Saturday #224

Saturday #224 (44 for Harp) was the weekend of the 4th of July. On Saturday we woke up fairly early and headed north to a little town called Willard. A little festival was underway and we intended to enjoy the day. While I am not much for festivals and fairs, my family loves going to them. Roo likes the rides, Harper likes the smells and lights.

Roo was pleased as could be to get a wristband and unlimited rides. For being such a small festival they had a nice assortment of rides suitable for a 4 year old. We agreed on an hour of rides  due to the heat and let Roo lead the way. His face was priceless, he had a blast. I felt kind of bad that he had to ride solo on most rides, Roo didn't care. I was thankful that when Harper is old enough she will have her brother to keep her company, and thankful that Roo didn't care. He was just happy to be riding whatever rides he wanted.

After his hour of fun he was hungry. He was trying to talk us into french fries at the festival, but I am not one to eat fair food so I made a compromise, if he would leave the festival without a fight, without crying we could have lunch at McDonald's... that was an easy deal for Roo. He was happy to find there was a play place attached to this McDonald's, Harper was happy that they had yogurt. She is easy to please.

After Roo had his lunch and got a fun play session he was pretty tired. We made the drive home and planned to go to the fireworks in our town, but the kids could not stay up that late. The display started at 10, they were both snoozing at 8. The day had exhausted them. The sun and heat had zapped everyone energy.

The day was fun for my kids which means I was a happy mom. When I was tucking Roo in I asked him if he had a good day. He gave me a big hug and said "Uh huh...." He was too tired to say much else. A day well spent brings happy sleep, true story.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy your family over the weekend.

Tell Me About It Tuesday Party

Welcome back blogging babes! I am so glad you came to party with us again this week!

Let me tell you about my life since last week:

Imagine crying, temper tantrums, frustration, kicking and screaming...
And then the kids got involved in my pity party. Yes I just publicly admitted to having a serious case of the grumps.

Summer continues, if you can call it that. 68 degrees today in my neck of the world at the end of July. I am not complaining, the cool temps and all of the Christmas in July fun have made me crave the holidays already this year. I half jokingly mentioned getting my Halloween decor out this week... 

Okay now onto the good stuff, enough about me, lets talk features!

My favorites included:

Monday Motivation by Magna Artistic Photos

Healthy Frosted Avocado Fudge by Pink Recipe Box

Make sure you hop over to see the features on Saving for My Family, Pin-n-Tell   and Woman of Many Roles. Be a dear and follow them or leave a comment if you would be so kind.

Don't forget to visit the 2 links before yours in the party, just to keep it fair! Please visit and share as many as you can. We all love comments. {wink, hint, nudge} 
By linking up you acknowledge that the hostesses may feature your work in round ups, on pinterest or at the next party

Saturday #223

On Saturday #223 (#43 for Harp) I was indulged with another morning to sleep in. How lovely it feels to wake up on my own, to find the kids are dressed, fed and happy.

We were preparing for a visit from Grandma, so we didn't make many plans. We did minimal cleaning and made a quick trip to the grocery store. I hoped to spend time outdoors mowing and weeding, but the weather did not permit that. As soon as I mentioned mowing the rain began.

With a dreary afternoon and no real plans we turned to the video store for relief.

We rented Frozen and popped popcorn. I made Roo squeal with delight when I produced a tiny bag of Frozen Jelly Belly's. That boy loves jelly beans! When the snacks ended my son lost interest in Frozen. Ha!
Harper was happy to stay up late, eat puffies and bounce. The movie night was a fine idea in her opinion. My little girl is a lot of fun and she liked all of the singing in Frozen.

A quiet day with the family was nice. Summer continues so everyday feels like the weekend. We have been going to festivals, yard sales, watching movies, going to story time, taking walks, playing with friends and hitting the parks.

I hope you had a chance to spend time with the people you love over the weekend.

