8.28.2013

GIVEAWAY: MUNCH! LICK! SNIFF! (part 2)

I just wanted to share a few pics of Izzy and Milly reading Munch!- you can tell I didn't stage the pictures- because Izzy is wearing a swimsuit (I would have chosen a cute little dress or something!) and the lighting is HORRIBLE :), however it shows you how much fun they were having reading this darling book! Make sure to enter-to-win HERE or at the end of this post!!! Such darling books! 












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8.26.2013

GIVEAWAY: MUNCH! LICK! SNIFF!

>>This is the perfect giveaway for DelightfulMomStuff right now, I was just thinking I need to write a post and encourage those of you moms with infants/toddlers/preschoolers to read, read, read to your littles! Ellie is one week into first grade and a love for reading is HUGE- so much of their academic confidence is wrapped up in reading at this age. Even though it isn't always convenient or fun- read, read, read- as much as you can!<<

When the kind people at Van Fleet books asked me to do a giveaway for their new book Munch! I was so excited- we love Van Fleet books around here- Their Dog book has literally been a daily read at our house for six years! We were so excited to receive a copy of Munch!- as expected, it is darling and the girls LOVE it! Here is more info on the book- then make sure to enter the giveaway for 3 awesome books below!


MUNCH!
By Matthew Van Fleet
In Stores August 27
Four clever pull tabs and seven tickleable textures put toddlers nose to nose with captivating critters as they demonstrate all different kinds of mouths and the amazing things they can do. Along the way, sounds, colors, and actions are introduced in a fun and interactive way. Matt Van Fleet's books are sturdy and substantial and can be enjoyed by the entire family!
For ages 2-6 years.

Matthew Van Fleet’s innovative books have been introducing children to basic concepts for almost twenty years. His unique formats invite toddlers to touch, press, pull, lift, and even sniff as they explore colors, shapes, numbers, letters, opposites, and more. His books include the #1 New York Times bestsellers Tails and Dog as well as the New York Timesbestsellers Cat, Heads, and Alphabet. His books have sold more than three million copies. He lives with his family in New York state.


Visit the Official Book Site
NOW....YOU CAN ENTER TO WIN ALL 3 OF THESE AWESOME BOOKS!!!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

A video from author Matthew Van Fleet about his creative process:

8.22.2013

20 Nut-Free School Lunch Ideas

This is week two of TBT (throw back thursday)- so I am reposting a link to my school lunch idea post- and of course I had to revise it!
Let's Do Lunch!

I have received a request for a topic of discussion- healthy lunch ideas...FOOD! How is it that something that is so essential is so difficult with kids? I struggle just like everyone else, but as I mentioned in a previous entry, I have received freedom from obsessing about my children’s eating. I am going to put healthy food in front of them (and in their lunch boxes) and when they eat, fabulous and when they dont, their loss! Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I am just taking one meal at a time, THIS is the day, THIS is the meal!
My main goal (not always accomplished) with all of the food that I purchase is this: no added sugar (at least not in the first 3 ingredients), no high fructose corn syrup (this is in everything, even whole wheat bread), no artificial color (they do make Cheetos that are not orange), no partially hydrogenated oils and no bleached flour (I mean, they use actual bleach). When I look at a package, I make sure to look at the order in which the ingredients are in, they have to list them in order of quantity- so, if sugar is before chicken in soup you are not eating chicken soup but sugar soup- cereal is the worst at adding sugar. (I am sure everyone knows this stuff, but just in case- I watch a LOT of Dr. Oz!) Please know, when we eat out (which is probably once or twice a week) or eat at someone’s home, the girls get to have anything they want. Bring on the Corn Dogs and French Fries! But at home, we try to go natural! (I do also have to mention that my husband brings the girls doughnuts every Saturday morning- not just any doughnuts, strawberry sprinkled doughnuts: hello- artificial color, trans fat, sugar galore, bleached flour. Clearly it is an uphill battle!)

That being said, I have found some EASY, healthy staples that my kids love. Every child is different, so hopefully someone can receive good inspiration from this. If you have other healthy ideas, let me know, I am always looking for new ideas!

