Monday, August 27, 2012

One week of summer vacation for us!

Jamie and Lindsi are taking this last week of "summer" to spend 100% with our kids, going back to school shopping, getting Nutty ready for the 1st grade, Lil' King ready for Kindergarten and Lil' Duke + Tottie ready for Pre-School. We will be back next week with our regular schedule of daily posts. We hope you will take the time to enjoy this last wonderful week of summer with your families as well.

Starting the first week of September our post schedule will be:
Mondays: Activities
Tuesdays: Tasty Treats
Wednesdays: Crafts
Thursdays: Hodge Podge
Fridays: Pinned It, Did it (Info to come)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alphabet cards

Some of you may remember my post about my aunt being creative and thoughtful. She made my three older kiddos these great song flash cards! Since my youngest is only 18months she knew that those song cards wouldn't really "work for him. She made him a set of alphabet flash cards! Such a fun and creative idea! All you need is: a ring, paper and a little creativity.
alphabet flash cards

Here are some suggestions for letters so that you don't have to do much work:
A- apple, aardvark, armadillo, astronaut
B- banana, bell, blue, bear
C- cat, caterpillar, crayon, coin
D- dinosaur, dog, dart, dove
E- elephant, ear, eye, earth
F- frog, frown, fairy, feather
G- green, grapes, grass, gopher
H- horse, happy, Halloween,
I- igloo, ice cream, iguana
J- jelly bean, jellyfish, jigsaw, jacks, jacket
K- kite, kitten, key, kangaroo, king
L- lion, lemon, lizard, leaf
M- monkey, medal, mirror, moon
N- needle, nail, notebook, nest
O- octopus, otter, orange, olive
P- panda, penguin, pink, purple, pan
Q- quilt, queen, quail, question, quack
R- robot, red, raccoon, rabbit, rainbow, rain
S- stop, silver, squirrel, slide, ship, seahorse
T- turtle, truck, tiger, tree, table, two
U- unicorn, umbrella, underwear, unicycle
V- violin, violet, vacuum, vest, volcano
W- walrus, wagon, whistle, window, watch
X- xylophone, xray
Y- yarn, yellow, yak, yo yo
Z- zoo, zebra, zipper, zucchini

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back Yard Camping

Hubby and I are very much into tent camping.  Part of the money we received from our wedding was spent on high quality camping gear, and before we had kids, we camped multiple times a summer.  It became a lot harder, however, when the girls were little.  It took too much effort to pack up a bunch of baby items.  Hubby and I decided that we would instead, begin to teach our girls to camp using our back yard.  It has been a once-a-summer family tradition every since.  
Back yard tent camping has most of the same opportunities as real camping without all the hassle and with some of the comforts of home (such as a nice bathroom for my picky girls).  Though we still try to go real camping, we make sure to camp in our back yard at least once a summer.
We use our fire pit to cook over the fire, roast marshmallows, and keep warm as the rule is you can only go inside to go to the bathroom once we've begun our camping adventure.  
If you're not really into the hassle of real camping or have never been camping with your kids, I highly suggest you borrow a tent (or buy one) and try back yard camping!  It's a great time to unplug, relax, and enjoy some family bonding time.  

It may be the end of August and back to school time but there's still plenty of nice weather left this fall to try it out!  You (and your kids) will not regret it!  Have you, or will you try it out?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Be The First To Know- Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Collection

Hair disaster stories- we've all got one (or in my case several). I could share the horrid details of the time I went to the cheap-o place to get my hair cut and came out looking like a watered down poodle, but that could bring up a few tears. I could also share the time I decided that it would be a good idea to SHAVE off my "whispies" by my ears, you know, those ones that would be called sideburns if you were a guy, but then I'd have to admit it was only 3 years ago that I did that- oops! But in all seriousness, I wanted to share a recent and tragic hair disaster story with you. I have some pretty strong "curl genes" running through my locks and in Minnesota naturally curly hair and humid summer days don't mix well. Enter- hair straightener products! Yup, I thought it would be nice to start the summer off with hair that was more manageable. I won't go into details as to who makes the products I used to straighten my hair but I will tell you this...after carefully and tediously following the instructions on the box (which required some pretty high power lenses in my glasses) I was left with a rather LARGE head of straw! My hair was straight---er but it was left so dry and frazzled that I literally looked like I fried my hair with a blow torch. It was so straw-like that for the next 2 weeks I attempted to only wash my hair a handful of times because I didn't want to have to face the damage I had done to my hair. It was SO bad, SO dry, SO disastrous!

