Archives for March 2015

How To Stake Tomato Cages

staking tomato cages

 

The majority of the tomatoes that I grow are heirloom, which grow tall and become heavy. Because of the height and weight of the vines, I stake my cages down so they can support the plant and fruit once it is produced.  A flimsy tomato cage won’t do with these type of plants. Learned that lesson the hard way.   Before you leave, check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips. 

 

staking tomato cages

 

Some of my plants have grown 6 – 7 feet tall, and have gotten heavy enough to topple my cages. Once this happens, it’s hard to pull the vines up without damaging them. My tallest cage is 5 foot, so they need some help in keeping them steady and strong enough to support the weight of the tomatoes on the vines.  My best and most sturdy cages were purchased from Tractor Supply. I went back to purchase more the next season, but they no longer carried them. As sturdy as they are, they still need to be staked.

Here’s my staking method.  Simple and budget friendly:

  • I purchased 6 foot fence stakes from Lowes.
  • After planting the tomato plant and placing the cage over it, I push 2 stakes deep into the ground directly beside the cage.
  • I tie the cage to the garden stakes with garden ties. You can purchase the ties from your local garden center. I buy the rolls. You will need them to tie up your tomato vines once they start growing.
  • For the heavier cages I used two stakes, but for the lighter and smaller cages I use 1 stake depending on the type of tomato I’m planting.
  • It’s important that you stake the cages when you first plant your tomatoes; otherwise, you risk damaging the roots of your plants.

The cages in the picture below, blue, red, light green and yellow, were purchased from Lowes. Pretty colors, but not the same quality as the ones from Tractor Supply even though they were the same price. Last year, I used the smaller cages for my hybrid tomatoes. Hybrids don’t get as tall or as heavy as heirloom tomatoes, but I still suggest supporting them. A strong wind can topple these cages and more than likely will damage your plant.

 

staking tomato cages

 

This is a picture of one of my heirloom tomato plants. You can see how thick the vines are on this plant. You can also see why it’s important to support the plant early. If you don’t want to spend money on garden ties, cut up old stockings or tee-shirts into strips. Any soft material will work.

 

stalking tomato cages

I planted 10 tomato plants last season, and found 3 volunteers. This is one of my volunteer tomato plants, below, before I staked, caged it and removed the weeds growing around it. This one needed support to keep it from leaning too. I’ve decided to leave my volunteers in the garden. If they produce I take the tomatoes to the local food bank.  They appreciate fresh garden vegetables in the summer. This year I made a pledge with Ample Harvest to take tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and zucchini to the food bank.

The dressing around this volunteer is from my homemade garden compost. It is so dark and rich it is unbelievable. This is why they call it Black Gold. Decomposed leaves make this compost Black Gold.  You can follow the link below if you would like to learn more about my Black Gold.

 

If you’re using containers for your tomatoes, I would recommend that you use a 4 – 5 foot garden stake to support your plant.  Local garden centers have them for a few bucks.  If you’re lucky enough to have bamboo around, cut a bamboo pole and use it in your container for support.

Stay tuned for my post on How To Grow Bigger Tomatoes next week. What are you planning to grow in your garden or containers this season?

If you like this post you may also like:  How To Make Garden Compost

 

Top 10 Baby Shower Games

baby showers, games ideas, best baby shower games



Planning a baby shower?  We know how stressful and time consuming it can be to put a baby shower together. You want it to be perfect, but time is not always on your side.  I have a few games that I have used at my daughter’s baby showers and they were hits.  I thought I would share them with you.  Feel free to select 2 – 3 games depending on the number of guests and your agenda. You can modify any of the games to suit your needs.  

For the Ice Breaker – Have each guest tell everyone how the know the Mommy To Be. This loosens everyone up so you can start the festivities. 





My Water Broke –  Fill ice trays with water.  Place a miniature baby, party favor, in each section of the ice tray and fill with water. The cube will contain the party favor when it freezes. Place an ice cube in a paper cup and give to each guest. Each guest must watch the ice cube and when it’s fully melts yell “My Water Broke.”  Be sure to give each guest their ice cube at the same time.  I purchased the party favors at Party City. 










What Mom Needs – Give each guest a sheet of paper and pencil.  Have each guest write down  a list of baby items Mom and Dad will need.  Give guests 5 minutes to complete.  The guest with the most items listed wins a door prize.  








