Friday, December 21

Christmas cards

I was waiting until I received word from people that they received our Christmas cards before I shared them online. I wasn't certain I was going to be able to get them all finished in time and thought they may end up turning into Happy New Year cards, but I managed to get them done!

The big surprise this year about our cards is that our family photo includes Hurley. Now, I know it's a completely normal thing to have people have their dogs in their family photos, but for us, it isn't. He is hard to handle, and with his health problems lately, even more hard to handle. Those health problems are the main reason we went ahead and had our favorite photographer try to work with us and get some good photos of Hurley (and us with Hurley) if anything sad were to happen.

I am very happy we went ahead and did it, as the following day,  he had another seizure and we found a lump on his side. Mark took him to the vet and they believe the lump is a fat deposit, but want us to keep an eye on it. We have also had to increase his daily medication to 4, instead of 3, pills. We weren't happy about this, as we have noticed changes in him that are side effects of the medication; weight gain, irritability, depression, sleepiness, eating and drinking excessively, etc. What else is there to do? We have to trust our vet about this and just pray - he is our first baby and we will do anything for him!

Anyway, if you can even try to imagine a photo session that included our hyper giant dog, a two-year-old that skipped his nap, and Mark (you know what I mean if you've ever tried to take a picture of this guy), it was a difficult task! Luckily, Cris did an amazing job and we were able to get a pretty good photo of all of us and one very pretty picture of our best friend:

As for the Christmas cards, I wanted something a little different than just a family photo with a warm holiday wish for everyone next to it. I decided to create a small little letter from Dylan to let everyone know briefly what we were up to. I put a little red tractor at the top because that would be perfect stationery from him. I rounded all of the corners of the letters and the photos by hand. Did you read that last part? BY HAND. EVERY CORNER. Then, I tied them with some twine together and packaged them up to go. Of course, the post office frowned at the string bows inside and made me pay .65 cents to mail each one, instead of the regular rate. Go figure. I hope everyone that received one enjoyed it!

And... since this post is about Christmas cards, I have to say each year my disappointment grows more and more with the lack of people that actually send them. Is it just me, or does it seem like the stack gets smaller every year? People need to stop being lazy and do more! If you love getting Christmas cards and sending them, please let me know and I can add you to our address list to include you next year! :) I will get off of my soap box now and show you the cards, or lack thereof,  that we received that I taped up on the kitchen pantry door to display. See all of those crazy bright red arrows? Those are the cards that I made for others this year...

Tuesday, December 18

Gym class Christmas gifts

Today, Dylan was able to deliver his Christmas gifts to his friends that are in his gym class. They were all so sweet, but we will have to hold on to a couple of them, as some of the kiddos missed today.

I found these adorable Christmas books called, The Sweet Smell of Christmas. I have never heard of it before, but I am so glad I found them now! The story goes through all different smells that you smell during Christmas time and then has these scratch-n-sniff stickers in parts of it, so they can actually smell the things - pine trees, hot cocoa, oranges, candy canes, etc. I kept one for Dylan and smelled it and they smell so realistic and amazing! You can buy one here.

I made a package little personalized silhouette bookplates for each of the kids to go with their book and to put in the books they have at home, too. I called the gym a few weeks ago to make sure I had the spellings correct for each of their names. I love how they turned out!

Monday, November 19

thanksgiving gifts

I am going to spoil the surprise for some, but I thought some of you might want to know what we are giving as little Thanksgiving gifts this week. I don't really think Thanksgiving gifts are necessary, but it's a nice gesture, if you have time. Last year we did these little cards and mailed them out to some family and friends.

I didn't want to do anything expensive, just something small and cute for some people this year. So, we made some little turkey bags for Dylan's gym class friends that he will give to them after class. I just filled a brown paper bag with animal crackers and a juice box and then used my silhouette machine to cut out the feathers, eyes, gobble gobble message, etc. and glued them on to it. Nothing too exciting, but all of the moms are always grabbing little snacks out of our bags right after class and I thought just taking a little snack would be nice.

For our Mom's this year, I embroidered a plain white dish towel ($2.00 for a two-pack at WalMart) to say "Happy Thanksgiving 2012! Love, Dylan" and then we painted his hand with fabric paint like a turkey and smashed it down on the towels. He HATED it! He hates getting dirty, I mean, seriously, hates it. He was crying the entire time because his hand was dirty. My hands were all wet trying to hold him from crying so much! It's kind of funny, poor kid. He was MUCH better when we finished the towels, washed his hand off, and them gave him a paint brush and paper and let him go to town.

