Traditions: Pumpkin Carving

I love holidays, because they’re so rife with traditions. Traditions, for me, are something for my boys to anchor their childhood memories to. When the years have past, I want them to remember the times we spent together as a family enjoying each other, laughing, and having fun. Traditions: Pumpkin Carving

Every year, like most families in America, the kids each pick out a pumpkin to carve. My husband and I help them carve their pumpkins. Usually, this involves them sketching out or telling me an idea, me transferring the design to the pumpkin, and all of us taking turns carving (except Emerson…no knives for him).  Traditions: Carving Pumpkins I love seeing their creativity in their designs and every year they come out different. Emerson told me he wanted a scary face (RAWR!). Miles drew a happy face. Sinjin opted for a Dalek from Dr. Who. They all turned out great.

Traditions: Carving Pumpkins

Do you have Halloween traditions? Does everyone in your family carve a pumpkin every year? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about your traditions!


National Brush Day and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

If you’re anything like me, you hate getting your kids to brush their teeth. It’s a struggle, and I’ll admit I often forget. After three cavities filled for my five-year-old, I know I have to be better at getting them to brush. Parenting is hard; but if we can remember two minutes, twice a day, we know we’re doing at least one thing right. Check out this hilarious video about parenting and brushing.

Need some extra help?

Check out these fun two minute videos to keep your kids brushing for 2 whole minutes twice a day at 2min2x.

Sign up for text alerts to remind your kids to brush twice a day for two minutes each.

Download the Toothsavers Brushing Game to make brushing a fun challenge for your little ones.

Giveaway Details for $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway:

In honor of National Brush Day (, Untrained Housewife and fellow bloggers are hosting a giveaway to help parents teach their children all those daily tasks that are so important to health and well-being. One lucky winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card just in time for the holidays. The giveaway starts on October 27, 2014 and will end 11:59pm on November 3, 2014. Open to US residents, 18 and older only and void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary – chances of winning depend on number of entries received. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ipsy Glam Bag Review – October

A new month, a new Ipsy Glam Bag! It’s only my second bag, but I’m having a blast each time I get one. Trying new products without a large financial commitment is perfect for someone like me who doesn’t know much about beauty products. Let’s get to this month’s goodies!

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - October

October’s theme was Beauty Candy, and I’m simply in love with the teal makeup bag they sent. It’s shiny, squishy, and absolutely adorable. I took it to work to use as my travel bag when I visit computer labs and the library. I’ve got extra pens, passes, and post-its all ready to go so I don’t forget anything!

  1. Ayres Patagonia Body Butter – I love that this body butter isn’t sticky and has a very light scent. I’m keeping it next to my bed to rub on my hands and elbows (the rough spots) before bed. I like that it’s thick, but not hard.
  2. H2o+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment – I was rather surprised at the fact that this leave-on treatment is a gel. You clean your face and then rub it onto the skin. I enjoyed the smell, but I wasn’t a huge fan of how my face felt after application. I’ll try it a few more times to see if I’m a true fan.
  3. noyah Lipstick - It’s tiny, but fierce. I love the color, Deeply in Mauve. I also love that the ingredients are all natural. I don’t feel like it’s heavy or gross on my lips which is how I usually feel with lipstick on.
  4. Revlon Bold Lacquer Length and Volume Mascara – Perfect timing, because I needed some new mascara. Unfortunately, they sent black when I tend to use brown. It’s adequate as a mascara though, but nothing special in my opinion.
  5. Skyn Iceland Mini Glacial Cleansing Cloths – Such a fresh smell with these face wipes. I also like that my face doesn’t feel sticky after using them. I don’t like that I still have some makeup on my face after only using one. I feel like they’d be better used on a non-makeup day.

Overall, I had fun with this candy-themed bag. I love trying new products, so this subscription service is perfect for me. Thinking of signing up? Use my referral link so I can gain some points. Are you already a subscriber? What did you get in your bag this month?

