Friday, October 29, 2010

Pizza in a Bowl {recipe}

AJ is finally starting to feel better. I took her back to the doctor yesterday, and since we had been there on Monday an ear infection had developed. Poor kiddo. She had to miss her first Halloween party this morning, which is a total bummer. It's a good thing she's too old to care yet, but I was still bummed because I really wanted to go!! Oh well. Take 2 tomorrow with festivities at our church. :)

Wishing you all a SAFE and fun Halloween weekend. Don't eat too much candy!

I'm finally starting to get on the ball with recipes for my Day Zero Project. The task at hand is to expand my recipe collection with 30 dinners that I've never made before. Here's #3 -

Pizza in a Bowl

Awhile back I started craving this pizza casserole my mom made while I was growing up, so I called her up to get the recipe, and now I'm happy to share it with you! This stuff if delicious!

1lb lean ground beef
2 cups noodles (I like to use rotini, but any will work)
1 can of tomato sauce (8oz)
1 can of pizza sauce (15oz)
Grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
8 oz package of pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella
+ any other pizza flavors you like!

Directions (Preheat Oven to 350)
1. Cook your pasta as the package suggests. Drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, brown your ground beef. Drain any excess and leave in the pan.

2. Chop 4oz of pepperoni (about half an 8oz package) to whatever consistency you like.

3. In the ground beef pan, add tomato sauce, pizza sauce, noodles and chopped pepperoni. Stir.

4. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish (doesn't really matter what size, I use 9X13") Layer top with pepperoni.

5. Sprinkle grated parmesan over top of pepperoni layer. Top with 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, and heat through at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  

Serves 6-8. Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Been a Long Week - God Gives Me Strength

Well, unfortunately my daughter is still sick.  We are on day 4 of a fever (moderate) and I just left a message for the pediatrician asking if she wants us to come back in and see if there is a secondary infection. My poor little bug!! If anyone has any advice for comforting a sick baby (and getting her to eat) I'll gladly take it. We are using the humidifier, and that really seems to help. I found this organic foaming bath at the grocery stores from Aura Cacia. We've used it for the past three nights and it really seems to help plus it smells amazing.

This morning was also an adventure. I had to take my husband to work today, and on the way home, about a mile down the road from our house there was this little Pomeranian in the road, cowering and dodging traffic. It was foggy out, and the poor little guy was soaking wet and scared. Immediately after passing him/her, I burst out into tears. The thought of the dog getting hit by a car was too much for me to take, and before I knew it I was turning around.

I later described it to my husband as feeling God show me what I needed to do. It felt like everything was happening automatically. I pulled the car over, got out and coaxed the dog to me. He/she was so frightened and shaking like crazy. It came to me and I put it on the floor of the passenger seat of the car. A few people were standing around and I asked if anyone recognized the dog. Nobody had, so I drove it down to the street to the police animal shelter, where they so kindly dried the pup up and got him/her some food and water. I really hope its owners claim him/her today.

I really didn't expect that to be such an emotional experience for me this morning, but it was. My body totally leaped into defense mode, and I felt like suddenly I was being tested. Like that dog was put in the road specifically with the question of what would I do lingering in the background. I'm glad I helped out though.

Have you ever experienced a situation in which your heart and conscience are the only driving factors and everything is happening in a blur/automatically around you?

Unfortunately, that's all I have to post today. I'm wiped, and can hopefully catch a quick snooze before AJ wakes up. I do have a lot of great things coming up though! Keep an eye out for:

-Pizza Casserole (or pizza in a bowl) recipe... one of my childhood favorites!
-Jillian Michael's 30 day shred review. I'm going the distance. Today is day 6!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If Your Kids Play Sports, Protect them from MRSA!

Please take a moment to watch this quick video on how to protect our children from MRSA, and feel free to pass the word onto all the coaches and soccer moms you know!

*I am posting this video as part of my membership with the One2One Network. I was not compensated for this post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: L is for Lots of Leaves!!

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It's been a long couple of days for me - I've got a sick baby girl. :-(  Augh... it breaks my heart. On top of cutting her two front teeth and having a terrible cold, I took her to the pediatrician's office yesterday and she also has thrush (which we've had before, NOT fun!)

I am trying to stay in good spirits though. Just knowing that a little extra TLC and rest will help her feel better is encouraging. Now, if only I could get her to eat! It's a good thing that we discovered her love for kiwis last week because it's all I can get her to eat right now.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. :-)  2 years. Besides being ill, we decided to keep it low key anyways. We're kind of traditional in that way, and since the 2nd anniversary is known as the "cotton anniversary," we decided that our gifts would be new jeans. On Saturday I bought my first pair of Levi's, and I have to say that I'm impressed!! We bought food to make a nice meal, but decided to hold off those plans until my husband can taste again. That's fine with me. He gets extra points for picking me up a dozen roses on his way home from the pharmacy. So sweet even when he's under the weather!

