Monthly Archives: October 2015

Top TEN Things to Know Before Getting a Puppy

Our family is now the proud owners of a chocolate lab puppy!  As a dog owner over the years I’ve come to expect certain things that come with owning a puppy.  Here I am sharing the top TEN things to know BEFORE getting a puppy!TOP-TEN-THINGS-TO-KNOW-BEFORE-GETTING-A-PUPPY-

TOP TEN Things to Know BEFORE Getting a Puppy

I asked my husband-someone who hasn’t owned a dog to make a list of TEN things that he thought would be good to mention to those out there that are thinking about adding a furry member to the family.  He laughed heartily-and quickly wrote down his list.

1.       They’re expensive. Duly noted, husband.  Food, collar, tag, vet visit, leash, and toys.  Definitely does add up initially.  Although once you have the basics you are just paying for food…

2.       They get about as many immunizations as kids. Yes, they do.  Along with making sure they are healthy, they take monthly medicine, AND are treated for diseases that could transfer to us or our darling kids.  So yes.  Better safe, than sorry. Shop around- many places vary on costs and do low-cost clinics once a month.

3.       They imprint fast. Apparently my husband has noted that he now has a little shadow.  One that is all to comfortable sharing his FAVORITE spot on the couch.  Sharing is caring.






4.       They will chew, bite, nibble and slobber…everything. True. Very true.  All the more reason to put shoes away, toys back in their bins, and clean up crumbs.  Our house is actually MUCH more clean now that we have a dog.

5.       They are extra excited to see you…especially early in the morning. Goodness gracious- another morning person-ahem-dog.  My husband only needs five hours of sleep a night and wakes up happy? WHAT IN THE??? So now he has someone just as happy as him downstairs.


6.       They love toys…even especially their own. Definitely treat them like a toddler.  No toys should be on the ground during puppy stage unless you want bite marks on them.  We are teaching our dog what she can and can not play with-but it is a continual work-in-progress.  She IS a puppy,

7.       They are like caring for an infant-toddler for ¾ of their life and then a slower moving infant-toddler for the other ¼.  I don’t really agree with this point.  Puppies are MUCH easier to care for then children and I will be the first to cringe when I hear, “Oh I have a dog, I know what you mean about XYZ with parenting, ” NO- you have NO idea how wrong you are until you have a young infant of your own.  Puppies and Babies are very, very different.  But yes, training a puppy takes time.

8.       They’re expensive. COUGH COUGH- already wrote that down. COUGH. But I get it.  She is three months in and we already spent over $400.00 on her.  Everything save for $30 in toys were necessary.



9.     They need both human and dog companionship. YES- most definitely consult with your vet about when you can visit a dog park-but they most definitely thrive with both people and their fellow dog-kind.  Indiana loves when she visits Abby, my mother’s dog. 

10.   They love unconditionally. Truer words never spoken.  She wants to make us happy and truly wants to be around us always.  LOVE how much the kids love her.


What is ONE thing you wished you would’ve known before adopting a furry friend?


What is ONE thing you would like to know-perhaps in more detail-about adopting a dog?

Would LOVE to hear from you!

You can follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

California Retreat: HP Print & Pamper Conference

Last weekend I was able to attend a gloriously relaxing event at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, CA.  I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that this platform has afforded me and my little family.  Our three days were spent packed FULL of fun, pampering, and of course printing!

Check out a snapshot of a life as a blogger.

Cough-Cough-most of my work is done WAY late at night after the laundry piles, dinners been cleared, AND the kids are in bed.


HP Print & Pamper Conference

As a budget conscious lady I chose to drive to the Conference instead of fly. The Prius was loaded up on Wednesday night with ONE-too many shoe options-I had my fingers crossed the weather would cool down and I could wear fall-esqe clothes-not the case. BUT I wanted to be ready.  The mere fact that I got a room all to myself for two nights was just what this worn out mother needed.  No baby monitors.  No puppy barking.  No husband snoring. MOM WIN.

Packing List:

Favorite Power Color Top- this one Sundress- this one Black Dress- this one Romper- this one White shorts- Pink Shorts- Black Pants(too hot)-Jeans(too hot) Booties- this pair from Target(AMAZING) Tan Flats- Pink Nikes– Boots(too hot) Plus Yoga Wear-Pajamas- Swimsuit Minnie is My Homegirl T-Shirt- here LOVED being able to have my dresses hang in the car and not get all wrinkly. BUT I definitely got a little worried about rest stops solo.  Some unsavory characters in the middle of nowhere desert.  

