Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall into CASH ($800 Giveaway)!!!

"It's the season after summer; 
it's before the winter; 
it's the fall,
it's the fall,
it's the fall."
-Barney the Dinosaur

Is anyone else freaking ecstatic that it's the fall?! The leaves have changed color, the air is crisp... aaaahhhhhh. Do you need another reason to LOVE fall? How about 800 reasons?

That's right; it's once again time to FALL into CASH!!

fall-cash-giveaway-600Our favorite season FALL has finally arrived and we're celebrating with some of our friends by giving away $800 in PayPal Cash!!! Enter to win the $800 Fall Cash Giveaway! This giveaway is blog/business sponsored and would not be possible without the following: Mom Spark, Pretty My Party, Play Party Pin, Cloudy With A Chance of Wine, The Frugal Navy Wife, See Mom Click, Bloggers Get Social, My Highest Self, She Saved,  I Am That Lady, Michelle's Party Plan-It, What Rose Knows, Tips From A Typical Mom, The Farm Girl Gabs, Monica's Rants, Raves & Reviews, Sugar & Type, The Coconut Head's Survival Guide, What the Fork, Ella and Annie Magazine, Jolee Studio, The Sugar Confetti Shop, Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats, Painting Paris Pink To see a full list of sponsors, please see the Rafflecopter entry form below.
$800 Fall Cash Giveaway!
September 28, 2015  at 12 a.m. EST to October 5, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST Open Worldwide Prize: 1 winner will receive $800 PayPal cash. Eligibility and Rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. This giveaway is open to individuals over the age of the majority in their home country. The winner will be chosen randomly through the Rafflecopter form. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to adhere to all laws in their respective country, which includes payments to any governing tax body. Winner Selection: The winner of the giveaway will be selected in a random drawing through Rafflecopter from among all eligible entries received throughout the promotion period. The random drawing will be conducted within 48 hours of the closing of the giveaway by Pretty My Party or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. Winner will be notified by email by Potential winner must accept the prizes by email as directed by Pretty My Party within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively “the Prize Claim Documents”). Privacy: All entrants acknowledge that if they are chosen as a winner, some of their personally identifying information may be disclosed to third parties at least as required by law, including, without limitation, on a winner’s list. All personal information submitted as part of the giveaway may be shared by and between the promotion entities, and each of the promotion entities will use such information in accordance with their respective independent online privacy policies. See Pretty My Party’s full privacy policy here. Rafflecopter Disclaimer: This promotion is powered by Rafflecopter. Metric Feat LLC (“Rafflecopter”) does not sponsor, administer or endorse this promotion. By entering this giveaway, participants agree to Rafflecopter’s Privacy Policy. Social Media Disclaimer: Entrants should understand that they are providing their information to the sponsors of the giveaway and not to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Google+. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with any of these social media sites. Disclaimer: This giveaway is blog sponsored and is in no way associated with PayPal. If there are any questions, please email
The more entries you complete on the Rafflecopter form, the higher your chances are of winning. If you don’t have time to fill out all of the entries you may come back and complete any entries that you may have missed. Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Nutella Swirl Muffins

You know the saying "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"? Yeah, whoever said that has obviously never tried Nutella. I'll keep my soft tummy in exchange for some of that smooth, hazelnut goodness thank you very much! 

Anyway, I was making my go-to 3 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins the other day when it hit me... Why not add a little Nutella to the top? Friends: I did it and it couldn't be simpler or more delicious! 

Here's whatcha do:
 ~Pour your batter into muffin tins

 ~Add a small dollop of Nutella to the center of each tin


~Bake and eat all of them in one sitting!

It really is that easy, folks! Here are some more in-depth instructions :)

1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin
Desired amount of Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the cake mix and pumpkin together until well combined.
  3. Coat muffin/cupcake tins with non-stick cooking spray and spoon in mixture (cups only need to be about 2/3 full -- it will rise!). 
  4. Add desired amount of Nutella to the center of each tin (I added maybe a teaspoon to each). Swirl with fork.
  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Serve with your favorite fall beverage and enjoy.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Toddlers & Technology: Helpful or Hurtful?

As I mentioned last week, I am now writing for Mamma Tech and thought I would stop by today to share my first article!! Enjoy!

