A Chicken and a Lion

We have chosen to not take our boys out Trick or Treating and in place of that we wanted to come up with a fun activity that we could do each year with them.
I thought about it for awhile and decided it would be fun to do something as a family for other people - what it is that we do will probably vary from year to year - this year we kept it quite simple.
I bagged up popcorn kernels, made a little label and instructions on how to make the popcorn and stapled it to the bag.

I only made 6 of these bags and it took us 3.5 hours to deliver them!! I'd originally thought of making more, but I am glad I had only done 6.

When the boys are older I think it would be fun to do something for more families and let the boys run out of the car, put the gift in front of the door, ring the doorbell and then run back to the car and we'd leave right away - I can see that appealing to young boys :)

But how we did it this evening was nice - we chatted with our friends, got to meet some of their extended family members, new pets and even see what some were eating for dinner :)
I feel like we got to know some of our friends better and we spent the time driving to the next home praying for each of the family members that live there.

I had bought these costumes for the boys ages ago when Old Navy had them marked down to 90% off - I a.d.o.r.e them!! Wesley is just so huggable and Judah looks hysterical as a chicken!!
Both of the boys enjoyed dressing up and I think I'll be watching for more costumes to go on clearance. I think after Christmas is when I got these costumes for such a steal.

Judah told me that he was "a monkey that says cock-a-doodle-doo!"

Align CenterHave a good weekend everyone!

Judah Funnies - another collection

I can't keep up with the funny things that come out of this boys mouth. He keeps us laughing all.the.time! It's so much fun!

Recently at dinner time I was trying to get him to eat something that he didn't want to eat and he said to me in all seriousness; "Lick it mommy. Kiss it. Put it on your head." I don't know why it struck us as so hilarious, but Paul now quotes that line a lot.

Dinner time seems to be the time for funnies - he was in the middle of eating something and out of the blue he said quite seriously; "Daddy. I want to fart in a spoon."
Paul's response made me laugh even harder; "Well son. We can't always have what we want."

A few weeks ago Judah came to me and said: “Mommy, I don’t like it when Daddy talks to me like that. He said ‘No jumping on the bed.’”

I have gotten Judah all hyped up about Christmas, even though he doesn't totally get what "Christmas" is. He talks about it a lot - he knows things I buy are being put away until Christmas and I have told him the Christmas story and we've even pulled out the nativity set and played with it a few times. Two weeks ago Judah saw a nativity scene set up in a store and yelled out loudly “LOOK MOMMY! THERE’S GOD!”

While dressing him the other day he looked down at his bare chest and said "Oh! There are my nipples. Hi nipples! We are going to go to the gym nursery today - yay!"

Judah was playing with one of his little plastic army men and he brought one to me and said "Mommy, his arms are tired. Pull this off." (taking about the gun the army man was holding.)



I had SO much fun doing this activity!! I found the template and instructions Here at First Palette.
Judah is a bit young to play with this book on his own, but he enjoys playing with it with me.
I printed 7 or 8 sheets and colored characters that he likes - swimmer, cowboy, soldier, nurse, etc. He only colored one himself.

When he is a bit older I think I will do this one with him again, but let him color all the characters himself. He's just a bit young for that part right now.


Rainy Day Race Track

I saw this idea while blog hoping a while ago and I can't remember where I saw it but I love this idea!! It is the perfect rainy day activity to do with two little boys.

I started the tape in the middle of our stair case and it goes in front of the couch, loops in a circle, goes around the side table and then back down behind the couch.

Parts of the track have black lines down the center to resemble a road - making the lines was part of the fun for Judah!

We have been using this all morning for cars, balancing, chasing, coloring, rolling - there are so many activities to be done with a roll of painters tape!

The only bad thing about it is that I used Paul's painters tape (sorry babe!!) I think the Dollar Tree sells some and while it's cheap quality it would be perfect for this activity!


Buying a New Mattress

When we got married our first apartment came fully furnished so we didn't have to consider what type of mattress to buy as we didn't need to buy one.

