Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DIY Baymax T-Shirt (Big Hero 6)

Boy #3 is OBSESSED with Big Hero 6.  We watch it everyday about a million times.  He can quote the movie word for word (and so can I, for that matter).

Poor little guy, though.  Every time we go the store he BEGS for ANYTHING with Baymax on it.  If you haven't seen the show, he's this big marshmallow looking robot:
This cute lovable guy is my 4 year old's hero of the month.  And we wants all the paraphernalia... but being the kind of parents we are, we like to wait for holidays to get the prizes... unless they want to buy stuff with their birthday money.

But today was his 4 year doctor well check and he got his shots... and he was so brave.  So after taking him out for a Wendy's kid's meal, I made him a new shirt.

I used an old white tee and a sharpie.  I should have looked at a picture first, but I didn't so the head is a little too big and I didn't make fingers.  But he doesn't care.  He's in heaven and I'm the best mom in the world!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Home Again: A Book Review

I get about 5-10 requests per week to review new up and coming books.  About 95% of them have to do with the military one way or another.  I know we get them because we are a military family, and that's great.  But sometimes, I just get a little burned out on military literature.  I turn down most of the requests, mainly because I don't have time to review them all.  Between raising all my boys and being wife to my soldier-man, sadly, I have limited time to sit down with a book.  Audio books have been my friend lately.

So a book really has to catch my eye and interest for me to accept reviews these days.  And Home Again by Michael Kenneth Smith
was one of those eye catching books.

I liked the fact that it took place in Tennessee.  Since living here, I have been very interested in learning more about the history, especially concerning the civil war.  Although, the book is fiction, you can tell the author went through a lot of trouble to include a lot of non-fiction details and real people.

One thing I LOVE about history, is learning about the little stories that make up the big events.  I love the details about real people that make them REAL to me.  And this book includes those small, yet important details, and I LOVED it.  It's a perfect blend of fact and fiction!

I actually promised to do this review last week.  I got the book in the mail and I started reading it.  The first two chapters didn't really grip me because it was "guy talk".  Mostly hunting and guns were being described, and I fazed out a bit.  But once the story started rolling I was swept away.

Even though the publicist sent me a hard copy, I got myself a digital copy on Amazon (You can get it FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited).  Since I have a Kindle Fire 7 HDX, I have text to speech.  So I turned it on to read to me while I folded laundry.

Husband comes home.

He listens in.

He gets sucked in.

And he starts lurking around...

"Are you listening to my book?"

"Yes," he said.

"What do you think?" I asked.

"This book is AWESOME!  I am loving this!" He said.  That's a HUGE compliment coming from Ben.

Then I was banned from reading it without him.  So my review is a little late coming but here it is!

Before I go on, here is what the back of the book says:

