Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Husband!

Today is my husband’s birthday and we have some great plans for the day. I love birthdays. They are fabulous. Yes, even when they are my own. Well… especially when they are my own {I love presents}.

One of my favorite things about birthdays are presents. I love giving them almost as much as I love getting them. I have picked out a great gift for my hubby. He gets one gift from me and one from the kids and I cannot wait for him to open them!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Yard work in March!

Yard Work

I cannot believe how nice this weather has been. Who knew that tee shirts and shorts would be appropriate attire in Illinois in mid March! Who knew that we would need to be doing yard work this early!

My husband and I have been taking the kids outside everyday this week to play after dinner. We have been enjoying the outdoors by riding our scooters, playing on the outdoor ride-on toys, and tossing the basketball and softball around with the children. We have even been working on our nice green lawn.

Fitness Friday TurboFire: Week 10

Talk about a boring progress week for me this week! Nothing has changed. On a positive note, I have not gained any weight, on a negative note I have not lost any weight either. I am starting to feel like I am in a lull. I am getting restless and looking for a change of pace for my workouts. I had a difficult time this week getting motivated to work out first thing in the morning… I need a fitness pick me up!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rock 'N' Roll Dress Up!

A Bret Michaels Baby
I love music and I love watching my children rock out to good old classic rock n roll! I think that watching my children dance is one of my favorite past times. I find it extremely comical.

One of the first videos I ever took of my oldest child was of him shaking it to music! He latched onto his bouncer seat and started rocking out to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. He danced so hard he fell over and pulled his bouncer over on top of himself.

My younger son is more about the Bret Michaels and Billy Joel than modern day pop music. So I decided that it would be a great idea to Bret Michaels up my children. I took red bandanas from my sons train party and adorned my children with some fresh attire! 

Since we were all dressed for fun I got on YouTube and found some classic Poison hits and we had ourselves a dance off. The kids were a hoot and a half dancing to Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Talk Nothin' But a Good Time. We laughed, we sang, and we danced. It was a great way to spend the morning!

Getting crafty with crayons: A fun toddler activity!

If you are anything like me you have a supply cabinet full of crayons, paints, paper, and play-doh. My crafty creation supply cabinet is where I go whenever I am looking for something to do with the kids that is a hands on. Painting, coloring, and cooking crafts all come from my supply cabinet.

Right now my supply cabinet is a hot mess. It is in need of some serious re-organizing, but that will be a whole other post. I decided that I needed to take a look at my supplies and take inventory. I needed to make a list of items we needed and sort through the broken bits and pieces of supplies that were everywhere!

As I was on my cleaning mission I discovered a whole plastic container of broken crayons and decided that we were going to do a fun crayon project AND clean out my clutter! We were going to get crafty with crayons and bake the broken bits! Viola~ my afternoon in a nutshell!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Piglet Pinwheels: An easy and HEALTHY appetizer!

A friend of mine gave me this recipe. I like to prepare it as an appetizer or as a sandwich alternative for the kids. It is really easy to make and very tasty to eat. The best part is that it can be as healthy as you want it to be. I have tried this with several different variations and this is my favorite.

Piglet Pinwheels

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A trip to the zoo; Phillips Park Zoo!

Phillips Park Zoo, Aurora IL

My son loves going to the zoo. One of his favorite television shows is Wild Kratts because he loves learning everything there is to know about every type of animal! He enjoys pointing out all of the different types of animals and he especially lights up when he gets to see the animals in action.

One of my son’s favorite places to go is the zoo. He especially loves to visit the reptile house. Those sneaky snakes and alligators are sure fun to look at!

Now that both of my children can walk, an afternoon at the zoo is fun but a little frantic. I spend a lot of time chasing down my kids instead of taking a leisurely stroll through the grounds. So when my son asked to visit the zoo the other day I thought about Philips Park Zoo, a local free zoo.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I gave in and bought myself a Dyson Animal Dc25 Vacuum!

