Building Our Story: November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Montessori Reflections for November #Montessori #Preschool


November Montessori Reflections:

Another month has come and gone - it really amazes me how fast school goes as a parent.  I remember school dragging on as a child but man I cannot believe that next week is December already!  

A couple days ago we got a postcard from Jude's teacher, she thanked us for letting her be Jude's teacher.  What a great thing to come home to.  She also commented on how she can see his love for school and how much he has grown in the last couple of months.  Ahh!  I love hearing that.  I see it too!  Jude loves when it is a school day and he really has changed in many ways since August.  

This month he has learned a lot of new songs that he will be singing for his school Christmas Program in December.  I am so excited to see him and his classmates singing songs!  So cute.  

He actually had a classmate added to his class. So now he has 7 boys and 1 girl in his class.  A really great size for this age!  He loves his classmates, he already has a small group of buddies that he talks about after school.  Adorable!  

He was very excited to get many new lessons this month.  Some that are branching outside of the Practical Life area.  He has enjoyed painting, pinching, cutting and punching lessons recently.  All of these lessons are so great for hand eye coordination and I can see his brain working so hard on concentrating when we do these activities at home too.  

November was full of new lessons and lots of preparation for his Christmas Program.  I am once again reminded at how much we love this way of teaching when I see him practice some of his lessons in real life.  

As an example:  we had a pair of tongs in a bowl of chicken tenders at a party we were hosting.  I noticed that he was messing around with the tongs and questioned him.  He simply turned to me and said "Mommy I am pinching - I learned this in school!  I pinch the chicken nuggets!"  That made me back away and take it all in.  This 3 year old was putting his lessons to use in real life.  Education WIN!!  

I would love to hear how your children are doing in school so far this school year? 



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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving - A Day of Thanks

2013 has been a year of challenge, a year of heartache, a year of struggle BUT also a year of happiness, a year of growth and a year of love.

Today I am Thankful for the challenges, heartache and struggle because with out them we wouldn't have also found happiness, growth and love. 

Today I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  




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Lovable Labels Holiday Review and Giveaway



When trying to decide on a personal gift for my nieces and nephew I immediately thought of the personalized name labels that I have had made for Jude and Teagan.  Lovable Labels has TWO new packages of labels for the holidays this year.  

This one is called the Stocking Stuffers Pack.  These packs come with the following labels - 6 sticker labels, 2 shoe labels, 8 press n stick clothing dots and 1 mini metal tag.  The best part about this package is that you get to choose 3 different names!  Perfect for what I needed.  


I plan on wrapping these up with their gifts and give them something personal and fun for all of their special toys, clothes and items.  As always the quality cannot be compared!

Lovable Labels are:
~ Dishwasher Safe~Microwave Safe~UV Resistant~Easy to Use~Waterproof~Sweat Guard~Stays PUT!~Washer Safe~Dryer Safe~Bleach Safe

Lovable Labels has also released a limited edition Holiday Fun Stickies Pack.  I was super excited for this item to come in the mail.  I will be using these for gift tags this year.  How perfect!  You can customize these stickies however you want. I decided that I wanted to use them for our labels. 


Cute right?  I love using Lovable Labels for so many different things. 

Lovable Labels has a coupon JUST for my readers.
  
DECLOVE1307 and it offers $5
off any purchase of $25 or more. 
This coupon expires on December 31, 2013

Lovable Labels is also giving the opportunity to my readers to win BOTH of the Label packs mentioned above!  EEKK!  Do you know what you would choose?  Who would you personalize these labels for?

All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below!  Good Luck!

Rafflecopter Form:


Disclosure:  I was provided with a free set of holiday labels in exchange for my review.  My opinions are my own and are not swayed by any gift. 


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NickMom: Our Family Photo FAIL #MotherFunny



I have decided that thanks to NickMom.com I can come to the conclusion that I am NOT that NickMom!
NickMom has this cartoon - it shows what happens seconds before the family photo is taken. 
Look familiar? 

