Wednesday, December 13, 2017

what we've been up to (and a link-up reminder!)

Has time gotten away from anyone else lately, or is it just me?

I feel like every day is spent running - I go from bed to work to home to dinner to errands to bedtimes to cleaning to the gym to bed. We haven't even had made a fire in our fireplace this month! It's just too much effort and we don't really have time to sit and enjoy it.

I digress.

This week the kids got letters from Santa from the actual North Pole:
 They were really excited and Elden has asked me to read his letter 5 times already.

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Elden and Edith have been sleeping in the bunk beds in Edith's room for weeks now. It began because Elden said he was too scared to sleep in his room by himself. We were able to temporarily stop that by leaving his door open, but when that lost its efficacy we let them sleep in the same room. Now sleeping in the same room isn't sufficient for him so we've evolved into DIY tent making. 2/3 of the tent poles are actually brand new wrapping paper tubes and the third is a broom handle. Fitted sheets work wonders in this case because they hold onto the posts, no restraints required.
Because building them bunk bed tents wasn't crazy enough, they are constantly fighting over who gets to sleep on the "down" as Edith says because the cats will occasionally come in at night and join the bottom resident in their bed. As such, every night they switch. This means that every. single. night. we are moving pillows and blankets and stuffed animals between the beds.

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Edith had a tea party with Jon in her "castle" while Elden was at school and Etta was napping.

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This is my last full week of work for the year. My company shuts down for the holidays every year, in this case from next Friday to early January - which is one of the biggest perks of working here. On Friday night the kids are sleeping over our parents' houses. We also have a Christmas party, the Christmas program at church and the kids' last dance class of 2017 this week.

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Don't forget that this Saturday is the Day of Kindness! I will be putting a link-up on my blog beginning Saturday night at midnight and it will be open through Tuesday night so if you can't get around to blogging about what you did this weekend you can do it early next week!

*Affiliate links used

Monday, December 11, 2017

weekend recap

I feel like we haven't had much downtime since October. We aren't just running around on the weekend, but also on weeknights. That coupled with me going to the gym 3-4 nights a week and I'm pretty ragged. This weekend was lower key and I am so glad.

On Friday night I don't remember what we did - I think nothing? It's so crazy how the days and nights all blur together lately!

Saturday morning was cold. Elden asked to use our window markers and I happily obliged.
 Later that morning, I found this gem - not sure what this boy is trying to say!
Elden and Edith had dance class and following dance class we had a quick lunch at home and skipped nap/quiet time for Myles' birthday. The kids had SO much fun and have told me no less than seven times since that they miss Myles' birthday party.
Since Edith skipped her nap, she slept hard that night.
 On Sunday morning Jon worked sound for church, so I flew solo getting the kids out the door. We had a Dunkin' Donuts gift card so we headed there for breakfast. I also used one of my Starbucks free drinks after we left DD. Following church/lunch, I headed to the gym to work off the Big Mac I ate. Have I mentioned how much I love my Zune? I got this my freshmen year of college and it is a tank. The battery life is still amazing! I wish Microsoft still made them.
Between solo parenting in the morning, going to the gym, and chasing the kids around all day, I got a stupid amount of steps in and was totally wiped by Sunday night.
I concluded the weekend by wrapping Christmas gifts and taking inventory of what I still need to buy. Luckily I am mostly done shopping, especially thanks to some late-night online purchases!

Friday, December 8, 2017

five on friday

{1} Well, we need to gut and renovate our master bathroom thanks to a leaky shower. We have tile in there now and while I love the look I hate the fact that you have to re-grout every so often. Jon and I picked out this surround so that instead of having to grout we could just replace the caulk in a few spots when required.

{2} Four words: Magformers are half off! This set is $38 (normally $79.99) and there are a few others sets at deep discounts here (today only).

{3} Starbucks for Life! I love when Starbucks does this contest because I can enter daily without making a purchase. So far I've won 145 star points - which is one free drink (and thanks to existing star points I had accumulated, it put me over the edge to get a second free drink!).

{4} VTech Magical Unicorn. This is what Jon's parent's got Etta for Christmas and I know she's going to love it. She always wants us to make Elden's toy robot go with the remote, but with this unicorn she can press the large heart button on its chest to make it walk and flap its wings herself. I had no idea this toy even existed but ti will be perfect for her--plus it's on sale for $19.99 right now!

{5} Frozen Jewelry Box. So we are totally tardy to this party, but the kids just watched Frozen for the first time a little over a week ago. We've heard the Do You Want to Build a Snowman song so many times since. Edith got a jewelry box for her birthday but I am so tempted to get both her and Elden this one because it's on sale today for $12.00 and if you buy two you get the third Disney Frozen toy for free on Amazon today... talk me out of it...

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

*Affiliate links used

Thursday, December 7, 2017

vegan and gluten-free chocolate peanut butter crispies


I was in need of a vegan sweets recipe that was super easy and quick to make. This one totally fit the bill!