A Great Pillow Brings Great Sleep

As I write this my family is sleeping. Peacefully, deeply. Sleep comes naturally to them and I envy the way they slip into a dream and bask in the magic of sleep every night. I couldn't begin to count the number of nights I have stared at the ceiling while I listened to soft snores and regular breathing from my family. I watched night turn to day while sleep eluded me, yet again. 

I used to think I had insomnia issues. I chronically struggle to sleep a full night. I wake up after a few hours and start the day at some strange hour, or I lay in bed, reading quietly to avoid any "What time did you get up?" kind of questions. Explaining that I am a short sleeper isn't something that anyone seems to understand usually.

Over my life of short sleeping, I have learned something, it is not quantity of hours spent in bed sleeping, but it is about the quality of my sleep. If I can have 4 or 5 hours of comfortable sleep I will feel better than I do when I get a sleeping pill induced 8 hours of rest.

Part of sleeping comfortably involves having a great room for sleep. I like a dark and cool room. I like to have clean sheets and a huge quilt. I like for the things on my bed to smell good. I must have a great pillow.

Comfort Revolution sent me a pillow to try out. I consider myself to be in the know when it comes to luxury pillows. I sleep with one of the best pillows money can buy currently. I went into the review with an open mind. I ditched my fancy pillow for 4 nights. I used a standard old, bought it at Wal-Mart for $3 pillow. On the 5th night I took the Comfort Revolution Cerulean Bubbles Hydraluxe Cooling Gel Bed Pillow to bed with me. After sleeping on a not so sweet pillow for a few nights I was ready to experience a touch of comfort.

I immediately liked the fantastic bubbles of the pillow. The pillow felt cool against my head, I felt really comfortable. The urge to toss and turn and pillow flip that plagued me the past 4 nights diminished. I drifted off to sleep within moments. I stayed asleep for nearly 5 hours and I felt well rested, refreshed and ready to take on the day.

My 4 year old discovered the Comfort Revolution Hydraluxe Cooling Pillow the next day. He climbed in my bed and touched the pillow, he giggled at the bumpy bubbles under the pillow case. He laid his head on it and said " I sleep here tonight."  

I have been sleeping on the Comfort Revolution Hydraluxe Pillow for about 3 weeks now. I really like it.  In fact I am using it as much as I use my fancy pillow. At a price of about $80 this is a good option for someone that is looking for a pillow of good quality without spending over $100. 

A great pillow is an investment in your quality of life. You will sleep better with a great pillow, and when you improve your quality of sleep, you improve your quality of life. For me, having a fantastic pillow allows me to rest completely, to shut down and replenish my soul and my energy, no tossing, turning or pillow wrestling during the night. Using a pillow that cools and feels like a dream I can't wait to dive into means that I may not sleep as long as most other people, but I would wager that I slept better than they did.

To learn more about Comfort Revolution and their innovative products designed to make your life better, one night at a time connect on their website and begin experiencing a revolution in comfort.

Tell Me About It Tuesday

Welcome back blogging babes! I am so glad you came to party with us again this week!

Ugh, no features tonight. I had a great post ready and lost it. Sorry ladies but I am due to "clock in" in just a few moments!

Make sure you hop over to see the features on Saving for My Family, Pin-n-Tell   and Woman of Many Roles. Be a dear and follow them or leave a comment if you would be so kind.

Don't forget to visit the 2 links before yours in the party, just to keep it fair! Please visit and share as many as you can. We all love comments. {wink, hint, nudge} 
By linking up you acknowledge that the hostesses may feature your work in round ups, on pinterest or at the next party

Finally A Meal We Could All Agree On

Thanks to Lobel's for inspiring today's post and sending us dinner!

Sometimes I am downright ashamed of myself when I serve my family dinner. On an average day my son is eating chicken nuggets, my husband and I are an afterthought. Feeding the kids is a quite a chore on its own most of the time.  It is not that I don't want to feed awesome meals that everyone is thrilled with daily, goodness, I sure do try to expose my kids to new foods and I daydream about everyone sitting down to eat the same meals with little to no fussing involved, but I admit, a miracle worker or expert chef I am not.