What was a girl to do? I searched the web looking for quick-fix home remedies but nothing really seemed to work. A bottle of olive oil, mayonnaise and a half dozen eggs later I was left with the same straw-like hair that smelled like something out of a sandwich shop! Off to the store I went and searched for any product that said "moisture" in it. What did I end up finally grabbing? Pantene Pro-V Moisture Renewal! Let me tell you it truly felt amazing...I washed my hair with the Moisture Renewal Shampoo and soaked my hair in the Moisture Renewal Conditioner. After a thorough washing I hopped out of the shower and added their luxurious Moisture Renewal Silky Moisture Whip. If I only had one word to sum up what I felt it would be "RENEWED!" I felt like my hair was back to "normal" again and I am in love!

Do you have a hair horror story to share with us? How about your kiddos, we know they've done some funny things to their hair as well. We want to hear from you! P&G reached out to us and asked us to share one of our personal stories with you. They are offering one of our lucky readers a fabulous prize pack with the Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal collection!

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Interesting facts to share
*The amount of heat in 100 blow-drys is equivalent to the amount of heat needed to melt eight pounds of ice!
*The amount of energy used to blow-dry your hair 100 times is enough to run a plasma TV.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School- Then and Now

Many kids are getting ready to head back to the books (or may have already depending on where you live). Jamie and I were talking about how things have changed.

The conversation went a little like this:
Lindsi- "I can't believe only 2 more weeks until S's first day of school!"
Jamie- "Me either! I can't believe K is going to be in 1st grade. I just finished getting all of her school supplies. And I found the stylis that she needs for her iPad."
Lindsi- "What? Her iPad? When did she get one of those?"
Jamie- "She didn't. Each kid in her school gets one!"
Lindsi- insert looooooooooong pause here "holy crap!"

Then we chatted a bit more and decided on a few things that have drastically changed over the years. Before- you know, when our parents were in school, During- when we were in school, After- now that our kids are in school.

Let's start off with math! Math was something I thought didn't change over time...but as you see has!

Next we have our History lesson. The good ol' Oregon Trail. Our parents only knew it as a bit of history in their books. We knew it as the green or orange colored game that was WAY cool....our kids think the Oregon Trail is silly game they can play on Facebook.

Calling home during school has changed quite a bit as well. It used to require a quarter or a dime, then it changed to double A batteries, and now it simply requires a phone plan.

Finally, an area where I had hoped we'd improved upon, but after further investigation I'm not completely sure we have, clothing! Style has come and gone, changed and evolved but I am certain the "style" from MY high school days will live on in infamy as HORRIBLE!
Fashion Faux Pas of ETERNITY- During


What things have you seen change as you remember back to your first days of school?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Interview with the Directors of "Paranorman" and a Giveaway!

There's only 2 days left until the new animated movie by LAIKA, "Paranorman", hits theaters!  Yep, that's right, "Paranorman" opens nationwide on August 17, 2012.  No doubt you've seen the commercials for it on TV, heard sound bites on the radio, or viewed the trailer in the theaters.  If you've been living under a rock without TV, radio, or the movie theater, and have no clue what I'm talking about, see the official trailer below.

Jamie was lucky enough to get a press screening of the movie and was even luckier to get an interview with the directors, Sam Fell and Chris Butler!  I would throw in a huge "EEEKKK!" here but that would sound unprofessional.

