My Life In Pictures: November 1 – 15, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this November…

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My little bookworm wanted me to preorder the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down. Of course he finished it really fast, and was so bummed that now he has to wait a year for the next one. I explained to him that’s the problem that people who love to read always face – we can’t wait to finish a book, but after we finish it, we don’t want it to end. Ethan’s very first book review via a vlog coming soon!

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Lila may be a little OCD – she separated all of her candy! I let it sit on the counter for a couple of days…she was not happy to come home from school and find it all back in the candy bowl. Are you ready to get rid of your candy? I shared 10 ways to get rid of Halloween candy.

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I got this amazing Moscow Mule gift set as a gift from thoughtfully.com. I loved their gift sets so much that I became an affiliate! They’ve got gifts for everybody in your life….from coworkers to friends and family. Whether you know somebody well or not, you’ll find a gift for them. Trust me.

And now through January 2017! You can save 20% off your purchase +  get free shipping using the code GIFT20. So get to shopping!

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My Lila wants to be a chef when she grows up, and she’s learning how to use a chef knife! My favorite is Rachael Ray’s Santoku Knife and I actually have the whole set. She hasn’t cut herself yet because I’m watching her like a hawk.

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Jason started playing soccer on a co-ed team. It’s a blast to watch, and the kids are having fun cheering him on.

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I just finished reading Victoria by Daisy Goodwin and I was left craving more! If you’re interested, you can read my review of the bookDaisy Goodwin has several other historical fiction novels, and I can’t wait to dive into The American Heiress next.

What have you been up to this month?

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Family Nicknames: We Have Over 80 Of Them!

I love Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop because I always get great ideas for stories to share or for fiction to write. This week, I read Prompt #6: Write a blog post inspired by the word: rust. As soon as I read it, for some reason I immediately thought of Rusty “Russ” Griswold from one of my all time favorite movies, Vacation.

Russell 'Rusty' Griswold from the movie Vacation, played by Anthony Michael Hall

The reason being is because we call my niece Nikki “Russ;” it’s one of her many nicknames. Long story for why we call her that, but let’s say it has something to do with this scene in the movie…

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Anyways, I’ve talked about nicknames before. In my very large family, we rarely call each other by our God-given names.

If you are ever to come over to one of our family get togethers, when I introduce you to my siblings, I’ll say something along the lines of “These are my sisters Angie and Heather, and these are my brothers David and Scott.” But that’s the last time you’d here me call them by their names. After that, I may refer to them as Fun 1, Hef, Junior, and Scooter or many, many other names. You’ll be totally confused.

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Hef, Fun 1, Pookums, Junior, and Scooter

Between my mom and dad, siblings, and all of our significant others and kids, a family get together is almost 30 people. Trying to remember all of our real names is hard — trying to also remember multiple nicknames is nearly impossible!

Last month, I group texted my family (we have an ongoing group text that we text each other on every day, all day) and asked them to help me come up with all of the nicknames we call each other just so I could show y’all how confusing it can get! We had fun thinking of them all, but then when I saw the writing prompt, I knew I was going to write about all of our nicknames. It’s fun, but it’ll also come in handy if you ever meet my big fat, crazy family.

Family Nicknames

My Dad (David): Pops, D.A., Big Headed Todd

My Mom (Linda): Gramma Gramma, Big Lin

Me (Natalie): Pookie, Pookums, Pook

Husband (Jason): Hoagie, Hoage

Ethan: E, T, Tater, T Nuts, E Money

Lila: YaYa, Ya, YaYa Bean

Mia: Badger, Badgie, Mia Mia Tortilla

Sister (Angie): Fun 1, Ang, Chrissy

BIL (Brian): Uncle B, Lads, Ladnier

Niece (Alexis): Lex, Sparky, Kitten

Niece (Nicolette): Neen, Neener, Russ, Uggers

Niece (Sydney): Bean, Beansie, D Bird

Nephew (Aaron): A-A ron, A Fons

Sister (Heather): Hef, Heifer, Hefernan

Niece (Hailey): Boogerman, Boog, Haney

Nephew (Ryan): Fuzz, Fizzle, Fizzle McPimpin

Nephew (Caleb): K-Luv, Beeper, My Man, Big P

Niece (Davi): Sugar, Bear

Brother (David): Junior, Junior Nuts, Cliffy

SIL (Samantha): Spammerton, Spam, Sam, Sam-u-el, Samuel

Nephew (Kannon): Kan Man, Kalhoun, Sandy

Nephew (Karter): Kartier, Karter Farter, Curlie

Niece (TBD): #16 (Not even here yet and she already has a nickname. She’ll be the 16th grandchild!)

