Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jekyll & Hyde: the split personality of my 2 year old

I swear Grace is like two different people. I feel like I'm raising Jekyll & Hyde (without the nasty murder stuff!) I never know in the morning if I'm going to get my sweet, happy, fun loving girl or if she will be the tantrum throwing, hitting, kicking, and screaming toddler.

Yesterday was awful. I am not exaggerating when I say that she threw tantrums for probably about three quarters of the day. She had more time outs than I can count and I am not proud to say that I lost my temper and had to walk away to calm myself down more than once. She was pushing every button I had and was focused on inflicting as much pain on Connor as possible. I cannot remember the last time I was so happy to see Mike walk in the door.

I woke up today expecting another awful day. But to my surprise, we've had the best day we've had in a long time. She played happily with Connor all morning and was pleasant during our trip to Walmart. She didn't whine when she saw the toys and when I told her to do something, she did it with no complaining. We went to the park as a reward for her great behavior and she played with some of the other kids and had a great time.

And when she was ready to go, she simply asked to go home (normally leaving the park is like World War III!)

The rest of the day has been just as ideal. During Connor's nap, she played independently (which she never does) while I was able to clean, vacuum, do dishes, and put away laundry. Then we snuggled in her room, looking at the stars from her Cloud B Turtle.

She hasn't had a single time out today and is now playing in the playroom while I write this. These are the kind of days that I imagined when I dreamed about being a stay at home mom!

I wish every day were as great as this one! I wonder which personality she will have tomorrow......




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Greatest Show on Earth: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus DRAGONS review!

Disclosure: In exchange for an honest review, I received free tickets for my family to attend this event. However, the opinions expressed below are my own.

I remember loving the circus as a child. I was so excited to take our kids to see it recently when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus Presents Dragons came to the Sprint Center. But nothing could have prepared me for how amazing it was to see Grace experience the wonder of the Greatest Show on Earth for the first time.

Being that she's only 2, I couldn't really explain to her the full magnitude of what she was about to experience. The opening number was magnificent and captured her attention.

She sat in mesmerized silence and watched every second of it.


I could tell that she was going to love the circus!

Grace is an animal lover and so it was no shock to me that most of her favorite acts were the animal ones. She is still talking about the Cossacks act with the acrobatics on horseback.

I wish I had a better picture of the Big Cats portion of the show, but oh my word it was amazing. I love tigers and could have watched them perform for hours. Alexander Lacey has trained them to do some truly impressive things. I was actually nervous for him at one point because one of the tigers knocked him over. I have no idea if it was part of the act or not, but he recovered quickly and we all loved his portion of the show.
"Roars Daddy, look!"
The elephants were of course a favorite. Who wouldn't love watching them? It's impossible not to smile as you watch them prance across the ring in a line. And watching them pose and bow was amazing. Grace was talking to them the entire time, I have no idea what she was telling them but she was loving every second of it.
 

 The surprising hit of the night for Grace was Troupe Scala. These acrobats did incredible stunts!
Grace got so excited when they would do a stunt. When they stuck their landings, this is what she would do:
Every time. And she would yell "Yay!"

It was way past Connor's bedtime and he hadn't napped well, so I wasn't surprised when he was really fidgety for most of the show. He didn't want to sit still and I honestly didn't think he would make it through the whole show. But just at the very end, his attention was caught by the Torres Family Motorcycle Act. Both kids watched intently as they rode 8 motorcycles in a 16 foot steel sphere! I wish I had a picture of it.
The yawn was before the motorcycle act
There were so many amazing acts, those are some of just the highlights. My only critique was the use of the song "I'm Sexy and I Know It" in the dancing portion of the show. As a show developed for kids, I feel like that was an unnecessary and inappropriate addition.

I can't wait to take our kids back to the circus next year!

Disclosure: In exchange for an honest review, I received free tickets for my family to attend this event. However, the opinions expressed below are my own.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Toy Overload!

This year has flown by! The holiday season is quickly approaching and I'm already getting overwhelmed. Not only do we have Christmas to think about, but Connor's birthday is in late October and Grace's is in early January. That means we have 3 major gift receiving holidays within 3 months.

Our house is so full of toys. It is honestly insane to me how much stuff these kids have, especially at such a young age. I need to do a major clean out in the next couple of months to prepare for the onslaught of toys that are coming. I love getting them fun things to play with. I love seeing their faces light up and I know our families love it too. But I honestly worry about our kids having so much. I don't want them to be spoiled. I didn't grow up with much and I learned at an early age to appreciate what I had.

I know there's not much I can do about it right now. I've been encouraging family to get them experience stuff (zoo pass, children's museum membership, etc.) but I know they will get a ton of toys. When they get older, I hope to start volunteering with them and having them donate some of their old toys to teach them to appreciate what they have. But right now I just feel like we are in toy overload. I am really trying not to go crazy with holiday shopping and I plan to just buy them one or two things a piece.

