Thursday, October 31, 2013

So that was anticlimactic

I'm 30 years old today. Fun fact about my family, my birthday is on Halloween and my brother's is on Valentine's Day.

Turning 30 seems like it should be a big deal, but it's been pretty anticlimactic. I've done laundry and dishes today and we are taking the kids trick or treating tonight. It should be a fun day, nothing too crazy :)

I'm honestly thrilled with how my 20s turned out. I accomplished so many things that I wanted to before I turned 30. I am going to brag a little bit.

  • I lived overseas and spent a year studying at Oxford. 
  • I traveled to Paris, Edinburgh, London, Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples, Hawaii, and Mexico.
  • I earned my BA in History.
  • I married an amazing man.
  • I earned my Masters in Library Science.
  • We bought our first home.
  • We had two wonderful adorable children.
  • I became a stay at home mom, my dream job.
My life is not perfect and we definitely have had some bumps along the way such as my health problems, but overall I'm pretty happy with everything. So I'm not mourning the passing of my 20s at all. I'm excited to see what the next decade brings!

Me as a baby

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Holiday Tradition: Halloween JELL-O JIGGLERS Hands

Halloween is two weeks from today! My family didn't celebrate Halloween growing up, so I've been enjoying creating new Halloween traditions with our family. To help get Grace excited for the day, I've been doing Halloween related crafts and activities with her.

Today she was being really good. So as a treat, she and I made JELL-O JIGGLERS! I have fond memories of JIGGLERS from my childhood.  I remember making them with my mom and loving cutting out shapes using cookie cutters. It was so fun to shake them to watch them jiggle! Plus, I remember them being delicious so I was excited to let Grace try them for the very first time.

We decided to make Halloween JELL-O JIGGLERS Hands

With a toddler attention span, I didn't want to try anything too complicated yet, and this recipe was perfect. We combined 3 packs of Grape JELL-O and one pack of Orange JELL-O. 

After following the recipe and chilling the JELL-O, I traced Grace's hands onto a piece of card stock and cut them out. I then used them as a pattern on top of the gelatin to cut around.

After removing the hand JIGGLERS from the pain, I let her use Halloween cookie cutters to cut out some more fun shapes.

After we were done, we sat down to admire our handy work and she was excited to show me "Grace's hands!" The hands weren't perfect, but she was so proud of them!

Of course, the best part was sitting with her and eating the JIGGLERS! As soon as she tasted one, she told me it was yummy. She ate the entire cat JIGGLER by herself. I hope that someday she will remember making JIGGLERS with me like I remember making them with my mom.

The JELL-O JIGGLERS were a huge hit in our house. They make a great Halloween treat and I think we will be making some as snacks for family and friends soon. I hope that making JELL-O JIGGLERS will become a holiday tradition in our house, I'm already searching through Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall Fun at Shuck's Corn Maze

Disclosure: In exchange for sharing this review, I received free tickets for my family to attend this Pump kin Patch. However, the opinions expressed below are my own.

We had gorgeous weather this past weekend and we took advantage of it by going to the pumpkin patch. We had heard wonderful things about Shuck's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Pleasant Hill, MO, so we decided to try it out. It was a short drive from our house, only about 20 minutes and when we pulled up, Grace excitedly shouted "This, let's go!"

The first thing Grace spotted when we walked in was the barrel train. We figured she would freak out if we tried to make her go by herself, and we were right. So Mike climbed in with her and away they went!

She was a little hesitant at first, and Mike said it was pretty bumpy, but she came back with a huge smile on her face.

Unfortunately, Connor was in a lot of pain from teething that day, so I carried him in the Ergo for most of the trip. But at our next stop he got to get out and play too. The Kids Cornbox is basically a huge sandbox full of corn kernels. The kids weren't too sure about it at first, but once Mike found them some buckets and toys to play with, they really seemed to enjoy it. 

Our next stop was the zip lines. They had some large ones for older kids, but I was surprised that Grace was willing to try one of the smaller ones. Daddy pushed her back and forth and she thought it was great!

Being an animal lover, Grace made sure that we didn't miss the chickens. She was particularly fond of all of the young chickens and probably would have stayed there for an hour talking to them if we had let her.

The promise of a hay ride tore her away from the chickens. 

After waiting a bit (their tractors were having mechanical issues) we were finally able to take a hayride. We tried to take a family picture, but it was a sad attempt since we were facing the sun.

We wanted to try the corn maze, but we could tell that we were reaching Connor's limit for the day, so we decided not to push it. On the way out we decided to try get some pictures with the pumpkins.

