Friday, February 27, 2015

Grace: What I Want To Be When I Grow Up- Following Your Dreams with Netflix

Disclosure: As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I received a welcome gift and a free monthly subscription. However, all opinions are 100% honest and my own. 

Now that Grace is finally starting to talk more, we're enjoying hearing how her brain works. The things that come out of her mouth crack me up and I wish I could just talk to her all day long. Four year olds have huge ideas for their futures and one of my favorite topics of conversation with her is about what she wants to do when she grows up. Obviously it changes daily, but some of my favorite answers regarding her future profession include:

  • lion tamer (shortly after we went to see the circus)
  • princess (obviously)
  • swimmer (so she can play at the pool all day)
  • ballerina
  • zookeeper
  • doctor
  • mommy
As I started writing this post I asked her what she wanted to be and she said "big or a penguin". We've been watching Octonuats on Netflix a ton this month so I'm not too shocked by the penguin comment. Her favorite character is Peso, the penguin Octonaut medic who "helps any creature who is hurt or sick, no matter what". She carries around her doctor's kit and pretends to be Peso by giving us check ups. We may have a future doctor in our house!  I love watching her dreams develop and I hope to always encourage her to follow her passions. 

Netflix offers a ton of great titles that will help inspire your kids to follow their dreams:

For kids learning to create their own destiny:

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1. Ever After High (2/6)
2. Mako Mermaids (2/13)
3. Richie Rich (2/20)
For little kids just starting to think about what they want to do someday:
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1. Build and fix things: Handy Manny
2. Make a discovery: Sid the Science Kid
3. Walk on the moon: Justin Time: Blast off!: S1E13
4. Explore the ocean: Octonauts
For big kids who are looking to pursue their passions:
Cupcake Wars EN US 571x800
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Chopped EN US 571x800 copy
1. Make sweet treats: Cupcake Wars
2. Get into show biz: Fame High
3. Represent Team USA: The Gabby Douglas Story
4. Master the kitchen: Chopped
For teens and adults, it's never too late to follow your dreams:
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1. Get the corner office: Undercover Boss
2. Travel the world: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
3. Walk the red carpet: Liz & Dick
4. Run my own restaurant: Wahlburgers

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Russell Madness & My Interview with David Milchard

If you have seen Convos With My 2 Year Old, you are already familiar with David Milchard. He is the star, producer, and director of Convos and is in a word, hilarious. If you haven't seen this fabulous web series, go watch it now. Seriously, stop reading this, go watch at LEAST one episode (if you can stop yourself at just one) and come back. They are so amazing and they pretty much tell the story of my life. Grace is the same age as Coco and I swear Matt and David are listening in to our lives because we have the same discussions in our house frequently. Last week I got an email asking if I'd like the chance to interview David about his new family movie, Russell Madness, and I was thrilled to get the chance!

Grace and I had the chance to watch Russell Madness before the interview and it is such a fun movie.
In this tail-wagging comedy-adventure from the Creators of "Air Bud" and "Air Buddies," a big-hearted terrier named Russell gets taken in by a family with a pro wrestling arena. That's when they discover their new pet has incredible wrestling skills. With help from a savvy and hilarious monkey, Russell rockets to the top of the sports world and discovers that the strongest tag team is family.

David plays Nate Ferraro the reluctant recipient of the failing family wrestling business who struggles to find time for his family while helping Russell make it to the top. Grace has always loved the Air Bud and Buddies movies so it was no surprise to me that when the credits started rolling she said "we need to watch it again now Mom!" I will not admit how many times we have watched it already....

Check out this clip from the movie featuring the amazing animals that Grace is now obsessed with.

David is as friendly and funny on the phone as he is on screen. I have to confess that I was nervous (I've never interviewed a celebrity before!) but he immediately put me at ease.

