script async src="//">, pub-0949974396517105, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

My Sunshine, and my Diamond in the Rain…

Diamonds in the Rain Quote

My Sunshine, and my Diamond in the Rain

A year ago, when I was planning this blog I wanted to create, I totally struggled with finding the right name. I went through sooo many, but nothing seemed seemed “right”. So I made a list of things that filled my days – which at the time were pretty crazy. I was a brand new, first time, totally unprepared mom. As I looked through that list, the words Sunshine and Sippy Cups popped out at me – This little girl had instantly become the total sunshine of my life.

Sparkles Make Me Smile

So – She is my sunshine. She is my motivation. She makes me smile when no one else can. This picture makes me think of her, and will hang in on her wall when she moves to her “Big Girl” room later this year. I have always said that Sparkle is my favorite color – and she is a little treasure that definitely sparkles!

Better than a diamond

It’s fitting that this site is named after her – She is the reason I started it. I was laid off while I was on maternity leave, and I had no idea what I’d do. I was a full time college student, with an infant, looking for a job in a terrible economy. So, I figured I’d jump into this new adventure on the web – I love sharing the “Busy Mom Solutions” that I’ve learned along the way, the things that have helped make my life easier. I hope that some of my posts have helped you too. And I love that doing this new job that I absolutely love allows me to stay home with her, and be here every day to watch her grow and change. I treasure those moments more than any diamond I could ever own.

Who takes away your rainy days and fills them with diamonds?

Linking up on Pretty on Pinterest on Sassy Mama in L.A. – Join us!

{This image can be found on my “Quotes I Love” board on Pinterest. Are you a Pinterest addict too? Leave me your link so I can follow you!}


Bloggers Have Messy Homes & Other Thoughts on Housework…

“My House was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it.” – I want this wooden sign. I want to hang it over the front entry way of my home, so people know what to expect. But, I saw this picture on Facebook, with no link, so I’m unsure of where to buy it. I searched the web, and all I can find is some shopping site from the UK, but I don’t have UK money. I don’t know what those little L shaped dollar signs even mean. So if you find this for sale in US dollars, please let me know. Better yet – Tell Santa. He knows where I live.

A Clean House is the Sign of a Broken Computer


“A Messy House is a sign of Creativity”

There are tons of bloggers who have beautiful homes. People like the couple over at Young House Love – they blog, and they blog about the amazingly creative upgrades that they do to their home. And their home is clean. Not while they’re doing projects, of course. But even when they’re ripping out a wall and building something from wood that probably came from a tree that they grew from a seed, and then cut down themselves with hand tools {they’re amazing, and I’m sure that they do this} – Even during those big remodels, I’m pretty sure their house is still less of a disaster than mine is. So, while many people say “A Messy House is a sign of Creativity” – the creative bloggers I’ve seen all have amazing homes. I try to keep up with housework – while I wait for my camera to upload new pictures for a review, I throw a load of laundry in. I blog while I cook dinner. I multi-task. Yet still, between bottles and snacks and backpacks and homework and writing and giveaways and bath time and story time and answering emails – the housework lingers. It mocks me from the messy corners, knowing that I don’t have time to leave my computer chair and tackle it. I should tackle it too. Football style.

“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.” – Joan Rivers

Surprising fact – I like cleaning. I get excited over new kitchen sponges with cool designs. I love buying the latest cleaning gadgets – the Black & Decker Steam Mop thrills me ten times more than my new iPhone. I’m a bit {ok, my family would say a lot} OCD – I insist on all of the drinkware being put away on the shelf in rows: juice glasses, mugs, then tall drinking glasses. In rows, people – we’re not animals. You don’t just stack a drinking glass in front of a mug? Who does that? And the canned goods should also be in rows, according to type, with all labels facing forward. Who puts a can of corn in the green bean row? Right? Books and DVD’s should be organized according to color. Why is this so hard for the savages that I live with to understand?

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” – Phyllis Diller

The problem is this – 2 years ago, I lived alone. Just me and my cat. She was a neighborhood stray that adopted me when I moved into my new house. I asked her what her name was; she said “Meow.” Weird name, but I don’t judge. So I lived in a clean, neat, and organized home for a couple years, just me and Meow. Then life threw some curve balls, as it tends to do when things are going along too comfortably. First, my mother moved into the spare bedroom – with her 4 little dogs. Then, my brother and his 2 boys remodeled my basement, and moved in too. They brought a few fish – but they had a tank, so that was ok too. Then I found out I was pregnant. Woah. So my boyfriend moved in with me. He brought a dog. My house was now a bit different. And by “a bit”, I mean like flipped upside down. Flipped like one of those rides at the fair that I’m much too old to ride.

