Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Mini Milestone: I'm getting organized and taking names!

Something awesome happened last month!!  I started to get organized.  Now, I don't mean completely organized, because well, there's just no way that would be possible in the span of just one month.  However, I was inspired by my fellow Netflix StreamTeamer (yup! I just made that a word) Kelly Ladd Sanchez of KLS Crafts to finally get organized when it comes to my kids' class work, art work, etc.  Kelly made a milestone memory box (which is quite a brilliant idea, by the way!) to store her son's personal mementos, photos, medals, rocks and anything else he feels is memorable and special.  I thought, after seeing this, that I might finally create the files for each of my boys where I could store SOME of their school work, art work and awards for each school year.

You know how kids come home with a million pieces of paper to show you and then it's always more stuff than you have space for in their baby books? Well, this is a serious problem in my house and something I had been striving to conquer for some time now. Over a year ago, I had seen a pin on Pinterest of a file storage organizer case for each child, that is sorted by school year, from grades Pre-School to 12th grade.  You keep only the most essential items in order to avoid overstuffing the organizer with unnecessary paperwork.  I got the free printable label templates from Kierste over at Simply Kierste.  She has templates in color schemes for both boys and girls, and printing them is SUPER easy!  Then I bought two file organizers at WalMart for under $10, the hanging file folders (24 ct) were $8 and the manila folders were $8 for 50 folders.  This is quite a steal

With Kelly's inspiration of organizing her son's milestones, I managed to simultaneously organize an organizer for my sons' special things, while at the same time completing a personal milestone and FINALLY getting organized.  As a mom, I feel that I am the personal memory keeper of the household.  Unless I make an effort in retaining all these memories in a clear and organized manner, my kids will not have all of these things to remind them of their childhood and to show their kids.  Now, if only I could tackle the photo organization issue on my computer I'd complete a MAJOR milestone.  That task is next!  For now, I'll continue working on filling these beauties!

*I was provided compensation as a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, however, all opinions are my own.*

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Camp Spooky at Knott's Berry Farm

*The activities and fun described in this post were made possible by Giga Savvy, however, all opinions are my own*

This past weekend, Camp Spooky was invaded by a couple of Shock Troopers and a pirate!  My cousin's family was in town from Cabo San Lucas.  After having experienced Hurricane Odile, just a couple weeks ago, and seeing serious damage done to their hometown, as well as damage to their home, a little fun was needed for everyone.  When he first got here, all my nephew talked about was the hurricane.  "The hurricane was so scary!", "I don't want to go home, Hurricane Odile is there!"


I couldn't think of a better distraction for my family, than some fun at Knott's Berry Farm's Camp Spooky! My boys knew they wanted a Star Wars costume, since my husband is molding hem into little sci-fi geeks. Not surprisingly, they chose to be Shock Troopers.  The minute we told my nephew that he needed a costume, he blurted, "Quiero ser pirata!"  (translation: I want to be a pirate!)  Anything you want, buddy.  Anything you want.  :)

To avoid the heat wave (yes, it's October and we're in a heat wave) we got to Knott's early and enjoyed breakfast with the Peanuts gang!

The two Shock Troopers and the pirate, had a blast raging their way through Camp Spooky.  They got to go through a maze and trick or treat at the end of it, they touched nasty bugs at Medusa's Bug Boutique (I stood very far away, during this activity), they experienced "Snoopy's Costume Party and Parade", and we rode the log ride and Calico Mine Ride as a family.  We had such a great day!  And the best part is, not a single child under 6 mentioned Hurricane Odile, that day!  It was amazing!!