L is for Lots of Leaves!

The colors are changing all around us - reds, yellows, oranges. I think that fall is the most beautiful time of year (which explains my October wedding anniversary).

Somehow, though, those leaves get a whole lot less beautiful when you have to spend 5 hours of your Saturday raking them. (One reason why I'm glad we don't have a large yard!) Here are some fun ways to 'play in the leaves' with the whole family.

A Leaf Collection

Most kids know that there are different kinds of trees; ones that have fruit, palm trees, Christmas trees, etc. Fall is a great time to explore this fact even more, and show them how many kinds of trees are in their very own neighborhood.

One of my favorite school projects ever was in 8th grade science when we were assigned to do a leaf collection for class. I don't remember the specs completely, but I know that we had to collect leaves from 25+ different trees and identify them. (By the way, that was what made this project difficult for an 8th grader, so many different tree varieties.)

The reason that this particular project is one of my favorites though has nothing to do with school or leaves. It was because my parents knew of a park about 30 minutes from our house where they thought I'd be able to finish my entire project. I remember we all went there on a weekend afternoon and spent a couple hours walking around and collecting the different leaves. My dad knew a lot about which trees they came from, and I remember even now feeling grateful that he would share that knowledge with me.

Learning Tools 

I think that as parents we often overlook the learning opportunities there are in the simple things. Did you know that leaves can be collected and sorted by color, shape, and size? Can your child find two leaves that are exactly the same?

Make Nature Prints

Leaves, and other fall foliage, make for great stamps. Let the kids get creative in painting up leaves and printing them on handmade Thanksgiving cards. This is a great exercise for learning colors and transfer of shapes.

When the kids are done, get out some fabric paint and make your own piece of artwork, like this chic pillow featured on Disney's Family Fun.

And of course you can't forget the classic leaf rubbings and raking!! Here's an activity you might remember from "Letter B"  :

Rake the Yard

It's no secret that raking the yard is an activity for the whole family! Let your little ones play in the leaves that you pile up. For the older kids, make a rule that to play you have to help rake first. The reward at the end of the chore will make it more fun for everyone!

For a special treat, hide a few wrapped candies in a pile of leaves and let your kids dive for them! How many can they find?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Cards Deliver the Season in Style

This time of year my biggest challenge is trying to decide which holiday cards to send out to our friends and family. I like to send out Christmas photo cards, because living 750 miles away from our family deserves something a little more personal. (That and I love getting photo cards in return! It's so much fun to see how everyone's family has changed over the year.)

I'll admit, up until last year we were spending way too much money on holiday cards. They had to be the best, after all. Then last year we discovered that the best doesn't have to be overly priced at all, and could be found at Shutterfly.

I had heard of Shutterfly before, but we didn't try them until last November when we took our 2 week old peanut baby girl to see Santa at the local mall. The pricing package that we chose included a USB drive with our photo on it, as well as a $20 credit to Shutterfly, which of course we used!! Look at how tiny my little princess is here... she didn't even wake up for the entire event.

Anyways, the entire process made it so easy to get prints for our entire family in the sizes they wanted, and we were able to find matching cards that we loved.

And as I mentioned, picking out the Christmas card is my biggest challenge, only because there are so many wonderful cards to choose from!!

Here are a few of my favorites from the Holiday 2010 collection at Shutterfly. Which is your favorite? (Help a girl out here!)

For Goodness Sake Christmas Card
Splendid Tree Christmas Card


Holly Frame Christmas Card

While I was browsing I also found these wall calendars that will make the perfect stocking stuffers for grandma and grandpa! Shhhhhh, it's a secret!

I know it's not even Halloween yet, but I'm so excited for the holidays! I think having kids adds in all the glitter and magic of the season that we felt as kids. When do you start planning for the holidays?

Now through October 27th (only a few more days!!!) all greeting cards are 20% at Shutterfly. Enjoy. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Giveaway: $35 to CSN Stores


By now you've probably heard of CSN Stores. They have 200+ sites that sell the largest selection of items for most home and office goods. Chances are, if you need something for your home, that you can find it online at CSN Stores - and for a good price too.

I first learned of CSN Stores when a friend of mine mentioned buying an end table  for her living room from the CSN Store,  The selection is absolutely incredible. (I don't know if you remember, but I mentioned a couple months ago that my husband and I are in need of real end tables. My current nightstand is a big plastic storage bin with a decorative quilt thrown over it!!) Now to just decide which ones I like the best.  

