Love, Juliebug: June 2015
Things have been interesting here. School is out. That is code for...summer boredom. My goal is that byAb plays outside more than she watches movies/tv. It has finally warmed up here so that should be easier. We've had lots of mosquitoes this year though and she's been getting eaten alive practically. She's also had to say goodbye to her first BFF. Lili and her family are moving to another state and it has been pretty hard on Abby. 



Which reminds me, we had so much rain this year. Way more than any previous year we've been here. Part of the time it was cold and rainy. The other part was warmer and rainy. Both didn't have a positive effect on the hubby's job situation. 

Don't get me started on money stuff. I am trying to trust that God will take care of us. After all, He always has but sometimes it's hard. I want to control it all but that's not my job, is it? That is definitely easier said than done.

I've been reading a lot more lately which has been nice. I missed that. I might start sharing what I think about some of them. I just finished a book called Dollhouse that was very intriguing but dark. I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. 

Also, I am glued to the screen whenever Pretty Little Liars is on. This season, season 6, is crazy. I cannot wait for answers to all of my questions if I ever get them. We shall see, I guess. I have found that most PLL fans are a bit intense and creative with their theories. It makes me smile mostly. Though I am curious to see if any of them are right.

See, now I've been rambling about that dang show again. I can't help it! I'm sort of addicted. What are you addicted to right now?

More from Julie:
For so many years we prayed for a child. We wanted to be parents so badly. I knew from the start that he would make a wonderful daddy, I just never knew how wonderful he would actually be. From this first moment...


I could see it in his eyes. Our daughter is my precious girl - the sweet baby I carried in my body. Our love is strong but, she is definitely Daddy's little girl. They share a bond I can't explain with words and it makes me happy beyond belief. I thank God for him.

Happy Father's Day to my love and to all the Fathers out there!


More from Julie:
It's no secret that being a Mom isn't easy. It's not. That being said, I would not trade it for the world. But, I've compiled a list of why Moms all around are losing their ever loving minds. This is of course, written in jest but there is a definite element of truth to all of these. Amiright?



Moms Don't Sleep Well. Obviously, I am somewhat passed this stage but I remember it very, very well. Also, I'd like to mention the fact that now our almost 7 year old comes into our room in the middle of the night occasionally to scare the heck out of us because she has nightmares.

Moms Can't Do Anything Alone. There is always someone following me and I have only one child! I cannot imagine how much this multiplies with more children. The bathroom. Fingers under the door. Okay, so that was a couple years ago now but the second I leave the room she is hollering my name. 

Irrational Temper Tantrums. I'm fairly certain that the word tantrum means irrational but oh my word! Heck, there is an Instagram hashtag devoted to #reasonsmykidiscrying. Check it out - you're welcome.

Eating Your Own Food Doesn't Happen. I don't mind sharing, for the record. It's being asked to have every other bite that I hate. I don't give in... okay, yes I do. I know, I'm part of the problem. And let's not even mention the temperature of the food I do eat. It is not warm, by the way.

Explaining The Unexplainable. I am not a genius and thank goodness Google doesn't charge for it's services because I would be broke. Why is the sky blue? How do airplanes stay up? How much does the earth weigh? Is God riding on that cloud? Kids ask so many questions that I feel inadequate to answer. 

Toys That Multiply & Fill The Room. How do toys seem to hop out of their hiding places and fill an entire room with tornado like velocity? The answer is, of course, kids. Somehow they are able to undo any "picking up" that we may have been able to do, faster than we can swallow a bite of cold food in between feeding a child. (And, that my friends, is fast.)

Conversations With Toddlers. They are silly and fun and frustrating all at once. Have you ever tried it? It's like talking to a wall. An extremely cute wall. Or, trying to talk to someone speaking another language. Moms don't get nearly enough adult talk. It's why we end up losing conversation skills. Or, is that just me?

New Wardrobes. Get ready for having your entire wardrobe messed with. Honestly. Milk stained shirts, baby cereal spotted vests. The dreaded sweatpants. Too tight jeans. Okay, this is really for newer moms mostly but still. Momma needs new clothes! 

Dealing With Your Various Roles (Who You Were, Wife, Mom, Friend, Daughter). It is a fine balancing line to be one of these and who you were to begin with. Now, add all of them and you are sort of balancing many plates on sticks. Not impossible but enough to drive you bonkers sometimes.

