{It’s the Little Things Link-Up}

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Hello! I’m linking up with Words About Waverly and Sadie Sky Boutique for a new link-up!  It’s a link-up where you document memories and the little things in life.  I love the idea, and it goes very well with my goals in 2014.  I’m focusing on slowing down this year, not stressing as much, and spending more quality time with my family.

Here’s a wonderful moment…I snapped this picture one evening last week.  Will was watching an episode of “Madeline” on the iPod and Harper wanted to join in.  I got them settled together on the couch and they stayed like this for about fifteen minutes.  Love them so much:)  It’s so sweet to see how they interact with each other.

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Five on Friday!

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Hello, Friday:) I’m linking up once again with Darci and friends for 5 on Friday, one of my fave link-ups!

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Pumpkin spice latte has been all the rage lately. I love pumpkin but I’m not a huge coffee fan, so I decided to try a new chocolate chai latte at Starbucks. It sounded quite interesting, and it was. It was like drinking spicy hot chocolate…interesting tasting, but I don’t think I will be getting it again. I’ll stick with my regular chai tea latte with a shot of vanilla. Speaking of chai tea, some of the best is from Trader Joe’s. Last year, I found salted carmael (one of my favorite flavor combos) chai tea at Trader Joe’s! Yum-o! I need to see if they have it this fall:)

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Here’s one of my completed free books from Shutterfly! There have been several free photo book coupons recently (just pay shipping) and I’ve made a few books so far. This one documents our fun summer. I also made one from Instagram pictures from our spring and summer, as well as a a fall 2012 book. I’m still working on a Christmas 2012 book as well as one documenting Miss H’s first year.

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Miss H. and Will are both in Musikgarten class. We started Musikgarten back in the spring for five weeks with Will, and he enjoyed it! I signed him up for a 12 week Cycles of Seasons class this fall. I decided to sign up Miss H. for a ten week music class as well, and she had a blast at the first class. She’s the youngest in her group of 18 month to three year olds, but loves to dance and play with the instruments. It’s going to be a busy fall-Will has class each Monday and Harper has class on Tuesdays. It’s lots of running around for mommy (the class is in a local town about 20 minutes away) driving from work to the babysitter, and back into town, but they have so much fun!

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I love seeing how Will creates forts and plays independently! This was a recent creation that he made while I was cooking dinner the other evening. He took his toys and put them in the hallway, creating a blockade against his sister with some stools. Too cute!

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Pumpkin dessert success! These pumpkin chocolate chip bars from Two Peas and Their Pod turned out yummy! Thank goodness! I was disappointed after my chocolate pumpkin brownie disaster and wanted to find a delicious pumpkin dessert. I still want to try some new pumpkin dessert recipes this fall, but this was a start.

Happy Friday!

Midweek Randoms

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Happy Wednesday! I’m linking up with Megan from In This Wonderful Life for a mid-week brain dump! Ha! Below are some random thoughts/happenings.

  • Yum-have you tried this cookie butter from Trader Joe’s? It has the most interesting taste but is absolutely delicious! I have made several desserts with cookie butter but I prefer to just eat it on a spoon! It is a good substitute for peanut butter when making desserts. I found another type of cookie butter spread at our local grocery store, but it’s not nearly as good as Trader Joe’s (but I am slightly addicted to that store!).

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  • This is my first week back to school. Ugh. My least favorite part of preparing for the work day is packing lunches. I loved summertime when I didn’t have to pack my lunch and breakfast and lunch for my kids. To save time, I always pack our breakfasts and lunches the night before. I like to sleep in as much as possible during the school year. Unfortunately, that still means I have to wake up around 5:45am to be out the door by 6:50 in order to drop the kids off and make it to school between 7:30-40.
  • Hopefully we will get more into a routine as the school year goes on. Since it’s only day three of back to school, it’s been difficult adjusting to not sleeping in, not spending all day with the kiddos, etc. I really miss my time with my kids. By the time I get home from school and pick them up, it’s time for dinner, a little play time, then baths, story time, and bed. Ideally, I would like to work part-time, but that’s not feasible. I do LOVE that I have the summers off. I can’t imagine having a job where I worked year round. One big advantage to being a teacher!
  • Fall consignment sale #2 is coming up in about a month, so I need to start re-tagging the items that I didn’t sell at the first sale. I sold about 125 out of 200 items at the first sale and made a good amount of money. This second sale is much smaller but is still worth it. I plan on discounting most of the items so they will sell. If they don’t, I might donate some of the items and hang onto some of the nicer items. In the spring, both consignment sales are the same weekend, which doesn’t work well for those of us who sell at both sales. Last year, I sold at both sales but am probably just going to do the bigger sale this time.

