Monday, August 22, 2016

Hawaiian Dora B-day Party

Aloha! Elyse turned 3 this June so we celebrated with a small luau in our backyard complete with leis, Hawaiian pizza, and tropical Dora decor! It was such a fun way to celebrate Elyse and welcome summer!

Tissue flower hangings were from The Dollar Tree ~ love how they set the mood for both a fun and tropical feel. Very grateful to Bart for helping me put all of this decor up the night before...there's so much cute Hawaiian themed stuff out there but I think I had just the right amount. ;)

 We had Chex mix, Hawaiian pizza, veggies, Lee's cupcakes and Dora fruit snacks! Cute plates and fruit bowl cups from The Dollar Tree!

Elyse wanted to help by putting stickers on everybody's water bottles. ;) 

 Love the fun Dora banner mixed with the tropical leaf and flower garlands....both from amazon.com


Fun tropical florals to greet guests at our back gate

Found these fun leis at Watkins party supply


 We bought these mini tables a couple of years ago and have gotten SO MUCH good use out of them. Elyse and I planted those pretty bright pink petunias the morning of her party...love how we already had those turquoise blue pots on hand that matched perfectly with our decor! 




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pokemon Extravaganza

Toot the horns and beat the drums....our Mister Grant is now 5! Like we've always said, Grant will always be our baby (don't tell him that! ;)) with his cherub face and sweet demeanor (often disguised with goofy shenanigans) he also knows how to be the real life of the party! Speaking of party, here's all the details from his 5th B-day....

Picking the Pokemon theme for this dude was a no brainer. Ever since last summer when the neighbor boys introduced our sons to the world of Pokemon trading cards, Grant's been just a wee bit obsessed. After doing some research on it, I learned that Pokemon comes from Japan and means Pocket Monsters, makes sense- Pok (pocket) Mon (monsters)!

We were able to host the party in the dance room at our local gym which we all enjoyed because it was very spacious and provided a fun atmosphere with Grant's Party Dance Mix of songs and fun party games such as Catch Charizard, Who's Got The Pokeball (played just like the game Who's Got The Button), and also made Pokemon ear hats! We had such a great turn out with all of our family and friends...thank you everyone for coming and helping!





Party City (online) and Watkins party store (local) are where I found all the decorations and treats for the goody bags. Lee's Grocery did the cake and meat and cheese tray. We decided on a meat and cheese tray since Grant doesn't like pizza but it turned out to be a super easy food solution....we just bought a pack of rolls and everyone was able to make their own sandwiches and enjoy some snacks, ice cream, and cake!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Latest Loves of Winter


Guys! I've been wanting to share some wonderful loves of mine for what feels like forever! I knew I wouldn't be around much in December...(I consider that time our quiet crazy winter wonderland) but after we got back into the swing of things come January, I STILL felt like I could not keep up with it all! :O  Any spare moment I had to myself was usually spent trying to check out with a tv show/movie or sleeping. I didn't know motherhood was going to keep on staying sooooo involved and busy!

Speaking of this motherhood thing, do any of you want to scream when you get comments like "Oh, you poor lady!" (said in a sympathetic tone) or "You must stay busy!" (said in a sarcastic tone) or "You sure do have your hands full!" (said in a bewildered tone) when out and about with your children?  I get them ALL THE TIME and the more I think about it, have been for awhile....I think I expected them when I had my 2 toddler boys and a newborn (I too was thinking- God bless us!) but now mine are 6 1/2 yrs, (almost) 5 yrs, and 2 1/2 yrs- practically all self-sufficient, right?. I've been through a whole list of embarrassing/exhausting/disgusting/terrifying kid moments with them in public and have come through most of it with a smile all while keeping us healthy and looking cute (most days). Since I've so proudly made it through these parenting trenches of the younger years, I'd like to make one small request: If you HAVE to say something to me, the mom-on-the-go-with-kids-in-tow, let it be a polite offer of help (I will never turn down someone holding the door open for us or someone letting us go in front of them in a long line at the store or public bathroom) or genuine praise (a nice smile or thumbs up to one of my children goes a long way) because trust me- I got this, mmmmkay?!!!