Losing The Ability to Spell Out Words In Secret Code. My hubby and I have been known for having the following sort of conversation: "Do you want to go to the P-A-R-K later?" "Oh, that's a good idea. I was thinking about a M-O-V-I-E or maybe S-W-I-M-M-I-N-G. What do you think?" We got away with it for a solid six years. Now, our daughter can read and sound words out in her head. The result? We can no longer spell words out that we are trying to keep from her. There is no such luxury. Instead, we have to send her off on a mission of some kind to be able to talk alone. 


More from Julie:
This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media.
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If you know me then you know I am a pictureholic. Is that a word? Well, it is now. I love taking photos and one of the main reasons is that capturing the details and stories of our lives is important to me. I like being able to look back and re-live happy moments. The problem with being an avid picture taker is that I tend to get quite disorganized at times. What's the point of taking photos if you essentially can never find them again?! Picjoy is a great solution to this issue. I am so excited to be able to both record the details behind the photos while also ensuring I can find them again! It has a clean, easy to use interface so no complicated mumbo jumbo to wade through.

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4 Winners each get a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Giveaway ends 6/30 at 11:59pm CST. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, then a new winner will be chosen. All winning entries will be verified. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. US Residents only please. Good Luck!
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More from Julie:
Feeling Beachie

The statements:
  1. ___ tastes like ____
  2. ___ makes everything _____
  3. If ____ then ____
  4. One word to describe _____ is _____
My Answers:
  1. A BLT sandwich tastes like summer.
  2. Sun makes everything seem happy.
  3. If loved ones never died then I'd be ecstatic.
  4. One word to describe me is thankful.

More from Julie:

I have a recipe that I've used quite a few times. I'm not sure where it came from, honestly, but it is for Flourless Peanut Butter cookies. I am not a huge peanut butter cookie fan but, for some reason, the flourless version is amazing to me. We recently got a Trader Joe's within driving distance of us (think 45 minutes) and so I got to try their infamous Cookie Butter. It seems that you either love it or hate it. I've met very few undecided. 

So, I was sitting around wanting to make cookies (for the blog, ahem.) and the recipe popped in my head. Then, I wondered if the same could be done using another kind of nut butter (I'm sure it can) or even, gasp, cookie butter. My mind started racing as I considered the oddness of the idea. Cookies made out of cookie butter which used to be cookies. Hmm. Yes, definitely worth a try! 
Note: These are not technically flour or gluten free as the cookie butter is made from cookies with wheat flour in them. So, they are called "flourless" because there is no additional flour.
Without further ado, here is the recipe I made for "Flourless" Cookie Butter Cookies:
Ingredients
1 cup cookie butter
1 cup granulated sugar (I used a combo of brown and white)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla, if desired
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spoon (or scoop) in Tablespoon size portions onto baking sheet about 1" apart. (These do puff and spread!) Flatten slightly with a fork in a crosshatch design. Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges are golden. (The color is a golden color so this may be tricky!) For even cooking turn the cookie sheet halfway through. Cool cookies on baking racks.

Enjoy! 





More from Julie:
I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately trying to sum up what I should be focusing on as a person. One word that just hits the nail on the head. Courage. Faith. Joy. Family. All are words that are great and worthwhile but the word that truly seems to capture it is Trust. 


It may seem like a funny word to some but for me it is the essence of so many of my personal issues namely as they relate to God. I feel like it should be easy to trust people, trust God but, for me, it's not. As you know, I'm an over-thinker and a worrier so I tend to go to the "Why God, why me?" sort of state of mind instead of trusting that God has a good plan. It may not always be a plan I like but it's one I can trust because HE is trustworthy.

So, when I was given the chance by (in)courage by Dayspring to pick or make a word out of their adorable Letterpress Blocks, I just had to pick Trust. You can pick your own word to proudly display too. I have a 20% off coupon code towards a Letterpress Blocks Purchase to share with you. The coupon code is Love20 and expires on 12/31/2015.

I'm curious, what word would you pick and why?

