml ~ perfumed shampoo, bath and shower gel with milk proteins
  • amazing grace hair conditioner, 4 fl. oz./118.3 ml ~ perfumed deep moisturizing hair conditioner
  • amazing grace firming body emulsion, 4 fl. oz./118.3 ml ~ perfumed firming body emulsion
  • amazing grace hot salt scrub, 6 oz./170.1 g ~ perfumed hot salt, tub and shower scrub

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, June 14th at 11:59pm EST and the TWO WINNERS will be announced on Monday, June 15th!

As you know from last week, the rules to enter are simple - remember, each entry must be a separate comment, if you don't...that's OK, too...I can figure it all out:

  • Leave me a comment on this blog post (you don't need to have a blog or be a blogger to do this!) - ONE ENTRY
  • Grab my button & post in your side bar - ONE ENTRY
  • Follow my blog - ONE ENTRY
  • Subscribe to my blog (this is a new thing I'm trying out) - ONE ENTRY
  • Write about this giveaway in YOUR blog (post or sidebar...link me, please) - ONE ENTRY
  • Follow me on Twitter (@maliasma) - ONE ENTRY
  • Tweet about this on Twitter (link me, please, or just include @maliasma in your tweet) - ONE ENTRY

Tell your friends & good luck!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy birthday, Aidan!

Six years ago - well, at 11:52am...I was just getting settled into my hospital room around this time (it's only a bit after 8am) - I gave birth to my second, and last, child. A son. We named him Aidan. He was one week overdue. He was a pound bigger at birth than his older sister. And, laboring with him was a piece of cake compared to the nearly 24 hours of agony I went through with his sister, who is exactly 27 months older - to the day - than he is.

It's amazing how quickly six years goes by.


So brand new...
Always inquisitive...

And so it begins...

Got candy?

Oooh, a cake for me?

Wild thing is right!

Just crabbin' around...

Can I get a sponsor?

Surf's up, dude!

Spider-Aid!

Picking the perfect pumpkin...


Such a sweet kid - the first baby he's ever held
(friends of ours had their first daughter in May &
she's named Malia as well!)

Happy birthday, Aidan! You are the sweetest boy and you are loved by so many people, but especially by Mommy, Daddy & Sissy. I hope your day is wonderful - I know your weekend will be. We have a great party planned...now go clean your room!

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

48 cupcakes later...

And I'm feeling a bit sick to my stomach.

I suppose it's a good 'sick to my stomach feeling' - it's quite bittersweet, actually.

My baby turns SIX tomorrow.

While we were in the car this afternoon waiting to pick up his sister, I stole a glance at him in the rear view mirror. He's so grown up looking - thinning out - his lil' boy chubby cuteness is evolving into lil' guy handsomeness.

Six. Headed into first grade next year.

He's not as independent as his sister nor is he as headstrong & demanding as she is - he still has his "baby of the family" charm.

But he's going to be six. Tomorrow.

It didn't really hit me as hard when Malia turned six. I suppose it's different now. Because now I no longer have babies...I've got children. Children who - in the blink of an eye - are growing up so fast that, just once, I wish they would slow down and let me hold them again like I did when they were infants.


A proper birthday post is to follow - tomorrow, of course - I just really needed to get his off of my (teeny) chest.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Whitney Caroline Designs

Normally when there is a giveaway on another blog I just put up a little link in my sidebar (see right), but this giveaway requires more than that. Go check out Whitney Caroline Designs' blog and you'll see why. I'm excited because her creations are beautiful & this giveaway is HUGE. Trust me, you gotta go see. And, even better is that we share the same area code - the 757 - so I've got to support a fellow Virginian!

So, what are you waiting for? Get thee to Whitney Caroline Designs to check out her giveaway and maybe you could be lucky enough to win this...

Or, this...

Or, this...

Giving credit where credit is due...all pictures are all from Whitney Caroline Designs.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So there's this girl I know...

...and she's the sweetest thing ever!

I met my first blogging buddy today - Lis.

She's a doll! She was the winner of my Vera Bradley giveaway and, since we live in the same city, we decided to meet rather than send the precious cargo through the mail. How could I not love a girl who has the same thing for Starbucks as I do?! Yeah, that's where we met. It was the best caffeine-fueled lunch ever.

We chitted. We chatted. We had on the same j.crew bermudas ('cept hers were green - which I own - and mine were khaki). We both graduated from high school's not far from one another. We both have a fondness for all things Vera. We both love the beach, but agree that OUR oceanfront is not the place to hang out in the summer (*ahem* tourists!).