An American Sniper in the Civil War Takes Center Stage in Historical Novel

Snipers are not a modern-day military tactic. In the American Civil War, both the Yankees and the Confederates had skilled snipers with advanced rifles and scopes that allowed them to hit targets over a thousand yards away. 
In Home Again, author Michael Kenneth Smith presents a true-to-life work of historical fiction that describes through a young soldier the important role of snipers—called sharpshooters back then.  Zach fights for the Union and earns notoriety for his accuracy with a rifle custom-made by his father, a gunsmith. Beginning with his first kill, Zach feels remorse and guilt over ending a human life.  He questions if it’s fair, honorable or moral to shoot an enemy without warning from a safe distance.  Are his victims really enemies, or soldiers like him eager to return to their families? 
Luke is a Confederate, who enters the conflict in hopes of doing something to make his father proud.  He volunteers to help two overworked surgeons in a field hospital by stitching up the gashes of wounded soldiers. Seeing an opportunity to stand out, Luke impulsively mounts a horse and rushes into enemy lines to retrieve the fallen Confederate flag. His fellow troops cheer, but the surgeons shame him for risking his life for the sake of glory when he is needed to help save injured soldiers. 
Set in Tennessee, Home Again does not take sides. Zach and Luke are both from Tennessee and there is little mention of the issues or the cause of the war. The surgeons tend to all soldiers regardless of the side they fight for. The dramatic and poignant stories of the two boys, uniquely told in alternating chapters, represent the aspirations of many young boys who seek action, adventure and glory and quickly confront the horrific realities of war. 
Smith vividly describes the chaos and elements they endure, as well as the sight of soldiers with limbs blown off and guts spilling into the mud, the screams and desperate pleas for help, the smell of gunpowder and decaying bodies.  
Based on his meticulous research, Smith skillfully weaves his fictional characters into actual events and battles, notably Shiloh and Gettysburg.  The personalities and leadership styles of well- known generals on both sides of the conflict are well presented, and brief biographies of many of them are in the epilogue.
I have to say, I really enjoyed the book. Probably not as much as my husband who was soaking it in. But as a history buff, and wife of a soldier living in Tennessee, I really liked it.  The first thing I notice about a book I review is writing style.  Michael Smith is an excellent writer.  He made me fall in love with the two main characters in such a way that I just couldn't pick a side!  When reading about Zach the sniper, I want the Union to win.  But when reading about the adventures of Luke the medic Confederate, I want them to win!  The reader can't help it!  I think it takes a lot of talent to write like that.

I love the parts when Zach the sniper is proving his skills to the unbelieving soldiers.  But I think my favorite part is when he walks into a confederate tent full of men, after hiding out in the rain for hours and pretends he is one of them to get a good nights sleep.  I still chuckle when I think of that part. But it was really interesting as the writer explored the emotions Zach went through as he was picking off guys as a sniper.  And the lasting effects of war on him.

I really liked Luke too.  I loved his compassion and charity.  He really wanted to take care of everyone... and their horses.  But he had the saddest story I thought.  His dad was a total douche and pretty much forced him into the Army.  But Luke was an animal lover and fishing small town boy. What the war did to him was just short of tragic.  I did find it fascinating the way they were able to patch soldiers up even though the conditions were unsanitary and the supplies were so limited.  But he just didn't give up on anyone.

I am really hoping for a sequel.  The ending left it open to follow these young men on new adventures.  Fingers crossed!

So whether you are a history buff or just love a good military adventure read, you need to read this book!  It will make you laugh, cry, cheer, and it will open your eyes to a new understanding of what the civil war was and what those men fought for so we can live like we do today.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Salonpas Review and Giveaway

Back in January, I got an offer in my email to review Salonpas Pain Relief patches, gels, and sprays.  I thought, hmmmm... with a the injuries Ben comes home with, that would be fun to experiment with.  But for the first time in the history of my husband's Army career, he has been injury free for a couple of months.  I felt terrible!! How dare he not get hurt so I can try out these new pain relief products that Salonpas so generously sent me.

How selfish can a man be?!

So there they sat in my kitchen going unused.

Somewhere along the way, though, I think I cursed myself.  A few weeks ago, my heel started hurting like really bad.  It popped when I walked and pretty much burned when ever I was doing anything on it... and even when I wasn't.

So I thought, well, serves me right for wishing a minor injury on my husband just so I could try out a product.

Turns out I have a heel spur. Boo!  So I have been putting Salonpas Deep Relieving Gel on it.  And icing it too.

It has helped WONDERS!!

I was super paranoid about having to get a cortisone shot in it, but now, looks like I won't have too! Yay!

Salonpas also sent me:

Salonpas Pain Relief Patch,
Pain Relieving GEL-Patch HOT-L, 
and Salonpas Pain Relieving Jet Spray

I wish I could say, I can't wait to try the others... but that would just be wishing myself more misfortunes.  So here's to being prepared for when and if it happens again!

