Monday, February 24, 2014

Real Life

As bloggers, we always present you with the best versions of ourselves. The clean house, happy smiling kids, and tastefully accessorized review items.  This is not always our reality, trust me.

This is what my kids did to my house while I was trying to make a phone call today:

It took them about 2 minutes to make this mess. These pictures were taken before Connor climbed onto a chair and pulled my neat stacks of consignment sale stuff off of the table and threw them all over the floor.

I need a nap.

Must Read Monday: Books for a Toddler Boy

Connor is a tough sell on books these days. He likes them, for very short periods of time. I call him destructo man because he is extremely talented at ripping them up and as a former librarian, it pains me to see spines broken and pages ripped. But we keep trying and there are a few certain titles that I know will hold his attention for at least a couple of minutes. 

1. Blow It Up!- This is a favorite for both of my kids. It's a board book with lots of sliders that allow the kids to blow up buildings. They think it's hilarious! I love it because the pages are thick and the pull out features are very sturdy. Connor hasn't been able to rip them (despite his best efforts!) I'm hoping we can add a few more of this destruction series to our collection soon!

2. That's Not My Train- My kids and I both love the entire That's Not My (Touchy Feely) series from Usborne books. The board books are short enough to keep Connor's attention and each page features colorful illustrations with special textured features to encourage the child to touch and explore the page. I bought Connor this book for his birthday and it is by far his favorite.

3. Trucks (Bright Baby)- This book is perfect for Connor right now. With bright pictures and the name of the truck on each page, it's a great book for him to flip through by himself. This is the book he's reading in the picture above. 

4. From Head to Toe- We were introduced to this book by our Parents as Teachers instructor and Connor quickly became attached to it. If he's bringing you a book, it's probably this one. It's a great introduction to animals and body parts for him. He loves watching me do the actions and he's really starting to try to do them with me. 

5. I Love Colors- Any book with baby faces is popular with him right now. This one is short and sweet. 

The key to books for toddler is to keep them short! We read the same books over and over, but I am thrilled anytime he'll sit still for an entire short book.

What are your toddler's favorite books? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Terrible Threes?

I had heard that the age of three is worse than two and I'm pretty sure that is completely correct. Grace is delightful, sometimes. Other times she has an attitude that would scare a teenage girl. From the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed she's trying to fight us about something or other. From choosing her clothes in the morning to trying to get her to eat, everything is a challenge.

I am grateful that she's learning to be independent in some ways. She can dress and undress herself, go potty by herself, and get basic snacks from the pantry. But along with that new found independence comes this phrase "Grace do it!" I swear if I never heard that again, I'd be perfectly happy; but alas, I'm sure I will hear it within about 2 minutes of her waking up in the morning. I hear it constantly.  Try to help her get her shoes on? "Grace do it!" Try to help her sit on the potty? "No mama, go away. Grace do it!"

Her new found independence has led to her desire to change her clothes literally at least 10 times a day. While I'm busy with Connor she will sneak into her room and 5 minutes later will come out in a completely different outfit. Sometime she announces it to me "look mama, new clothes!" Other times she will try to sneak it past me, hoping I won't notice after I have told her time and time again to leave the clothes on that we put on that morning. I guess she thinks that I don't enough laundry to do! Oh and each time she changes, she adds a new hair accessory and shoes. Her closet is constantly a wreck because of her digging through it to find her latest ensemble. She has now taken it upon herself to pick my clothes for me as well. This day she was being nice and giving me a choice between two shirts. When I told her I needed something long sleeved, she said with authority "No mama, this one or this one!"

Recently, she has decided that she is now Connor's caretaker and boss. Overall it's adorable and hilarious, but he's not always thrilled about her "instructions." While I was doing laundry today, I poked my head out to find her checking the back of his diaper. She pulled it back, made a face, and told me that he pooped. I'd never seen her check like that before but she obviously knew what to do! Later, she lined up their two chairs, told him to sit down and instructed him to hold her hands. He wasn't thrilled but did what he was told.

I don't know exactly what he intention was but she was content with this. It lasted for a few seconds before he pulled away screaming. She tried to convince him to do it again, but he wouldn't do it. After a couple minutes of this, I told them to pick up the train pieces that you can see thrown all over the living room. In true 3 year old form, I saw Grace go pick up the bin and say to Connor "pick up trains Onnor (her name for him.) In here, pick up!" She showed him how to put one piece in and proceeded to hold the bin while he picked the pieces up. I didn't let that fly and made her pick up as well, which she was not thrilled about.