My little munchkin crunching numbers and playing on his tablet..
Can I let you all in on a little secret?
Technology is NOT my forte… like, at all.
Growing up in the early 90s, the most techie toys/gadgets we really had were Teddy Ruxpins, replica Talkboys from Home Alone, and our mom’s boxy Nokia phone (that maybe had Snake on it). That was it. Today, 5-year olds have THEIR OWN smart phones, social media accounts, and selfie sticks.
Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that our leaders of tomorrow know so much about technology, as I predict know it will become more and more vital down the road. However, now that I’m a mom, it really bothers me when I see toddlers, school-aged children, and teenagers burying their faces in their (or their parents) phone or tablet instead of exploring and interacting with the world around them. Are we unknowingly raising a generation of anti-social beings who cannot function without some sort of gizmo in their hands?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jackson's 21 Month Update

I've decided that this month has been my absolute favorite with Jax... I feel like I'm constantly yearning for those tiny newborn days that fly by way too quickly, but for once I'm actually enjoying the present and want nothing more than to freeze time with my smart, funny, and sweet little boy! This month has been another for the books, so without further ado, here's what we've been up to:

Weight: 21.5 lbs.

Length: 32 inches (that's a total guess...)

Nicknames: Jax, Cheeks, Tinks, Stinker, Jacksie, Bubs

Wearing: 18 month clothes; Size 3 diapers

Sleep: Getting better!! He WILL be COMPLETELY weaned/crib trained by the end of October (we started the process a few weeks ago, but it was intercepted by our spur of the moment TX trip, illness, and a trip to Grammy & Grandpas) -- pray for us!

Jax likes: Other kids, trains, kitties, the PBS Kids app on my tablet, animals, technology of any kind, Nana, fruit snacks, airplanes, parades, taking pictures, having friends over to play, watching grandpa juggle, hiding from mommy in the racks at stores, outings with Uncle Joe, riding his bike, playing at the park, going for long stroller rides, reading, making faces in the mirror, wrestling w/mom or dad, playing catch with daddy, being outside

Jax dislikes: Scary Halloween displays, loud noises, skipping nap time, being stuck in the same place for too long, being told no, time out

Food: Cheese, ravioli, raspberries, strawberries, snap pea crisps, mac and cheese, oatmeal, Belvita, sugar of any kind, fruit snacks, pizza, chicken nuggets, and other unhealthy toddler foods. 

Teeth: STILL waiting on those pesky eye-teeth, so I'm going to guess we're STILL sitting at 12... luckily, he hasn't seemed too uncomfortable or pained, so I'm guessing they aren't coming in anytime soon. 

Happenings: Nana's visit; spending a day with grammy & grandpa; Houston trip; hosted Mom's group for planning meeting; packing/preparations for Disney trip; daddy's 29th birthday; visiting grammy & grandpa; homecoming parade/golf with the Wernsmans; and lots of park/backyard play. 

~I think it's safe to say that we have an ambidextrous kid on our hands! He still definitely favors his left hand, but just this month he's really started to go back and forth between the two. Both Brandon's dad and sister are ambidextrous (but typically favor the left), so I know which side of the family it came from!

~Jackson's little sense of humor shows more and more each day and I absolutely LOVE it -- he is so funny and gets the biggest laugh out of the littlest things around him. I seriously wish I could freeze time and keep him at this fun age forever!

~Almost overnight, Jax has become a little pro at sharing! He loves to retrieve people's things for them (if he sees me lay down my phone or Brandon set down his water bottle for even a second, he's all over it) and has gotten so good about sharing (so much so that he was even sharing his candy with his friends at a homecoming parade last weekend, pictured)! He is also incredibly sweet and loves to give hugs and kisses to everyone he meets.

~A few new things from this month:
*Words: bla (blue), oof oof (woof woof), hey, AH (hot), and no.
*Each morning, Jax grabs for my coffee, which leads to me say "No, no, it's hot!" In the last month, he's started to quickly touch the hot cup, say AH (hot), and then proceed to take a drink of it to further examine the temperature/taste. WHAT TODDLER ACTUALLY LIKES COFFEE?!
*He is becoming more and more OCD by the day and always has to have things his way and perfect, or else he'll begin to fuss (gee, I wonder where he gets that? *cough* Brandon *cough*).

