Building Our Story

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Fresh Holiday Card with Minted

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post with a credit for use on All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

I have a confession, one of the reasons I adore getting holiday family photos taken is to pick out our Christmas card after the photos are done.  It's true.  I go through pages of holiday picture cards trying to find the perfect one that fits our family and I love it.  Over the years I have found that other photo cards you can create are pretty much the same year after year.  That was until I started using Minted.  If you have been around here for anytime you know that we have used Minted for our photo card needs for years.  

I know you are wondering why I feel like Minted is any different than the others but once you start browsing their selection of cards you will also understand. Minted is known for their high quality and unique designs of cards, not to mention chic stationary and other gifts. The reason why I adore the Minted 2015 holiday card collection is because the designs, shapes and color collections available are so different than any other holiday card collection.

Now, I need you!  Time to help me decide which card to use this year!  All of these are great cards and that is why I am having a hard time picking just one.  Tell me what you think of these few.  

This one is simple yet full of a great message that we truly hope our friends and family take to heart.  I love the clean lines and simple boxes for multiple photos.  Oh and that font is fantastic too!

Okay, this is such a funny card!  I love that you can totally customize it.  The only thing that I am not sure about is that we only have two kids.  Would we make a report on us as mom and dad maybe??  Thoughts!?

Classic in my mind.  Great way to have a big space for a family picture and then a few small spaces for some kiddos pictures.  This particular card can also be changed to read for Holiday and New Year.  Great options.  

This is the card I think I am loving.  Even did a preview of how we would look in the card.  The color goes great with our outfits in our photos and I am really digging the simple looks this year.  I still think this might be our favorite.  Time will tell.  

Because all of the talk is around Black Friday deals you better believe that Minted wants to share the holiday fun with you on this day too!  Check out the amazing Black Friday deals you can get in on!  Time for me to make my final decision and SOON!  These are deals you cannot pass up.  High quality and unique holiday cards on sale?  Yes please!


So tell me?  What card would you choose for us?

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Be Blessed

As you sit down today with family and friends to enjoy a Thanksgiving Meal, remember that it is not about what we say about our blessings but how we use them.  Be blessed and use your blessings today and in the year to come.  

Thanksgiving quotes, thanksgiving pictures, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving clip art

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for all of you every day!  

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jude's New Belt and Taekwondo Class

It has been a very eventful couple of months since Jude has started TaeKwondo - and super successful too!  When we first enrolled Jude into his first Taekwondo class were were not really sure how it would go but after months of practice and dedication it is pretty clear that Jude is really enjoying this sport but also improving!

Earlier this month he not only got his first orange belt in the Tigers class but his teacher also suggested that he move from the Tigers group to the Tigers Leadership class!  What a great accomplishment for Jude.  

Jude did great during his orange belt testing even though he was pretty nervous.  These belt ceremonies are a lot of fun for the parents because we get to really see how much our kids have retained.  It is great to see how much Jude has improved too.  He still has a long way to go but the dedication is there!  I love seeing him enjoy a sport and activity this much!

Mrs. Turner is Jude's favorite instructor so it is always great when she gets to present him with his new belt.  

So proud!!  And ready for the next level of classes!!  In the Tiger Leadership class he will get to spar and use weapons - this boy is totally excited for that!  We will see how he does in the coming months!  


Have you or your children ever participated in Taekwondo?  What changes did you see in yourself or child while enrolled in these classes? 

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The Kids Took Over The TV Again...Now What???

It happens a lot, mostly on those cold weekends before bedtime - TV take over. It's true and the struggle is real. There are times that bright colored puppets and singing mice take over our TV screen. Oh parenthood, you are so fun!

The Kids Took Over The TV Again...Now What???

On those days that the TV becomes a kid friendly zone and I want to catch up on my favorite NBC shows I can! With TVEverywhere you can watch the latest full episodes of NBC shows the day after they air, plus a live stream of your local NBC station. Ready to find a new show to enjoy every week? Try The Voice, The Blacklist, Heroes Reborn, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and my favorite Chicago Med. TVEverywhere is just that, I simply grab my laptop and get away from the crazy kid shows!

After I saw how easy it was to use my laptop to gain my TV access back I also found out that I can totally binge watch some of these shows too! Perfect way to enjoy a cold evening at home. Sign in with your TV provider username and password to watch the latest episodes of ALL NBC shows the day after they air on TV – and even complete seasons of select series!

Have you experienced Chicago Med yet?

Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand) delivers “Chicago Med” — the newest installment of the compelling “Chicago” franchise — an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s newest state-of-the-art trauma center and into the lives of the courageous doctors, nurses and staff who hold it all together.

Bold and ever-capable E.R. attending physician Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell, “Arrow”) is the newest doctor on staff at Chicago Med. Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss, “Shameless”) is an Ivy League-trained trauma surgeon and brother of CPD’s Det. Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer). Halstead practiced medicine in New York for 10 years before returning to his Windy City roots and is the epitome of reliability, both in and out of the hospital. Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt, “The Big C”), Med’s Chief of Psychiatry, possesses remarkable insight into his patients and is off-the-charts intelligent in all subjects but his own personal life. Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson, “Law & Order”), the venerable head of Chicago Med, expects the very best from her people as she balances the tremendous pressures of running the city’s largest hospital, and always with a sense of humanity that allows her doctors to provide the very best care possible.

Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto, “The Vampire Diaries”) specializes in emergency pediatric medicine and is completely focused and dedicated to her patients, despite being in the third trimester of her pregnancy. Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee, “Jurassic World”) found his calling in medicine while serving as a Navy flight surgeon. Currently on away rotation, he is a tireless yet impulsive doctor who is well-versed in infectious diseases. First-year intern Dr. Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo, “Jane the Virgin”) is a super proficient overachiever who has never struggled at anything, but who may soon find that, for the first time, she’s in over her head. April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta, “I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story”) is a smart, bold and intuitive ER nurse who is the lifeblood of the emergency room. She loves the action inside the hospital and is as loyal as they come.

Together, they will confront Chicago’s most critical medical cases and challenging ethical dilemmas with courage, compassion and state-of-the-art treatment. Inspired by ripped-from-the-headlines cases, “Chicago Med” will weave cutting-edge medicine with the personal drama that comes with working in such a high-intensity environment. Through it all, familiar faces from “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” will intertwine with Chicago’s newest medical heroes.

Dick Wolf, Andrew Schneider, Diane Frolov, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Danielle Gelber, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers. “Chicago Med” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films.

I am telling you - this is a show that you will get hooked on just like I have. I love all shows about emergency rooms but this one is an absolute favorite! 

Now that I have found a way to watch TV Without the TV I am set!  Go ahead kiddos - take over the TV!

What is your favorite NBC show currently?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday Festivities and Marijuana

Sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

It is a topic of conversation that is becoming less and less taboo, especially in Colorado. Maybe it has been brought up in your home too? What topic am I referring to? The use of retail marijuana and the changes that have come about with the legalization of retail marijuana.  

Before anyone leaves thinking I am promoting the use or NOT promoting the use of the product - this is not a post about that at all!  What we are discussing today is the upcoming holiday festivities and how retail marijuana may or may not come into play.  First and foremost, as a parenting blogger I am promoting responsibility and that is what I hope to drive home today with my readers!  


As those fun holiday parties and events start showing up on the calendar we do not often think about the use of alcohol at those festivities but the idea of marijuana use might be on your mind.  The fact is, retail marijuana is legal in Colorado but only if you are over 21, which is why taking responsibility and having a plan is so important.   The legalization of retail marijuana is relativity new which means people may still be unaware of the laws and the effects of all things pot.  

Know the Facts:

Seems pretty easy to be in the know right? Well, first you must educate yourself and then move onto your children. Make it clear that while Colorado has made it legal for adults over the age of 21 to buy and use retail marijuana, youth are not in that age group and for good reason! Their brains are still developing, and therefore the use can be unhealthy for youth. 

Once you have educated yourself and had an informative discussion with your children, it is time to move to the party scene. Maybe you are a user, maybe not, but the bottom line is this is a topic that will come up. Just like people getting a DUI for driving after drinking too much, you can also get a DUID - meaning getting high before your drive and driving under the influence.  Be aware of the consequences when having fun this holiday season!

Another great thing to keep in mind is the storage of your marijuana product. If you are planning to have a party or event in your home with people under 21 years old, it's time to be mindful of your storage!  Tip: Keep marijuana that may be in the house out of reach of children; store all marijuana products in a locked area out of reach and out of sight; keep marijuana products in the same child resistant packaging they came in from the store.

While it is not my place to tell you or anyone if you should or shouldn't partake in the use of retail marijuana. I will say is this: educate yourself, your family and your children about the use and laws of retail marijuana as well as keeping this topic on your mind this holiday season.  No one wants to see a friend or family member hurt during a season of celebration so let's promote responsibility - starting now!  

For more information please visit the awesome Good to Know website and thank you to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment for opening the conversation this holiday season.

Have you started thinking about your expectations for your guests and family this holiday season concerning Marijuana use?  

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Creative Play with Bunchems!

I have talked about my favorite time of the year being fall here in Colorado and believe me, that is true but I will say that being a parent during the fall and winter seasons in Colorado can be difficult.  The cold comes quick and that means that we no longer can head outdoors and get the kids moving and having fun.  Yikes!  If your kids are anything like ours, you have to have things planned for them to stay involved with inside play.  About this time every year, I make sure to stock up with new creative inside play items and kits for the kids to do on days that are just too cold to head outside.

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A few months ago, I saw Bunchems in the craft and activity section while trying to pick out a birthday gift for a friend, the adorable characters on the box had me wondering what these were. When I went back to the store I decided to add this kit to our cold day creative play closet. When I brought out the kit both of the kids were so excited to see what these little "furry" balls were all about. Disclosure - they are not furry but that is what Teagan calls them! Adorable!