Dyson Animal Dc25I have been drooling over the Dyson Animal Dc25 vacuum cleaner for a while now and have been toying with the idea of buying one for myself. These are not cheap vacuums, so this was a decision that I really needed to spend some time thinking over.

The heavy duty vacuum cleaner that we have been using for the last couple of years is one that doesn’t really work anymore. I have to go over the same spot several times to suck up anything… and even then my vacuum doesn’t get it all. There is no real suction and I can do a better job cleaning my carpets on my hands and knees than with my current vacuum. Talk about frustrating housework!

I got on my computer and started researching vacuum cleaners. I wanted the Best vacuum cleaner of 2012. I looked at consumer reports and I read blog reviews of vacuum cleaners as well as Amazon reviews. I knew that whatever vacuum I bought needed to be a top ten vacuum cleaner that would get the job done.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I took my child to the movie theater for the very first time!

first movie theater experience.I love movies. I mean I really LOVE movies! I grew up in a family where we watched movies as a family. For the longest time my parents refused to have cable in the house and as a result my brother and sisters and I developed an appreciation for films.

My parents had a huge home movie library, so there was always something to choose from. They had so many movies that my mother created and organized a card catalog for her movie collection... it was color coded.

I grew up watching Cary Grant, Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn, and Hayley Mills. I love the classics and still enjoy watching them to this day. The costumes, music, and class that the old school movies possessed cannot be found in present day hollywood.

My mother, the former school librarian, encouraged us to read books. The books are usually better than the movies. When reading a story you are only limited by your own imagination. Thanks to my own upbringing I try to share my love of literature and my awe of the movies with my children.

Saturday, March 24, 2012



The Paramount Theater located in Aurora IL is a fabulous little theater that makes going to a show a treat. I have had the opportunity to attend a showing of My Fair Lady as well as a recent showing of the production Hair! Both times I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Making Mickey Mouse #GluenGlitter a Scrapbooking Success!

My baby boy is going to be turning one in two weeks and we are throwing him a Mickey Mouse birthday party! I try to be as organized and efficient as possible, so I decided to make his scrapbook pages ahead of time.
In order to prepare for a serious sit down scrapbooking session I needed some supplies. I made my to do list for the day, grabbed the kids, and loaded up the car. We visited a Walmart Supercenter {#4286} and loaded up on some ELMER’s Memory Keeping products as well as some great scrapbooking paper and stickers!

Check out our entire shopping experience in my Google+ Album.

Friday, March 23, 2012

How to make Mickey Mouse Invitations.

Mickey Mouse Invitations

My little guy is going to be a big bad 1 year old very soon and that means that it is time to pick a theme and plan a party!

I have been on a Mickey Mouse kick lately and cannot seem to get enough Disney in my life. I am even thinking about having the boys bathroom be a Mickey Mouse bathroom…. But that is another DIY project all in itself. It is no wonder than that when it came to picking a theme I chose Mickey Mouse.

Fitness Friday TurboFire: Week 9

I took out all of my spring and summer clothes from storage and tried everything on with tears of joy. I actually choked up! I have never in my life taken out summer clothes and had everything fit, let alone feel loose. Usually when I take out summer clothing everything is skin tight and uncomfortable. I usually have to wear slacks for the first couple weeks of nice weather until I can slim down enough to fit back into my warm weather attire. NOT THIS YEAR!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reading is Fun!

I love to read!

I have a decent size collection of board books that I keep on the bottom shelf of a bookcase for my children. These board books are taken out on a daily basis. They are well loved books.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The technologically exasperating gas station situation

Gas Station TechnologyWhen did pumping gas become so incredibly technical? I don’t typically have to deal with this chore myself and have gotten used to just assuming that my tank is full. Usually my husband fills up my gas tank for me on the weekends {I am spoiled}. This week I was the one filling up my own tank.

