Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Group Giveaway

happy halloween from nest building 101 and its lovely sponsors!!!

here's what's up for grabs today:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Tango

it's time to meet our october sponsors!

kate {the blog diva}
a little about kate...
Join Kate, The Blog Diva as she blogs about fitness, book reviews, tasty recipes, healthy organic "all-natural foods," product reviews, sexy accessories, her fur babies, Internet stories and gossip, and her exciting everyday life experiences!

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: I love reese's peanut butter cups, aero bar, and crispy crunch and dislike mars bar.

ang {juggling act mama}
a little about ang...
I'm a full time working mother with two kids, a husband, and a lot of dirty laundry! I love sharing recipes, DIY projects, kid crafts and books, and more.

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: I have a love/hate relationship with Candy Corn - I love it at the beginning of October, but by Halloween I'm ready to be sick! :)

michelle {michelle's pixie dust}
a little about michelle...
My blog is about crafting and creating. It's about thrifting, upcycling and making things new again. I also write about motherhood, life's adventures and other topics!

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: I love love love peanut butter cups! Those are usually the first things I steal out of my son's candy bag. I have also always been a fan of any sour candy. People sometimes look at me strange when I eat sour candy, I think we are supposed to lose the taste for it as we get "older". No matter what, I still love it! I have never been a fan of the candy corns. I know they are a fall tradition, but I never could get a taste for them.

shannon {polish and sugar}
a little about shannon...
I don't have kids. I don't have pets. I don't have a husband. But I still blog! On any given day you'll find my blogging about fashion, food, beauty, home decor and DIY. I love pretty things and I like to blog about them even more!

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: My all time favourite is Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate and Peanut Butter together shouldn't even be legal it's so good. My least favourite are anything sour.

amanda {eloquent english}

a little about amanda...
Hi I'm Amanda, the husband is Joe, our kitties are Norman and Contessa. This is our blog about real life, style and stuff that's interesting to us.

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: Favorite: Midnight Milky Way's / Least Favorite: Candy Corns

ashley {flats to flip flops}
a little about ashley...
Hi there! I'm Ashley! A self prescribed diet coke addict, a wife and momma to two sweet kiddos! I blog over at flats to flip flops about fashion, faith and philanthropy! Modest fashion tips, mommy moments and highlighting awesome companies giving back are what you will find at my place!

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: Fav...definitely anything chocolate! Least fav: candy corns..yuck!

lisa {the thrifty challenge}

a little about lisa...
I am an obsessed thrifter and can't stop myself waking up early to hit all the garage sales and get the best bargains. I love craft and turning trash into new things for my home. I'm on a thrifty challenge to only buy second hand for a year- with a few exceptions.

october's random question {what is your favorite & least favorite halloween candy?}: In Australia we don't really celebrate halloween but jelly beans are my candy love any day of the year!!

now, head on over and show them some love. oh, and don't forget to stop back by tomorrow for the huge halloween giveaway!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Girl and Her Clay

if you haven't met celeste from crazy beautiful unique (one of my lovely sponsors), you are missing out. not only is she a fun, crafty blogger, but she has an adorable etsy shop called a girl and her clay that is chock full of unique handmade items that would fit perfectly in someone's stocking at christmas.

Spring Rose Ring - 9 Colors Available - You Pick Your Color 
this is the spring rose ring (only $5.50!!!), a personal favorite of mine. ;) seriously, i am dying over how adorable this ring is, especially since it comes in 9 color options.

Spring Rose Ring - 9 Colors Available - You Pick Your Color
Spring Rose Ring - 9 Colors Available - You Pick Your Color
see what i mean? so pretty!  (by the way, if you really, really wanted to buy one of these in every color for me, i wouldn't say no. ;) )

Mini Rose Stud Earrings - Handcrafted Polymer Clay Earrings - Flower Earrings - Pick Your ColorMini Rose Stud Earrings - Handcrafted Polymer Clay Earrings - Flower Earrings - Pick Your Color
and the mini rose stud earrings (only $3.75!!!) are beyond fabulous, too!

