Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

The weeks leading up to Christmas were hectic, but filled with holiday fun. Orlando is a pretty spectacular place to live during the holidays. There is so much to do and you don't have to freeze your butt off while doing it. 

Epcot for Candle Light

I am going to miss these lights.

Brrrr....ICE at Gaylord Palms
Santa was good to E

A visit with family in South FL.
What is more Christmassy than the beach?
I hope you had a great holiday season as well. I am taking a bit of a break before getting back to normal in January. Wishing everyone a very happy New Year!

(And the chances of me making it to see midnight are slim to none.)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Weekend Living In an Edge

The holidays are always crazy, so when I was invited by Ford to join with a few other bloggers and  take a little me time right before Thanksgiving, I was super excited. We we were treated to manis, pedis and a blowout. It was nice to take a little time to myself before the holiday crazy. We also got a lesson in etiquette. (Something I can always use some help with.)

The best thing about it was that at the end of the day, I received the opportunity to drive a 2015 Ford Edge for the holiday weekend. It is always fun to drive a different car once and a while.  We celebrated the holiday weekend with a lot of fun in the car. We took it to work, Thanksgiving, the Orlando Auto Show and with my niece to the Crayola Experience.

On our way to Thanksgiving

Room for the car seat

Lots of room for pie too.

A beautiful day for the auto show.

E seems to enjoy cars already.
Some Crayola fun for my niece's birthday.

Back to reality. At least I have a pretty awesome gig.

The nice thing about having a car for a few days is that it allows you to see if it fits your life. It also highlights the pros and cons of the vehicle. Here are my thoughts on the Edge.


There were lots of things I liked about the car. I really like the way the vehicle is styled and appointed. It drove well and was really comfortable. For lack of a better description, it felt like a grown up car (in the best way possible). The car was filled with lots of fun technology...lane keeping, blind spot information, zoned climate control, heated and air conditioned seats. 

Two super fun features were the windshield wipers and high beams that turned on automatically. It was like the car was thinking for me. (I may get excited easily, but the first time the high beams went on automatically, it blew my mind.)

E's favorite feature (and probably mine too) was the roof. The car had a panoramic roof. She wouldn't let us close the shade, even when it was super sunny. This did make head room a little tight for my 6'3" husband.

Enjoying her favorite part


The car's infotainment system was not the easiest to understand. There is so much stuff crammed into it, that I often hit the wrong button or couldn't find what I was looking for. (This may be a user issue because I sometime struggle in my own car, but I managed to get the car to not be able to find the backup camera.) It is the blessing and the curse of so much technology in cars. 


There were also some things that seemed to be more worn than they should have been on a new vehicle. The headliner in the backseat was pulling away around the back door and a few other things. This may because this particular vehicle had a harder life with multiple people using it.
  The other thing that I didn't like was there were lights in the trunk that didn't turn off with the rest of the interior lights. This would be a feature for many people and I can see where it would be handy, but when you have a toddler sleeping in a rear facing car seat that you have to extract from the car, it is not optimal.

Overall, I liked the vehicle and think it could be a great option in a few years. Right now we are in full on Mommy-mobile mode and need the extra space of a slightly bigger vehicle. Then again, maybe I can upgrade to something even more fun once E is older.

So pretty in blue. (I love this update to the Mustang too)

(A big thanks to Ford for the relaxation event and the opportunity to drive the Edge. All comments and opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day

One of the best things about having a child is deciding which traditions you want to start or keep and ditching the ones that are no longer your thing. St. Nicholas Day is one of the traditions we decided to keep with E.

I grew up celebrating St. Nicholas Day, which is not a surprise since it stems from German traditions and was particularly popular in the Milwaukee, WI area. My Dad was German and the town were I grew up was about 45min South of Milwaukee. (Thanks Dad for this wonderfully fun tradition.) 

St. Nicholas Day is December 6, and historically children place their shoes or stockings out the evening before so that St. Nick can come overnight and leave gifts in the shoes. In the midwestern tradition, good children receive small toys or candy while bad children receive coal. St. Nicholas is seen as separate from Santa, but in communication with him.

We have celebrated St. Nicholas the past couple of years, but this year I had time to really think about how to balance the fun of the tradition and trying to not make myself crazy. We took some of the old with some new and I think we have found a good balance. The plan is to give E Christmas jammies, a movie or book and have St. Nicholas drop off the Santa key.

Tiny shoes. Tiny person.

Bad mom moment. This is the only photo I have from last year.
This year was a lot of fun because E is really starting to get it and understand Christmas. She was super excited to put her shoes out and even more excited when she found a new movie waiting (along with a couple of other things) for her the next morning.
She was so excited
In addition to creating lasting memories, I am hoping that creating our own family traditions will keep E from wanting the (marketing created) current trendy Christmas tradition (AKA Elf on the Shelf.)  Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

What are some of the unique holiday traditions your family does?


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lawn Lessons

This is a sponsored post written by me for SheSpeaks and TrueGreen. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

There is a learning curve when you purchase a house. I have documented some of our lessons in my House to Home series. Living in Florida, it seems like maintaining the lawn is a constant challenge. We spend a lot of time outside, so keeping the lawn in top shape for playing is important.

We have the mowing, edging and trimming down, but probably get a less than passing grade on the rest of it. After 2 years of trying to manage the fertilization and weed control ourselves, we brought in TruGreen for help. In just a couple of months, they have started to fix the weeds and brown spots that were a little out of control.

Water and irrigation are another area where there is a lot to learn. Parts of our lawn are always wet and others are dry. This coupled with the crazy weather makes lawn watering a bigger job than I could have ever imagined. It seems like the perfect balance is an unreachable goal. I really want to get it right because that is good for both the environment and our pocketbook benefit.  Now TruGreen can help us with that too.

  TruGreen is adding Sprinkler Repair and Maintenance services to their portfolio of services. They can help with repairing and adjusting sprinkler heads, fixing leaks, system testing, rain sensor testing and other irrigation services. TruGreen will also help with system updates and renovations. Now we don't have anymore excuses for not installing the second water meter we have been talking about for a while.

Right now TruGreen Sprinkler Repair and Maintenance is available in select cities in Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas and Tennessee. They will be growing to more than a dozen markets in 2016. 

More information about TruGreen and their Sprinkler Repair and Maintenance can be found at their website. Remember a healthy lawn is part of the foundation for living more of life outside.