She's so full of personality and I'm always amazed to see what she's going to do next. She's actually having a speech evaluation done next week because she's still not talking a ton so I'll update when I know more about that. Having a 3 year old is definitely challenging, I'm not looking forward to her teenage years!!

What was the hardest age for your kids?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

JBF Lee's Summit sale: 80% Savings!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Just Between Friends of Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. This program is in partnership with Real Mom Media.  All opinions are my own.

I got to shop the Just Between Friends Lees Summit sale yesterday and I got some amazing deals that I just had to share!

I spent way too long digging through the toys and I got some great stuff. I'm putting it all away to save for Easter basket fillers and Christmas presents.

Chutes and Ladders- $1 (Retail $13.99)
Disney Merida Toddler Doll with 3 bear brothers- $5 (Retail $24.99)
Tonka Tucker Truck- $3 (Similar trucks retail for $29.99)
Large collection of Disney Princess Clip dolls and dresses- $5 (Retail around $25)
Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Magnets- $3 (Retail $11.42)
Disney Princess Seek and Find- $1.50 (Retail $3.98)
My Little Pony Seek and Find- $1.50 (Retail $3.24)
Mr. Potato Head- $3 (Retail $7.99)
Hi Ho Cherry-O- $2 (Retail $18.65 since it is an older model which I prefer over the new versions)
Toy Story Dominoes- $2.50 (Retail $12.99)

I also picked up a chair for Connor because he adores Grace's princess chair and I thought he might like one of his own.

Cars Chair- $8 (Retail around $25 I would guess)

Total on all my toy purchases: $35.50 Retail value approximately: $177.24 I saved just over 80%!!

I also spent some time browsing for shoes and clothes and found some good deals for both of my kids.
Old Navy Jeans- $3
Tinkerbell nightgown- $3
Pink and grey Stride Rite shoes (they look brand new!)- $6
Children's Place Multi colored sandals (also look brand new)- $3.50

For a total of $15.50 for Grace

Circo polo- $1.50
Children's Place polo- $1.50
2 pairs of khaki shorts- $5
4 Carters rompers- $6
Stride Rite never worn shoes- $4

For a total of $18 for Connor

I bought more than I expected to, but I spent an average of $3.63 per item! I LOVE the JBF sale and will probably be going back on 50% off day. I hope to see you there! For more information about the sale, including days and times, check out my post here.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Just Between Friends of Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. This program is in partnership with Real Mom Media.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Must Read Monday: Preschool Edition

I'm bringing back Must Read Monday! I think reading to your child is one of the very best things you can do for them. So every week I'll be sharing some of our favorite books. This week it's Grace's turn to pick her favorites. Next week I'll post Connor's favorites and then the next week I will share mine for that month. I'm hoping to continue that pattern each month.

Grace loves books and spends a lot of her time reading. I often find her in her room reading to her dolls and part of our bedtime routine is reading at least 3 books. She begs for more every night and it's really hard to turn her down!
Sneaky photo taken of her reading a book to some of her baby dolls. She spent about 15 minutes in there reading to them.

Her favorites change pretty frequently but here are her most frequent picks right now:

1. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor- Any and all Fancy Nancy books are a huge hit with our little fashionista. Seriously these books were written for Grace. Nancy wears princess dresses and tutus, walks around in high heels and takes ballet classes (all of Grace's very favorite things!)

2. Little Critter Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer- Little Critter books are popular with Grace right now but her favorite is definitely Just Go To Bed. We read this one every night and she laughs as the dad tries to get Little Critter to bed.

3. Playtime Puppy by Emma Goldhawk- This book has a puppy puppet that Grace now likes to control while we read the story. It's short and sweet and she loves to read it to Connor.

4. I Stink by Kate McMullan- Despite my attempts to hide this book, Grace always finds it. It's gross. I don't advise reading it while you are pregnant and nauseous (Grace decided this was her favorite book while I was pregnant with Connor and Mike always had to read it to her because I couldn't get through it!) It's about a trash truck. But my kids both love it.

5. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.- We have been working on letters so this is a great book to help with letter recognition. The book is easy to memorize and Grace likes chanting the letters along with me.

6. The Bunnies Are Not In Their Beds by Marisabina Russo- This is another book about not wanting to go to bed. Grace loves seeing the bunnies get in trouble for not going to bed. It's a sweet book and eventually everyone finally falls asleep "goodnight, goodnight sleep tight!"