MARKDOWN Cute Peas in a Pod Clay Charm - Handcrafted Polymer Clay Charm - FREE Necklace Included
i also love the cute peas in a pod charm (which comes with a necklace) that is only $7.50. seriously, too cute for words!

she also offers an array of cute cell phone charms, jewelry, and key chains, as well custom orders.

the best part of all is that to all of the nest building 101 readers, she's offering a 10% discount! just enter the code NEST10.

be sure to visit celeste over at crazy beautiful unique to show her some love and stop by her etsy shop, a girl and her clay, to take advantage of that discount!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Decision 2012

B and i love to carve pumpkins every october. it's become one of our favorite traditions and each year it becomes a bigger, more elaborate project. (we make a great team, because B hollows out the pumpkins & preps them, while i do the intricate carving.) we usually go with a movie theme when choosing which characters to carve.

one year it was captain jack sparrow.

another year it was dorothy and the tin man from the wizard of oz.

we even did the characters from twilight one year.

and last year it was edgar allen poe.

however, it's been tough to choose what characters to do this year. i've narrowed it down to two movies, a classic and a 2012 release: lord of the rings & the hunger games.

wanna help me decide? leave me a comment with your vote!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Things I've Learned As a Stay-At-Home Mom

being a stay-at-home mom is nothing like i expected it to be. it's crazy, stressful, and wonderful all at the same time. i wish i had the recipe for success or at least a handbook most days. it's definitely a learn-as-you-go kind of job.

but here are some things i've learned so far...

  • there's no easy way to fold a fitted sheet
  • everything stains, including leather & hardwood floors
  • toys are not nearly as fun as the boxes they came in...or the lever on the window, or the leg of a chair, or the fireplace, or the heating vents, or...
  • there is not enough coke zero in the world
  • food tastes better after it has been rolled between fingers and/or dipped in dirt
  • daddy's are way more fun than mama's
  • the sock monster in the dryer loves to eat baby socks even more than adult socks
  • poo happens...and sometimes it gets on you. it's a fact, so deal with it.
  • every conversation inevitably turns to "mack has learned... or mack sometimes does...", which not everyone is a fan of
  • cats are fun to chase, but they're even more fun when you catch them by the tail
  • being around baby food so much can make you curious, which makes you want to try it, which turns into a daily snack of vanilla custard pudding. (thanks for sharing, mack!)
  • moms are competitive. we don't mean to be, but conversations almost always turn into a one-upping competition to see whose baby is the smartest & fastest developer. (and every mom thinks her baby won)
  • rule: when someone offers to babysit, take them up on it.
  • you can never have too many pictures of your baby. it's just not possible.
  • mistakes will be made, pretty much every day.

what pearls of wisdom have you learned as a mom?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Free Halloween Printable

i am so excited for halloween! today i'm putting up decorations, enjoying the crisp cool fall air, and watching the tractors pulling crates of pumpkins from the fields to the country store behind our house. oh, how i love this time of year!

and to spread the joy, here's a free halloween printable (8x10) that i put together just for y'all!

feel free to download & print. if you repost, please include the source link. thanks!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pic Tip #6

i may seem like i'm neglecting my blog lately, not posting as faithfully as i normally do, but that's mostly because i'm smack dab in the middle of my busy season for my photography business.

however, this got me to thinking about the next pic tip in the series: how to make the most of your photo shoot. here we go...

pic tip #6: how to make the most of your photo shoot

if you're like most people, you're probably planning to have family pictures taken soon (greeting cards are coming!). this means you're facing two options: go to a studio or hire an on-location photographer. now, i'm not going to try to sell you on why you should hire a photographer, but i am going to give you some tips that can help you if you do.

1. when choosing a photographer, take the time to look at their portfolio. referrals are great, but your taste might be different from your friend's, so get the photographer's website and take a good look at their work. take into account their style, whether it tends to be bright, crisp, traditional, edgy, etc. if you don't like what you see then you're certainly not going to like the work they do for you. find someone whose style is compatible with yours.

