Friday, March 28, 2014

Speech Evaluation

I mentioned about a month ago that Grace was going to have a speech evaluation and I realized that I never posted a follow up.

Grace has never been much of a talker. She has a very large vocabulary but has never had much interest in using more than one or two words at a time. While her friends are talking in full sentences, she would never put more than two or three words together. We have also been concerned because she frequently only says the last syllable of a word. We know what she means, but no one else does. She says "braa" for zebra, "raffe" for giraffe, "phant" for elephant. Those are just a few of the many words that she says like that. She doesn't have any trouble with comprehension at all so we weren't concerned until recently when we noticed a gap in conversational sentences. I asked our Parents as Teachers educator Miss Hilary if we could do a speech evaluation. She agreed and had us set up a meeting with the speech pathologist in our school district.

I set up the appointment for the morning hoping that Grace would be awake and happy. The afternoons are always iffy for her mood since she doesn't nap anymore. Unfortunately I had to take Connor with us which I knew would make the appointment harder. When we arrived, the kids happily played with the toys in the waiting room. I was hopeful that everything would go well!

When we went back in to the speech pathologists office, things quickly went downhill. Grace takes a long time to get adjusted to new places and new people. Once she likes you, you're in her good graces forever and she'll talk to you. But if she's never met you, she will just cower behind me and refuse to speak. And that's exactly what she did. She screamed NO whenever we tried to get her to talk. The speech pathologist tried to play a game with her and she absolutely refused to say anything. I was embarrassed, but not shocked.

Miss Hilary came to our rescue and offered to do the rest of her 3 year old screening in another room until Grace got comfortable. Then we could try to do the speech screening again. She completed the rest of the screening almost perfectly. She drew lines and circles on command, threw balls, jumped, balanced on one foot, and counted when asked. She obviously doesn't have an issue with comprehension!

When she was completely calmed down and comfortable, we decided to try the speech screening. Miss Hilary held Connor and distracted him with cheerios while I sat with Grace. Thankfully she was more cooperative this time around and did the first part of the screening with no issue. She had to look at a picture and identify various things (house, zebra, flower, etc.) while the speech pathologist took notes. She was good until the speech pathologist asked her to put headphones on to do a hearing test. I tried my best to get her to cooperate, but she started throwing a major tantrum. We all decided that it was best just to be done. We headed home and waited for the results.

Several days later, Miss Hilary called to give us the news. The verdict was that while there are some "inconsistencies" in her speech, her scores are way too high in the other areas of the screening to qualify her for any therapy. At our next Parents as Teachers meeting, she will be giving us some tips to help us work with her on verbalizing entire words.

I have conflicting feelings about the entire thing. I am glad that she isn't that behind. But I do know there are some things that I need to work with her on. I won't lie, I do feel like I have failed her somehow. In my head, I know that all kids develop at different levels. But as a mother, it is SO hard not to compare her developmental milestones with other children the same age.

So I'm now on a mission to start working on more "educational" stuff with her. I spent some of my day yesterday making a "school" book for her (just a book of basic preschool worksheets I printed from here stuck in page protectors.) It's nothing fancy, but she is so excited about preschool that I figured it wouldn't hurt to get a head start. We started today and day one was a success. Some were a little advanced for her, but she enjoyed the challenge. We talked through each one and she asked to do some multiple times.

I know that she'll be talking our ear off soon and I know that going to preschool in the fall will help a ton. But, it's still hard not to worry!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Painting a Little Tykes Playhouse

Several years ago, I purchased a Little Tykes playhouse on Craigslist for $30. It was in pretty good shape for being an older toy and Grace adored it! But the colors were faded and the pastel pink and green weren't exactly gender neutral like I wanted. So I searched around Pinterest for a solution and discovered that they make special spray paint for this exact purpose. Mike was game to try it so he set to work. We were thrilled with the result!

Painting a playhouse

I chose a basic white house with green and brown accents. Honestly, it was a bit more of a job than we expected. He took the entire thing apart and did it in shifts since we don't have a very big garage. He used Krylon Fusion for Plastic spray paint.