I would love to know how you deal with toy overload in your house. Do you donate or sell toys often? Do you try to limit how much they have? Do you go crazy shopping for Christmas and birthdays?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pampers Swaddlers in Size 4 & 5: Babies "R" Us Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. I received the item(s) free of charge for reviewing purposes. All opinions are honest, and my own.  

I've talked before about my love for Pampers diapers. They are the only brand of disposables I trust at night. We started with Pampers Swaddlers in the hospital and then moved to Pampers Cruisers to keep up with my active boy.

Recently Pampers sponsored a survey of over 1,000 moms with young children. The results showed that many moms worry about their babies staying dry over night. Based on the results, Pampers decided to make improvements to their trusted diapers to make them even better. 

Here is more info about the new features:

Besides being their softest diaper yet, Pampers Swaddlers now feature an absorb-away lining, wetness indicator and new packaging and graphics. Other improvements such as new cuff material and absorbency speed have been made to Cruisers and Baby Dry.  To learn more about all the new Pampers diapers innovations and see video demonstrations visit www.babiesrus.com\newpampers

The best part? Babies R Us is now carrying Pampers Swaddlers in size 4 and 5! I am excited that the diapers that we used when Connor was a newborn are now available in his size. 
Pampers has teamed up with Babies "R" Us to offer an amazing deal. From September 19-21 Babies”R”Us and Toys "R" Us customers will receive a free $20 Babies“R”Us /Toys "R" Us Gift Card with an in-store purchase of any two Pampers value boxes of diapers (78 ct. or higher.)

Giveaway
To celebrate their new and improved diapers, Pampers is offering one of my readers a great prize pack! One of you will win a 64 count pack of Pampers wipes and a $50 Babies "R" Us/Toys "R" Us gift card!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. I received the item(s) free of charge for reviewing purposes. All opinions are honest, and my own.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2 going on 16

The more verbal Grace becomes, the more I realize that we have a little diva on our hands. Seriously, some of the things that come out of her mouth sound like the words of a teenager. For example, several nights ago after nursing Connor I was closing his door and I heard her start to say "No, No." I went into her room thinking she might be having a bad dream. As soon as I started trying to comfort her she said "No mama, go away. Grace night night." This from my child who hates sleep.  She normally BEGS me to sit with her while she falls asleep. So I had to stop myself from cracking up when I heard her say "go away!" Since then she has said it several more times. Connor and I went in to her room yesterday to find her reading books. "No, mama, Connor, go away."

She also has quite the fashion sense for a 2 year old. She picks her own outfits and I swear the child walks in heels better than I do. I frequently find her in my closet picking out shoes and she walks all around the house in my heels with ease.
She loves her dress up shoes
Walking in my shoes
Finally, she is a master of technology. She works the iPad with no trouble and manages to make it do things that I still can't figure out. She knows how to put a DVD into the player and would probably have the remote figured out if I let her.

My baby girl is growing up too fast!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Freezer Meals- Part 2: Lasagna, Pizza Dough and Cookies

I shared a couple of months ago about how much I love having freezer meals. They make my life so much easier! My crockpot freezer meals post has gotten a great response, so I thought I would share some of my other freezer staples.

Pizza Dough
I have a weakness for pizza. In our mission to stop eating out so much, it's been really hard for me to stop ordering pizza on a lazy weekend night. Now I always try to have a couple of batches of pizza dough in the freezer so that we can have fresh, delicious pizza in about 15 minutes!
This recipe uses a stand mixer.

1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl.
  2. Add salt, olive oil, and flour.
  3. Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix for 3 minutes until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. 
  4. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  5. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  6. Punch dough down.
  7. Brush 14 inch pizza pan (I use a Pampered Chef round baking stone) with oil. 
  8. Press dough across bottom of pan forming collar around edge to hold filling. Top with fillings and bake at 450°F for 12 to 18 minutes.
To freeze, make the dough according to the above recipe and let it rise about an hour. Punch the dough down. Wrap the dough in saran wrap that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Place wrapped dough in a Ziploc bag and then into the freezer.

To use: place the dough in the fridge in the morning and it will be ready to use that evening. Add your toppings and bake as directed.

Lasagna
Italian food is a huge hit in our house and I grew up loving my mom's lasagna. It was the first real meal that I learned to cook and I often make it when we have guests. It is an easy recipe, but it's time consuming.  When I go to the trouble to make it, it's simple to just double or triple the recipe to make some for our freezer. Mike doesn't like ricotta cheese, so I only use mozzarella and parmesan. It freezes very well and I just add some garlic bread and veggies on the side for a great meal.

I don't have a written recipe of this. I don't really have a measurement for the cheese, I just use however much looks good. I love cheese, so it's normally a lot!


