Friday, May 30, 2014

Bye Bye Pacifier

Grace never took a pacifier (she chose to suck on my finger for comfort instead, gross right??) so I never had to deal with taking it away. Connor however has grown to love his precious "guk," as he calls it, in his short 19 months. I have no idea why he calls it that, but we learned fairly early on that he was asking for his pacifier when he said guk.

Over the past few months, he was only using it at bedtime and nap time for comfort. Most of the time he didn't seem to be too upset if he didn't have it. I actually preferred that he had it in during the day simply because it kept him from putting stuff in his mouth. But despite that benefit, we've decided that it's probably time for guk to disappear. We don't want him growing even more attached to it and it turning into a huge ordeal to take it away when he's older.

I have very few pictures of him without his pacifier in.

We decided to take it away last week. Amazingly, it has been easier than I expected. He has asked for it several times but I have been able to distract him with toys or a snack without much issue. He does have several that we've misplaced in the house and I found him with one in his mouth yesterday, I have no idea where he found it!

I'm very glad that guk is gone, it's so nice to be able to see his face in pictures now!

If your child had a pacifier, when did you take it away?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday: A boo boo, a princess, and two dogs

Connor vs the van door.
Van Door- 1 Connor- 0
This was the worst it looked. He stuffed his face with goldfish to help feel better.

We might be slightly Belle obsessed in our house!
I rarely share pics of the dogs but I finally got decent pics of them posing with their artwork from Connor's room. This is Buddy

And Doc (or Doc Doc as he's called by the kids).

Monday, May 26, 2014

DIY Frame Hair Bow Holder Tutorial

DIY Frame Hair Bow Holder Tutorial

I made this frame bow holder for Grace recently and I absolutely love how it turned out. Before making it, her bows were all in a bin and they always got scattered all over her room. This keeps them organized and it is a fun piece of wall art.

To make it I simply took a plain picture frame from Walmart and removed the glass. I cut 4 pieces of ribbon to the appropriate size and glued each end to the top and bottom of the back of the frame. I cut a piece of purple fabric to match the size of the frame and hot glued it to the back, pulling it tight as I glued. I created 3 loops out of ribbon to use for extra bows or headbands and glued them to the bottom. I think I might add a few hooks at the bottom to use for hair ties and ribbons. I decorated the frame using cutouts of princesses from leftover fabric scraps I had downstairs. This bow holder was made using an 8x10 frame and I might be making a bigger version of it soon because I couldn't fit all of her bows on it!

Grace loves it and I think it's even cuter now that I added a bunch of her new princess bows from Adelaidie's Attic. Unfortunately, the Anna bow disappeared before I could take this picture. I'm pretty sure it's in our van somewhere since she tends to take her bows out while we're driving.

How do you store hair bows and accessories?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Books for your Frozen Obsessed Child

Disclosure: I received these books from Disney Publishing in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are honest and 100% my own. We love Frozen!

"Let It Go!!!"

I honestly can't count the number of times I have heard this song in my house. Grace constantly asks to watch "Anna and Elsa" and even Connor asks for "le it gooooooo." My kids are officially Frozen obsessed and I'm sure many of yours are too!

Disney Publishing recently offered to send me several of their Frozen titles and I knew that Grace would love them! When they arrived, she didn't even give me the chance to look at them before grabbing them and running off to her room. She spent the next half an hour looking at them and I could hear her talking about the pictures.


Frozen: A Tale of Two Sisters: This book is the perfect length for Grace right now. The simple sentences and bright pictures lend this book to beginning readers and toddlers. It's a very abbreviated version of the story but young children will love it!

Frozen: The Junior Novelization: This one is too advanced for my kids right now but they enjoy looking at the couple of pages of movie images in the book. I am going to be giving this to one of my older nieces and I know that she will enjoy the more detailed account of the story.


Frozen: A Sister More Like Me: This is the perfect book for siblings! This book features a new Anna and Elsa story about growing up with a sister. Both sisters wished for a sister more like them. Their interests and personalities were so different that they felt alone and sad. But in the end, they realize that their differences make them a great team and they truly learn to love each other. This is my favorite book of the set! The story is so relevant for young kids who might be struggling with their siblings. Also, the cover is sparkly and fun!