Win! I was thrilled when CSN Stores offered to do a giveaway with me for a $35 gift code to any of their 200+ sites! With the holidays just around the corner, you can't go wrong with that! What would you use the $35 to buy?

This Little Tykes Bumble Bee Buggy?

This Ironwood Gourmet Cake Stand & Serving Tray?

This Greenland Antique Rose Throw?

   The possibilities are endless. See rules for entering below and good luck!!

Giveaway: One lucky Holly at Nap Time Reader will receive a $35 gift code to CSN Stores.

Mandatory Entry (must be done before extra entries)
1. To enter, please visit CSN Stores
 and comment on this post with at least one item you would love to buy! (If you win, you can change your mind.) You must post either a link to that item or the item number in your comment for the entry to be valid. Please leave an email address where you can be reached if you win. (1 entry)

Extra Entries (to be done only after mandatory entry. Each entry must have its own comment with valid email address.)

2. Be a public follower of my blog on Google Friend Connect (1 entry)

3. Like Holly at Nap Time on Facebook

4. Follow Holly at Nap Time on Twitter @hollyatnaptime. Leave your twitter name in comment. (2 entries)

5. Follow CSN Stores on Twitter @CSNStores. Leave your twitter name in comment. (1 entry)

6. Grab my button. Leave a link to where you posted it. (3 entries)

7. Blog about this giveaway, linking back to both Holly at Nap Time and CSN Stores. Leave a link to the post. (5 entries)

The fine print: Giveaway begins on October 22nd and ends on November 1st at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be chosen by and announced here as well as emailed by November 3rd and will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents 18 years and older of the U.S. and Canada only. Please leave an email address in your comment, that way I am able to contact you if you are the winner. Also, be sure to leave one comment for each entry, for example, if you like Holly at Nap Time on facebook leave 2 separate comments stating so.

Thank you so much to CSN Stores for providing this giveaway!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: K is for Kindness

It's sad to think that we live in such a time of bullying and violence. We've all seen it in the news lately - I'm not going to revisit it. There are a lot of "movements" happening to raise awareness of bullying and teaching tolerance. One such movement is Love is Louder, led by celeb Brittany Snow.

While these actions to raise awareness are a great start, there is really no better place to start than in your own home, teaching your children how to be kind to others.

K is for Kindness

I was at a public playground with my daughter a couple of weeks ago when a mom was babbling on and on about how her 2 1/2 year old son couldn't be held responsible for his actions because he was too young to understand or care about being nice. Um. 2 1/2 year olds are pretty smart, am I wrong? If it doesn't start at home, where is understanding kindness supposed to occur?

Set a Good Example

Sometimes it's easy to forget that our children see virtually everything to do. Set a good example for them to model, of being kind to others.

Do Something Nice For Others

One of the best ways to talk to children about kindness is to help them understand how fortunate they are. I'm sure you heard the phrase "there are starving children in [insert impoverished country that comes to mind]." Well... just saying that doesn't help. All it's left me with in fact is a lifelong guilt trip about finishing my dinner. Talk to your kids about how some kids don't get to ever have nice things, like toys or ice cream. Ask your child how they would feel if they didn't have any toys, or if they didn't have a stuffed animal to sleep with at night. Once they can relate, they can much better undertand kindness.

Pay it forward! Ask your child to pick out a toy that they no longer play with for a child who doesn't have a toy. This act of kindness will go a long way, both in your child's development and for the worldwide movement to give to others.

For other ways to celebrate being kind with your child, please visit

Read All About It!

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time reading to your kids. The characters of the stories, pictures, and storylines teach kids a lot about life, and often help introduce new concepts in a friendly and familiar manner. Here are some great stories on kindness from Barnes & Noble:

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Let's Be Polite by P.K. Hallinan

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

Practice Sharing

My 11 month old loves to share her finger foods with mommy and daddy. We encourage this, and also share with her. We have done this for the past couple months and I was so proud yesterday when in music class she shared a tambourine with another child.

Kindness is good to teach your child at any age, but the younger the better. I am still a little peeved at that mom who allowed her child to disobey under the reasoning that 2 1/2 is not old enough to understand kindness. Sigh.

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roasted Sweet Potato & Carrot Puree (recipe)

Yesterday we finally joined the bandwagon and signed up for Netflix. We had been discussing doing it for awhile, but I don't know why we never had. Then a few days ago I was getting ready to do one of my exercise DVDs and it occurred to me that Netflix might have a broader selection of workout DVDs. Because let's be honest, even though exercise DVDs are a great way to get in a workout without leaving the house, they do get a little monotonous over time. Anyways... I was right! I was really happy with the selection that Netflix has to offer, and on top of all the things I can watch instantly on my Wii, Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred is now on its way to my mailbox. Woohoo!!