A little bit about their product from the email they sent me:
Many of us included daily exercise as a primary New Year’s resolution.  Keeping that resolution can result in more aches and pains than usual due to the demands of the regime.  Reaching for OTC pills is not always the healthiest solution.  A healthier solution for pain management awaits with the availability of topical analgesic products in the form of creams, gels, sprays and patches.
By putting the medicine right at the site of pain, bypassing the stomach and liver, Salonpas can use less medicine to deliver an effective dose. Try it and we think you will agree that Salonpas offers powerful relief when and where you need it.
“When people self-medicate with over-the-counter oral pain pills, they can ingest inappropriate doses and run the risk of potential drug interactions, which can lead to unintended or unsuspected dangerous side effects, some of which can be as serious as liver failure or heart damage,” says Dr. Sylvia Hesse, a New York based orthopedic medicine specialist.  “By relying on topical analgesic gels, sprays and patches for pain relief - without the use of pills - you can be assured of making a safer choice.”  

Salonpas would like to give one of our faithful, lucky readers a $100 worth of Salonpas products to try out at home. Woo Hoo!

Here's how to toss your hat in the giveaway ring:


Leave a comment telling us how Salonpas can help you or someone in your family. (If you can't post, please email me your comment and I will post it for you -- nutsinanutshell(at)gmail(dot)com)

Optional entries: (leave a separate comment for each saying you did it)

Follow Salonpas on Facebook
Follow Salonpas on Twitter

That's it! Contest ends Monday night at 11:59pm.  Winner will be announced on Tuesday.  Good luck!



Ever since all this snow day and spring break business, the Tweedles (Boys #1 and #2) have gotten into this lazy habit of going to bed later than they should.  This has caused HUGE issues come morning time when I come in and kindly wake them up with my sweet morning singing... and sometimes a little dancing.

The frustrating thing is, they just don't appreciate the fact that after long nights of feeding baby and waking #3 up to go potty so he won't wet the bed, I still get up at 7 sharp so I can put on my happy face, climb the longest stairway in the history of the world (at least it feels that way at 7 am) only to wake up grumpy little morning trolls.

These last couple weeks, #1 has been especially sassy, and #2 just flat out ignores me and stays in bed.  This results in missed breakfasts, unbrushed teeth, and crazy hooligans in mismatched socks, shoes in hand, running out the door racing to catch the bus. And yesterday morning after a particularly difficult wake up, #1 informed me that it was all MY fault.  I am the WORST mom in the HISTORY of the world because... wait for it... I wake them up too early.  Yes, that is right.  Their grumpiness has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the fact that I have to fight them every night to get their butts in bed and STAY in bed by 8.  No no no... the fact that they sneak toys and books and flashlights under their covers and giggle until midnight has NOTHING to do with them being tired in the morning.  It's ALL my fault because I wake up the little angels too early.

Boo. Freaking. Hoo.

"So let me get this straight," I said trying not to lose my cool. "It's my fault you are tired in the morning because I wake you up in time to get ready and catch the bus to school?  Even though you guys made bad choices last night and stayed up too late?"

"Yeah," #1 said.  I laughed.

"Okay, since me waking you up is such an issue, I won't do it anymore.  You guys can get up yourselves and get ready and make it to the bus on your own, since you are such BIG boys now."

I heard high fives and fist bumps going on as I went down stairs.  Go ahead and celebrate boys... enjoy your brief moment of false victory... 

Last night I had Ben set the alarm on their innocent looking digital clock.

This morning, I woke up to THUMP THUMP THUMPS of many little legs running down the stairs at 7 am sharp.

"MOM!!!! MOM!!!!! The fire alarm is going off upstairs!!!!" They were yelling in unison completely wide eyed and totally freaking out.  It was GLORIOUS!

"Not the fire alarm guys.  You said you didn't want me to wake you up in the morning any more, so I decided to treat you like responsible big boys and daddy and I set your alarm clock."  I walked upstairs and showed them how to turn it off.  "So now every morning, instead of being bothered by me, you will wake up to the sweet digital music of get-your-lazy-butts-out-of-bed.  Welcome to the real world boys!"