1 box of lasagna noodles
1 lb of ground beef
1 24 oz jar of pasta sauce (I use Prego flavored with meat)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
3. In another pot, brown the ground beef. Add the pasta sauce to the beef.
4. To assemble: Put a layer of noodles on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (I use a Pyrex glass casserole dish.) Pour a layer of sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese and then a layer of parmesan cheese. Repeat the layering process: noodles, sauce, and then cheese until the pan is full.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden.

To Freeze: Let the lasagna cool and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When it is completely cool, cut into individual pieces and place into ziploc bags.

Place it in the fridge in the morning and it will be ready to eat that evening. Microwave for a minute or two and enjoy.

Cookie Dough
Who doesn't love fresh chocolate chip cookies? Grace and I love to bake them, but the traditional Tollhouse cookie recipe makes a ton of cookies. When we make them, we bake up a dozen and freeze the rest for later. You can freeze the dough whole, but I prefer to make individual balls and then freeze them. To do this, form the individual balls, put them on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. When they are hard, put them in a ziploc bag for storage and place them back in the freezer.

When you are ready to bake them, put them straight onto the cookie sheet and add a couple of minutes to your normal baking time.

What are some of your favorite freezer meal recipes? I am going to be making more this weekend and would love some new recipes!

Monday, September 9, 2013

GOAL!

Connor learned a new trick during the Chiefs game yesterday. It's adorable and he's so proud of himself:



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Presents DRAGONS at the KC Sprint Center

Disclosure: In exchange for sharing this information with you, I will receive free tickets for my family to attend this event. However, the opinions expressed below are my own.

The circus is coming to town! 

I have fond memories of the circus from my childhood. I was mesmerized by the animals, the trapeze artists, the aerialists....the entire atmosphere was thrilling for a child. 

So I'm very excited to be able to take my children to their first circus experience this week as the Greatest Show on Earth, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus arrives at the Sprint Center! 

Here is more information about the show:
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS is a once in a millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled for Ringling Bros.® Presents Dragons to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. Dragonsis a never-before-seen blend of renowned spiritual and real life legends that can be found only at The Greatest Show On Earth®!



I showed Grace the above preview for the show and her eyes lit up. As soon as it was over she begged "again Mom, again!" I asked her if she wanted to go and she immediately said "YES!" I know she will love every minute of it! 

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS will be at the Sprint Center September 11-15, 2013. Purchase your tickets now! 

Discount
To receive $5 off $22 and $15 tickets use code MOM in the Mom Blogger ticket option. This discount is valid on Thurs, Sat 3pm and 7pm, Sun 1pm


Disclosure: In exchange for sharing this information with you, I will receive free tickets for my family to attend this event. However, I received no other compensation and the above opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Connor: 10 Months Old

Connor,

I think I've said this before, but slow down baby boy! I can't believe how big you are now. You are looking and acting more and more like a toddler every day. You weigh 22 lbs and are comfortably in 18 month clothes. You are crawling everywhere and getting into everything! It's really hard to get pictures of you right now because you don't want to sit still.
  • You have 6 teeth. They are sharp and you think it's hilarious to bite mommy.
  • We are still going strong with nursing. You love table foods, but still prefer to nurse most of the time. You have recently gotten the hang of using a sippy cup and get mad if Grace has one and you don't. 
  • You follow Grace around like a little puppy. About half the time you play nicely together and half the time you end up screaming at each other over a toy. You specifically like to play with her Princess Castle and her Remote Control Car to make her mad. She pushes you and you are starting to try to smack her back. It's not fun for mommy!
  • Your favorite toys are cars, the little tykes piano, the rain stick and shakers, and your activity table. You love the Animals book. You adore bath time and pool time.
  • You are an expert at making a mess. You pull up and throw everything off of the coffee table. You pull clothes out of the laundry basket. I can't do the dishes when you are awake because you make a beeline for the dishwasher. You love to throw toys around the living room and no matter how many times I try to pick it up, it always looks like a disaster zone when you are awake. Here is proof:
  • You are saying dada and mama consistently. You love it when people talk to you and you are really trying to imitate a ton of sounds. You are going to be a talker.
  • You are extremely friendly to everyone. You haven't met a stranger and charm every woman you meet. You cuddle into people's shoulders and freely give big kisses. You love other kids and are just an overall happy guy. 
  • When you are feeling ok, you generally sleep pretty well at night. You normally wake up once or twice to nurse but go back down quickly.
  • You want to be a big boy. You've figured out how to jump like sister in the bounce toy and you have learned how to crawl into her play house on the deck. 

  • Your hair....oh my word baby I don't even know what to say about it. It grows crazy fast and I feel like I need to get it cut at least once a month. You were starting to look pretty shaggy and so I finally took you to get it cut. She cut off a ton and you look so much older! 

Before
After
You are such a sweetheart. Every day is fun with you and it's so exciting to see you explore your world. I can't believe I'm planning your birthday party. You will always be my baby!



Love,

Mommy

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