2. choose a location that reflects your family dynamic. on-location photography is great, because of its flexibility. you can choose a site that works best for you, not just whatever backdrop the studio has available. plus, you can't beat natural light! when choosing your location, consider how you're going to feel there. for example, if you're a country person, an graffitied wall is probably not the best background for you. if you have a large family, you're going to need more space. if you have young children, a grassy area might be best, where they can run around and get their energy out between pics. the right location will make the shoot more comfortable and help you achieve the look you want.

3. have fun with your outfits. there are two reasons why i always recommend bright colors in my clients' wardrobes: a. it's more visually interesting. b. it helps you to stand out against your background. matching white shirts & khaki pants has been done to death. why not show your personality by wearing your favorite flattering color? and let the kids help pick their outfits out, too. they're much more likely to be cooperative when they feel like they have a say. if you want to all coordinate, however, start with one outfit (maybe your daughter's favorite dress). this will give you a great starting point for choosing other outfits that compliment each other.
4. listen to your photographer. you chose this person for a reason, so trust them in the process. try not to take over the shoot. if you have an idea or some input, feel free to offer it up, but don't try to take on the role of "director". it's okay to step in to straighten your daughter's bow or wipe the dirt of your son's cheek, or even to suggest a pose that you'd like to see, but don't ask them to completely recreate a picture that saw somewhere. be courteous and trust in their creativity. most photographers are fine with collaborations on particular shots, so don't feel like you can't offer any ideas. just pay attention to your approach. you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. 

5. if your little ones missed their naps, reschedule the shoot. it is important to give your photographer the best scenario possible, which means well-rested, well-fed children. children can be unpredictable, so do your best to prepare your kids for the shoot. talk to them about what is expected of them and make sure they have everything they need. if there's a toy that gets your toddler's attention, bring it. if there's a snack that gets your kid to sit still, pack it. there's only so much the photographer can do to get the kids to cooperate and be engaged, so try to help them out in whatever ways you can. no one knows your kids and how to get them to cooperate as well as you do.

i hope these tips help you with your upcoming family photo shoot. i'll also try to put together some tips for the photographer in an upcoming post. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Open to Suggestion

i have a cold...again. this is not the way i want to start my beloved fall season. it seems like as soon as i get rid of one cold, another one rears its ugly head. i'm sick of being sick.

the problem here is that i hate taking medicine. i'm super sensitive to things like benadryl and tylenol cold & flu. it makes me really loopy then knocks me out, leaving me groggy for hours after i wake up (even if it's the next day). obviously, i try not to take that stuff when i can avoid it.

so, my question to you is, what home remedies do you recommend? did your mom spoon-feed you some awful concoction that worked wonders? as long as it's alcohol-free, i'm open to trying pretty much anything.


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Buzz About Glade Expressions

i've blogged about my love of scentsy recently, but i just got the opportunity to try the new glade expressions oil diffuser and room spray and thought i'd share my experience with both.

first off, what a great design! aesthetically, they're both fabulous. the diffuser is especially cute, with the cutout design. definitely my style! i also love that the wrapper can be removed from the room spray, so its sleek bottle blends into the room.

i've got the diffuser in my guest bathroom. my scentsy is in the living room, so i thought the bathroom would be a decent distance away (since it's all the way down the hall) where the two wouldn't clash aromas and it would give the diffuser a fair chance to do its job.

i went with pineapple mangosteen for both the diffuser and room spray and it smells incredible! the diffuser was pretty strong at first (though not overwhelming), but a few days later it started to diminish and is now a subtle hint of the fruity concoction after being in there for three weeks. the room spray is great for a burst of freshness. (i primarily use it in our master bedroom & bathroom, because our home is really old and it tends to smell musty in there.) i really like the fact that the room spray is strong enough that you don't need to spray very much. a little goes a long way.

now, let's break down the good and the bad...

the good about glade expressions
  • smells wonderful, not overpowering and not too subtle
  • both look great, love the designs!
  • easy to refill both the diffuser and the spray
  • inexpensive
the bad about glade expressions
  • there aren't many fragrance choices (our local walmart only carries 2 options)
  • the room spray is heavy and coats the floor
  • the diffuser is advertised to last 30 days, but that's a bit of a stretch
all in all, i really do like these products and plan to purchase refills, especially for the diffuser. even though it doesn't last as long as i would like, it does a pretty good job in there and i can set it and forget it for at least a couple of weeks.