HP Print & Pamper Conference

After checking in we had the option of nails, make-up, or hair!  I love a naked nail and am picky about my nude make-up colors BUT am itching to learn how to curl my hair!  I can learn to curl my hair at 30… right?!  Well Diesel Salon worked their magic and I ended up with the soft curls of my dreams. Plus I grabbed coffee and met some fabulous bloggers.
I most definitely had to put a smile on and let my stomach ache full of nerves just deal with itself.  The bloggers, HP Staff, and Disney Team I had the pleasure of meeting were warm and inviting.  My nerves went unfounded.

After I had my pampering session I grabbed my bags from the car and hiked into the resort.  Which made me think twice about how much I had packed…

I got changed and headed down for cocktails and light supper out on this gorgeous veranda with 100 of my closest blogging friends.  Well, soon to be.

After dinner and mingling we headed into a large carnival complete with games, and TONS of inspiring techware that will definitely make our lives easier in the coming years.  We walked around and told each team what we thought about their idea and what it would take for us to get on board with that technology… or if it is even useful.

Open Bar, loud music, and lots of opinions.

A couple of glasses of wine later I walked happily back to my room.

There were surprises left in our rooms after each event and it was so sweet of BSM Media to include our families in the personalized gifts.  I sat on my patio and finished my last glass of wine before going inside to set out the outfit for the day.  It was HOT so the pants just weren’t going to cut it.

I sweat.

Not the, “Oh she is glowing,” kind.  But the OHMYGOSH did she just finish a marathon?  So glamorous.

Good morning San Diego! Lovely breakfast with #MyPrintlyMoms and @hp 💕 #hpsmartmom #momlife #SanDiego #neverRUNout

A photo posted by Holly Marie (@ascuteasabugsear) on

So Power Top, Booties, and White Shorts it was.  I was comfortable all day.  We participated in some top-secret information sessions at HP, toured their facilities, saw the future(next five years of Projects) and participated in a Shark Tank Session.  Loved every bit of it!

Our bus dropped us off with just enough time to change clothes-or for me to add tennis shoes before our next pampering session.  There were five different sessions to choose from and I was given the Golf Pampering Session.  Golf Pro included and Mathew definitely made our day with letting us take a small fleet of Golf Carts out to tour the course in detail.  Plus it was much cooler to make our own breeze than to stand in the 100 degree heat(hello humidity) and play golf.  MUCH better.

After golf we were treated to a wonderful dinner at a lavish place on the property.  My plate contained a mountainous portion of the best food I’ve seen in a good long while!  A gourmet tater-tot bar took the cake. Delicious.  After dinner we were treated to making crafts with the team from MyPrintly.  Loved making some goodies to bring home to the family!
Saturday morning came early.  I packed up my Prius and checked out prior to grabbing coffee with Justine from The Typical Mom– she is LOVELY and I am so glad we were able to meet!  Breakfast and Conference Sessions took place until noon.

We piled on the bus to head up to Disneyland and were surprised by a fabulous goodie from Disney-can’t wait to use it at the parks next time I take the family!  We ate lunch and sipped on cold beverages thanks to Rebel Coast Winery– there wines are crisp and delicious PLUS the hidden gems on the label are worth picking up a bottle.  Talk about hilariously awesome brand-marketing.


 I loved being able to go to Cars Land for the first time!  I can not wait to take the kids next year-definitely worth the park hopper ticket.  PLUS I took the plunge and started to shoot live video with Periscope- you can find me here. Our time at the Happiest Place on Earth came to an end after the beautiful Paint the Night parade!  We loaded up the bus and drove back down to the resort and I hopped in the Prius and drove to my sister’s house in San Diego.  A few short hours later we were up and drinking coffee with her two munchkins.  Loved being able to snuggle them.  Plus I caught one of my sister’s soccer games and cheered loudly as she scored two goals!  After they loaded up their white oven(so excited that we will now have a cook-top instead of coil) I took off through the desert to return to my babies.  

I’ve spent the last few days catching up on laundry, cleaning and cuddles.  Four days and four nights are the longest I have ever been away.  I count myself lucky that I have a husband that does everything.  He is a true parent.  One that I can depend on-and it makes my life infinitely better.

Definitely a snippet into a more glamorous day in the life of a blogger.  I am currently in sweats, with a braid and no make-up.  Oh reality.

I would love for you to join me on Periscope- Add me here!  I shared about our trip to the Phoenix Zoo yesterday and plan on showing you more events that we are lucky enough to attend in the future!


Super Cute Crispy Treats Book

Goodness is this the CUTEST book!  Super Cute Crispy Treats is a sweet compilation of fabulous no-bake treats and desserts!  My family had no problem picking out their favorite recipes to try and happily munched away at the results.  You definitely want to grab a copy of the book– stat.  Food allergy parent’s dream come true!



