Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Have Our Cake and Eat it Two!

They say with each child the time flies by faster and I say I'd have to agree. Our youngest turned 2 last week and we're still trying our best to keep up with how fast she's changing, growing, and learning!

Here's some pics from her simple & sweet cupcake themed b-day gathering. Thank you to all of you who joined us in the celebration!

 Logan has a really cute cupcake shop called Temptation Cupcake. It was the perfect place to have her birthday gathering at because simple and easy was exactly what I had in mind for our busy and sweet 2 year old little girl. ;)

Here's a close up of the Mary Engelbreit party decor that I already had on hand....found at Michaels Craft store.

Love the beautiful selection they always have....they're of course delicious too!


Here's a close-up of the party invites that I made. I simply used these circle cards from Paper Source for the cake part, then trimmed them to fit some ribbed cardboard that I shaped for the cup part, along with these square envelopes, and voila- a DIY cupcake card!

 Party gifts carried the cupcake theme with mini gift bags that had a Build Your Own Cupcake sticker book (so that the kids could decorate their own cupcake) and a little cupcake bubble necklace all found online from Amazon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

CHANGES


After processing the cost of new carpet ($$$!!!) in our basement, I decided to dig deep in my designer file cabinet (which is actually my brain) to try and come up with a better solution. A solution that would be more budget friendly while still providing us with all the look and comfort of beautiful carpet (don't act like you don't sometimes stop at Home Depot or Lowes and pet the carpet samples....it's okay, that's what they're there for). Sooooooo, we're thinking of possibly installing FLOR carpet tiles ourselves in our basement. A place that we like to hang out and watch tv in, play ping pong in, and learn in. They so far seem to fit the bill with what we're looking for....playful, cool, and perhaps best of all, easy to fix simply by replacing a square if when they get damaged. You can also order them as a rug!  I'll be sure to keep y'all posted on what we decide.

I recently began incorporating fish back into my diet. It's been 15 years since I've had fish (aside from a daily fish oil supplement) but so far so good, make that really good. The need for this came on once I started working out more....it's like my body was officially telling me: EAT SOMETHING OTHER CARBS! And I listened. Favorite fish product right now are these Wild Alaskan Salmon patties from Sams Club which I like to cut up and put over a mixed green salad with Zesty Italian dressing....yum. yum. I still have no interest in red meat, chicken, or turkey, just fish and only about 1-2 per week and still consider myself a vegetarian. A vegetarian who is doing what I can to stay healthy and take less from animals (this includes avoiding products that unethically treat animals) and our earth's resources. I'm glad this awareness is present in our children too.

Bought our sons some Nerf guns. My husband and I (okay, me) have been on the fence about them for some time, but after a long while (like a year) of them repeatedly asking, school getting out across our neighborhood, and the two of them looking older lately (okay, I just threw in that last one) we gave in and so far they've been listening and behaving well with them, but I would like my "I told you so" to be on the record if someone gets hurt! :O

Hearing the word literally so frequently lately has been driving me a bit nutty....reading this article let me know that I'm not alone. Since when did someone decide that it's possible for definitions of words to change?

LOVE this clip (you really should watch it....it's hilarious!!!) that my friend Sam shared from comedian Michael McIntyre about the changes that occur once one becomes a parent. My husband and I both were quoting lines of it at dinner the other night....while sighing and saying "So, so true, so, so true."


That's it. Hope you all have a fun weekend. We're going to do some Farmer Marketing and I've got plans to catch a movie + frozen yogurt with my girlfriends. Gotta love those relax and do whatever kind of summer weekends!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To try...


Kids first time BOWLING!
Taking on a better perspective around here and giving myself big boosts of "YOU CAN DO THIS!" attitude because even with the monsoon of rain we've been having and less of a schedule for my kids, I'm choosing to enjoy our days- whatever they're filled with! This blog has given me a lot of good mothering and yougogirl! things to think about too.

These fun ideas for Kid Science Activities (we tried the Marshmellow Launcher one, it was easy and fun...plus, my boys flip for anything that includes the word "Launch." The kits are amazing too-soooo worth the $!)