~One of Jackson's (and my) new favorite things is catching bugs -- it is so cute to watch him spot one and gently pick it up or guide me over to it. His favorite right now is grasshoppers -- he always wants me to hold it so he can watch it jump away (from a safe distance)! Also, this picture has nothing to do with bugs, but I didn't have a bug picture and thought this was cute!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nana Visits the Mile High City

A few weeks ago, we had the great pleasure of hosting Mamma Nancy (my MIL) for a few days!

Nancy arrived Sunday afternoon while Brandon was still at work, so we talked and got all caught up while Jax napped. Once Brandon was home, we had dinner, made a GT's ice cream run, and all went to bed!
It didn't take Jax long to decide that Nana is his BFF!
Since Brandon was able to take Monday off from work, we decided to do the tourist thing and take Nancy downtown to walk around, shop, and have lunch (since she'd only been to Denver one other time). Upon arriving downtown, we surprised my Aunt Nancy at her office and headed to lunch at Sam's No. 3, which we all HIGHLY recommend. After lunch, my aunt had to head back to work, but was kind enough to loan us her Botanic Gardens pass. Long story short, we didn't stay very long (we were all exhausted) and decided to head back to the house to kick back and visit. #bestchoiceever Later that evening, I whipped up some of my "famous" Italian Nachos for supper and we all turned into bed early. 
Lunch with the Nancy's! 
The corpse flower had lost its stench (and ridiculously long line) by the time we visited the Gardens.

Brandon had to go back to work on Tuesday, so Nancy, Jax, and I packed up the car and headed west to visit him/show Nancy around his office. Brandon seriously works for the coolest, most family centered company I have ever encountered, so we were all welcomed with open arms and given a tour around the building -- what goes on at that company is all over my head (I am not tech-y whatsoever), but it's neat to hear about how important Brandon's job is when it comes to the internet.

After lunch and naps, it was time to get our toes done -- I always forget how wonderful and relaxing it is to have someone rub your feet and paint your nails; if I could do that once a week, I would never be stressed again! Anyway, Brandon was still at work when we went to the salon, so Jax came with us and was SO good (minus him accidentally dropping a bottle a nail polish when I wasn't looking) sitting quietly on my lap, playing on the tablet, and eating fruit snacks while I closed my eyes and relaxed. Ahhhhhh....
Fun Size Brandon working hard! :)

Nancy left early, early the next morning... we were so sad to see her leave and we can't wait to see her again!! We absolutely love living in Colorado, but it sure is difficult not being able to see Brandon's side of the family as often as we used to. I guess that means we have to start planning even more trips to Kansas?? :) Until next time, Mamma Nanc!

Monday, September 21, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Big Announcements, Big Trips, and Big Blog Post

My blog game has been super weak lately...

..I'm always telling myself I need to log in and just write a quick update, but then something happens that takes up all my time and energy... ugh! Anyway, I figured that since the Jackster is asleep, I would write a quick catch up post of everything happening -- hopefully I'll be back to a more consistent posting schedule (whatever that means!) by the end of the month.

One of the big things happening right now is the launch of MammaTech, a fun technology/parenting website that I am proud to be part of! A little background of how I became involved: A few months ago, a good friend of ours contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing a little writing/video blogging/editing for a website he was working on -- I agreed, not realizing the magnitude of this website and its parent company, PCMech. Long story short, I was fortunate enough to actually have a hand in launching the site with Timo and Tyler, and am looking forward to watching it grow over the next few months! It's still in its starting phase (press releases/promotions are coming in the next month), but we would love to have you follow along! I plan to post links to my new posts on Annie One Can Cook, so stay tuned! In the meantime, you should probably go follow MT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Nana (Brandon's mom) came to visit a few weeks ago and we had such a fun time visiting, touring Denver, and overeating! I've been meaning to write about her time here for awhile now and am hoping to get some time to do it later this week -- stay tuned! 

Our big trip to Disney is coming and I am pleased to report that the darling Thumper outfit we purchased Jax months ago fits PERFECTLY!!! We have been watching a lot of Disney movies in preparation for the big vacation and I cannot wait to share one of my favorite things in the whole entire world with our son! Eek! I'm sure I'll be posting lots and lots of pictures, so make sure to follow along on Instagram

Vegas in T-minus one month!!! 

