Cast Your Net, Part 2

For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing endless research on cameras. YouTube, articles, websites, purchase reviews – you name it, I’ve read or watched it. I’ve looked at comparison charts. I’ve created my own Excel spreadsheets. Honestly, at this point I just want to twirl around in a circle and buy whatever my finger points to, because my head aches and it all looks the same at this point.

I want to be able to create quality video tutorials. It’s something I’m passionate about, and it’s something I’ve dabbled in with good reception on Instagram. When I had this idea of re-launching Tickled Peach, it was always with the hope that eventually I would also launch a YouTube channel and offer makeup tutorials on the blog and on YouTube. I don’t have an expectation of being a star, but I think I have a voice, and an audience, and I want to share what I know.

But it’s become clear that my iPhone 6s will not cut it. I don’t even have the newest and fanciest model! Ha! I knew eventually I would need to get better quality equipment, and so lately I’ve been researching what some YouTubers use and what is recommended for creating quality blog photographs and video tutorials.

And the list is endless. And expensive. $3000 DSLR cameras. Ring lights, umbrella lights, reflectors. Microphones. Editing software. Backdrops. Sets. Last night as I watched yet another video titled “Equipment Every YouTuber Needs!” I started to feel discouraged. I don’t have the budget to buy everything on these lists. Even if I did, I certainly don’t know how to use what I would buy. It started to seem silly. Pointless. And I wondered if maybe I should just give up.

See, this is one of my character flaws. In my head, I shouldn’t do something if I don’t have every single thing I need to do it. I will have a goal, but I set roadblocks for myself in the form of lack of knowledge, lack of ability, lack of financial means.

I’d really love to learn how to embroider children’s clothes! But those machines are expensive, and I don’t know how to use them. I don’t even know how to sew!

I should start exercising! But I don’t have any workout clothes, and I don’t have a gym membership, and I don’t even have an tennis shoes.

I want to go back to school and finish my Master’s degree. But we don’t have the money, and I don’t have the time, and who would watch the kids while I went to school?

Jason will tell you that if it were up to me, we probably would not have children. We were married for 6 years before I got pregnant with Cooper. We had talked about the timing of starting a family, but there was always something I thought we needed. We needed to have a certain amount of money in the bank. We needed to live in a house and not an apartment. We needed to be closer to family so we would have help if we needed. We needed to wait until we were ___ years old. Jason is the one who finally had enough of my “we will do it when” and that’s how we had Cooper. And Sullivan. Sweet Poppy was a surprise, so I guess even God knew I would have found a reason we should have waited to have her.

You know what? I’m so incredibly thankful that my husband did insist. Because those three babies are the very best thing that have ever happened to me.

I originally launched Tickled Peach in 2014. I took a break in 2015 that turned into a 2 year hiatus from the blog. “Blogging is dead!” I told myself. No one would read my blog. What would I talk about? I didn’t have time. Why bother?

But the idea just wouldn’t go away. In the summer of 2015, I did a bible study, The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst. I still to this day say that bible study was one of the most transforming studies I’ve ever done. In the book, she talks about how we make time for things that are really important to us. She says that sometimes when we have goals or dreams, we have to be very intentional about creating time to accomplish those things. She shared about writing her first book, and how she would carve out these little pockets in her day to work, because it mattered to her. It was her Best Yes.

As I read that book, I felt God saying “your blog is your Best Yes.”

I ignored it. Because it seemed crazy! Did God know that blogging was dead? I don’t think he got the memo that Google Reader died and a lot of blogs went with it.

That voice continued. I told you HERE about how, during a study of the book of John, the story of the disciples casting their net just blew me away. A very simple act of faith led to a huge blessing from God. They did what they were asked to do, and they were blessed for doing it.

And still I ignored that voice. I acknowledged it, sure. If you follow me on Instagram you may remember me sharing my reaction to that study, and how I felt like God was calling me to blog. That was back in April.

In June, our pastor was out of town, and our friend Ray preached the sermon one Sunday morning. Again, he referenced the disciples casting their net. “Go!” he said. “When God put something in front of you, DO IT.” After that sermon, my friend Wendy even texted me and said “hey – remember you talked about casting your net?” At that point I began to accept that this was something I could do and wanted to do. I set a goal of launching on September 1st.

And there I went, creating roadblocks in my own way. I didn’t have the right blog design. I don’t understand how to use Pinterest to promote my blog. What is SEO? How does one use affiliate links? Do I use ads? I began to make a list of all the things I needed and quickly became overwhelmed.

That’s when Satan steps in, friends. He senses your discouragement. He feels your fear. He knows you do not feel equipped. And he will magnify those feelings until you just want to give up. Because that’s what he wants! Satan wants you to walk away from that net God is telling you to cast.

It took my husband finally saying “Go! You’ll never have enough knowledge. You’ll never know every single thing you need to know. You will learn as you go, and that’s OK.” for me to actually take the leap and re-launch the blog.