My little “go get gas NOW” light blinked on telling me I was on empty and needed gas right away. I pulled into the nearest station, got out of the car, and looked dumbfounded at the computer/gas pump. There are two places to swipe your credit card and two keyboards and one monitor showing me commercials and a place that prints receipts {that didn’t work}?!?
I have heard about credit card identity theft where people’s information has been stolen at a gas station from the pumps. Simply swiping your card at the wrong place can get your credit card number phished. Sadly I do not even know what to look for to protect myself from this. If I wasn’t on empty I would have driven somewhere a little less complicated. But unfortunately I was on empty and I needed gas in my tank right then and there. 

All You Champions For Kids Easter Baskets for the Hesed House #AllYouCFK #CBias

All You CFK Easter Baskets

Couponing is a great way to save money. If you are very good at clipping coupons you can even make a little money. Although I am no extreme coupon queen I do have a fabulously organized binder for all of my discounting needs. I consult my coupon binder whenever I leave the house on a shopping excursion.

This month the All You and Champions for Kids SIMPLE Service Project was all about couponing for good (#AllYouCFK). I clipped my coupons, made my list, and headed to Walmart to put together some gifts for my favorite local homeless shelter, Hesed House.  To check out our entire shopping experience you can visit my Google+ album.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It is the simple things in life…

Playing with rocksIt is the simple things in life that tend to bring the most joy to my boys. As wonderful as toys can be there is something to be said for the basics. When I was a child my Barbie dream house was made up of toilet paper rolls and towels. I was forced to use my imagination and I loved it.

At the time I am sure that I was envious of all those girls who had Barbie’s dream home and drove Barbie around in cool little pink corvettes. My Barbie drove a tissue box. I am sure that I thought that my life was over when I didn’t get a brand new Skipper doll. Not being given everything I wanted enabled me to be a more crafty and creative person, so thank you mom.

I am able to be somewhat crafty and creative-ish with my children and I credit this with having to use my imagination as a child… and as a teenager… and as an adult. Although I love toys and have a fabulous time playing with the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets, I also adore being able to go on rock hunts and play in cardboard boxes too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sleeping in a strange place can make for a disruptive naptime!

As a stay at home mother I have the capability of scheduling my life around my children’s nap schedules. I am willing and able to accommodate their needs before my wants. This is not a hardship for me. I am afforded this luxury as a stay at home mother, but not every mother is able to do this. Life tends to laugh at you when you make plans.

Life laughed at me this weekend quite frequently. As many of you know we are in the process of trying to sell out home and when your home is on the market and someone wants to see it, you make it work. So bedtime and nap schedules were flexible this weekend…Very flexible.

Sleeping-ish Baby

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

This morning I went through my sons entire wardrobe only to discover that he had about three pairs of shorts that would still fit him {for now} and about three t-shirts that he could fit into. It was enough for today, but this would not work if the weather stayed this nice. This would not do. It was time to raid my coupon drawer and hit the stores!

TurboFire: Week 8


This week has been crazy! Between birthday parties, classes, and showings at my house my life has been chaotic to say the least. I was naughty this week and ate food that I normally do not eat {desserts and fried food in particular}. I typically put this food on my no no list, but with two birthday celebrations and my husband cooking a meal or two this week I somehow ened up gaining a pound… and I feel yucky to boot! These types of food no longer agree with my system. Even though I gained a pound I still lost 2 inches this week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Too young for technology?

iPad Monster

At what age is it appropriate for children to play with iPads or iPhones? This is the oh so controversial question that I am struggling with today.

As a former educator I fear that technology leaves children with an expectation of entertainment in the classroom that no teacher can possibly live up to. There is a need for instant gratification that comes from constantly being bombarded with lights, sounds, and movement that these new fangled gadgets provide. I worry that I am over stimulating my child.

On the flip side I do not want my child to be left in the lurch. I want my child to be prepared for the future and that means understanding how to use the technology that plays a large part in everyday life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Every child is different.

I love both of my children. They are both happy healthy little boys who love to laugh and play. They play incredibly well together, especially when considering their two year age difference. But when it comes to interacting and socializing with others, my children could not be more different. They are at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Train Themed Birthday Party!

