Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yet another benefit to living back in Texas

Tomorrow we are heading out for a long weekend vacation to visit our friends in Phoenix. This is one of the few vacations we've taken since we've been married that hasn't been to visit family. While we loved coming back to Texas to visit our family while we were living in Arizona, it is so nice that we get to see them so much now that we can use airline miles and vacation money to do an actual family vacation. I am so looking forward to seeing all of our friends again and lots of new babies... as well as showing off my new baby! Here's hoping the kids do well on the flight. Fortunately this flight will be nothing compared to the long Hawaii flight we took over Christmas. I mentioned to Oliver today that we were going on an airplane tomorrow to get him excited. But he looked back at me, clearly remembering the too long Hawaii flight, and said "no plane." Hmm... also when we took my mother-in-law to the airport a few weeks ago he started crying while we were dropping her off at curbside check-in saying "no air-mane." So we'll see what he thinks about it tomorrow. At least we'll have Elmo, Barney and The Wiggles along with us on the DVD player to offer him some comfort and distraction. Bon Voyage!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

I thought I would create a list of some of my favorite products. If you are looking for gift items for family and friends this year, it's always good to give people things you would like to receive yourself... that's how you know it is a good gift! Also, as I've mentioned before, anything that saves time and effort is high on my list. So here you go - hope these products suggestions are helpful to you and are helpful in knowing me more.

The best candle fragrance: Passion Fruit & Guava from Bath and Body Works
An amazing scent - that really gives off a great smell and can fill your whole house. Worth the investment - much better than the cheap candles that don't really give off smell like they are supposed to. I light this in my kitchen about 15 or so minutes before I have people coming over, and it scents the whole main section of my house. Even my husband notices that something smells nice when he walks in the door and that is saying something :)

The best quick makeup solution: Studio Fix foundation from MAC Cosmetics
Once again a product WELL worth the investment. It looks like a pressed powder - but it is much better. It goes on with the ease of application that a pressed powder would, but the coverage is far above just a powder. It truly is a pressed foundation and has taken the place of liquid foundations for me as well as pressed powder. Two products in one - time savings - yay! It has a much thicker coverage than powder and is lighter and less greasy than foundation so it won't come off on your clothes, kids, etc. My favorite part - it's on in seconds and it makes my skin look great! Get this at the MAC store so they can try colors out on you to get the best match. There is a MAC store at Willow Bend mall.

The best dusting product: Dust Wipes
I don't know about you, but using those static dusters bothers me... I just feel like I am pushing the dust around from one place to another. Sure my shelves look clean, but my floor is now gross. So I love using these dust wipes... I get the dust off my shelves and it sticks to the wipe and not the floor. They are quick to use as well and don't leave behind a film. I like to buy them at Target and get the Target brand wipes to save a little money.

The best shampoo for oily hair: Cleanse & Mend Shampoo from Aussie
I have truly stumbled upon the best here. I have struggled with oily hair since I was a teenager. Too much information - I know! But I figured there are probably others out there as well and I want to help you like Aussie has helped me. This shampoo rocks! It truly does help keep my hair from getting as greasy as fast - while not weighing down my roots. The way I really know it is working is after using it every day at home, when I then go on vacation and use whatever little travel shampoo I have, my hair is much more oily by the end of the day than it normally is. But as soon as I get back home and start using it again, I can go almost a day and a half before it starts to get oily again! Amazing! That is life changing for me :)

Well that's all for now. I will post some other helpful products periodically as I think of them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A helpful website for the |organizer| in you

Continuing on in my "helpful website" series... Today's helpful website is for the |organizer| in you -

Do you need some help running your home? Get organized with checklists, articles, tips and printables from I stumbled upon this site about 6 months ago and LOVE it. It has been so helpful to me - especially in creating a Household Notebook. Never heard of such? A Household Notebook is "A standard-sized binder stocked with calendars and schedules, planner forms and inventories, [that] creates a one-stop information center for busy families. Whether it's a carpool schedule or a co-worker's phone number, the Household Notebook holds the information you need to check each day." The site also has a blog that you can subscribe to using Google Reader (one of my earlier "helpful websites") that will supply you with little organization tips every once in a while to get your "organized" side jump-started.

I created my Household Notebook using their forms and customized it to meet my needs. It has been so helpful! My favorites are the meal planning forms and the "To-Do" list forms. Also helpful is the "Family Yellow Pages" form where you can record contact information for vendors and services you use frequently so you don't have to look them up every time you need to use them.