Time for another recipe to add to my "Make 30 New Dinners" task on the Day Zero Project. Last night I made slow cooker chicken & wild rice, and for a side I made roasted sweet potato & carrot puree. Delish!

I got the recipe for the slow cooker chicken and wild rice here, at Christy Jordon's Southern Plate. If you haven't checked out her site before, make sure to stop by. She's got loads of ideas to keep your family wanting more.

The recipe I really focussed on for this meal though was the roasted sweet potato & carrot puree. I wanted to make something "baby friendly," and even though AJ didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped she would, it was still an overall success.

I got the recipe from the cookbook, Spread a Little Joy. I was able to pick it up FREE at the grocery store about a month ago, and I'm loving it. The recipe is pasted below for your convenience, but can also be found here on the Love My Philly Website. Enjoy!!

(The inspiration for making this came from Bob Harper, who on last week's Biggest Loser said that we should eat things that have a shelf life of 2 weeks or less, and that have a lot of color, to ensure their nutrition value.)


1lb.sweet potatoes (about 3), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3Tbsp.olive oil
2Tbsp.brown sugar
1-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
4oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.)PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed


Combine first 5 ingredients; spread onto bottom of 15x10x1-inch pan. Pour 1 cup broth over vegetable mixture.

Bake 45 to 55 min. at 375 degrees or until broth is absorbed and vegetables are tender and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

Spoon vegetables into food processor. Add remaining broth and cream cheese; process until smooth. Return to pan; cook 10 min. or until heated through, stirring frequently.

If you have a recipe you'd like me to try for my Day Zero Project, please email me at with the details!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Blog Hops

Hello Fellow Bloggers! Welcome to Holly at Nap Time. I hope you like what you see. Please leave me a comment so that I know you stopped by!

Share Your Milano Moment to Support Susan G. Komen for the Cure

I shared my Milano Moment, what's yours?

My Milano Moment is enjoying a Double Chocolate Milano Cookie right after I've put my daughter down for a nap and the entire house is, if only for a few minutes, perfectly quiet.

October is breast cancer awareness month.

Every 69 seconds, a woman dies of breast cancer.* Susan G. Komen for the Cure is trying to change this startling statistic, and there are so many easy ways that you can help!

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies are asking you to share your Milano Moment with them on Facebook. For each Milano Moment shared, they will donate .50 to Komen for the Cure, up to $50,000! Join with me and share your Milano Moment today to help maximize the donation received.

Chances are that you know someone that has been touched by breast cancer. I'm sure you've seen the commercials. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of her life. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed. We need to join together now to raise awareness, creating a healthier world for all women.

While you're over on facebook, don't forget to pick up your coupon for .55 off your next bag of Milano Cookies!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Purina Project: Pet Slim Down™ (Enter to Win a Year Supply of Dog or Cat Food!)

I mentioned last week that a recent trip to the vet encouraged us to try a new weight loss regimen for our cat, Nessie. We have been trying prescription cat food for about a year and a half now because our other cat has chylothorax. And as I mentioned before, even though their current food was super low in fat, it was packed full of carbs, which (poor kitty) went straight to Nessie's hips. Our vet recommended Purina OM (overweight management) for Nessie, and took it upon herself to call the scientists at Purina to see if it would also be an acceptable diet for Genevieve's chylothorax. The answer was a green light, so here we go on Nessie's weight loss journey!

Nessie, starting weight 17.2 lbs

The Purina Project: Pet Slim Down™

The wonderful folks at Purina are determined to create a healthier world for our pets. Often, we feed our pets without even thinking about it too much. Are we measuring the amount of food they get? Do we let them graze how they please throughout the day? How about treats? Are we really keeping track and limiting intake? Would we feed our children this way?

It's a lot to think about. Here are some of the facts from Project: Pet Slim Down™:

-58% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese (that's you, Ness)
-An extra 3lbs on a Boston Terrier is equivolent to an extra 30lbs on an 150lb adult human.

Yikes! Luckily, the Project: Pet Slim Down™ is a proven way for pets to eat healthier, get active and lose some weight! I was amazed to read some of the success stories, like the one about Jodi, a bullmastiff that lost 16% of her body fat in just 12 weeks.

Win a Year Supply of Purina OM from Project: Pet Slim Down™.

Now there is an easy way to get your pet on the right track, find support, and track your success. Sign up for Project: Pet Slim Down™ to begin today!

You do not need to have an overweight pet to participate in Project: Pet Slim Down; anyone concerned about his or her pet’s overall health can join.  It is also open to both dogs and cats.