Oh, snap!

Total melt down. Of the nuclear class.

"We're SOOOOO SORRY!!!" and "We'll never be mean to you again!"'s were followed by "PLEASE don't make us wake up to that again!!  PLEASE!!!" and "We want you to wake us up EVERY morning!" and lots of wailing, fist pounding, leg kicking, brown-nosing, and as the Bible would say, gnashing of teeth.  All of which were completely pointless and a waste of good energy.

Oh, how sad it is to get a reality check.  I'm feeling really bad for them as I laugh myself silly and sip a congratulatory morning Diet Pepsi on the rocks.

Needless to say they got out the door with shoes on their feet, lunches in their packs, full bellies, teeth brushed, and repentant faces.

Oh, I love parent wins!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fit Snack Review

 My long time readers know how I am always on the look out for new healthy ways of eating and getting fit.  I was really excited when asked to do a review on a new healthy snack program called Fit Snack.  It's a box of healthy snacks that you get in the mail and you can sign up for it online and buy a single box or sign up to get them monthly.

And I have to say, eating crazy healthy food has never been so fun.  Seriously, everything in the box was pretty new to me, so it was like this little treasure trove of new food discoveries.  And I love good healthy food.
I have to say that my FAVORITE item in the box was the Quinoa chips.  They were so tasty, I wished there was a lot more in the bag!  Even my picky eater loved them... sad I had to share :(

A close runner up was the protein lemon cookie... nom nom.

My husband really liked the energy chocolate bites, and has been using them for help with PT this last week.

I have to mention the weird item: the veggie chips.  They were tasty once you got past the fact that there were whole green beans chip-style in there.  Ben couldn't get past the green bean, but I enjoyed them... they were just a little strange to me.

You can also find a protein bar, a yummy seed mix, some nut spread, Lentil chips, and a gluton free pancake mix.

All and all I think if you are up to getting some healthy snacks, you need to give this a try!!


The Winner of the HALO SleepSack!!

I was really excited to do this contest, but it's always so hard for me to pick a winner because I want to give ALL the entries one!  The guy who came up with Random.org was a genius! Because of them, picking a winner is easier and fair.

So the winner of the HALO SleepSack is:

Congrats to Mands @ Rhody Life!!!  Email me your mailing info, size (S,M,L), and gender preference, and I will get it sent on so you can receive your HALO SleepSack!

Thanks to everyone who participated!!  We have another giveaway coming up so keep an eye out for it.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Welcome to 6 Nuts in a Nutshell!

Note: My husband told me it was time seriously update the welcome message.  I went to edit the old one and it was so out of date, I decided to start over, so here it is!


Hi, my name is Cat. I am a 30 something year old mother of 4 boys and wife to a handsome soldier in the US Army. No matter where we live, we call it "The Nutshell" -- because with 4 boys running amok, no place is big enough! And as the only girl around, I am reining Queen! We enjoy the wonderful life of living frugal, bargain hunting, crafting, paying off student loans, changing diapers/ potty training, playing single mom when Army duty calls, raising 2 sons with ADHD and speech/language impairments, and joining play groups (if they will have us). My friends think I'm crazy but lovable, my husband thinks I'm sexy (a good thing too), my family thinks I am bossy and opinionated, and my kids think I'm from outer space. I don't mind. In fact, I openly admit I am a nut among nuts.

I'm still learning on my pathway to perfection, and I'm not afraid to admit when I am wrong. But I enjoying writing about what I do know about motherhood, marriage, military life and anything else that pops in my head. I love to read, crochet, sing, and dance in the way that will embarrass my boys the most! But above all, I love to laugh about all of it. Life is so funny if you take the time to stop stressing and really think about it all.