Modern Train Birthday Party Invitations, Decor, & Party Favors

My little guy just turned three and I decided that he needed to have a train themed birthday party. My son loves trains. He is all about Thomas the Tank Engine and is completely enamored with all things train. Picking a theme for his birthday was not a difficult decision.

I did not want Thomas the train faces plastered all over my house, but I did want there to be trains. I got a little train happy on Pinterest and found some great ideas. I pinned a few of my favorites and went to work putting together my very own train themed birthday party for my little conductor.

It is all about the Little People!

Little People Toys

Move over trucks. Step aside cars. The Little People are moving up in the toddler world. These little plastics figures can be found in every room of my house. We have the farm, the garage, Noah’s ark, the Nativity scene, and the wheelies. They are everywhere! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's a KNORK! #SuperEvents #Giveaway

Are you ready for a Super Giveaway Event with the chance to win an amazing prize? I am so excited to share with you all KNORK!

KNORK enhances the dining experience by integrating a fork with the functionality of a knife built in. And they are AWESOME!


 What you can win: (valued at $250, shipping included)

  • 2 Matte 20 piece sets (place setting for 8)
  • 1 Knork Purpose Built Storage Tray
  • And 1 Pack of 12 Camping/Outdoor Knorks
Ready for your chance to win? Enter below on the Rafflecopter form! GOOD LUCK!

Open to residence of the continental US aged 18+
Starts at 12:01am March 12th, Ends at 11:59pm on March 18th EST

Spring is in the air!

My child playing at the park.
Spring is definitely in the air in my home. I feel the need to scrub and clean and make my home sparkle. Although this may have more to do with the possibility of a last minute phone call to show my home than an actual feeling of newness and fresh beginnings that spring elicits.

Either way I am embracing the spring fever in my household by giving my carpets a good scrub and taking the kids to play at the park. I forget every winter how much I love the warmer weather months for the mere opportunity of taking my children outdoors and letting them run wild!

Yes- I am that mom. Once the seatbelts are off and the children have entered the playground I let them run and play to their little heart’s content. Run, jump, skip, hop, swing, and climb… you name it my boys are doing it all and giving it 110%. There is no resting on their laurels when there is a park to play at.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

When is the right age to take your child to get their hair cut?

When I was a little girl I remember my mother cutting my hair. I have two cowlicks and my hair has a mind of its own. I am just along for the ride when it comes to my hair and I am completely fine with it. Both of my children have been blessed with cowlicks as well… Hooray me!

My older son gets his hair buzzed by my husband who has embraced the clippers with a passion {seriously… he researched and bought a clipper set and even has a tutorial that he follows for cutting my sons hair.} My younger son is eleven months old and his hair is completely different than my older son’s hair, it requires more maintenance.

I trim my baby boys hair with scissors and have since he was ity bity. He squirms a lot {most babies do}, so cutting his hair is no walk in the park. If I am being perfectly honest his haircuts are beyond my current level of expertise. I kind of do a hack job on his hair. After discussing it with my husband we decided to take him to one of those children haircut places. They should know what they are doing, right?

First Haircut!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fitness Friday: Week 7 of TurboFire

So… I didn’t exactly stick with the class schedule this week. Instead, I switched days around and alternated workouts for ones that I would have time for. With my house on the market and possible showings happening at the drop of a hat I have been on a mission to make my home spotless {which is easier said than done with a 3-year-old and an 11-month old both walking around}. Needless to say I have been keeping myself busy!

If it quacks like a duck put it in the bathroom!

When I was younger I was all about ducks. I got the idea to make my dorm bathroom a duck themed bathroom. Since I attended NIU I was lucky enough to live in a private dorm. I shared a bathroom and a large walk in closet with a dorm-mate and she was on board with the whole duck thing too.

I bought a fun little duck mat and a duck toilet seat cover and my dorm-mate bought the shower curtain. It was a shiny happy dorm bathroom. It makes me smile just reminiscing about it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

There is a circus in town and my son is the clown!