#ad #shop #cbias #MotherFunny NickMom

Oh goodness...I want to laugh at this but then I would be laughing at myself. 
We have all seen those creepy family photo fails via emails right?  You know the ones I am talking about...creepers in amazingly tight clothing, parents naked, kids with awesome hair cuts, cuddling with cats, add in some guns - BOOM family photo fail!!

#ad #shop #cbias #MotherFunny NickMom #ad #shop #cbias #MotherFunny NickMom
(photo credit:  awkwardfamilyphotos.com)

While our fail isn't as funny as THOSE pictures let me just outline what I had in mind for our extended family pictures.  First I would like to blame Pinterest for giving me the picture perfect idea...THAT WASN"T POSSIBLE!!! 

I wanted a picture with my parents, my brother and his family and our family.  That equals six adults, one 6 year old, three babies, and one toddler.  All of the pinterest photos said that we would end up with picture worth putting on a canvas!!  So we were set.  We picked our colors, date and time and we went for it!

Ready for this....

#ad #shop #cbias #MotherFunny NickMom

So let me recap this image for you.  

~My dad (grandpa) is probably the only person in this photo who just doesn't do the screaming baby thing well!  HA!  Well I guess Carter and Annabelle didn't get that memo.

~Not going to lie, when Teagan didn't wake up during this chaos I wondered if we needed to get her hearing tested.

~Jude gets distracted easily...can you tell?  I love that he isn't even facing the camera...at all!

~Jeremy looks like a giant in this picture...he hates that.

~Personally I think I look calm and collected...so not what I was feeling.  I was sweating like crazy!

You are probably wondering if we bought a print...no we didn't but we did buy this one.  

#ad #shop #cbias #MotherFunny NickMom
Teagan woke up...its a cute picture but still not what Pinterest said would happen!  Freaking Pinterest!!

Oh and let me share one last Picture Fail with you!  This one was supposed to be Teagan's FIRST Christmas Milestone picture...CAPTION CONTEST!  Go now!  

Oh man...these two.

So if you ever need to feel like a better parent just visit NickMom - you will see that yes everything is fine.  Maybe that picture idea was a stupid idea...not my fault though!  Kids are crazy...again not my fault.  

#ad #shop #cbias #MotherFunny NickMom

Follow NickMom on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest laugh.


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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cord Blood Banking Information and Britax Car Seat Giveaway


Though both of my pregnancies I got a lot of information about Cord Blood Banking but we never decided to jump into it.  At times I do worry if this was the right decision.  I often think that we should have considered banking when we had the chance.  Since my chance is over I would like to give my readers some information to consider if they are planning to become pregnant or are already pregnant.  

There’s only one opportunity to save your baby’s stem cells for the future...
As an expectant parent, your baby’s health means everything. Right now, he or she is protected in the womb and will soon enter the world. There is a lot to think about and prepare for, but an invaluable step you can take when your child is born is to preserve his/her stem-cell rich cord and placenta blood The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proven successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.  In fact, since 1988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.


Pregnancy is a happy time - and it might be hard to think about what was stated above.  We all want a healthy child but the facts are there.  Diseases happen.  Bad diseases!  Connecting with a cord blood bank will help you make a decision that is best for your family.  

When you bank with LifebankUSA, we include tissue banking (tissue from the placenta) for free.* Placental tissue contains mesenchymal cells (MSCs) and MSC-like cells. While stem cells found in cord blood and placenta blood have been used to successfully treat patients, there are currently no approved uses for stem cells derived from the umbilical cord or placenta tissue. Possible therapeutic applications are in early research stages and LifebankUSA's parent company is actively involved in their development.
LifebankUSA will store the placenta tissue for you as part of our complete banking package using our cryogenic tanks for long-term preservation. In the event your baby's tissue cells are ever needed for future therapies, the tissue may then be processed and cultured using available technology at that time.†  Tissue banking is just one more layer of protection and peace of mind offered by LifebankUSA.