He did two coats on each piece and then sprayed each with a clear coat sealant. While the instructions said the paint was "Fast Dry," he ended up letting each piece dry for at least 24 hours. If he tried to put the pieces together any earlier, the paint easily chipped off. So it took several weeks for him to complete the entire process doing a few pieces a day.

He used a lot more paint than we expected doing all of the coats. Don't expect to be able to do this with one can of each color! I think it took at least 5 cans of the white to finish all of the sides.

He did an amazing job and I love how it turned out.

I'm hoping to convince him to paint the Cozy Coupe this spring! I think Connor needs a superhero car!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Toddler Activities Tuesday: Cotton Ball Bunny

It's been a few weeks since I did any craft projects with Grace and yesterday she started begging to do "CRAFTS!" So during Connor's nap time, I pulled out our supplies and we set to work making some Easter crafts. The first project that we did was a cotton ball bunny that I've seen floating around Pinterest. I modified it a little bit to include outlines of the kids' footprints. 

This one is easy and quick! It's great for a short toddler or preschooler attention span. 

Easter Crafts for Toddlers

Card stock (White and Pink)
Paper plate (optional)
Cotton balls
Pipe cleaners (pink and black)
Googly eyes

Take a paper plate or a circle cut from card stock and cover it with glue. I used card stock since that's what I had around. I let Grace cover the entire thing with cotton balls. She's very detail oriented and was very focused on making sure the entire circle was covered!

After your cotton balls are attached, let your toddler create a mouth and whiskers from pipe cleaners and glue on all of the bunny's features including the eyes. 

For fun, I traced both Grace's and Connor's footprints to create the ears. It worked out well since their feet are about the same size as I needed :) Cut out the ears and attach them. Ta-da! You have a cute little bunny face. Not too complicated, I know, but Grace loves it. She shows it to everyone who comes into our house. 

Come back next Tuesday for another fun Easter craft for your toddler or preschooler! 

Check out more great toddler activities here!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Door to Door Organics Review

Disclosure: I received a gift card from Door to Door Organics to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

In my mission to prepare healthier meals for my family, I've been working very hard to focus on buying great quality produce for both snacks and meals. A huge amount of our grocery budget goes to produce and I know that I, like many other people, am concerned about all of the chemicals going into our foods. I try to buy organic when I can, but the cost adds up fast. Recently, I heard about a service in Kansas City called Door to Door Organics that partners with farmers and delivers organic produce right to your door. I was so excited to try it!

Door to Door Organics started in 2004. Their mission is:
To establish access to nutritious food to every resident of Kansas City and beyond. We are working to expand the market for agriculture that enriches the earth and all of us. We enable people to enjoy healthy lifestyles and great-tasting organic produce.

While they offer both subscription boxes and and a shop full of pantry items, produce, and meat, we decided to try a couple of their subscription boxes.

Our first box was the Small Mixed Fruits & Veggies box.
In our box we received:
Yellow Onion
Red Tomato
Red Bell Pepper
Green Leaf Lettuce
Broccoli1 (bunch)
Pink Lady Apples
Navel Orange
Kiwi Fruit
The main thing I LOVE about Door to Door Organics is that they allow you to customize your box before it arrives. We receive an email several days before our scheduled delivery telling us what will be in the box. We have the ability to replace up to 5 items. For example, we don't like eggplant in our house so chose to receive additional tomatoes instead.

The box was well packaged and full of deliciousness (is that a word? If it's not I'm making it one!) The kids each wanted a banana right away and we were able to use almost all of the produce that week. We were very impressed with the quality of everything. I even found a Valentine's treat in the box that made me smile!

You can't go wrong with chocolate!
For our next box, we decided to try a bitti box. We went with the all fruit version as our kids devour fruit at an amazing rate!

In this box, we received:
Valencia Oranges
Rio Star Grapefruit, small
Gala Apples, small
Blood Oranges
Bartlett Pears
I have to admit that I forgot to customize this box because we were all ill in our house. But we were still happy with our selections. Again, everything was delicious.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Door to Door Organics service. My only hesitation is the price. The boxes range from $26.13 for a bitti box to $55.66 for a large box. It is a bit pricey for our budget at the moment but I appreciate that you are able to choose between weekly or bi-weekly delivery and it is easy to skip a delivery or cancel your service when needed. I hope that we are able to continue our deliveries as I love having this much organic produce around our house.