Fun Family Vacations: Luggage and Trip Sweepstakes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Atlantic Luggage. All opinions are 100% mine.

Every year, we take the boys on a mini-vacation up to a local ski resort. We don’t ski, so we go in the off season when it’ll be less crowded and the rates are a bit more affordable. What I love about these short trips is that we can get away from home for a few nights without packing a ton. We can share suitcases (we usually bring two or three for the five of us), and we can fit everything required for our short trip. We had an absolute blast on our trip and we’re looking forward to the next one. And now you can enter to win your own family trip for four provided by Atlantic Luggage and Delta Airlines.

Family Vacations: Trip and Luggage Giveaway

What’s great about Atlantic Luggage is the versatility. They offer so many options to help your family get everything they need to where you’re going. Their luggage is lightweight, so you’re not lugging around a bunch of unnecessary pounds. I love that their Hardside Collections will hold up when the kids decide to “help” taking the luggage in and out of the car. If your kids are anything like mine, they don’t understand the need to carefully carry our important essentials. With Atlantic Luggage, there is no need to worry about what’s happening to your belongings. You’ll know everything is safe inside. And the best part? They have absolutely everything you need from carry-ons and duffels to totes and uprights. Their selection of colors is perfect for matching each family member to their own piece of luggage. Imagine how much fun it would be for everyone to have their own traveling gear!

Let’s get to the sweepstakes! Your family can win a family trip for four to New York or San Diego, courtesy of Atlantic Luggage and Delta Vacations!

How To Enter and Details:

Go to the link below and fill out the sweepstakes form.


Sweepstakes runs October 15 through November 15

Winner will be chosen within 7-10 days following the close of the sweepstakes.

Grand Prize trip must be booked by 9/30/15 and travel must be completed by 10/31/15.


Grand Prize package trip certificate is valid for: (a) round-trip economy air transportation valued at up to $450 per ticket for the Grand Prize winner and three (3) guests from a major U.S. airport serviced by Delta Air Lines near to the Grand Prize winner’s home (as determined by Sponsor), to a major U.S. airport serviced by Delta Air Lines near New York City or San Diego, CA (as chosen by winner and determined by Sponsor); (b) hotel accommodations at a participating Delta Vacations hotel in New York City or San Diego, C; (c) four (4) Atlantic® carry-on sized suitcases; and (d) $300 allowance to spend on their choice of Delta Vacations Tour or Activity packages.

Trip is to last three days and two nights

Total prize value of $3,700


Enter to win a family trip for four to New York or San Diego! Head on over and enter. Then, come back here and let me know which trip YOU would choose if you win!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Why There are Little to No Posts about Working Moms

I find so many articles online for and about stay-at-home moms and work-at-home moms. I think it’s amazing that some moms can stay at home with their kids all day! It’s a luxury I would actually love to be able to afford. However, so many of us can’t afford to stay home. Other women choose to work outside of the home. I say GOOD ON YOU TO WHICHEVER YOU ARE! Power to moms!

I often wondered, though, why there weren’t many articles for us full time working moms. I haven’t found many articles praising our decision to work and support our family. I haven’t read any helpful lists to explain how to keep things organized, keep the kids busy, make the best meals, and entertain the best parties all while also juggling a full time job. I have been thinking about it for awhile. Why aren’t these articles being written? And then I realized…there are too many reasons to count why these articles aren’t circulating around the web. I’ve listed a few for you below.