Frozen: Read-Along Storybook and CD: I saved the best for last! This book is the clear winner in our house. It's a detailed movie storybook with beautiful pictures and a CD for kids to listen along. Grace constantly asks to listen to this and I have to admit it's a nice break for me from reading the same books over and over. It encourages her independence and she knows the sound to listen for to tell her when to flip the page. Plus, the dialogue is taken straight from the movie so she recognizes the character's voices. She refused to look up from the book for me to get a picture because she loves it so much!


If you have a Frozen lover in your house, make sure to get any or all of these great books from Disney Publishing!

Disclosure: I received these books from Disney Publishing in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Potty Training Adventures: A Clean Bum by Cottonelle

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cottonelle. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Before becoming a mother, I don't think I ever mentioned "toilet matters" in conversation. Pee and poop were PRIVATE! But after giving birth and all the bathroom nastiness that comes after (you moms know what I'm talking about), changing diapers, and potty training, I find that they are now frequent topics of conversation. Seriously, almost every day there is some poop story to tell my husband or a friend vents about a child refusing to pee or poop on the potty. I don't even think twice about it now! Everybody poops, so why can't we talk about it?

If you've potty trained a child recently, I can only assume you're facing the same struggle I am. While she may be a pro at potty time, Grace's wiping skills are lacking. I have been resorting to baby wipes to help get her bum clean but that is obviously not ideal since they aren't flushable. Recently, I've seen several commercials about Cottonelle's new revolutionary Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths. Flushable wipes that can help keep our bums clean? I figured they were worth a try!

We headed to our local CVS to purchase our Cottonelle products and Grace certainly approved. According to her, we HAVE to buy the toilet paper with the cute puppy on it! Honestly, we are toilet paper snobs in our house and Cottonelle is the only brand we buy. It's soft, absorbent, and worth every penny!


I'm happy to report that the Cleansing Cloths lived up to the clean bum promise. The combo of the Cleansing Cloths and the Clean Care toilet paper is perfect for the recently potty trained. They're also perfect for everyone in the house. Why should kids be the only ones with fresh bums? As a stay at home mom, I may not get dressed up or perfectly styled every day, but I deserve to feel fresh and clean!


Change up your bathroom routine with Cottonelle for a fresh bum! Visit the CVS website to learn more and to get a great coupon for $1.50 off the wet + dry system!



Monday, May 19, 2014

Connor: 18 months (almost a month late!)

After several weeks full of travelling and spending time in Wichita with my family for my grandmother's funeral, we are back at home and attempting to get back to normal schedules. That means hopefully I'll be able to start blogging regularly again. This post was on my blogging calendar weeks ago.....and now I'm finally getting it written. Connor is definitely plagued with second child syndrome!

Connor,

You are officially 18 months old. It's insane to me how much faster it goes the second time around. You have become a toddler and are so full of personality!

Here are the things I don't want to forget about this age:

  • You are boy through and through and you rarely stop moving. You love to run and find it endlessly amusing to run away from Mommy. You loves to explore, climb, and throw things. 
  • You have a great arm, you throw balls extremely hard and surprisingly accurately for your age. You've managed to hit Grace (on purpose I'm pretty sure) from across the room multiple times.
  • Despite throwing things at her, you absolutely adore your sister the majority of the time. You wake up before her most mornings and are constantly whining by her door wanting to wake her up. You follow her around and try to do everything that she does. You do fight but overall I think you love having her around.
  • You adore the dogs. You don't care much about other animals, but dogs are a hit. You are constantly chasing them and trying to pet them. You call them "Gogs." 
  • You have so many words that I can't even count them. You have always been very verbal and you repeat most any word we say to you. You also have several phrases that you use constantly including "here you go" and "night night." You've recently learned some body parts and can identify your nose, hair, toes, and belly button. We're working on animal sounds and you definitely know that a monkey says "ooh ooh ah ah" and that a dog says "woof." 
  • You love books most of the time. They have to be short because you never sit still for long. 
Waiting for his pediatrician appointment. They did this all on their own so I had to take a picture. It lasted for about a minute
  • You love pushing things around. Whether it's the vacuum, a shovel, or the popper toy you push them around with a huge smile on your face.