So while it might be scary, let LifebankUSA help you through your decisions as you happily await your bundle of joy!

And while you wait check this out too!!

LifebankUSA wants you to win ONE of THREE Britax Marathon 70-G3 Car Seats.  All you have to do is enter the contest here - LifebankUSA Facebook Contest.


This is a $260 Car Seat up for grabs!  Perfect for the expecting parent!  

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By entering the contest, you understand that you are providing your information to LifebankUSA and not to Facebook.


*Storage fees apply after the first year
†Clients will be responsible for the cost of shipping the tissue and any culturing or expansion of the cells.


Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post all about LifebankUSA.  The company mentioned above provided me compensation for my review and thoughts - my views are in no way swayed my the monetary items.  All reviews are my own.  

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DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

We are on a budget in this house for Christmas gifts this year.  I decided that I would try to make all of our gifts that we would be giving to family and friends this year.  I want things to be more personal and more original - which also meant I needed some ideas.  

Here are some of the gifts I will be attempting to recreate for Christmas gift exchanges. 


Find these fun ideas here:

Candy Cane Sugar Scrub Recipe - Seasoned with Sarcasm

Hot Coco Night - Womenz Magazine

Rosemary Mint Shaving Cream - The DIY Adventures

Apricot Bath Bomb Recipe - Simply Designing with Ashley

Wine Cork Wreath - Neverending Decorating

Chalkboard Serving Platter - Wit & Whistle 

Bird Seed Hangers - From Glitter to Gumdrops

Homemade Tropical Granola - Family Fresh Cooking

Rosemary Infused Olive Oil - Pepper Design Blog



What handmade items have you given as gifts?


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Monday, November 25, 2013

Sesame Street Live - Elmo Makes Music

Teagan's 1st birthday present from Jeremy and me was a trip to the theatre for her first LIVE show.  
When I saw the groupon for Sesame Street Live - Elmo Makes Music, I immediately thought of Teagan.  She LOVES Elmo!  ELMO was one of her first words, she always finds Elmo in books and really likes her Elmo stuffy.  Perfect!  

Not to mention the show was all about Music...I do have 2 music babies.  ;o)  

We were so thankful that we were able to go to the show.  We weren't sure if we would be able to due to Jude throwing up the day before and not feeling real well the day of the show.  BUT he turned it around by showtime and was himself!  YAY!  

Both Jude and Teagan were a little overwhelmed when we got into the theatre.  They both saw the suveniors and pictures of the Sesame Street Characters and went nuts!

I wanted to get a picture of the two of them together...
It will do...I guess.  They really do love each other.  

Jude wouldn't smile for me OR Elmo.  He was just ready to get to his seat for the show. 

Teagan LOVED this big Elmo...Hearing her talk to Elmo was so cute.  

At least this picture is the cutest!!  I love these two kiddos!!

We are all ready!!  Just waiting for the show to start!

We were really pleasantly surprised by the seats that we got from Groupon.  We were close enough to see everything BUT not too close to miss out on anything either.  Perfect!

YAY!!!  Time for the show!!  

This was the view you got when you looked at Teagan...
Completely mesmerized by the whole experience.  She was dancing, singing and laughing the whole time.  It was adorable.  

Jude really enjoyed it too.  He really like the Count.  

Family night out (crappy instagram pic...it will have to do!)  We all had a great time and I am really happy we decided to take Teagan.  My only critique of the show would be to NOT have an intermission and just make the show about 1 hour total!  

Other than that...if this is coming to a city near you...GO!!


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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pecan Snowball Cookies - Holiday Baking Made Easy #HolidayButter


I was not a big holiday baking person until I met my husband and his mom.  My now Mother-in-law is a big baker and I have learned a lot of great recipes and traditions from her over the last 10 years.  One of my favorite holiday baking tradition that I got from her and my husband loves is baking Pecan Snowball Cookies.  Amazing butter cookies that are covered in powdered sugar!  YUM!  

