Friday, October 31, 2014

Flashback -5 little pumpkins

Sometimes you need to partake in a Flashback Friday and since today is Halloween I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite videos and Eleanor's favorite book. 5 Little Pumpkins.

This video was from 2011, I'm pregnant with Camden, and Eleanor is 18 months.  Looking at her now it makes me realize how quickly time flies with little ones.

I hope you enjoyed the video and you have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sweets, Whimsy, & Crafts Link-up #1

Welcome to the 1st Sweets, Whimsy & Crafts Link-up!

Every Wednesday at 10am I'll go live with features of YOUR projects. So make sure you stop by, because you never know who will be featured.

Since this is the 1st week I'm going to feature my DIY- Toothless costume.  It also makes a great dragon costume template.

A few guidelines for the Link-up:
Please link up your, recipes, tutorials, crafts, tips... anything YOU created
Link to your post, not your homepage
Use the "Pin it" button to repin at least one photo from the post
Leave a comment on at least one other linker's post
Grab the button and let everyone know you've linked up
Be kind and Have Fun!

Sweets, Whimsy & Crafts Link-up
Interested in being a guest host?  
Email me


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10 Black Friday Planning & Shopping Tips

The holidays are fast approaching and Black Friday is a tradition I've been doing with family and friends for years.  I personally am very specific about the day and thought I would share with you how I prepare and shop on Black Friday.

1.  Do your research:  A majority of the ads are leaked prior to Black Friday so spend some time checking them out.  Not only will this save you time, but also help you to figure out what you want to buy and where you want to go. Bonus Tip: Make your list while doing your research!

2. Don't Shop Alone:  Lets be honest it's always more fun to shop with others, but keep the group small, all in 1 car. You can strategize who waits in line and they can help you make the decision if you really should buy that sweater for yourself because it's such a good deal or tell you to put it back. Also, if you can, leave the kids at home.  I know it's hard, but you'll be glad you did.

3.  Map our your route: This may seem silly, but if you are shopping with others you need to know where everyone wants to go and what store you should hit up first.  A lot of bigger ticket items are limited and if you're hoping to snag something big you need to be there early.

4. Make an itinerary: This can be written on a sheet of paper or you can go all out with print offs and graphics.  Doing this gives everyone a heads up for how much time they have in a store and allows you to hit more places.  Before you walk into a store I suggest you all agree on what time you'll either meet to check out or at the front door.  This also helps for the people who may not want to shop in that store.  Just remember to be flexible, the itinerary is more like a guide and doesn't need to be followed to a T. You can download a copy of my template HERE!

5. Wear comfy shoes and clothes: This is not the time to bust out that new dress or super cute shoes you just got.  You should wear things you can stand around in (AKA lines) and that make you feel comfortable, I don't care if it's sneakers, yoga pants, jeans or your favorite hooded sweatshirt, wear what makes you feel like you can run the store and be in line in under 20 minutes!  I also suggest you leave the coats in the car and bring a smaller purse.

6. Bring your own bags: I'm all about going green so bringing your own reuseable bags not only helps the earth, but also makes it easier to know which bag it yours.

7. Don't forget your coupons/ads:  A lot of places use extra coupons or price match comparisons so make sure you grab a newspaper, yes they still have those, and/or print all your coupons out prior to walking out the door.  Nothing is worse than getting to the store and realizing you don't have that coupon for an extra % or $$ off. Take the time and be prepared

8. Snacks and Drinks: You need to stay hydrated and happy so bring a few bottles of water in the car and pack a few snacks, granola bars, chocolate, whatever keeps your energy up  and plan for a lunch, coffee or snack break!

9. Do I need this?: It's very easy as you're walking around to pick up things that may not be on your list.  As you're waiting to checkout look through your cart and ask your self if you need everything you've grabbed.  While the deals may be really good it's important to remember to stay within your budget.  Also, keep all your receipts so if you do have to return anything before or after the holiday you'll be good to go.

10. Be kind and have fun: There's no need to push, fight or yell.  The holidays are about kindness and giving.  I've had some great conversations with random people while waiting in line or trying to find a certain item. If you find yourself getting frustrated or upset take a moment and think about the bigger picture.

Black Friday is about getting great deals and kicking off the holiday season! If you are crazy enough to head out in the crowds remember to have a great time and say thank you to all that are working because not only will they feel appreciated, but they'll know you have the spirit of the holidays in your mind!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Celebrate Fall at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

We attended a Fall Fest at Reeves-Reed Arboretum over the weekend and got to see the goats hard at work eating all the wildflowers and overgrown vines in "The Bowl".  They were getting the Arboretum ready for winter in a natural and helpful way. They're as close to nature's lawnmower as you're going to get and I loved that the kids were able to hang out with them while we explained how important they are to helping the Arboretum.  I also think it's super cool that you can sponsor one!

We weren't just there to see and feed the goats though this Fall Fest was packed with different activities, performances and vendors making you feel both a part of the community and a part of the land.

We loved taking the Haunted Trail and seeing spooky things along the way.  Eleanor enjoyed stepping back in time to play a game, make a medicine bag and learning about some Native American Artifacts. There were dance performances from Redhawk Native American Dancing and an obstacle course from the local Y.  My personal favorite was the acorn pumpkin decorating, but you could also carve and decorate a real pumpkin if you wanted.  The kids enjoyed watching how apple cider was made and even got to help during the demonstration.

Reeves Reed Arboretum is such a beautiful place, but with the colors of the leaves, smell of the herbs and feel of fall it was the perfect place to enjoy our day as a family.  Every time we go we always say how thankful we are for this amazing place, it makes our backyard feel a little bigger!