“I will clean house when Sears comes out with a riding vacuum cleaner.” – Roseanne Barr

What at first was going to be a temporary arrangement has become the new normal. Our house is filled with messes, craziness, and mayhem – but it’s also filled with love. I drink much more coffee now than I ever have before – {and if you know me, you know I drink it by the bucket!} – just to keep up with it all. My mother and I decided to buy a new home together last November – it’s not that much bigger, but it has a pool, and a really big property, and is in a much better area. I love this house. I love the view from my back door, of the beautiful snow-covered fields and trees. And I love the view inside – of Abby smile when she’s dancing in the kitchen with Grandma, while Daddy cooks us a great dinner, and Uncle James plays with those wild nephews of mine. My brother and the boys will probably move out sometime this next year – so for now, I try to ignore the chaos, and enjoy having them all here. With a full house, Abby can’t yet move to her own room, and is sharing the Master Bedroom with her Daddy and I. But while she may not get her own room – she gets to play with her cousins every day. She gets to see Grandma and Uncle James every night. She’s surrounded by a big bunch of people who adore her. And a house full of family, love, and happiness is about as good as it gets. So, I suppose the cleaning can wait…

“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”
―Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

What do YOU think?

Share your stories in the comments… Are you a blogger who actually has a clean home? How do you feel about cleaning up after kids? Do you clean up after kids? Or do your children play board games with the dust bunnies? I love hearing from you guys.

A few more things you might like….


Mommy Thoughts: Toddlers and Ringing Phones…

Funny Toddler Quote

So true, right?

A friend of mine shared this quote today, from, and I loved it.

It’s funny how babies, toddlers, -heck even big kids sometimes-bring out the soft side in even the toughest guys.

My daughters dad is definitely a “tough guy”- not a lot of smiles, race car driver, construction worker- you get the idea. When I hear him down on his hands and knees, playing with Abby and her tea set, it melts my heart.

Kids are amazing….

Are you a mom? Check out a few great deals, just for you:
Free Baby Talk Magazine Subscription, Clothing Swap- get a Free box of kids clothes, or find amazing deals on designer kids toys and clothing from Totsy and Zulily.


Being Frugal Doesn’t Mean Being Cheap- Giving Back on a Budget

Thanks to Walgreens for sponsoring my writing. Help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote.

Being Frugal Doesn’t Mean Being Cheap

But you already knew that, right? To me, being frugal means saving as much as I can on necessities, so that there is more left over for the things that are a priority in our family- vacations, fun, and charity.  One of the things that I think is extremely important, no matter how little you have, is giving back to others in your community.

But what If I’m struggling too?

With the downturn in the economy, many food banks and other assistance groups have reported a huge increase in people asking for help- and that many of them are people who used to donate! But even if you’re living on a super-tight budget, you always have something great to offer to others. Maybe you can’t write out a donation check to send to your favorite charity- that’s ok! There are tons of ways to help out. And when you do good things for others, you become more grateful for what you do have.

How to give back to your community on a limited budget:

  • Are you a gardener? I’m sure you always end up with lots of extra veggie’s at the end of the season. Donate those to your local food bank- they’d be VERY happy to get them! Another thing many food banks need are your grocery bags- they need them to sort food, and make packages to give away.
  • Are you a crafty type? Knit, crochet, or sew some great handmade goodies like hats and scarves, or snuggly blankets- donate them to your local homeless shelter, to keep them warm this winter.
  • Are you a freebie junkie? Sort through your drawers and cupboards, and gather up a bunch of the extra shampoo, lotion, and make-up samples you have. {If you’re like me, you have A LOT!} Bring these to your local YWCA or women’s shelter- many women leaving a domestic violence situation don’t have time to bring anything with them. These samples are much appreciated.
  • Coupon crazy? Get just a few extra items each week, and donate those to your local food bank or soup kitchen. Every little bit helps.
  • Social Butterfly? Help out a local non-profit by staffing the front desk and answering calls!

See how easy it can be?

Everyone can help out in their community! It can even be as easy as just checking on an elderly neighbor who lives alone, and offering to shovel their driveway. Or offering a free evening of babysitting to help out a single mom on a tight budget, just to give her a break. When we all make an effort to help out one another, our communities become a much better place to raise our families.

Looking for more?

Here are few other organizations that can always use some extra help:

  • United Way: Check them out and learn how to help at
  • Salvation Army: Find out what opportunities are available in your community, visit
  • Goodwill: Find your local donation drop offs, and learn more about how they help out,
  • Volunteer Match: This is a great site that can help you find the right volunteer opportunity for you. It’ll match your skills and interests with a group that would benefit from your help- right in your community! I love this site.