Try is the main word in that last sentence. Trying to get a picture with my two kids looking at the camera at the same time is nearly impossible! This is the best we got.

 Grace was fascinated by the small pumpkins.

She was telling Connor all about them and tried to put about 5 in his lap before we made her stop.

By the end of our trip, both kids were exhausted but Grace did NOT want to leave. As we went to get in the car she threw a fit saying "Go back!" She obviously loved it. I loved that there were plenty of activities to keep a toddler entertained. I also loved that while there were plenty of people there, it didn't feel packed like other pumpkin patches we've been to. Trying to deal with a toddler and a baby with long waits for activities wouldn't have made for a fun day. Shuck's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch was prefect for our family. 

We will definitely be going back next year!

Disclosure: In exchange for sharing this review, I received free tickets for my family to attend this Pump kin Patch. However, the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tiger has returned!

Around the age of 1, Grace attached to a little stuffed tiger. She took that tiger everywhere and called him "Roar." We bought an extra one that lived in the car so that the original never had to leave the house.

After about 8 months of Grace and tiger adventures, tiger got set in a pile of other stuff animals in her crib and forgotten.

So the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to see her grab tiger out of the pile. She asked to bring him in the car on an errand. She then spotted the extra tiger that I had been letting Connor play with in the car. She asked to hold both and told me that they were the "Daddy" and "Baby Roars."

I will be sad when she starts saying tiger instead of calling it a roar. I don't think I will ever be able to get rid of that tiger...

I was looking back at old posts about tiger and Grace and found this adorable video from when she was about 14 months old:
I see so much of Connor in her in this video. While they may not look much alike, their voices are so similar and their actions are almost identical.

Is your child attached to an animal or a blanket? Are you sentimental about it too?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Shuck's Corn Maze Coupon

We are so excited to visit Shuck's Family Fun Farm this weekend!

Here is more information about the farm:

Welcome to Shuck's Family Fun Farm, where getting lost has never been more fun! Located in Cass County, we are a small family farm offering activities and adventure for the whole family, and a premier destination for corn maze fun in the Kansas City area.

Our corn maze is a 14-acre cornfield that will challenge you to find your way out. There are actually 2 mazes located within the one maze, with different levels of difficulties. If the big maze is not quite for you, try our smaller 2-acre maze we call LiL Shuck's maze. It will be much easier, especially for small children.

Visit here to save $2 off admission at Shuck's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch.

Are you visiting the Pumpkin Patch with your family this weekend?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shopping early for great deals

I don't know about you, but I always find that we spend a ton of money at the end of the year. With the weather turning cold, the kids birthdays, and Christmas, we always seem to go over budget. So this year, I've been trying really hard to start shopping early so that we don't go over budget.

Consignment Sales

The weather is finally starting to cool off in Missouri. But as much as I wanted the cooler temperatures, I was not ready with fall and winter clothes for the kids. After weeks of temps in the 80s and 90s, the temps dropped into the 60s at the end of last week. I looked in the kid's closets and realized they had pretty much nothing appropriate for the weather. Thankfully, there was a huge consignment sale going on and I was able to go get most of their fall and winter wardrobes for cheap!

I managed to score a ton at the presale. Some of my best finds were:

Children's Place jeans for $2
Cinderella hoodie for $1
American Girl dress for $5
Nikes for $3

I went back on half price day and got 23 items including 2 pairs of shoes for Connor, 1 pair of nice tennis shoes for Grace and a jacket for each of them for $38.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to another sale where I found this toy for Connor for $2. Even though it's missing a piece, it's been a huge hit in our house.

Garage Sales
I've rediscovered my love for garage sales lately. I don't get to go to them often, because honestly it's a TON of work to lug two kids in and out of the car to go to them. But I saw one advertised that I just couldn't miss and I'm so glad we went. I got tons of clothes for Connor and several toys for $6 total. This spin and say toy was $.75 and both kids love it. I also got a huge box of Lincoln Logs for $2, a Cars plus toy for $.75 and a fire truck for $.50. All will make great Christmas presents!

Just a few of the clothing items I got for Connor for $.25 each!

US Toy Sidewalk Sale
If you live in the Kansas City area, you need to read about this sale. Seriously, it's amazing. Julie from Director Jewels and I had read about this sale and decided to try it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We had heard to get there early and I am so glad we did. It was basically a Black Friday environment. A huge tent was full of tables with boxes and boxes full of toys and educational items. You had to dig to find the good stuff and there were a TON of people just scooping things up. Had I not had Connor in the Ergo, I probably would have found more, but I got some AMAZING deals and finished out my Christmas shopping for my kids and family members.