Lets start however, with what's so special about LAIKA and "Paranorman".  I mean, what's all the hype?  It's just another animated movie, right?  Wrong!  LAIKA produced the Academy Award-nominated movie "Coraline", it's first stop-motion movie.  What is stop-motion animation?  Well, according to Wikipedia, stop-motion is...
an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. Dolls with movable joints or clay figures are often used in stop motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop motion animation using plasticine is called clay animation or "clay mation".
If you thought the animation in "Coraline" was good, "Paranorman" kicks it up a ton of notches with larger sets, more characters (including crowds), and finer details.  Yeah, LAIKA went overboard with this animation!  It is truly unbelievable.  Check out a sneek peak in the official trailer.  You won't believe that this is all real sets and real "puppets" they are using!
As far as the plot of the movie goes, it is an interesting idea: 
A small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman, who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
What's nice about the plot, and what most people won't really discuss, is that it has a underlying anti-bullying theme.  You wouldn't think that scary zombies and anti-bullying would go together but Chris Butler (who wrote and co-directed "Paranorman") did a seamless job of combining the two.  A clip of my interview below discusses the anti-bullying side of "Paranorman".
Overall, the movie was awe-inspiring to watch, humorous in parts, thought provoking, at times emotional, definitely entertaining, and a little scarier than I expected.  It was slightly slow in the middle but I wouldn't deduct any points as the rest of the movie makes up for it.  Though I did pick up on the anti-bullying theme as an adult, I'm not sure it will be as prominent to children because of the fascination of the zombies and the overall showyness (is that a word?) of the movie.

Speaking of the scariness...what age range is "Paranorman" appropriate for?  Well, let's ask the directors:
So, should you go see "Paranorman"?  ABSOLUTELY!  I'm going to see it again with a few friends, their kids, and my kids next week!

One of our lucky readers will win a "Paranorman" prize pack which includes:
Activity head
Light-up logo
Bumper sticker
Activity book

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh I wish I were a....

I wanted to share this fun song with you all. This is a song I remember my aunt singing to me when I was a kiddo and now she sings it to my kids via Skype. It is really easy and super funny. She made the kids these great "verse" flash cards so they would know what comes next.

Here are the words:
oh I wish I were a little

Oh I wish I were a little mosquito (mosquito)
Oh I wish I were a little mosquito (mosquito)
For I'd nippy and I'd bitty under everybody's night
Oh I wish I were a little mosquito (mosquito)!
oh I wish I were a little

Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap (bar of soap)
Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap (bar of soap)
For I'd slippy and I'd slidey under everybody's hidey
Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap (bar of soap)!
oh I wish I were a little

Oh I wish I were a little striped skunk (striped skunk)
Oh I wish I were a little striped skunk (striped skunk)
For I'd climb up in the trees and perfume up all the breeze
Oh I wish I were a little striped skunk (striped skunk)!
oh I wish I were a little

Oh I wish I were a little can of pop (can of pop)
Oh I wish I were a little can of pop (can of pop)
For I'd go down with a slurp and come up in a BURP
Oh I wish I were a little can of pop (can of pop)!

I've seen many other versions and verses of this but these are my favorite ones. Do you know this song? What are some of your favorite songs from childhood?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun on the Farm

family fun on a farm
We live in the real farms close to us for several hours (by car). When my kids see animals that live on a farm it usually entails a state or county fair of some sort. My father in law lives on a farm. His home is a 6 hour drive straight north from us....354 miles to be exact. Survival in the car is #1 priority...what I mean is traveling with 4 kids ages 5, 4, 4, and 18 months gets tricky. The ever popular question "are we there yet?" gets asked in numbers so high that I cannot fathom to guess. Is it worth it? Absolutely! When we get there it is a whole new world. My kids peel themselves out of their car seats and head right for the toys on the farm. With 200+ acres there are lots of things to do and lots of space to do them in.

family fun on a farm
Our Papa he is a crafty guy. He turned an old John Deer lawnmower into a safe, slow riding toy for the kids. He removed the blades and it turns off immediately if they stand up.

family fun on a farm
He has lots of ATV's and 4 wheelers, or are those the same??? The kids get to ride these with the adults and to be quite honest I don't know who has more fun.

family fun on a farm

They rode on papa's tractor and had a blast! The giggles could be heard far across the wide open!
family fun on a farm

They got to feed a calf named Buck-O. They thought this was the most incredible thing ever! To see a baby animal eat was awe inspiring to them.

Long story short, if you have an opportunity to take your kids to a farm DO IT! It creates memories to last a lifetime, teaches them so many things, and they will really enjoy themselves.