What are you waiting for?

I believe in the idea that “It takes a Village”. What that means is that we all have a better life when each person takes the time to help out others. I drop off baby samples and items I get on clearance at our local crisis pregnancy center- they put these into care packages for low-income teen moms, to help them get a good start. I have a friend who found out that a really talented kid in his neighborhood wasn’t going to be able to play football once he got to high school, because his parents couldn’t afford it. He sponsored him for the year, and bought all of the equipment and paid his fees. This will go a LONG way towards making this kid feel worthwhile- keeping him out of trouble, and in a great program.

If each of us finds just one way to give back, imagine the difference we can make in our communities!

Don’t forget to help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.


Moms – Do Your Best, Forget the Rest

“The moment a child is born,
the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.”
 – Rajneesh

Finding out that you’re pregnant changes you.

I’m not just talking about the fact that you soon won’t be able to buckle your pants, followed a few months later by the disappearance of your ankles. And I’m not talking about the mood swings {from joy and overwhelming happiness, to fear and overwhelming anxiety- in the same 5 minutes}, or the food cravings, or the nesting instinct.

No, what I’m talking about is a different change- You become a mother. Even before you’ve seen the baby on an ultrasound. Before you know if it’s a boy or a girl. You suddenly become more aware of your body- what you put in it, what you breath, how you live. You make big changes- no more coffee or alcohol, more fruits and veggie’s, and the big one- starting Prenatal Vitamins.

Nature Made Logo

From Pringles to Prenatals:

I’d always eaten moderately healthy, and was active, but had never given too much thought to what I put into my body. But, once you realize you’ve got a little person in there, already relying on you to make the best choices, well- that can be a big wake-up call!

I was determined to give my little peanut the best start possible- eating right and taking my vitamins, becoming more aware of things like organic foods and low-VOC paints, and doing my best each day to protect her and help her grow!

Fast Forward to Today:

Now, I’m the lucky momma of a toddler- and still trying to be the best mom I can be! As moms, we sometimes forget to take time for ourselves, {of course we forget- how do you remember ANYTHING when you have a baby in the house?} but it’s SO important!

To be the best mom you can be, you have to be the best YOU that you can be. That means taking a break sometimes, to do something “grown-up”, something you love- that you loved back in your former, “pre-momma” days. It means making time to eat healthy meals {not just snagging a stray tator-tot that’s left-over on someone’s plate and calling it dinner!}, and taking a daily vitamin or two, to ensure you get everything you need to keep up with a fast-moving kiddo.

Do your best, forget the rest!

That’s my philosophy. Every day I do the best I can. I’m the best mom I can be, the best me I can be, and encourage my daughter to grow into the best HER that she can be. I don’t get everything right- If I raise my voice, I apologize. If she makes a mess, we clean it up together. If my diet isn’t perfect, I know that the daily vitamin I take each day helps cover the gaps. I know I’m doing my best, and I bet you are too. And that really is good enough. Share your mommy stories with me in the comments…

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!

{Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Nature Made and received promotional items to thank me for taking the time to participate. Vote for my entry on Facebook between 9/20/11 and noon (PT) 9/26/11.}


NOT just a Stay at Home Mom!

Research Associate in the field of  Child Development and Human Relations:

I read this today on Mampedia, and just HAD to share it with you guys.

I HATE that people often take for granted what we all do as Stay {or Work!} at Home Moms– Like we all sit around watching Oprah all day, eating bon bon’s, right? Ugh.

Being a mom is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Whether you work, stay home, work from home- whatever- it’s great work, but it’s demanding! And some people just don’t get it. Read how this mom handled it–

Let me know what you think…

A woman, renewing her drivers license at the County Clerk’s office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.”What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job or are you just a……?””Of course I have a job,” snapped the woman.- “I’m a Mom.” “We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it,” Said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.

The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”

“What is your occupation?” she probed.

What made me say it?
I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
“I’m a Research Associate in the field of  Child Development and Human Relations.”

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing program of research,
[what mother doesn’t)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I’m working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
And already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
And I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and therewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.”
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants — ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another Mom.”


Share your thoughts on this in the comments- I’d love to hear from you!

Survey Princess- the new survey site just for you! Join today!


Baby Loves Chocolate…

So true…

“Research tells us that fourteen out of any ten individuals like chocolate.”
― Sandra Boynton


This was Abby’s first time using a big girl spoon. It didn’t exactly go as I had planned…. Never turn your back, not even for a moment, on a baby with a tub of chocolate pudding….

{Good Stuff for Momma’s: Baby-to-Bee Freebies: Click Here. Meet other Moms: Click Here. And name brand samples and diaper coupons: Click Here.}