Now for my latest finds....first up is the new Netflix tv show, Fuller House. Yes, it is a continuation from that show you watched all throughout your childhood if you were born anytime between the 70's and 80's. I watched the first episode the other night and just about died! It's so right on with everything I remember about it, but still funny (in the cheesy live audience kindof way), sentimental, and cute. Score!

Next is this video. I've watched it at least a dozen times and my kids find it hilarious too. This guy is already one awesome Dad and his baby is pretty cute too. ;)

This amazing face cream ~ St. Ives Timeless Skin Facial Moisturizer. I heard about it on a beauty blog and now I'm hooked. Price is awesome ($5 on amazon!) and it really, really, works in creating softer and supple skin! Hard to find in stores (I could not find it at Target, Walgreens, or grocery stores), so you may want to buy online. Wrinkles no more!

Denise Austin work-out videos via streaming on amazon. Do you remember good old Denise from the early 90's? If not, maybe this famous line of hers will refresh your memory..."No more shoulder pads, we'll make our own! She's happy, straight to the point, and not too intense so no more of my I don't ever have the time and working-out-hurts excuses! In addition to my weekly runs, I've made a commitment to do one video of hers a week- 2 if I'm really on top of things and it has actually been happening since I can do her videos straight from our living room! My faves are: Denise Austin Hit The Spot 5 10-minute Target Toners, Denise Austin: Burn Fat Fast Cardio Blast, and Denise Austin: Shrink Belly Fat. All involve some weights and as I've been hearing from those in the work-out world, weights are the key to weight loss effectiveness while building muscle tone! If you need one more boost to really movin'- check out Old Navy's work out clothes...they're really awesome and so well priced!

DOT by Marc Jacobs is my new favorite fragrance. I would've never picked it up had I seen how ugly the bottle is but I found a smaller travel size (my new favorite way to try finding my new scent!) at ULTA and I love, love, love it! Fresh but not too floarly = perfect in my book!

Organic 3 Cheese Pizza by Simple Truth. I don't know my deal is with pizza, but if it's not perfect- then I don't like it. I typically don't like any fast food chain of pizza except Papa Murphy's but even there I only like their veggie kind. Finally my cheese pizza craving has been fulfilled with this Smiths grocery store frozen kind! Weird I know, but the sauce is the perfect amount savory and tangy, the cheeses hit all the right notes, and the crust is not too thick and not too thin....definitely worth the try!

K, that's it! Sorry no pictures for each featured item, but at least I got the links in! I still am planning to post our updated family room and our children's room pics but we need to do some updates to our computer (our memory is full!) so probably sometime this spring. Until then, kudos for surviving winter and welcome spring!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Full Time Mom


Remember this post when I talked about what I prefer to refer to my job as? I like that post because it takes me back to my first year in parenting where I was just getting used to my role in our new family and learning about what exactly it entailed as well as what I felt most comfortable taking on. Well, fast forward to almost 6 years later and while I still find the title of Family Relations Manager catchy, I've settled in on the title of Full Time Mom whenever I'm asked what I do or who I am. I do not consider this title to be exclusive for stay-at-home moms, so feel free to use it too in addition to your other full or part time job(s)!

I find this title fits me best because being a mother is something I commit myself to working hard at every day - and right now for me during these young child raising years, that's ALL day! Yes, there are bits of school (my oldest is a half-day kindergartner) and extracurricular classes that our children attend, but for the majority of the day and early evening they're with me (right down to their little fingers squeezed under the bathroom door!) and the majority of what I do during the day involves something for them or with them such as running our own at-home preschool, planning and taking part in play dates, parties, and various outings, taking them to their various classes and dr. appts, working at my son's school (for free), and volunteering within our community....tired yet?