Place 5 – 10 Baby Items in a Gift Bag –   Allow each guest to look into the bag for 5 – 10 seconds.  Have each guest write down the items that were in the bag.  The guest who has the most correct items wins. (Gift bag goes to Mommy To Be).








TIC-TAC-TOE – Have each guest make a grid for tic-tac-toe and list baby items on the grid.  The host will call out a list of baby items prepared in advance.  The guests who has 3 in a row must call out “Baby Tic-Tac-Toe” to win a door  prize.  







The Paper Bag –  Place several baby item in a sealed brown paper bag. Pass the bag to each guest and allow them to feel the bag for a 5 seconds. Ask guests to write down what’s in the bag.  The guest with the correct number of items wins.  (Goodies go to Mom To Be).






Drink Up – Place punch in several baby bottles.  (Purchase nursers from the dollar store for this game).  Gave a bottle to participating guests.  The winner is the guest who finishes drinking the punch first.  Not as easy as it looks!  Fun game





top baby shower games, baby shower bingo




Baby Shower Bingo – I purchased this game for my daughter’s baby shower. This is a fun game. Check on-line for printable Bingo cards and make your own game or purchase these ready made Bingo cards. Use pennies for the markers. 







Taste Test – Purchase 3 jars of baby food and remove the labels. Have each guest taste the baby food. The guest who has the most correct answers wins. 


baby shower games, top baby shower games





Scratch Offs – I purchased baby shower scratch offs for my daughter’s baby shower, and the guests really enjoyed them. You can order these on-line. The guest with the word “Winner” gets the door prize. 

Place Q-tips In A Jar – The guest who is closest to the number or who comes up with the number wins. 

You may also like:  How To Plan A Baby Shower


                                 15 Door Prize Ideas for a Baby Shower

How To Establish Boundaries for Grandparents

                                                 My grandson and I at the pumpkin patch


I love my role as a grandmother. I’ve been a proud grandmother for 7 years, and I actually see my role no differently from my daughter’s. I want the best for my grandchildren just like my daughter and son-in-law.    


Grandparents have an obligation to ensure our grandchildren are healthy, nourished, clothed, educated, have a roof over their heads, and enjoy life too.  It’s important that we create memories of them spending time with us as well.  How many children do you know that protest going to visit their grandparents?  There’s a reason for that, and that’s why we have the title “Grand”.  

                                                        Zarriah, sleepy, at Myrtle Beach, SC

It’s a special relationship, one that differs somewhat from raising our sons and daughters.  We have more experience in the parenting field, know the history of the family and most times in a better financial position than we were when we were raising our children.  My daughter and son-in-law depend on me to assist in the upbringing of their children, but they made it clear that they are the parents and I needed to abide by their rules and wishes. Establishing boundaries for grandparents is simple, have a conversation with your parents and talk about expectations.   


Accepting my daughter’s wishes was a hard hard pill for me to swallow, but I knew that I did not want to jeopardize my relationship with my grandchildren or my children, so I swallowed it.  There are times when they are being disciplined that I really have to bit my tongue and not pull rank. I will eventually make things better, but I have learned to be respectful.  Because I have made a conscious decision to not overstep boundaries, I have been able to build a great relationship with my grandchildren without offending my children. 

                                       My grandson and his grandfather at the carnival

Here’s a few tips for establishing a great relationship with your grandchildren without interfering with the parent’s rules and wishes:


  • Don’t cross the lines –  Children need to understand the roles of the adults in their life and see that you’re on the same page as mom and dad.
  • Establish traditions with your grandchildren –  Each year I take Xavier to the pumpkin patch and make sure he gives Santa his Christmas list.  Zarriah is now old enough to be included in these traditions.  
  • Create memories that are only available at grandma and granddad’s – I make special pancakes and waffles for their breakfast when they’re visiting.  We have craft time, go out to lunch or dinner, and they love MawMaw’s chicken wings. My daughter does not attempt to duplicate any of these special moments.    
  • If you’re divorced and I am, demonstrate that you can co-grandparent – I ensure my ex-husband is involved in activities at my home when they’re visiting.  (Gaga is participating in Xavier’s visit above).  
  • Become involved in their school and after school activities – I make an effort to meet teachers, attend school and sporting events etc.  I want to know who’s responsible for their education, who’s providing child care and I want them to know me.  
  • Keep the children on track – Stay on schedule with bedtimes, bath times, manners and discipline.  You don’t want to cause any setbacks for the parents.
  • Be creative – Tell them a story about your upbringing or their parents.  My granddaughter loves for me to make up stores about her being a princess and including family members.   
  • Become the family historian – Talk about other family members and your memories of them.  
  • Polish your craft skills – Children love making things for parents and grandparents.  
  • Take your grandchildren on a road trip – Spend a few days at the beach, camping or snow tubing.  They will remember it forever.  
  • Never discuss conflicting issues in front of the children – If there are disagreements on raising them, discipline concerns etc., discuss them away from the children.  
  • Keep the lines of communication open – Let your children know that you’re available for advice on parenting or just to listen. My daughter values my opinion on raising the children and life.   

