Monday, April 21, 2014

Must Read Monday: Preschooler Look and Find books

I think Grace would let me read to her all day if she had the choice. She has a lot of favorite books but lately she's been spending a lot of time in her room reading her Look and Find books. I found these three Disney books at a consignment sale and she got the I Spy one from her doctor (how cool is it that they give each child a book at each well visit!)

I honestly wasn't sure she would have any interest in these types of books at all. I obviously underestimated her! She is amazing at finding everything and often finds objects before I do! Of course she has memorized most the item's locations now  but she still spends a ton of time each day looking through them and showing me different things.

What are your child's favorite books right now?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Omaha Adventure Giveaway!

I'm trying to talk Mike into taking our family to Omaha this summer. It's a short drive from Kansas City and I've heard the attractions are amazing! If you are looking for a great summer getaway, make sure to the enter this giveaway!

Omaha Adventure 2014

This summer when you take your family vacation to Omaha, let me help with the expense! Visit Omaha is giving 4 lucky readers an amazing Omaha Adventure Card. On the Omaha Adventure Card is:

Attraction Discounts (for up to 6 individuals):
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo – $2 off Admission
Omaha Children’s Museum – $2 off Admission
The Durham Museum – $2 off Admission
Lauritzen Gardens – $2 off Admission/Tram Combo
Joslyn Art Museum – $2 off $10 @ the gift shop

Shopping & Restaurant coupons include:
Amazing Pizza Machine – $5 off RiVT90 buffet & pack
• Over $300 of coupons to Village Pointe Shopping Center

4 Winners will receive a Omaha Adventure card!  

One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • One Omaha Adventure Card
  • One $40 Gift Card to Village Pointe Shopping Center
  • Visit Omaha t-shirt & water bottle
Giveaway will run from April 18 - May 9 at 11:59pm.
This giveaway is open to US residents age 18+. Bloggers participating in giveaway are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Good Luck!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

10 Years Ago: Our Not So Romantic First Date

10 years ago today I went on a first date with a guy I barely knew named Mike. We'd been flirting through AIM (I'm showing my age there!) but I hadn't really spent much time with him otherwise. He was only 17 ( I was 20) and was the neighbor of my ex-boyfriend. That sounds a lot more scandalous than it was. I stayed close to my ex's family and Mike was at their house a LOT. When he asked me to go shoe shopping with him, I didn't think much of it. I was headed to study in England for a year that fall so I wasn't really looking for a relationship.

Little did I know that shopping for sandals for him that day would be the start of something so amazing. I remember him putting his arm around me while we walked through the mall and thinking "well, he's cute and sweet, so why not?" That's our first date story, shopping at Payless. Not exactly the most romantic story to tell our kids, but it's the truth! We didn't plan on getting serious, we were just having a fun summer romance.
Our first picture together in the fall of 2004. We look like babies!
But when it was time for me to leave in September, we both decided that we should try a long distance relationship and the rest is history. After 4 years of dating, 6 years of marriage, and 2 kids I am so happy to call him my husband.

10 years sounds like such a long time! As he likes to remind me, we have been together for more than a 3rd of his life. I'm excited to see what the next 10 years brings!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Egg Wreath

Easter is only 4 days away so I decided to get one last Easter crafting session in with Grace this morning. I found this adorable wreath at Mama, Mommy, Mom and decided to use it as our inspiration. I didn't have as many plastic eggs as she used but I figured we could just make a smaller version. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I was happily surprised by how much Grace enjoyed making it. As an added bonus, it gave me a chance to work with her on colors and patterns.

Easter Egg Wreath: Crafts for Kids


Plastic Easter Eggs- We used 24. You can use more or less depending on how big you want your wreath to be. Make sure to get eggs that have small holes in the top and bottom (I got mine at Dollar Tree and Walmart for a $1 a package!)

Floral Wire- I used shorter pieces and simply twisted them together for longer strings

Thread your eggs onto the floral wire in whatever pattern you want. Grace helped me with this step and I was impressed by how well she was able to do it.

Make sure to bend the end of your wire so the eggs stay on while you're threading the rest.

We did two strings of 12 eggs each. I created two different patterns so that Grace could help identify which color should come next in the pattern. Today was the first time she identified purple and green correctly so it was a pretty good day!

Lay the strings side by side and twist the floral wire on one end so that it is secure. Start gently twisting your egg strings together until you get your desired look. Don't twist too tightly or the eggs will start to break apart! Bring the ends together and twist the floral wire to complete the circle.

Trim the ends of the wire and tie a pretty bow at the top to help cover your wire connection point. Use a nail or add more ribbon to hang your festive wreath!

Check out our other fun Easter crafts here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eco Easter Egg Dyeing: DIY Dyes

I'm spending this week doing a lot of deep spring cleaning around our house but I'm going to take a break tonight to dye Easter eggs with Grace and Mike. We haven't been brave enough to try it in previous years, but I think she's old enough this year.

I remember using the egg dyeing kits growing up but I've been reading lately about using natural ingredients to dye our Easter eggs. I was very excited today to see that our local produce delivery service Door to Door Organics put together this great guide for Eco Easter Egg Dyeing. We will be trying some of these colors tonight! If you use these instructions, I would love to hear how it goes!

DIY no chemical Easter egg dyes

Friday, April 11, 2014

Is it time?