20 School Lunch Ideas! 
1) Hummus and crackers- Costco (as well as most grocery stores) have bulk/individual Hummus containers. You can also make Hummus super easy and cheap (there are tons of recipes online). I just make sure I get whole grain or 100% whole wheat crackers or pretzel chips with it. (this is another “kit” with all of the goodies together http://sabra.com/products/Classic-Hummus-with-Pretzels) Costco has great little Hummus containers to send also.
2) Edamame- I buy this frozen in bulk from Costco or Sams, they come in individual packages so you can just heat up what you need.
3) Pirates Booty- I dont know if my girls like eating this as much as they like saying the name, either way- they nearly lick the bag. (it is just puffed rice and corn with seasoning, not too bad!) You can get this anywhere really; Whole Foods, Amazon, Target, etc.
4) Yogurt “tubes”- Whole Foods has fun probiotic yogurt drinks or smoothies, YoKids has fun ones too. Trader Joes has Probiotic Smoothie drinks that Izzy loves to take to school!
5) GoGo Squeeze- We like all of the varieties (mainly for my 2 year old), she doesn't have to spoon applesauce and it is 100% natural, no sugar added. Our Costco just started carrying this and my sister-in-law gets her’s on diapers.com.
6) Cheese and Crackers
7) String cheese
8) Cup of grapes
9) My 4 year old loves V8 in her lunch
10) Pasta (with just a touch of sauce, EVOO or butter), 
11) Blueberry scones from Whole Foods (or Trader Joes frozen)
12) Bagel and cream cheese
13) Clif Bar Twisted Fruit: Sams has this in bulk, no added sugar and a lot better than fruit snacks.  I love the fruit strips from Trader Joes too!
14) Chicken nuggets in a thermos (apparently these stay pretty hot- put hot water in the thermos first to keep it hot)
15) Nutri-Grain bars (no nuts in the factory)
16) Sunflower Butter sandwich- (just a light layer with jelly, honey or banana) LINK for more info
17) Carrot and ranch packages (target has great ones) or apple with carmel or yogurt packages
18) Snack size guacamole packages from Costco, Sams or the grocery has them too- I send those with Triscuit Thin Crisps.
19) Soup or Mac N Cheese in a thermos (Ellie loves Trader Joe's Tomato Soup)
20) The girls love these pudding squeezers LINK- they have chocolate, vanilla and banana

I recently started using THIS Bento Box for lunches- it is really nice to save on baggies, the girls LOVE it because it looks cool and it is easy to pack items in all of the sections!

My Friend Sarah sent me THIS LINK- great ideas- way better than mine actually :) 

8.20.2013

Save VS Splurge: Lipstick

As you might already know, I am a product nerd. (you might remember my Beauty Awards a while back) I love to go "research" new make-up. I usually stick with department store brands- I love Trish McEvoy, Laura Mercier, Dior, Chanel- I am super excited about Marc Jacobs new line! I have tested "drugstore brands" against high-end "department store brands" several times and the high-end brands seem to win on quality. People can tell me all day long that they love Maybelline Great Lash Mascara over all else- but it only took one try to know that DiorShow is far superior! SO...I have found a product that the drugstore brand is FAR superior to the High-end brand...sad to say! I seriously HEART Trish McEvoy and I seriously HEART her Essential Balm stick..however, I have found that it has flaws: 1) it needs to be sharpened, super annoying when it is in your purse and you don't carry a lipstick pencil sharpener around 2) the color doesn't really last like I would like it to 3) it is $28...not easy to grab 9 of them if you love it 4) there are only 2 colors...I like options!  

The alternative....Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain 1) it rolls up, no sharpening 2) the stain lasted through an entire meal (that never happens for me 3) it is $8-$9, easy to grab a couple 4) There are 12 shades! 5) it smells yummy! 

This is seriously my new favorite- hope you like it too! 

8.15.2013

TBT: School Stuff

This is my new Thursday post- TBT (for my mom that means: Throw Back Thursday) Since this was Ellie's first day of First grade- lets do a TBT!

