Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What I've Made: American Girl Doll Clothes and Accessories

What do you give as a gift for one of your daughter's best friend's American Girl themed birthday party? Doll clothes of course! While buying them might have been easier, I got motivated to sew some clothes for her doll and while it was not as easy as I expected, I'm thrilled with the results.

Her friend recently joined the Girl Scouts as a Daisy so I decided her doll needed a matching Daisy uniform. The skirt is reversible and is made from the easiest pattern ever. It only takes a couple of minutes to make one of these skirts, so fun and easy! The vest was a bit more difficult- I used this pattern from Bear, Dolly, and Moi but quickly gave up on using binding after fighting with it for way too long on the shoulder openings. Finally, the t shirt was made with white jersey from the free pattern at Liberty Jane Patterns. The pattern was awesome but I did have trouble working with the jersey fabric on such a small shirt. Next time I would probably choose to use cotton instead of jersey.
18 inch doll Girl Scout Daisy Uniform pattern
18 inch doll Girl Scout Daisy Uniform pattern

Grace loves pajamas for her doll so I decided to make a PJ set as a gift and found this cute pajama pattern in a collection I got from my grandma. Simplicity Pattern 5276 gave me lots of options on what pieces to make and I chose a robe with PJ pants and top. I had a difficult time with this pattern and found it very confusing. The pants and robe turned out adorable but the top was a total disaster and I ended up throwing it out in favor of a simple tank top made of white jersey. It ended up looking super cute and Grace had to model it on her Samantha doll that obviously needs a new hairdo. I guess it looks like she just woke up!
18 inch doll pajamas and robe pattern
Finally, since they just started kindergarten, Grace decided their dolls needed backpacks. I thought this purple flower fabric was adorable and when I found the glitter flower buttons, I knew they would be perfect for this bag. This tutorial from Many Small Friends was amazing and super easy to follow. It was by far my favorite piece that I made and I need to make one for Grace.
18 inch doll backpack pattern

I need to get sewing to make some clothes for Grace's dolls for Christmas! There are so many fun patterns to choose from. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Halloween Costumes from Oriental Trading: Star Wars Coordinating Costumes Review!

Disclosure: I received product samples from Oriental Trading in exchange for an honest review. This post may contain affiliate links.

Choosing Halloween costumes is a very time consuming but fun event in our house. The kids debate for months on what they will be and I can't count the number of times they change their mind. When they were younger, I coordinated their costumes but I gave up on that last year. I expected them to pick totally different things again this year, but much to my surprise, when Oriental Trading offered to send us costumes, they chose coordinating Star Wars themed characters! 
Coordinating sibling costumes
Connor's Star Wars obsession started several months ago and the force is still going strong in our house. He loves the bad guys and specifically requested to be a Storm Trooper. His dedication to this has not wavered in months, so I was thrilled to find a Storm Trooper costume for him on Oriental Trading's site.
When it arrived, he put it on immediately and didn't want to take it off. He begs to wear it every morning. I can already tell you it's very well made and easy to get on and off. I ordered the small size as he is a large almost 4 year old and it fits him very well. He loves using his past Halloween costumes for dress up so I'm glad there's a little room for him to grow. The mask seems to fit him well. He absolutely loves this costume.

Connor knew what he wanted to be fairly early this year but Grace couldn't make up her mind. So I chose lots of different girly, princess costumes from Oriental Trading for her to pick from and to my surprise, she chose Princess Leia. She has watched Star Wars but hasn't shown as much interest in it as Connor has. But she told me she wanted to be a strong princess and Princess Leia certainly fits the bill! I love that this costume will allow me to put layers under the dress as it's normally pretty cold here on Halloween. I do need to straighten the wig some but I'm impressed by the quality of it for the price.
We are ready for Trick or Treating and they can't wait to show off their Star Wars costumes. Oriental Trading has such a huge collection of costumes that you are sure to find the perfect one for your kids! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Super Hero Mask Craft Kit from Oriental Trading: Halloween Non-Candy Treat for School + Free Printable!