When I asked him about working with the animals, he assured me that it was tons of fun. He even got the chance to brag a little bit as Crystal the Monkey (you might know her from the Night at the Museum series) became quite fond of him and would often choose to sit with him even when the cameras weren't rolling. He obviously needs a monkey for a pet! He said the scenes in the wrestling ring were his favorite to shoot despite (SPOILER ALERT) the fact that he never actually gets to do any wrestling. He does get to wear a pretty amazing wrestling costume though so I had to ask him about his tendency to wear outrageous costumes. His Convos costumes have included pink PJs, hair bows, and all sorts of little girl finery. He said he will wear pretty much anything necessary for a character and doesn't really get fazed by clothes at all. In fact, he bought a woman's 3/4 length shirt on vacation and thought it looked great.

When I asked David what he would be doing if he weren't acting, he said he would want to be a Formula One race car driver. He would want to drive for 7-8 years and then retire and own a race team. I suggested that Air Bud Entertainment needs to do a Buddies Racing movie. So if there is one in the future, I take full credit for that idea! One of my final questions to David was this "If you could play any character for the rest of your life, what would it be?" After some thought, he finally decided that he would want to play a villain because "they to talk slower, so I think it would be an easier job."

Totally unfazed by my kids screaming in the background during our interview, David was super gracious. He reassured me by saying that he's used to kids being on set on both Russell Madness and Convos so not to worry about it at all. It was a pleasure talking to him and I am so excited to see him in some of his upcoming projects including Paranormal Solutions Inc., more Convos, and another family friendly movie that he teased he wasn't allowed to tell me anything else about.

The Russell Madness DVD/Blu-ray/Digital will be available from Fox Home Entertainment on March 10. Your kids will love it and I promise it will make you smile. It's a true feel good movie perfect for the entire family! Subscribe to the Air Bud Entertainment YouTube channel for fun content that your kids will enjoy and don't forget to subscribe to the Convos with My 2 Year Old YouTube channel!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

10 Consignment Sale Shopping Tips: Finding Great Deals at JBF Lee's Summit

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by JBF Lee's Summit. All opinions are 100% my own and honest.

I had the opportunity to shop my favorite children's consignment sale this morning and I couldn't wait to get home and share all of my amazing finds with you! I look forward to the Just Between Friends (JBF) Lee's Summit sale all year and trust me, it didn't disappoint. After 5 years of shopping this sale (I shopped it for the very first time when I was newly pregnant with Grace) I'm very familiar with the workings of consignment sale shopping. I know it can be overwhelming so I thought I'd share some of favorite tips to help you find the best consignment sale deals!

1. Follow the sale's social media pages. If you aren't following JBF Lee's Summit on Facebook and Twitter, you are missing out on amazing giveaways and info about the sale. Plus, hint hint, they always post a free admittance pass on their Facebook page that you can show on your phone to get free admission the first day of the public sale!

2. When JBF Lee's Summit announces their schedule, check the presale list. If you qualify for any of them (volunteer, consignor, first time moms/grandparents, teachers, foster parents, military families and moms of multiples) make sure to sign up and attend that presale. The earlier you get in to shop the better!

3. Make a list of what you need to shop for including sizes. If you are looking for big ticket items, it's wise to know the general retail prices. It's important to remember that consignors set the items prices meaning some things will be better deals than others.

4. When you're ready to shop, come prepared! Wear comfy shoes, bring a snack or water if you think you'll need it, and if you can, leave your kids with a sitter. I have tried to shop with my kids and I never get the chance to look as much as I want to. The JBF Lee's Summit sale is massive and I love taking the time to really look through the racks. They provide bags but some people choose to use a stroller to hold their items. This is a personal choice but I find it easier to navigate the busy aisles with just a bag.

5. The JBF Lee's Summit sale can be overwhelming when you first enter. I don't know how many times I've talked to women waiting in line who had no idea what to expect. The sale is set up almost exactly the same every year with toys on one side, baby items on the other, clothes in the middle, and large items in the back. If you haven't been before, don't be afraid to ask a volunteer where a section is.

6. So you know what you're looking for and you've asked for help with where to go, now it's time to head to your priority area. The big items go fast so if you are looking for a stroller, large outside toy, etc., go look for that first. Instead of having to lug a large item around, JBF Lee's Summit has tags that allow you to claim an item by simply tearing off the bottom section to take to the registers. A volunteer is happy to help you get the process going. They make it super simple.