Are you ready to order from Door to Door Organics? Enter the code Moments to receive $10 off your first order! Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

Disclosure: I received a gift card from Door to Door Organics to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier DVD Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this DVD by VeggieTales to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are honest and my own.

This has to be one of my favorite reviews I've ever done for this blog. VeggieTales offered to send me a review copy of their newest movie, Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier and I was so excited!

Veggietales giveaway

Grace and I both love VeggieTales. The songs are catchy, the characters are cute, and I appreciate the strong values that are presented in their stories. They focus on Biblical messages and make them accessible to even the youngest child. Be warned, after you watch any VeggieTales show, you will be singing the songs for days.

Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier is a lesson in the power of sharing set in space.

Join Captain Cuke (Larry the Cucumber) and his loyal first officer, Mr. Spork (Bob the Tomato), as they embark on an out of this world adventure to bravely travel where no Veggie has ever been. The entire USS Applepies crew takes on Luntar the Looter, a power stealing space pirate, but they're in for a big surprise when they find out what's motivating him!

As a mom with two young kids, this lesson couldn't have come at a better time! Bob and Larry start the show by reading a letter about a girl not wanting to share her teddy bears with her little sister. That pretty much sums up Grace's feelings most of the time in regards to sharing her toys with her brother. As we watch the crew of the USS Applepie refuse to share anything, we see their situation get worse and worse. Their battles with the evil Luntar the Looter reveal that sharing will actually help everyone. It has been a great starting point to talk to Grace about sharing her toys with Connor even when she doesn't want to. We sing "If we have enough to spare, we also have enough to share" to help remind her that sharing is important. It seems to be helping a little bit (I'll take whatever I can get with a 3 year old and a 1 year old!)

Grace has asked to watch this movie every single day since we got it. So obviously it's a hit. And I don't mind her watching it because the jokes are clever and the songs are funny (Asteroid Cowboy is a hoot.) Adults with a love of sci-fi will appreciate the many references to Star Trek, Stars Wars, and Dr. Who. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi but I grew up with Trekkie parents so I recognize many of the references.

Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier is available for purchase for only $12.97 here. If your kids can't get enough of Veggies in Space, be sure to visit the VeggieTales activity page for many great crafts, recipes, and coloring pages.

Five lucky Moments That Take My Breath Away readers will each win a copy of Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier DVD. That's right, there will be 5 winners!

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 Monday, March 24th at 11:59 PM CST. Open to US residents only. 
The winners will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or a new winner will be chosen.

The first entry is mandatory- Leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favorite VeggieTales character. Once you complete this entry, the widget will give you the option of completing the rest. Complete more steps for more chances to win!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this DVD by VeggieTales to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are honest and my own.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Disney on Ice: Let's Celebrate Kansas City Ticket Giveaway!

Disclosure: I will be provided press tickets for this event to facilitate a review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own. 

It's Disney on Ice time in Kansas City again! I have been waiting for this all year and I'm so excited to take Grace. Last year was a huge hit and now that she is fully Disney princess obsessed, I know she will love it.

It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.  Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!

We will be counting down the days in our house. I just showed Grace the preview and she is begging to watch it again. 


Disney on Ice: Let's Celebrate will be at the Sprint Center in Kansas City from March 26th-30th. Here are the dates and times:
Wednesday, March 26th- 7 PM
Thursday, March 27th- 7 PM
Friday, March 28th- 10:30 AM
Friday, March 28th- 7 PM
Saturday, March 29th- 11 AM
Saturday, March 29th- 3 PM
Saturday, March 29th- 7 PM
Sunday, March 30th- 1 PM
Sunday, March 30th- 5 PM

Tickets are available at the Sprint Center box office, Tickets start at $16. Additional fees may apply. Ready to buy your tickets? Save $5 on tickets with the code KCMOM here

To learn more about Let's Celebrate and the other great Disney on Ice shows, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages now!