*i was given products to sample (via bzzagent), but received no other compensation. all opinions stated are entirely my own.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

8 Months of Mack

with only a couple of days till mack turns 9 months old, i'm finally posting his 8 month update. at least i have good reason for being so behind this month. :)

8 months has been a surprisingly busy month for this growing boy. his top two teeth started coming in, immediately followed by the two teeth on either side of those. that's right, he now has 6 teeth! he has also gotten to where he loves to use them to bite his gerber graduates snacks in half, which is a bit messy, but so cute that i have to just go with it.

speaking of food, mack is really putting away the baby food these days. his stomach seems to be a bottomless pit. he practically inhales his baby food, guzzles his milk, and still wants snacks. he's happy to chew on fresh fruit & veggies, too. this explains why he's a 20-pounder. ;)

as heavy as he is, he's not really a fat baby. he's thick, compact really. he seems like he's going to be rather muscular for a child. this makes perfect sense, since he's so active, literally climbing up the walls. remember how he would pull up on the furniture last month? well, this month, he pulls up on EVERYTHING, including walls, doors, and even my legs. he's a pro at walking along the furniture/wall, too, and even lets go for a few moments at a time, standing unassisted. however, he forgets that he can't walk yet, and tries to take a few steps away from whatever he was holding onto, winding up falling flat on his face. i have to be right beside him when he's playing on the floor to catch him. hardwood floors aren't exactly face-plant friendly.

mack loves to make noise, too. he doesn't shriek as much, but he does have his favorite words and sounds. he still says mama, but pretty much only when he wants me to get him out of his crib. dada is is favorite word these days. he says it all the time, especially when B is holding him. he has also added uh-oh to his vocabulary, though i doubt it has any meaning to him other than being a fun sound to make.

music is a favorite of mack's. he loves when i sing to him and when i have my ipod playing. if there's a good beat, he'll try to dance by bouncing in his exer-saucer. i swear he even tries to sing. he makes random sounds, drawn out and strung together at different pitches. i'm going to have to record it. :)

this has been the month of mimicking. we've noticed that he has started really paying attention when we speak to him or show him how to grasp something, etc. when i coax him to make certain sounds, he watches my mouth intently and his lips move slightly. i think the "record" button has officially been turned on.

my little cutie has also become a thumb-sucker. he wasn't much of a binky baby (we also took those away a couple of months ago), but he figured out a way to self soothe while the top teeth were coming in. he now has an affinity for his right thumb. he really only sucks it when he's tired or hungry, but tends to go for it when i'm holding him, too. it really is the cutest, sweetest thing ever!

my favorite thing about this age, though, is that mack learned to give kisses. my heart just melts! this precious, sweet, adorable, incredible baby boy is seriously a dream come true!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Great 100 Day Challenge

i can't believe it's already done!

are you curious to know how i and the other participants fared? well, here's the rundown from me and a few others...

carlia - my goal was to run for 100 days (with sundays off & added days for time off)

how did i do?
on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), i rate myself with a 3

what i learned... i learned that i hate running on a treadmill. i'm the type of person who gets bored/distracted easily, so i need to run outside. however, i can't handle running in 90+F weather, especially with 90+% humidity, hence the treadmill. i started strong, for about the first 3rd of the challenge, i was on it, but then the boredom set in and it was all i could do to even look at the treadmill. i wound up taking a couple of weeks off, which i regret. at that point, i decided that, if i couldn't run outside, i needed to mix things up, so i joined a gym. it turned out to be such a great decision! mack gets to play with new(to him) toys, while i get some me time. i also learned that i LOVE the rowing machine! whodathunk? i feel like i'm in a good place now, on the right track toward my physical goals. i've created some great habits that i'm excited to keep up!