7. After claiming your big items, shop til you drop! Don't forget to check out the seasonal sections. For the spring/summer sale, there is a large swim and sports section. During the fall/winter sale, don't miss the Halloween costumes!

8. Those large bags get full fast so head over to the holds area and let them store your stuff while you enjoy shopping. They will hold toys, clothes, whatever you need so don't worry about lugging everything around. Also the volunteers in the holds area can check any electronic toys to see if they work or open items to make sure all of the pieces are there.

9. When looking through the racks for clothes, I often find that I take a lot of items from the same seller. They are normally placed together on the racks and if I like one or two of their pieces and their prices are great, I make sure to look more carefully at their other items. Today during the presale, I found an entire rack full of a seller with Gymboree and Gap clothes in Grace's size and another seller in Connor's size who had a ton of shirts priced cheap! I'm sure those sellers are very happy tonight because I bought a ton of their stuff.

10. Lastly, have fun! It can get really busy, especially on the first day and on 50% off day but everyone is super nice and helpful. Enjoy finding amazing deals and spoiling your kiddos!

I love consignment sale shopping and Mike always makes fun of me for how excited I am to show off all of my amazing finds! It's a serious addiction and I don't plan to stop anytime soon. So now I get to show off all the fun stuff I found this morning.  I love getting Easter basket fillers at the Spring/Summer sale. I'm cutting back on toys this year so I grabbed a couple of puzzles for Grace (a Chuggington set for $4 and 2 animal puzzles for $1 each) and a set of Thomas trains to go on Connor's train table for $5.

Shoes were the main focus of my trip today and they were my first stop. I got Connor 4 pairs, brown dress shoes, Micky Crocs (currently $30 on Amazon, paid $8), brown sandals, and a pair of Stride Rite police car light up shoes (I normally wouldn't pay so much but they look brand new, paid $15, currently $49 at Stride Rite). Grace got a pair of pink Keens (currently $37, paid $5) and pink Children's place sandals. Children's shoes are so pricy so I'm willing to spend a little more on good brands as they will resell well.
I have a few summer pieces for Connor already so I just wanted to get a few shirts and shorts for him to finish out his summer wardrobe. Each of these hangers has 2 polo shirts on it. Each shirt came out to $1.50 each from Gap and Old Navy. There are two pairs of shorts for $1.50 each. The swimsuits were also $1.50 each and I'm pretty sure Connor is going to want to wear the Toy Story shorts all summer.
Grace didn't have much of anything for summer so I spent more time looking for her. She is in a dress only phase currently and overall the frillier the better in her opinion so I stuck with mostly pink and tutus. I paid between $3 to $8 for each piece and most are from Gap, Gymboree, and Disney. She put the Minnie dress on as soon as she got home from school and told me I did "GREAT" at picking stuff so I guess she's happy.
Overall, I spent $122 for all of this stuff. I was super pleased with my haul and will probably head back on the last discount day to grab a few more things for Connor. If you can go on the last day, definitely do, I always find amazing deals on play clothes!

I hope some of these tips will help you in your next consignment sale adventure. For more information about the JBF Lee's Summit sale, check out their website now.

Shop the JBF Lee's Summit sale this weekend at the John Knox Pavilion

Friday, February 20th

: 10am-7pm
Open to the public, $2 admission for 18 & over.

Saturday, February 21st: 

Free Admission.  

Sunday, February 22nd: 

 50% off many items!
Free Admission.

Thank you JBF Lee's Summit for having me at the presale! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Connor's 2nd Birthday: The Incredibles Party + Free Incredibles Printables

This post contains affiliate links. 
Incredibles Decorations

Connor turned 2 in October and I had a hard time narrowing down a theme for his party. He loves Pixar movies and I finally decided on The Incredibles. I was so pleased with the way everything turned out and I can't believe it's taken me this long to share it with you!