Here’s the truth: there will always be a million reasons why not. You will never feel perfectly ready. You will never have a perfect body, or the exact right amount of money in the bank, or live in the perfect house, or have every bit of knowledge that you need to know. That just isn’t how life works. But I can tell you one thing – God tells you why. Even better, he tells you how.

Cast your net, he says. Jump. Go. Do.

Tickled Peach was a big leap of faith for me. I had a million reasons why I shouldn’t do this. I had one reason why I should: because God told me to. I want to have the faith of Peter, John, and the other disciples who heard some stranger on a beach say “Cast your net!” and just throw my net off the side of the boat. I want to go forth, boldly, trusting in his provision and equipment. Because he will give me every single thing I need. Maybe I don’t have every single bit of knowledge or equipment, but I have a voice. I have an audience. The rest will come at some point. I’ve got to stop being so scared of the “what ifs” and “but I needs” that I never even step foot onto the boat.

I don’t know how many of you are in the same boat right now. Maybe there is this lingering goal, or dream, or calling in the back of your mind that you are telling yourself that there is no way you can do.

Maybe you want to go back to work after staying at home.

Maybe you want to go back to school and get a degree.

Maybe you want to start a business.

Maybe you want to have a baby.

Find your why, friends. Listen to that calling. Step into that boat. Cast that net. Believe, just as I have, that if you are called to do it, you will be equipped to do it. God can see infinitely more than we ever could about our future. Trust and believe that if he has put something on your heart, there is a reason. You never know where it can lead.

Cast your net. Throw it with abandon. Know that He is the one who called you, and He will be with you every step of the way.

25 Days of Christmas for your Husband

So Jason and I don’t really do Christmas gifts for one another. It’s just what we have found works for us. We don’t really have a hard and fast rule on this… typically we may buy each other one small gift, or we skip gifts entirely. We just buy what we want and need throughout the year, and we choose to put the focus on our kids at Christmas time.

However, I always like to do something special for him. I’ve done a few creative advent type countdown ideas over the years, and I thought I would share what I put together for him last year in case this is something you’d like to attempt this holiday season!

The basic idea is that we had an advent style countdown, and he got one gift or activity per day. It would be so easy to customize this to fit any budget, and you could honestly make this completely free by using things you have on hand, free community events, baking treats, doing chores he dreads, etc.

Here’s what I included:

  1. I re-started the Sirius XM subscription in his car. It had lapsed, and it was one of those things he said we didn’t really need to worry about, but he did enjoy listening to a certain station every morning on the way to work. The note on the back of the countdown led him to turn on his car radio, where he discovered I had renewed his service. // This first gift is for your ears, listen well and news you’ll hear.
  2. Build a fort in the living room and watch a Christmas movie. I had popcorn and candy on hand for snacks. // Let’s cozy up this Christmas night. Popcorn, candy, blankets tight.
  3. I gave him a $10 iTunes card to buy some new music or games. // New tunes are what you need to hear. Use this card and get some cheer.
  4. Movie – you could buy a DVD or just rent a movie on Amazon. // This movie was once a favorite sight. Sit down tonight and watch it with some tasty bites. 
  5. Bubble bath – my husband rarely takes bath, but on this night I set up a bath with candles and fancy bubble bath. // Bubbles, salts, lotion oh my. A bubble bath ends your day on a high.
  6. Scavenger hunt – I set up a scavenger hunt throughout the house for him to do with the kids. Each stop had a piece of candy. // Our elves have set up a little hunt. Go find you some candy. Don’t eat it for lunch!
  7. Conversation starters, which we talked about while we enjoyed a glass of wine. // Grab a glass and pour you some wine. Let’s have a chat and a really good time.
  8. On this day, I sent him one text each hour, with things I loved about him. // Today you’ll hear from me, once every hour.
  9. Snack box – I filled a large box with all his favorite snacks and had it ready to go to work with him. // These are a few of your favorite things.
  10. $10 Starbucks card for a coffee date // Let’s use this card to go on a date. Some coffee and chatter; please don’t be late.
  11. We were planning on going to the zoo to walk and see Christmas lights, so this day was gloves and a hat. // You’ll need these to stay warm tonight!
  12. This day was a coupon to make his favorite meal. // Bring your appetite!
  13. Smore night! I had graham crackers, marshmallows, and tons of different chocolates. // Gooey and ooey and delicious and warm. Let’s make a fire and have us some smores!
  14. He needed a warmer jacket, so that was delivered this day. // The high of today is 45. This gift will keep you warm inside.
  15. I made hot chocolate and we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. // An annual tradition we just can’t miss. Let’s make some cocoa and look at some lights!
  16. New PJ pants and a Christmas shirt – we had a movie date after the kids went to bed. // Cuddle, cuddle, toil, no trouble – meet me at 8 for movies and snacks.
  17. Breakfast in bed // Get back in bed. No work for you! You breakfast, dear sir, is coming soon.
  18. Game night // After work you are due some fun. Let’s play board games hun!
  19. CD // Check your passenger side seat for today’s surprise.
  20. New dress socks // These are part of your daily uniform. They aren’t very sexy but they sure are warm!
  21. I made his favorite cookies. // This is a coupon for your favorite treat. Text me your preference and they will be waiting when you get home!
  22. Santa underwear // I think y’all can probably just make your own version of what this clue would be. LOL.
  23. I had the kids use index cards to make him a coupon book. // The kids have been working, working hard. These coupons are meant to do all your jobs.
  24. An ornament for the Christmas tree // Look on the tree and a new ornament you’ll see.
  25. His Christmas stocking, which was filled with some of his favorite candy, snacks, and a Yeti cup