My daughter enjoys listening to me tell the children stories and watching us make cookie and brownie treats. She looks forward to me visiting and spending time with the children, because she knows that I respect her as a mother. In return, she respects me as their grandmother. Many times she wants to participate in the activities as well. It’s a great feeling when she calls and asks when I’m coming to visit.  

My advice to parents, accept that grandparents play a special role in a child’s life. We’re sugar queens and kings and we become sneaky creatures. Yes, our perspective on things have changed from when we raised you. We can justify anything that our grandchildren do as long as they’re not bringing harm to themselves. Our job was to get you out of the house, our job now is to get our grandchildren in.

You may also like:  Celebrity Grandparents

Inspirational Quote-Where’s Mom

Inspirational Quotes, printables, quotes

Turn It Up Tuesday – #76

Welcome to Mother 2 Mother and the 76th week of Turn It Up Tuesday! I’m looking forward to seeing your awesome posts again this week. Last week, we had an awesome time on Turn It Up Tuesday with 413 links – an amazing week! We’d like to thank each and every one of you for making every week so amazing! Keep sharing your amazing posts with us here on Turn It Up Tuesday!
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Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts (old or new) and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

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Andrea Keeney is a writer, blogger, mother, and wife. She is the creator of the blog, Parenting with Parents as well as the author of the book, Moms: As Elite as the C.I.A….Well Almost. When she isn’t pursuing her dreams of writing she is taking care of her three small children.
Attention! There is an elite group of women walking freely among the average citizens of the world. These freakishly instinctive beings are capable of physical, mental, and emotional acts of greatness. They tend to appear irritated, exhausted, and are almost always bombarded by very tiny renegades who are whining and/or yelling. These women come in many shapes and sizes, however they all respond to a single name: Mom. If you know one of these women, if you are one of these women, or if you are going to be one of these women, you need this book!
Are you looking to get your blog or website in front of numerous people per week? Do you enjoy Turn It Up Tuesdays? Interested in having your blog or website featured for an entire month?
Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month by clicking here!

 

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

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(from the top – left to right)
Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Jillian from Baby Doodah | April from April Noelle | Tina from The Happy Creations | Melissa from The Coupon Chronicles | Cindy from Mom Maven | Tiffany from MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter | Kelly from Making-More | Yolanda from That’s Mashed Up | Tenns from Bliss & Faith | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Mari from Living in Mommywood | Rose from What Rose Knows | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly | Chelsea from Mommie and Wee | Nancy from Afro-Chic Mompreneur | Kelly from Mum-bo-Jumbo | Zografia from Bisozozo | Elaine from Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess | Lisa from Blogghetti | Latisha from Ask Latisha

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for March!

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(from the top – left to right)
Danielle from insearchofthe25thhour | Ginger from Does Your Sister Have Normal Hair | Cathy from Brand New Mom Blog | Marie from Just Plain Marie | Marose from Simple Pero Rock | Victoria from Giveaways 4 Mom

Interested in being a guest host for the month or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis. 