Disclosure: I received product samples from Oriental Trading in exchange for an honest review. This post may contain affiliate links.

October is here! That means costumes, apple picking, pumpkin patches, and of course, candy. So much candy. Our kids get so much that there's no way we can eat it all ourselves (at least we shouldn't)! We like to send treats with the kids for their classmates for their Halloween parties but I don't love sending candy. We are especially limited at Connor's preschool due to allergy restrictions so I have spent a lot of time searching for non candy alternatives that the young kids will love. One of my very favorite things to give are easy craft kits. Oriental Trading offers tons of Halloween related craft kits for all age levels. Connor is obsessed with all things super hero so I thought the Super Hero Masks Craft Kit would make perfect treats for his friends. Who doesn't love a fun mask to add to their Halloween costume?
School Halloween Ideas

Of course, Connor wanted to make his as soon as the box arrived. There are 3 different styles of masks included and each is individually packaged with all the necessary stickers, elastic, and instructions.
There are only a few stickers needed to create the mask and they are extremely easy to peel and stick on, making it a perfect craft for little hands! He did all of these stickers all by himself.
The elastic has a metal stick at the end to poke through the holes on the side to attach the elastic. It is super easy, sturdy, and quick!

Since each mask is individually packaged in a plastic bag, simply add a tag to the top for an easy Halloween favor for classmates. I created this "Have a Super Halloween" tag, folded it over the plastic and stapled both sides for Connor's class.
Click on the image below to download a FREE "Have a Super Halloween" printable tag for the Mask Craft Kit!

Be sure to check out all of Oriental Trading's great Halloween items and check back this week for a sneak peak of the kids' Halloween costumes! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Teaser Trailer!

Captain Jack Sparrow is back!

Check out this brand new teaser trailer from the newest addition to the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales. I will be counting down the days until it comes out in May of 2017! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Warbirds in Flight Airshow Ticket Giveaway!

Kansas City readers, I am excited to share this cool event with you! This weekend, September 24th and 25th, head out to New Century AirCenter for the Warbirds in Flight Airshow. From 9-5 on Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday, the CAF Hangar will be full of family friendly activities and educational events perfect for the entire family. There will be an awesome air show each day beginning at 2 PM.

Guests have the chance to meet and thank WWII Veterans, learn about the Olathe Naval Air Station (Now New Century Airport), take fun photos, meet airshow pilots, and see WWII aircraft up close.  Children will even have the chance to earn free dog tags by completing several aviation-themed, history-focused activities.  

The event is hosted by the Commemorative Air Force Heart of America Wing.  We are a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization.  Our mission is simply: Remember. Honor. Inspire! as we seek to honor veterans, educate our community, and inspire future generations. 

Visit the Commemorative Air Force Heart of America Wing site for more info! 

I have a family pass for up to 6 people to use on either day of the show (September 24th or 25th) to giveaway! Since this giveaway has a quick turnaround, the winner will have 24 hours to respond to the notification email or another winner will be chosen. The giveaway ends September 22nd at 9 PM CST. 

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what you are most excited to see at the Warbirds in Flight Airshow.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bridget Jones's Baby Review: Team Mark vs Team Jack

Disclosure: I received free passes to attend an advanced screening of this film. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% honest and my own. 

The Bridget Jones movies have always been some of my go to's on nights when I want a good chick flick and I was hesitant when I heard about the newest addition to the series, Bridget Jone's Baby. The first movie was released in 2001 so it's been 15 years since we first saw Bridget (Renee Zellweger) navigating her life as a singleton and struggling between her two leading men, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). I was worried that Hugh Grant's absence from this film would leave it feeling incomplete and honestly, I had a hard time believing that the baby story line would work very well for Bridget.
I am happy to report that honestly, Bridget Jones's Baby is my favorite of the entire series. For those of you concerned about Daniel's exit, I will tell you it is explained very early in the film but I'm not giving away the reason! Patrick Dempsey was cast as Jack Qwant and McDreamy does his job as the handsome, suave, dating expert that sweeps Bridget off of her feet.