While I was picking up the dish towels, I grabbed an extra set and embroidered them with a white letter L and a circle border around it for my cousin, our hostess, on Thanksgiving day. It's kind of hard to see in the picture since it is white, but I thought all white would be classier than my child's turkey hand-print that only Grandparents appreciate. So fancy, right? lol

Sunday, November 18

make your own hair ties

Are you loving the cute hair tie trend like the Emi Jay hair ties? Celebrities and anyone who is anyone is wearing them! They don't leave creases in your hair and look cute just tied around your wrist, too!

They are selling anywhere from 4 hair ties for $10.00 and up! I am guilty for buying some and then looking at them, it is so easy to make your own (and WAY cheaper!) You just buy some 5/8" fold-over elastic from any craft store, but I got mine online here.

I bought tons of colors and some in glitter and have made like 100 hair ties and still have elastic left over! I was just looking through the colors and picked my favorites and would get 1 or 2 yards of each one. I spent about $18.00 total. I made some regular size hair ties and some headband size, too, because I use those while in the shower and while working out. It's the EXACT same stuff they are selling at crazy prices. The EXACT same stuff Jennifer Aniston is wearing in her hair, too.

Here are the easy steps to make your own:
1. measure (about 9 inches)
2. cut
3. fold over in half
4. tie a knot
5. wear it!

Wednesday, November 14

Dylan's Christmas Advent Calendar

Terrible blogger. I can't say it enough. I haven't even blogged about Dylan's birthday party! Life has just been a little hectic lately since Mark is busy stripping cotton. That's when it becomes just me & Dylan all day, every day. He keeps me busy. I made myself hurry and try to get his Christmas advent calendar made yesterday. I looked at the real calendar and realized that we might be so busy during Thanksgiving, I might not get another chance to get it made by December 1st.

I have searched and searched for cute advent calendars and loved the idea of the drawstring bags as soon as I saw those. I ordered some canvas bags from Paper Mart. Of course, they come in a pack of 24, so I ended up ordering two packs! Not like that is a bad thing because I am sure I will find other uses for the little bags! The calendar bags really turned out cute and I can't wait to fill them and see how much he loves it. It was really easy to make, too. I'm going to tell you how I did it, in case you're interested. I have seen people actually sew the numbers on the bags, but that would take forever and be a pain, so I opted for freezer paper and fabric paint, which was a good call! Here is what you need:
1. freezer paper
2. canvas bags (your choice - here is where I got mine)
3. fabric paint
4. sponge brush for painting
5. razor blade to cut numbers and help peel freezer paper off after painted
6. small piece of cardboard to put inside to help the paint not bleed
7. bowl for paint
8. iron & ironing board

First, you cut out your numbers. If you have a cutting machine like the Silhouette or Cricut, that's extra easy, but if you don't, you can still do it! You will just need to print the numbers off on paper, trace them to freezer paper, and cut them out with a razor blade. I suggest finding someone that has a cutting machine, or hey, here is another reason (like you need one) to go buy one of these machines for yourself! ;) I have the Silhouette Cameo, so this part was easy!

Then, I set all of the numbers out. After you have all of your numbers cut out, take a canvas bag, put the piece of cardboard inside of it, and iron a number stencil on.

After you iron the number on the bag, you'll go ahead and paint it. After you have painted the number, slip the piece of cardboard out and set the bag to the side to dry. I know it is tempting, but let it dry for a while before you pull the freezer paper off (the best part!) and go ahead and go on to the next bag and repeat the process (25 times!) Once the paint is dry, you can pull the freezer paper off and throw it away and you will see your super cute design!

That's it! I am not sure where I am going to hang them yet. I am looking for some red gingham ribbon to hang them with, and haven't found any yet. I have also been slowly collecting little things to put inside of them. He isn't really into candy, except lollipops, and I would prefer them to not be filled all with candy, either. I have liked the idea of little coupon inside some of them that have a Christmas activity to do for that day. I might do that next year. I don't think he will understand a piece of paper saying something to do this year. I have been gathering items from the dollar bins at Target, like little books, colors, cars, animal crackers, snacks, toothbrushes, etc. that will go inside of them this year.

Thursday, November 1

Trick-or-Treating 2012

Dylan had a lot of fun this year actually trick-or-treating for Halloween! The day before, he took some goodies for his friends at his Little Gym class. We also took the flashlights for our friends last night that we went trick-or-treating with. I just bought orange and black flashlights from Dollar Tree (and the batteries) and added a cute tag. I am not a huge fan of giving candy as Halloween treats since they get overwhelmed with so much of it, anyway.