The easy favorite for both munchkins were the Ice Cream Cone Treats.  Difficulty level?  Don’t burn the candy melts.  That may sound easy to some… but I’ve had a rough time with those little buggers before.  IF you read the directions you will not have any problems.


Gather up your ingredient list-make sure to follow directions-ahem candy melts can burst into flames-cough-cough-and make sure you have some helping hands.  We already had all of the ingredients we needed on hand so we whipped these up in an afternoon.


Kids in the Kitchen

Whenever possible I like to include my kids in cooking.  Whether that might be prepping, washing, stirring, or adding in the toppings-I try to take a step back and a DEEP breath while my kitchen is covered in messy, messy memories.

Messes make memories.



Decorating the Ice Cream Cone Treats


Sprinkles on top of Sprinkles


Rice Crispy Ice Cream Cones

The toppings were by far the favorite part of the project as both kids got to cover two cones with sprinkles.  Emma Marie went the path of more is better(she isn’t wrong).  Raymond spent a lot of time meticulously planning each sprinkle and color.  I thought for sure they would nose-dive(mouth dive?) straight into the cone, but they both spent about ten minutes perfecting their ice cream cones.

Definitely making these for our next party!  So much fun and DELICIOUS.

As the kids went to bed I started making some Mustache Treats!

Definitely love any treat on a stick-MUCH easier to eat and a lot less mess. MOM WIN.


Movember Mustaches

I can’t wait to make this recipe during November- or Movember as Men around the world will surely participate in Mustache Movember to Support Cancer Awareness.  I love that my husband’s co-workers get involved and plan on sending him in with a bunch of these treats to celebrate!


Edible Photo Prop Mustaches

I am a sucker for a good photo prop and an edible one is an even bigger crowd pleaser!  Can’t wait to place a tray of these back our chalkboard wall-photo backdrop.


I am beyond grateful that I got the chance to celebrate the Book Launch of Super Cute Crispy Treats here in Arizona and grabed a copy!  Ashley writes at Cute as a Fox and features fabulous family, friendly treats and ideas!



Grab a copy of her book for holiday inspiration, birthday party help, and delicious kid-friendly treats!  I love finding safe-alternatives that make my food allergy son feel special.  Very grateful to Ashley for gifting me the creativity I’d sorely been lacking.  Non-creative Parent’s UNITE!

What are you favorite treats for the holidays?

Raymond’s fourth birthday is fast approaching and he has declared that we shall be eating Rice Crispy Ice Cream Cones-no complaints from me!

Turtle POWER: TMNT Halloween Costume

Growing up my family was ALL about Ninja Turtles.  In a time where girls were not supposed to be rough and tumble- we went against all of those notions and just liked what we liked.  Beyond thankful for a mother that let us be who we were!  Ninja Turtles embody what it is to be a sibling, support system, and YES they can get on each other’s nerves.


Now as a mother I am working on letting both of my kids become who they truly want to be.  I want them to be kind, compassionate, and always be there for each other.

Raymond plays with everything-toys-dirt-you name it-he loves it.  As we welcomed a little girl into our family we were blessed with loads of wonderful pink and purple toys and clothes.  It came to our attention that Raymond’s new favorite color was pink.

Well, that made a couple of my friend’s husbands laugh.  But really WHO are they to judge?

Now his favorite color is blue.  If it was zebra?!? I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.  Color is color.


When it comes to playing dress up we let them just play.

Our house has an assortment of superheroes, princesses, dragons, and work uniforms.  We play dress-up almost daily and they choose who to be and their imaginations run wild with the worlds they create together.  I don’t even need to be present now-the most precious stage yet-as they will run with their stories and just let the world around them transcend into this magical place.

Goodness does our small, ordinary house feel quite special after seeing it through their eyes.

We talk about what costumes to add to our collection all the time.

Halloween takes it to a NEW level.


This year we went to our local Party City and browsed the biggest board of costumes known to man.  Emma Marie was quickly overwhelmed with possibilities and wanted to choose some accessories… because she is ALL about accessories.


Raymond was set on finding Raphael.  The red ninja turtle that is slightly grumpy.  OK.  Perhaps he is spot on.  Goodness do three year olds have A LOT of emotions swirling around in their tiny bodies.



Well, our trip went well.  The outfits we purchased along with accessories are already getting some good use.


And this girl?!? She is ALL about Donatello.  Hopefully I don’t have to tell you why…(ahem purple cough cough purple).  To each their own.

FREE Gift with Purchase

Get a FREE digital poster when you make ANY Nickelodeon in-store purchase at Party City! Personalized and autographed featuring your child’s favorite Nick character. Offer only valid in-store at Party City through 10/31/15.
*Limit 1 redemption code per customer. See associate for details.