I never once claimed to be good at rhymes. Ha!

I began planning this out in early November. I looked at our calendar and planned gifts or activities around things we already had scheduled. For activities, I just made sure we had what we needed on hand (for example, if I was making homemade hot chocolate, I put the ingredients on the grocery list for that week). I went ahead and ordered any presents/gifts. For the gifts, I made a notations on the card itself that it was a present, and the present was kept under the Christmas tree in our room.

For the actual physical countdown, I saw these card stock Christmas trees at Hobby Lobby. They came in packs of 10, I believe, so I picked up a few. The day numbers were written on the front with a metallic Sharpie, and on the back I typed up the clues, printed them on computer paper, and glued them on. I used twine which I anchored to the wall with push pins, and clipped the stockings and trees on with mini clothespins. I ended up putting this in our bathroom, over our bathtub, because that was the place our kids were least likely to mess with it. Ha!

Jason really loved this – he said it made him feel special and gave him something to look forward to each day.

Here are a few other ideas you could include:

  • Community activities: tree lighting ceremonies, church musicals, the Nutcracker performance, etc. Facebook is a great resource for community events!
  • Do some chores that your husband doesn’t like to do or doesn’t always have time to do: clean the garage, get his oil changed, detail his car, organize your filing system, go buy presents for his staff or family, etc.
  • Make some of his favorite things: cookies, meal, cake, snack food, etc.
  • Give him time to do something he loves, uninterrupted. Take the kids somewhere while he watches football. Let him go hunting and don’t complain about how long he is gone. Send him to the bookstore with instructions to buy a new book.
  • Talk to his mom and find out what some of their family favorites and traditions were. Recreate them! Did they get new pajamas each Christmas? Did they have a night of stringing popcorn for the tree?
  • Go old school. Play his favorite card game or board game.

I’ve also done this before, but for a shorter duration. I’ve done the 12 Days of Christmas, and just do 12 gifts or 12 activities.

Please let me know if you decide to do this! I’d love to compare notes!

Instant Pot Sausage Mac and Cheese

I shared my intense love of the Instant Pot with you a few weeks ago and since then I’ve left you hanging with recipes! Well, no more. I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite recipes that are adapted to or made for the Instant Pot with you in the next few weeks.

First up, what is an Instant Pot? Well, it’s a pressure cooker, but it’s so much more. It can pressure cook your meals, saute meats or vegetables, make yogurt, make the best dang hard boiled eggs you’ve ever had in your life… I could go on and on. Read my post HERE where I talk about how it took me a long time to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon and how once I did, I was hooked!

Need an Instant Pot? I’ve got you covered.

Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer: This is the Instant Pot that I own. It’s plenty big enough for my family, but I have friends (and my mom) who have the 8qt and they love the extra room for big roasts, soups, ribs, boston butts, etc.

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer: This is the bigger Instant Pot. There isn’t a HUGE price difference so if I had to do it all over again, I would probably buy the 8 quart.

Now on to the recipe! The very first thing I ever cooked in my Instant Pot was Macaroni and Cheese. I shared how I was super intimidated of the Instant Pot at first, and I asked my Instagram friends for advice on what I should cook first. My friend Sarah sent me this recipe, and it was amazing.

Dads Cook Dinner: Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

I mean, you could make it exactly as it’s listed in the link, but I wanted to try and make it into a one pot meal. Adding sausage to the recipe and switching up a few ingredients gives it a little extra protein and a much needed calorie boost for Cooper (don’t worry, you can skinny it down some if you want).

Instant Pot Sausage Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Butterball Turkey Sausage (not an affiliate link, but so you know what to look for)
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or 1 teaspoon hot sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk OR 8 oz milk OR 8 oz heavy cream
  • 16 oz extra sharp cheddar
  • 6 oz parmesean cheese

Directions:

Cut up your sausage and add to the Instant Pot. Hit the SAUTE button. The inner bowl will begin to heat and you can brown your sausage on both sides.

While your sausage is browning, add your Dijon mustard, Sriracha, and salt to a measuring cup filled with 4 cups water. Whisk together ingredients. If you do not have Dijon mustard, you can use regular, but I’m telling you that the Dijon mustard does something amazing to this macaroni and cheese. I use Sriracha but you can use another hot sauce (I’ve successfully used Frank’s before because that was what I had on hand!).