After recently watching the movies I Don't Know How She Does It (2012) and The Intern (2015) I found myself disappointed with how they chose to represent stay-at-home moms. For those of you who haven't seen either of these, they showed them working out at the gym all day, making perfect homemade treats, and waiting around their children's school being all judgmental towards working moms. I find all of these representations of stay-at-home mothers SO FALSE. In fact, I've yet to meet any stay-at-home mom who cares at all whether another mother decides to work or not!

There were some very endearing parenting parts by Sarah Jessica Parker's character (Kate) in the movie I Don't Know How She Does It, like when she's telling a new first time mom how wonderful being a mother is and you'll wonder why no one ever told you it's that wonderful but it's contradicted by the amount of the time she's constantly working and away from her family. Other parts try for a closer view of her conflicted feelings regarding her job and motherhood demands, but simply involve her making a childish sorry face towards her husband or making more lists for herself while she internalizes things she's missing out on with her children. At one point in the movie Kate says that her without her job isn't her but her without her husband and children is nothing.

I remember the vulnerability I felt when I first learned we were pregnant with our first child...I was unbelievably happy but also unexpectedly had this image of myself no longer being able to walk around feeling all powerful and successful in my business-y clothes (at that point I'd been working full-time for the past 6 years). It took me by surprise that I felt this way as I had always pictured myself being a mother, but over the next 9 months I had a lot more time to really think about these thoughts and feelings and realized that what I'd be giving up wasn't all that great compared to what I was about to experience with bringing a new life into the world. Still, I held on and told everyone at my current job that I was going to make my official decision about staying or leaving my job after the baby was born. Honestly, as cheesy as this sounds- the decision for me to stay at home with our child was a crystal clear YES! the second I held our baby. I knew in my heart there was no place I could ever be at that time that would feel as good or be as important and it truly has been one of the best decisions we've ever made. I say all the time that I need my baby during their first year of life as much as they need me and to this day, I still feel a deep bond with each of our children and know a lot of that came from their early developmental years that we shared in together. I wish the media did a better job of showing that as well as the moms who like my mom, returned back to work AFTER raising her 3 children!

I caught this book In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Shlessinger at the library the other day and while it has drawn some criticisms, it was the encouragement I needed to hear as I continue to forgo my career for our family....

"They number in the millions and they are incredibly important to families and to our society, yet they are under-appreciated, little respected, and even controversial. Who are they? They are the stay-at-home moms.
These are women who know in their hearts that staying home to raise their children is the right choice for the whole family. Whether they do it from the outset of their marriages or make the difficult transition from career-driven women to homemakers, it is a choice that is incredibly rich and rewarding, not to mention challenging. Building on principles developed during her long career as a licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Laura provides a wealth of advice and encouragement to women as they navigate the wonders and struggles of being stay-at-home moms."

I never knew becoming a mother would require me to figure out a new me, but it's been a very worthwhile and satisfying journey~ one that I'm extremely thankful and proud to take on each day regardless of the stereotypes and misconceptions.




Monday, November 30, 2015

Great Gifts

Thought I'd share a quick rundown of some great gifts that I've come across lately....happy shopping!



On a action-oriented level of 1-10, there's no doubt our 2 boys each rank a 10. It seems as if they're biologically inclined to participate (and sometimes rather haphazardly) in any activity involving motion, which in my mama eyes = DANGER! But, thanks to this awesome Bern helmet, they've got they're precious noggins covered for skateboarding, biking, and with this cool winter liner- even SKIING! SOLD x2 for us.




Can I get a woot! woot! for extra warm and toasty gloves with touch screen features on the finger tips? Above are pairs in both mens and womens by Eddie Bauer ~ perfect gift for all in my book! As I mentioned last year, their pj pants (both mens and womens) are phenomenal as well. While talking Eddie Bauer, I recently caught a photo of Sarah Jessica Parker sporting a great NAVY parka (see below) and decided to go on the hunt for one....turns out Eddie Bauer has a cute one of those too! (click here). Since it's pricey (but very well made and a complete necessity to us winter weather dwellers), I've noticed that they've been frequently running it on one of their 40% outerwear sales....just sign up for the emails to stay current on which type of sale is running.