My little boy is a comedian. He loves to get a laugh out of people and once a laugh has been had he keeps going back for more. He is definitely the first born in our family and his personality demands attention!

This morning my son decided that he was going to be a clown. No... he literally wanted to be a clown. He made himself a clown hat and paraded around the basement telling mommy and Steven that we were at the circus. We were informed to applaud accordingly.

The Hunger Games cast visits the Fox Valley mall in Illinois!

I read The Hunger Games series and loved it. I couldn’t put them down. I had a hard time sleeping at night because I wanted to keep reading... I kept telling myself, “Just one more chapter and then I will go to sleep.” Yeah right!

I flew through this series and then wanted to talk about them with all of my friends and family. Sadly only one or two of them had read the series and they lived far away, so no coffee clutches over Gale, Peeta, or Katniss Everdeen. So I went into PR mode telling anyone and everyone I knew to read this series.

And read them they did. I am quite sure that it was not just me pushing these books on people. Once someone reads them they feel compelled to tell others to read this series. They are just that good! Then *poof* I hear that there is going to be a movie. I love movies! I especially love movie adaptations of films. I like to compare how the film holds up to my imagination at work through the written word.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Couponing for Good with All You! { #AllYouCFK #CBias }

I love coupons. In fact, I rarely leave home without them. If I am shopping for groceries, clothing, or everyday essentials I have my coupons in hand before I walk out the door.

This month I am partnering with All You and  Champions for Kids for another SIMPLE Service Project. This project allows me the opportunity to work with one of my favorite magazine, All You (#AllYouCFK) to do some Couponing for Good!

Couponing For Good

My family will be using coupons from our All You magazine as well as some coupons from our trusty coupon binder to shop for one of my favorite local charities, Hesed House! I will tell you more about this organization and what they do for the community in another post very soon. Needless to say, they are an inspiration and I look forward to assisting them through couponing!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Learning how to eat is a messy business!

My little baby boy is learning how to eat and is having a blast and a half with this stage of his life. Sometimes he will pick things up with his fingers one piece at a time. And then there are those days when he is really hungry and the whole hand goes in the mouth.

He is having a lot of fun discovering new tastes and textures. He knows when it is time to eat and he is vocal about it! He has definite preferences already and is not shy about telling us exactly what he thinks.

Unwanted food –thrown on the floor.
Sweet food – shoveled in the mouth with both hands.
Food smeared with stuff- delicate bites.

Product Review: KidKraft White Vintage Kitchen {Fun for the whole family!}

As a stay at home mother of two little boys I am always looking for something fun and engaging for my children. My boys, like most little boys, are very active. They like to run and jump and get into anything and everything. They are also little performers who love to mimic my behavior and habits.

My family spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and working on arts and crafts. Our kitchen is the center of our home and where the entire family tends to gravitate. It comes as no surprise then that both of my little boys like to pretend and “play” kitchen during their free time.

KidKraft White Vintage Kitchen

I promised my husband that if we got a kitchen for the boys to play with it would not be a magenta pink kitchen. I would look for something gender neutral that would work with our home décor. I spent a lot of time looking around for the perfect kitchen for our family. Needless to say I was thrilled to be offered the chance to review the KidKraft White Vintage Kitchen and jumped at the opportunity!

After ooh-ing and aah-ing over this kitchen online we were ecstatic when it arrived on our doorstep. We love getting mail! We made putting the White Vintage Kitchen together a family project. Upon completion we spent even more time ooh-ing and aah-ing over our new play kitchen. We could not wait to get in there and start playing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A house on the market with kids in the house!

I have spent the last week or so getting my house clean enough that orphan Annie would be proud. Although it is not shining like the top of the Chrysler building, it is incredibly tidy for a home housing an eleven-month-old and a three-year-old!

My little peanuts have been great little helpers. They clean up after themselves when it comes to putting toys away and even sweeping! We sing our clean up song and go to work. If William could whistle I am sure that he would whistle just like one of Snow White’s Dwarfs. We have had a great time {yes, I did say great time} getting the house ready to sell.