One lucky Moments That Take My Breath Away reader will win 4 tickets to attend the Thurs. March 27, 7pm performance of Disney on Ice in Kansas City at the Sprint Center. 

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 Wednesday, March 19th 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.

The first entry is mandatory- Leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favorite Disney character. Once you complete this entry, the widget will give you the option of completing the rest. Complete more steps for more chances to win!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more chances to win tickets to the show at the Sprint Center, visit these other local blogs!

Disclosure: I will be provided press tickets for this event to facilitate a review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Connor's 1st ER visit

After two weeks of being sick, I finally started feeling better on Thursday and had more energy than I had in months. I was excited to go into the weekend and get a ton of stuff done. I had a to do list and was ready! That was not in the cards for me however....

On Friday afternoon, Connor and Grace were playing with their train set on the living room floor while I returned emails. Grace took something out of Connor's hands and he started to throw a tantrum. His first reaction when he starts throwing a tantrum lately is to throw himself backwards on the floor as hard as he can. I remember Grace doing the same thing but she wasn't nearly as strong as he is. When he throws himself back, it's hard and if he's on a hard surface, he bangs his head hard. I always try to get to him to stop him, but he's quick so it's a challenge. So on Friday, I saw him start to throw himself back and tried to reach him but couldn't. Instead of slamming his head into the floor like normal, he hit the corner of our wooden coffee table as hard as he could. He screamed and was in obvious pain. I calmed him down and he went back to normal.

I didn't think much of it the rest of the afternoon. He was a little clingier than normal and asked to nurse several times (unusual since he is almost weaned) but I thought he was either teething or coming down with a virus. We sat down for dinner around 7. He took one bite of chicken and proceeded to projectile vomit all over the dining room. I rushed him to the bathroom while Mike cleaned up. Grace ran in with me and kept telling Connor "it's okay Onnor, it's ok!" He vomited several more times before I remembered his fall and did a quick temperature check. He didn't have a fever so I put a call in to our pediatrician. With the multiple vomiting episodes, they told us to take him straight to the children's hospital's ER.

I took him in while Mike stayed home with Grace and it turned in to a very long night. We got there about 9 PM and he threw up all over me in the parking lot. They got us right into a room but we spent the next 2 hours waiting to see a doctor (they were busy!) Thankfully he slept most of that time and only woke up to throw up a couple of times.
Poor sleepy baby
When we finally saw a doctor, she said they were concerned about the excessive vomiting and they wanted to do a CT. Of course, Connor decided to wake up about that time and had no interest in staying still for the scan. They really wanted to avoid sedating him in case he had a brain injury so after 30 minutes of us hoping he would fall asleep, they strapped him down while I held his head still. He screamed bloody murder and I felt like the worst mother in the world.

More waiting ensued. He decided to be happy at this point (around midnight) and happily played with toys in the room and flirted with he nurses during our wait.
Looking adorable despite the bad circumstances
He made friends with our nurse. He took the bubbles out of my hand, gave them to her, turned around and tried to back himself up into her lap. He thought she was pretty great and was mad when she had to leave the room.

The CT came back normal and they let me take him home. They were sure it was a concussion and gave us strict orders to try to keep him hydrated and to let his brain rest. That meant no TV, no toys with lights/sounds, and no rough play. Yeah, with a 16 month old. We drove home at 1 AM and he fell asleep easily when I put him in his crib. But 2 hours later he was up and I ended up dozing on his floor the rest of the night trying to keep him calm.

Saturday was better. Even though we were limited in what we could do with him, I felt like he was on the mend. He was happy and keeping some food and liquids down. We decided to keep him home from church on Sunday (too much stimulation) but braved going out to our normal Sunday BBQ spot with grandma. As soon as we walked into the restaurant, he vomited all over me. It was bad, I was covered. We came home and he was miserable the rest of the day. He spent most of the day screaming at the top of his lungs. The nurses line at the children's hospital told me if he vomited again to bring him back but otherwise just to give him tylenol to help with the pain.