I once bought a pair of really cute gold triangle earrings by Oh Hello Friend from Logan's local boutique Roolee, and absolutely LOVE them! I've since browsed their online shop and quickly fell in love with EVERYTHING they sell. Definitely a cute little shop to bookmark!


Hickory Farms Holiday Petits Fours
Everybody likes pretty deserts around the holidays ~ right? These Petits Fours from Hickory Farms are pretty AND delicious! WARNING: you'll want to try one in every flavor, so maybe buy 2 boxes while you're at it!  For sale now in the Cache Valley Mall for $19.99 per box. p.s. their Turkey Sausage Snack Sticks are also a big hit with my boys. ;)



Sunday, November 22, 2015

Brown paper packages tied up with string....


Here's another quick and inexpensive (and I mean REALLY inexpensive) holiday gift. I once read that come Christmastime, Martha Stewart would wrap a bunch of small gifts that she'd keep in a basket by her front door so that she'd always have something at the ready to give out. I love that idea of always being prepared! 

The above shown little packages are what we'll be giving out to all of our neighbors, some of our friends, and teachers along with our annual Christmas card. I know you're probably all thinking- "Wait Kate, it's still only November!" But, I find if I don't split up some of my Christmas to-do list before Thanksgiving hits, then I run out of time (and energy!) to get it all done and still enjoy the season. We already have something going on every weekend from the first weekend of December until New Years! :O

All you need to do to make this gift are bags of popcorn (I opted for the 18 pack because of the great price!), some brown wrapping paper, bakers twine, and cute gift tags.

I found my gift tags and brown wrapping paper at Michaels (especially great with one of their 40% off one item coupons) and red + white bakers twine here. Gift tag reads:

Hope your holidays are "POPPING" with fun!

or

You sure are one "POP"ular teacher! 





Monday, November 9, 2015

Gotta start now...

I think Thanksgiving is great and all, but I've learned when it comes to preparing for Christmas~ earlier is better! Here's a few of my top Christmas finds so far...but first, can you believe the price on these adorable H&M pillow covers? Now that's my kind of Christmas style! Also- take my word when I say these will sell out!
H&M pillow cover $5.99

H&M pillow cover $5.99






























I'm convinced one can never go wrong with a classic plaid shirt ~ man or woman. 


H&M Ladies




Shutterfly calendars take FOREVER to make, but every time I've ever gifted one they've always been a hit, plus it's a gift that keeps on giving year round!


Biscoff cookie spread ~ found at Lee's
Every year I try to find a gift that I can give out to our extended family members and a few of our close friends...usually this list is around 10 families long so I need the item to be fairly inexpensive, but still festive and thoughtful. This year I found....Biscoff Cookie Spread which I plan to dress up with a cute red gingham ribbon and family name tag. If you're unfamiliar with cookie spread click here....or just take my word for it when I say it will make your mouth and tummy smile with blissful happiness. ;) Goes best on waffles or pancakes ~ perfect for Christmas morning!

Gingerbread men cookie stickers ~ Hobby Lobby

Galvanized 3D Round Ornament by Celebrate It Christmas
Galvanized ornaments found Michaels Craft Store
Michaels has a great selection of galvanized ornaments right now. At only $2.99 a piece, I picked up at least a dozen and with a simple ribbon tied on top and a permanent marker on the back, they're easy to customize with the year and your family name. They would also make great gift tags. So simple, affordable, and cute! Gift bags shown below were also found at Michaels.





Wednesday, October 21, 2015

BOO-yah!




Hope you're all enjoying Fall! We're still in go-go-go mode around here....pretty sure that's how life will always be with 3 kids, right? I picked BOO-yah as the theme for this post because of the corny Halloween reference, as well as the feeling I get when I find or learn about something completely awesome! But before I share my latest finds, here's a quick rundown on our crew-

Latest on B: Looking and acting more like a teenager every day. I'm constantly reminding myself that he's 6 and doesn't need to play violent video games (seriously, who makes these?!), take karate or combat classes- not sure if the second even exists, but he's sure to ask me daily about it), or listen to his music 24/7! I guess one could say I'm getting some good training now for the years to come....

