{Christmas in July Gift Exchange!}

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I recently participated in a fun Christmas in July gift exchange with Courtney and Jenny! I was matched up with Julie and sent her this box of goodies. Check out her blog for a recap!

IMG_6042Courtney, who co-hosted the exchange, received my name and sent us a wonderful box of goodies! We just got back from our beach trip and Harper and Will were so excited to receive a package:)

Eagerly opening the box…

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Pulling out the gifts…

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Glow sticks!

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And bath toys (Boon-a favorite brand of mine!)!
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Glitter pipe cleaners!

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A Planes activity/sticker book!

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Not only glow sticks but glow stick sunglasses! How cool! Will got his own orange glow stick (his fave color) and Harper received a purple one (her fave color). They were amazed that they both got their favorite colors! Will even said, “How did they know orange was my favorite color?!”
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Lisa Frank stickers-who remembers those from their childhood? Maybe I’m just getting old, ha! And even a wonderful book for me! The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and CreativityIMG_8210

Will and Harper immediately opened the glitter pipe cleaners and started creating an art project with them.
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Glow sticks were next…even though it wasn’t dark out, they hid under the covers and played with them.

Loving the stickers!
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We received a cute homemade card from Aria wishing us a happy summer. Thanks so much, Aria and Courtney! We love our gifts:) It was lots of fun to get these goodies in the middle of summer!

{imagination // It’s the Little Things}

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Hello! I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for “It’s the Little Things.”

Have you heard of the “Ladybug Girl” books? They are fun picture books by David Soman and Jacky Davis that feature a creative and imaginative girl named Lulu who loves to dress up as “Ladybug Girl” and go on adventures. I hadn’t heard about the books before until we received Ladybug Girl and Bingo in the mail. Will just loved the book and it soon became our bedtime favorite! At the library, we found all sorts of Ladybug Girl books, including my favorite, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy. Will said he doesn’t have a favorite-he likes them all:) They even have Ladybug Girl board books for younger kiddos, which Harper loves! If you haven’t discovered these books, you should check them out!

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After reading the Ladybug Girl books, Will headed outside the other day to play. He created a pirate ship with Harper and played in the sand to “make” pirate food.  Both kiddos played well and used their imagination to play pirates for a while. 
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Heading up to the pirate ship.
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I love seeing Will and Harper use their creativity in their play.  We encourage as much outside playtime as possible, which is easy for us since they love the outdoors.
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20140707-121022-43822499.jpgDo you have any recommendations for creative children’s books? Please share!

 

Mommy Summer Must-Haves

I have shared a toddler boy summer must-haves list and a toddler girl summer must-haves…now it’s time for a mommy must-have list!

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{one} Retro Metro bag // I love Thirty-One products and patterns! This new print is perfect for summer.

{two} Camelbak insulated water bottle // I drink lots of water throughout the day (and especially as summer is approaching), and it’s so handy to have nice water bottles like this Camelbak.

{three} tile beach towel // I need to invest in a few more beach towels before our summer beach trip and love this pattern!

{four} jersey faux-wrap dress // summer dresses=love:)

{five} beach read // I love Emily Giffin, and her new book just came out this month! I need to get on the waiting list at our local library! While I used to take lots of books to the beach to read (before kiddos), there’s just no time for that any more, ha!

{six} sunscreen // Gotta protect your skin!

What are your summer must-haves?!

Weekend Fun!

What a fun weekend! Here’s a quick recap of what we did:)

Spent lots of time outside enjoying the warm weather: picking flowers for mommy, digging in the rocks, running down the yard, playing in the sandbox, swinging on the swing set and much more!

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Checking out our local book fair that occurs several times a year. It’s a huge book sale with great prices and a good selection of books. We primarily checked out the kids’ book section and came home with five board books for under $15 (including two new Sandra Boynton books, one of our favorite authors)!

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Reading our new books.

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On Saturday evening, we headed to a local (kid friendly) California style Mexican restaurant.  This is one of Will and Harper’s favorite restaurant (yay for mommy and daddy!), primarily because of the doodle pads for the kiddos and the yummy queso and chips.

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After dinner, we took a stroll around town.  The kiddos love walking up the hill by the train station and across this cool bridge!

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On our walk, we always have to peek into the quilt shop window and say hi to the cat that lives there:)

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A little Saturday evening grocery shopping-how exciting, ha! I usually go shopping on the weekends with Will and my husband stays home with Harper. However, since we were out and about, we decided to go to the grocery store. I gave in and let the kiddos “drive.”  I know they love it, but, really, it’s hard to steer those carts!

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On Sunday, we visited a new church (which we liked), hung out at home and read books, and played outside.