I decided that I would make Dylan a simple pirate costume this year. He wasn't about to dress up in some ridiculous (ridiculously cute!) costume like last year, so I had to go with something that was more like just some normal clothes that he might not notice he was wearing. I chose a pirate because he was actually always willing to wear his Captain Feathersword hat all of the time! Not nearly as cute as the chicken last year (I'm not sure it will ever get cuter than that), but cute enough! ;)
After we got dressed, we headed over to our friend's house to meet-up and take the kids trick-or-treating together. We all brought something to snack on and, oh my gosh, there were some treats TO. DIE. FOR. You guys are all so lucky, because I am going to share the best recipes with you (and the easiest!) I took my favorite Pumpkin Cupcakes and I don't think they were even close to as good as the Ranch Sausage Taco bites or Caramel Toffee Apple dip that was there! Seriously. These two things were SO GOOD! Not only are they so amazing, they are crazy easy to make, too!
After eating ALL of the amazing snacks, we took the kids around the neighborhood to trick-or-treat. Dylan did great and loved going up to the doors and saying, "Ticka teet" and "tink ewe". ADORABLE. I laughed so hard a couple of times at Dylan. At one door, the sweet lady let him pick out his candy from the basket and he chose a lollipop, then quickly said, "another" and grabbed another one. Don't worry, he told everyone "tink ewe"!
We had a lot of fun! We have never really had too much fun on Halloween, but we LOVED it this year and can't wait until next time!

Thursday, October 4

Dylan's Wiggle Invitations

OK, I think that everyone that was supposed to receive an invitation to Dylan's birthday party has gotten theirs now. There was a little hiccup in the mailing department with them. They really weren't that bulky or heavy, but apparently the post office disagrees with me. They were all stamped with postage due of $0.20. For some reason, most of them were delivered to the recipient anyway. Others had theirs returned to me and I had to add an extra stamp and send them back. I guess that postman doesn't care about politeness and did not care if it said to "pretty please deliver". I mean, obviously, I would have gotten more expensive custom stamps made if I would have known, but hey, all is good now.

I am not going to lie, I felt a little bit of pressure with these invitations. I have been making party invitations for quite a lot of people this year and this was my kid's invitations. They needed to be spectacular, but not too over-the-top. I would go to bed and lay there thinking about what they would look like, etc. I finally got a design in my mind and I could not have been happier with how they turned out. The little surprise for everyone was when they opened the invitation, they play music! I sat and recorded the 'Wiggly Party' song on greeting card recorders and attached them to the inside (that is the little white tab you see to the left of the actual invite).

I did not want any detail overlooked and so, I had matching address labels, return address labels, and stamps. They were fun to make and one that will be hard to top next year! :)

Friday, September 28

Dylan learning on iPad

When I bought the iPad for Father's Day for Mark. The intention was honestly for them to use it together. Dylan has taken to it much more than Mark and I am very pleased with what he has learned from it! I spend quite a bit of time looking for great children's educational apps for Dylan and some are amazing, others... not so much. I thought that you may want to take a look at the apps that I think are worth buying and that he loves if you have an iPad and if you let your child use it.

Here is a short clip of Dylan playing the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox game. It's really cute when he is playing it and when he completes a task he quietly says "yay!" to himself!

Here is a screen shot of Dylan's games and his books... 

Some of his favorites are free, and some others are not. Here is the link to the favorties:

The favorites are:
1. My First App Vehicles - this is great to watch him play! It has a puzzle that has the front of a vehicle on one side and the back of it on the other, pretty much a picture of a firetruck cut in half, and many other vehicles. He uses his finger to scroll through and find the matching front and back to the correct vehicle.

2. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox - This is the app he is playing in the video I took today. It's just loaded with tons of math skills for toddlers! Counting, matching, colors, shapes, and the list goes on. It's amazing watching how he has "grown" with this app and some of the things that he understands on it now that he didn't before. I love watching him put the broken piece of fruit together on this one. He is so smart!

3. The Wiggles Alphabet Adventure - We got this because, well duh, he loves The Wiggles! I am pleasantly surprised that it is an interactive alphabet that is pretty darn good! He can play instruments on it and I love watching him count to 10 on the N - Numbers slide.

4. I Hear Ewe - This seems like a boring app, but he loves it! You touch a picture of an animal or vehicle and the voice tells you what it is and then makes the realistic sound that it makes. You can turn the man's voice on or off, too. He has learned many animal sounds from this app!

5. Finding Nemo: Storybook Deluxe - This is one of the most expensive story apps, but he has taken a big interest in it lately. It's a great interactive storybook and it can read to him, he can read it himself, or play the games that go with it. He lets it read to him and I like that it highlights the words as it is reading. I also like that it stays on the page after reading the text and he can touch the fish and it will tell him the names of each of them. He knows who Nemo is now and hasn't even watched the movie!

6. Miss Spider's Bedtime Story - This has always been one of his favorite interactive storybooks because you can play the games, read the story, or watch the video. He likes watching the video the best and playing with the puzzles. He always call them "bugs" and loves to watch them on TV, too!

I hope that this list is helpful to anyone that allows their kids to play on the iPad. It is a great learning tool for kids and great for education!