Most moms have so much going on that anything that can simply life and save time is a life-saver. I hope this is something that can help you do just that! Leave me a comment and let me know if it works for the |organizer| in you!

Link to Organized Home:

Link to Organized Home's Household Notebook page:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, February 9, 2007, we found out that there would soon be another child under the Dillard roof. So Gabriella has been with us in some form for a year now. It seems like so long ago that we found out that I was pregnant. But, a lot has happened since then... not the least of which was a huge life-changing move from Arizona back to Texas. We spent some time this February 9th outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Here is what Gabriella thought of it all (notice the bubbles):

Here is another fun picture of my adventurous boy from our outing to our neighborhood park:

Click here to see more fun pictures from today!

A Little Light Reading

Ever since I became pregnant with Oliver, I have been fascinated by the way the human body works. I was amazed at all of the things I learned about my body while it was the home for my growing baby boy. So I'm finally getting around to pursuing that interest in the form of the following textbook:

No I am not thinking of pursuing medical school, just pursuing an interest. I am in Chapter 2 so far and am learning a lot of medical terminology and the basic layout of the body. It has been enriching and challenging - something that I am proud to be taking the time to do. It helps me keep my mind challenged beyond knowing the names of all of the characters on Sesame Street. I encourage you all to find ways to stimulate your mind by pursuing something that's always been interesting to you but you've never taken the time to do. Leave me a comment if you do and let me know what you are digging into.

I'll end my post with a cute picture of my son. We are having BEAUTIFUL weather here today in Plano, 66 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Oliver was outside playing with his friend Barney and taking him on the slide. You'll notice from the following picture however, that his new found LOVE of all things television has prompted him to now carry around DVDs as if they are his friends and take them on the slide.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A helpful website for the |blank| in you!

I'm sure most of you know that I am addicted to the internet. Most days, the majority of the time I can be found sitting at my computer desk. It is a nice setup however, because I can see the living room and playroom from my seat - places where Oliver can usually be found. I decided to post a photo so you could see a little bit more into my world. The picture might be boring to you... but hey, I am assuming you are reading this blog because you are curious as to what goes on in our house... and it is after all, my blog :) So here you go. For those of you who have never been to my home, off to the left is the living room, the window in the red door across the patio allows me to see into playroom, and Gabriella can usually be found in the baby seat right at my feet or in my arms as I surf the internet one-handed. I have also become pretty adept at feeding her and working on the computer at the same time... although that method takes more time to get anything accomplished. Fortunately, right now she is off in bed napping... although I'm not kidding you, the very second I typed the word "napping" both Oliver and Gabriella let out a cry from their beds! They are already in cahoots! Ahh, naptime is almost over! I must hurry... and yes, I did move the sweet picture of baby Oliver over a little bit on my desk so that it would make it into the side of the picture :)

In spending copious amounts of time searching the internet, I have come across a cool site or two. So I think I will spend some time every once in a while documenting some of my favorites on my blog. I do have a wide range of interests although the time to pursue most of them is non-existent at this stage of my life. Hopefully these few moments I can steal away from my kids will allow me to show you some of the others sides of Amanda besides just the "mommy" side and will appeal to that side in you too (see the title of this post). I do rather enjoy the "mommy" side of my life though, so many of the sites will be geared toward that side of me.

Today's fill in the blank will be |blogger|

A Helpful Website for the |blogger| in You!

Now I know there are different types of |bloggers|... some of you also have blogs and write in them often, some of you like to just read blogs and comment on them... or not, and some of you decided to start a blog, wrote once, and then quit (ahem... Matt!).
However, the link I have today will be a helpful tool for all of you! The link is to a blog reading tool called Google Reader.

Link to Google Reader:

Below is a little advertisement for Google Reader. Yes, I shamelessly cut and pasted the information from their website, but hey - something I've learned and truly value is the phrase "why re-invent the wheel"... right!? I did modify it a little bit to apply to the |blogger| in you!

Get all your blogs in one place with Google Reader

With Google Reader, keeping up with your favorite blogs is as easy as checking your email.
  • Stay up to date - Google Reader constantly checks your favorite blogs for new content.
  • Use it anywhere, for free - Google Reader is totally free and works in most modern browsers, without any software to install.

I use Google Reader everyday to check all of the blogs I follow - at once! No more clicking on each individual blog to check for updates. Google Reader checks them all for me and allows me to read them all in one window. Once you create your account or sign in with your existing Google account, just "add a subscription" by typing in the addresses of the blogs you read. It saves time and energy... something I am all about!

I hope this link is helpful for you and tells you a little more about me.