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On Sunday afternoon, our music class had a year-end celebration for family members. Since I always take Will and Harper to their music class, we wanted to bring along Daddy so he could see what we do. We had a short music class with Ms. Sarah and enjoyed visiting with our music class friends and eating snacks.  Fun!

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Enjoying our Sunday afternoon outside!

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Baths, then snack time before bed.

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Have a great week:)

 

Scenes from the Weekend // It’s the Little Things

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Hello! I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for It’s the Little Things Link-Up.  Here’s a quick recap of some scenes from our weekend:)

We went to our local library on Saturday to pick out all kinds of new books.  I think Will would check out the entire library if I let him, ha! We turned in two book lists as part of the 1,000 books before kindergarten project.  Each kiddo got two more stickers on their flower on the bulletin board towards their 1,000 books.

Will and Harper were enjoying some evening reading before bed.

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Our library has all kinds of fun toys.  Will’s favorite is the two baby doll strollers-he loves pushing the dolls around the library.

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Miss H. reading books:)

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At our library, they have a space set up for kiddos to color.  In February, they had cut outs of hearts and had instructions for kiddos to make animal shapes to post on the wall.  Will and Harper just enjoyed drawing their hearts with lots of colors!

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I finished changing Harper’s diaper and stuck her in the pack n play for a minute.  We occasionally use the iPod for Harper while changing her diaper.  She gets pretty wiggly at times! Here she was playing a shapes game.

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It’s such a fun (and crazy!) time in our household now!  I’m trying to soak up all the special moments:)

Five on Friday!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m linking up with Darci and friends for Five on Friday!

I started writing this post before I saw the Five on Friday blogger challenge to post about baby Teddy and to raise awareness about Menkes Syndrome.  Click here for more information and to see how you can help raise awareness.  Social media is a very powerful tool. I hadn’t heard about Menkes Syndrome until recently, after reading a story about Teddy.

{1} Banana bread French toast! Yum! I have been wanting to make French toast using banana bread or pumpkin bread, but by the time I think about it, the bread is all gone! I finally had some leftover banana bread made with mini chocolate chips, so I decided to make French toast out of it. You use the regular egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla mixture and let the bread soak for a minute or two. Then put it in a frying pan and cook.  So delicious!

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{2} I love the Pioneer Woman, and here’s a great recipe from her! This is a bagel and cream cheese French toast that I made last weekend when my in-laws were visiting.  So yummy and easy but very rich-full of bagels, cream cheese, milk, and cheese.

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{3} Riding bikes in the house! We’re so ready for springtime! It’s been a long, long winter!

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{4} Snow, snow, and more snow! I hope this is the last snow this winter. We have more than a foot of snow and will be snowed in for a few days! Luckily, our farmer neighbors plowed our driveway for us yesterday (after this pic was taken). We were off school yesterday and are off again today. That means we will be going to school on Memorial Day and adding another day on to our school year in June.  Boo:(

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{5} What a thoughtful Valentine’s gift from Mimi and Grandaddy! A package arrived from Amazon the other day, and we were trying to hold out until today to open it, but we had major cabin fever yesterday and decided to see what was in it! So fun! Two great books and some animal stampers and paper.  Thanks, Mimi and Grandaddy!

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately…

One of my goals for 2014 is to read more, so I thought I’d give an update on my progress.

I love anything Jodi Picoult and am enjoying listening to The Storyteller, her most recent novel, in the car commuting to and from work.  I like listening to her books better than others because of the different narrators that come to life on CD. This book has me not wanting to turn off the car when I get to work…and makes the drive much faster!

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I started reading Diane Chamberlain’s books a few years ago.  I haven’t gotten far into Necessary Lies but what I’ve read is good.

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Some non-fiction: a book about how French kids eat everything.  I’m looking for some tips to help with Will, who has become a super picky eater lately.

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More non-fiction: Tori Spelling’s party planning book, with lots of pretty ideas!

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And more…this book is very interesting.  It’s about a family who simplified their lives through eliminating waste.  The author, Bea Johnson, shows how you can reduce waste in all areas of your life.  She and her family (husband and two sons) only produce one quart of garbage every year–how crazy is that?!  Anyway, I’m not nearly that radical, but it’s a good read and includes great points on how to simplify your life.

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This book is fun!  It includes recipes for making your own yogurt, baking mix, graham crackers and lots of other items that you can make instead of purchasing.
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And Goodnight, Gorilla.  Miss Harper has requested this book as her nighttime story for the past several weeks.  In a few weeks, I’m sure she will move on to another book, but for now, Goodnight, Gorilla:)

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