This book (haven't read it yet, just heard it was a goodie)

This fake tanner (sworn by fave by Carrie Underwood)

English muffins over bagels (again says Carrie Underwood)

Planting my first flowers. In the ground. As bulbs. This is big for me folks! End of March I picked up a bag of Dahlias from Sams Club and planted them about a month ago....so exciting to see them already popping up!

Saving $. I'm so not good at this but have a goal. After having some water leak into our basement (we've since found a solution of attaching on a extender to our back drain pipe), we NEED new carpet in our family room and I know Home Depot always runs a free install special around Thanksgiving/Early Dec. So, we are saving for that now. As much fun as it is to buy all the other decorating home stuff I heard this rule...."Work from the bottom up" and that we shall do. Maybe by 2017 we'll actually have a sectional down there too. No joke. Until then, my little olive green love seat from my single days and some bean bags for the kids will have to do!


Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. Bart took an extra day off and it was soooo nice to have so much quality family time for 4 whole days!!! Looking forward to more of that feeling this summer.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our Learning Room

After creating that ever-so-convenient yet perfectly hidden away crafting area for myself in our guest bedroom, the incessant organizer/room changer/teacher wannabe in me came up with this additional use for our space....Welcome to Our Learning Room! 

As you can probably tell, it is still housing a full sized double bed off to the side, but until Elyse is ready for it to be moved up to her room and we get a sectional + fold-out bed for our downstairs family room, it's staying put. Around that time is also when we should be ready to transfer our old dining set down here in the bed's place, so then we'll really have adequate table space and seating to provide all 3 children with a quiet and distraction-free study area in addition to my crafting space.

Pretty much everything in this space we already had...Pottery Barn Kids table and chairs came down from our dining room, desk and desk chair came down from Benjamin's bedroom (Walmart special!), and the easel, wicker rolling cart, and nightstand were already in here just not being used, or used for other things.


Once I saw the space forming into a mini school, I knew we just HAD to have a wipe board. I picked this up at Walmart...I think it was only $20-25. The lesson I was working on when I took the above photo was about shapes. Did you know you can just type in pretty much whatever subject your kids are interested in with the word WORKSHEET after it, and ta da free and printable worksheets appear? I just love the Internet. ;) Another popular lesson/theme for us was the Solar System (I just stuck the above shown planets on with some really awesome stick-on Scotch products...they work so well and worth the extra $!).



Other activities we do in here are learning to tell time, flashcards of the alphabet, shapes, and numbers, phonograms, rhyming, and Brain Teasers. We also have a lot of those wipe down work books, coloring books, learn-to-read books, and various kid friendly craft supplies (thanks to my adjoining craft closet!) at the ready. 

To help teach geography, I found these cool giant sticker posters of the world and the U.S. from Amazon (they truly are amazing, no residue left on walls, peel on and peel off easy to readjust if you don't get it straight the first time, or if your child decides to roll themselves up in it....no joke). One of my favorite additions was these hooks shown above for the kids backpacks! We don't have any space upstairs to serve as a mud room/dump zone, so I'm hoping having this room designated for their school stuff helps detour a lot of the clutter that always seemed to build up upstairs.

Here's a view of the last wall. Benjamin made these alphabet letters last year at his preschool and I just love 'em! They are the perfect size and with their bright colors and creative visuals (each letter has something on it that starts with the letter it's representing), making them a fun way to remember the ABC's and refer to when writing. The Book Table (our local teacher supply store) is where I picked up the number line (adding or subtracting into negative numbers never made sense to me without a number line), days of the week, and months in the year posters.

So glad my children have been enjoying this space as much as I have and HALLELUJAH to keeping the rest of our house less cluttered from all the random crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, art projects...you name it! I'm all about establishing proper designated zones within a home so that it serves the people who live in it in the most functional and efficient way.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

HypnoBirthing is BACK!


I can't contain my excitement! I just learned that Logan Regional Hospital has brought back their HypnoBirthing Class for expectant parents. For those of you unfamiliar with HypnoBirthing click here or read below for a brief summary. The HypnoBirthing website {recently re-done!} also offers a lot of info such as where classes are being held, what the classes entail, and birth stories from others. Both the book and cd are also available here in case you're not able to attend the class, but I highly recommend the class!