I am on the anchor team for this year's mom's group at our church and am so excited for our first meeting this week! God has brought so many amazing women into my life through this program and I cannot wait to see His plans for us in the coming year. I am also excited to see Jackson making some new friends through this group -- we have a play day at the park with one of the little boys on Wednesday. 

Don't ask me what triggered it, but as of today I am in full blown Christmas mode! I absolutely adore Christmas and long for it all year around, but this year I have been able to take a step back and actually enjoy each season as it comes (maybe it's because I'm a mom and hate seeing the time go by so quickly?). Anyway, I started doing a little gift shopping this morning and plan to do more tomorrow with my brother. 

I have made this stupidly simple apple cobbler twice in the last week and can't get enough -- it's so delish with a scoop a sea salt caramel ice cream on top! 

~Well, I think I have pretty much caught you up on everything happening in our lives! Like I said earlier, I hope to post a little more this week, but wanted to at least stop by once to say hi. Have a great week!~

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Spontaneity at its Finest

Last Wednesday, the most spontaneous thing ever happened...

To give you a brief synopsis, we're in the process of weaning Jax (for real this time), so as I rubbed his back to get him to nap, I logged into Facebook and discovered that Frontier Airlines was doing a special $1 flash ticket sale to select cities. Half joking, I sent the link to Brandon (who was working), asked him if he was up for a weekend trip to Texas (he works 4 10-hour days, Sunday-Wednesday), and less than 18 hours later, we landed at Houston's George Bush International Airport!

I can't count the number of times Brandon and I looked at each other during the trip and said "This is so crazy; I can't believe we're here!" -- it was seriously the most fun and spontaneous thing we have ever done and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to go!
Jackson made a bunch of friends on the shuttle to the airport!
Welcome to Texas!

I'd never been to Texas before and Brandon had only been to Dallas during short layovers, so we weren't sure what to do/expect, but the three of us had the best time! Before we left, Brandon booked a car and a room at the Omni Houston Hotel, but those were the only certainties of our trip... the rest we decided to play by ear. 

After checking in to the hotel, we made a quick Walgreens run (to pick up water, snacks, and meds for my sinus infection :/), picked up a Papa John's pizza, and then relaxed the rest of the night in our beautiful room. It wasn't a very eventful first evening in Houston, but we were all exhausted and wanted nothing more to sleep and relax. 
Jax pretty much adored the hotel lobby -- there were giant fish to feed, glass elevators to ride, and automatic doors to open!
We flew all the way to Texas to sit in a hotel room and eat the same exact pizza we have almost every week :D
Thank you God for this sweet and happy little boy!

Friday morning, we tried out a little breakfast restaurant called the Pecan Creek Grille and made a quick Kroger run before heading south to the Johnson Space Center -- if you are ever in the area, you HAVE to check it out!!! We all had a blast learning, exploring, and playing around the highly interactive grounds -- there is even an awesome hands-on room for kids, which was a hit with our busy toddler. After several hours at the Center, we picked up some Cane's chicken and headed back to our room for the night.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was watching Jax interact with other kids -- I lost count of the number of toddlers he ran up to and hugged and/or kissed!

After enjoying another delicious breakfast at Pecan Creek Grille on Saturday morning, we decided to take advantage of a 2 for 1 Groupon we found to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. After spending nearly two hours at the Museum, we were all exhausted and wanted nothing more than to eat lots of food, lay down, and not move for the rest of the evening -- and that's exactly what we did! By the way, Gil's Barbecue in west Houston is where it's at! 
Jax and I went and found the pool while daddy got ready Saturday morning.
Everything's bigger in Texas!
The Natural History Museum was just okay... we decided that if you've seen one, you've seen them all (it was basically the same as Denver). 
Our little Jackson was completely tuckered out by Sunday and actually napped on me at the airport and slept the entire plane ride (which means I got to take a nap too)! We all had such a good time and I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to vacation with my two favorite guys. Keep those deals coming, Frontier -- we'll keep buying! 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was both Brandon's and my (and obviously Jax's) first trip to Texas and we were both so impressed with the state and the good, salt-of-the-earth people. That being said, I wanted to share Brandon's thoughts on the state, as we share the same exact sentiment.