I like to clean and reorganize. I enjoy clearing out the clutter and giving away items that I no longer have a use for. I like knowing that when I go to look for something it is easy to find. I LOVE that my children are neat and tidy too! Now that the house is clean it is time to sell it {*poof* sold! – IF only it were that easy}.

My Wonderful Walls #Giveaway!

I'm so excited to introduce you all to My Wonderful Walls! They offer imaginative wall stickers, wall stencils and canvas wall murals for kids' room and baby nurseries. It's all created and manufactured in the USA too!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cleaning up and organizing!

I like to keep a neat and tidy home. There is a place for everything and everything has its place. Some things have a tendency to accumulate stuff. My bookshelf had a penchant for amassing books, magazine, puzzles, and toys. The top of my dresser is a dumping ground for medicine containers, thermometers, belts, and hair things. My desk has a predisposition for collecting anything and everything {sewing machine parts, batteries, loose papers, and empty diaper wipe bags}.

These areas are hot spots that I have to keep an eye on or else they turn into a wonderland of disorganization and chaos. Each of my hot spots is being taken care of this week. I am cleaning house and I am not taking any prisoners!

Ear infections are the pits!

Over this last year I experienced my very first ever ear infection. It was a double ear infection and it was awful! I felt terrible and I was in pain all day long. Once I was given antibiotics, I felt better within a day or two.  I handled my ear infection pretty well, but I am an adult and am equipped to deal with pain – heck I am a mom! Pain is my middle name.

What I am not equipped to deal with is my child in pain. Watching my child hurt is incredibly difficult for me. I want to kiss the scratched and booboos and make them all better. I do not deal well with the inability to help. This frustrates and worries me. What is terrifying for me is when I don’t know what is wrong and I have no idea how to make everything all right again!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I saw a trolley and it made me smile!

I was out running errands this morning with the kids when I spied with my little eye a bright yellow trolley! I instantly started singing “Yellow Submarine” for some reason and I couldn’t help but smile.

A rainy drizzly gray day and a mood to match do not make for the beginnings of a fabulous day. I had driven to a couple stores in search of a Saint Joseph statue to burry in my backyard (this is supposed to be good luck for people trying to sell their house) only to discover that both of the stores were out of business and the lots were vacant!

Fitness Friday: Week 6 of TurboFire

Whew! One major event is done and another huge one is on the horizon. The big birthday party for my now 3 year old is over and next week my house goes on the market! Life is sure to be even more crazy than normal so I am hoping to be able to keep up with my TurboFire!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cleaning with dryer sheets?

It is Pinterest Project Thursday and since my home goes on the market next week all of my attention has been on getting my home in tip top shape for upcoming showings! I have been cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, and scrubbing like there is no tomorrow. I even have a little to-do list of things that need to be done this weekend before the house is officially on the market!

One thing on my to-do list is to clean up the baseboards around my house. I remember seeing this fabulous pin on Pinterest about cleaning the baseboards with Bounce dryer sheets and figured I would give them a try…

This week I am sharing with you my experience of using Bounce dryer sheets to clean my baseboards!
Bounce Dryer Sheet for Cleaning?

Mobility: The ups and downs of learning to walk.

My little baby boy is learning to walk. He is now 11 months old and he is taking unassisted steps all by himself! This is both a blessing and a nightmare for me. With two little boys running rampant around the house I have a feeling I am going to be even more exhausted than usual!

The blessing of my son learning to walk is that he is progressing developmentally right on “schedule” {I put schedule in quotation because there is no set schedule when it comes to a child’s development. -Take a deep breath- Every child learns and grows differently.}. So… my child is moving in the right direction and learning to walk, fantastic!

What this really means is that I won’t have to carry him everywhere anymore. Pretty soon he will be able to hold my hand and walk with me. My arms and back are thankful in advance – he is a little over 20lbs.

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