However I had a taste of a daydream a few weeks ago. Lobel's sent my family a sample of their Beef Kabobs and dinner was easy, delicious and well received by everyone.

Let me tell you a little more about Lobel's Beef Kabobs before I tell you about this once in a blue moon dinner experience for my family.

Lobel's Ready-Made Beef Kabobs are not just meat cut into cubes. They're hand-cut into cubes, then threaded onto wooden skewers. Lobel's Ready-Made Kabobs are ready to grill or broil practically right out of the box—just bring them to room temperature first. 

Choose our seasoned beef kabobs with flavors of oregano, garlic, black pepper, and olive oil for the fastest kabobs ever. Or choose our unseasoned beef kabobs and simply coat with sea salt, pepper, and olive or marinate before grilling or broiling.

We were planning to have macaroni and cheese with salads on the day that the Kabobs arrived. (Confession? A favorite dish of mine because I put it in the crockpot and walk away... While I like it, and don't mind having leftovers for like 3 days, my family doesn't agree. They groan every time I make it.)
No one mentioned dinner, until I pulled out the indoor grill. The smell of meat cooking brought them inside and hopeful. Could it be? Is she cooking meat?

So, we still had mac and cheese with salads, but we also had these amazing Lobel's beef kabobs. They were so easy to cook,  other than heating up my grill there was no preparations to deal with. I opened the package, placed them on the grill, and served them. I cooked them for about 3 minutes per side. So, technically within 6 minutes my family had an amazing meal. No one complained during dinner. The kabobs were perfectly seasoned, the meat was of an exceptional quality. It made something as simple as beef kabobs into more than that.  While the meal was not fancy, it was well liked by everyone, including my very picky son. For that I am a grateful. Who would have thought that I would get a taste of my daydreams coming true by feeding my family beef kabobs?

How To Save Money on Back to School Clothes

It’s that time of year again! Time to start thinking about getting the kids ready for another round of school in the fall. With that, usually comes a whole new wardrobe which can be a drain on your budget, especially if you have lots of little ones to shop for! Here are some tips for saving money on school clothes this fall.
How to Save Money on School Clothes

Make a budget. This seems pretty obvious, but if you are able to make a budget, you won’t find yourself in trouble when you realize you spent too much later.
Don’t discount thrift stores. They can often be sources of new or very gently used clothing. Many times, the tags are still attached. You can find brands names, too.
Start shopping early as many early sales start in July or the beginning or August. If you can’t make it then, try to go right after school starts and catch the “leftover sales” when there will be discounts on stuff that is over stocked.
Convert summer clothes into cool weather clothes with just a couple modifications. For instance, polo tops and tees are great for any time of the year with a little layering and skirts go great with leggings. You can also shop end of season sales on summer clothing and make outfits with layers you buy for them.
Buy some basics and dress them up with accessories. Leggings and tunic tops for girls are great and plain t-shirts and separates are good for boys. Add in some belts, vests, scarves and jewelry to mix and match.
See what you have from last year that still fits and do an update by purchasing separates that go with them to fill in the gaps.
Hold a clothing swap. Do you have friends or neighbors with kids just a couple years older or younger than your own? Hold a back to school clothing swap and trade each other outfits for the upcoming school year. Not only will you save loads of money, but you will have extra closet room for new stuff when you get rid of your old stuff.
While at the thrift store, donate some of your old stuff. Many times, thrift stores offer coupons that give you a percentage off or a dollars off amount for every bag of clothing you donate to them to be used at a later date. Donate now and shop later for what you need.
Whatever you do, don’t sign up for new store credit card offers that give you a percentage off at the register just for signing up and charging your first purchase. You will come to regret that and many people end up spending far more money than they were going to by getting trapped in this offer.
Let your kids know up front that you won’t be spending a lot of money. If they are old enough, let them know what your budget is. If you can fit it in, allow one splurge item each.
Check out daily deals websites for savings on store credit. Many times, you can get some store credit at stores like sears for a discounted price on these types of websites.

