“The Christmas Express”

We sure have been busy the last few months, but I’m finding some time to hop on the blog and share a wonderful Christmas adventure we had last night!

We are “Elf on the Shelf” fanatics! The hubby and I go BIG every night with our elf. We stay up super late waiting for all the munchkins to fall into a deep dreamy sleep then the elf fun begins. While cuddling and browsing pinterest together (yup, my hubby totally browses with me from time to time) we came across “The Christmas Express” by Confessions of a Homeschooler. This is a spin off of “The Polar Express” movie.

We paired “The Christmas Express” with our “Elf on the Shelf” and the memories began…

Yesterday morning the kiddos woke up to find this note from their elf scout, Wally:

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Oh, the anxiousness that came from my littles. They searched ALL day! It became evening time & we made plans with our neighbors (who happen to family) to watch “The Polar Express” after dinner, baths & pj’s.

By dark we told the kiddos we would have to finish the movie another night and it was time for everyone to go to bed. Sadness and whiney “pleases” filled the room and our guests went home and we began tucking our kiddos into bed when Little Miss discovered a golden ticket on her pillow, then on Miss Grace & Mr.B’s as well. There were giggles galore. We prompted the kiddos to grab their house-shoes and jackets and head out the door. Much to their discovery our old bronco was still decorated, the top was off (decorated from the previous night watching the local parade) and up on top sat our missing elf scout, Wally.

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Daddy punched everyone’s tickets and we backed out the driveway only to discover our neighbors (family) who had joined us for the movie had tickets too and their bronco was all ready to go as well. Daddy hopped out and punched their tickets too. We mixed some hot cocoa and filled bags of popcorn which was all left in the front seat and we set off to browse Christmas lights.

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We spent over an house browsing the lights all over our little town as all the little’s giggled, yelled “Merry Christmas” and sang Christmas music. This is such a sweet memory and one of our new Christmas traditions.

Disney Junior’s “Sofia The First” Movie Night

We had a wonderful themed movie night for the premier of Disney Junior’s new show “Sofia The First.”

…an ordinary girl from the village that became a real life princess.

To start off our night we needed to dress in appropriate attire…

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& we needed our tea set & snacks. (We substituted tea with hot cocoa)

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& then we just enjoyed the premier & family time!

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True story:

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Click Here for Disney printables for “Sofia The First”

Visit Disney Junior to find out when they will replay the premier & then tune in January 2013 for the new series. You don’t want to miss this!

We enjoy the “Sofia The First” Facebook pagee, go “like” it!

Memory of Me

I’m sure you’ve been seeing the article “The Mom Stays in The Picture” by Allison Tate floating around on FB and various blogs, well I finally made time to read it. I was in tears by the end.

I too am rather frumpy right now. I’ve just moved our family of 5 to a new town, I’ve got a preschooler, a toddler & a 6 week old. I reek of spit up, got those leaky, porn-star size boobs (funniest part of Allison Tate’s article!), semi-hairy legs (yes, gross!) and if I don’t have a kiddo on my back or in my arms I’m running around keeping the laundry, dishes and cleaning up. I’m NEVER in any condition to have my picture made these days. Even if I spend forever getting ready my eyes look tired, skin splotchy or my hair is tied up in a bun.

This post hurt my heart. I rarely have “raw” moment pictures taken with my kids. As a person who lost her Dad to liver cancer at age 15, I long for pictures that we had taken with him, but I have few and far between. I want my children to have a memory of me. The fun we had making silly faces, playing together, the never-ending love for them just beaming from my eyes, the happiness that shines from my smile.

I no longer care if they have picture evidence of my bun, spit-up stained t-shirt or splotchy skin. I want nothing more than picture evidence that I was always beside them, loving them and enjoying them.

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Let this be, their memory of me.

Meet Mr. B

Well, Mr. B made is grand debut just a few weeks ago after the longest and especially most difficult pregnancy I’ve had.

8lbs 1oz & 21 1/2″ long
10 fingers & 10 toes
Happy & Healthy
Calm & Content

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We are all head over heels for this little guy. Big Sisters are great help and so extremely loving. This boy doesn’t have a chance when he is older as much as these two love him! Daddy is just pumped to toss the ball in the yard and coach is t-ball & football teams, but absolutely loves his sweet baby cuddles for now.

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I’m just smitten! This boy stole my heart. I love all my children the same, but my girls are such Daddy Girls that this boy’s love for his mama (ME) is just unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I’m terrified of him growing up. As he outgrows his newborn clothes one by one these last few days the tears just flow.

