Easy DIY Backyard Flower Pot S'mores

Easy DIY Pot S'mores... Er, I mean FLOWER pot s'mores. Catch ya off guard with that did I? Haha! This is the easiest DIY we've done in a long time, and the most delicious one too! There's nothing like a good s'more during the summer (but lets be honest, I love s'mores anytime of the year).
Chocolate and ooey-gooey slightly burnt marshmallows sandwiched between two graham crackers... ahhhh be still be beating heart, this is what dreams are made of.
S'mores are pretty much an American and Canadian tradition  , and though no one really know the exact origin of s'mores, reports show that scouts made them as early as 1925 and one of the earliest publish recipes  published by the Campfire Marshmallows company in the 1920s was called a "Graham Cracker Sandwich. S'more is actually a combination of the words "some more", which would make sense, because after I have one, I always want "some more" too lol. Oh and if you needed to know a day to celebrate your love of s'mores without judgment, August 10th is National S'mores Day! YAY! You can bet I'll be celebrating that day for sure.

Okay, so let's get down to the business of making this nifty little gadget for roasting your marshmallow s'mores, it's so easy it'll make you wanna cry and you'll wonder why you've never tried it before.
1 bag Marshmallows
1 package Hershey bars
1 box graham crackers
1 foot aluminum foil
1 terra cotta flower pot
4 charcoal bricks
lighter fluid
Matches or a lighter (a long candle lighter works great)

Prepare by getting all your ingredients out, perhaps setting everything on a plate or putting your s'mores ingredients in cute mason jars (like Megan from A Blessed Nest Blog does here). Take a regular sized (or bigger if you want a bigger fire if you have a large family or are entertaining guests) terra cotta flower pot and line it with aluminum foil, I used about a foot and folded it over once before flattening it inside the flower pot along the sides and bottom, just fold the excess over the sides. Throw your charcoal bricks inside the terra cotta flower pot and soak them in lighter fluid. Make sure it's sitting where you want to light it before you light it with your lighter or match so you don't get burnt while moving it. Once it's lit and the fire is going grab some marshmallows, throw them on some skewers and get to toasting! You know the drill after that, grab your first half of graham cracker, top it with half a Hershey bar, slap that freshly toasted marshmallow on there and top with another half a graham cracker! Soooo yummy!


Our $300 Mistake [And How We Fixed It]