Tell Me About It Tuesday 7/14

Welcome back to Tell Me About It Tuesday! I am so glad you are here to party with us!

In my life since last week:
Summer continues on in my home. We have been blessed with gorgeous weather- mid 80's and breezy. I live for days spent outdoors under a blue sky with the sun on my face.

Over the weekend we took in a few events, an open house that a friend hosted for her work, my son loved the bounce house and petting zoo. We also went to a parade, which was fun for Roo but not so fun for Baby Harper, there was a small cannon being fired along the parade route, which she did not enjoy one bit. 

After limping around I finally felt up to taking a real walk around town on Sunday morning. At first I was ready to head back home before getting to the end of the block, but this girl is unstoppable. I kept going until I had hobbled nearly 1.5 miles,boot and all. I felt accomplished, I got sweaty and when I made it home I felt better than I had in weeks. True, my foot disagreed with my feel good sentiment, but I was proud of myself for trying to get back to normal, and for not letting anything stop me.

Now onto the party!
My favorites included:

Stuffed Ranch Burgers from Three in Three

Embellished Flip Flops from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Make sure you hop over to see the features on Saving for My Family, Pin-n-Tell   and Woman of Many Roles. Be a dear and follow them or leave a comment if you would be so kind.

We had a ton of great posts linked up last week! 

Don't forget to visit the 2 links before yours in the party, just to keep it fair! Please visit and share as many as you can. We all love comments. {wink, hint, nudge} 
By linking up you acknowledge that the hostesses may feature your work in round ups, on pinterest or at the next party

Saturday #222

On Saturday #222 (# 42 for Harper) my family let me sleep in! How lovely a chance to rest is. The kids and I had been battling colds all week and I was feeling very ran down. Sleeping til almost 8 a.m. was exactly what I needed.

We hadn't made plans to get into very much but we decided to go to a neighborhood yard sale event that happens every year. We saw friends, we walked around for about 2 hours. We didn't buy much of anything other than some odd wall paper for a project I have been dreaming up and I found a hot rock therapy system, new in box for $2. I can't wait to try it out!

After our walk and yard sale experience the kids were hot, we stopped for lemonade for Roo and headed home to relax. The kids were tired. I was tired, instead of cooking we grabbed a pizza and called it a day. No one complained about that and I was fine with taking the easy way out.

We spent the evening cuddling kids and giggling. Harper is hilarious. Her personality is developing before my eyes. She adores her brother. She chases him around the house at a record speed and has earned herself the nickname of the blond puppy. Not only does she follow Roo around like a puppy, but it is not uncommon to see her crawling after her brother with a toy in her mouth, much like a puppy. (She is smart, she sticks whatever she is playing with in her mouth then chases him down and resumes playing!) She loves to play with toys! Dolls,cars, blocks, you name it, Harp wants to play with it.

 At bed time, the kids were too tired to fight it, they drifted off with ease and it wasn't long after that before hubby and I were both asleep on the sofa. We must be getting old to doze off at 10 on a Saturday.

I hope you had the chance to spend time with your nearest and dearest over the weekend.

On the Farm Book and Play Session

We received a copy of this book to facilitate this post and activity.

Roo and I had the chance to read a new book together last week called On the Farm illustrated  by Salina Yoon.  While the book was a little out of his age range, Roo was not to be deterred by a baby book.

I thought the book was adorable. My son is fascinated by animals, barns, tractors and farmers. He loved that there were spots in the book to add a puzzle piece of the animal the page was about. He had a lot of fun with that.

When we got to the end and he saw the pop up aspect of the book he was surprised, thrilled, and encouraged to start the book over and tell his little sister the story. Harper was banned from touch the book... she tried to eat it {babies, gotta love their method of learning via the mouth.}

After we read the book we made a little play session for the senses in a barnyard theme.