Anyway, he is here and our little family is loving our new adventure as a family of 5!

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& I’ll leave you with this…
Wooo Pig Sooie! Razorbacks!

Miss Grace’s Art Studio 2nd Birthday

Miss Grace turned TWO on Monday! Cannot believe my baby is officially a big girl now. What joy she has brought to our family!!!

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We celebrated several days early with our closest family members by throwing Miss Grace an Art Studio Birthday!!! This was quite a party. I had the whole party setup and ready for messy art fun at a local park, but I began having some pregnancy issues and my husband and I packed everything back up and headed to our church’s activity center to reset it all back up in only an hours time- whew!

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The art supply castle was a huge hit in decor- everyone had something to say about it!
I loved the little composition notebook party favors I threw together after not being able to find what I originally intended.

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Decorations for this party were very simple. I had over a dozen mason jars filled with art supplies, several chalkboards, many construction paper pendent banners and of course construction paper paper chains!!!

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For the art studio I set up a few kids tables for activity tablecloth/books as well as free drawing, puffy paint posters and collage wands & posters. (Puffy Paint post to come soon)

At the park I had also set-up for giant canvas watercolors & painting as well as a shaving cream & paint pit, but location changes didn’t allow for these activities. Posts to come soon from us doing them at home though 🙂

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We kept the food & desserts simple: large pizzas & lots of colorful desserts and mason jars full of candy!

All the little ones AND even the adults greatly enjoyed creating all sorts of masterpieces! This was probably the most relaxing and laid back party we’ve had by far!

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Miss Grace enjoyed her party more than anyone though! She was a little birthday diva!!! She sang happy birthday to herself because we didn’t start soon enough, we had to blow out candles two times and keeping up with her as she opened her gifts was almost impossible. I’m still getting, “I love my party, thank you mommy” even now!

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Thank you to all who attended and celebrated with us!

Baby’s Hospital Bag

Well, we only have 5ish weeks until Mr. B should make his grand arrival! Look at how big that baby bump of mine has become. I no longer joke about getting around the house like a penguin, but now like a rollie pollie- ya, you only think I’m kidding!

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Almost 2 weeks ago I spent an entire weekend in the hospital because labor contractions were progressing and I was having to be given all sorts of things to make the labor stop. That weekend just terrified me not only because Mr. B was trying to come entirely too early, but also because the organizer & preparer in me WAS NOT READY! So as soon as I arrived home & recovered in rest Mr. B’s hospital bag was packed.

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With Little Miss I was overly prepared and had brought WAY TOO MUCH to the hospital. Miss Grace was an unexpectedly 2 weeks early and I had nothing packed, in fact my family just ran to the store and bought everything we needed. With Mr. B, I feel like my list is just perfect!!!! 3rd times a charm, right?

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3 Blankets (1 receiving, 1 fleece & a heavy baby blanket): I’ve learned the air in a hospital is never consistent so swapping out blankets instead of baby clothes is much easier.

2 Baby Gowns: I cannot express how much easier it is to change nighttime diapers on a newborn in a gown nightie vs. a snapped onesie or footed sleeper. & since I always have to stay 2 nights at the hospital it’s a given that we need 2!

3 Baby Outfits: I choose 3 because you’ll never know if you need a back up. I love the sets that have a long sleeve, tee & pants because I can easily switch out a shirt if need be instead of a whole entire outfit.

Baby Socks: a pair for each outfit, gotta keep those baby feetsies warm!

Baby Caps: Now my hospital usually gives our newborn a little hat, but I just never know what to expect- cotton, knit, crocheted, etc. So this time I am bringing my own. 1 hat will be fine, but I found a set that matched each of my hospital outfits.

Scratch Mittens: The mittens are a MUST! Baby’s fingernails won’t be quite ready to clip yet and these keep him from scratching up his face every chance he gets

Health & Beauty: Now this is a section that is mostly completely optional, BUT I’ve found it easier in the past to pack these things instead of having to find a nurse to get me them.
-baby nail file
-comb, especially if your baby ends up with some locks (my girls didn’t)
-aspirator: The very first time I used mine wasn’t for Miss Grace’s nose boogers it was for suctioning her throat because as I nursed her in the hospital she began turning blue. My husband, family and I had her to normal color before the nurse made it down the hall. An aspirator is a MUST in my opinion!
-baby cleansing wipes: great for keeping baby fresh and clean!
-rash cream: just in case baby’s bum gets irritated, but also because I think it helps easily wipe clean baby’s bum after a yucky newborn diaper
-health care bag: this is mainly to just keep the above items together, but also contains everything we would need after we leave the hospital.