After all that fun we had, it was exciting to hear that buying the 2015 season pass at Knott's Berry Farm, right now, includes discounts to Knott's Scary Farm and one visit during the 2014 season.  My cousin's wife even said she'd consider living here if it meant no hurricanes and being able to have a season pass to all of this fun!  Sounds to me like she's staying!  (well, maybe not, but they totally should stay!)   If you're looking to have fun with your family, and save money doing it, a 2015 Knott's season pass is a great option!  Especially right now!  You and your little monsters can experience Camp Spooky NOW, then enjoy all of 2015!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Family Traditions: Dinner and a Movie, Family-Style

*This post is sponsored by Netflix, however, all comments and views are my own*

Sundays have become our family movie nights (or days…depending on our schedules).  Typically, our movie nights involve pizza, Netflix and having a family picnic in the living room.  Although eating in the living room may not be a big deal for some, for me and my OCD no-crumbs-on-the-floor-because-it-attracts-bugs psychosis, it is MAJOR.  And my kids know this to be true.  So, picnics on the floor and a family vote for the next Netflix movie is on our weekly Sunday agenda.

In the mornings, after church, we make a trip to Trader Joe's, and that's when I let my boys pick one movie snack each.  Recently, we discovered the Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Smashing S'mores.  They are seriously a little bit of heaven after a mere 5 seconds in the microwave.  If you have never tried these, you must do yourself a favor and buy them.  We also came home with the new Trader Joe's Chicago Mix popcorn.  Also, quite delicious.  It's no Garrett Popcorn, but it's pretty darn close!  :)

For dinner, this week, instead of ordering pizza to be delivered for our movie date, we bought a BBQ Chicken Pizza for me and the hubs and a 3-Cheese Pizza for the boys.  Although I'm never a fan of having different dinners for the kids (this is not a restaurant), on movie nights I don't want to argue on what foods they will and will not eat, so usually they choose what their picnic dinner will be and I just go with it.  With our own pizza, and no one needing to pick stuff off their pizza, everyone is happy…and really all that matters is that this momma is happy.  Right??  :)

After laying out a blanket for the boys, in true picnic fashion, the next step was choosing a movie.  This week's choice was easy, as that morning my youngest had sobbed and cried over his brother watching Madagascar and not allowing him to watch The Lorax.  So, for our dinner and a movie date, we watched The Lorax on Netflix and had a great time at our family picnic movie date!  Thankfully, Netflix has so many titles that choosing a movie is never a daunting task, as there are movies available that all four of us would be willing to watch.  Our movie night was a success, and we even managed to do it without any spills, messes, tantrums or fighting.  Hooray for the small victories!!!  And hooray for being able to find a movie so easily, thanks to Netflix!

What family traditions do you and your family have for family-time?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Stella & Dot Trunk Show: and a GIVEAWAY!!!

For years I have purchased countless amounts of costume jewelry that have betrayed my fashion sense and my style.  From earrings falling apart, to necklaces snapping where they shouldn't to rings turning my fingers green.  And all for what?  In the name of saving a few bucks?!  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I recently dumped a 6 lb. plastic bag of costume jewelry away.  After all, I won't be forever 21, so I can't keep buying my accessories there!  That's why I've started replacing all of that junk with Stella & Dot!

A few months ago I met Alison Fuller, Stella & Dot Star Director, Stylist and Founding Leader at a blog event.  We sat at the same table and chatted over the cutest accessory she was wearing, the Coral Cay Necklace (which I now own).

Over lunch, we bonded over fashion, blogging and social media.  I also mentioned to Alison that I knew what Stella & Dot (S&D) was, but that many of my friends (almost all, really) had no idea what Stella & Dot was and how incredibly beautiful their jewelry was.  I mentioned that I'd never seen an S&D piece in person, but that I knew of S&D via blogging because all of my blogging friends in the South and Midwest always wore the most amazing S&D accessories.  Alison and I stayed in touch after that lunch, at which time I decided to host a Stella & Dot Trunk Show.  How awesome would a gathering with girlfriends, champagne and jewelry be?! So I scoured the web for Stella & Dot party printables (created by Nikki of Flairy Tales) and invited some of my favorite people over for Baubles & Bling!