He slept a little better the next night and on Monday I made a follow up appointment with our pediatrician to get a better idea of what his recovery would look like. Grace started whining on the way there that her belly hurt and she said "go home, nap!" It was definitely a strange request for her. Sure enough, as soon as I got her out of her carseat, she vomited. I had a sneaking suspicion that his concussion was actually just a nasty virus presenting without a fever. When we talked to the pediatrician, he agreed with me. Sure enough, Connor's throat was very red and he has a bad ear infection. Grace came down with the same virus that night, and like clock work, Mike and I got hit with it as well. None of us slept at all that night.

So I'm relieved that he didn't really have a concussion, but I am so ready to be done with being sick. We are all recovering slowly. The weekend was way more exciting than I wanted it to be and I got nothing done. Hopefully that was Connor's last ER trip for quite a while!

I have 3 reviews and giveaways to post for you this week so hopefully I can get back to writing this week!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Free Train Party Printables: DIY Cupcake picks, food signs, and thank you tags

I realized the other day that I haven't shared the rest of the printables for Connor's train birthday party. Here is my post with the free printables for his train banner.

I spent a lot of time designing things for his party and I'm happy to share my designs with you for use at your party!

Train Birthday Party Printables

I created cupcake picks by attaching my designs to long toothpicks with tape.

Free Printable Train Cupcake Picks

Food signs template
Train Party Free Printable

Drink signs PDF
Free Printable Train Party

Thank you tag PDF
Choo Choo PDF
Free printables train party

I hope these designs help you throw a great train party! I would love to see your party if you blog about it!!

These designs are for personal use only. All designs are copyright of Moments That Take My Breath Away. Any use for commercial purposes is a copyright infringement. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Toddler Activities: Color Matching Game

For other great toddler and preschooler activities, check out my Activities for Toddlers page!

Tissue Paper Color Matching Game

I am always looking for new games and activities to do with Grace. I created this game recently to help her work on her colors. She is a little behind in her speech, so I try to take any opportunity I can to get her to talk. But, if I try to get her to name colors in a book or when we are out and about, she has no interest and says "NO MOM!" I thought a game might make learning colors more fun for her. 

I filled small ziploc bags with about 1/4 cup of uncooked rice and then wrapped them with tissue paper. I put rubber bands around the top to create little "gifts" as we call them. I cut circles out of the same colors of tissue paper and glued them on to the back of paper plates.

I set up the game and told Grace we were going to match the colors. At first I just had her match the gifts to the circles. That kept her entertained for a couple of minutes. Then I had her start saying the names of the colors as she matched them. She happily repeated the color names after me for a while.

The next step was to have me tell her the name of the color to see if she could pick out the corresponding gift. Honestly, it took a while for her to be able to do this. I discovered that if I gave her an example of the color, it worked better. Like if I said "Get the green one, green like grass" or "red like a ladybug" she did a lot better than if I just said "get the green one." 

She learns much differently than I do so it's been a process for me to figure out the best way to teach her. Thankfully this seems to be working well for us! It's been a great way to get her to recognize colors and she LOVES playing it. I try to only get it out once a day to keep it as a special game. I've noticed a huge difference in just a couple of weeks. She is really fast with it now and often requests to play "colors!" 

Be sure to check out our other favorite toddler activities here!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Unplanned Break

I took an unexpected blog break last week for two reasons.

I've been sick for several weeks now. I have no idea what's going on, but I've had a low grade fever and general exhaustion that just won't go away. The doctor ran all sorts of tests on me, but they have no answers yet. I'm hoping it will just go away soon, but it seems to be getting worse, not better. I was flat on the couch for most of the day yesterday and today doesn't seem much better. I'm still trying to get as much as possible done, but Mike is having to do a lot of the housework that I normally take care of. I could still write while I'm stuck on the couch, but for the past week, I haven't been able to get internet on my laptop.

On Tuesday, my little destructive helper (better known as Connor) stole my WiFi adapter and hid it. I spent hours searching everywhere for it. I cleaned under every piece of furniture and searched every hiding place I could think of. 5 days later, Mike found it.

This boy certainly keeps me hopping!

Hopefully things can get back to normal around here this week!


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