Latest on G: Wowing us daily with some type of trick, joke, Super Sonic skill, math problem, song on the piano, or writing of his name! He's also really loving his swimming and tumbling classes. I knew when he was just a baby that he had the build for greatness and he is proving true to that.

Latest on E: Man oh man are 2 year olds a lot. A lot busy, a lot fun, and a lot mischievous....and very quick to change their moods and interests! Lately I've been Elyse's friend, doctor, coloring partner, fashion assistant, dance partner, piano teacher, and her mama. The last one I love best. She also has such a love for her brothers and whenever they're not around she'll say "Where my brothers at?"


This week I'm sending out B's school pics (he looks so old!), putting up another bulletin board at B's school (thanks to Pinterest and The Book Table I'm pretty good at them), and putting together the final touches of B's school Halloween party (BOO-yah!). It's also worked out better for me to do preschool at home for Grant...hence, the no time I ever have!

Now to my latest finds for ME. Lately I felt like I was in a rut with my make-up, so I decided to switch things up to my normal and pretty boring routine....BOO-yah to that!

Found an amazing bronzer by MAC in the color Scone, but unfortunately by the time I got around to sharing it here, I learned that it's no longer available since it was just on a limited edition by Brooke Shields. :( But- I've notified Nordstroms to see if they can try to get it back so if I ever hear that they do, I'll be sure to share! I've also heard Bobbi Brown has a really good one too. It only took me about 10 years to learn that a good bronzer is worth spending the extra money on and now I know to NEVER underestimate the impact the right kind (aka pretty tanish/mauve tone with no sparkles) can have in achieving that pretty and natural glow, plus add a bit more depth and dimension to my face. Application tips: Get an angled brush (I like this one by Bare Minerals) to apply it with and put it on cheekbones, tippy top of forehead, eyelids, and chin.

I know bright pops of lip color has been in for awhile now, but I guess I was intimidated by all the choices and the cost and the overall statement of it all...but after checking out some reviews on these cool and affordable Maybelline lipsticks, I finally decided to try some out and oh my goodness how Maybelline has impressed me with their quality array of gorgeous lip colors at such great prices! My fave red colors are part of their MATTE collection in Craving Coral and Siren In Scarlet. Other fun ones are in their pinky collection (I have Petal Pink) as well as their really pretty lip gloss (Mystical Magenta is super bright but really fun!). If I'm feeling up for pink, it's been working well for me to start first with Revlon's ColorBurst Balm Stain lip crayon in Cherish then layer on top of that. The lip stain color in Honey is more subtle, but also really pretty too especially with a soft neutral gloss such as Ulta's Mineral Lip Gloss in Sheer Opal. Don't be afraid to layer lip stains, pencils, lipstick, and gloss to create your own perfect combo! While on my make-up kick, I also discovered a make-up brand called Sigma Beauty, I saw someone test it on a YouTube video and fell in love with the lip crayon in the color Mirth ~ it's more of a berry red. I'm so glad I've decided to play around with color on my lips- it's amazing how different a lip color can make you feel!

This MAC blush in Mocha is right on. So glad I finally learned how MAC offers matte blush! I feel like this deeper color really makes my make-up more noticeable and dramatic. Next spring I think I'll try the color Lovecloud.

This Estee Lauder eyeliner is so worth the money. No more scratchy wood from other eyeliner pencils (I prefer pencil over liquid or roll-up). AND the color really does stay in place since it's Water Resistant. My color is Coffee and I love the smudgy other side of the brush for a deeper effect, or just to correct when I mess up. ;) I never used to consider eyeliner a part of my everyday routine, but for the past year it has been a definite must for me (call it getting older?), just very subtly around the outer edges of the top of my eyelid and a very thin line about halfway from across the bottom outer corner of my eye (creating more of a V shape working from the outside in).