Why There are No Articles About Working Moms

  1. We’re too damn busy. After working eight hours a day, picking our kids up from daycare or school (often out of our way), and coming home to make dinner, we don’t have much time for anything else…including writing.
  2. We’re too damn tired. We’re basically running around merely surviving from the moment the alarm clock goes off to the moment we can crawl back in bed.
  3. We’re trying to spend time with our kids. We get precious little time when they’re in daycare or school all day and we’re at work. Additionally, since most activities for daycare aged kids are during the day (geared toward stay-at-home moms) we’re having to entertain them ourselves with trips to the museum or the park. No classes or sports for those kiddos!
  4. We feel like we have nothing to offer. I can’t speak for all of us working moms, but most of the time I feel like I’m just surviving. I’m not making the finest dinners, my kids aren’t bathed every night, the tv is on far too often, the house is in a constant state of chaos.
  5. We’re always working. Working at work. Working at home. Working weekdays. Working weekends. If we’re not at work, we’re thinking about work. It’s not ideal, and sometimes we can step out of the work mind, but the point is that work is a major part of our lives. It sometimes consumes us.

I know there are several other reasons why working moms aren’t writing articles for each other. We’re so tired and busy, we’re lucky to get our kids dressed and out the door in matching clothes most days. Keep up the good work, working moms. You’re a superstar in my book!

Do you work full time outside of the home? Do you find the lack of helpful articles disheartening? Share your story!

Writing Process Blog Tour

Recently, I was invited to participate in a Writing Process Blog Tour. I was tagged by What the Bride Wore to write a blog post linking back to her, answering the following questions about my writing process, and nominating three other bloggers to do the same.

Writing Process Blog Tour

  • What are you working on? Currently, I’m working on keeping my blog current and updated. I’d like to be able to post at least three times a week, but sometimes life gets in the way. I’m going to keep working at consistently writing a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I know you’ll forgive me if that doesn’t happen every week though.
  • How does your work differ from others of this type/genre? I feel like the biggest difference is my own voice. I try to write as if I’m sitting down with a friend and talking. I want all of my readers to feel like they just had a coffee date with me.
  • Why do you write what you do? I write about what’s important to me. I want my blog to be authentic. I write online as a creative outlet, but I want others to gain something out of the result. I try to keep the topics positive for the most part and helpful or informative in some way.
  • How does your writing process work? I sit down and type! HA! I’m not the most organized blogger. I hope to be more organized some day. Sometimes, if I come up with an idea, I’ll jot it down for later, but for the most part, I just type up what I’m thinking at the time.

Now, go check out these lovely ladies who I’ve nominated to continue the blog tour:

  • Dianna from Stop Existing and Start Living, a blog about gardening experiences, recipes, crafts and various other homesteading adventures.
  • Dara from Living Story, one woman’s journey as a wife, mother, and musician.
  • Lavende and Lemonade, a blog about stylishly sustainable living, and fresh, healthy food!

Nominees: Feel free to stop back and link up your posts below so we can check them out! Readers: What do you think? Is my writing process what you thought it was?

Pet Peeves: Late People

We all have those pet peeves that get under our skin and make us unreasonably angry. We seethe over them, because they drive us absolutely crazy. Most of the time, these pet peeves are nothing we can control. In fact, they almost always involve other people doing something that inconveniences us in some way. I have several pet peeves that drive me batty, but my number one pet peeve of all time is waiting for people who are late!

Pet Peeves: Late People I get that sometimes, we run a little late. Heck, I’ve been late a time or two. I work full time and have three kids. I totally get it that things pop up. The alarm didn’t go off on time, the kids lost their shoes at the last minute, the keys to the car suddenly ran away to some unknown location. My issue, however, is waiting for people who are constantly late. Some people call it “island time,” some people say they were born this way, some people just don’t care. The fact of the matter, for me, is that making others wait (especially consistently) is beyond rude. The messages being sent when you make people wait for you are as follows:

  • My time is more important than your time. You obviously have nothing better to do than wait for me.
  • I don’t care if you have other plans after our plans. You can always be late to your other plans…after all, I always am.
  • Whatever we have planned wasn’t worth me putting any effort into. My need for more sleep or a longer shower or more makeup on my face or a cup of coffee is worth the effort, but your time with me isn’t.
  • I don’t value your time or your feelings. I am only thinking about myself.