My short time spent in Texas really has shown me how great this state really is. Everyone always talks about how great Texas is, how everything is bigger in Texas, and that southern hospitality. Other than the last couple of days, I've never really spent much time in Texas other than just driving through or waiting for a connecting flight at DFW and have never really had that Texas experience.
While in Houston for a short trip, I was here during the ceremonies for Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth who was killed while refueling his patrol car. I've always heard how patriotic people in Texas are, but before this trip, I really had no idea. While here I saw the entire community come together during this sad time. Neighborhoods had blue ribbons tied around trees, cars had a blue line across the back windshield, nearly every yard and business flew the American flag, citizens all throughout the area wore blue, and the news stations all took time to not only remember the fallen officer but to remind citizens to pay tribute as well.
It saddens me to say that back home I would never see something like this. Yes it would be agreed that this is a tragic and senseless loss, but the news and Facebook would be flooded with people talking about what he may have done to "deserve" this, how gun control needs to be addressed, or something about racism. Though there are issues in our nation that need to be addressed, I heard nothing of the sort while here and it's admirable to see a community put all that aside for a moment so they could take time to celebrate and remember the life of someone who's passed. As Jon Stewart said, "You can truly grieve for every officer who’s been lost in the line of duty in this country, and still be troubled by cases of police overreach. Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive. You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them to be held to high standards.” Though there are corrupt officers out there, the actions of a few do not reflect the whole. Deputy Goforth was a man putting gas in his car when someone decided to end his life.
Though I am not a Texan, what I have seen and experienced here in Houston from its community has made me proud to be an American. It has made me feel that maybe some day I could move here and call Texas home but I'm not sure about its humidity yet. It's absolutely brutal!

We love you, Texas! Can't wait to visit again!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It Is a Pretty "Grand" Lake...

Two weeks ago, our little family of three took our first ever vacation (with just the three of us, that is) and it couldn't have gone any better!

My Aunt Millie has a gorgeous cabin up in Grand Lake, which we FINALLY decided to take advantage of. The drive from Denver to Grand Lake is maybe 2 hours and 15 minutes -- I can't count the number of times Brandon and I looked at each other and asked "why didn't we do this sooner?" We arrived in GL late Thursday afternoon and got settled into the cabin before heading into town to enjoy dinner and drinks at the Sagebrush, run around the playground with Jackson, and indulge in some delicious homemade ice cream at one of the local creameries.
We pack lightly. 
The cabin has the coolest loft area with twin beds for the kids -- Jax wasn't too sure what to think.. Maybe next time!
If you ever visit Grand Lake, you MUST go to Sagebrush (Jackson got a kick out of throwing peanut shells on the floor) -- SO good!
All tuckered out after a fun day of traveling and exploring!
We woke up early Friday morning and ate a big breakfast (prepared by Brandon) before heading out to Granby Lake to try our luck at fishing. Brandon tested the waters for nearly 2 hours and didn't get a single nibble, but we still had a fun time enjoying the quiet and watching Jax throw rocks into the water. Friday afternoon consisted mostly of resting, writing (for me), and eating way too much yummy food. 
He LOVES the mountains!
Jackson was taking selfies as Brandon buckled him into his car seat.
The infamous "dad is wiping my nose" selfie. 
These two melt my heart.
It doesn't get better than having a hot guy cook for you.
Made from scratch chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn -- OMG SO DELISH!
Pure heaven.

Saturday morning was spent mostly cleaning and eating another huge breakfast (thanks babe!) -- around nap time, we started to head back down the mountain, making a pit stop in Idaho Springs for Brandon & Jackson's first Beau Jo's pizza. 
I thought for sure that Jax would nap the entire way home, but he kept himself occupied with a good book and a few of his cars :)
He had a blast on vacation but was sure excited to come home and see his friends again!
Some of my favorite childhood memories took place at the cabin and I'm so excited to be able to share this special place with my own family! Our first vacation with just the three of us was a smashing success and I can't wait to return to the mountains again (hopefully) very soon! 

Final, mushy thought: I feel so incredibly blessed to call Colorado my "home" -- this state really has the best of everything with its beautiful cities, majestic mountains, and rolling plains. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss Kansas, but I guess Colorado is just as pretty :)

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