  • Your favorite toy is the train set. It's the only toy you'll sit still for for long and you enjoy putting the track together and taking it apart again. You are starting to figure out how to connect the engines and cars together and you get easily frustrated when they come apart.
  • You didn't show any interest in TV until about 3 months ago when you suddenly decided that you are obsessed with Toy Story. All day long I hear "EEE?" which is your word for Woody. You love anything related to Woody and Buzz and think it's about the greatest thing ever when I dress you in a Woody or Buzz shirt. Mommy might be starting to pin some Toy Story birthday parties on Pinterest!

  •  Your eyes are definitely brown now. Your hair still grows at an amazingly fast rate and we tend to get it cut once every 5 weeks or so. We honestly can't go anywhere without getting comments on how cute you are. You are a total flirt and smile and giggle at anyone who will look at you.
  • You are generally a great sleeper. You lay down awake and go to sleep without any problems. You've dealt with several rounds of a nasty stomach bug the last couple of months which has affected your sleep some but you're a trooper and tend to bounce right back.
You fell asleep on Mommy's feet
  • You are a big, strong boy. You are always above average in height and weighed in at 26 lbs at your last pediatrician appointment. 
  • You love to eat but you are starting to get into the toddler eating phase were you'll eat almost nothing for several days and then eat everything in sight the next. Your favorite foods are chicken nuggets, blueberry muffins, and bananas. You would eat an entire bunch of bananas in one day if I let you! 
  • You aren't much of a cuddler (that would require stopping for 2 seconds) but occasionally you will stop, give me a big hug and kiss and then run away. Those are my favorite moments with you!
  • You are still nursing at least a couple of times a day. I'm not sure that's going to last much longer since you don't seem too interested anymore. I thought I would be more upset about stopping, but I'm pretty convinced it's time. 
  • Your favorite activities include throwing things down our stairs, dumping any and all containers full of stuff, playing with the trash can, climbing on the coffee table, and throwing toys. You are obviously working on giving mommy another heart attack! Mommy rarely gets to sit down for more than a few seconds while you are awake.
Caught in the act! You dumped half a box of Rice Krispies on the floor.
  • When I have told you no to the above mentioned favorite activities, you have started throwing some impressive tantrums. You are realizing quickly that they don't get you anywhere and so they rarely last long.
  • You ADORE your daddy. You have an amazing bond with him and I love watching the two of you together. It's so funny to see you try to imitate him and I am excited to see that bond develop in the future.
So proud of yourself playing games like Daddy.
We love you sweet boy. I honestly don't remember what life was like before you arrived and I'm trying to appreciate every moment of your quickly fading baby status. 

Love,

Mommy

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Waiting Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of "The Waiting" from Tyndale House Publishers for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Just a warning, the book I'm about to share with you left me in tears. I cried from both sadness and joy, but I am so happy that I got the chance to read this book. The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow is one of the most touching stories that I have ever read. I am sure that if you take the time to read this true story of loss, love, and forgiveness, you won't regret it.


An unforgettable true story that will touch your heart and make you believe in love's enduring legacy, and in the power of prayer.
In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I'd like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won't bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka's phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka's granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.



Before starting the book, I knew what was coming. I knew that Minka was raped and that she became pregnant. That knowledge didn't make reading her story any easier. LaGrow never gives graphic details about the assault but you can feel Minka's shame and pain in each word. As a mother, reading about Betty Jane's birth and adoption process was heartbreaking.

After giving Betty Jane up for adoption, Minka never forgot her baby. She wrote tirelessly to the adoption agency hoping for any small piece of news about Betty Jane. After 77 years, her prayers finally came true and she was able to meet her daughter. I have to admit that I raced through the last half of the book just waiting to read about their reunion. The tears of sadness from the beginning of the book turned into tears of joy when I read about their budding relationship. The NBC Today show recently interviewed Minka and Betty Jane and shared a snippet of their first meeting. It's impossible not to smile when you see the joy on each woman's face when they talk about their meeting. Check out the Today Show story here.

The Waiting is a truly wonderful book. I felt like I knew Minka by the end and I was rooting for her every step of the way. The hope and faith that she was able to maintain even through the most difficult parts of her life is truly inspiring. This is definitely a book to add to your must read list.

Giveaway

I am excited that I have 5 copies of The Waiting to give away to my readers!

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, May 23rd 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.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of "The Waiting" from Tyndale House Publishers for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

HarperCollins Children's I Can Read Books Giveaway!

Disclosure: Thank you HarperCollins Children's Books for sponsoring this post. Join me as I participate in this month's #ICanReadathon!