While I understand most people aren’t literally thinking these messages when they’re late, these are the messages that are being sent to the people who are waiting for you. Eventually, the waiters are going to give up on you. Why would they spend their own time on you when you can’t do the same in return?

What about you? Do you hate waiting? What’s your biggest pet peeve? Share in the comments!

TOMs – One for One

I have a thing about shoes. Not a typical girl thing about shoes. Not a “Ooh, how many pairs can I buy?” thing. I hate heels. I hate uncomfortable shoes. Shoes, for me, have to be comfortable. If they’re cute, all the better. This is why I love TOMs shoes. They’re ultra comfortable and the designs are super cute, funky, and personal.

In addition, I absolutely LOVE that TOMs has a One-for-One program. For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is sent to a child in need. With your purchase of one pair of shoes, you’re actually buying two pairs: one for you and one for a kid who needs them. How amazing is that?

Toms Black and Silver Paisley Classic

TOMs Black and Silver Paisley Slip-ons

I just purchased this pair of slip-ons that I’ve been coveting. I’m so excited to pair them with some jeans. And now, you can get $20 off your purchase with my referral code! Give it a go and let me know which ones you decided to get. Your feet will look great and so will your soul! Helping others never looked or felt so good.


It’s time again to link up with Anne over at In Residence and Jenna at Dearest Love to share what I’m currently smelling, loving, planning, baking, and celebrating. Come play with us and share your “currently” list. Currently Smelling, Loving, Planning, Baking, Celebrating Smelling: The end of fall in Alaska. It’s a mix of dampness, rotting leaves, and wet dirt. Fall doesn’t last long in Alaska. Tuesday brought termination dust on the mountains (snow that signals the end of fall). Time to prepare for hibernation.

Loving: Myself, of course!
Planning: Our annual mini-vacation to Alyeska Resort. We are not skiers, but we love to go in the off-season for a short weekend. We go for two nights and enjoy eating out, ordering room service, and swimming in the salt water pool. This year, we’re going a little earlier than normal, so the tram will still be open, more food options will be available, and Oktoberfest will be in full swing. I’m excited for a fun family weekend.
Baking: These Gooey Monster Cookies from Lil’ Luna are a favorite around here. Not only are they fun to make, they’re absolutely delicious! I’m excited to get the boys in the kitchen this month to make some monster fun!
Celebrating: My oldest son’s birthday. He turned fifteen in September, but we’re planning a small birthday bash for this weekend. He’s having some friends over for a sleepover and video games at a local gaming place. I’m so enjoying watching him grow into such a cool, fun, hilarious individual.

Book Review: Girl Reading

Girl Reading by Katie Ward

Confession: I totally bought this book based on the cover. I mean look at it. It’s beautiful. (Unfortunately, the new cover is not as beautiful as this one.) And the name. Girl Reading? That’s me! I purchased it at Powell’s Books in Portland when we were visiting my parents this summer. I wanted a pretty book from an amazing bookstore. Mission Accomplished.

Girl Reading by Katie Ward is a collection of seven stories all based on (you guessed it) girls reading. Each story is centered around some sort of artwork that features a woman reading a book. The artwork actually exists for six of the seven stories. One story for example, imagines the origins of the Annunciation with St. Margaret and St. Ansanus. The stories span seven centuries, and while each story can be read as a separate entity, the stories combined provide a beautiful look at the lives of women through complex relationships, powerful emotions, and a love of literature.

I had a difficult time getting into the book, partly because the dialogue in the book is not offset with quotation marks. This editing decision annoyed the hell out of me at first. However, once I was invested in the stories, I hardly noticed the lack of quotation marks. I really enjoyed each little “slice of life” that I became part of as I read. Even though the book reads more like a collection of short stories, I think by the end, you too, will enjoy the connections that have been made.

Is this a book you think you’d enjoy? What are you currently reading? Leave a comment and let me know!

Lisa of Balancing Bedlam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to