This movie is at it's heart Bridget's battle between her old love Mark and her new fling Jack. Add in a positive pregnancy test after "relations" with both men and a hilarious OB played by Emma Thompson (LOVE HER) and Bridget is left in a truly awkward mess. Jack and Mark's bromance quickly turns in to a full on "best daddy" competition and Bridget is as confused as ever.

Team Mark (Mr. Darcy) vs Team Jack (McDreamy). Who do you choose? I am a huge McDreamy fan but Mr. Darcy has had my heart since Pride & Prejudice. The casting of these two men was genius and their scenes together were the highlight of the film. In one scene, I was laughing so hard I was crying. I feel like I missed some of the movie because we were all laughing for so long. I've always loved Renee's portrayal of Bridget. She is easily relatable for most women and never takes herself too seriously. Like I mentioned before, Emma Thompson's addition into the film as the honest OB was amazing. This film is definitely the funniest of the series.

Major warning, this movie is rated R for a reason. Do not take kids. True to Bridget's style, she is often vulgar and your kids would learn a lot of new vocabulary. This is the perfect film for a girl's night or date night. Check out this preview for Bridget Jones's Baby and go see it in theaters today, September 16th!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Glasses: My Personal Experience with LASIK

If you looked through my Google search history, you would find a ton of questions about LASIK. "Does LASIK hurt? What happens during LASIK? etc" Being a person who likes to be prepared, I probably over researched every piece of the procedure and finally decided to make the consultation appointment. Mike had PRK last year, a different eye correction procedure and no longer needs any glasses or contacts.It was finally my turn to get my eyes fixed and I am now 2 weeks post op so I thought I'd share the process with you. It's nerve wracking to think of someone shooting a laser in your eye so I figure the more you know the better!

We are lucky to have an eye doctor we love close to home so I started the whole LASIK process with him. I called the office to let them know I was interested in the procedure and I was scheduled for a consultation with their LASIK specialist.

LASIK Consultation

At this first appointment, I went through lots of tests to see if I was a good candidate for the procedure. They took photos of my eyes and made me look into lots of machines. None of these tests hurt at all. The most uncomfortable part was the tear test to check the moisture level of my eyes. They put a small test strip into one of my eyes and had me hold it shut for what felt like forever, I'm sure it was only for a minute or two. It felt scratchy and annoying, but not painful. Then they dilated my eyes, I was told dilation would be extreme and let me warn you, it is. It's not painful at all but I couldn't see anything out of my glasses while my eyes were dilated. Everything was fuzzy, I couldn't even read anything on my phone. They didn't warn me how fuzzy everything would be and I was freaked out! My sight cleared up pretty quickly and I was able to drive after the appointment. This appointment was about an hour. At the end after determining I was a good LASIK candidate, the specialist scheduled my pre-op and surgery date appointments so that I could plan ahead.

Pre-Op Appointment

My eye doctor's office had already determined that I was a good candidate for the procedure so my visit to the actual LASIK procedure office was to take my final cornea measurements to figure out which type of LASIK would be best for me. I just so happened to be right on the edge of qualifying for both standard and custom LASIK. Now I wish I understood what the real difference between the two of these is, but as it was explained to me, my final results would be the same either way I went and custom would cost about $600 more than standard. Saving $600 was a no brainer for me so I decided on the standard procedure. They gave me my prescriptions for the eye drops I would need for my surgery day and all I had to do was wait for the day of my procedure.