Reeves-Reed Arboretum offers activities and events throughout the year and I strongly urge you to check it out.  A membership to Reeves-Reed would make an excellent holiday or birthday gift for the family. Also, mark your calendars now because they have Cookies and Cocoa with Santa coming up next.

I was not compensated for this post, but did receive complimentary admission to cover the event.  As always all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wubble Bubble Ball Review

So I'm sure you're asking what's a Wubble Bubble Ball?  It's one of the Family Fun Toys of the year and the best way to explain it is to think of a ball that looks like a bubble and can grow up to 3ft!

You may have seen some commercials over the summer about the Inflatable Wubble Bubble, Eleanor sure did because the moment I took it out of the box she started jumping up and down and even though she's 4 and can't read she told me "It's got a lifetime guarantee"  Umm... okay we need to cut back on the TV, but she's totally right it does, with a handling fee of $6.99.

I decided because it was a beautiful day we would test it out.  I discovered quickly the pump needed 4 size D batteries so I needed to run out and grab those.  Once we were all set I followed the directions to a T to get this bubble inflated.  They say it should inflate within 3 minutes so I figured it would be quick and fun.  An hour later I still didn't have my bubble.

I like to think I'm a smart person so I went to Youtube. I found that I am not alone, and learned that the 1st time you blow your bubble up you have to "break the seal".  Once that's done this thing blows up quick and easy.  You even get a measuring tool so you know when to stop.

We decided to take it outside and have some fun.  The kids LOVE it and Mike and I had a lot of fun playing with them.  We threw it up in the air, tossed it back and forth, hit the kids in the face a few times, and we got nothing but giggles and belly laughs.  Especially when we tried to sit on it.
Since we got the Wubble Bubble we've played inside, outside, full bubble, half bubble, with adults, and kids.  The best part is the memories and laughs we're creating as a family.  It's one of Targets Top Toys for the holiday season and our family highly recommends picking one up and having some fun together. 

Disclaimer:  I was compensated for this post and provided a sample for review purposes.  As always all opinions are 100% my own. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Cider Floats

Fall is here and I wanted to share a special treat that we like to enjoy, Apple Cider Floats.

When it comes to simple this recipe is the simplest.  It's only 2 ingredients and, I won't lie, it's kind of hard to screw this up. We like to serve this as a special treat on movie night and the kids think it's tasty!

Apple Cider
Vanilla Ice Cream

What to do: Take a few scoops of vanilla ice cream then add some apple cider and enjoy.

I like to get my apple cider from local farmers and it's so yummy, but Trader's Joe has 2 kinds that are a good substitute if you can't hit up the local market.
So go ahead and mix it up from the hot drinks of fall and enjoy a tasty Easy Apple Cider Float! 


Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY- Toothless Costume

It's costume time in my house and since I love a good DIY I thought I would share a preview of this years costume.  Here's Camden as Toothless from How to Train your Dragon.

When it comes to a DIY costume I'm all about using a sweatshirt for the base and just adding some key pieces.  For Toothless this was easy because I just needed a black hooded sweatshirt, some felt, and a few hours at my sewing machine.

Here's what you need:
Black hooded sweatshirt (I got mine at the toddler section of Walmart for $7)
Black felt with a scaly pattern (you can get this in sheets at Michaels) 
Plain black felt I would say 1/2 yard (this is for the tail and wings)
Green felt (the eyes)
White felt (viking sign)
Red felt (tail wing)

Step 1: Cut your fins. I did 2 per fin and used the scaly felt. The number of fins depends on the size of the child.  For Camden I had a total of 5 on the back and 4 on the tail so that's 18 fins I cut.
Step 2: Sew your fins together, this way it opens up
Step 3: Pin your fins on the back of the sweatshirt center so the bottom is on both sides and sew the fins on
Step 4: Cut your wings (I used black felt and laid the sweatshirt next to it so I knew how big they needed to be
Step 5: Sew the wing on the inside of the sweatshirt, then hand stitch the top of the wing to the arm.
Step 6: Cut the eyes with green in an oval shape
Step 7: Cut the eyes with black felt
Step 8: Sew the eyes to the top of the hoodie. Note: Make sure you put the hoodie on so you know where the eyes should be.  
Step 9: Make the ears.  I used the scaly felt and cut them in a long triangle shape then sewed them together and turned it inside out. You'll need 4 of these - 2 long and 2 shorter ones
Step 10: Hand sew the ears on. Note: Make sure you put the hoodie on so you know where the ears should be.
Step 11:  Cut a large piece of black felt in a big triangle for the tail (I just used a scrap so mine isn't even)
Step 12: Sew the fins together, same as in step 2 and repeat step 3.
Step 13: Sew the tail together and turn it inside out (make sure to measure length, you don't want it dragging on the ground)
Step 14: Cut 1 red tail and 1 black tail and hand sew them to the end of the tail.  Note: The red side is on the left the black is on the right.
Step 15: Use white felt to cut a little viking head and sew onto the red felt
Step 15: I snapped the tail to the sweatshirt, but you can sew it on if you don't have KAM snap tool

That's it.  I know it seems like a lot, but I was surprised with how simple this was.  It wasn't too time consuming.  I did it over the weekend, and if I really wanted to I could have done it in a day.

This also doesn't have to be Toothless you can use this for any dragon costume.  Just remember it's not important for it to be perfect, all that matters is when your child puts it on and looks at themselves in the mirror and you get a smile that reminds you of Toothless than you've done the job!
It's also fun to watch them run around trying to chase their tail!