Lalaloopsy Party!

Our little lady decided that for her 8th birthday she would like the theme to be Lalaloopsy.  I could not have been more excited. I had so much fun planning this party with my little lady.  She decided on the food, beverage, and craft and then I took it from there.

lalaloopparty 007

lalaloopparty 001

lalaloopparty 028

lalaloopparty 021

lalaloopparty 017

lalaloopparty 004

lalaloopparty 039

The girls arrived and we got the party started with a fun craft. Each girl was given a purse that they could decorate it as they pleased.  An initial seemed to be the preferred design. Haha! I had so much fun helping the girls with their craft and listening to the little girl conversations around the table.  In some ways 2nd grade is different than when I was a child but in other ways it is still very much the same.

lalaloopparty 057

For games the girls played a version of hot potato but with a ball of yarn. I was concerned that they might think it was to young for them, or boring.  I was shocked when they begged to play it for a third time. That had a blast! They also played the memory game where you place items on a try then remove the tray and ask party attendees to list all the items on the tray. After each game the girls received a goody to place in their bags/purses.

lalaloopparty 042

Then the party girl opened her gifts and we all sang happy birthday! Look at that smile! She had such a wonderful time. All the girls had exceptional manners and were well behaved. I am so thankful for the sweet little girls that are in her life.

lalaloopparty 052

I have a feeling that 8 is going to be great!

FYI…if you like how this party turned out why not hire us for your kiddos next bash? You can check out our rates at Kater 2 Kidz

It really wasn’t about the Oreos!

It has been a crazy week at our house! We got rid of the toddler bed (no more babies or toddlers…which has been difficult for me to process) and moved the kiddos furniture around. We took our Christmas Pictures (Oye…need I say more? Haha!). I started the Calendars of the kiddos that we give to the grandparents on Christmas (I laughed, I cried, and then I stopped). I even managed to tackle the mountain of laundry that evolved in our bedroom over the past few days (what mom doesn’t want to spend her free time doing laundry…yes, this is sarcasm).  And while all of these things can stir up emotion (both good and bad) within a mom they cumulatively could not compare to the anguish I experienced on the kitchen floor while hunched over crumbled up Oreos Wednesday evening.

app 016

It all started Sunday evening when I asked our daughter what type of treat she would like to take into school for her birthday. Her birthday was Thursday so I figured I would bop into Kroger’s and purchase cookies or candy for her to pass out to her classmates. Nope! That would be too easy. She requested a fancy cookie on a stick. And right as I was getting ready to say ‘no’ my mind went to last year’s birthday party. It never happened. We said she could take friends to the movies and we never followed through. So before the word ‘no’ could be uttered I was strangled by mommy guilt. And that was that! I was going to be making something fancy on a stick for her to pass out to her friends come hell or high water.  I was not going to disappoint my little girl (again)!

To start off I did what any smart momma would do I called for reinforcements. I called my friend Stacy and explained my predicament. And like always she had the perfect solution. Thus the Chocolate covered Oreo button cookie on a stick (that’s a mouthful…in more way than one hahaha!) was born. I stopped at Kroger’s before picking up the older kiddos from school and grabbed the necessary ingredients:

  • Package of Double Stuffed Oreos (I grabbed 2 just in case and thank goodness I did)
  • 2 Bars of Bakers Chocolate (Vanilla)
  • 1 package of Mini Chocolate chips (to make them look like buttons)
  • 1 package lollipop sticks

Then that evening I opened Pandora’s Box…I mean I twisted, or attempted to, twist open Oreos. I confidently opened the first package of double stuffed Oreos. I grabbed an Oreo and began to twist. It broke. I figured I must have exerted too much pressure so I grabbed a second. Crack! And then I delicately went for the third. It crumbled to pieces!  The fourth through fifteenth resulted in more of the same. By the sixteenth Oreo I lost it! Why did the Oreos hate me? Why wouldn’t they cooperate? I was being kind, gentle, delicate…what was I doing wrong! Then the frustration came over me. I launched the seventeenth cracked Oreo across the kitchen near the trash.  Then came the waterworks. The tears ran down my face as I dramatically fell against the counter then slid down the cabinets, plopped myself on the floor in despair and threw myself a little pity party. And what’s a party without food? Lucky for me I just so happened to have plenty of freshly broken Oreos to help ease the pain. Haha!  As I sat there eating my tear stained, now somewhat soggy, crumbled up Oreos I realized I wasn’t upset about the Oreos (though that really was infuriating!) I was sad because our baby, who is 3, just moved into her big girl bed. That meant no more cribs or toddler beds and I treasured those days. I was hurt because I would gladly give up sleep, change diapers, nurse babies, etc. if I was given the opportunity to do it all over again. But why should I be given a second chance I totally forgot my daughters birthday gathering last year and I was well on my way to failing her this year too! I was one hot emotional mess with Oreo mud on my face. Haha!