What is your preschooler's favorite book? We are always looking for new titles to check out from the library!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Adelaide's Attic Etsy Shop Giveaway (Handmade from the Heart Giveaway Hop)

Disclosure: I received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own. 

I love receiving homemade gifts, especially for Valentine's Day. That's why I am excited to be participating in my first Homemade from the Heart Giveaway hop!

Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to the [2nd annual] Handmade from the Heart Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

This Hop was such a success last year that we brought it back for round 2 because it seems everyone loves beautiful handmade items! Each blogger in this Event has a handmade giveaway worth at least $25, so be sure to hop around and celebrate Handmade from the Heart! And you definitely do not want to miss the fantastic handmade goodness of the Grand Prize... a $150 Etsy Gift Card!

DISCLOSURE So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Handmade from the Heart participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

One of my friends, Julie from from Director Jewels is an extremely talented crafter who recently opened her Etsy shop Adelaide's Attic.

She always makes my kids great personalized gifts for their birthdays and special occasions. She has made Grace beautiful dresses and hair bows, adorable onesies for Connor's and some amazing stuffed animals and lovies for both of them. My kids (okay, I) always love getting her gifts because they are so fun and well made!  Here are just a few of the things that she's made for my kids:
Connor at 3 weeks old in a tie onesie
Connor's puppy she made for his baby shower. It's so soft!
Connor's lovie that was made using the fabrics from his nursery
Grace's big sister gift at Connor's baby shower.
Grace's bow for her 3rd birthday party
One of the adorable dresses and matching bows for Grace. I wish I had a picture of her in it, it's so cute!
Julie also makes hooded towels and accepts custom orders. You will not be disappointed ordering from her! Until 3/15, my readers can save 10% off anything in her shop using the code BLOGMOMENTSTHATTAKE

Visit her Etsy shop and Facebook page to see more of her work.

Julie has generously offered one of my readers a $25 gift card to her Etsy shop Adelaide's Attic.

How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Friday, February 28th at 11:59 PM CST! Open to US residents only. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The moments you never dream of....

When I dreamt of getting pregnant, I never ever thought about the less dignified moments of motherhood....

I imagined sweet baby cuddles, the major milestones, wonderful days at the park and zoo with happy children. Not that those things don't happen, they do and they are amazing. But my reality isn't always so idyllic.

I had an experience today that I just had to share. It was horrifying and embarrassing so of course I have to post it for all of the world to read!

Starting off, I have to say that I hate public restrooms. I think they're gross and avoid them at all costs. But when you have a child that is recently potty trained and they say they need to go, you go. We were in a large medical offices building heading to the kids' dentist appointments and Grace yelled "potty mama!" So off we went. She did her business and I decided I needed to go too. So I made both kids stand next to each other in the tiny stall while I sat down. Without missing a beat, Grace yelled "Mommy potty? Need to poop mom? Go poop!" There were at least 4 other women in the restroom and I swear I heard giggles from the other stalls. As I quickly told her to shush she continued with "good job mom, go potty, high fives!" I was horrified at this point. While I was trying to get Grace quiet, Connor decided that he would try to crawl under the divider to visit the woman in the next stall. He got his head under and she laughed and said hello. Yeah. So I pulled him back and he giggled hysterically. I am beyond embarrassed at this point but we have to leave the stall eventually. Thankfully the women washing their hands just smiled at me sympathetically but I'm sure my face was bright red. We hurriedly washed hands and escaped my torture chamber.

So kids, when you are teenagers and I embarrass you, I will remind you of this day. You earned every ounce of embarrassment!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Crafts for Preschoolers: Heart Pom Pom Monster

Valentine's Day is in 2 days! Grace and I have been having fun crafting lately to celebrate. Check out our other Valentine's Day crafts here! I think she's especially liking these crafts because she gets to use red and pink (her favorite color!)

We tried something a little different today and I think it turned out cute.

Pom Pom Monster

He didn't turn out exactly how I pictured him in my head, but Grace adores him and has been carrying him around all day. So I call this craft a success!

To make your Heart Pom Pom Monster you will need yarn, scissors, cardboard, glue, cardstock, a pipe cleaner, googly eyes, and thin ribbon.

Cut two identical small circles out of your cardboard. Make a small round hole in the center of each circle. These don't have to be perfect. The smaller your circle, the smaller your pom pom. I wish I would have made mine a tiny bit smaller.