Brother (Scott): Scooter, Scoot, Scooterlicious, Walter, Walt, Schmitty, S C O Double T

SIL (Danielle): Danny-elle, Daniel, Dando

Niece (Presley): P, Baby P, Princess P

Niece (Sawyer): #15

A-aron, Sparky, Beansie, Russ, Badger, Cartier, Tater, Kan Man, K Luv, Haney, Fuzz, Sugar, Baby P and Ya Ya

That’s 82 nicknames that we use for each other interchangeably. We also may shorten the nicknames, which creates new names, which makes it even more difficult to figure out who we’re talking about. We’ve decided that’s why we all hang out together instead of with other people…it’s just too confusing to keep up with us!

But if you are lucky enough (or unfortunate enough) to become a part of this big crazy family, chances are you’ll be given a nickname too! Big shout out to Papa Jeep, Sweet D, Bincey, Too Tall, B-ER-EN-DA!, Shawnie and Con, Mr. Bubbles, Gramma Rufus, Tommy Pants, Rodger Dodger, Big Don, Share-Bear, and many others who have been given nicknames by the Allens. You’re welcome.

Do you use nicknames in your family?

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My Life In Pictures: October 16 – 31, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

Here’s what we were up to in October…

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I babysat my 12 month old niece. This is her napping. I adore her, but man, I forgot how much work little ones are! People always say “I don’t know how you did it with two” and I can now honestly say I have no idea how I did it with two, either.

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I got to finally attend a field trip with the girls! It’s our first one together, and we got to go to Tanaka Farms, where the kids got to find their own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, visit a petting zoo, took a ride around the farm to see everything that is grown there, and pick their own veggies right out of the ground. If you’re in Southern California and haven’t ever been, I highly recommend checking it out!

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The girls started Brownies! I remember being a Brownie and I’m so excited for them to experience it as well.

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Mia got her first black eye. She was jumping on the couch and fell and hit the windowsill. See that scar above her right eye? That was from jumping on the bed and hitting the headboard. She never listens.

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We welcomed a new baby into the family! This is my niece Sawyer Jayne. She’s a tiny little thing and such a sweet baby.

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When the kids got to meet her, Ethan said “OMG mom she is soooo beautiful!” and as you can tell by the look on Lila’s face, she wanted to keep her.

Clearly we don’t get a whole lot of rain in Southern California, so this is what happens when we do. They consider this pouring LOL

A video posted by Natalie H (Mommy of a Monster) (@nataliehoage) on

 

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Mia FINALLY lost her first tooth! She was so excited!

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And of course we ended the month on Halloween!

What have you been up to this month?

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My Morning Beauty Must Haves, Including Tom’s Of Maine Deodorant

Disclaimer: This post was developed in partnership with Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.

My morning routine is a quick one, especially because I have found my favorite beauty must haves and am loyal to them. I try lots of beauty and health products because I like finding products that make me look good, but not made up. I also don’t have a lot of time in the morning to make myself up, so finding products that work consistently is also important to me. I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

My Morning Beauty Must Haves

If you're a busy mom, read about my morning beauty must haves, including Tom's Of Maine Deodorant, to help you make you're beauty routine will be a snap!

Wet Brush – I’m not the only fan of this brush, the girls are too! I have wavy hair but the girls have stick straight hair. Lila has a ton of hair, Mia’s not so much. The cool thing about the Wet Brush is that we can all use it. Use it on wet or dry hair, it quickly and painlessly detangles even the thickest, most stubborn hair. It really works. The girls also like the Detangle Brush, and it works great on their hair but not on mine.

Benefit Cosmetics sun beam – It’s sunshine in a bottle! Seriously, you’ll look like you were kissed by the sun. It’s a golden bronze highlighter that gives you a natural radiance. Just & blend over makeup on to cheek & brow bones. Sometimes I even put a bit on my eyelids instead of wearing eyeshadow.