app 023

After my little therapeutic Oreo meltdown I felt rejuvenated. I was ready to start again. And start again I did. And guess what? That second bag of Oreos gave me no grief. Each and every cookie twisted apart perfectly. Perhaps it was pure coincidence? Perhaps one package was closer to its expiration date? Or maybe God just knew that this mom needed to do some soul searching over some crumbled up cookies? Who knows?

app 027

What I do know is that I went on to rock the heck out of those Chocolate covered Oreo Button Cookies on a stick!!

app 029

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles…..

I think the lesson I learned from this whole Oreos charade was that I need to slow down and process things a little better. Not numb my emotion with the next event or task. I also learned (thanks to my mom) that if you pop Oreos in the over (or microwave if you have one) for a few minutes (seconds if using a microwave) they twist apart soooo easily. And yes, I am proud to say that I can now laugh at myself for not doing so. Haha!

app 039

Have you ever experience an ‘Oreo’ like meltdown? Or an unusual moment when you were suddenly flooded with emotion? Do you ever find yourself moving through life too quickly? How do you set aside time to process your thoughts, emotions, and the happenings in your life?

Do you have a Veggiecation?

So a couple weeks back I received an email inviting me and my kiddos to checkout a new App, Bob & Larry’s ABC’s.  And since our 3 year old is obsessed with Veggie Tales and her ABC’s I jumped at the opportunity.  I figured it was going to be like every other ABC’s app/game where they simply go through the ABC’s and maybe say a few of the letter sounds. So you can imagined how impressed I was when I found out that it not only went through the alphabet but also allowed kiddos to create and share!

 

app 008

My little Gracie girl and I sat down and listened while Larry the cucumber narrated our adventure! She tapped on each of the letters to hear the sounds and enjoyed hearing all the sounds effects that accompanied each page. But the real fun began when we created a story. That’s right, we then created a story. There is nothing cuter than listening to your child’s imagination unfold. We went on an adventure to get toilet paper for daddy. We searched everywhere and asked Monkeys and Lions for directions then took a triangle train, pink plane, and boat to get to Costco.  Lol! But the fun didn’t end there.

app 014

The cherry tomato on this veggie sundae is the share feature.  We then shared our creation via email (you can also share via Facebook and twitter) with family…which is sure to be a great conversation starter over the Thanksgiving table. Haha!

This app would also be a great one to have when traveling this Thanksgiving with little ones. You’re welcome 🙂

You can collect all five Veggiecational books to learn Numbers, Shapes, Colors and Time. (COMING SOON!)

Don’t you just adore little ones imaginations? Is your family a Veggie Tales family?

Jewelry Giveaway!

The other day the girls ( 3 and 7 yrs. old) were practically begging to raid my jewelry box. Why? Was it the allure of the unknown that was so enticing? I personally hadn’t gone through that thing in ages. So after contemplating worst case scenarios I caved and let them go in search of their treasures. Ha-ha!

They ooh and aahed as they opened each drawer. Then they inquired on how I received each, when I wore it, and why I don’t wear it anymore. I have to admit they had a point. Why don’t I wear my jewelry?  Then I remembered, I became a mom and basically kissed my jewelry days goodbye. Why? Well for one, the fear of a child pulling or yanking and breaking an expensive piece of jewelry and possibly harming themselves or me in the process. Two, exhaustion! I feared losing jewelry simply because I was too tired to remember where I had placed it last. But the infant and baby days are behind me now. Perhaps it is time to venture back into the bling?