For a chance to win a year supply of Purina OM (dog or cat formula), here are the rules.

1. Sign up for Project: Pet Slim Down™ to keep track of your pet's activities and food intake online.

2. Send an email to after signing up and let them know the following three things:
         -What email you signed up from
         -What your pet's name is
         -You heard about the drawing at Holly at Nap Time!

That's it! Good luck! I know that I could use a year supply of cat food... it doesn't come cheap!!

For even more support, visit the Project: Pet Slim Down on Facebook.

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this post by Purina or Project Pet Slim Down.

Fall Family Challenge: J is for Jazzy Jack-O-Lanterns

Can you tell that I'm really getting into the alliteration with these titles? For those of you who have been reading the Fall Family Challenge from the beginning, I hope you're finding some excellent ideas for how to spend time with your family. Please let me know if there is an activity that you would like to see featured! And for those of you just joining in, welcome!

Yesterday was a very rainy day in Central Virginia - a perfect day for making Black Bean Stuffed Peppers. That, and my husband raved about them to friends over the weekend, so I thought I'd treat him. (And yea... of my 30 new dinners to try for my day zero project, I still have 29 to go. If you have any suggestions please email them to

Oh yeah! And we're on Facebook now too. Please click here or click the button in the right sidebar to "like" us on Facebook. See you there! ;)

J is for Jazzy Jack-O-Lanterns

The pumpkin. For a couple months each year the pumpkin comes out in all its glory to exclaim that fall is here. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Photo props. Pumpkin picking. In my Fall 2008 wedding I even used fresh pumpkins as my centerpieces. They were used as carved out vases.

Maybe my neighborhood aws the most uncreative place on planet earth, but it seems like that when I was a kid there was only one thing to do with pumpkins. Carve them with triangle eyes, a crooked toothy smile, and put a tealight inside.

These days there are so many cool things to do with pumpkins! Tomorrow my family is headed to the pumpkin patch. What jazzy things will you do with your jack-o-lantern this year?
Make a Festive Bird Feeder!

This pumpkin bird feeder from Squidoo is adorable, and I have the perfect little tree in the front yard to accomodate such a treat.

Holly at Nap Time Tip: Anytime you cut a pumpkin for a decoration like a jack-o-lantern, use a thin layer of petroleum jelly to rub on the cut edges to make it last longer! (You can also use a preservative spray, found at most craft stores.)

Eat Your Pumpkin Seeds!

Carving a pumpkin is not only fun, but can be educational as well. The best part is, it's one of those activities in which your kids will be learning, but they'll be having so much fun that they won't know it. Have your child count out the pumpkin seeds in their jack-o-lantern. If you're carving a family of pumpkins, do a fun comparing game! How many seeds to you think the biggest pumpkin will have? The smallest?

Don't throw your seeds away! Did you know that pumpkin seeds are a delicious, healthy treat? Check out this article from Self Magazine about 5 things to do with your pumpkin seeds.

Use Pumpkin "Push-Ins"

For the preschool or toddler in your house, pumpkin push-ins are the way to go! No knives to worry about, less messy than paint, and the parts last year after year! This Mr. Potato Head Pirate themed push-in set runs for $11.69 on Amazon.

Pumpkins that Tell a Story

Your trick-or-treaters will all have a giggle when they see a story being played out on your porch with pumpkins. Check out the full list of ideas at Disney's Family Fun.

Shave off the Layers

More and more pumpkin carving is becoming an art. My husband and I learned this when two years ago on Halloween we were in St. Lucia and entered our resort's pumpkin carving competition. Yea. . . The winning pumpkin had the Piton Mountains carved into it along with the words St. Lucia. The layers were carved so meticulously that a lit candle inside made it look exactly like the sun was setting over The Pitons. I really wish I had taken a picture of it, but in hindsight, I am still a little bit bitter.

Needless to say, we know better than to enter a resort Halloween carving contest again! There are ringers out there!

Check out these amazing pumpkins I found on Pumpkin Gutter.

Paint a Pumpkin!

There are really so many creative ways to paint a pumpkin. I love this Shrek one that I found on Tag Yerit.

Please share your pumpkin ideas with us, and send your pictures to

Happy Halloween!

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: I is for Icky Illness Safeguarding

Cold and flu season is coming up again! I remember freaking out at this time last year because I was 8 months pregnant and the H1N1 virus was running rampant everywhere. I pretty much spent the last month of my pregnancy (and the first three months of AJ's life) locked in my house - only allowing my husband to enter if he sanitized himself at the door. Here are some helpful tips for safeguarding your home against cold and flu virus', without acting like a mad woman.

