***Elf Outfitters Giveaway***

22 Jul

A pretty special thing happened in our house today.  A postcard arrived in the mail addressed to Annaliese from Barbara the Elf.  You all might remember me blogging about Barbara during Christmastime.  Well she’s obviously away right now on summer vacation so it was so nice to hear from her.  The postcard featured a picture of her living in style on the front :

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The back explained that she couldn’t wait to see Annaliese this December.  Annaliese was so surprised!  She loves to get mail and she thought it was hilarious that the elves were wearing sunglasses.  Our postcard is proudly displayed on the fridge and Annaliese has taken it down to read it about 15 times since we received it earlier today.  Here is her shocked expression upon hearing from Barbara in the middle of summer :

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While you might be thinking I’m the coolest, most creative mom ever right now, I can’t exactly take credit for this awesome idea.  The postcard came from Elf Outfitters, a relatively new business launched online in December 2012.  The creators wanted something new and fun for their elves and the ideas started flowing from there.  Their website features Creative Kits for taking your elf up a notch this Christmas.  I personally like the Hawaiian Luau Kit because who wouldn’t want their elf to wear a coconut bra?  The website also offers free printables like scavenger hunts to add some extra fun to your family traditions.  They also send postcards, like the one Annaliese received, throughout the year so your children can be excited for their elf’s arrival in December.

As I wrote about in my previous post, our family does the Elf on the Shelf a little differently.  I think Elf Outfitters offers a fun way for every family to make their elf unique to their traditions and beliefs. 

Here comes the fun part…the giveaway!  I have been given the chance to offer a $10 gift certificate to one of my readers.  That means you can buy the Elf Sleeping Bag kit and still have money leftover to have a personalized postcard sent to your kids 🙂  Even if your family is thinking about starting the elf tradition, I encourage you to enter the giveaway!  Here is how to enter:

-Visit Elf Outfitters and check out all they have to offer.

-Leave a comment in this post with your name, e-mail address, and tell me which kit is your favorite.

-Enter by Thursday, 7/25 at midnight.  On Friday I will choose one lucky winner!

You can also check out Elf Outfitters on facebook or their blog.

Good luck everyone!

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Disclaimer:  I was compensated for this blog post with a personalized postcard.  All opinions are my own.

 

We’re out!

20 Jul

Today we finally went public with our exciting news!  We are expecting baby #2 sometime around January 10, 2014.  I’m so excited to start writing on my blog more throughout my pregnancy.  I loved being pregnant with Annaliese and I wish I would have documented more things during the pregnancy.  I’m going to try to update every week or so.  Here is my first update:

15 weeks

This week the baby is the size of a Navel Orange.

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That seems pretty big to me!  Last week was a lemon so this seems like a big jump.

I am feeling SO much better than I did a few weeks ago.  My 1st trimester was full of tons of nausea and no energy.  I still don’t feel like all of my energy is back but the nausea is mostly gone.  I am starting to get my appetite back too.  For about the first 13 weeks I couldn’t really stomach too much.  I’ve actually lost a few pounds since first finding out I was pregnant.  I feel like I’m definitely  headed the opposite way on the scale now 🙂

We have had a few doctor’s appointments so far and everything looks good.  We had an early ultrasound around 6 weeks.  There wasn’t too much to see but it was still pretty cool!  The tech said I was measuring a few days ahead (I kind of thought I was) but they won’t change my due date unless I’m measuring over a week ahead.  We are wondering if the baby will come closer to New Year’s or Christmas rather than the 10th!  My next appointment isn’t until August which seems like a long time to wait.

I have been pretty surprised at how quickly I looked pregnant this time around.  For comparison, here is a picture of me when I was 21 weeks pregnant with Annaliese :

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And here is a picture of me from today at 15 weeks, 1 day:

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I don’t think I look too much smaller in the 2nd picture!  I am already wearing maternity shorts and pants because everything else just feels too uncomfortable.

I think that is everything I have to update on for now.  I will try to update regularly because I would love to have a record of how I’ve changed from week to week!

A Day in the Life of a 2 year old

30 Jun

A few of my friends with blogs do an update every once and a while to show what life is like at that very moment.  I love the idea and think it would be fun to look back at a typical day in our life at the time.  Here is what our Saturday looked like when Annaliese was just a little over 2 years old.

7:30 AM – I woke up and watched the news and checked facebook.