So I joined the girls in their endeavors and perused through my jewelry box. And what I found was that I did not have much in the way of variety when it came to my jewelry. Everything was silver. All necklaces were short. And most pieces looked formal. I was lacking casual, fun, colorful pieces. So what’s a girl to do? Go shopping of course. Haha! But what was I going to be able to purchase on a SAHM salary? Are there any jewelry stores around here that will accept hugs, kissing of boo-boos, and a mean meatloaf in return for a pair of earrings? Lol! So I figured I was out of luck. Then I checked my email and boy did my luck change!

I received an email for a local woman named Mindy who expressed that she was a Paparazzi Accessories consultant.  She explained that she sells trendy, affordable jewelry.  (PLEASE! I doubted her concept of affordable and mine coincided….she probably thought $50 was affordable for a necklace.) I continued to read. Turns our she has two younger kiddos so maybe she can relate? She stated that with the affordable prices of this jewelry moms can still stay fashionable. (Hmm…does affordable mean cheap?) She went on to explain that she makes sure all pieces hold up, and if you ever had a problem with a piece, will repair or replace it at no cost to you.  And then closed by stating that she would like to provide me with a matching set of necklace, earrings, bracelet and ring to review. (Um, YESSS PLEASE!). So we arranged a meeting for the following week.

After school the kiddos and I met up with her at a local coffee establishment. And let me tell you what unfolded was pure fun! The girls and I had a blast looking through all the jewelry.

jew_robotcan 005

jew_robotcan 006

And so much more….. 

jew_robotcan 001

I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted given the amazing selection! While I contemplated between two of the longer necklaces she shared more about the Jewelry line.  Turns out her definition of affordable and mine were spot on! Each piece cost $5. That’s right, only $5!! Now that is my kind of jewelry. For that price the girls can borrow it. For that price I can be guilt free if I ever misplace a piece. For that price I can get a lot more jewelry!! For that price I can be a SAHM who wear jewelry!! I finally mad my decision…what do you think?

jewlry_churchpapajo 002

jewlry_churchpapajo 003

jewlry_churchpapajo 004

I wore my jewelry practically everyday for a week. I received so many compliment and I haven’t broke or lost a piece yet. I have even let the girls borrow the necklace and ring and they always get returned in one piece….that’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

She also carries adorable hair accessories that I simply have to get my hands on!! Click here to shop now! Oh, and I almost forgot. She also does Facebook parties. What it entails is you setting up an event and having a virtual party with all your friends and the best part, you would be the hostess and receive free jewelry and/or hair accessories. Awesome, right!? Click here and message Mindy today to set up your party (you heard me right, virtual party which means you don’t have to clean or cook. Haha!).

 

And last but not least, the GIVEAWAY!!….

Win $25 worth of jewelry and/or hair accessories (images below are just an example of options. You will decide which pieces you want)

santa paparazzi

pizap_com10_94643688248470431366990799940

To Enter :

Winner to be randomly selected Nov. 29th @ 11:59pm

(Winner’s name will be posted on this blog post, Facebook, and twitter.  Winner will be asked to email their address to mommyblissmarks@gmail.com.  Thank you)

Disclosure: I was given a necklace, earrings, and rings to review, no other compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Spoiled Rotten!

Last week the kiddos had parent teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile my father had work and mother had a work conference in Columbus. Thankfully our parent teacher conferences with the kiddo’s teachers were scheduled for Thursday. So when my mom brought up the idea of me and the kiddos driving down on Friday, hanging out, and staying the night with them I couldn’t refuse!

I packed our bags. And my little helpers helped make lunches for the road and each selected two items to occupy their time in the car.  I have learned, mostly through trial and error, that in order to limit the potty breaks I do not pass out liquids until at least an hour into the trip (once we spent 45 minutes at a rest stop…it took so long to get the 3 year old to use an automatic flushing toilet that by the time she finally did the 6 & 7 year old had to go potty again…never again!). So we started off our trip with the Rosary, then some fun music, lunch (in the car), and we were there! No potty breaks!!  That was the first time that ever happened so we definitely started off the trip on a positive note! It really is the little things in life that can bring much joy, haha!