A couple months later Paul's Sgt was moving and selling all of her furniture so we bought most of it from her for an excellent deal - included in that furniture was a Queen mattress and box spring. That was 4.5 years ago and while we don't regret the thrifty purchase it is time for us to invest in our own mattress that meets our needs.

We have been thinking about purchasing a new mattress set for a couple of months now and imagine my delight when Tyler from www.csnmattresses.com contacted me about us working together on getting their name out there. I asked if he could get his team to put together a post about what to look for when buying a mattress and they did just that!

If you are considering purchasing a mattress be sure to follow the link on the bottom as there are more details there about what to be looking for when shopping for a mattress.

Mattress Buying Tips

There are many important factors to keep in mind when trying to find the right mattress. Here are some important ideas to consider when you start shopping for your new mattress set!

Support- A good mattress and foundation should gently support your body at all points, keeping your spine in the straight and aligned with the rest of your body. Pay special attention to the heaviest parts of your body. If there's too little support, you may develop back pain. Another great indicator of support is the coil count of a particular mattress. Don't rely on product labels to tell you which mattress will give you the right support. One manufacturer's "firm" may feel harder than another manufacturer’s “extra firm." The only real way to find out if the support is right is to lie down and test it yourself!

Comfort- Gone are the days when a mattress was nothing more than a bag of feathers. While Mattress Designs have evolved over the years, comfort and support remain the most important factor to consider. No longer does a mattress have to be a stiff board to be healthy for your sleep. A hard mattress is good for little else than putting your shoulders and hips to sleep, leaving you tossing and turning all night. Your best sleep occurs when bed cradles you providing both comfort and security. Today's top quality mattress sets from companies like Simmons Beauty Rest are built for superior comfort. Innovative new cushioning materials and extra-soft surface treatments create a plusher, more comfortable feel. You no longer have to sacrifice comfort in order to have healthy night’s rest.

Space- The average sleeper moves anywhere from 40-60 times a night, including a good dozen or so full body turns, cramped quarters can turn sleeping into a nightly battle. You need freedom of motion while you sleep which helps you to relax while falling asleep. If you sleep with a partner, be sure to select a queen or king size mattress. Not only are these lager sizes wider, but they are each several inches longer than the standard full size, which is comparable to a baby in a crib.

Durability- To guarantee good mattress performance over many years, buy the highest quality sleep set you can afford. The quality of the materials used in the mattress and how they are put together determines how long a mattress and box spring will last. A warranty won’t tell you how long to keep your mattress; it is just there to protect you against any product defects. A warranty may say it is usable after 20 years after purchase, but it's likely not giving you the good night's sleep that you deserve.

This is a great guide to help you evaluate whether or not it’s time for a new mattress for you - the E.A.S.E. METHOD.


Dollar Tree Love

The last few weeks Judah has been super interested in making crafts - only his version of the crafts are very boy-i-fied. Like the above "Alien Caterpillar." I adore his imagination.
Sometimes I wish I could take a trip into his head just to see how that boy thinks.

Anyways. Back to the crafts.
Our town has tons of dollar stores and by far the best dollar store is Dollar Tree - everything in Dollar Tree is truly $1 (or less) and they have a marvelous selection of things!
I have gotten so many fun craft items for the boys from Dollar Tree.

I was in Micheal's craft store yesterday and they had a lot of the same items but for way, way more - at least twice the price for the same quantity or less as the Dollar Tree.

Some of our craft purchases from there have been:
-Googly eyes
-Pipe Cleaners
-Foam shapes
-Popsicle sticks
-Paper Bags
-Paper Plates

I have also picked up a lot of really nice bins for organizing all of the craft items - similar to the ones I got for organizing my pantry.

If you have never checked out your local Dollar Tree I would highly recommend it!

And is anyone else totally excited that Christmas is exactly two months away?!?


Dealing with the "I don't want to" - Ideas Welcome!

I think we've just hit the hardest-to-deal-with (to date) stage of raising children. The "I don't want to" stage. For a few days I would venture to say that 90% of Judah's responses to us started with "I don't want to..."