Pour into the Instant Pot and add your elbow macaroni and butter.

Lock the top into place and hit the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Make sure the pressure valve is turned to “Sealed”. Hit the “Manual” button and adjust the time to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will briefly show 4 and then will turn to On.

It will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure. Once it does, you will hear a beep and the timer will turn to 4 and begin to count down. Once the cycle is complete, do a Quick Release – this means turn the valve to the right and the pressure will release. Keep your hands and face away from the valve until no more air is being released. Once this is complete, you can open the lid.

Note: you will not be able to open the lid unless the pressure had been released. It is a safety feature of the Instant Pot.

While the Instant Pot is coming to pressure and cooking, I get my cheese ready. I like to get blocks of cheese and shred them myself. Yes, it’s extra work, but somehow it just tastes better. This is two 8 oz blocks of extra sharp cheddar. You will see in a picture below that I didn’t end up using all of this cheese. I probably used a block and a half, but the actual recipe I adapted this from calls for 16 oz of cheese. It’s up to you how cheesy you would like for this to be! You will also need 12 oz evaporated milk and 6 oz Parmesan cheese.

Note: I switch out the evaporated milk for whatever I have on hand. I’ve used whole milk and cream before. If I know Cooper didn’t have a great calorie day (we struggle with his weight), I will make this with all the cheese and heavy cream. It’s something I know he will eat and the calories are good for him. However, once I made this and Jason said “oh my gosh, this is amazing, what did you do different?” and I realized I never even added milk. Apparently I used 5 cups of water instead of 4, and I just mixed in the cheese. It still tasted amazing, and Jason actually prefers me to omit the milk now.

This is what it looks like after you’ve removed the lid. All of the water has been absorbed and the pasta is cooked perfectly. Now add in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and the milk. Mix together and pop the lid back on. The Instant Pot goes into warming mode once you’ve completed the timed cycle – let it stay on warming mode. Walk away for a few minutes, clean up, and when you come back the cheese will be melted.

This is what it looks like after the cheese has melted! I’m telling you, this is a HUGE hit at my house. It’s the one thing I can make that I know every single person will eat and love. Is it perfectly healthy? Eh, no. But we don’t make it every single week.

I like to serve this with a salad – arugula is our favorite, and it’s the easiest salad ever. I just use arugula, Parmesan cheese, a little pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. The acid of the lemon and the natural peppery taste of the arugula help to balance out the intense creaminess of the macaroni and cheese.

If you try this, please let me know what you think!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small percentage of the sale if you decide to purchase the products. Thank you for supporting Tickled Peach!

Hotels Helping Heroes

Hey friends! How are you? I took a little break from blogging in order to spend some much needed time with my family. Sometimes I think my phone is permanently affixed to my hand – I seem to use it for everything. The past couple of days I have made a true effort to put down my phone and just enjoy my husband and children. I didn’t even take that many pictures! (Who am I?!)

I blogged before about how the past few weeks have just been insane for us. Jason was participating in Chief season, and he was gone every single night and weekend until mid-September. He barely got to see the kids because he usually would arrive home after their bedtime. Since he gets up and leaves before we wake up in the morning, it had started to feel as if we were ships passing in the night. One day after he was pinned as Chief, he started working the outage at his plant, and he was on a schedule that had him working 6pm-6am six days a week. Again, we just kind of saw each other in passing. It was tough, I’ll admit, but it was necessary.

All that to say – we were way overdue for family time. This past weekend was the first weekend since July that he has not had either Navy commitments, Chief commitments, or work. We had talked about going out of town but finally decided to put it on hold for a few weeks. Last week, a great opportunity was dropped in my lap to review a hotel in exchange for a free stay, and we jumped on it!

Hotels Helping Heroes is an organization that aims to greatly reduce the cost of staying at clean, safe, and friendly brand properties for veterans and military members who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of travel. Hotels Helping Heroes reaches out to hotels and offers social media marketing in exchange for free or reduced hotel stays.

In a nutshell – if you are a veteran, current military member, retired military, Reservist or National Guard, or a military spouse, you can complete a registration form that lists your pertinent information and possible dates of travel. You indicate which city you wish you travel, and Hotels Helping Heroes will reach out to hotels in the area on your behalf. Hotels will then barter unused rooms in exchange for social media promotion. You are asked to provide at least 3 reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, the hotel’s Facebook page, etc. It is expected you will write an honest review.

Hotels Helping Heroes then charges a small percentage of the room’s rate per night. Just to give you an idea – our hotel room, had I booked myself, would have been $140 a night. I paid $75 to Hotels Helping Heroes for two nights.

Another military spouse posted about this opportunity, so I reached out, figuring that I didn’t really have anything to lose. I’m so glad I did!