Easton_COSI 054

As soon as we arrived it was a whirlwind of fun! First we headed to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). I have been going to COSI since I was my kids’ age.  But what made this trip special and different from all the past trips to COSI was that I would be going with my dad! See when I was a kid my mom would take us while my dad worked.  But this time my dad got to join me with my kiddos. And let me tell you there is nothing more sacred than watching your father enjoy watching his grandchildren.  It is in those moments that there is confirmation that I am a part of something much bigger than I or this world.  The children had a blast!  We managed to go through almost every exhibit…Curious George, water play space, gears and industry, energy, etc.

Easton_COSI 010

 Easton_COSI 018

Easton_COSI 046

Easton_COSI 022

Exploring science can really build up an appetite.  So for dinner we went to The Cheesecake Factory! The food was amazingly delicious and best part, I did not have to prepare, cook, set, clear, or clean a thing! It gets better. After dinner we headed back to the Hilton for an evening swim.  And everyone knows that after a long day of science exploration, a full belly, and a swim a child will sleep peacefully. And that is precisely what all 3 did! Granted I wasn’t too far behind them but it was the most relaxing evening I had had in a long time. I didn’t have to do laundry, tidy from the day, or prepare for the next day. In fact when we came back from our swim there were chocolates on our beds and a weather forecast for the next day….did I mention I was totally pampered!? Wonder if my hubby would start doing this at home because this is something a girl could definitely get used to, right ladies? Ha-ha!

Easton_COSI 056

Easton_COSI 072

We woke up had breakfast…and again, I didn’t have to prepare, clear, or clean…spoiled rotted, right!? Then we went back for another swim where I enjoyed a Starbucks poolside…can you get any more spoiled than that? Yes!

Easton_COSI 068

We then perused Easton and all the wonders it has to offer…which is a lot. The girls ventured to the American Girl store while the boys went to the Lego store. Well, let me rephrase that, the girls tried to go to the America Girl store.  There was a line around both sides of the store just to get in. Can we say ridiculous? What gives people? So we did the second best thing and at least got a picture in front of the store….what can I say, I had clearly grown accustom to the pampered lifestyle. Lol!

Easton_COSI 073

Easton_COSI 074

So we joined the boys at the Lego store where our son was building his own Lego men.  The store was pretty cool and the prices weren’t bad at all. Nana and Papa even treated the kiddos to Lego kits and cases which occupied their time the entire way home. 

Easton_COSI 079

Then it was getting to be close to our departure time. But not before being spoiled one last time. My dad paid for and pumped my gas for me…how awesome is that? I was sad to see our time end. It was so much fun spending time together. I especially treasured witnessing the relationships between my parents and my children be nurtured, truly priceless!

The big question…

I had been pampered and spoiled for the past 24 hours how was I ever going to acclimate myself to my past life?  I had to go back to cooking, cleaning, tidying, preparing, a chocolate free bed, no fluffy white robes, no breakfast ready in the morning, and no Starbucks poolside, no pool….how was I going to manage? Lol!

Thankfully none of my skills that I had acquired prior to this trip where lost and I did manage to acclimate to my old lifestyle but I will forever treasure my time of pampering in Columbus Ohio.

When was the last time you were pampered? Isn’t it funny what you consider pampering as a parent? Prior to having children would you have considered going out to eat as pampering?

The ABC’s of Movement (Download these today!)

November is Family Literacy Month!! And what better way to teach kiddos the alphabet and phonics than through movement?

ABCcards 002

As the weather gets cooler I am always looking for fun creative ways to keep the kiddos active indoors. These cards provide just that!  Oh, and I forgot the best part, the children are actually learning while they move!

What are the ABC’s of Movement card?

ABCcards 005

They are developmentally appropriate movement activities for young children. They consist of 26 durable 5″ x 7″ alphabet cards, one instruction card and one logo card per set.  The front of the cards has a photograph of a child demonstrating each letter movement while the back has instructions to trace the letter, a rhyming sentence, an alliteration (words with the same first consonant sound) sentence, performance instructions, modifications for children with special needs and gross motor domain addressed.  Since my children are at different developmental stages (ages 3, 6, & 7) these cards are the perfect lesson for all 3. Talk about a lot of bang for your buck!

ABCcards 011

Why Movement and Literacy?