If you've visited my Facebook page recently, you might have noticed that my profile picture has changed to a picture of one of our very favorite literary characters, Little Critter! 



Grace and I are participating in the HarperCollins Children's Books I Can Readathon during the month of May. As an emerging reader just beginning to recognize sight words, the My First level Little Critter books are perfect for her. They feature stories that she can relate to and are written in short sentences. The pictures are fun and help her understand what is going on in the story. 
Focused on her reading
Join along with Grace and I during the month of May for the I Can Readathon! Like the I Can Read Books Facebook page for more info and visit the I Can Read site for 100 Tips For Beginning Readers!


Giveaway

One lucky Moments That Take My Breath Away readers will win a set of I Can Read! books (
Five (5) prize books will be randomly selected and shipped directly to winner by HarperCollins.) 

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, May 23rd 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.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fancy Girl!: Piggy Paint Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided product by Piggy Paint to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

I am ready for summer! To celebrate summer's arrival, I have partnered with some other great bloggers for the Hello Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network. The days are getting longer and hotter and we're saying Hello to Summer in fun giveaway style! Beat the heat and hop around to all the participating bloggers' giveaways at the bottom of this post. And don't miss out on the fabulous Summer Vacation Savings Account Grand Prize sponsored by Outski!

Grace is about the girliest little girl I've ever seen. She loves dress up clothes, shoes, and jewelry. I am pretty sure that her aspiration in life is to be Fancy Nancy! You would think I was making her eat vegetables when I tell her to wear pants. She wears only dresses, tutus, and nightgowns. She walks in high heels better than I do! So it was no surprise to me that when I gave myself a pedicure recently in preparation for sandal season, she begged me to paint her nails too. But knowing that she still puts her fingers in her mouth occasionally, I was hesitant to use regular nail polish.

After some internet research, I was thrilled to discover that I wasn't the only mom worried about her young daughter wearing chemical filled, smelly adult polish. Melanie Hurley, a mom of two "fancy girls" designed Piggy Paint, a safe, non-toxic polish for kids.


Piggy Paint is a water-based, non-toxic, ecofriendly line of polishes fit for princesses and the planet. Say goodbye to harsh, smelly chemicals, and hello to pure, natural, colorful fun. The polishes are proudly made in the U.S.A. with natural ingredients. They are non-flammable and contain no formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), ethyl acetate or acetone. And because they are hypoallergenic, everyone can enjoy them.

Grace was so excited when our box from Piggy Paint arrived. I couldn't blame her, the packaging was pretty adorable.


We got to try the Birthday Bash Gift Set and the Basecoat & Topcoat set. I let her pick her colors and of course she chose pink (Jazz It Up) and purple (Groovy Grape). I don't think I could ever get a job as a manicurist, but she was in heaven getting all of her nails done.

Pink for the toes
And purple for the fingers
The colors are vibrant and fun, Grace adores the shimmer in each color (she calls them her sparkles). I was impressed by how quickly each coat dried and I am hoping that with the base and top coat the color will last a while. The best part of these polishes? There is no nasty smell! She told me multiple times how much fun she was having during her mani/pedi so I'm sure we are going to be going through a lot of Piggy Paint this summer! She has already asked for more colors and I am happy to oblige as I know that they are safe for her to wear. I just discovered that Piggy Paint has an entire line of "Fancy Nancy" polishes and I now know what Grace is getting for her birthday!

The polishes are available to purchase individually  and are also sold in gift sets, perfect for stocking stuffers or birthday gifts! Until June 30th, use the code piggypaint5 to receive a 15% discount at piggypaint.com. Piggy Paint is also sold in retailers nationwide and in select Walmart stores.


Giveaway

One lucky Moments That Take My Breath Away readers will win a Little Miss Firecracker Piggy Paint set (includes 
Sometimes Sweet, Glitter Bug, and Tea Party for Two).


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 Tuesday, May 27th 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- Visit Piggy Paint and leave a comment on this blog post telling me which polish color your child would choose. 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

After you have entered this giveaway, be sure to check out the other great giveaways in the hop! 


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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Unplanned Break

I apologize for the unplanned blogging break. I spent last week and will be spending the rest of this week with my family as my grandma passed away last night. She and I were very close growing up and I am devastated at the moment. I will be back next week with two great giveaways for you, I promise.

For now, rest in peace Grandma



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