Bart and I attended this class back when we were expecting our first child in 2009 and the whole vibe from the teacher and the rest of the expectant parents in our class was so positive, empowering, and memorable for us. We even wanted to take it again when we were expecting our other children, but for whatever reason it was no longer being offered. But, now it is and the class is just about to begin....dates are: May 19th - June 16th.

SO for those of you who live in Cache Valley and are expecting, or for those of you who even know someone who is expecting, this class offers VALUABLE information and tips on how to stay calm, confident, and connected with your baby and husband during labor. I really can't say enough good things about it other than I'm so glad I had this knowledge to empower myself and my husband through the 3 amazing births we were so lucky to experience.

Hypnobirthing ® The Mongan Method.
This class is designed to teach mothers and their birth companion’s techniques for achieving a safe and satisfying birth experience through relaxation, guided imagery, visualization, and special breathing. Classes will allow women to explore their fears, develop realistic expectations about the birthing process, and instill confidence in their ability to use hypnosis as a technique to minimize or eliminate pain during childbirth. This five-week class meets once a week in the evenings for two and a half hours per session. It is recommended for pregnancies between 15 and 32 weeks.

This program is affiliated with the HypnoBirthing® Institute and is taught by trained and certified HypnoBirthing® Practitioners.

$120 includes expectant mother and partner, the book, HypnoBirthing®, A Celebration of Life and a practice CD.






Date & Time
Tue May 19, 2015 - 6:30 PM
Location
Logan Regional Hospital
Women's and Newborn Center
Main Level classroom #8
Just South of the Gift Shop in the New Women's Center
Logan Regional Hospital
1400 N 500 E
Logan, Ut  84341
Fee
$175 per Couple
Pre-registration is required.  Payment due at time of registration.  No refund will be given if you cancel with less than 48 hours prior to class.  We reserve the right to cancel classes due to low enrollment.        
Contact
Lactation and Prenatal Services
(435)716-2560
Sponsor
Lactation and Prenatal Services
(435)716-2560

Friday, May 8, 2015

Moms We Are



As Mothers we....

try to manage it all
have lost our cool and later felt terrible about it
wish we could be like some other mom in some other way
spend too much money at Kohl's....seriously, every time I leave this place I always ask myself "Why did I even walk in here? It's not like we actually needed any of this!"
care deeply about how our children feel and how we and others impact their lives
believe our children can do anything!
love a good snack
forget...sometimes the same thing multiple times throughout the day
have our bad days
have our Supermom days!
long for a nice long shower/bath in peace and quiet
are blessed beyond belief 
raise children in the best way we can with hopes that they will become the best that they can


Good work Moms to all that we do!

p.s. click here for a cute and quick article about "You and Me Time"



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Taking Notice....




to the allure of Instagram (yes, i know i'm soooo behind the times!) and finding it a funny and clever way to capture and share moments of life. Maybe, just maybe I'll join?

of the new royal baby adorned in ALL WHITE. Complete perfection in my book. Nice to know we're not the only parents on the planet who prefer waiting to find out the baby's gender too! Also loved Kate's happy yellow floral dress. ;)

of my boys wanting more and more to play with their friends....when did Bart and I suddenly become so uncool? This is why when my oldest still asks for me to put him to bed, I do so ever so willingly!

of how smart and ready to go our little Miss Elyse is! She is not quite 2 but already talking in full sentences, picking out her own clothes (she has been struck by the color pink!), and cleaning up after herself and around the house with her mama. I love how us girls know how to get things done!

of my need for a change of scenery. Last Saturday I went down to Salt Lake City ALL BY MYSELF and the drive through Sardine Canyon was like therapy for me. I simply gazed into the green mountains and the blue sky while taking in the curvature of the road and things that I had been dwelling on slowly started to disappear....

of the various ways I can fit in working out into my days and how great it is for me to view this as a NECESSITY!

of how much time I spend loading and unloading the dishwasher OR buying and unloading groceries and I think I could've written a novel with all that time! I don't like to complain, but I think we all could highly benefit from an invention that could wash, dry, and put away dishes and keep food stocked in people's home (just the basics like bread, milk, fruit, and veggies). I know I should be grateful that we have a dishwasher and a kitchen full of food but I'm just not one for so much repetition, you know?

to how wonderfully scrumptious these chocolates are (should be available at any grocery store for around $4 a bag). They're my new MUST HAVE. MUST SHARE.