Tuesday, September 25

jump, jump, jump

Today was Dylan's first day at The Little Gym! He enjoyed it and I think it was really fun! They are very laid back and let the kids run around and play. It's amazing how the kids just run to the center when we would all clap our hands and sing. They would go explore all of the fun things to climb, swing, jump, and bounce on, and then when we would go to the big circle on the mat, they would follow our lead. Dylan impressed many with his monkey swinging skills. He would just grab on the bars and start swinging himself back and forth like it was no big deal.

I love that the class has other kids the same age, just within a few months of each other. The staff is all so super sweet and go way out of their way to get to know your child and interact with them! Of course, he had to tell everyone about tractors and captains (pirates) that spoke to him. He's going to be bummed that we don't get to go tomorrow, since it's only once a week! He's already been asking about "gene lass" (gym class) and keeps trying to talk about all of the balls and bubbles he played with! I only took one picture of him before we went in so I could put my camera down and play with him. So, here he is saying "Cheese!" on his first day! :)

There was more jumping and playing for our monkey this past weekend at his cousin, Kayla's, birthday party! We all had fun at Bodyworks playing on all of their new trampolines and sky ropes course. Dylan was very upset that he wasn't able to do all of the things that the big kids were doing, because he thinks can do everything, too! Mark and I snuck him into the trampolines and decided to play with him until they kicked us out since you have to be three years or older, but the refs never blew their whistles at us and Dylan had a great time! He did so well jumping and playing like a big boy! Mark took Kati up on the sky ropes course and ended up doing the entire thing backwards to help her through it. It was fun watching and cheering them on the whole way! They did great!

And... here is a sneak peek at what went out in the mail today. I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone that will be getting one this week, so this is the only picture for now and then I will show you more later... ;)

Sunday, September 23

You're welcome!

I'm not even going to start on the crazy rant about how long it's been since I blogged. I know. I'm now the world's worst blogger ever, but I promise I am going to make it up to you RIGHT NOW! How am I going to do this? With the most amazing recipe you will ever read. Mark and I recently discovered these secret energy bites and can't get enough of them. Mark is constantly grabbing one to take in a little baggie to someone to show them how great they are. They are incredibly healthy, give you energy, and taste like you're eating something terrible for you (a.k.a. good!) Go to the store this week and get the ingredients, make them, and then send me a sweet thank you card in the mail (who doesn't love real mail?!) because you will LOVE them! Here ya go... you're welcome ;)

Oh, and because you have missed my awesome blog posts for months now, here is a cute little collage of pictures of Dylan's first trip to the Dallas Zoo that we went to in July and I never got around to posting about it.

What's been going on with us in the meantime? I have taken up 'running'. I just run on the treadmill at home every. single. day. for about 2 miles. That is about the amount of time I can stay on there without Dylan getting very upset with me and unplugging the machine. I have been working up to the amount I am running every day since August and it sounds so pathetic, but I started out by walking 2 minutes, running 2 minutes, and so on until I got to a total of 20 minutes on there. Each week, I have increased the 2 minutes of running by 1 more minute, and now, we are at the point where I am running for 6 minutes, walking for 2, and I repeat this step until I have reached 2 miles.

I have been able to tell a difference with how my clothes are fitting and how I am feeling, but not with my weight. Not like it matters if you still weigh the same when you can wear clothes you felt fat in before!

I have also been spending a lot of time working on Dylan's birthday party plans and all of the stuff that comes along with it! The invitations were finally finished today and will be going out in the mail within the next week! I am pretty sure they took more steps to put together than crazy wedding invitations. If you've ever had to create an assembly line with your wedding invitations, you know what I am talking about!

Dylan starts his gym class at the Little Gym on Tuesday. I will be sure to let everyone know how that goes. I am also thinking about doing his swimming lessons AGAIN on Monday and Wednesday evenings during October to give him something to do. He loves going to the pool! We will see if I decide on doing that or not.

Don't forget to thank me for the cookie "balls", as we call them, after you try them! Seriously!

Saturday, July 28

The Wiggles!

We made it back from The Wiggles concert and Dylan had the best time ever! Of course, as soon as we arrived, I stood in the hour long line to purchase Wiggles junk treasures. Well worth it, though! ;) Dylan started getting very excited once he would look around and see other people with Wiggles bags and shirts on.

For about the first 20 minutes of the show, he looked like he was in pure shock. He just sat there staring at them with his mouth wide open. Then, he started realizing what was actually happening and started singing, clapping, dancing, pointing, and yelling! lol

We had great seats - on the very end of the row and the first row of the first level. So, we had the little area where people can walk right in front of us and the kids would run there to dance for a little bit. It was also fun because it was the area right where the actual Wiggles would walk by to get things from the audience and say 'hello'. Dylan even got a high-five from Murray (after we were all yelling at him and Murray saw his shirt and called his name so he would realize that he was standing right beside him!) Lucky kiddo! :)