We got a few farm animal figures, greenish colored moon sand and a few squiggly pieces of paper and a few plastic trees. We had the perfect barnyard- {the box our Melissa and Doug instrument set came in}. It was time to play.

Now, I am only semi brave for encouraging indoor sand play... notice I used a plastic tray in the bottom of the barnyard to minimize messes...

I added the greenish moon sand and a few animals. I asked Roo what the animals were doing. He said "eating!" and made them eat grass.

I handed him the trees to arrange as he liked.

Then I introduced the brown squiggly paper. I told him that animals eat hay. He caught on quickly. The animals ate grass and hay. 

After the farm animals were fed, we talked about what color the animals are, and what sounds they make.

All in all it was a fun activity and story! We have been playing in the barnyard every day since introducing the book and the idea for play. 

Tell Me About It Tuesday

Welcome back to Tell Me About It Tuesday! We are so glad to have you linking up with us tonight! Sorry for the delay- I had this feeling all night I was forgetting something... ha! The party... it is Monday... (for a few more minutes anyhow!)

Since last week:
I have broken my foot, in a freak accident. My poor foot is swollen, black and blue and very sore.
However, I am never one to be idle. I rested for a few days, by the end of the week I was happy to ditch the crutches and begin a strange pattern of walking. The boot is worthy of envy as well ;)

We had a nice 4th. We didn't have a lot planned, so we had a picnic at a local Lake, we played with snakes and smoke bombs with Roo, we went to a little festival for an hour and let Roo ride as many rides as he cared to. I was beyond exhausted from being on my foot for an hour, Roo was sun sapped. We didn't make it to the 10 p.m. fireworks. 

Okay, now onto the party!!

Make sure you hop over to see the features on Saving for My Family, Pin-n-Tell   and Woman of Many Roles. Be a dear and follow them or leave a comment if you would be so kind.

We had a ton of great posts linked up last week!

My favorites were:

                          Homemade Dinner Rolls by The Crafty Blog Stalker

Don't forget to visit the 2 links before yours in the party, just to keep it fair! Please visit and share as many as you can. We all love comments. {wink, hint, nudge} It makes me so sad to see that most of you are not playing by the rules and visiting other links. 

Surf Sharks The First Ride Book and Craft

My kids were destined to have a love of books. My husband and I are both nerdy bookworms. On the day my son Roo was born my husband read him a story (How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight).

Whenever a new book makes its way into our house, one of us reads it to the kids. At the conclusion of the story Roo happily grabs the book and heads to his bedroom to browse it at his own speed. I often sneak into the hallway outside of his bedroom and listen to him reading himself the story. I am always glad that he has a love of books.

Sharks are exciting to Roo because his Daddy has a shark tattoo on his arm. If Daddy wears one on his arm, they have to be pretty cool!  It came as no surprise to me to see that Roo was bouncing up and down with joy to check out Surf Sharks The First Ride by Shelley & Chance Wolf. 

The story is about 3 young surfers and 3 sharks that come together to solve problems and escape danger.

The book has colorful illustrations, which appealed to my kids. The story has a nice meaning, about teamwork, friendship and it includes a lot of facts about sharks.

My kids were more interested in the illustrations than they were the story. Truth be told, the book is just a little too advanced for their interest level and a little too long for them, but if you have older kids, they are going to LOVE this book! 

I tried to entice my son to sit through the story by offering up the chance to create a craft. I went for something simple that would apply to the story. I had high hopes that a pair of scissors and a glue stick would keep Roo sitting and listening.

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We started with a few sheets of construction paper and a paper plate.

I asked Roo to cut the light blue sheet to look like the sky.

We glued that on the plate. 

Nest we wanted to make the sun in the sky, Roo made a sunset 

We used 2 different shades of blue to make waves for the ocean.

We followed up with a snazzy surfboard!