We have by no means eliminated the "I don't want to" response, but we have seen a drastic decrease in the amount he says it and a huge change in his attitude over the last few days by changing a few things. We're not sure what specifically caused the change, so for now we're going to keep all of these things in play:

1. Paul (if he is home) or I sit down with him first thing in the morning and tell him that we don't want him saying "I not" or "I don't want to" today. We tell him what is punishment will be each time he says it (more on that in a minute) and we then pray with him and ask God to help him honor God by obeying without arguing. This is literally the first thing we do with him - it comes before changing his diaper even.

2. Even though Judah is only 2.5 and probably too young to grasp this concept we reinforce to him throughout the day that it doesn't matter if you want to do something or not - you still need to do it and you need to be joyful.
For example, Paul has casually brought up to Judah that he doesn't want to go to work and leave us at home because he misses us while he is gone but that he has to because it is his job to provide for us. Judah's response to that was "Oh ok. That's cool daddy."
I don't think he understands, but we want him to grow up with the understanding that we don't always get to do what we want to do but we need to always do what God has asked us to do - and for Judah that would be obeying his parents.

3. Because of the frequency of Judah's "I don't want to..." comments we had to get creative with a punishment - he would say it at home, in the store, at church - anywhere and everywhere. We tried many different things and the one we have found most efficient (we saw a HUGE difference within hours of doing this!) and have stuck with is making him do push ups. Each time he back talks and says "I don't want to..." I ask him to do 2-10 push ups depending on the situation. He has been doing push ups for several months now as a fun "lets be like daddy" type activity and so I wasn't sure at first how he would respond to it being used as a form of discipline.
I'm not kidding when I say that within a couple hours of using push ups the amount of arguing decreased noticeably.
What is really odd about it is that he doesn't mind doing the push ups - he would rather do push ups then be sent to his room, and yet push ups are a more efficient form of punishment than being sent to his room! I thought that was interesting.

4. On top of those things we have also completely eliminated all movies from his viewing - just prior to this "I don't want to" attitude he started to watch Bob the Builder or Curious George or a similar type shows once a day/every two days - we aren't convinced that his attitude is connected to the shows, but we decided to eliminate them completely just to see.

Like I said at the beginning, we haven't eliminated this attitude but it has decreased. We are finding ourselves ever more in need of God's wisdom and grace in knowing what to do and how to respond to our boys.

If you've been through this "I don't want to" stage I would love to hear your creative ideas for dealing with it! :) We're open to all ideas!


Contest Winner

Using random.org #8 was picked as the winner for the Sticker/Label Giveaway hosted by Uprinting.com. Congrats Amber!

Fish Food (Jello!)

Another fish related activity that I did with Judah this week was to make an edible fish aquarium. I found this fantastic see-through blue container at the Dollar Tree as well as the plastic water animals.

I washed those items really, really well before anything else :)

Then Judah and Wesley helped me make jello - this container held three packets of jello! We did it in layers and added fish on each level.

I added three straws at the very beginning and once all the jello had set I trimmed the straws so they only came as high as the jello and I stuck pipe cleaners in the straws to look like seaweed-y/grassy stuff. I know. It looks nothing like seaweed-y/grassy stuff. But use your imagination :)

Our final step was to add an alligator, seal, turtle and frog to the top of the jello.

Here it is from a side view:

I loved doing this activity with Judah - not only did it include "cooking" together, but he also got to learn the names of some water creatures he didn't previously know about (Seal!). We had a friend over for dinner the evening we served this and Judah was quite excited to show off his plate aquarium and his Jello aquarium.

Hooking up with Tasty Tuesday

Fish Aquarium Craft

We have been studying fish this week - as deeply as a 2.5 year old is able to study anything :)
I think he's had a lot of fun with it and he talks a lot about fish throughout the day.

One of the activities I did with him was to make a fish aquarium - it was so simple and I love how it turned out! We made two of them and put them back to back and currently have them hanging over our dining room table.

To make your own you will need:

- Two plates (I used blue to look like water)
- A baggie large enough to cover the hole you cut in the plate
- Scissors
- Double sided tape
- stapler
- fish stickers/shapes for them to color
- glitter glue (to make the waves and fish bubbles)
- ribbon for hanging

Cut a hole in the center of plate 1 and, using double sided tape, attach the baggie so you have a "window."