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

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Kelly chose Explosion Cards Made Easy with a Story! from Stamping on the Back Porch. “I absolutely love card making and this is probably my first craft “love”. This card is so simple yet effective and the story Karen tells in her video tutorial makes it really easy to remember how to make it. This is something I will be trying out, maybe for my Easter cards!”
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Kelly chose 6 Things I Learned in my First Year of Blogging from Working Mom Magic. “Lauren has some great advice from her first year of blogging. I get what she says about why some people just don’t get why we blog and I too get the questions such as, “What do you write about?” I also love how she has suggested if things are getting frantic, take a week off! Simple. After all, we are all friends here and the blogging world will forgive us!”
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Rhonda chose Disney Princess Footprint Craft from The Keeper of the Cheerios, LLC. “Adorable and creative way to use your child’s foot prints. Great rainy or snowy day project.”
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Danielle chose 16 Tips for a Disney World Vacation from Stuck in Your Rut. “This post has so many great tips for where to spend and where to save in the most visited place in the country. I’ve been there before and all of the choices and merchandise can become overwhelming, this post is very helpful planning before you travel.”
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Alyssa chose PC buying help: How to select a computer and what software to buy for it from Living with Beth. “Very helpful information about buying a new computer.”
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Alyssa chose Christian Marriage: What Romance Looks Like from Mom is Forever. “Marriage is sacred and should be treated as such. Shone speaks of this is this awesome post!”
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Lisa chose How to Make Tissue Paper Flowers Four Ways from Hey, Let’s Make Stuff. “First of all, I am totally impressed that Cori and her friends/family made 500 of these flowers! Second, how easy they are to make! I was going to buy some artificial flowers for a Spring DIY project but now I am totally going to make these beautiful flowers for it.”
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Lisa chose Strawberry-Lime Margarita Recipe from Typically Simple. “I had no idea that February 22nd was National Margarita Day – I sure missed out but with this Strawberry-Line Margarita recipe from Kelly I can make any day Margarita Day. It’s bright, fun, and looks yummy. Perfect to brighten up the Winter Blues.”
Natasha also chose this post. “I love strawberry, lime, and margaritas – the combination sounds exquisite!”
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Jillian chose My Simple Coupon System from Christina, Plain and Simple. “I chose this post because I need to get into couponing to help save my family some money on groceries, and have yet to find a system that really works. I’m looking forward to giving this one a try!”
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Jillian chose Home Management Binder and Free Important Dates Printable from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. “I can’t help myself! When it comes to organization I’m such a sucker. I love this post and really believe it can help anyone get their home in order.”
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Mari chose When a friend is terminally ill… from Home to 4 Kiddos. “Lisa’s share touched me personally because I lost my BFF over 7 years ago. Cynthia was in her mid thirties when she transitioned. She also had Cancer and dealt with Chrome’s Disease. It is never easy to loose a loved one but when it is happening slowly it brings upon a different pain.”
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Mari chose Yogurt Banana Split from The Mandatory Mooch. “I chose Nichi’s treat because it’s healthy, fun, colorful and a great combo of all things I enjoy. It’s a great way to have some fruits when you have picky eaters too! I look forward to trying it for myself soon.”
Tiffany also chose this post. “My favorite definitely caught the attention of my sweet tooth. How could I resist a healthy version of my favorite kind of dessert?”
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Tina chose Custom Wall Art {Using Dollar Store Supplies!} from Mama Mommy Mom. “What a beautiful and easy way to decorate your room. Love it!Thanks for sharing!”
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Tina chose Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Whipped Cream Frosting from Fry Sauce & Grits. “I love this cute cake.Looks beautiful and extra yummy!!I’m making some!!”
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Zografia chose Why We Stopped Buying TOYS! from The Practical Mom Blog. “These are great ideas. They will come in handy soon!”
DIY Heart Map Wall Art by ioanna papanikolaou [FindAWayByJWPblog] SDC10199
Zografia chose DIY Repurposing Map Wall Art from Find a Way By JWP. “I am not a fan of hearts or maps, but i think this is a great souvenir from places we have visited or a reminder of places we want to visit.”
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Silvie chose Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe from Flavor Mosaic. “I love Kung Pao Chicken and this recipe is both easy and delicious!”
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Stacey chose Creating Pixie Hollow from Just Be Well. “These are absolutely adorable! My hubby and I have always loved the idea of Fairy gardens and Fairy doorways, throughout our house. Thank you so much for sharing!”
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Latisha chose Coca-Cola Chicken Drumsticks Recipe – Share a Coke! from Summer Scraps. “This recipe makes me think of summer and trying this out on the barbeque grill. I would love to know what coca-cola flavored chicken taste like. Sounds yummy!”
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Latisha chose Sparkling Pink Princess Party from Frugal Foodie Mama. “I love the ideas. I especially love the princess doll cake. Made my daughter a doll cake three birthdays in a row. She loves them.”
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Sarah chose Save Your Hands: My $3 Makeup Brush Cleaning Set from Fry Sauce & Grits. “I love tips that save me time and money and this post does just that. Most of us use makeup crushes and we all know we need to clean them, but don’t often because it’s a hassle. This $3 trick will have leave us all with cleaner brushes.”
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Sarah chose Brown Sugar Foot Scrub from Little Girl Designs. “This time of year our foot could all use a little help! The best part of this foot scrub is that it can be made quickly from ingredients in our pantries.”
Natasha also chose this post. “My feet look horrific right now – I could really use this foot scrub!”
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Elaine chose Stop The Judging from The Pinterested Parent. “Good solid advice.”
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Tenns chose Mini Clipboards from Sarah Celebrates. “I thought these mini clipboards were too cute! I think they would make great gifts or just add that extra fun touch to staying organized. What an awesome crafty idea!”
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Rose chose Lunch Planning for Healthy Eating from Rae Loves. “It’s a great reminder how easy it is to prepare healthy meals for the week. I like how she added different toppings to the chicken for variety.”
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The post with the most clicks is A Running Playlist That Will Make You Want to Run from Play. Party. Pin.
Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
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And the Best of the Best is…