Note: Hotels Helping Heroes did not require me to write about this on my blog. I completed my “requirements” by posting on my social media and placing reviews on several travel websites. I am writing about this because I understand that as a military family, sometimes it is hard to make money stretch to include vacations. However, vacations are much needed, especially after deployments or other separations! I really appreciate the idea behind Hotels Helping Heroes. I would not mention this had I not tried it and had a positive experience myself.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Charleston, South Carolina. We are frequent travelers to Charleston but this is the first time we have ever stayed at the Crowne Plaza. It was clean, safe, comfortable, and affordable which is really all we are looking for as a family when we travel. I should note that we are not a family who typically stays in “fancy” or boutique type hotels. Generally, when I search for hotels I am looking for something that is budget friendly yet is clean, family friendly, and is located in a safe area of town.

Crowne Plaza really met all our needs! It is located right across the street from the Tanger outlets, and there is also a Walmart within walking distance. There are tons of restaurants – Steak and Shake, IHOP, Denny’s, Chili’s, Mellow Mushroom just to name a few. Downtown is a 20 minute drive, and we made it to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island in less than 30 minutes.

The hotel itself is really modern in decor. You walk into a lobby, and just past the lobby is a restaurant, a bar, and a sitting area. There is also a small shop – we didn’t visit but it looked as if it housed travel necessities, toiletries, snacks, and drinks.

I was especially pleased with the room – we were given a standard room with two queen beds, and I was worried about the five of us fitting comfortably. However, the room was really spacious and the bathroom was huge! We had plenty of room, even with a pack and play for Poppy Grace. The beds were crazy comfortable. The room had a settee, two double beds, a nightstand with a lamp and alarm clock, a chest of drawers, a mini fridge, and a desk. The TV is mounted opposite the bed. There was a safe, a coffee maker, coffee fixings, cups, and there were toiletries in the bathroom.

The bathroom was huge… you know how sometimes you can only fit one person into a hotel bathroom? It was plenty big enough for one person to shower and the other use the sink or get ready. Jason’s favorite feature was that they had this really amazing magnifying mirror… I found it frightening (who needs to see your wrinkles that close?) but to each his own. The shower was really modern, with subway tile and a seamless glass door. I always love and appreciate the lighting in a hotel bathroom and wish I could bring that back home for getting ready purposes!

The hotel has an outdoor pool with tons of lounge chairs and tables. There is even an outdoor fireplace! The kids really wanted to swim, and we could have (the pool is heated) but I forgot their puddle jumpers and Jason said no.

The hotel also had an exercise room and a guest laundry, but I didn’t personally try either out.

I did mention the hotel has a restaurant, which served a buffet breakfast. We ate elsewhere, but the restaurant was packed each morning. I also looked at the room service menu, and the prices seemed very reasonable to me (like $8 for a breakfast meal).

We were very pleased with our stay at the Crowne Plaza, and would definitely stay there on future trips!

Note: I know this post sounds like a sponsored review, but I was not required to post about either the hotel or Hotels Helping Heroes. I always appreciate reading hotel reviews because you just never know what you will get sometimes. I would definitely stay at the Crowne Plaza again.

Giveaway Winners Announced!

I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU for supporting Tickled Peach. It honestly means to much to me to have others support this blog. I cannot grow this community without your readership, so please share Tickled Peach with your family and friends. These giveaways were a small measure of my appreciation for supporting me, and I sincerely hope you will continue to read.

Please continue to read on for details on why I chose the products I did to giveaway, and at the bottom…. the winners!

  • Psssst! Dry Shampoo: this is my favorite dry shampoo. I’ve been using it for years, and it is definitely a budget bargain. I love that it doesn’t leave a white cast on my brunette hair, and it also doesn’t have a strong scent.
  • Wet N Dry Ionic Ultra Detangling Hair Brush: this brush is just the best for detangling wet hair. I use it straight out of the shower before I apply products, and it is also great for little girls with long, tangle prone hair.
  • Tropical Shine Nail File: I buy these in bulk from Sally’s. My kids, for some odd reason, are obsessed with nail files. I find them crumpled and chewed on (WHY?) quite often. So, I stock up and buy 5 or more at a time. These files do a great job with your at home manicures.
  • Wet N Wild One Step Wonder Gel Polish in It’s Sher-Bert Day and All That Jazzy. This is probably my favorite drugstore gel polish. You do not need to use a base or top coat with these polishes. Just paint two coats, let dry, and hit the town! The brand claims you will receive 2 weeks worth of wear, but it is more like one week for me. Still, one week is awesome for a $5 polish!
  • Ion Keratin Smoothing Mask: I get this from Sally’s and it is a really great deep conditioner for coarse, frizzy hair. I really see a difference in both the condition of my hair and the amount of frizz when I use this conditioner.

AND THE WINNER IS……. @leannemyhill!

 

The second day of giveaways focused on skincare. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time on Instagram, you know how important skincare is to me. These are a few of my favorite products.