We hit it off. It was the best first "date" ever. And, I'm glad to say that we've told one another that we WILL get together for drinks (because you know me and adult beverages...I gotta have my mommy juice!) and Lis is even thinking about a SE Virginia blogger get-together. I parties!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

La-La-La-La-La-La Last Friday Night!

I survived last Friday night's monsoon and made it to my first NKOTB concert ever. I'll admit, I had mixed feelings about it. One minute I would be excited, the next minute I would feel silly and then I just didn't really care much for going. Yeah. Can you say indecisive?

Anyways, I had fun. Too much fun. Not as much fun as some of my friends did (um, hello, you did WHAT to Donnie WHERE at 4am?...no, it wasn't like THAT...come on, my girlfriends are much classier than you are thinking), but I had fun nonetheless. My scratchy voice and pounding head the next morning were proof of just how much fun I had. Twenty years later, the New Kids on the Block could still bring it. They still had the right stuff. They were still hangin' tough.

I think the highlight of the night was when they raced down the walkway behind our box seats and scattered throughout the audience to sing. Joey Mac was less than 25 feet from us and when they were done singing they raced back by us and we did our best to molest touch them as they ran by. You had best believe there was some squealing & high-fiving going on when I laid my left hand upon Joey Mac's chest as he ran by. There was even more squealing & high-fiving when my friend, Catrina, touched Donnie and she got some of his perspiration on her hand. Yeah, we're not hard to please.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here are pictures that I took before the show at dinner and during the show. Please pardon my less than spectacular photography skills. I was armed with my point-and-shoot Kodak and I was pretty much double-fisted the whole evening. He he he.



And, just in case you didn't get enough of my love, Joey Mac, then here's a poorly taken video (it's the camera, I swear!)...it's just a minute of fun. I'm warning you now...turn down your volume if you have it up because I DO have a set of lungs on me and, yes, that is me you hear screaming (gee...I wonder why my voice was scratchy the next morning??). And, if you get motion sickness, you probably shouldn't watch - it was hard to hold up my camera, drink my beer, dance, jump & scream all at the same time. It really was.


Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing


I - along with a bazillion other women - had fun reliving my junior high school days last Friday night. Now, I'm ready to see them all over again.

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Holding on...

There's just over one week of school left. That's all. Soon it will be summer vacation and my children will not know what hit them - they'll be off until just after Labor Day. This will be their first full summer off. Up until earlier this year, their school was one of four elementary schools in our area that followed a year-round calendar. Well, the school board has done away with year-round schooling and, next year, we revert back to the standard school calendar.


Instead of beginning school at the end of July, they'll head back at the beginning of September. No longer will they get a three week long fall break. Say goodbye to a month off for the winter holidays. And, a three week long spring break? Forget it.


While I'm kind of sad to see the year-round school calendar come to an end, I am looking forward to being able to have more summer fun with my kids. Of course, I say this now...who knows what I'll be saying in a few weeks!

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Hometown Swap - All the way from Ohio


A month ago or so, I jumped on the bandwagon and signed myself up to participate in a hometown swap over at Shannon's blog, Welcome to the Nuthouse. The idea of the swap was to be paired up with someone from another part of the country and you would send that person goodies from your hometown. Pretty neat, huh?

I came home this afternoon and there was a big, white package on my porch from Heather (check out her blog, "This is the day..."). It was full of yummy, beautiful and sweet smelling goodies from her town of Lebanon, Ohio:


Heather sent me some yummy donuts made from a local farm...they didn't fare too well while in transit but - trust me - they are so damn good! I also got some homemade apple butter...YUM! I can't wait for breakfast tomorrow - guess what I'm putting on my toast?! The candle is coconut scented and is soy-based and it's heavenly. She also sent a little apple recipe book, a small plaque about family and the most beautiful handmade cards - Heather is a crafty gal!
Heather - you outdid yourself and I am just taken away by your card making talent. Thank you for making some ordinary gal from Virginia Beach happy on what has been a semi-crummy Monday! I will drown my sorrows in a ice, cold Coca-Cola and munch on the yummy donuts and wait for a sugar high to rescue me!
Shannon - thank you for putting together this swap...it was fun, yet challenging! I mean, I had a hard time coming up with things - I even forgot something - so my swap partner will receive TWO packages from me. Oops!

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My Koozie is COOLER than yours!

I participated in a koozie swap that was the brainchild of the brilliant BLC from The Company She Keeps. I got paired up with a really fun gal, Krissy, over at Tales of a Northern Belle and today I received my koozie in the mail (don't worry, mine is en route to you, Krissy...with a surprise!).


I love it...and, just like Krissy said in her note, there shouldn't be any question as to who is the owner of this koozie. *wink, wink*

Behold...