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash – This tops my list of beauty must haves! Say goodbye to curling your lashes and then applying mascara because this does it all! Roller Lash not only lifts and super-curls, but it holds for 12 hours and is easy to remove.

Clinique Quick Liner for Eyes (Really Black) – This eyeliner glides on smoothly and has a rubber tip at the other end to smudge it out. And it takes no time at all to apply!

NAKED by Urban Decay – I love this eyeshadow pallette because there are a ton of nude colors that can be worn separately or together. It also comes with a great brush to apply the colors with. With the darker colors, I often times will use my MAC Eyeliner brush (that can be used wet or dry) for a different eyeliner look.

Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay Foundation – This foundation gives you the full coverage of a foundation, but looks and feels light and natural like a BB cream. It’s healthy and natural for your skin, which is why I love it. Apply it with a Tarte foundation brush and it goes on quickly and smoothly. I even use it as a primer on and around my eyes and use a Benefit Cosmetics foundation brush, which is easier to get into smaller spots with than Tarte’s brush.

Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant – I know that over the last 6 months as I’ve been losing weight and getting healthier, I’ve been more aware of not only what I’m putting into my body, but also on my body. I’ve switched from using regular lotions to using coconut oil on my skin. And when I got the chance to try out Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorants, I figured it was worth a shot!

If you're a busy mom, read about my morning beauty must haves, including Tom's Of Maine Deodorant, to help you make you're beauty routine will be a snap!

Tom’s of Maine harnesses the power of nature to make high quality natural toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, deodorant, bar soap and baby care products. Their team of dentists, scientists and herbal experts that are leaders in their fields develop a wide range of natural products and choices so people can decide what best fits with their needs and values.

I had no idea, but Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant is the best-selling natural deodorant and has been for decades. Tom’s of Maine is introducing a new deodorant formula with new and improved scents, and as always, is free of aluminum, artificial fragrances and petrochemicals. So if you’re concerned about what’s going on your skin, you need to try one of the Tom’s of Maine deodorants.

 

If you're a busy mom, read about my morning beauty must haves, including Tom's Of Maine Deodorant, to help you make you're beauty routine will be a snap!

The Long Lasting Deodorant comes in amazing natural fragrances like Fresh Apricot, Wild Lavender, Tea Tree, and Refreshing Lemongrass.  It’s clinically proven to provide you with 24-hour odor protection using odor-fighting hops and the mineral zinc.

I was told to try them for at least 7 days, and test out different scents (or unscented) to help determine the best fit for my body’s unique chemistry. My favorite deodorant was the Refreshing Lemongrass Long Lasting Deodorant. It was weird at first because I was worried about feeling “wet” since there’s no antiperspirant in it. Jason only uses deodorant, so he was used to the feeling. I eventually got used to it, and gave it a stamp of approval. The best thing about it was that it really did last a long time! You don’t have to worry about reapplying throughout the day. It works!

Note: I was told and want to pass along to you that when trying a natural deodorant for the first time it’s important to give your body time to adjust. If your body is used to a conventional product, it may need some time to adjust to a natural formula free of chemicals and artificial ingredients.

Tom’s of Maine products come in fully recyclable packaging through local municipalities or the TerraCycle Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Brigade. They never test on animals or use animal ingredients. And with every purchase, Tom’s of Maine gives 10% of profits back to helping people and the planet. Just one more reason to buy Tom’s of Maine products!

I’m not the only one switching to Tom’s of Maine. Listen to Elise explain why she did, too.

Tom’s of Maine is a staple in my beauty must haves, because it works. It even has a permanent spot on the bottom shelf of my medicine cabinet, reserved only for my must have products (I keep my makeup in a makeup case.) Which beauty must haves top your list of favorites?

Since it does such a fantastic job, it’s even getting the Mommy of a Monster stamp of approval!

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You can find Tom’s of Maine on Twitter at @TomsofMaine, on Facebook at /TomsofMaine, on Instagram at @Toms_of_Maine, and on YouTube: OfficialTomsofMaine. If you’re a fan, make sure to follow!

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins 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 amazon.com and/or other affiliate sites. If you purchase any items through these links, I will get a few pennies as a thank you and you will still get the same low price! Thanks for supporting our site.