Bumble & Bumble hair products are hands down my absolute fave!!!! They do what they say they'll do (in my case, tame the frizz), come in pretty packaging, and the smell....the smell I can't even begin to describe- very fresh and clean and I love how there's a slightly different scent for each product. I use this one in my hair when I don't want to do it (really, there's a product for this), and this one on my hair when I do want to do it. Both are brilliant and worth the $ splurge!

A good room spray can be heavenly~ I'm picky when it comes to scents, but after experiencing Volcano No. 6 firsthand at Logan's local boutique, Roolee- I bought it on Amazon asap!

I was in need of some more layering tanks and am loving the softness (modal gets me every time!), breathability, and comfort of Jockey's Supersoft Camisoles. I picked mine up at Smiths Marketplace for $19 a piece but I've also seen them sold at Kohls, or of course the ever-so-convenient Amazon.


Have a great rest of October!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Zimbabwe Service Project!



For those of you in who live in Cache Valley, here's details on a service project that I heard about through USU Extension's 4-H Club...just by grabbing things from around your house to fulfill the below list, you'll be of great help to the people of Zimbabwe, Africa! 

I really want to share how good it feels to give back to those in need. Earlier this month our church gave word on a family who is going through some hardship, so my children and I opened our cupboards and closets and filled up 2 bags of things to donate to them, and then we again found more things to fill up 2 boxes to go to Africa. I love learning opportunities like these that really show my children to care about other people in our community and in the world, and how important it is to help out whenever we can!

Once your box is filled, simply drop off at the Cache County Office Building by next Wed. Sept. 30th between the hours of 9-5 pm. They're located on: 179 N. Main St. Suite 111 (first door on your left if you enter in from the back entrance by parking lot). It also looks like you can arrange to have your items picked up by calling the below listed phone number.

    iLead  *  iServe
                4-H Club
        Collect items to be sent to
            Zimbabwe, Africa!
              Cooperating with
          EYES 4 ZIMBABWE
We are collecting:
   *Clothing & Shoes for men, women,
        youth and children;
   *Medical/ Dental supplies & equipment; 
   *Baby Formula, new bottles;
   *Crutches, Walkers, Wheelchairs;
   *Non-perishable food;
   *Books
   *School supplies & kits
   *Hygiene Kits,
   *Newborn Kits,
   *Sewing Machines,
   *New White Shirts,
   *Soap and other hygiene supplies,
   *Reading and sun glasses.
      Donations can be left at the
       Cache Co. 4-H Office by
            September 30th
   
               OR
 Call Becky Mitchell (435-535-6137)
to arrange pick-up of donations or
   if you have other questions.
  All donations will be taken to SLC    
  on October 8th for sorting, packing,  
       loading & shipping to Africa. 
  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Away We Go!



Hi.

Not much NO time to write much anymore. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I had a laptop so that I could just curl up in my bed at night and write because that is truly THE ONLY TIME that I have to myself (besides a hour and half little window our babysitter gives me one morning a week which I love using to work out or relax with some Yoga). BUT- other times I'm thankful I don't write at night since doing so often re-charges my brain instead of helping me wind down and turn off...So, there you have it. A blog that is not completely forgotten, just frequently put aside. ;)

Fun news to share is that in a couple of months Bart's work is sending him to a conference to.....can you guess? (photo above is a hint). SAN FRANCISCO!!!  It only took me about 2 seconds to say "Me too!" and thankfully they approved me to join him, so away we go!

Of course I had to do some pre-trip shopping so I bought these shoes (which very well could end up soaking wet), this rain jacket (which is fine if it ends up soaking wet), this book (which I find appropriate since Bart and I met at work), and some fun tops from a new store in our mall called Madison & Sixth (really worth checking out!). I'm sooooo looking forward to spending some time with my husband, sleeping in, exploring the city, checking out museums, shopping, eating out, and even a chance to read a book! :O We'd love any SF travel suggestions/recommendations of things to see, places to eat, etc.so please share if you have any.

Off I go now to dance away with my daughter ~ yes, they have dance classes for 2 year olds and it is beyond adorable....hope she continues to love it as much as I do!