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I’ve also tucked away the nursing cover and burp cloths I made into the diaper bag. I loved these sewing tutorials so much that I had to share them with you!
Nursing Cover: Diary of a Quilter, I used a shiny button to fasten my cover and I added a washcloth triangle pocket to the inside corner to hold my nursing shields, baby’s paci and to wipe baby’s chin clean after nursing.
Burp Cloths: Diary of a Quilter

Diapers & wipes will be given to you during you stay, but I always pack a few of diapers and pack of wipes just in case they are needed on the way home from the hospital.

I absolutely love this post by E Tells Tales, If I Could Repack My Hospital Bag.

Now, onto packing my bag in the next few days!!!

Our 3 Favorite Simple Snacks for Kids

We love spending time together in the kitchen and today the kids helped make our favorite SIMPLE snacks.

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These little sandwiches are so yummy, I’m pretty sure they are my favorite snack! Though it’s not a healthy snack it’s very refreshing on a hot day. This snack was introduced to us at a baseball game by a competing coach who thought Miss Grace was so AWESOME- & she IS! He said his mom made these for him for every baseball game he played when he was little till he was grown and now he makes them for his son- so sweet!

Directions: Spread strawberry frosting in between two graham crackers and store in the refrigerator.

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What’s better than frozen yogurt on a hot day? These are so simple and refreshing! My kids love yogurt, but love frozen yogurt even more!

Directions: Put yogurt in a sandwich bag, snip off a corner, place yogurt dots on wax paper and pop in the freezer.

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Up, next are these simple fruit snacks that I’m sure have to be healthier than most sold in stores. I got this recipe from dear ole’ pinterest linking back to Six Sisters’ Stuff.

All you need for this snack is a 3oz box of flavored Jello, 2 (.25oz) packages of unflavored gelatin and 1/3 cup water
Directions: Pour your water into a small pot on the stove, sprinkle the jello and gelatin packages on the water and heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the powder is dissolved, then pour into your molds and let set 20min.

So, we want to know what are your favorite simple snacks for kids?

Little Miss Turns 4 {Mermaid Party}

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Tomorrow, the 12th, Little Miss will officially be FOUR! We celebrated a little early with our friends and family by throwing Little Miss a MERMAID birthday party at a local lake just minutes from our home.

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I used all sorts of ideas and goodies from One Charming Party’s Mermaid Guide and even more from Pinterest. My collection of mermaid party ideas can be found HERE.

I had such fun decorating and preparing for the party. Here is a little peek at our decor & menu.

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Menu consisted of: PB&Jellyfish, Goldfish, Sea Cucumbers, Crab Legs (carrots), Sushi Sandwiches (pinwheels), Deep Sea Oyster Pearls (grapes), Snickerdoodles, Marshmallow Pops, Blueberry Muffins & Donuts

Little Miss loves activities so that is something I certainly wanted to incorporate into her party…

SEA SHELL PAINTING

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TREASURE MAP DRAWING

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SAND DOLLAR WANDS

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PIRATE SHIP PLAY, WALK THE PLANK & SEA SHELL DIG

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A party wouldn’t be complete without CUPCAKES! Sam’s club did an amazing job baking and icing our cupcakes and cakes, BUT I’m pretty proud of my mermaid pearl decorating!

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Little Miss preparing to blow out her candles!

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A June party just wouldn’t be complete without SNOW CONES for every one!

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We had an amazing celebration of our Little Mermaid with many of our family and friends! Watching Little Miss play with those she holds dear to her heart at her party made me realize how grown up she is getting. This party is such a wonderful memory!

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Little Miss’ BIG birthday present was her surprise playhouse, but I’ve really been wanting to get her a CD player for her room. There she is opening it at her party!!!! It is definitely a huge hit, she is constantly listening to music and books in her room.

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Now that this celebration is over its time to get my ducks in a row for Miss Grace’s 2nd birthday in July!

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Swimming Success

Little Miss is a big chicken in large bodies of water and Miss Grace usually is the same way. Previous summers they were like leaches on Daddio and I, not making swimming time fun for us at all.

Tonight we got a call from their aunt and uncle inviting us for a swim! We loaded up not expecting them to even get in, BUT they did!!!!

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Little Miss learned to swim in her floaties and zoomed all over the pool while Miss Grace kicked around in her float all by herself.

I’m such a proud Mom! Right about now I could go buy us a pool, but I’m resisting the urge 😉