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Bunchems are colorful little balls that stick to each other and build like no other. Clean up is a breeze because they stick to each other. Get it? Bunch em! The name is just as creative as the kit! With two kids who are pretty creative and artsy it is sometimes messy when we get creative play kids like this BUT Bunchems is different. NO clean up, no glue needed, no other tools needed for hours of creative play. Love that.

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The mega pack comes with over 400 pieces to get creative. Eight different colors of Bunchems and fun additions to make each character come to life. Hats, legs, eyes, mouths, wings, and other fun decorations. The instructions are simple - Squish, Connect and Create! Easy enough!

Bunchems Mega Pack, what are Bunchems, Creative Play for kids, indoor activities, Bunchems Mega Pack kit, Christmas Ideas for Kids

We cleared off the living room table one afternoon and let the kids go crazy. Not only were they able to use the hundreds of Bunchems to make their own creations but they also loved reading the directions for some suggested characters too. I loved seeing Teagan pick out her first creation, a unicorn, and count out the colors of Bunchems she needed to create the cute unicorn. We decided that while this was a kit for creative play we could also see the learning opportunities while she was finding the correct colors and numbers of Bunchems needed. Mom and Dad approved!!

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The Bunchems Mega Pack allows your kiddos to build 36 amazing 3D creations including: owls, bears, octopi, cars and so much more! Check out some of our finished projects! Jude's first creation was a too cool bat and Teagan's favorite creation was her unicorn. So pretty!!

Jude is one of those kids that loves doing crafts but gets distracted easily. This kit was not like that for Jude. He literally played with the Bunchems for a couple of hours all on his own! He was able to create and recreate multiple characters and was so proud of himself when the creation was successful. I love finding products like this that fit both of my kids levels (3 and 5) and give them some great time to concentrate on something fun.

Age: 3-5
Suggested Retail Value Price: $24.99
Sold at all major retailers.

Add this creative play kit to your kid's wish list for hours of endless creations and possibilities with out the mess of other craft kits! No mess, No glue, No Fuss!

What fun creation would you make with your kids with these fun Bunchems?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Ready To Explore This Winter Season?

Thank you to Sierra Trading Post for sponsoring this post. 

One of the best things about the changing seasons is the changing of adventures.  Now that the signs of winter have shown it's face around Colorado we are really ready to enjoy some family time out in the snowy weather.  This weekend we met up with our favorite family photographer for our yearly holiday pictures and lucky for us we had just had a fresh blanket of snow fall the evening before.  It was beautiful but super cold.  With the beauty of the snow out in the park the kids learned a big lesson while exploring.  

Photo Credit -  Krista Haffner Photo

Lesson Learned - Do not play with the snow when it is freezing cold and you are not dressed for the season.

Jude and Teagan were both tempted through out photo shoot to pick up the snow with their bare hands and sit in the snow banks with no snow pants! Sure it was fun for a while but then the pain of the bitter cold set in. Poor Teagan even learned that sometimes when your hands are "thawing" out it is even worse than when you were holding the snow!

I must say - Krista got the cutest picture of the four of us though. So worth it and once we all thawed out, we decided it was time to start thinking about the kids' winter weather exploring wardrobe!

When I started searching online I came across Sierra Trading Post and I was hooked. I wouldn't be lying if I said that winter clothing is very pricey so finding ways to cut the bill is always important to us, especially when we are buying for growing bodies!

Sierra Trading Post develops long-term partnerships with the best brand names in the business and negotiates super low prices on their very best closeouts, overstock items, and 2nds — then they pass the savings on to you! And as you can see, the savings is clearly marked! These awesome ski pants that will allow Jude to have some crazy fun in the cold snow are close to 50% off! Hello savings!!

Sierra Trading Post Facts:

  • Closeouts are always first quality. When brands make design tweaks to products the previous product is offered at a lower price!
  • Overstock items are always first quality. Overstock simply means that the manufacturer’s inventory is too large and they need to sell these extras.
  • 2nds have minor cosmetic flaws or slight irregularities that don’t affect the fit, performance, or longevity of the item. The labels for these products may be clipped or marked. 

Once we found Jude's ski pants the challenge was now set for Teagan. I knew that I had to find PINK! This girl is all about pink and guess what? Challenge met! I found these amazingly priced bib overalls that will keep her nice and warm and dry while having fun exploring the snow outside this winter.

This winter wardrobe shopping trip was made even better when I saw the great offer that is good from 11/23/2015 - 12/07/2015. 15% off + half off shipping with code ASAVENOW5!! YES!! Clearance items are excluded from the 15% off, but you’ll still save with 50% off shipping!  So not only will Teagan love her new pink bib overalls but I love saving so much money and still finding great quality products for our winter fun! 

Photo Credit - Krista Haffner Photo

We Are All Explores so now it is time to get prepared for your next adventure!  Use the code ASAVENOW5 and get 15% off + half off shipping on your order!

Because we are so excited about these deals and great Sierra Trading Post items we want you get get a chance to shop for new winter exploring gear! 

Giveaway Dates - 11/23/2015 - 12/07/2015! U.S. residents ages 18 and up only! Good Luck and Happy Exploring!

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