  • Tony Moly I’m Real Sheet Mask: Sheet masks are the new skincare craze. It’s simply a piece of cloth that is saturated with some sort of treatment. You unfold the cloth, conform the mask to your face, and relax in a hot tub or soft bed for 15 minutes or so. When you are ready to remove, lift off the cloth and massage the remaining product into your skin. (In most cases, you do not wash off whatever product remains on your face, but read the instructions to be sure.) Click HERE for a pack of 11 Tony Moly sheet masks for $17 – that is a great price, considering these are $4 a piece at Ulta.
  • Josie Maran Argan Oil Light: Argan oil is a moisturizing treatment for hair, nails, or skin. I like to combine 2 drops with my nighttime moisturizer.
  • Up & Up Makeup Remover Wipes: These Target brand makeup remover wipes are a dupe for the more expensive Neutrogena brand wipes. I love how well these remove your makeup without leaving behind an oily residue.
  • Sephora Purple Clay Mask: I haven’t personally tried this product, but was intrigued when I saw it in the checkout line. (Darn those check out product bins!) This pouch contains four applications of the mask.
  • SkinFood Egg White Pore Hot Steam Pack: This is a well known Korean beauty brand. I picked this mask up on a whim one day in Ulta, and I’m so glad I did. This is a wet mask that heats initially as you apply it to you face. It draws out impurities, particularly blackheads and sebum, that clog pores. This is a fantastic mask that will cost you less than $14. You can buy it on Amazon or at Ulta.
  • Tony Moly The Green Tea Watery Essence: Essence is a Korean beauty staple. In a nutshell, essence is the product you apply after you cleanse a tone your face, before you apply other treatment products. The essence is designed to help your other products really sink in to your skin and do their jobs. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, so that is an added benefit of this product.
  • Pixi Glow Tonic is a AHA toner. Again, if you follow me on Instagram you know I am an advocate of using acids as part of your daily skincare regimen. AHAs are wonderful for chemically exfoliating your skin, brightening your skin tone, and clearing up blemishes and blackheads.
  • EOS Lip Balm: I keep this in my bathroom and apply it at night as I am applying my skincare products and in the morning before I apply makeup. I also always have one in my purse!

AND THE WINNER IS… LAUREL FALCON!

 

When I definitely decided to relaunch Tickled Peach, I reached out to my followers on Instagram and asked if anyone would be interested in participating in the Week of Giveaways. Lovely Rachel contacted me, and I was blown away when she offered up this amazing prize.

This is a ONE MONTH SUPPLY of Shakeology! Y’all, this prize has a cash value of $130!

I’m not the only one blown away by Rachel’s generosity. It seems y’all were blown away by her offer, too. Since only one person can win, I wanted to give you her contact details so you can get in touch with her about her products. In addition to selling Shakeology, Rachel also offers clean eating plans and assistance on creating fitness plans. Please contact her for more information!

Rachel’s FB group

Rachel’s website

Contact Rachel by email at rhuggins819@gmail.com.

AND THE WINNER IS… CRYSTAL STUBBS!

For Thursday’s giveaway, I wanted to focus on accessories. What tired mom doesn’t need a cute hat to hide her bad hair days? Although, in hindsight, the text of the hat might give your secret away…

I also love these earrings from Walmart. Yes, Walmart! At $4 a piece, you can afford to buy more than one, so I did!

I finished this giveaway off with a cute makeup bag, perfect for your purse or diaper bag to stash a few necessities.

AND THE WINNER IS… @beccadalgety!

The last giveaway truly contains some of my most favorite and most used drugstore makeup products. I promise if you can to my house and peeked in my vanity, you would see all of these items on heavy repeat!

  • Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer smells amazing and is the perfect way to add a little color to your complexion. Buy it at Ulta (but Amazon is a bit cheaper).
  • Makeup Revolution Shimmer Brick is my go to for highlighting. I mainly use the top two shades on a fan brush, but swirling all the colors together would make a great blush.
  • Wet N Wild Ombre Blush is a beautiful soft pink blush that adds just a hint of color to light complexions.
  • MAC Paint Pots are perfect as an eyeshadow primer. Soft Ochre is a great nude that compliments most skin tones.
  • Real Techniques Complexion Sponges: when I bought this package, I got one for myself. This are my go-to makeup sponge. I love the sharp, angled side for blending out my undereye concealer. There is a 2 pack on Amazon for $9 or one sponge at Ulta for $5.
  • Loreal Voluminous Lash Paradise is a cheap drugstore dupe for the more expensive Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. Y’all, I’ve tried both, and I prefer Loreal’s version!
  • Wet N Wild Gel Lip Liner has turned into my favorite lip liner. They line so smoothly, and the color stays put for ages. It reminds me a lot of a MAC lip liner, but at a better price!
  • ELF Lip Exfoliator should be on every girl’s bathroom counter! Use it every night to exfoliate and soften your lips.
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser is the BEST drugstore undereye concealer in my opinion. I’ve gone through at least 10 tubes in the past couple of years.