Movement is a very effective learning medium for children. Movement enhances every aspect of young children’s growth and development.  By combining movement experiences with the alphabet, children learn their letters and make literacy connections while improving their large motor skills.  Literacy experiences prior to first grade are critical for children’s success in learning to read and write. Through movement, play, and active learning, children acquire knowledge by physically experiencing concepts.  Current brain research tells us that students need to be active to get their brains working and growing. The ABC’s of Movement can also be used with older students to refocus their attention during “brain breaks”. Students can learn during these brain breaks plus return to a task renewed and energized.

 ABCcards 013

ABCcards 022

 

My kiddos have so much fun with these cards.  They enjoy tracing the letters in the air and mimicking the movements of the child illustrated in the photograph. In fact, in their free time they ask to get out the movement cards instead of inquiring about screen time which astounds me…not many things can compete with screen time.

 ABCcards 014

Click here to download The ABC’s of Movement

These are also ideal for teaching: preschool to 2nd grade. Also beneficial for children with special needs such as developmental delay, autism, Down syndrome and mild cerebral palsy. Perfect for use at home, school, childcare, daycare or therapy setting.

You won’t believe what I overheard!

After a long day of running kiddos around, helping with homework, mediating sibling quarrels, laundry, making dinner (you know the drill) I was just about spent!  I had no patience left. I was feeling overworked and underappreciated. I was questioning my self-worth as a mother (3 year olds will make you do that ha-ha!). Wondering why it is that I bother doing half the stuff I do or say? Wasn’t it all just in one ear and out the other? It had gotten to the point that it seemed like the dog was the only one listening to me anymore. So I did what any mother would do when they hit their breaking point. I sent the kiddos up to brush their teeth and get ready for bed.

being-a-mom-is-hard-quotes-3

Since they did not have school the next day we had said it was okay for them to have a sleepover, which basically entails all 3 sleeping on the girls’ bedroom floor.  Not really that big of a deal but to them it is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Lol!

So I sent them up to get ready and a few minutes later the laughter started. My blood started to boil. I made a mad dash up the stairs. I halted suddenly when I overheard…..

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide me safely through the night. And wake me with the morning light. God bless, mommy, daddy, grandma….

They were saying their prayers. I stooped down on the step. I managed to get a visual of the children sitting on the floor finishing up their prayers.  I was so proud of my little ones in that moment. With no direction to do so they knew that prayers are an important part of the bedtime routine.  I decided to stay on that step for a few moments longer and eavesdrop on the children.  Real mature, right!? But who knew, maybe I would finally know who dropped their gum between the cushions of the couch or who tore a hole in the leather couch, or who dropped the toothpaste in the toilet, there are quite a few cases still open and it would be nice to finally close them. Ha-ha! So I stood their basically waiting for them to incriminate each other (not exactly mom of the year material…it wasn’t one of my finest moments). But to my astonishment the opposite played out. They illustrated….

Faith-They said their prayers together and asked God to watch over every family member.

Compassion– The youngest tripped and her siblings came to her rescue and share their own stories of tripping on things and told her it would be okay.

Love– Big sis, our 2nd grader, read a book and helped her younger brother to sound out a few of the words and patiently answered her little sister’s persistent questions.

Gentleness– Big sister gently took out little sister’s hair bow.

Compromise– They had a discussion on who would sleep where and made some compromises.

Pure Selflessness– It was adorable. Our little Kindergartener let his little sister have his pillow pet and then made certain she was covered up with her blanket.

Being-a-Mom-is-Hard-Quotes-2

A tear ran down my face.  I had just witness the most beautiful thing. My children illustrating genuine faith, love, and compassion. They didn’t rat each other out or point fingers. They looked out for one another. So maybe the huge hole in the leather couch case will never be closed. But you know what I can close is the case of, am I even doing this mom thing right?  I am sure many moms can relate. You question yourself. You wonder if anything you are saying or doing is sinking in to those little souls. And just when you are ready to throw in the towel and race up those stairs, and lose it the most miraculous thing can occur. Reassurance! Reassurance is what we all want.  And God sends it to us if we are willing to listen.  This means you have to shut off those negative thoughts in your head and be open to the good.

Have you ever found yourself at your wits ends? Questioned your worth as a mom? How do you snap out of it? Or maybe you witnessed a genuine moment between your kiddos? Please share.