Holiday Baking and Holiday preparations have begun in our home.  The Pecan Snowball Cookies were first on my TO BAKE list for a bake sale at our church.  I know that these yummy morsels will be a hit!  In "one stop shopping fashion" I picked up Christmas wrapping paper, dinner and Land O' Lakes Butter sticks for my Pecan Snowball Cookies at Walmart on my way home from work.  Not only are these cookies really great to eat but they are really great to bring to any holiday party you are invited too.  They can be made in about 40 minutes too!  Everyone needs a good baking recipe for the holidays that is easy!

#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes

Here is how you make these super yummy, perfect for the holidays Pecan Snowball Cookies!  Enjoy!

#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes

Pecan Snowball Cookies
 Free Printable Recipe here.

Ingredients:
2 Cups - all purpose flour
2 Cups - Finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup - sugar
1 cup - Land O Lakes Butter, softened
1 teaspoon - Vanilla
Powdered sugar

#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes



Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Mix together all of the ingredients - expect for the powdered sugar - in a large mixing bowl.  Mix on low until mixed well.
#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes
3.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.  Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.

#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes
4.  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
5.  Let cool for about 5 minutes.  
6.  Roll the cookies in the powdered sugar and let completely cool after the cookie is coated in the powdered sugar. 

#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes
7.  Once cool - sprinkle more powdered sugar over the cookies.  


#ad #shop #HolidayButter #cbias Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Land O' Lakes


Land O'Lakes want to give all of you Holiday Baking lovers a chance to win this holiday season!  You could WIN at $250.00 Walmart Gift Card!  All you have to do is enter this Pinterest Contest!  I really hope one of my readers wins!  So go enter now!!  Also if you need some Holiday Baking Recipes - check out the Land O' Lakes Butter Recipes here

1. Follow Land O’Lakes on Pinterest, user: LandoLakesKtchn
2. Enter your email  in the form and click “Enter”
3. Pin the image to any of  your Pinterest Boards
4. Visit the Holiday Treats Board and share your favorites (the CB socially board!)
1 Winner will be selected at random and they can only enter once! This Contest Runs 11/25/2013 - 01/14/2014. 



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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Healthy Smiles and College Books

I want to share a shocking statistic with you. 
“1 in 10 children born with a Cleft will DIE before their first birthday.”
1 in 10.  That isn’t a real pleasant statistic to read. 



Did you know there is a great agency called Operation Smile that can help these children from not only dying but also from the pain, frustration, embarrassment and dangers of having a Cleft Condition? 
Operation Smile, is a charity helping change the lives of children one smile at a time. They are an amazing organization that performs life changing cleft lip surgeries on children who would never have the opportunity to have such a surgery due to the medical costs.  
Each year more than 200,000 children are born with a severe cleft condition-some are unable to eat, speak, socialize, or smile – that is heartbreaking and a HUGE number of children! The conditions of a cleft lip can be painful and even affect the child's ability to speak and eat!
Here are some facts about Cleft Conditions:
Q. What is a cleft lip and cleft palate?
A. A cleft is an opening in the lip, the roof of the mouth or the soft tissue in the back of the mouth. A cleft lip may be accompanied by an opening in the bones of the upper jaw and/or the upper gum. A cleft palate occurs when the two sides of a palate do not join together, resulting in an opening in the roof of the mouth. A cleft lip and palate can occur on one side or both sides. A child can suffer from a cleft lip, a cleft palate or both.
Q. What causes cleft lips and cleft palates?
A. The exact cause is unknown. Cleft lips and cleft palates are congenital defects that occur early in embryonic development. Scientists believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as maternal illness, drugs or malnutrition, may lead to a cleft lip or cleft palate. If one child in a family is born with a cleft, the risk increases by 2 to 4 percent that future children in the family will suffer from the same defect.
Q. Can cleft lips and cleft palates be prevented?
A, Scientists are researching methods to prevent cleft lips and cleft palates. One finding, according to research studies, is that mothers who take multivitamins containing folic acid before conception and during the first two months of pregnancy may reduce their risk of giving birth to a baby with a cleft.
***For a little as $240, you can help provide a cleft lip or cleft palate surgery. This surgery can change a child's life forever and can take as few as 45 minutes.
Donations are what keep these surgeries happening – make sure you and your family seriously consider donating to this organization. Some of those donations come from CampusBookRentals.com for every time you rent textbooks – so if you or anyone you know is in need of text books please consider using Campus Book Rentals! 
Campus Book Rentals has a new program now too -  RentBack.  RentBack is new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they own - to other friends and students!  So great because it makes you 2-4x more money compared to what you would make through other buyback options! I remember how frustrating it was when I would go to sell my books back at the bookstore in college.  It was depressing!  I hope more college students check out this great new program! 
Donate or learn about more ways to get involved please visit:
Disclosure: I was compensated by Campus Book Rentals for this post. All thoughts expressed within are my own and you cannot have them!
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Holiday Shopping is a Breeze with MasterCard #MasterPass #MC