My husband Ben is my soul mate and perfect opposite.  Where I am loud, outgoing, and silly; he is quiet, thoughtful (as in he actually thinks before he speaks) and can fix anything!  That is to say, Daddy Ben.  Army Ben is scary as heck... but we won't talk about Army Ben.  Ben is a solider in the US Army Field Artillery Corp, is Cub Scout master, and loves every minute of it! The harder it is, the more he enjoys himself.  He works hard and I am proud of him.... even if I do poke fun at him at times (but only when I know that it is something that he will laugh about too!).  

I married my husband, Ben, in 2004 and we got pregnant right away (I say "we" because he suffered as much as I did). Sam was born in 2005 with pneumonia. There is nothing worse for a first time mom, then to be waiting for a cry that never comes and suddenly your baby is rushed out of the delivery room because he's blue -- not my favorite memory. Sam is now 9 years old and in 3rd grade. He is also speech/ language impaired -- a temporary thing, he'll grow out of it eventually -- and he is progressing fantastically! As much as I love him, Sam was a real hard kid. Loved to do naughty things, and don't let his speech impairment fool you -- he is extremely bright and very crafty -- which gets him in A LOT of pickles.  But lucky for me, he gives me great writing material!  However, this last year, he has really grown.  While Sam used to be my most difficult, I have found that now he is Mr. Rules.  Little bros beware!  One toe out of line and Sam is using his words to tattle.  The stinker. But he redeems himself in his role as big brother to the baby... he LOVES babies.

Nephi is my shy but sassy boy. If I hadn't seen him when he popped out at birth with crazy red curly hair, I would never have thought he came from me. He is the first red head in a few generations, and when I say red, I mean red. In the sun, his hair looks like flames. Not to mention, he has a personality to go with it. I'm not just talking about the bossy red, I am talking "class clown redhead with freckles" attitude.  At 7 years old, he has us cracking up daily from something he says or does. Sometimes just a look from his blue eyes will have us in fits.  He is in 2nd grade this year.  Nephi is also our amazing little artist -- in fact, he designed the link buttons on the top of this blog!

Next comes little Jacob. This kid is a pill  We can't seem to keep him out of trouble or out of anything for that matter.  His favorite past times include, but aren't limited to, throwing expensive electronics into the toilet, getting up on the kitchen table and dancing, eating fruit... lots of fruit, and playing tag with his brothers.  Jake also likes to high-jack my sodas... no open soda is safe in this house!  And he HATES it when I sing.  Potty training is a HUGE affair -- we've been working with him forever!  The little stinker detests all to do with toilet and at 4 years old, it's getting REALLY old!!  Jake loves being snugly, and is a total Daddy's boy.  If Ben is home, Jake is by his side.

And last but not least, we have baby Joseph.  He is our Halloween baby and just as precious as can be.  He loves snuggles, smiling, and his brothers (except Jake -- Jake scares him and for good reason).  He hates being poopy, and sudden loud sounds frighten the dickens out of him.

Sam, Nephi, Jacob, Joseph, the hubby and I have many adventures we would love to share. I hope to hear from you as well. I really appreciate ideas and pearls of wisdom. I'm not perfect, even though sometimes I would like to think I am. I'm not even a great writer. I am starting this blog after a lot of peer pressure to do something with my writing skills. However, I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to putting myself out there to the public. Just one step at a time, and this is it. I enjoy life and love all it has to offer; the good times, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. It is my hope and my wish that we can bask in the glories of womanhood and motherhood together.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

HALO SleepSack Review and Giveaway!

A few weeks ago, one of my friends suggested I request to do a review for the HALO SleepSacks.  Honestly, I had never heard of them before; but they sounded pretty cool.  So I filled out the request form and to my surprise, heard back from them the very next day!  I was very impressed with their prompt reply and professionalism.

That being said, my little guy doesn't like any thing fleecy.  He just gets so hot and sweaty.  So we bought him some cotton/muslin blankets, but all he wants to sleep in is a onesie -- which makes me paranoid that he is going to freeze at night.