Ways To Get Rid Of Halloween Candy

Pounds and pounds and pounds of Halloween candy. I can’t believe how much candy these kids got! If left to their own devices, they’d probably try to eat all of it. But there’s no way I’m going to let that happen! There are lots of ways to get rid of Halloween candy, from freezing it to donating it to experimenting with it. I’m sharing 10+ ways to get rid of Halloween candy, and the kids won’t even mind giving it up!

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Halloween 2016

Ways To Get Rid Of Halloween Candy

Freeze It

Most candy freezes great! Use frozen candy throughout the year to add to baking, melt into hot chocolate, make milkshakes, ice cream, cookie dough, or to thaw and eat.

Stash It

Keep a small stash of your kids’ faves in your purse to use a bribes when you’re out and about or the kids need something to occupy them.

Bake It

Not sure what to do with those leftover pounds of Halloween candy? I'm sharing more than ten different ways to get rid of Halloween candy (and the kids won't mind!)
Use that candy to make trail mix, gingerbread houses, holiday baked goods, 3 ingredient pretzel cookies, Jolly Rancher Vodka, or even candy shotglasses!

Sell It

Not sure what to do with those leftover pounds of Halloween candy? I'm sharing more than ten different ways to get rid of Halloween candy (and the kids won't mind!)
Have you heard of the Halloween Candy Buyback program? It’s a national program with thousands of participating dentists and orthodontists. You ca use the zip code locator to find a practice near you that will buy back the candy (typically $1 per pound up to 5 pounds) near you.

Donate It

You can also donate the candy, which is what my kids are doing. This year, the program has partnered with Soldiers’ Angels and will be shipping all the candy donated along with toothbrushes so troops abroad can receive goodies in their Soldiers’ Angels care packages.

Not sure what to do with those leftover pounds of Halloween candy? I'm sharing more than ten different ways to get rid of Halloween candy (and the kids won't mind!)

Operation Gratitude also accepts candy donations!

Make It

Not sure what to do with those leftover pounds of Halloween candy? I'm sharing more than ten different ways to get rid of Halloween candy (and the kids won't mind!)

Use the candy to make homemade advent calendars or even candy bracelets.

Hit It

Know a child with an upcoming birthday or hosting a holiday party? Use the candy in a pinata! You can even make your own pinata.

Hide It

Dig out all the chocolate and enjoy it with coffee or wine (for you, not the kids!)

Take It

Take it with you to upcoming holiday get togethers, with you to work, or send it to work with Dad.

Create It

Not sure what to do with those leftover pounds of Halloween candy? I'm sharing more than ten different ways to get rid of Halloween candy (and the kids won't mind!)
Make a holiday card using the candy (Dear Grandma, Here is a kiss (put a Hershey’s Kiss where the word “kiss” would normally go.) Get creative and have fun!

Swap It

This is the cutest thing ever! A friend mentioned this little guy, the Sugar Goblin, who loves tricks and treats!

From the Facebook page: “Parents organize Sugar Goblin tricks, such as hanging pictures upside down on the wall, making faces on plates out of breakfast food or staging a tea party with stuffed animals. Parents have fun dreaming up fun tricks and children enjoy anticipating and seeing them. In exchange for The Sugar Goblin’s tricks, children volunteer to give up some of the candy they collect on Halloween to help feed the sugar goblin village. As a show of appreciation, parents leave behind a gift for the children, on behalf of a sugar goblin, in exchange for the candy.”

Experiment With It

One of Ethan’s friends told him about Candy Experiments, and I’ve already ordered it. The kids can get rid of candy and learn some fun science at the same time! They can test candy for secret ingredients, peel the skin off candy corn, spread candy dyes into rainbows, or pour rainbow layers of colored water. The kids will learn how to turn candy into crystals, sink marshmallows, float taffy, and even make your own lightning!

Save It

Save that candy to use in Christmas stockings or holiday treat bags.

Trash It

Trash it a little at a time, or all at once.

Not sure what to do with those leftover pounds of Halloween candy? I'm sharing more than ten different ways to get rid of Halloween candy (and the kids won't mind!)

How do you get rid of Halloween candy?

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins 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 amazon.com.