I created this invitation in Photoshop and all of his friends were excited to come for their "mission".
Incredibles Birthday Party

The main decorations were Incredibles characters I created using the Disney Best of Pixar cartridge on my Cricut. These characters took quite a while to create but they were the perfect accents for the party.
Incredibles Birthday Party Banner

For the food and drinks, I wanted to feature each character. I created the food signs and cupcake picks in Photoshop. You can find free printable cupcake picks here!
Incredibles Birthday Party

We had:

Mr Incredible's Chocolate Cake
Mrs Incredible's Twisty Treats (Twizzlers)
Violet's Vanishing Grapes
Dash the Carnivore's Snacks (sausage and cheese)
Frozone's Frosty Punch (Blue Hawaiian Punch)
Syndrome's Sinister Salsa
Cracker Jack Jack's

The kids were happy to eat their vegetables with the fun "Choose Your Superpower" signs! You can find a printable of these signs here.
Olives- Super Speed
Pickles- Flying
Celery- Shape Shifting
Tomatoes- Super Strength
Carrots- Weather Control
Broccoli- Invisibility

Incredibles Birthday Party Food

I created buildings by covering shoe boxes in brown wrapping paper I found at Michaels and attaching small black squares.

Incredibles Birthday Party

The birthday boy was not exactly thrilled to be center of attention. In fact, all he wanted to do was sit on the couch between his grandma's and drink punch out of a big boy cup. He refused a sippy and didn't have any interest in playing with his friends. We were hopeful that the cake would be a hit. But as soon as we started singing, he totally lost it.

He wiggled and screamed until I finally let him go.

He climbed up on the couch and happily ate his cupcake.

Presents were not even enough to lure him off the couch so we brought them to him.

Despite his grumpiness, all of the kids had a great time running around play superheroes! Each child got an Incredibles bag filled with super goodies.
Incredibles Birthday Party

Each bag contained a wiggly straw (not pictured here for some reason), an Incredibles coloring book that I created, a small box of crayons, and a felt mask and stickers that I found in 8 packs at Hobby Lobby.
Incredibles Birthday Party Favors

I divided up the masks and stickers into individual Ziplocs and sealed them with this tag I created. You can find the free printable here.
Incredibles Birthday Party Favors

Despite his mood, Connor ended up having a great time at his party and his friends loved their superhero masks.

Here are printables I created for this party, I hope you are able to use them!

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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Sick Day as a Stay at Home Mom

Last week started just like any other week. We finished up our weekend thinking there was still so much we hadn't gotten done and my to do list for the week was a little absurd. The house was passable but by no means clean. Laundry was piled up and I planned on putting it away on Monday. My intentions are always good.....

Sunday night I went to bed early because I wasn't feeling quite right. Around 3 AM I woke up shivering and feeling awful. I spent the next 2 hours trying to get warm and dealing with Grace who refused to go back to sleep after needing to use the bathroom. I took Tylenol and got a few minutes of sleep before Connor woke up screaming. 

I knew that it was going to be a long day. Pre kids, I would have taken a sick day. Now life is a bit different. Here is what a sick day looked for me 5 years ago vs now.

5 years ago:

7:45 AM- Roll over to grab the phone, call into work, call to make a doctor's appointment, and go back to sleep
10:00- Catch up on some TV or watch a movie
12 PM- Eat some warm chicken noodle soup 
12:30 PM- Time for another nap
2:30- Read a book or watch more TV
3:00- Head to the doctor
3:45- Home to go back to sleep
The rest of the day consists of more resting. 

As a stay at home mom:

4:00 AM- Up with my 4 year old who refuses to stay quiet for anyone but me.
6:00- Back in bed, dosed with Tylenol but still freezing and uncomfortable
6:15- Up with the 2 year old. A desperate attempt at getting husband to stay home fails because he HAS to go to work. I know this, his boss is out for a while and he has to keep things running. 
6:30- Fix kids breakfast. Throw frozen pancakes on their plates and they whine that they want something else. I tell them too bad. 
7:00- Give them each an iPad and tell them to please be good today because I am miserable.
7:15- They are fighting over who has the right iPad (they are the same.) Take the iPads away and tell them to go play.
7:20-Make a little nest for myself on the couch with blankets and curl up while they play in her room.
7:50- Amazed that I got a little rest when I hear the fighting starting again. Go into her room to find this:

I don't have the energy to make them clean it up so I tell them to PLEASE PLAY NICELY and leave them to it knowing full well they're going to continue fighting.
8:00- Call the doctor to find that the only appointment time available is during the only time I don't have an available babysitter. I take it anyway, I will find a way to make it work.
8:15- Work out an arrangement with my husband so he can watch them for a short time during the appointment.
8:30- Try to play with them and help them clean up the huge mess they've made. My energy is non existent and all they want to do is climb all over me. 
8:45- 2 year old decides he wants to potty train and begs to go potty every 10 minutes. He squeezes out just enough pee to think he should get a treat (M&M) and throws a fit if he doesn't get one every time. 
That is my day until 2 PM. Running Connor to the potty every few minutes and listening to them fight or make a mess the rest of the time. Somewhere in there I threw together something for them to eat and curl back on the couch.
2:00- Realize I'm supposed to be leaving in 15 minutes and neither of them have clothes on. I don't know what happened to the clothes but 15 minutes is tight for us to get out of the house on a normal day. I rush around trying to get everyone ready and deal with the fits about them not being able to find the right toys to bring with them in the car. 
2:30- Running late but I rush into the doctor just in time. Waiting in the waiting room is the most relaxing part of the day
3:00- Leave the doctor with a strep throat diagnosis and an antibiotic. 
3:30- Home and set them up in front of a movie. Count down the minutes until Mike gets home and luckily he gets home early. I head to bed while he takes the evening shift.

Thank God for antibiotics that work quickly! I know it must be hard for working moms too and oh my word, single moms I don't know how you do it. I felt much better the next day and am slowly recovering. Of course, 4 days later we were in urgent care with Grace for a nasty rash that turned out to be strep as well. Life never slows down with kids! Someday my house will be clean and my laundry will be done, just not today! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hallmark Penny Paperheart Giveaway: Sharing Kindness One Heart at a Time

Disclosure: I received the following items from Hallmark to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own and honest. 

I loved paper dolls growing up and I am so excited that Hallmark's new Penny Paperheart line is the perfect way for me to share this love with my daughter. No electronics necessary, Penny Paperheart encourages play the old fashioned way while promoting caring and kindness. Penny creates hearts featuring special sayings to share with her friends and Hallmark graciously sent Grace some of her fun products to review.

The Hearts of Kindness Kit includes adorable cards that can be used as Valentine's or as cards for friends year round. With messages like "Have a Happy Day" and "Hugs to You", they are the perfect way for your child to spread kindness.
Grace absolutely loved all of the designs and enjoyed picking out a specific card for each of her friends at preschool. We made a special Valentine's packet for her teacher with one of the "Just for You" notes that included a picture that Grace had colored, several of Penny's hearts, and the heart notepad.

Each of the small cards has a space perfect for a lollipop or a crayon. Grace chose pink lollipops at the store and was so excited to give her Valentines to her classmates.

We also received the Penny Paperheart Deluxe Paper Doll Playset. How cute is this?
 With a plush doll, a story book, and a paper doll set, this playset is a perfect gift! Grace was so excited when I started punching out all of Penny's dresses and accessories, she couldn't wait to dress her up and play.

She loves setting up each piece of the set and "helping" Penny create her hearts. It has been a great way to talk to her about how amazing it is to do things for others. I was a bit worried that she would tear the paper doll pieces up right away but they are amazingly sturdy and have lasted through multiple play sessions. There is a drawer to store all of the little piece and velcro on the side to hold the house shut. With a handle on top, this is the perfect play set to take along on trips or long outings.

Hallmark also offers free Penny Paperheart printables that are sure to delight your little one.

You and your child can even have more fun with Penny when you print out the special day crown to wear (perfect for birthdays), a happy hearts chart to keep track of good behavior and more hearts of kindness to cut out and share with friends and family.

Visit your local Hallmark store or the Penny Paperheart page at Hallmark's website to shop for these great products and more. Connect with Hallmark on Facebook and Twitter now.

One of my lucky readers will win a Penny Paperheart mini playset!

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 27th at 11:59 PM CST! The winners will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or new winners will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents of the US ages 18+. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Hallmark for the fun Penny Paperheart items! 


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