I is for Icky Illness Safeguarding
Disinfecting Wipes
I'm a huge fan of disinfecting wipes, like these ones from Clorox. I love that they are safe on wood, streak free on glass, and clean 99.9% of surface germs. Use them regularly to clean things like:

1. your phone receiver
2. remote controls
3. video game controls
4. cell phones
5. stroller handles

It's these commonly used items that are most likely to be missed in the cleaning process and end up spreading the germs of cold and flu. I recently saw a study on the news (I can't remember what news broadcast, sorry) that swabbed random cell phones for germs. We place them on counters, restaurant tables, etc. while passing them from hand to hand. The study showed that most cell phones contained not only bacteria that could make you sick, but remnants of human feces. EW!!!!

Clean your Washing MachineA lot of people believe that hot water killss the germs that end up in our dirty clothes. It's true to an extent, but the washing machine in general  is not some miracle anti-germ machine. Over time germs can build up to create mold, mildew, and icky odors in your machine. It's really important, especially during cold and flu season, to regularly clean your washing machine.

Clorox offers this special washing machine cleaner, but I find that their plain ole bleach works just fine for me. In fact, I prefer to use Clorox Clean-Up. I spray into every nook and cranny in the washing machine (without the clothes, of course!!!) and run the HOTTEST, LONGEST cycle. This should be done every one to two months.

Get Vaccinated
Number one way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated! Take the time to get your family ready for the flu season. It's well worth it.

Common SenseI'm not going to list the obvious, wash your hands, etc. But it is important to teach your children how to prevent illness. During flu season, assign each house member a separate hand towel. Have tissues readily available, and it anyone has a fever make sure to keep them indoors and away from other for at least 24 hours AFTER the fever has ceased.

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Here's to a healthy holiday season!

Stylish Blogger Award

Liz over at From Chalkboards to Strollers recently awarded me THREE blog awards - WOW! The One Lovely Blog Award, the Versatile Blog Award, and the Stylish Blogger Award. I recently have given out the first two awards, so in this entry I graciously accept and pass on the Stylish Blogger Award. Again, thanks to From Chalkboards to Strollers for reading and awarding!

Rules for accepting:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this on to 13 other great bloggers
4. Contact the selected bloggers and tell them about their awards

7 Things about Holly:
1. The most amazing place I've ever been is St. Lucia. My husband and I spent two beautiful weeks there on our honeymoon. We still talk about this trip all the time.
2. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I worked as the Manager of Franchising and Operations for a major children's brand. I met many celebrities. Among my favorites were Tina Fey and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
3. I am part of a one car family.
4. Before getting married, my husband and I read the entire Bible out loud to each other and discussed.
5. I don't like coconuts or anything having to do with coconuts, blech!
6. My favorite meal is chicken parm and ceasar salad.
7. I loved every minute of my hospital stay after having my daughter. I felt like I was at a resort being cared for!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

My first order of business is a Day Zero Project update. If you're just recently joining, I started a Day Zero Project in August in hopes to accomplish 101 goals in 1,001 days. Now with 953 days to go I am officially 6% of the way complete with my project. Here's what I've finished so far:

3. Feed a giraffe.
8. Walk in a 5k.
21. Find a professional new look for my blog.
24. Rent a cabin in the woods.
58. Buy myself a piece of jewelry.
99. Fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.

To check out my complete list of goals, please click here.

Over the weekend we accomplished #24. Rent a cabin in the woods. We rented a place with two of our friends from New York in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The weather was perfect this weekend, and the mountains were in all their fall glory! It was a nice weekend, but it went by entirely too fast.

And as part of my Day Zero Project, one of my goals is to answer (in my opinion... a journaling exercise) the 50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind. I'm now on question #3:

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?

When I first read this question, my initial reaction was "Ha. Time & Money. The end." It's true to a point. I like going to tropical places, but I don't have time or money. The list goes on. I know it goes much deeper than that, and as a Christian my response has to be that we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do because that is the way God intended it. I don't think our life here on earth is supposed to be a piece of pie, so to speak. We need to work hard and deal with the daily stresses of life to earn our way into a great life that God has promised us in heaven.

That's just what I believe, anyways. I also think that human inhibition plays a big part in what we do and don't do. As humans, we tell ourselves what we are capable of, and we usually don't do much to stretch outside the boundaries. I am currently planning my daughter's 1st birthday party, and all along I had been planning to purchase cupcakes from a local shop for the celebration. Thinking on it though, I told my husband that I would make a cake at home. He asked me what I really wanted to do.

What I wanted was to make my daughter's birthday party perfect, and what I wanted was to receive total credit for said perfect party. This meant purchasing cupcakes with perfect decorations because I didn't think I was capable of pulling off something that (ha) reached my own expectations.