9:00 AM – I finally heard Annaliese making noise through the monitor and went to get her.  She has been getting her 2 year molars and sleeping like crazy!  She’s happy to see me and wants to help change her diaper.  She has gotten so independent lately.  She wants to do everything herself which is fun but also takes about 5 times as long.

We go in to wake up Daddy (he normally doesn’t sleep this much either, maybe he’s teething as well).  Annaliese is always happy when its the weekend and she can wake up Chris.  She gives him a lot of hugs and kisses and then starts putting on my headbands and belts.

9:20 AM – We have pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  Annaliese gets some chocolate milk which she thinks is such a special treat.  She eats a pretty small breakfast but we think that is part of her teething as well.

10:15 AM – We are dressed and out the door to walk on the Struble Trail.  We can access it from our house so its one of our favorite places to walk.  Annaliese rides in her stroller most of the way.  About halfway through she wants to walk for a little bit, but then we convince her to hop back in the stroller for the rest of the trip.  She is happy to snack on some raisins on the way back.

12:00 PM – We make it back home and Chris and Annaliese go next door to chat with our neighbor Floyd.  He is often outside and loves when we stop over to stay hi.  Annaliese likes it too!

12:15 PM – Annaliese and Chris go water the garden while I get lunch started. 

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12:30 PM – We sit down to eat lunch together.  Annaliese has milk and an apple.  She doesn’t want much more than that.  She tries a bite of my rice but spits it back out on my plate…nice.

1:15 PM – Naptime!  We change her diaper and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?  We have two copies of the book so she likes it if I hold one and she holds the other.  Chris and I both give her a hug and its into the crib.

While she naps I shower, work on this blog post, do the dishes, and get ready.  I may or may not have slipped a nap in myself…

4:30 PM – Annaliese finally gets up from her nap.  This child has been sleeping an insane amount.  We change her diaper and put her shoes on.  Time to head over to Nana and Pop-Pop’s for dinner!

5:15 PM – Dinnertime at Nana and Pop-Pop’s.  We have burgers, hot dogs, and corn with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Annaliese does a great job of playing with the dogs and eats a pretty good dinner.  Corn on the cob is her absolute favorite.  She also gets to play the drums with Daddy for a little bit.

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7:30 PM – We gather up our things and head home.  Annaliese is sad to leave but her tears go away quickly since she gets to show her grandparents how she can climb into her carseat by herself now.  She is so happy to show everyone how independent she is.

8:00 PM – We’re home and get Annaliese into the bath right away.  This is later than her normal night time schedule since we were out.  Let the bedtime temper tantrums begin.  These have been pretty bad lately.  Any little thing sets her off and then there is no recovering.  She cries all the way through her bath (maybe from being overtired, maybe from teeth, maybe because being 2 years old is torturous).  We finally get her to calm down after her pjs are on and its time to read books. 

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She picks Polar Bear, Polar Bear What do you Hear?  We read it 3 times.  We say a prayer with the doll my mom made for her, Dot, and then hugs all around.  Finally got the lights out at around 8:45.

 

It was a busy but fun Saturday.  I will probably try to write another one of these posts but during a weekday.  Our weekends and weekdays usually look pretty different!

 

A gift for my mom

11 May

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Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and like every other year I try to think of something creative to get my mom.  I like to make her things, buy her something she wouldn’t buy for herself, or spend the day together which I know means a lot to her.  I struggle every year though.  What do you buy the woman who has given you everything?  How can you put a dollar amount on the person who taught you how to be…a person?  Could a crafty painted picture frame really show her that she is not only my mom but my best friend?

After much thought, I’ve decided to give her two gifts.  One will be something crafty (it didn’t turn out so great but I know she’ll love it) and the other one will be a little different.  I’m hoping that I can give her the gift of watching me be a good mom.

I hope that every time she sees me being extra patient with Annaliese she can say, I taught her that when she was in middle school and wasn’t so much fun to be around.

I hope that every time I surprise Annaliese with a fun activity she can say, I taught her that when I surprised her with a horseback riding trip. (I’ll never forget that day)

I hope that every time I creatively plan a way for Annaliese to have fun at home she can say, I taught her that when I made up a scavenger hunt that sent her all over the house searching for a prize (that was really something she had stashed in the pantry all along).

I hope that every time I wipe Annaliese’s tears she can say, I taught her that when I held her while she cried on the first day of each new school year (until like…8th grade?)