What did you do for Halloween growing up?

What was your favorite costume idea?  

I was the Haunted Horseman for Halloween.  My mom was able to use an old football shoulder pads on top of my head and I held a pumpkin head in my hands.  I could see out between the Haunted Horseman’s buttons on his jacket.  LOVED her creativity!  Perhaps in the future this mom can jump on the creativity bandwagon… or maybe I can just recruit Nana for some brainstorming sessions.  Until then I am just a shopping trip away from an entirely new universe full of ideas and worlds to conquer and dream about.

Arizona Fall Festival: Vertuccio Farms

The weather is promising to cool down here in Arizona State and I am holding it to that promise.  I have BIG plans for our family this Fall Festival Season and definitely will not let a little hot weather get in the way!

We checked off another item on our Fall Bucket List(Free Printable) this past week.

Our family had the BEST night at Vertuccio Farms! 



Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival

Hours of fun! Can’t wait to share with you all of the new activities at the farm this year!  My belly hurts from laughing so hard and I made some pretty fabulous laugh lines.

Laugh lines are a mark of good memories.


Our family has made the quick trip out to Vertuccio Farms for the past three years!  The farm is a MUST on our Fall Bucket List.  Last we had two kids-two and under.  You can take a look at what to expect with little ones-HERE.



The first ride you immediately encounter made both kids do a mad-dash-sprint… the beloved Barrel Train Ride.  The kids both plopped into their own barrels and immediately set about putting on their own seat-belts.  Larry was our tour guide and he was just the sweetest!  He genuinely has a way with kids and I don’t think I’ve ever been treated so well at a Fall Festival.  He led us around the farm and both kids held on yelling, “Yeehaawww!!!” oh and I chimed in too.  Can’t let the kids have all the fun!

Parent Sidenote:

We are in a phase of, “I do everything myself,” with the two year old. So if you see Emma Marie with a Ninja Turtle shirt, mix-matched socks, and shorts on backwards?  Well, she is just a proud peacock.  And to each their own.  Better to be able to do those things(she just turned two) rather than getting to preschool without such life-skills.

I choose my own battles.

The Grain Train

Right after the Barrel Ride we ran over to the Grain Train(new last year) and took a relaxing ride out around the farm and back by the corn.


Grain Train Grins


Pedal Race Cars

The Pedal Cars are continuously a hit with Raymond.  He made it his mission to complete a lap around the track and with a little bit of help from Nana he raced around the track!  Emma Marie thought for sure her legs should reach the pedals-soon enough little girl-but was just happy to be in her own car.


Fall Family Festival


Our trip in the corn maze was brief… needed to replenish on water- BUT it felt 20 degrees colder and the kids loved racing around the corners and finding clues.  Scratching off the clues were pretty priceless and we vowed as a family to come back and CONQUER the maze!


Important Conversations
vertuccio-farms-arizona-jumping-pillowThe Extreme Air Pillow

Why yes, that is me about to bounce both of my kids sky high.  No shame in my parent game.  Wear comfy clothes and play.  For goodness sake, play and get dirty!  You are at a farm.  Make memories and laugh lines.

Literally an hour spent bouncing.  An hour of bouncing is good for the soul.



Perfect for little ones. 


Farm Animals

She loves fiercely. Her favorite parts of the farm are where she gets to help animals. Scratching a pot-bellied pig-feeding a mommy goat with two twins jumping on her back.

If I’ve ever seen a mom “done” before in the animal kingdom it was last night… “Jump on my back one more time and see what happens…” -universal parenting moment.

We spent the last hour of our trip just making sure we said, “Hi!” to all of the animals.  Love watching them learn to nurture and care for animals.  We played with water tables, raced down the incredibly high slides, and spent quality time as a family!


Spider Web Sandwich


Pumpkin Picking

Raymond was smitten with picking out pumpkins. No trip to the farm is complete without a couple pumpkins.

Sharing some of their finds.  Both kids would’ve loaded up our car with all of their favorites.  Thankfully we all settled for one pie pumpkin and a baby.  

When it came time to head home instead of carrying the pumpkins Raymond opted for the wheelbarrow.  Plenty of helping hands made it an easy hike to the car with their precious cargo!  Definitely can not wait to go back again!

Keep Updated and Follow  Vertuccio Farms on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Farm runs several giveaways on social media and this is definitely a Fall Festival you don’t want to miss!

During our trip I shared all about some sweet special moments on Instagram– would love for you to follow along as I share all about our adventures in parenting-the triumphs, the tears, and motherhood.

What Fall Activity are you most excited about?  Would love to add another to the Bucket List!

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