After my trunk show, I had earned so much in free accessories that I ended up owning numerous pieces.  This then turned into me stalking scouring Alison's Stella & Dot e-boutique and looking for the next items I would be buying.  While I teetered between becoming a stylist or just becoming an "avid Stella & Dot collector," my friend Becky became a stylist after falling in love with Stella & Dot at my trunk show!  On my birthday, after weeks of simmering on whether I could take on another task, on top of my mommy duties, blogger duties and the duties of my full-time day-job, I decided that becoming a Stella & Dot stylist was something I could do.  I realized that I had the power to either hit the ground running and make it a top priority and when it wasn't entirely conducive to my schedule as a mom, blogger and full-time employee, I could control the speed of this endeavor without compromising my other roles.  I realized, that I had the power to control how much success I find in my Stella & Dot business and that is why I decided to join the Stella & Dot family.  I realized that I control my success and I control the speed at which I will travel.

Stella & Dot Giveaway

To celebrate this new endeavor as a Stella & Dot stylist, I've decided to host a giveaway for an engravable necklace ($69 retail value) from Stella & Dot's new Engravables line!  Check out my Instagram feed.  I've been layering my engravables with various necklaces!  If you don't know Stella & Dot, yet, you'll want to enter so you can win a beautiful, personalized necklace.  If you can't wait until the end of the giveaway (Thursday, September 11th @ 12am) and would like to check out what the newest looks are, stop by my site, but I should warn you:  your spouse will hate me afterwards!  Good luck, friends!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School Preparations around the Neighborhood

*This post is sponsored by Netflix, however, all comments and views are my own*

My babies recently went back to school.  My oldest moved up to 1st grade in a new school, with new friends.  And my youngest started Pre-School just last week.  While I wasn't too concerned about my oldest son starting 1st grade at a new school, I was more concerned for my youngest baby to go to Pre-School, since he's been under the care of his grandparents for the last three and a half years.  His grandparents love and adore him and we all baby him, so my concern was more for him going off into a new setting and a new routine.

Although he saw his brother go to school the last couple years, and he often wanted to stay behind with his brother at school, I was still worried that he wouldn't adjust very well, as he is quite the mama's boy!!  To help him get an idea about what he would be learning in school (and to help me transition with the fact that my baby was going to school) I decided to use Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, on Netflix, as a learning tool.  Of course, I have done Pre-School workbooks, but I wanted to make the reality of Pre-School a little more visual.  I made sure to begin with Episode 1 of the series, which is called "Daniel Visits School/ Daniel Visits the Doctor".  I liked this episode A LOT because it gave a real-life (they used actual humans and not animated characters) illustration of what to expect at Pre-School from the minute they walk in the door, to their nap and play time.  It was all sorts of perfect for my little mama's boy!

In numerous episodes of Daniel Tiger, he is seen helping others, working out problems and demonstrating kindness and learning new things.  As painful as it can sometimes be to watch childrens' television, I must admit that I truly enjoyed this series. If you recall Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, from our childhood, then you'll remember the way in which you were taken on tours of crayon factories, shown how mail was arrived and eventually arrived at your door, or how students learned to play the violin.  Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood mixes the wholesome simplicity of real world occurrences inspired by one of our favorite childhood TV shows with creative visual animation.  It's a perfect way to teach my boy new things about learning and school.  Throughout the episodes we watched I would pause the show and ask him questions about what he saw.  Questions like:


He was so into the show, that most times I didn't need to ask any questions.  He would describe what he was seeing and ask questions along the way.

My older son watched numerous shows as he grew up, but I do not feel that any were as genuinely educational as this one.  He didn't take a liking to Sesame Street, but I know that for my youngest boy, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, on Netflix, has been everything I remember Sesame Street and Mister Roger's Neighborhood being for me.

I hope your kids' return to school is a great one!  Have a fantastic school year, friends!
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