Attach fish and glitter to plate 2.

Staple the two plates together - making sure to staple the ribbon to the top and center.

Next up: Fishy Jello


Don't forget to enter yourself in the sticker/label giveaway that ends tomorrow!


An Evening at the Fair

Friday evening we took the boys to the South Carolina State Fair - we had so much fun together and Wesley and I even got to ride an elephant! Judah got scared at the last minute.
We didn't get there until after dark so I didn't take many pictures of the boys, but here they are enjoying some food:

I had packed some "fair like" food for them that I'd picked up at the grocery store the day before - it saved a TON of money and they were quite content eating their treats when surrounded by all the goodies sold at the fair.

The Midway was HUGE - there were three Ferris wheels and you couldn't see all three of them from the same spot. We didn't put the boys on any rides, but they loved walking through and looking at them all.
The lights against the black sky looked so cool:


Fabric Camera Strap Sewing Project

It's super hard to take a picture of ones camera strap when it is still attached to the camera! I have been holding off posting about this for over a week now as I was waiting to use another camera to get a full shot of this, but it didn't end up happening!

This project was so, so easy to make - and again, I didn't use a sewing machine so imagine how super easy it would be with a machine!! I bought 1 yard of fabric and using the 1 yard length I then cut it just a bit wider than 2x the width of my camera strap.
I folded the fabric so the design was on the inside and I sewed it in a straight line all the way down. Then I flipped it right way out and pulled it onto my camera strap. It took a little bit of tugging as it was a pretty tight fit (which is what I wanted) The ends I simply finished off with a safety pin tucked on the inside of the fabric, so you can't see it at all but it is secure and yet easy to remove when I tire of pastel colored butterflies.

Easy, cheery and delightful.

And now I have got to get a sewing machine! I have a couple other sewing projects I am working on and hand sewing takes forever.


A Little Bit of Normal, Remembered Forever

There are moments that happen that I think to myself "I want to remember this forever."

I have thought that over and over again when I see the boys step onto the same small foot stool to brush their teeth together - they giggle at each other, splash each other, talk to each other and simply be together. I cherish those moments each day when they share this little routine with each other and I know one day it will suddenly end without warning.

So one evening last week while they were absorbed in their teeth brushing I quietly took this picture of them and I love it. It captures so well a moment that I want to forever remember. I love that they don't even know I took a picture of them.

And it has challenged me to start looking at the every day normal to see what moments I can capture so I can remember them forever.


Where the Wild Things Are Snack Pack

Even though we aren't able to go see Where the Wild Things Are in theater tomorrow I thought I would show you the Monster Munch snack pack I made up for Judah for when we do go (should be Monday afternoon!)

I included some Teddy Grahams and a Pretzel Mix.

Some green Gatorade that got relabeled as "Monster Slime" with a "drink at your own risk" label.

I also included a fruit roll up that came in a box labeled "Wild One" - the box has a variety of "wild" prints on the actual candy. I thought it was cute and tied in well with the Wild Thing theme.

All of this was put in a large zip lock bag, with a label stapled to the top and another one taped to the front. A friend of ours gave us this adorable Max doll and I have Max sitting on the shelf holding the bag of treats just waiting for us!

Linking up to Tasty Tuesday

UPDATE: I just want to say thank you to those that left their opinions about the movie not being appropriate for little ones. We read some reviews and, sadly, agree. We won't be taking Judah to see this one, but will still enjoy this snack with another special movie or perhaps while reading the book.

Sticker/Label Giveaway

Uprinting.com is offering another sweet giveaway to my readers - and I am rather excited about this one!!

Giveaway Prize Details
250 Stickers/Labels for One (1) lucky winner
Sizes: 2” x 3.5”, 2” x 4”, or 3” x 3”
Paper: 70 lb Label Matte
Specifications: Full color front, blank back; 4 Business Day printing

Did you see that?! 250 Stickers/labels!! I am so excited about this - the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can turn them into address labels. Or turn them into personalized labels for your Christmas baking/crafts. Or take a favorite photograph and turn it into a sticker. Or a favorite bible verse or quote. You can make these into whatever you can think of! Check out the possibilities for Sticker Printing on their website.