AND THE WINNER IS… MEGAN GUNTER!

Winners, please reach out to me within one week with your mailing address. Local winners, I will be contacting you to arrange a time to give you your goodies!

This post contained affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small percentage of the sale. I did research which links were less expensive, and in most cases, Amazon is your better bet. However, most products listed above can be found at Ulta, Sephora, Target, Walmart, or a drugstore. Thank you for supporting me!

Welcome Back & a Podcast!

Hello friends! I’m sorry it has been so long since my last post. I’m looking forward to diving back into to regular posting here at Tickled Peach!

To kick off this month’s content, I wanted to share a recent interview that I did over at Me Being Crafty. Tess is a good friend of mine from my submarine wife days. It was so fun to do this interview – there’s lots of laughter and memories, but I also touched on my recent struggles with depression and anxiety (the main reason for my recent absence, which I’ll be discussing in length a little later). I talk about my attempt to find balance and creative time in my life, and my holiday decorating, party planning, and crafting with my children.

My interview is actually available as a podcast on iTunes HERE (free!) or you can access Me Being Crafty directly and download or listen on the website.

Please visit Me Being Crafty and take a look around. Tess is a phenomenally talented quilter and sewer. She’s currently living in France and her blog is dedicated to the creative journey of crafting. Find Me Being Crafty on Stitcher HERE.

I’m so excited about the blog post I have coming up this month. Take a look at what you can look forward to in December:

  • Advent Calendars and Activities for Preschoolers
  • Elf on the Shelf Ideas for the Lazy Parent
  • Christmas Decor
  • Christmas recipes
  • The Kindness Project for Young Children

I hope you’ll follow along! Thank you for reading!

Currently

Currently I am…

Loving

Game of Thrones. I mean what planet have we been living on that we just discovered GoT? We recently resubscribed to HBO (every summer we subscribe just for True Blood and then unsubscribe once the season is over) and discovered that the entire season of GoT was on demand. I struggled to get into the series at first (mainly because HBO carried every single episode EXCEPT THE FIRST – kind of crucial, HBO) but we were quickly hooked. We binged watched the entire four seasons in three weeks and I kind of feel lost now. Especially since Jason told me last week it doesn’t come back until April. APRIL. For the love of Pete, HBO.

Reading

Our small group at church is currently reading Growing Kids God’s Way. It’s been pretty life changing, actually. I’m excited about the changes we’ve been making in our house. I’m also reading Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be as my daily devotional and it is pretty darn good as well.

Waiting For

Game of Thrones? My baby to sleep through the night? Football season? This dang Georgia heat to simmer down into bearable temperatures?

All of the above.

Excited About

I’m ready for fall television to resume! Are you? I am missing New Girl, About a Boy, Glee, Dancing with the Stars, and some Bachelor drama.

Trying To

I feel like I should write “lose weight” here but that would require me actually going to the gym and changing my eating habits and well… that ain’t happening.

Working On

I’m currently putting together 4K curriculum. Yep, you read that right. I’ve decided to homeschool Cooper for 4K. More on that later!

Enjoying

Summertime with my boys. I was worried about how we would fill our time this summer, but we’ve been busy bees! I love seeing Cooper make friends every time we go to the pool or the park. The boy doesn’t know a stranger! Sullivan is getting bigger every day and all he wants to do is explore his surroundings.

Using

International Delight White Chocolate Raspberry Creamer. SO GOOD.

Wearing

I’m sort of obsessed with my Old Navy boyfriend distressed jeans. I wear them pretty much every day. My close friends probably think I’m a hobo with only one thing in my closet.

How about you?

Wiggle Worms Boutique Giveaway

I have the best friends, do I not? I have to say my sweet friends have been so supportive of this little blog of mine. They know this is important to me and they know how much I want Tickled Peach to succeed, so they have all been so generous at offering to host giveaways to support me. I love you guys!

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And of course, you guys get to benefit from my amazing friends’ generosity! Today my friend Sarah is hosting a giveaway. She owns Wiggle Worms Boutique, which offers custom clothes and accessories for your little one. Sarah has been in business for less than a year and she is one hard working mama! I’m constantly in awe of all she manages to do and how she manages to balance her business and her family.

PicMonkey Collage

Sarah made matching golf shirts for the boys to wear during Masters week. We do live in Augusta, right? We have to represent. Never mind the fact that I haven’t stepped foot into the sacred gates since I was in high school.

I have to say this about sweet, sweet Sarah – poor Sarah who has to deal with me. I contacted her one Wednesday night and said “hey can you make me a soccer shirt for Sullivan to wear to Cooper’s games?” and she said sure. Then she asked when I needed it. “Um… Friday?” Girlfriend made it happen. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, though. Do as I say and not as I do. 🙂

WWB

I’m so excited about some of the things Wiggle Worms Boutique is offering for fall! Sullivan’s first birthday is coming up, and I have my eye on a birthday bundle. Look at that sweet birthday hat! I die!