I hope that every time Annaliese and I do a craft project together she can say, I taught her that when I helped her sew her first pair of pajama pants (well actually sewed them for her while she napped on the couch)

I hope that every time I kiss and hug Annaliese she can say, I taught her that by hugging her every, single day.

I hope that every time Annaliese and I help someone who needs it she can say, I taught her that by always giving my time to those in need.

 

I hope that she can say all of these things because I truly did learn everything I know about being a mom from the best mom there is.  I can credit everything I am to her as a mom and a woman.  I love you Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day and sorry the crafty gift is not so hot.  Hope this makes up for it.

Week 11

15 Apr

Getting closer to the finish line!

Day 70 – Today was gorgeous weather so we spent a lot of time outside.  We are going to try out a little gardening this year so Annaliese helped us to get started.  We planted a few of our veggies in egg cartons to get them started indoors.  Annaliese liked the dirt part the best.

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Day 71 – Today we played with Play-doh.  Annaliese still can’t really figure out if she likes it or not.  She mostly likes pushing her fingers or other objects into it.  Its definitely a good way to practice her colors though!

Day 72 – As I was throwing away an empty tissue box today, Annaliese protested.   I decided to let her play with it since she showed such interest.  I let her stuff and un-stuff her cloth wipes in the box.  She really liked it; especially taking all of the wipes out and throwing them around the kitchen.

Day 73 – This was Annaliese’s first year of actually being able to dye Easter eggs.  I bought a kit for $2 at the grocery store.  It was a little messy but the end result was pretty cool!

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Day 74 – Daddy’s birthday is also approaching so we decided to make a gift.  I used a recipe for finger paints that I have seen passed around on facebook and pinterest many times.  It turned out pretty well…here is the link.

Annaliese painted a beautiful picture for her dad.

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Day 75 – With the coming of spring we have had a huge increase in wildlife in the backyard.  The birds, squirrels, and rabbits are everywhere!  Today Annaliese and I pulled up our bean bags to the sliding glass doors and just observed outside.  She was fascinated with all of the animals playing in the yard and it was nice to sit down for a few minutes 🙂

Day 76 – We took advantage of the nice weather again and headed outside.  We brought some of Annaliese’s cups and tea set items and filled them with water.  Our “water tea party” was quite messy but lots of fun.  Why is it that toddlers like pouring water so much?

 

 

Week 9 & 10

25 Mar

It has been a really long time since I’ve written one of my “weekly” posts, and I’ve had an epiphany.  I’m not really enjoying this 365 Days of Unplugged Play as much as I thought I would.  I still love playing with Annaliese obviously, but its been a lot of pressure to try to come up with new things every day.  Each time I sit down to write the updated posts I end up doing something else because I just don’t feel like it.  Who wants to read unenthusiastic blog posts?  I’ve decided I’d like to alter my plans a little bit and make it 100 Days of Unplugged Play and then focus my attention on something else.  I started this blog as a fun project and its getting un-fun.  Time for a change!

Day 56 – Today, like most Mondays, we went to Storytime at our local library.  This is one of our favorite things to do each week.  Its 1/2 hour of singing, books, and finger play geared toward kids under 2.  It is free but you have to register ahead of time.  I highly recommend checking to see if your local l library offers anything similar.

Day 57 – We have a few places in our house that are “off limits” for Annaliese.  Mostly the crawl space and attic.  Today, under close supervision, I let Annaliese explore this “forbidden place” in our house.  She loved running around in the crawl space even though she has to duck for fear of hitting her head.  We mostly use it for storage of her old baby gear and clothes so she was pretty excited when she found a few old favorites.   Here is a picture of her exploring:

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Day 58 – I got today’s idea from my friend Andrea.  She drove her 2 kids through the carwash one day and said it was a huge hit.  I decided to entertain Annaliese today while also giving my car a good $4 scrub down.  At first she thought it was hilarious that our car was getting wet.  Then it became not so funny when water started dripping into her carseat.  We have those sun shades that are clipped into the windows in the back and apparently they leave a tiny gap.  It was only a little bit of water so it was no big deal but Annaliese seemed a little confused by the whole thing after that.  Definitely fun, cheap entrainment though.  Thanks for the idea Andrea!