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Stop The Judging from The Pinterested Parent
Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!
As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!
Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details for the free ad space!
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Our Best Week Ever Giveaway!

Thanks so much for joining us for the Best Week Ever Giveaway! A winner has been announced!
$50 Paypal Cash Giveaway (3)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, make sure to enter to be 1 of 3 winners to win $500 in the Luck of the Irish Giveaway! Enter to win by clicking the link above or clicking on the image below. APIMP-LuckOfTheIrishGiveaway-1024x1024

 

So now that you’ve met our Sponsor for the month, our hosts and guest hosts, our Featured, the Best of the Best, and our giveaways,

let’s get started!

  • Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.
  • Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!
  • Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!
  • Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!
Epic Mommy Adventures

 

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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week! **Disclaimer: Adding your link to this link party gives permission to Epic Mommy Adventures, along with co-hosts, guest hosts, and participants of Turn It Up Tuesday, to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features, roundups, etc. with an explicit link back to the original source.**

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Interested in reading all of our favorite posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays – past or present? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

Sunday’s Best – #9

Welcome to Week 9 of  Mother 2 Mother’s Sunday’s Best Linkup We’ve started our Spring Forward theme. Warm weather is around the corner, so lets get those spring posts up.  I’m looking forward to seeing lots of green.  




Bring your St. Patrick’s Day and/or Easter posts to the party. Crafts, recipes, gardening, decorating ideas, room makeovers, tablescapes, spring cleaning and organizational tips are also welcome. Blow the dust off your old posts and link those too. Don’t have posts that fit into the theme, link up whatever post you would like to share. We would love to have SEO, blogging, parenting tips, DIY projects, homesteading, homeschooling, and your posts on life.  Your linkups and giveaways are welcome too. Anything goes here. 


Each week a post or a few posts will be selected and featured the following week.  An image from your post will be used on my blog the following week with a link back to your blog.  Be sure to check back to see if you’re the Sunday’s Best featured blogger of the week. 

If you are interested in becoming a Sunday’s Best host, please contact me for details.  


                                             Your Sunday’s Best Hosts:

            Rhonda – Mother 2 Mother                Kim U. – Pinterested Parent         Kim M. – Life In A House of Testosterone


  
Here’s the rules, please connect with us on social media before you leave or subscribe/follow our blogs :  

Mother 2 Mother: Please like my 
Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter,  Google+, PinterestBlogLovin or subscribe/join my blog on the right before you leave.   



The Pinterested Parent: Please like Kim’s Facebook Page, follow her on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Bloglovin before you leave.  


Life In A House of Testosterone: Please like Kim’s Facebook Page, follow her on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Bloglovin, or Instagram before you leave. 


Mother 2 Mother Blog


Please help us grow by placing the Sunday’s Best button above on your sidebar or in your Link Party lists/directory. Tweet the linkup using the hashtag #SundaysBest. I appreciate your help in promoting the linkup with Re-tweets and shares.



Now lets party! There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Be sure to enter our Luck of the Irish Giveaway.  The pot is worth $1500 and will be divided between 3 lucky winners. Click on the link and enter. Today could be your lucky day.   





The Sunday’s Best Posts are:




Kim U. selected Felt Food from Mama Bee Simple 






I selected Living On a Budget from Mommy Talk








Kim M. selected Got You Covered from Jingle, Jangle, Jungle



All of the posts were great, and I appreciate each of you linking up.  I would like to invite all of you back to linkup your post again this week. While you’re here take a minute to visit these great blogs and connect with Nicole and Monica.    


Now, lets link up those posts and be sure to visit a few other bloggers who have linked up while you’re here. It’s a great way to meet and connect with new bloggers. Be sure to PIN or share any posts that you like, we all appreciate a little love.