Cut a piece of your ribbon long enough to make a circle the same size as your cardboard circle. Place it on one piece of the cardboard and then cover it with the other piece of cardboard. Don't tie the ends, you will use it to tie off your yarn in a minute.

Now comes the tedious part. Thread your yarn through the center hole and wrap it around both cardboard pieces. Do this over and over again until you cover your cardboard as much as possible. The more you wrap it, the fuller your pom pom will be. I gave up after the cardboard was wrapped fully but I wish I would have added a couple of more layers to make it fuller.

Once you are satisfied with your yarn covering, take your scissors and find a spot to start cutting the yarn between the two cardboard pieces. Cut all around the edges of your circle making sure to hold your cardboard pieces together while you cut.
After you have cut all the way around the circle, find the two ends of your ribbon and tie a tight double knot. Pull your pieces of cardboard off either side and voila, you have a pom pom!
I like to make a knot at the end of my excess ribbon so that I can hang my pom pom but feel free to cut off your excess ribbon if you want.

This is where the little ones can start really helping. First, glue on the googly eyes. Cut two short pieces of pipe cleaner and attach small hearts to the tops. Glue the pipe cleaners to the top of the pom pom as antennas. Cut out a heart and glue it to the bottom of the pom pom as feet.

I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day!!

Time to Shop! Just Between Friends Lee's Summit and Overland Park Consignment Sales

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Just Between Friends of Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. This program is in partnership with Real Mom Media.  All opinions are my own.

I've written before about how much I love consignment sales! My kids grow out of clothes so fast and I hate to pay full price for something they might only get to wear a couple of times. My favorite sale of the season is coming up in the next couple of weeks and I'm so excited to share it with you!

What’s all the talk about? You’ve got to see it to believe it! Over 500 local families bring close to 100,000 excellent condition children’s and maternity items to two award winning Just Between Friends locations in the Kansas City area.

We are thrilled to have you join us as a shopper! You’ll find clothes, shoes, baby equipment, toys and more for a fraction of retail prices.

The Just Between Friends sale in Lee's Summit is next week at John Knox Pavilion. It's a huge sale! I always go the first day to get the big things that I want and then go back the last day for 50% off day to shop for clothes to fill the kid's closets. 

To see some of my best scores from the Just Between Friends sales, check out these posts:
How To Rock Consignment Sale Shopping and Just Between Friends Deals!

My favorite find to date was this Little Tykes table and chairs set that I got last year for only $8!
I always find great name brand products for a fraction of the retail price! I'm able to buy most all of the kid's birthday and Christmas presents and I get so much for my money. 

Here are the dates and times for the Lee's Summit Sale:

Thursday, Feb 20th   10am-7pm - Prime Time Shopping
($10 admission, 18 & over, children free)

Friday, Feb 21st   10am-7pm - Open to the Public
($2 admission, 18 & over)

Saturday, Feb 22nd  10am-7pm – 25% off sale
(25% off items without a star, free admission)

Sunday, Feb 23rd   10am-7pm – 50% off sale
(50% off items without a star, free admission)

Be sure to check out the Just Between Friends sale in Overland Park the following week!

Wednesday, February 26th 2pm – 9 pm - Prime Time Shopping
Admission $10 (Admission fee supports our charities, under 18 free admission, no passes accepted)
6pm-9pm - First Time Parents, First Time Grandparents, Foster Parents, Mothers of Multiples, Military Parents, and Teachers click here to register for your Special PreSale.

Thursday, February 27th 9am-8pm – Open to the Public
$2 Admission

Friday, February 28th 9am-8pm – Open to the Public

Saturday, March 1st 9am-5pm – Open to the Public

Sunday, March 2nd 9am-5pm – 50% off many items

Do you want more information about the sales, tips on how to find the best deals, or just want to chat with other consignment sale moms? Be sure to check out the JBF Twitter Parties using hashtag #JBFKC! The first is February 19th from 8-9 PM CT for the Lees Summit sale. Then come back for the Overland Park Twitter Party February 26th 8-9 PM CT! 

For more information about the sales, check out these sites:

JBF Lee's Summit's website and Facebook page.
JBF Overland Park's website and Facebook page. 

I hope to see you at the sales!!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Just Between Friends of Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. This program is in partnership with Real Mom Media.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ready for Spring with OshKosh B'gosh!