Want to show your (hopefully SEC) football pride? Wiggle Worms Boutique is offering game day shirts for your little ones! She has a variety of appliques for boys and girls and can make them to match pretty much any team. USC? FSU? LSU? USC? Clemson? Auburn? USC? (Can you tell which is my team?!) Get your little one ready to cheer in a shirt that shows their team pride!

Back to school is just around the corner and if you are like me, you want to get your little one a first day of school shirt. Man, I’m going to push for these applique shirts as long as my boys will wear them! I’ve already ordered Cooper a back to school shirt for the first day of 4K!

scarf

Mamas need some monogramming, too! I love all things chevron so of course this scarf is right up my alley. I think it would make a perfect birthday or Christmas gift for just $20! I love the hats, too. Bad hair day? No problem. $15 is super affordable.

I died of cuteness when I saw this pocket tee – how cute is this for a dental hygienist? Contact Sarah and see if she can hook you up with something custom!

Sarah is offering a $50 credit to Wiggle Worms Boutique for one lucky winner! Yay!

Head over to Tickled Peach’s Facebook page to enter. You can earn an extra entry by commenting here! Winner will be announced next Friday.

***The winner of the Summer Lynn Photography giveaway is Tina Payne! Congrats, Tina!***

 

#tpconfessions

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I’m posting #tpconfessions a day early this week because tomorrow I have an awesome giveaway for you! Get excited!

Be sure to play along on social media with the hashtag #tpconfessions.

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I feel like all I do, all day every day is clean up after people. I literally pick up messes all day long. Cooper’s messes. My husband’s clothes. Sullivan’s path of destruction throughout the house. My dogs’ poop (they have reached the unfortunate age where they are loosing bladder control).

Scratch that – in addition to clean figurative messes, I clean up literal messes. Messes as in poop. Dog poop. Dirty diapers.

And messes as in pee. Tell me, is there ever a time when boys learn to pee in the toilet and not around the toilet?

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I’ve been selling some stuff on our local Online Yard Sale Facebook page, and I swear, people can be infuriating. First there are the people who say they want to buy something, and then they never contact you back. There are also the people who say they want to buy something, you message them to set something up, and then they respond with something like “oh my husband doesn’t think that I should buy that!” FOR THE LOVE. This week I posted a baby activity center and a woman asked me if I would take $35 instead of $40. Sure, I said. Then, as I’m driving to meet her, and messages me and said “I only have $32 cash. I hope that’s ok!”

Well, no. No, it isn’t ok, but I guess I’ll take it since I’m already halfway to meet you and otherwise I’d be wasting my gas.

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Jason and I are suffering from severe Game of Thrones withdrawal. Did you know it doesn’t come back until APRIL? Now you can be in withdrawal, too.

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Happy Thursday, friends! Come back tomorrow for a fun giveaway!

#tpconfessions

TGIFriday, and that means it is time for #tpconfessions!

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Let’s get it started!

This week Cooper has been on vacation with my parents. I initially thought it would be a super easy week, but not so much. Someone is teething, and his favorite activity is screaming, chewing on inappropriate things, and doing this fun half whine/half cry every.single.waking.moment.

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I confess my week has looked something like this:

Get up. Leisurely drink coffee over the span of an hour. Just kidding – I have 5 minutes to gulp down my piping hot coffee while I have distracted the baby with puffs. Drag the baby from certain death no less than 548 times before his first nap. Clean up the drink he knocked off the side table. Clean up the coffee he knocked off the coffee table while I was cleaning up the first drink. Briefly contemplate whether it would be wrong to have a drink at 10am.

Put baby down for his nap. Crawl into bed because I’m exhausted from getting up 3x with said baby the night before. Right as my eyelids get heavy, jump out of bed because someone does not feel like napping today.

Repeat paragraph #1. Try to eat lunch. Heat lunch up 2 times because every time I sit down to eat, I must clean something up, remove something from someone’s mouth, or rescue the dog from the baby.

Nap time. Pray to Jesus that this nap lasts longer than 15 minutes. Briefly think about cleaning up or showering, but decide my time would be better spent sleeping.

Baby is awake. Play a rousing game of “don’t eat the dog food!” until Dad gets home. Hand baby to Dad and attempt to go take a shower. Get into a fight with Dad because he’s “so tired and I had a hard day.” Argue about who’s day was hardest. I win, only because said baby provides proof of my bad day by screaming and knocking over a picture frame while his Dad and I are bickering.

Put baby to bed. Think briefly about making a nutritious dinner. Instead make sandwiches and sit in the same spot on the couch for the next 2.5 hours. Stumble to bed and sleep not like my baby, who wakes up 3x during the night.

Anyone want to babysit? Any takers?

What do you have to confess this week?