Ingredients
2 c. crispy rice cereal
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1 c. vegan chocolate chips (we use the Kirkland chocolate chips from Costco)
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Instructions
In a large bowl, combine the cereal and sugar. In a small sauce pan, melt remaining ingredients over low heat, stirring constantly. Once fully melted, combine with the cereal mixture. Once well mixed, place in a well greased pan.

This is crumblier than a rice crispy treat but not as crumbly as puppy chow. You could add more cereal to firm it up or you could add more sugar to make it crumblier. It's versatile and takes less than 10 minutes to make!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

favorite children's books lately

Today I had 3 alarms fail me:
-technically my fault and not my alarm's, but I forgot to set my cell phone alarm
-my Fitbit alarm was apparently not enough to wake me
-my children alarm, typically the most reliable of all the alarms in the land, decided to sleep in today

As such, I am a bit frazzled. So here are some of our favorite children's books lately.

Another Anna Dewdney book we love is Roly Poly Pangolin.

*Affiliate links used

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

hodgepodge

In anticipation of December, we setup our DIY advent calendar the evening of the 30th. Since I did a crummy job planning ahead, I just used the kids' trick-or-treat candy to fill it up. Not gonna lie - this is going to be my new approach.
 Jon sent me this picture of our apple enthusiasts on Friday:
It has been a rough go of it lately in our house. Lots of fighting over my lap at all times. Big sister was far less amused than little sister.
 Sally and Sharm posted the photos from their wedding on Facebook and I stole them:
 Etta has 6 teeth and her little grin cracks us up now:
Finally, I saved a lot of money by using a really easy approach that I shared on the Busy Mom Bargains Facebook page:

Monday, December 4, 2017

easy DIY wood slice wreaths

On Friday night, I got together with some friends to make DIY wood slice wreaths. This project was SO easy and fun! Plus, if you know someone with the right tools, it's totally inexpensive!

Supplies:
These craft rings
Assorted sizes of wood slices
Ribbon
Pinecones
Wood glue
Hot glue gun/hot glue
Decorative accents
Drill

Directions:
First, drill a hole where you would like to put a ribbon to hang your wreath and attach the ribbon. This will ultimately be hidden behind the second layer of wood slices. Next, lay out your wood on the ring to make sure you have it the way you'd like it. One at a time, apply wood glue to the center of your wood slice and hot glue on both sides of the wood glue, then affix to the frame. Repeat until the bottom layer of wood slices are glued onto the frame. Next, lay out the second row, placing the new wood slices centered over where the two beneath it meet. Repeat the glue process until the second row of wood slices is glued on. The wood glue is for longevity and the hot glue is for transport/to hold everything in place while the wood glue sets. Decorate with whatever embellishments you would like and voila! The cutest door wreath. Since a friend had a wood mill and was able to cut the wood slices for us, this project cost $9/wreath.

As an added bonus, you can use any leftover wood slices and some stencils to make ornaments!

*Note: affiliate links used

Saturday, December 2, 2017

busy mom bargains

This holiday season I've been a deal hunting machine. I've been sharing some of the deals I find (as well as stock alerts on popular toys like Fingerlings) on my local mom group's Facebook page. I follow some of the traditional money saving blogs and Facebook pages, but a lot of them use things like Swagbucks which I have tried--and loathed (too much effort for too little benefit). I've honed some techniques to make sure I'm getting the best deal possible and earn money on the side through point redemption / gift cards.

Then I got an idea: why not share all the bargains I find on a Facebook page? 
Enter Busy Mom Bargains. Every day I post deals or tips for earning points that can be used as cash (or gift cards).

For example, today I shared how I easily earn points for a $25 Amazon or Starbucks gift card every month in as little as ten minutes a day.

Click here to head to the page to find out how!

Friday, December 1, 2017

five on friday

{1} Day of Kindness Link-Up. On Saturday, December 16, we are doing our family's first-ever Day of Kindness. We brainstormed some ideas with the kids and decided that on the 16th we are going to give some of the kids' toys to kids in need, donate canned food to our local food bank, pick up trash around our neighborhood, and give some unsuspecting shoppers a gift card at the store. I'm really excited about it and I hope you join us in loving on your neighbors that day! My kids want to be Kindness Elves and we found these elf hats at Target that they haven't taken off since! Our local Dollar Tree also had elf hats if your kids want to be elves, too.

{2} Speaking of the Dollar Tree....when I saw our store's sign I laughed out loud. Love me some Dolla Tree!

{3} This had me cracking up all night.

{4} If you read this blog you know that despite not being vegan, I greatly prefer the Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders over real chicken. I had found them for $3.99 at Whole Foods originally so imagine my excitement when I found them at my local Target. Now imagine my excitement when I checked Cartwheel and there was a 25% off coupon. Come to mama.

 
{5} Elden has a loose tooth. Like, a visibly loose tooth. His dentist told us at his last visit that he had a few, but they weren't really noticeable. Now it wiggles like crazy and I am weeping. And Edith looks 13. Stop.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!