Everything from the tea set and unicorn to the left is mine. To the right was Julie's. All of my stuff I got for $65! My favorite finds were:

Miniature tea set with basket: $3
Mr. Potato Head: $3
Stuffed unicorn: $1
Huge plastic dog play set: $5 (retails for $40)
Large box full of big plastic dinosaurs: $5
Cement Truck: $4
Princess dress: $1- I also got fairy wings, rings, necklaces, cowboy and firemen hats and other dress up items for $.25-$.50 a piece.

Our shopping for the season is pretty much done! Now I just have to make myself stop looking for deals for a bit because we honestly don't need anything else :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Connor: 11 Months Old


I am in denial baby boy. This post is 5 days late because I just don't want to admit to myself that you really are 11 months old. How did that happen?? In just a short month, you will be one and you will be a toddler. I can't believe it, you will forever be my baby!

You are the sweetest, happiest little guy ever. You make everyone smile and rarely fuss.

Getting you to sit still for pictures is difficult to say the least. You are constantly on the move and just laugh when I try to get you to stop.
  • You are climbing, crawling at high speeds, cruising all over the place, and standing on your own for short periods of time. You will be walking any time now I'm sure. 
  • You still like your pacifier and can now get it in your own mouth. I don't know how much longer we're going to let you use it. 
  • You love books, straws (yes, straws that you can chew on,) and anything and everything with wheels. You are an expert at finding cars.
See what I mean? This boy is obsessed with anything with wheels!
  • You are a boy through and through. You love wrestling with sister, getting her in trouble, and making anything into a hammer or sword. If you can hit something or someone with a toy, you are happy.
Making a leg of sister's doll pack n' play into a sword
  • You love food. Any and all food. I don't think we've tried anything that you haven't liked. Your favorite things are sweet potatoes and cheerios. You LOVE sippy cups and hunt down Grace's sippy of milk like it's your job. If I don't get to you first, you happily drink her milk as fast as you can. You can eat purees out of a pouch by yourself and you like sitting at the dinner table eating with all of us.
  • You have 6 teeth with two more working their way through.
  • You now weigh 23 lbs and you're wearing 18 month clothes. I don't think it will be long before you are in 24 month stuff.
  • You are very talkative and are saying dada, mama, no, ow, and uh oh consistently. We're pretty sure we've heard you say dog, car, and truck as well. 
  • You crawl to Daddy as soon as he gets home and you follow Grace around constantly. You two are playing very well together now and often keep each other entertained while Mommy gets stuff done.
  • You are still nursing and I don't plan to wean you anytime soon. 
You are so much fun to have around and I cannot believe that your birthday is approaching so quickly. Last year at this time I was so excited to meet you and now I can't imagine life without you. 

We love you sweet boy,

Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A night of fun: Lees Summit Oktoberfest

After an extremely stressful week (more about that soon,) Mike and I decided to take the kids to a local fall festival this past Friday night. We've been to the Lees Summit Oktoberfest celebration before, but it was so much more fun having kids to share it with!

I knew there were going to be pony rides, so I told Grace on the way there that she would get to see horses (one of her favorite animals.) She was sold on that idea and was excited when the ponies were the first things we saw. After seeing that the rides were only $5 and that there was no age limit, we decided to let her try it. She was so excited! Mike walked next to her just in case she started to fall, but she certainly didn't need it. She sat perfectly still and loved every second of it.

She has talked about it non stop every since. All I've heard is "Grace round and round horse!" I took a short video and she would watch it non stop if I let her.

We walked around for a bit and hit up some of the booths on Kids Street. One of the booths had a live snake. Unlike her mother, she loves scary animals, so she got up really close and thought it was amazing.

One of the local preschools had a great sensory table set up with popcorn kernels. So much fun!

A large part of downtown was filled with crafts vendors and I found this garland and had to buy it for her:

She loves princesses and she kept saying "Grace princess!"

Our last stop of the night was the fire station right in the middle of the festival. They opened up their doors and let the kids climb in the fire trucks. I wasn't sure how Grace would react to the huge trucks, but she was in heaven. She was mad that daddy made her stop to take this picture.

She climbed in to the driver's seat and told Mike to shut the door. She was ready to drive off! Let's just say that getting her down and leaving the fire station led to a huge tantrum.

Connor enjoyed the fire trucks too.
My arm looks weirdly massive here but he looks so cute in the fire hat that I had to share.
I can't wait to take the kids back again next year!


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