After thinking about it a little bit, my reasoning began to seem a little bit... shallow. I knew that I would feel much better if I made the cake for my daughter. I could add in wholesome ingredients and put a very personal touch on her first birthday. I would like to do this, so why wouldn't I? Time and money were not the answer here... I am equipped with both for the project. It's human inhibition. My Eyeore attitude thinking it wouldn't be good enough. Wah wah wah.

OK... screw human inhibition. Life IS too short to not do the things that I'd really like to do. So I'd really like to make a lovely cake. And if I have to practice 15 times between now and the party I will. My daughter is turning one for crying out loud. Her expectations are minimal at this point.

(This entry took a different turn that I expected it to, which is the point of my jounaling exercise. Ask yourself a question and answer honestly from the heart... it'll surprise you.)

ALSO... I keep forgetting to mention that last week I added a new feature... you'll notice at the top of the page the new tab for "Featured Giveaways." There are some wonderful blog giveaways out there on the web, and I'm having a blast sharing my favorites with you! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: H is for Healthy Habits, Happy Family

Well, this post couldn't have come at a better time. Yesterday I took my took feline babies to the vet for their annual check-up.

When my husband and I first adopted our cats from North Shore Animal League in July 2007, they were 8 weeks old, and my attitude was "a cat is a cat." I was looking forward to two cute little balls of fur romping around my house and visiting with me when I needed a friend. Little did I know how attached to them I would become. Long story short, in early 2009, our cat Genevieve started breathing really rapidly, so I rushed her to the animal hospital where I was told that it was "probably heart failure" and was immediately given the option to have her put down. Um. No. I was newly pregnant at the time and a ball of emotions. I threw a raging fit at the animal hospital, and with the patience of my husband was able to have them run some more tests on her. Several thousand dollars later, it turned out that she had chylothorax (liquid in her chest) and now she is fine with 3 pills a day. Because of her condition though we had to put her on a very special low fat diet, which Nessie (our other cat) also started eating.

Well turns out this very low fat diet is full of carbs, and Nessie just can't handle the carbs! Her latest weigh in was 17.2 lbs (an entire 5lbs heavier than her sister)... soooo now we're trying a new low fat diet that will hopefully benefit them both. It is the Purina OM Project Pet Slim Down. Fingers crossed! If anyone has any tips on how to make her more active it would be greatly appreciated! I can control her intake of food but I can't force her to exercise!

H is for Healthy Habits, Happy Family

Let me throw out a statistic. From the CDC:
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2
And we all know that the problem doesn't just lie in our children. As adults, educators, and parents... we are the role models. Yes, most of us grew up with full fat butter in all of our food and food packed full of preservatives, but it's time for a change.

Healthy habits make for a happy family. I cannot say it enough!! I know a lot of parents who have the attitude that their preschooler or toddler is soooo picky that they'd rather they eat junk than eat nothing at all. "We'll start eating healthier next week." My husband and I are no exception to this. Lately, we haven't been to the gym at all. "Too busy." "Too tired." "No time." But the truth is that somehow we always find time to sit down and watch our favorite television shows at the end of the day. 

Bad mommy! I know I need to get my act together. I certainly don't look "obese," but my healthy weight is about 20 lbs less than what I am right now. Granted, I just had my daughter a year ago and it takes time, but what better time than the present.

To ensure healthy habits for the whole family, there are four main things that need to be of focus: eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting your vaccinations, and going to the doctor for wellness visits (which include you mom and dad!)


Did you know that If 1 in 10 American adults started a regular walking program, the nation would save $5.6 billion in heart disease costs each year. (National Governors Association. Healthy Aging and States: Making Wellness the Rule, Not the Exception. Washington, DC: NGA, 2007. Available at Accessed September 20>, 2007.) Hmm... then maybe that money could go to cancer research!

The average adult should be walking about 10,000 steps a day. I encourage you to go on family walks. See new places, go exploring, take the dog, have family races! Don't know where to get started? Try this 20% Boost Program from PBS.


This is an easy way to teach your kids the basics of good eating before they are old enough to understand the benefits of a food pyramid. GO foods are good for you foods (green light!), SLOW foods are foods you should have in moderations (yellow light!) and WHOA foods are foods for special occasions and small portions (red light!). To learn more about the breakdown, please visit the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institution's Website here.

Lunch Time Choices

For many parents, the lack of nutrition starts when their children enter elementary school and start ordering hot lunch. When mom and dad aren't there to say no, your child starts calling all of the shots at school. Chocolate milk, pizza, cheesesticks. E.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.