My mom came to stay with the kids while Mike drove me to the clinic and I quickly regretted the decision to schedule my procedure at 12:30 PM. I wish I would have done it in the morning because the waiting around all morning definitely didn't help my anxiety level. Despite knowing many people with successful outcomes, the very unlikely risks kept popping into my head. But the time finally arrived, I was quickly led into a room and offered a Valium. I originally intended not to take it as Mike had mentioned it didn't do much for him, but with my nerves I decided it couldn't hurt to take it. Well it certainly worked for me because within minutes I felt myself relax. So my recommendation, TAKE THE VALIUM! The tech gave me my first round of numbing drops while the Valium took it's time to kick in. After about 20 minutes, they gave me another round of numbing drops and explained every step of the procedure so that I would know what to expect. By this point I was having trouble staying awake I was so relaxed.

After explaining everything, I was led into the procedure room and they helped me get comfy on the table. The doctor put tape on my top and lower eyelid to help keep my eyes open and quickly got to work. They covered one eye to protect it while working on the other. He placed a metal holder between my eyelid to prop it open. My eyes were completely numb by this point so I didn't feel anything. Despite feeling like I was blinking, the holders kept my eye wide open. He then cleaned the surface of my eye and created the flap. I felt pressure at this point but no pain and it only lasted about 2 seconds. I was then instructed to focus on the lights. I figured that it would be a single dot of light, but instead it looked like lots of circles and half circles. I've never done drugs but it felt very trippy to me. Especially since I could smell something funky, the tech warned me before that it wasn't my eye burning, instead it was the smell emitted by the lasers. My procedure included four 10 second laser treatments on each eye. After the laser was finished, he closed the flap and removed the eyelid holder. He then did the exact same thing to the other eye. The entire thing only lasted about 5 minutes, super quick and totally painless.

The doctor did a quick check that the flaps were looking good and I was given my first round of antibiotic drops. I was instructed to go home and take a 4 hour nap and let me eyes rest for the rest of the day. They did say I could watch a little TV that night if I felt up to it. They gave me a dark pair of sunglasses to help with the light sensitivity on the way home.

My vision was fuzzy but I was amazed how quickly it started to clear up. On the way home I could read some of the license plates and signs on the roads. The Valium I had taken was working it's magic and by the time we got home, I was ready for my nap! I put on the eye shields they gave me to wear to prevent me from rubbing my eyes while sleeping and easily slept for 4 and a half hours. When I woke up, I started my first round of drops. If you aren't comfortable putting drops in your eyes, you will be after having LASIK. For the first week, I used a steroid and antibiotic drop multiple times a day and a preservative free re-wetting drop every hour.

After napping, my vision was pretty much clear. It was amazing to me how well I could see so quickly after the procedure. I was never in pain at all but I will say my eyes got very tired quickly. If I waited too long between drops, my eyes got scratchy and it felt like I had something in my eye. That was easily remedied by putting in the lubricating drops. For the first week, I needed to rest my eyes pretty frequently. I took small breaks throughout the day to close my eyes for a while because if I didn't my eyes were very sore and tired by bedtime. I was very light sensitive and couldn't sit at my computer or watch TV for long. I needed my sunglasses every time I was outside even when it was cloudy. Honestly the worst part of the recovery for me was having to wear eye shields for the first week while I slept. It was hard to get comfortable with them on and taking them off in the morning was painful due to the medical tape I had to use to attach them. I was happy to be done with those after a week! I am still using the lubricating drops every 2-4 hours just for comfort and will be doing so for several more months.

The day after my procedure I had my follow up with my eye doctor and he was impressed with my results as my vision was very close to 20/20. My prescription had been extremely high before so LASIK made a huge difference for me. I couldn't see the clock at night without my glasses before and now if I hear one of our kids in the middle of the night I don't need to fumble around for my glasses or contacts before going to their room. And despite the high price tag, after a couple of years of not having to pay for contacts and supplies, we will be actually saving money because of it. It was totally worth every penny and I am so happy with the results. I only wish I had done it earlier! 


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