More from Julie:
I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for First Response. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Anyone who knows me, knows that our family story includes infertility. For so many years I longed for a child. The result means I probably spent a fortune in pregnancy tests. Generic to fancy. They both do the same thing, you say? Not necessarily. I have had the situation of a false positive as well as so many negatives. Some tests were just hard to read with dye that was barely visible or that needed a decoding ring to figure out. Okay, maybe not that extreme but I have encountered those pesky plus sign tests that made me think I was seeing a positive instead of a negative. Some of the tests I've used were hard to handle or required a separate cup. What a pain all of that is!  

My one true positive came from a First Response pregnancy test in early 2008. At that point it had been 11 years of trying to conceive. Eleven years. So, I can tell you it was a truly exhilarating moment to know that this test was accurate. We were finally expecting a baby! Two bright pink lines...I cried.

First Response has been around for a long time but they weren't content to rest on their laurels. Throughout the years, pregnancy testing has changed drastically. From analog to digital tests, and detection after your missed period to before, the advancements are numerous. First Response has redesigned their advanced Early Detection Pregnancy Test in a way that will diminish those awkward and troublesome moments that come with determining pregnancy. 



So, what changes did they make to testing? One is the ease of use. There is now a curved shape and a longer handle with a 50% wider tip. Yes! It's about time. Honestly, could it have been any more awkward to use the old pregnancy tests? And, now their early detection tests are made to detect all relevant forms of urinary hCG throughout pregnancy. What does that mean? It detects it earlier and more efficiently. It detects pregnancy up to 6 days before the missed period. Nobody wants a result that is inaccurate, trust me, I know from personal experience. 



Use anytime of day and wait only 3 minutes for your easy to read, two lines means your pregnant, result. First Response Early Result Pregnancy tests are available at all major drugstores, mass, and grocery stores for less than $16. Also, it is FDA approved which puts my mind at ease.

Though I finally got my miracle baby, I still would love more kids. If ever I find I need a sure answer on a pregnancy test, I will reach for First Response once again. Send some "baby dust" my way! If you are in the same situation I will send you "baby dust" as well!

More from Julie:
Gugu Guru is an amazing concept. I mean, a personalized baby registry? Having a baby can be full of stress as it is so to have a list of must-haves tailor made for you sounds awesome!

Welcome to the Best Budget Friendly Baby Registry Items Giveaway!

Hosted by: Everything Mommyhood 
Sponsored by: Gugu Guru 

Thanks for joining us along with Everything Mommyhood and Gugu Guru for this giveaway!



Gugu Guru is an online personalized baby registry that finds and delivers perfect match products based on a mom's unique lifestyle and personal style. With thousands of baby products on the market it can get extremely overwhelming trying to figure out your baby registry. The last thing any mom-to-be needs is stress! Gugu Guru's team of baby gear experts and in the know moms created Gugu Guru to help define your lifestyle needs with the very best products you’ll need for your baby’s first year of life. Their edited list of baby must-haves is tailor made to your lifestyle—not your best friend’s. Think of them as your very own personal shoppers for your baby registry. Kick up your (swollen) heels and let Gugu Guru do the heavy lifting. 

  There's three easy steps to your personalized registry on Gugu Guru. Step 1- Discover Your Registry Style - Answer some questions about your lifestyle, personal fashion sense and product preferences. It’s fun. We promise. Step 2- Get Product Recommendations - Gugu Guru will crosscheck your answers with their database of product ratings from industry experts and fellow moms in the know and then deliver you their unbiased, personalized registry suggestions. Say “bye bye!” to the products you just don’t need. Step 3- Build Your Registry - Add products to your registry and select the option to have a Gugu Guru team member review before publishing or go ahead and publish it to share with your friends and family so they can start shopping. Sit back and enjoy receiving amazing gifts for you and your new baby! Everything Mommyhood asked moms on social media to get the BEST budget friendly baby registry items and we decided to have a giveaway for these items in honor of this great new online service provided by Gugu Guru

 Here's what we have come up with as must haves that are budget friendly: - Aden and Anais Swaddles - Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper - Moby Wrap - Sophie The Giraffe - Nose Frida - Mombo Pillow - Wubbanub These items range in price from $12-$60, so they are great options for baby without breaking the bank. Not to mention, these are the most suggested, must have items from moms on social media. Make sure you check out Gugu Guru and pass the word along to your mommy friends and family, as well as expectant moms! 