Ok, that's it for this random Thursday. Hope you're all enjoying M-A-Y! 




Thursday, April 30, 2015

Latest Loves of Spring

I'm always so happy to welcome Spring! My Mother, husband, and I all share May b-days, flowers are in bloom, and the weather is just right.  Here's a quick collection of some of my other favorite things right now...enjoy!



Who doesn't like an adorable pair of Saltwater Sandals? I couldn't wait to buy Elyse her first pair this spring so I went online to Zappos, but just the other day I also discovered that Bella Me boutique (here in Logan next door to Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry) now carries them too in both little girl and big girl sizes!




From Me To You
I've shared my stamp obsession before (it's right up there with pens and ribbon) and thought this latest stamp + sticker combo is the absolute cutest!!! Since I find the USPS store doesn't always have all of the collections in stock, I like to buy online (only $1 in shipping). 



The best toothbrush for me! I've been on hunt for a toothbrush that meets all of my necessary criteria: soft bristles, not too big of a brush head, and for the handle to have good angle ability and hold. Well, here it is folks ~ Colgate Wave ZigZag ~ super fun name too, right?


Not claiming this Michale Angelo's Eggplant Parmesan frozen meal to be the healthiest- but if you're in need of something very tasty and easy, this is worth a try especially considering how tricky Eggplant Parmesan is to make (for me anyway....).  FYI: the serving size of this little box is actually quite large, so what I usually do is boil up a quick pot of spaghetti noodles and then split the eggplant dish in half so that I can eat half of it again the next day with my remaining side of noodles....so yum.




Last Saturday my husband was out with his buddies golfing for the day so I found a sitter for Elyse and took the boys to see the movie HOME. I'm usually not one for those animated alien movies, but thought this one was pretty cute and silly leaving us all with the giggles (must watch clip here!).  Plus, being the Big Bang Theory fan that I am, I enjoyed Jim Parsons (Sheldon) voicing O's part. Cool song is Dancing In the Dark by Rihanna. Other songs we've been enjoying....Geronimo by Sheppard and Stolen Dance by Milky Chance.


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, April 24, 2015

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Grant's 4th B-day Party!

Earlier this year, we came across this book entitled The Backyardigans Secret Spy Agents. It was such a hit with my secret spy boys that I thought of the idea to base Grant's 4th b-day around it. The party was super fun, and as always- I really enjoyed putting it all together. Some parents like to make things for their children, such as blankets or clothing....I do parties for mine! :)

INVITATIONS: I forgot to take a pic of them, but I just hand printed them on these blank white puzzles, then broke them apart and put them in envelopes for the children to put together. They were definitely costly to mail, but thankfully we were able to hand-deliver most of them. 

Suspicious looking footprints led the way to our backyard gate where guests were greeted with this:

Homemade signs read: SPIES ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT and MISSION: GRANT'S 4TH BIRTHDAY PARTY!. Yellow tape read: INVESTIGATION IN PROGRESS.

Used more of the yellow tape and red crepe paper across our backyard patio posts. Balloons in yellow, black as well as penguin spy ones from the movie Madagascar were added to each post as well.

I always try to have some type of ice breaker in place for the guests to do while we wait for everyone to arrive. For Christmas my sister gifted us this I SPY game, which fit perfectly with our theme and held the attention of 4 year olds quite well. Mini magnifying glasses were found here for kids to use during their search, as well as double as table centerpieces.

Loved this fun tablecloth (note that the top layer is clear, so as suggested by Oriental Trading Co, I backed it with another tablecloth in solid yellow).