Teach your child how to make healthy decisions at home. When lunch time rolls around, give them healthy options and let them choose. When school-time comes around, the best option is to send your child with a packed lunch full of healthy foods. Once they have the hang of the GO, SLOW, WHOA foods, try going over the school lunch menu with them at home, and ask them what meal choices they would make. Let your child eat at school a couple times a week. Your child with understand the special treat of ordering by him/herself and will be proud of the choices they are making.

Play Outside with Your Kids

Our kids certainly don't have as much freedom as we did as kids, and for good reason - unfortunately the world isn't as safe as it used to be. However, the answer is not to shelter our kids indoors. Make the time to play outside with your kids. Kick a ball around, play in the sandbox, or go for a bike ride. The time with you is really what they need.

Here is a real challenge for you. How often do you find yourself saying "go and play" ? Go play honey, go play while mommy cooks, go play while daddy is fixing this. Go play. Go play with your sister. For every time you say this to your child (which we all do, don't feel bad), make sure to set aside 15 minutes of time in which you can join in the play.

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thursday Blog Hop

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Welcome to Holly at Nap Time fellow bloggers! Please let me know you stopped by so that I can return the favor. If you like what you see, follow along! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

G is for Ghosts & Goblins (& other DIY Halloween Projects!)

Happy Tuesday! I hope that everyone had a nice weekend. Today I'm playing catch up a little bit, because I spent a good part of Sunday and Monday trying to come up with a new look for the blog. My previous look was put together by me, but taken from some ideas from other templates. Things just seem better when you make them yourself from scratch. At least... I get more satisfaction by looking at it everyday that way. What do you think? I'd love any feedback you have. I know it will look different on different computers/programs, so I'd like to continue to build it to maximize its potential on all platforms.

And I've got to be honest, when I first started the design this is not at all what I had in mind. It's just sort of what happened. Funny how that works, isn't it? Regardless, I like it.

You also might have noticed that we have moved to .com status. Hooray! Don't worry though, will still direct you here too.

Speaking about DIY projects, that's what today's Fall Family Challenge is all about!

G is for Ghosts and Goblins (& other DIY Halloween Projects) 

Yesterday was a very rainy and dreary day, so I loaded up my daughter, and after storytime at Barnes & Noble we headed out to do some more shopping. It's no surprise that Halloween decorations are everywhere, but what did come as a shock was how expensive those decorations are, and how people are so willing to pay for them! This article from MSNBC states that "Halloween spending [is] expected to hit $5.8 billion [in America]." Is that excessive, or what?

Granted, I'm not saying that the holiday should go unnoticed. I did purchase my daughter's costume this year, as I'm not super savvy about using my sewing machine just yet, and my husband and I will be purchasing candy and pumpkins as well. As far as decorations go, there are a lot of things that you can do without spending a fortune (Not to mention, they are fun and accessible projects for the whole family to do together... which is the goal!)

Make a fancy jack-o-lantern and impress all of your friends! Click here to view and download carving stencils from DIY Network. 

Don't like the icky mess of pumpkin carving? Print these designs on transfer paper, etch onto your pumpkin, and paint it on instead! Use some glitter Mod Podge to add some bonus flair.


Spirit Jugs

If you have toddlers in your house, then you're also more than likely to have your share of milk jugs too. This October, save them up to make these ghoulish lanterns from Disney's Family Fun! The best part is, you can use your white Christmas lights to make this happen, and after Halloween has passed you can still recycle them! No storage, no hassle, but mostly... no real cost to you!

For full details, please click here to visit Disney's Family Fun!


Clean plastic gallon milk jugs
Black permanent marker
Craft knife
String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights
Instructions 1. Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs. Tip: Leave the caps on while you do this, so the jugs don't dent.
2. Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-size hole in the back of each jug (a parent's job).
3. Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs

Holly at Nap Time Tip: If you think the finished product still looks too much like milk jugs, try your creative side to think of fun hair/hat ideas for your ghosts. Have a sports fan in the house? Show your colors with a baseball cap! Straw, witches hats, and cotton balls all will work nicely too!

 Clothespin Vampire Bats

These little guys are adorable (or terrifying, depending on how you make their faces) and make the perfect little ornament for any window sill.

Click here for the full set of directions from

A Party Centerpiece

And of course it just wouldn't be a complete holiday without the input of one Miss Martha Stewart. Head on over to her site by clicking here to see the "How-To" Guide to 42 awesomely ghoulish table centerpieces!

Here are a few of my favorities!

via Martha Stewart Living

via Martha Stewart Living

via Martha Stewart Living

I certainly hope you find some ideas here to inspire to you make some home-made decorations with your kids this year!

How much will your family spend on Halloween this year?

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!