1. Here is my Kindergarten post from last year LINK
2. Here is a post from my Aunt, who is a life long Preschool Director- might be helpful for you Preschool moms getting ready to go back! LINK

Here is a TBT of Ellie's 1st day pics:
(2009}

{2010}

{2011}

{2012}

AND.... 2013



{Poor child #3 was ripped out of bed- still sleeping- thrown in the car and then strapped in a stroller with a cup of donut and bacon and dragged through the school to walk Ellie to her class for the first day! }

There you go- it was a GREAT day! She loved every second! Hope you all are having great back to school also! PS Guess who Ellie's room mom is...Yours Truly! I am excited!


8.13.2013

Going, Going, Back, Back to School School!

Did you get my post title, Haahaa if not...keep moving!
Ok- this is a big week. My girlfriends had to hear me whine last weekend because I am having trouble with First Grade. You might recall from last year that I was having trouble with Kindergarten- but half-day Kindergarten feels minor compared to FULL DAY FIRST GRADE!! I am so glad we did half day Kindergarten, it was perfect for us! I was just a little overwhelmed that my sweet baby girl, whom God entrusted ME (and Dave) with, is going to be spending more hours in a day with a complete stranger then with me! I have spent somewhere around 56,000 hours with this precious girl and all of the sudden I am supposed to drop her at the front door of a giant public school, with a teacher I do not know, with kids who will probably teach her yucky stuff, a place where she will probably have her heart broken, her feelings hurt, her insecurity tested, her beliefs questioned, she will probably be embarrassed, bruised, made fun of, teased, tested, she might fail, fall....but then I was reminded of a quote that Beth Moore said in her Inheritance study "Parenting is not ownership, it is stewardship".  Ellie is not mine, she is God's child. So the question is, do I trust HIM, her Father, with her life? The answer is abso-freakin-lutely!!! If I want Him to be her "go-to" in the good times and bad times, I need to release her to grow up and experience life. To experience the good times and bad times in this world will help her to appreciate all that God has done for her and the peace of walking with him vs walking with this world. He needs to mold her, shape her, teach her, use her! So, there are several things I am going to do:
1. Hit my knees: my sister-in-law taught me to set a "prayer alarm" on my phone, every hour my phone alarm goes off (I chose "Father I adore You" as my alarm) and I pray for my husband and my kids and take time to Praise Him!
2. Get Involved: even though she is at school more hours than at home, that won't stop me from showing my face around the school...a lot!
3. Provide positive activities outside of school: I could fill every minute of her time with sports, cheer camps, dance classes, gymnastics, tutoring, music classes...and we are just in 1st grade! I am going to be very intentional about our outside activities (or lack there of) and who is doing those activities with us!
4. Beat the tar out of any kid who messes with my baby....JUST KIDDING! Haahaa
5. I will not live in fear- fear that she will make the same mistakes I made, fear that she will be hurt, fear about the future- the Bible says "Do not be afraid" 365 times, once for each day! I will not fear for her..Trust..Faith...Hope...Blessings...Grace...those are the things I want to focus on.

So..I embrace the first grade! I pray that Ellie will be a shining star for Jesus Christ to her school! Here is a little "School Prep Recap" for you...then Thursday is the BIG day!

{I took Ellie on a date- to a fancy restaurant on The Country Club Plaza in KC}

{My Dinner Date}

{We rode on the Cinderella (horse-drawn) Carriage around the Plaza}

{We shopped: I love her new school clothes, I am going to be so sad when she stops thinking my clothing picks are cool!}

{We met the teacher...she is DARLING!}

{Guess who else loved the teacher!}


Hang on mom, breathe deep, hug big, listen well, love well, pray often, communicate, live life, laugh, cry...and soak it up with the little ones...before I know it I will be dropping my 20-month-old baby at the front door of that giant school....one day at a time! 
To those of you who are struggling with back to school- I hear you...so does HE! 
Hugs!


8.07.2013

Overwhelmed and Blessed!

Today is one of those days when I feel OVER-STINKIN-WHELMED! I get the statement "I don't know how you do it all" a lot and I am here to publicly tell you- I don't! So..in order to make myself feel better- and to let you know that you are not alone... here are the things that added up to "overwhelmed" today!