To enter yourself in this contest all you need to do is leave a comment telling me what you would do with these labels if you won.

Shipping is free within the USA and while Canadians are welcome to enter they will have to pay shipping and taxes.

Uprinting.com is giving me 250 of these labels in exchange for doing this giveaway and I am going to turn mine into address labels - if the winner would like I would be happy to design an address label for the winner too.

The contest will close on October 22.

You can get extra entries by blogging, twittering or facebooking about this.


Monster Pillow

Where the Wild Things Are is coming to theaters this Friday, so we've got monsters on our mind here! I was planning on taking Judah opening day to see the movie but we've made other plans for the weekend so our movie date will have to wait until next week. I am SO excited about this movie!! We have been reading the book nearly every day since early summer.

Last week I decided to try my hand at sewing Judah a monster stuffed animal. I used crayons to color a monster on an old pillow case, set it with an iron and then cut around the drawn image. Then I sewed it up, stuffed it and Judah now has his very own Wild Thing. (It was never suppose to resemble any of the Wild Things from the book!! Just sayin. My drawing abilities aren't THAT bad.)

It was so.so.so easy to make - and I don't even own a sewing machine! I hand stitched that monster. But with a sewing machine it would have been *extremely* easy to make!


Finger Painting

We have been enjoying a variety of arts and crafts lately and one of my favorite ones has been finger painting.

Wesley jumped right in and used both hands and smeared his colors all over his page.

Judah used just his fingers and was a bit more orderly.

I love seeing their differences :)

When they were finished doing their pictures Paul helped me cover their palms in paint and we put their hand prints on a canvas. Paul and I added our own to the canvas and we plan to hang it up somewhere in the house.

I recently discovered this amazing blog CRAFTY CROW that contains an enormous collection of kids crafts - check it out if you're looking for some ideas to do with your own children.


Yard Sale Finds

One of the things I love about living in the South is that yard sale season lasts foreeeeever!

A friend and I went to two yard sales this morning - one being hosted at a school and the other being hosted at a church. While it is sometimes hard to work up the motivation to take two little boys out on a Saturday morning to yard sales it is almost impossible to pass up church or school hosted sales - there is generally a huge selection and the prices can not be beat! Especially when you get there near the end of the sales, which we did today!

At the school sale the lady told my friend and I she would take a "bundle" price of $10 for everything we had picked out - that was a steal!! I had about 20 pieces of clothing plus other items.
We each paid $5 and here are some of the other items I got:

A large wooden firetruck - Judah is playing with it now but once he goes to bed I will put it away and it will be a Christmas gift.

A brand new-with-tags Steve Madden clutch - it is so cute!! And has a $55 price tag still on it!! It was originally only .50 cents and I cannot believe it was still there so late in the morning!!

While the purse was the most exciting price-point wise this locket has to be one of my favorite finds. I have been looking for a locket JUST like this for a couple weeks now - I've seen a few nice ones online but had a hard time spending the money on one without seeing it first. I had looked through several department stores for a locket and hadn't found anything like what I was looking for.
As silly as it sounds, I prayed about it and that I could find the perfect locket and I did for pennies. It's one of those simple little things that makes me fall more in love with my awesome God - a simple thing and yet profound. Like the Birthday Boots.

Moving on to the church sale - it was a consignment sale so the prices were a bit higher or yard sale prices, but still good :)

I bought this magnetic/wooden Melissa and Doug chore chart for $3 - I have it all set up and ready to start using with Judah tomorrow.

Have you seen this movie yet? Paul and I love it. It was on our "to own" list and when they had it there for $3 I couldn't pass it up.

1 dozen toddler socks - $3
I marvel at the fact that people can come up with 1 dozen matching, clean, un-hole-y toddler socks to resell. My boys both have an odd fascination with socks and are often seen wearing them on their feet and hands around our house. And about 80% of the time they have mismatched socks on under their shoes.
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