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for OshKosh B’gosh. I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

While we were stuck inside last week buried under a foot of snow, I made it my mission to clean out the kids' closets. Connor's 18 month clothes were suddenly too tight and Grace's 3T clothes were all too short. Their closets were basically empty after the clean out. With them growing like weeds, I needed to find cute, stylish kids clothes for spring on a budget. When OshKosh B'gosh offered me the chance to check out their new spring line, I was thrilled! I knew that the $100 gift card I was given would get a ton of great clothes for my kids!

After a week inside, my kids were excited to get out. Grace was excited to shop for "CLOTHES!!!!" and Connor just wanted to pull everything off of the shelves. The new spring collection is bright and fun and gave the kids plenty to look at.

The store is well organized with aisles wide enough for me to fit the double stroller through. I was pleased when I arrived to find out that everything in the store was 40 or 50% off. In addition, I had a 20% off a $30 purchase coupon. This coupon can be used in store or online and it expires on 3/12/14.

Grace and I had a great time going through the store and she picked out tons of things that she wanted. But, she totally lost interest in the clothes when she found this display for sale jewelry and headbands. She didn't move from this spot for the rest of the trip and I enjoyed shopping for Connor while she lovingly showed me every single hair accessory and piece of jewelry she could reach. I let her pick out one thing to buy and the pink tiara headband was the clear winner.

I went just a little crazy and spent more than I planned ($77 more than my gift card,) but I got some amazing deals!

For Grace, I got 2 pairs of shorts, a skirt, a top, a pair of pajamas, a headband, and two dresses. I obviously love the navy trend for spring!

Grace wanted to put on her PJs and tiara headband the moment we walked in the door. She is in love with all things ballet and has asked to wear them every single night since we got them.

For Connor I got 4 shirts, one pair of shorts, one pair of overalls and one pair of pajamas. I am obsessed with the Shiver Me Timbers shirt. I wanted to buy all of the adorable boys tees!

They sat still for about 10 seconds to let me get a picture of them in their new clothes. I love Grace's little Parisian girl look and the sharks on Connor's overalls make them fun and age appropriate.

I am so happy with our purchases. The clothes are cute and the quality is great! I highly recommend OshKosh B'gosh to anyone looking for stylish, affordable clothing for their children.

Find your local OshKosh store here! We are now ready for spring, thanks OshKosh B'gosh!

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for OshKosh B’gosh. I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Our week in pictures

Our view of our deck this morning. We got somewhere between 10-12 inches of snow yesterday!
My little pianist. He's obsessed with this mini piano from Grace's dollhouse.
After a horrible couple of days, a friend of mine brought me some goodies including this magnet.
It makes me laugh anytime I look at my fridge!
I should not drive on ice. The main reason this weekend was not great for me!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Miss Independent

In the last couple of months, I've seen a huge change in Grace. She's gone from a toddler to a little girl. When she turned 3, I decided we would try a gymnastics class to see how she would do. She has never been in a formal class setting like that before so I was nervous that it would freak her out. I was shocked when we arrived at the gym and she happily grabbed the instructor's hand and walked into class with the other girls. For the first 2 and half years of her life, she had severe separation anxiety and I could rarely leave her. But that night, I watched her play and happily follow instructions from her teachers for over an hour. She didn't hesitate and she never cried. I was so excited for her but at the same time it was sad. She doesn't need me as much anymore!

We had a groupon type voucher for the gymnastics so she'll only be doing that for a couple more weeks. May be I'm cheap but I just can't see paying as much as they want for her to continue classes, she's only 3! 

She's been begging for months to take dance classes like Angelina Ballerina and Fancy Nancy. One of her Papa's decided that he was going to set it up for her. We talked about going to ballet class all week and she was thrilled when I finally let her put on her tights, leotard and tutu skirt. All I heard the entire drive was "Grace go dance class!"
She wasn't cooperating much with pictures that morning but I'm glad I took one. When we arrived at the studio, I realized that, unlike gymnastics, I can't watch the class. I have to sit in the lobby for an hour and wait for her. Her teacher said she did great! Grace said she had fun and that she wants to go back soon. She has shown us a few things that they did in class, but since she's still not talking a ton, I'm pretty clueless about what she learned. Hopefully she'll show us more soon!

I can't believe how independent she is getting now. Oh and I wish I had pictures but it is so much fun to observe her with the other little girls. They put their arms around each other, hold hands and play together. It's so sweet to watch.

Are your kids in any activities? Do you limit how many they do? 


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