My monthly "gift" came and of course I did not have the proper supplies (pretty sure I had 4 weeks to prepare...still not prepared), I have a pile of work for my job to get done or even just organized, I have a stack of bills that need to be paid...(and I still need to set them up on auto-pay one year later), I need to sign Izzy up for Gymnastics, Ellie needs school supplies, I started to organize/clean out Milly's closet and drawers and had to run out the door half way through- so it is all laying out on her bed (that KILLS me), I haven't paid attention to the blog in a while (check), I have an inbox FULL of sleeping baby questions, I am slacking on my quiet time (which I strongly desire to change immediately), my face is a giant zit right now, I have poison Ivy on my arm which continues to drive me nuts, I have poison Ivy in my yard- I know where it is- and I need to pull it, I need to clean my gutters out, I need to have tree trimmers come out to give me bids on trimming several trees before they destroy my roof during one of these storms... to add to that, we cant really afford the tree trimming right now with all of this back to school madness, my car needs to be taken in because it randomly turned itself on and off as I was driving down the road today, I need to order the Bible Study for my group that starts next month, I need to plan the small group meetings we are doing for a small group of Ellie's friends, I need to finish my book that I have been trying to read for 3 months, I found the papers of things Ellie was supposed to be studying all summer- so I need to shove that information in her in the next 7 days, I have baskets full of laundry (I just did laundry yesterday and put it all away this afternoon), I should probably cook a real meal one of these days soon (it has been a WHILE!), my husband informed me he would be working a full weekend (which stinks), my nails are a wreck, I have hundreds of unread emails I need to address, I have friends that don't remember my voice, my hair REALLY needs to be done, I haven't been to the dentist in a year and need to make the appointment, I am supposed to go to the OB for a re-visit and haven't scheduled that, I need to go to the eye doctor since I haven't updated my prescription in 6 years, my house needs to be cleaned, poor Milly needs a book read to her..at some point....and on and on! 

Those are the things on my mind today- (of course I could have accomplished a lot of them while typing this out- but "the gift" made me dive in bed with a heating pad and my computer the second the girls went to bed- which was after a 30-minute battle of pulling Ellie's tooth!) So, here is what I am going to do- turn it around! I am going to tell you all of the things I am extremely grateful for today!

That God gave me a monthly "gift" so that I could have babies (although now that the tubes are tied, He is welcome to take that gift back at any time!), so blessed to have a fun job that is so flexible with such an awesome understanding boss (and I got to put on a cute outfit today to go into the office), I have a beautiful home to pay bills for, my child is healthy and able to do gymnastics, that Amazon has great school supplies and free 2 day shipping, Milly has clothing to wear- darling clothes, I have a blog with fun people who actually read my random "stuff", people want to ask me for sleeping advice (although, I am really getting too far out from that phase to remember what I did), I have a Heavenly Father who desires my time and attention and He offers me grace when I am a BIG mess, that I have a giant tube of zit cream, a Clarisonic and Glam Glow for this mess of a face, that poison ivy is on me and not the girls and that it is really not that big of a health issue, that trees are so sturdy and God is in control of every branch, that I have a great car to run around in, that Fall Bible study is starting back up soon- so excited to get back in the swing, Ellie has darling Christian friends, there is no experation date or book report due on my book, Ellie is a smart girl and will do just fine in first grade despite my lack of "summer learning time", SO grateful for my amazing washer and dryer, that my husband works late 90% of the time and doesn't notice that I haven't cooked a "real" meal all summer, that my husband is willing to work and that he has been able to come with us to the lake a lot this summer compared to past summers, I am grateful for the $8 polish change at Natural Nails, that my inbox is 80% Pinterest emails that can be rapid-deleted, my friends give me grace and accept my random texts as love, I am grateful for purple shampoo to mask my hair issues, I am grateful for a husband who has tea parties with his daughters when I am out of town, I am grateful that we got to go to the lake so much this summer, I am grateful for FUN girlfriends, I am extremely grateful that I have more to think about than myself... I am grateful for 3 little girls and 1 amazing husband who make it all worth it and FUN and most of all...a God who so completely cares for me, provides for me and offers me supernatural peace through all of the madness of life! 

There you go- not quite sure why I needed to "blog" about this- but if it helps someone refocus on all of the amazing blessings we have and helps to put all of the "stuff" of daily life into perspective- fabulous! (or it might just make you say- "Jenica is a nut case") either way-- I bet it makes YOU feel better! haahaa 
I think this is becoming my "life verse":

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

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