It was supposed to be a fun, new exciting thing. A fun first. A brand new big girl bed! But it ended in a nightmare and brought months of medical problems for our little sweetheart, and even ourselves.
The first week of January, we purchased Bella her first bed, we bought her a Serta mattress for a good deal at Kmart, and ended up buying her bed frame online on Amazon.com. It was a super cute bed, had drawers for storage underneath and was white so it would match her dresser we were getting ready to re-do for her.
When we received the bed, it just had this certain smell about it. I didn't think anything about it, I juts figured since it was new it would smell like that (that smell you'd smell walking through the wood section at Lowes or Home Depot). The bed itself was cute, and was actually really easy to put together. But after a few nights of our little sweetheart sleeping in there I noticed a change. The room would smell so strongly from the bed that it was almost hard to breathe and I'd get a headache from it. I'd wake up so congested I could barely breathe through my nose. Buy the real worrying started when Bella started having asthma like issues, had a mild rash covering most of her body and vomiting multiple time a night... oh and then the coughing started.
She was otherwise healthy, but coughing, so much coughing. She'd cough so much she'd throw up everywhere. She couldn't keep food down and her nose was either congested or running constantly. Now you might think it was just a random cold since it was winter... But my mama instincts told me something different.
We racked our brains, the internet and the doctor's mind to find out what was wrong with our little girl. The Pediatrician told us it was acid reflux, and though giving her tums helped settle her tummy for a few days, even in the back of my mind I knew that it wasn't the right diagnosis.
Meanwhile, we purchased some sealant to hopefully seal the bed up, since though the outside was white and sealed up, the biggest part of the bed, where the mattress laid on it, wasn't actually sealed (the photo's online didn't show that), and neither was any of the inside or back of the headboard. They were all unsealed particleboard! My husband painted the entire thing with sealant not once, but twice. and the smell still never subsided. And kept in fact getting worse. Now during this time we switched bedrooms, my husband started sleeping in our daughter's room on a spare twin bed next to her new bed and Bella and I moved into our master bedroom. Her symptoms got a little better, but no by much, and my husband started getting a nasty cough and having multiple nose bleeds.
Meanwhile, I started looking up allergies, we already know she has a dust mite allergy and I was thinking it could have been that but wasn't sure. Well I also came upon some articles about allergies to particle board and furniture made from it.
Interesting fact... ALMOST ALL particle board furniture is made with FORMALDEHYDE!
Yep, that toxic stuff. So all this time our family and little daughter were breathing in these toxic fumes and we unknowingly had them in our home. I read other's experiences with formaldehyde allergies and also read that although it bother's adults some too, children especially as susceptible since they have such small bodies and sensitive systems.
Once we realized what was going on we shut the door for the next week while we tried to figure out what to do with this useless and toxic piece of furniture. I worked tirelessly on trying to get it returned. I called the company who though I have to say was extremely courteous and helpful said they couldn't help me, since I purchased it from amazon and not them directly. SO I then called amazon, who wanted me to put it in a box and ship it back to them with a packing slip (I'm still laughing at that lol). I had to explain that it wasn't something I could just throw in a box and ship back, it was in fact a 200 pound bed that was put together. Long story short, once I explained everything to them, they were kind enough to tell me that though I had to take it apart and tape as many pieces together as I could, that they were going to send a truck to pick it up and take it to the airport and fly it back to them. And after that they would refund my money. Whew, I mean talk about a relief. Not only was I getting this thing off of my hands but I was also going to get my almost $300 refunded.
After some digging I found out that apparently this company has gotten in trouble before, for putting more than that allowed amount of formaldehyde in their products. But you'd think that a company that makes furniture for children wouldn't put it in there at all. I mean I get it, they don't want bugs living in the furniture, but I don't think THEY get it, that I want to keep my baby safe. There are too many issues in this world to worry about for my daughter than for me to have to worry that her own bed will slowly kill her. Also, there are a few green companies who use a safe compound made from mushrooms I believe it is, as a safe alternative to formaldehyde. 
In the future we are going to be very (and I mean VERY) careful of what kind of furniture we purchase. And yes, I know sometimes it is impossible to not purchase furniture made from particle board or pressed wood, but please if you purchase make sure it is sealed up everywhere! Don't purchase anything that has unsealed and exposed particle board or pressed wood. Especially if it is an item for a child's room. Their systems are so fragile and sensitive and the side effects of formaldehyde exposure (especially in children) are pretty scary. Did you know that rashes, vomiting, coughing, asthma, sore throat, nose bleeds, scratchy eyes, congestion, post nasal drip and even more severe things such as infertility and cancer are side effects of being exposed to too much formaldehyde or being exposed for a long while?
A few more items we've found out to avoid from our research of formaldehyde exposure, that you would never even think of, are stretchy jeans, wrinkle resistant sheets and clothing and even Johnson & Johnson baby soaps and shampoo and de-caffeinated coffee! 
It's seriously scary stuff. I now smell every piece of furniture and item that comes into our home (because I'll never forget that awful smell, and my nose knows). We ended up going with a metal bed frame for Bella's new big girl bed for her bedroom and we couldn't be happier with it. No more health issues and all of our health problems cleared up after we got rid of the other bed, though Bella's cough took a little longer since it turned into sinusitis but cleared up after a round of antibiotics.
This blog post isn't meant to scare everyone, but it is meant to serve as a story of what happened to us, our personal experience and a mama not wanting any fellow mama's to go through the same thing. A mama can never keep her babies and family too safe.


Pick Your Own | Family Blueberry Adventures

Every year one of the top things on my "warm weather want to do list" is pick-your-own strawberries. And somehow every single year... we miss the season. This year is because both my hubby and I ended up in the hospital, but usually, we just forget. Lol.
Same with this year. My hubby had the day off this past Saturday since it was a holiday weekend and I said to him on Friday evening "why don't we go strawberry picking since you have the day off tomorrow". Well, Saturday morning I decided to call around and see who had pick your own strawberries, and as it turned out, everyone I talked to said the same thing. "Strawberries are out of season, no one has them". I mean, talk about disappointment. But on a whim, I decided to call around (again) and ask if anyone knew of any farms that had pick-your-own blueberries! the first two places I called didn't,  but they always say the third time is a charm and voila! Pick-your-own blueberry picking we went!
$3 a quart and I might have been a little bit in love with the adorable berry baskets and the color of the blueberries were just the prettiest deep blue. What a perfect day, family time, blueberry picking... It was such a sweet day!

Bella was such a good blueberry picker, she did go through a little bit where she only wanted to pick the green ones, but for the most part she picked the ripest juiciest berries, and she filled up a quart berry basket over half way by herself! It was the cutest sight to see her pick all the blueberries and run through the orchard.

Now... time for all the blueberry things... blueberry pies, cobblers, cakes,  muffins, smoothies and pancakes! Yum!