Connect with Gugu Guru Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 



Now for the giveaway! One lucky reader will win the budget friendly prizes listed above, please note, prints/styles will vary! Retail value approximately $200. Open to US residents, 18 and up. Void where prohibited. One entrant per household/IP address. Winner will be chosen randomly and will be emailed, they will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Giveaway ends June 21st, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.


Disclosure: I was not compensated for the posting of this giveaway. Gugu Guru is solely responsible for prize fulfillment/shipment. This giveaway is in no way affiliated, endorsed, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other social media outlet. If you have any questions concerning this giveaway or would like to see your product featured, please contact everythingmommyhood@gmail.com.

More from Julie:
Feeling Beachie


The statements: 

I like _____ 
____ isn’t _____ 
Before I______, I _______ 
Can you____ when______? 

My answers:

I like the sound of rain on the roof.
Life isn't fair.
Before I go to sleep I need to play music on my Kindle.
Can you avoid eating chocolate when it is available?



More from Julie:

My mind reels at the thought that in a few short hours you will be a First Grader.Wow, this momma is in denial just a bit. In my mind you are still a little girl but it's clear you are growing up. I'm so proud of you, Abby. You are a sweet, caring girl. You are smart. So smart. You love learning. You love people. 

I'm amazed at how well you read and write now. When I told you I would make a journal for you to continue using during the summer, you were so happy you almost knocked me over. Unbelievably, you have also grown like a wildflower this school year. I think in one year you actually grew two inches or more. 

You seem bound and determined to grow up. Your braveness has greatly increased this year as well. That in itself makes me happy. I love seeing you do things you didn't think you could do. You bring me joy just by being you. 

I pray so many things for you, sweet girl, but most of all I pray that you would allow God to direct your steps. Your future's so bright...you gotta wear shades. (That's an 80's reference. Sorry baby, your momma's getting old.) Wink.

Love, 

Momma

More from Julie:

I feel like so many of my friends are struggling right now. 
There are so many ways life can try to get the better of you.
Finances. Kids. Husbands. Family. Friends. Work. Health.

Don't forget that the one the wind and waves obey (Jesus) is strong enough to save you. 
He's strong enough for the big stuff, for the little stuff, for everything. Life may not go the way we want it to but he holds us up. 

Is there anything I can pray for you about? Leave a comment or email me at lovejuliebug@gmail.com and know you aren't alone.


More from Julie:
Tomorrow, June 5th, is National Doughnut Day! Are you celebrating by indulging in one (or some) of these sugary treats? There are two big doughnut chains that are giving their customers a free doughnut to celebrate!


and


At participating stores you can pick ANY one doughnut you want! So, just make sure to check ahead of time before you head in.



More from Julie:
Recently, I found a recipe on Pinterest that intrigued me. It was from Heather's French Press. It's a lovely recipe as is but I made a few changes so I thought I'd share them with you. I made it for my family and all of us loved it! The girl and I maybe loved it more. It was garlicky, a bit spicy, and very juicy. Mmm.



Ingredients:

2 cups diced butternut squash
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T. olive oil
1 package Italian sausage links
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 - 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dry white wine 

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the squash, onion, garlic, salt, pepper,red pepper flakes, and chard. Toss with the olive oil. Arrange in a large baking pan or dutch oven. Add the cannellini beans, and top with the sausage links. Pour the wine over the top. I used cooking wine as I had it on hand but in the future I would use a cheap, but nice bottle of dry white wine. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sausages are browned and cooked through.

More from Julie:
I used to be part of this link up where once a week we would write about the things we would never ever ever do. I miss it sometimes. Why? Because it was fun! So, I thought I would bring it back. Without further ado here it is. If you decide to join me in this link up, please add your link below!


Never ever ever would I...

...wear my contacts all the time. My eyes hate them and would rebel.

...be able to choose between Qdoba and Chipotle.

...stop watching reality cooking shows.

...hate the feeling of a nice breeze coming in the window.

...have super long nails.



More from Julie:

This is my prayer today:

Fill me with the strength and love of Christ.
It's a big prayer because the strength and love of Christ is big.

The love of Christ is so great and wide. How wide? It encompasses everyone in this world. Everyone that's ever lived. Try to wrap your head around that one. I still can't. 

Fill me with the strength and love of Christ. Show me what that truly means. Awake my heart to the greater cause...to love others as Christ loves them. All of them, not just the ones I want to love.


More from Julie:
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