Activity here was for all of the secret agent spies to make their own name badges. I pre-printed the guests names on plain white paper, cut them out, then had the children stamp their thumbprint on it with this inkless stamp pad (figured it could be kinda messy to have kids running around with ink on their fingers!) Second basket contained black gloves for all of the spies to wear when handling the precious diamonds (which was an idea that came from the previously mentioned spy book).


Here's a shot of the cool laser beams Bart created on the fly just about 20 minutes before the party....I just gave him some red string and the garden stakes and told him to think Catherine Zeta Jones in the movie Entrapment. ;) Our secret spies had to carefully step through each laser beam so that they could return the diamonds to the Museum.


Here's a shot of the party table inside. I was beyond thrilled when Lees told me they had the secret agent Madagascar penguins as a cake topper! Also glad I listened to my Mom when she suggested I just order a cake....on busy days like this, it's important to know which things to outsource. ;)

Snack bags and table covering (which is drop paper from Lowes btw) were stamped with this cool TOP SECRET stamp which has also come in handy for the thank you cards. Spy Snack Sacks contained the following:

Pretzel Shields (pretzels), Spy Sticks (carrots), Red Laser Beam Jello (strawberry jellos), Secret Punch (Fruit punch juice packs) and Chocolate Mystery Cake for dessert!

After snacks and cake were served, the secret agents had one last mission to complete...to find their Secret Spy Bags (aka goody bags). I came up with 4 clues (since Grant was turning 4) that I placed ahead of time around our backyard.

At the end, each spy went home with a precious jewel ring pop (yes, even boys like these!), TOP SECRET pencil and notepad.


. Thank you to all of you who joined us as secret agent spies as we celebrated Grant turning 4..........
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Finally...

....a new headboard for us! Last month Downeast Outfitters HOME was having an additional 10% off all of their headboards and I knew instantly that this Houston style in Natural tweed fabric (which is upholstered all the way down the floor btw) was exactly what I'd been hunting for all these years. Perfect height, perfect quality, perfect shape. Read all about our previous headboard purchase gone wrong 3 years ago here.....


Lamp shades in tan ticking fabric from Pottery Barn (purchased back in 2011) silver lamp bases from Lowes
Bedding ~ Nautica comforter. Shams, bolster pillow, and quilt Betthany bedding by Pottery Barn (purchased back in 2011) 

Finally discovered an easy way for me to work-out and I owe all of my thanks to The Gym Box via Amazon. It's kinda funny to watch the expressions on my kids faces while I'm doing the videos....they either read: "Is she actually doing this?" or "We better get out of the way!"


Talked for a long while about setting up a little school in our home but finally did it this week! I will try to share pics sometime. Basically we just moved our Pottery Barn mini kids table and chairs into our guest room/my craft closet room and hung up some fun learning visuals and a wipe board. Bring on summer school with Mrs. Mom as their teacher!

Decided I finally need to cut back on my carb intake. My in-laws gifted us this cool gadget, so hopefully I trick myself and others that vegetables are pasta.

New bedtime routine here! We all used to procrastinate and postpone bedtime. But after my last post, I really did decide I want to be the ones who put our handsome little men to bed. The kids and I have been going to the library for years now, but just recently got into the habit of picking up chapter books to read together (found in the Juvenile Fiction area) and the boys and I now so look forward to this time together every night with all 3 of us scrunched in one of their twin beds. Sorry Bart, I know you loved doing this too, but it's nice for Elyse to have some one-on-one time with her Daddy since I still get to put her down for her naps!


Ok, I am heading back upstairs now....unidentifiable bumps and thumps are occurring and Bart is staying late after work tonight for a meeting so I better do my best with managing our time and keeping us occupied in the right kind of ways for the rest of the day! :O


 p.s. hope you all had a fun EASTER! If you live in Utah, you know how perfect the weather turned out to be on that EXACT day of Easter Sunday. Thurs. and Fri. before...chilly. Monday after, rainy! LOVE all of the epic fun we shared with all of my family as we hunted for eggs, raced with eggs, decorated eggs and had wars with our eggs! Church that day was lovely too followed by family photos taken out in front of our home and Easter brunch on our backyard patio. Oh how I love SPRING and spending good quality time with family....thanks again Aunt Konnie and family for traveling out here!