fiona - my goal was to not use the computer (or any other electronic web surfing / message sending / device like a smart phone) during Alidia's waking hours unless she is in someone else's care

how did i do?
on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), i rate myself with a 3

what i learned... As you can see from my score, I didn't do very well! :/ I didn't last long before I went back to using the computer while nursing Alidia in order to keep up with all my favourite blogs.... oh and my job too of course! ;) I did manage to avoid it most of the time when she was awake and not nursing though. Since I was working out in a field most of the summer and travelling for other weeks of it, I actually wasn't on my computer nearly as much as usual anyway so in this way I did well but it was just lucky, rather than me making the big change. If I had more time at home (and my internet was working more which it hasn't been), this probably would have been a 2. I am still definitely using it much less than I was and playing with her more with all attention on her so the challenge did help... plus she is now on the move so hard to not be with her at all times!! I will definitely be trying another challenge next time and am so glad I tried this out and at least made a bit of a change.


kim - my goal was to write 100 pages of my book

how did i do?
on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), i rate myself with a 2

what i learned... That although I want my future to pan out my way, I can't help what might pop up. I did quite well for the first month, and exceeded that month's goal of 30 pages twice (I managed 60 pages). I felt I'd probably manage to easily complete the challenge - but then ideas popped in my head. I ended up planning out a new shop of plushy monsters, which opened on the 10th of September, and I also re-evaluated the book itself. As it was the second book of a trilogy that has yet to be picked up by an agency, let alone a publisher, I decided it would be in my best interest to put that book on hold until the first was signed up somewhere, and begin work on something else that wasn't part of a trilogy. I've managed to plan it out successfully but I have yet to start.

I'm gutted that things didn't flow as I expected them to, but at the same time I think it's for the best.
Still, I managed 60 pages, so that is DEFINITELY something I'm proud of ^^


josey - My goal was to do some form of exercise every day for 100 days. Some days it might only be a 10 minute walk with Stella, some days it might be a run or a hike or a yoga class, but no matter what, every day I want to get back in the habit of moving my body.

how did i do?
on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), i rate myself with a 4

what i learned... Well, my first attempt at Carlia’s 100 Day Challenge was…interesting. I was definitely better than I would have been without this challenge to inspire me and keep me accountable, but I wasn’t as good as I would have liked to be. Isn’t that always the way?

I was 47/50 for the 1st half of the challenge, and I was 40/50 for the 2nd half, so that gives me an 87% completion rate. Can I get a B+ for that, or at least an E for effort?

I started the challenge on June 1st weighing 156# and wearing a size 12 pant. I finished the challenge on September 8th weighing 160# and wearing a size 12 pant. Um, oops. On a positive note, I’m thankful that I didn’t gain more after a summer of over indulging in 2nd portions and extra drinks, and I’m sure that moving my body (almost) daily helped with that.

thank you to all those who participated (& are participated, as we all started at different times) in the first great 100 day challenge!

this means it's time for the next great 100 day challenge! for this next challenge, my goal is to write in my book for at least an hour every day. i'm hoping that this will help me to maintain writing as a part of my daily schedule, as it is currently a once in a while kind of thing... and hopefully it will help me to finally finish it!

if you're interested in joining me in the great 100 day challenge, all you need to do is become a GFC follower of nest building 101, add the great 100 day challenge button to your blog (if you're a blogger), and complete this form. you don't have to be a blogger to participate; the challenge is open to everyone! there's no limit to what your goal can be, either. just think of something you'd like to work on or accomplish to help make you a better you.

what's going to be different about this challenge, you ask? i'm offering quarterly updates to help keep you motivated and on track. also, those that participate will be entered into a giveaway. the prize is a surprise for now, but is going to be totally awesome!

remember, a lot can happen in 100 days!
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