Day 59 – We had some semi-nice weather today so we decided to head outside.  We sat on the back porch to have an afternoon snack.  It was nice to switch things up a little bit and get some fresh air.

Day 60 – Today I needed some assistance while making dinner.  I put Annaliese on the floor with a colander and some dried spaghetti and let her go to town.  I showed her how to put the spaghetti through the holes and then let her explore on her own.  She played with this for a long time and it definitely bought me a few extra minutes to get dinner in the oven.

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Day 61 – Annaliese had a little accident on our comforter so we had to wash it.  Oops!  After it was dry I laid it out on the floor to put the duvet cover back on.  Annaliese immediately jumped on it and had herself a good old time.  We used it as a parachute, ran across it, and laid under it.  Didn’t know a comforter could be so much fun!

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Day 62 – Today we used some cheap Easter stamps to decorate pretty much everything we could find.  Perhaps the stamping got a little out of control but Annaliese had fun.  Stamp ink does come out of most clothing and wipes off of playroom tables 🙂

Day 63 – Chick fil a hosted a Daddy Daughter Date Night tonight so Chris took Annaliese out to dinner.  They had a great time.  Annaliese is a cheap date so this was a low cost way to get out of the house with Daddy!  Here they are before they left :

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Day 64 – It was rainy here today so Annaliese put on her rain boots and jacket and we headed outside anyway!  It was a little messy but Annaliese appreciates any time we can spend outside.  A little water never hurt anyone right?

Day 65 – Recently we discovered Springton Manor Farms here in Chester County.  It is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to visit.  It is a working farm open for free to the public.  I think Annaliese would spend all day there if we let her.  I highly recommend checking it out if you live in Chester County or looking for something similar in your area.   They have lots of baby animals being born over there and it couldn’t be cuter!

Day 66 – We got a little girly today and played “hairshop”.  Annaliese really wanted to play with all of her hair bows so we took turns making each other look beautiful.  As you can see, the end result was pretty great.

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Day 67 – Annaliese has recently developed an obsession with her sippy cups.  We joke that she is like the girl from the movie, Signs, because if she had it her way, all of her sippy cups would be filled with milk at the same time.  Today I gave her all of her cups to play with at once.  She actually really enjoyed trying to match the lids to the right cups.  I was pretty impressed!

Day 68 – We got a box in the mail today filled with Styrofoam packing peanuts.  You would have thought we won a million dollars.  Annaliese went crazy throwing them all over the dining room and stomping on them.  Here is some of the destruction :

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Day 69 – This activity was a little gross but went pretty well.  I put ketchup and mustard in two (very tightly sealed) ziploc bags.  I let Annaliese squish them around.  She was pretty into it and it was an easy clean up!  Sorry Chris, this is why we’re out of ketchup.

 

Getting Crafty with it

8 Mar

The basic point of this post is to show off some crafty things I’ve been working on lately.  This winter has been especially cold and gross so I’ve been trying to keep busy with some little projects around the house.  Its been nice to feel productive during Annaliese’s naptime instead of just watching trashy TV.  Here are a few of my accomplishments:

1. New curtains and pillows for the playroom

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Both of these things were so easy to make.  My mom graciously let me borrow her old sewing machine.  I bought both of the fabrics on fabric.com so the whole thing cost me under $40.  I am also in the process of painting the playroom.  I will definitely post pictures once the whole room is finished.  I love how its looking so far!

 

2. I also made a jumper for Annaliese.  Here is a picture of her wearing it on her Daddy-Daughter Date Night.

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I’ve never made clothing before (besides Annaliese’s Halloween costume) and it was a bit challenging.  Now that I know what I’m doing I might try something again for this summer.  That dress was hard work though!

 

3. I also made a felt board for Annaliese and I to play with.

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This one was insanely easy.  The whole thing cost me under $10.  I bought a cork board and covered it in black felt.  So far we only have a snowman to assemble but we are working on something spring themed.  I’m thinking butterflies or flowers.  Leave me a comment if you have another fun idea for our felt board!  I’d love to get creative with it like they do at our library story time.

 

4. This project is actually one that Chris created and I wanted to show off too!  He made a little highchair for Annaliese’s dolls.

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Isn’t it amazing?  He is quite talented.  I think we’ll paint it white to match the table and chairs in the playroom.

 

I have really been enjoying having things to keep me busy this winter.  I’m looking around now for a new project to work on because it doesn’t look like its warming up anytime soon.

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