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  • Still soaking up as much summer/outdoor time as we can. Here’s Will attempting to blow bubbles last night.

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  • I have been searching for a chalkboard picture or printable to use for Will’s first day/last day of preschool. I found a neat chalkboard sign on Etsy (one of my favorite sites!) that I might get. Yes, I’m going to be one of those parents who gets a picture of their first day of/last day of school until they’ve graduated high school, ha!
  • Speaking of pictures, I’m trying to go through and delete some of the thousands (literally) of photos I have on our computer. Every once in a while we will get a message saying that our hard drive is almost full, so I go and delete some pics. I’m really bad about not deleting not good pics off my camera. I tend to just upload everything onto the computer and go through the pictures at a later point. I really need to find a better way to organize/sort through all my pictures.
  • Shutterfly recently had a coupon code for a free 8×8 photo book (you just pay shipping). I need to get started on the photo book before it expires! It’s just hard to find the time, especially now that I’m back to work!

Family photos and pinterest

We recently had some summer family pictures taken by Kathy Denton Photography that I thought I would share. I’m a little obsessed with having family pics taken. My husband thinks I’m crazy for wanting pictures taken twice a year but our young kiddos grow so much in a year! Since Will was five months old, we have done mini sessions twice a year (and have used four different photographers!). I prefer the mini sessions to a full session because it is easier on the kids (typically the sessions are 30 minutes) and it’s much cheaper. I spend hours prior to our photo session figuring out what to wear. It’s gotten harder now that there are four of us to dress/match but I use Pinterest for ideas. Check out my on Pinterest for inspiration! Spring photo what to wear Fall session what to wear I’m already in search of outfits to wear for our fall session:) I’m thinking plum/gold/navy for this fall!

At our summer photo session, Miss H. was getting over an ear infection and was very fussy. Will was not being cooperative and both kids were tired and hot. I was amazed we got as many good pictures as we did!

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Photo books

I love taking pictures, and once I had kids, I started taking tons of pictures to document their life. I started a traditional baby book for Will but haven’t completed it. I haven’t even bought a baby book for Miss H! However, I have created yearly photo books for them to document all their firsts as well as the daily happenings in our lives. Compiling the books digitally and being able to manipulate the photos on the computer is so much more my style than the more traditional scrapbooking. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was inspired to create the yearly photo book by Katie Bower from Bower Power. Another of my fave blogs, Young House Love also started creating a yearbook to document their lives. Sidenote-another goal of mine is to create a family yearbook from 2004-2010 (when we got married through the birth of our son). I’ve got 2010 on covered with my kids’ photo books but need to go back to 2004 to document our lives as newlyweds, as we built our first home, etc.

Here’s the process on how I create my kids’ photo books:

1-Take lots of pictures throughout the year (and I mean LOTS!). I currently have 36,000+ pictures on my computer:)

2-As soon as they turn a year older, I get to work on their photo books. For example, my daughter was born in March 2012. I waited until March 2013 to sort through, edit, and compile her photos into a 100 page book.

3-I used My Publisher* to create the book. I’ve been very happy with them; they produce a high quality photo book. I prefer the simple linen covers for my books and like to have all pictures on the pages (no text). As for milestones, I added a page at the end of the book with dates to document when my daughter got her first tooth, started crawling, walking, etc.

4-I work on the book in the evenings after the kids are in bed. It takes a while (several months of working on it a few days a week for an hour or so) but it’s worth it. I’d like to get more efficient and work on the book at the end of each month. We’ll see, ha!

5-Once the book is finished, I wait until My Publisher comes out with the best coupon code. Since I use all 100 pages of the book, full price for one book is around $100! Yikes! Plus, I order a copy for both sets of grandparents. The best deal for me is the $35 photo book (with up to 100 pages). The hardest part is waiting for the deal…sometimes it may be a month or two before they come out with that deal again.

Below are some pictures of my kids’ first year photo book. Enjoy:)

*I was not compensated in any way for the photo books. I just love their products!

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