The fact that HALO carries cotton SleepSacks was a huge plus for me.  And a few days later ours came in the mail:
Things I really liked:
-It's SUPER soft!
-Totally washable
-Keeps baby cool and warm
-And my favorite part is that the zipper is upside down so I don't have to unzip it all the way to change his diaper -- I think that's a brilliant idea!

AND he looks stinking cute in it!!!

From their email and website:

About HALO

HALO Innovations is dedicated to putting the health, safety and well-being of babies first. In fact, over 1,300 hospitals use HALO® SleepSack® wearable blankets through the HALO Safer Way to Sleep Initiative.  The HALO family of products, including HALO SleepSacks and Swaddles, SwaddeSure and the best-selling HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, help children from newborn to toddler age sleep better and safer.

HALO’s founder lost his own child to SIDS and has made it his mission to raise awareness about safe sleep for babies. HALOprovides Swaddles free of charge to more than 1,300 hospitals nationwide and is constantly looking for ways to educate parents, caregivers and childbirth educators in sleep safety. 

HALO also asked me to include their safe sleeping tips. To me, most of them are no brainers, but apparently according to studies, over half of babies in the US sleep with unsafe bedding. I would brag about my knowledge on the subject, but honestly I only know because I have always been SUPER paranoid about SIDS or my baby suffocating.  And I am talking ridiculously paranoid to the point where my pediatrician tells me to chill out. So here are HALO's tips for the safe sleeping:

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
  • Room share, but don’t bed share. Bed sharing can put a child at risk of suffocation.


  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.


HALO has generously agreed to send a lucky reader a HALO SleepSack.  Here's how to enter:


Follow HALO on one of following media sites.  Come back and leave a comment telling me that you did.  For additional entries, you can follow them on the other sites and get a separate entry for each one.  Just make sure you leave me a comment per entry.  Here they are:

This contest ends Friday night at 11:59 pm. Winner will be announced on Saturday! Good Luck!!


Monday, February 23, 2015

The Very LONG Snow Break

Facebook Update: First real snow dump 
since living in Utah. Realized that I haven't 
missed it as much as I thought I did. Go figure. 
While Ben feels inspired to shovel, I feel
 inspired to sit by the fire, make stew, 
and read a good book. We all deal with 
snowy weather in our own ways
So my kids haven't been to school since Friday, February the 13th because of snow, ice, and heavy rain.  AND I had high hopes of them going back today, but it didn't happen... then I just got the call that it's cancelled tomorrow too.  Talk about cabin fever times 10!!  Four little guys trapped indoors for a week and half!  EKK!

On the bright side, we did get out once last Saturday, and then today... but it's been so cold, and 2 of my boys have had a stomach bug, that we have tried to stay in and keep healthy and warm.

I have been DYING to go out and run!  It's killing me!  The treadmill is getting old after a long winter.  Because of my asthma, I can't go running outside unless it's over 60 -- that's the temp that doesn't hurt my lungs for a week post-run.  And it hasn't been near that in a while :(

But I am a glass half full kind of girl and I am willing to take each day in stride... as long the kids can go back to school tomorrow, I will be a happy mama!

I am keeping myself busy so I don't go crazy.  I have read about 8 novels this last week.  I have cleaned the house many times over.  Been watching cooking shows on Netflix and have improved my cooking skills.  In fact, I made some gourmet-style Raman Noodles yesterday and they were pretty tasty!!  Of course, everyone loved them, except my 7 year old who wasn't impressed and said, "Mom, I used to love your cooking, but this just tastes weird."  The turd.

I also decided to try doing a foil weave on my own hair.
I've done many on my friends, but not on myself...

Turned out pretty good I think!

Oh, the things we do when we are trapped indoors.

Meanwhile, the baby is growing well, and will be for months this weekend!

And Ben is getting promoted on Friday, YIPPY! Congrats to him!!

Life is good... but it will be better once school is back in session :)