I woke up this morning convinced it was Saturday. Much to my disappointment, it's actually Friday! After several weeks of very little sleep, my energy level is pretty low. Connor has 4 teeth coming in and is wanting to comfort nurse all the time, including most of the night. My patience level is directly related to how much I've slept so our days have been a little rough lately.

Several months ago, Connor was down to nursing only first thing in the morning, before nap time, and at bedtime. He never nursed for long, just a couple of minutes and I was totally content with that. We were still enjoying the time and it made it easy to get him to sleep. Then we had the whole not really a concussion virus and the only thing he could keep down was breast milk. For days the only thing he wanted to do was nurse. I was of course more than happy to let him do that as he was so sick. But once he recovered he wanted to maintain that frequent nursing schedule. It was like nursing a newborn with me getting absolutely nothing done. I have been trying to cut it down but he is fighting me tooth and nail. Most of his nursing sessions are actually spent looking around and playing, not actually nursing. He bites me when I try to finish nursing sessions and headbutts me if I tell him no. When he bites, I tell him no and set him on the floor but he just laughs. At night he simply screams and ends up waking Grace up which of course causes all sorts of problems. The past several weeks he has been up at least 2-3 times a night wanting to nurse. I am all for extended breastfeeding but this boy is pressing his luck. After a particularly bad bite two days ago (let's just say I bled a lot) I'm thinking it might be time to wean him.

I don't really know what I want to do yet and I guess I'm looking for your advice. I would love to hear from some ladies that have dealt with extended breastfeeding or weaning a toddler. Again, I have no problem continuing to nurse, but I absolutely cannot deal with the biting and headbutting.

As I read over this post, I realize I sound crazy. I should just stop right? I'm not a crunchy mom, I have never had the desire to nurse forever. But I was forced to stop nursing Grace at 9.5 months due to my heart failure so I'm having a really hard time mentally preparing myself for being totally done breastfeeding. So is it time to wean? I haven't decided yet. I do know that Mike and I are going away for 2 days in June and my pump is dead so either I need to wean him or have him down to only 1 or 2 nursing sessions a day.

It's so hard to say no to this face!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grace's 3 Year Portraits

I'm only 3 months late in sharing these pictures! We had Grace's 3 year pictures taken at the end of January and I've been meaning to post them ever since. We actually did 2 photo sessions for her. I had a Groupon for JCP portraits that was about to expire so I took her in with pretty low expectations. She was being grumpy that day and I had to take Connor with me so my attention was divided. I put him in the Ergo on my back and prayed that they would both cooperate.

I decided to bring Grace's porcelain tea set and her babies thinking a little tea party might make the perfect setup for some fun photos. The beginning of the session was rocky to say the least. It didn't help that as we were walking into the building, Grace fell and tore a huge hole in the knee of her tights. Of course I didn't have an extra pair and she REFUSED to take them off. I figured it wasn't worth the fight and I could always photoshop it if I needed to. The photographer was fabulous and waited very patiently while I attempted to calm her down. It has always taken Grace a while to warm up to new places and people and it took about 10 minutes (plus a bribe of candy) to get her to cooperate. We set up her tea party and after a few minutes of me playing with her babies, she finally decided that she wanted to play. The photographer got some adorable pictures and you can't even tell that I was sitting right behind her the entire time. If I moved, she started to freak out.

Despite the rocky start, she seemed to be having fun so I got brave and decided to change her into her ballet outfit from her birthday party. She started to lose it again and after another candy bribe, she went into the studio and acted like a true 3 year old. She refused to eat the Smarties, she just held them in her hands, you can see one in the picture on the top left. When the photographer asked her to stand on the light on the ground, she would put one foot on the light and the other foot as far away as possible. Those cute "poses" on the bottom right? That's her doing that. Thankfully they turned into cute photos. We tried to get her to spin but she absolutely refused and I decided that was enough. Thankfully Connor was calm until about the last 10 minutes when he discovered that the back carry allowed him full access to pull my hair. I'm sure we were quite the sight: Grace trying as hard as possible not to follow instructions, me trying to reason with her while trying my hardest to keep my hair out of Connor's hands while he gleefully pulled as hard as he could! 

The second session I won from a local photographer (Photography by Beth) and I was so excited that the weather warmed up enough for us to do the session outside. Like I said, it takes Grace a long time to get comfortable with new people and places but she loves being outside. I didn't expect it to be so windy but we decided to do them outside anyway!

No surprise that at the beginning Grace was wary of Beth. She didn't want to smile at first, but after several minutes of letting her run around like a crazy child, she started to perk up. Beth got some amazing shots and I am so pleased with them. There were so many great ones that I had a hard time narrowing them down so be warned, there are a lot!

We started with family pictures. It was so windy that our hair was crazy, but I still love this one!

She looks so grown up here ::tear::

Pretty girl

I have no idea what she is doing here but I love her face!

Daddy and daughter picture!

Beth was so patient with Grace. To help her get comfortable, she let Grace chase her all over the place. Occasionally she would turn around and say "stop!" and she would snap a picture. This is one of those. They were both out of breath!

I always try to get sibling pictures whenever I can. When I asked Grace to give Connor a hug, this is what happened. They really do love each other :)

Connor was a bit jealous of all of the attention Grace was getting and posed nicely for this picture. Seriously how adorable is he?!? He is such a clone of his daddy.

This is by far my favorite series of photos from the session. Grace was having the best time exploring and did all of this posing on her own. Beth just stood back and snapped pics while Grace explored.

I cannot believe how big she looks!


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