"Property of Shell"...Isn't it fabulous??

Sorry about the clutter on my kitchen counter behind it...that's from another swap I participated in.

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And the WINNER of the Vera Bradley Morgan in Peacock is...

Lis from Lis Loves!


Congratulations!


Just so you all know, I made a spreadsheet of all the names in order of comment & then I used Random.Org to generate a number between 1 & 125 (there were 125 entries...wahoo!).














Lis - email me at shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com and we can discuss how you would like to handle the delivery of your brand new & oh, so fabulous Vera Bradley Morgan in Peacock!

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

5 Stars, It's NOT!

I've come to the realization that:
  1. We need a bigger house.
  2. We need an extra bedroom.
  3. We need a bigger house with an extra bedroom.

There is no such thing as a guest bedroom in our house. Not. At. All. Our humble little abode is bursting at the seams and, with only three bedrooms, I know people who live in apartments that are bigger than our house! Of course, given the housing market these days as well as our "work-in-progress" financial situation, any kind of a move or addition is out of the question.

So, if you come visit me, be prepared to sleep on the couch, sleep on an air mattress or sleep on the floor. Very rarely do we shuffle our children around in order to free up an extra bed, so if you do happen to spend the night here and you're actually sleeping on a REAL mattress then please consider yourself lucky.

Don't feel upset that you're sleeping on the couch. It's really quite comfortable and many a friend & family member has fallen asleep among it's soft cushions and fluffy pillows - don't worry, I do vacuum and launder the upholstery on a regular basis (besides, I also use the hell out of some Febreeze spray). If you're allergic to cats, I'm so sorry. We have three cats and you should have taken some Benadryl before you came over. Don't worry, though, they won't suck the breath out of you while you sleep...they'll just sleep ON you. Oh, and if you think you're going to be lucky enough to actually sleep in late at my house - think again. My children are up usually between 7am to 8am (earlier if it's a school day) and they, honestly, have no regard for anyone sleeping on the couch. If they want to watch cartoons and eat cereal while you snore & drool on my throw pillows, trust me, they will, so please be prepared to wear ear plugs and an eye mask.

This ain't no B & B...I mean, I've already told you that you're not getting a BED to sleep on and as for breakfast, well, I hope you like strawberry flavored instant oatmeal because we have a TON of it (thanks, Mom!). Oh, yeah...and as for the luxe blankets and bed linens you would expect to have me toss your way when it's bedtime...well...I hate to disappoint you but you're only going to get a navy blue fleece blanket with Clifford the Big Red Dog appliqued on it.

Sweet dreams!

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iCan't take anymore iCarly!

Usually, I have absolutely nothing against the television show, iCarly. My kids love watching it and, while I feel at times the show is a bit too 'tween' for my kidlets (who are only 8 and nearly 6), I find that I enjoy watching it, too.

Except for this weekend.

Because I've seen the same episode of iCarly three times in the last 24 hour period. Three times. That's two times too many.

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BLOG B'DAY BASH - Going Peacock with Vera Bradley!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED - THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE ENTERED. THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW - MONDAY, JUNE 8TH!


It's June 1st and, not only does today mark the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, but it also means that Stuttering Shell's TWO year birthday is just 10 days away! And, like I promised last month, we are going to celebrate ALL MONTH LONG!


In honor of my blog's special day month, my first giveaway is something that I truly adore - the Morgan bag by Vera Bradley in the Peacock print! I own this very same handbag style, but in a different pattern...and I have this very same pattern, but in a different handbag style! Go figure.

Anyways, if you aren't familiar with Vera Bradley, you're in for a treat...and for those of you who are, well, you're in for a treat! This is a great handbag and the print is super fun! Vera's bags are washable and hold up quite well. There are all sorts of little pockets inside and outside of this purse...and it has a zip closure! OH, AND THERE WILL BE A LIL' SURPRISE INSIDE THE BAG, TOO!


Entering for this giveaway is simple - a winner will be chosen on Monday, June 8th - so spread the word and enter, enter, enter! Here's what you need to do (please make sure that you leave a separate comment for EACH entry...thanks!):
  • Leave me a comment on this blog post (you don't need to have a blog or be a blogger to do this!) - ONE ENTRY
  • Grab my button & post in your side bar - ONE ENTRY
  • Follow my blog - ONE ENTRY
  • Subscribe to my blog (this is a new thing I'm trying out) - ONE ENTRY
  • Write about this giveaway in YOUR blog (post or sidebar...link me, please) - ONE ENTRY
  • Follow me on Twitter (@maliasma) - ONE ENTRY
  • Tweet about this on Twitter (link me, please) - ONE ENTRY

THE FINE PRINT:

  • This giveaway will be open for entries until Sunday, June 7th at 11:59pm EST
  • The winner will be announced on Monday, June 8th here at Stuttering Shell as well as by email (so please leave me a valid email address)

PLEASE TELL ANYONE & EVERYONE ABOUT MY FUN GIVEAWAYS FOR THIS MONTH! I will be featuring FOUR more giveaways of my favorite things (MAYBE more...you never know!), so keep posted! Also, be on the lookout for some fun giveaways for the kidlets...I've got a few things up my sleeve!