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community.  I have been compensated to share my experience with you by Collective Bias and their client, MasterCard. 

Time to start thinking about what you are going to get one of the most important people in your life for Christmas!  No not your husband or mom but your BFF! Here are my ideas to fit my BFF's lifestyle.  This girl is all about accessories!  Shopping with her means lots of time in the accessory department! 

#MasterPass #MC


See anything you love? 
#MasterPass #MC MasterCard MasterPass

MasterPass by MasterCard has made my holiday shopping even easier for 2013.  If you are a MasterCard holder you too can have an easier time shopping for those hard to buy people on your holiday lists.  When I first heard of MasterPass I was very excited to hear that J-Crew was on THE list of MasterPass participating stores.  

This is my BFF Lauren and me on our girls getaway earlier this year.  She is my bestest friend.  I love her and when it comes to Christmas Gifts I know exactly what she wants.  New accessories!  Totally Lauren!  
I knew that J-Crew had the items that my BFF loves and that meant it was time to go shopping!  Do you love J-Crew?  I do, I could look at their items all day and dream about what I want to buy!!

So here is the deal with MasterPass...EASY to set up.
#MasterPass #MC MasterCard MasterPass
MasterCard makes it simple to sign up for MasterPass too.  Simply follow the instructions and then boom you can shop until you drop - right from your computer!  I love this idea because I can really manage what I am spending on each of the people I need to buy gifts for.  This year my husband and I are all about the Christmas Budget!  
#MasterPass #MC MasterCard MasterPass
MasterPass has a lot of options to choose from for your shopping needs.  I liked that I could search for certain items and have them pop up with stores that would have those items!  Easy enough.  

Like I said above, J-Crew was on my list for my BFF.  I clicked on J-Crew and started finding the perfect gifts for her. 

I was able to find Two items that fit my BFF perfectly.  Some amazing Wool Glittens (PS I want a pair please!) and some super cute and comfy socks!  Great items for a great price too.  Thanks to a J-Crew online coupon I was able to save $5.00 too!  Bonus!#MasterPass #MC MasterCard MasterPass

I also found some great toys for Jude and Teagan (more awesome deals!) at a Giant Online Toy Store!  Great finds...oh and a Candy outlet too!  MasterPass has a lot of stores joining their MasterPass force! I cannot wait to see who else I can easily shop with soon!

Check out is really easy with MasterPass.  I didn't need to run to my wallet to get my MasterCard or anything.  Just simply reviewed my purchase and paid with MasterPass.  

One more gift bought and checked off my list for 2013!  Easy, Safe and Secure.  

Now that I know how easy MasterPass makes it, I know I will be buying a lot more of my holiday shopping list this way. No crowds, no lines and no stress BUT tons of deals!  I think this is one way I can manage my money and my time better this holiday season.  

Lauren and I always have fun shopping together but since we do not live in the same state we sometimes have to shop this way.  While it is easy - Thanks to MasterPass - I do miss my girl because we do some crazy things we go shopping together! 



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