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Where has the WEEKEND gone?

I can't believe it's already Sunday, y'all. Well, yes I can. Weekends are never long enough.

Here I am - already washing a load of laundry and loving the fact that the sun is SHINING outside...that's a HUGE improvement from Friday's weather washout.

Anyways, here is my weekend wrapup...
  • I saw the New Kids on the Block on Friday night, y'all. Yes, I was in boy band heaven! The music took me straight back to the 7th grade. All I was missing was braces and a bad perm. Well, and some tight-rolled jeans, high-top sneakers and tons of hairspray in my hair. Despite the weather (I seriously think a monsoon rolled through town), it was a fun night and I'm so glad I got to spend it with my favorite girls! Pictures & a poorly shot video (hey, it's hard to hold a camera still while you're dancing & jumping up and down while screaming) will be posted soon. I'm sad to say that I have washed my hands - many times - since Friday night, but my left hand will never be the same...I smacked touched Joey McIntyre when he walked by our box.
  • On Saturday morning, my favorite Jehovah's Witness, Clinton, came to visit again. Adam was surprised he remembered my name. I countered by saying that I'm a hard girl to forget (in a good way!). Anyways, Adam didn't have the heart to tell Clinton that I was laid up in bed with hardly any voice (thanks to all of that screaming) and that I had a slight hangover (damn all of that draft beer!).
  • Adam took the kids to his father's house on Saturday afternoon and I got to sleep. Sleep, oh glorious sleep! I never, EVER get to nap. It's very rare when I do, but I certainly took advantage of the time alone and woke up feeling like a brand, new woman. And, since Adam & the kids were gone...
  • I went shopping! It's also a rare treat to go anywhere by myself, so I headed to Wal-Mart, a beach souvenir shop and to the mall. I bought myself a few nice things.
  • We had dinner courtesy of the grill last night - NY strip steak & grilled honey BBQ shrimp! There's enough steak & shrimp left over that we're going to have Caesar salads tonight with either steak or shrimp or, hell, maybe both!
  • Since the hubs is fishing today (what a big surprise, huh?), I'm half-tempted to take a ride to the outlets in Williamsburg with the kids. I have a coupon for the Coach store and I'm on a search for the perfect pair of bermuda shorts and I think the j.crew outlet might have something for me. I know Malia will be game...it's the other man in my life, Aidan, who isn't too keen on shopping (I guess Daddy should have taken him fishing!).

Just some reminders...

Get out and enjoy the glorious day God has made!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

BRACE FACE - The cookbook winner is...

KAYLA!

Congratulations, Kayla! I hope you enjoy both of these cookbooks!

Please email to me your mailing address at shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com and I'll have the books sent to you right away!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You Got Nothin'!

Aidan: Mommy, can you fix me some eggs for a snack? (he likes to eat scrambled eggs)

Me: No, I'm fixing dinner, son. Besides, we're out of eggs and Mommy forgot to buy them at the store. (We just finished the last of the 2.5 dozen we had in the fridge over the weekend...it's sick, I tell ya.)

Aidan: Awww. Well, can you fix me some bacon for a snack then?

Me: No, son, I told you...I'm fixing dinner. We don't have any bacon anyways. (dinner was on the stove...)

Aidan: *sigh* Well, then what about some hot dogs? Can you fix me a hot dog for a snack?

Me: Aidan, I've already told you more than once that I'm fixing dinner. It's chicken & broccoli...it's one of your favorites. And, we don't have any hot dogs.

Aidan: *more whining* Geez, Mom, you got nothing!

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Wordless/Wordful Wednesday - It's Electrifying!


It's hard to believe that he'll be SIX in just nine short days. Seems like it was just yesterday that I took this picture of Aidan after he came down the slide in our backyard. I miss all of that hair. I miss how blonde he used to be. I miss his chubby 2.5 year old cheeks.
He's still got that goofy grin. He still has some pretty lovable cheeks. But, now he's sporting a big boy hairdo and he's growing up to become such a wonderful lil' man.
For more Wordless Wednesday, be sure to check out 5 minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday. For more Wordful Wednesday, be sure to check out 7 Clown Circus.

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