Have you ever taken your kids to a farm?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Walmart Box Tops for Education

It's August which means that most of us are beginning to think about back to school.  I confess though, I have yet to begin my planning.  I have, however, been saving my Box Tops all summer in preparation for Nutty to make a large deposit in the collection bin on her first day of school.
If you haven't been as good at saving your Box Tops over the summer, you are in luck!  Participating products at Walmart are now loaded with 4 Box Tops to help you stock up for your first day of school!

  • Look for the Box Tops display at your local Walmart to earn 4 Box Tops on more than 100 of your family’s favorite items including Cheerios, Hamburger Helper, Nature Valley and Totinos
  • By liking Walmart on Facebook you can earn more Box Tops from General Mills
  • Check out the Box Tops For Education website to learn more about the Box Tops Program and how you can help your school reach its goal for the 2012-2013 school year
  • Visit to find out how you can earn even more for your school with eBox Tops

General Mills, Walmart, and Toys In The Dryer would like to help you buy some of the Box Tops for Education participating products by giving you the chance to
win a $25 Walmart gift card!
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I received a Walmart gift card for writing this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.  The Walmart gift card, information, and additional gift card for the giveaway have been provided by General Mills and Walmart through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Horseback Riding--Memories for a Lifetime

For Nutty's 6th birthday, she wanted a horse party.  After some research, I discovered it was just as expensive, if not cheaper, to take the party to Sunnyside Stables (and have each girl ride their own horse) as it would be to have one pony come to our house and have the girls take turns!  So, we went all-out and took the party to the stables!
  (In the interest of privacy, and because this post is not about the party, I am only posting photos of my girls)
For Nutty, and most of the girls at the party, this was her first time on a real horse (instead of a pony at a petting zoo).  For Tottie (who is too small to ride a real horse), this was her first time riding a pony by herself.  Their experience is something they will never forget!
horse riding 2
After first meeting their horses, and then leading them around for a little bit, it was time to get down to the business of actually riding them!
horse riding 3
Nutty was a little nervous, Tottie was THRILLED! In fact, Nutty was so nervous, she had a helper ride with her on the horse...
horse riding 5
Tottie was a pro and asked a few times when her helper would let go of her horse so she could do it herself. Of course, we told her she was a bit too young to do it herself!
horse riding 4
Both girls immediately asked if they could ride horses again after the party was over. You know what we told them? Yes! We would be taking them horseback riding again!
horse riding 6
The experience was not only fun for them, it was fun for us to watch. We loved seeing all the girls gain confidence and open up as they rode longer.

Both Hubby and I want to take the girls horseback riding for a family fun time. If Nutty can gain a little more confidence she should be able to ride her own horse. Tottie, however, will have to ride a horse with one of us. We know, however, that we will ALL have fun!

If you have never taken your children horseback riding, I highly suggest you find a stable near you.  It is definitely worth the money for the memories you will gain!  If you are in the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, check out Sunnyside Stables in Rosemount.

I was not compensated for this post in any way nor was I asked to mention or link to Sunnyside Stables.  I simply mentioned and linked to them because I was impressed with what they did for Nutty's party and how they took care of the horses, us, and our party girls.  I give them a big thumbs up!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Handmade Baby Memories and Bliss Photography

A few weeks ago I got a fabulous unexpected (well sorta unexpected) surprise.  You see, I have this friend named Catharine who I've known since third grade.  She is now a professional photographer and has her own studio-- Bliss Photography.  Catharine was contacted by the owner of Handmade Baby Memories to do some photos of her products (stuffed animals made out of baby clothes!).  Catharine, however, needed some products to take photos of and that's where my surprise comes in...
Catharine called me one day and asked if she could keep the baby clothes I loaned her for her daughter.  What baby clothes?  I had completely forgotten I gave them to her, so yes, she could keep them.  Then she had me go through all of them and tell her which of my girls wore what clothes.  It was torture reliving baby memories and remembering my girls so little, and Catharine wouldn't tell me why she needed to know!
Click photo to enlarge and see.
Finally after a few weeks, and a lot of pleading, Catharine revealed that she was sending the clothes to Handmade Baby Memories to be made into stuffed animals!  When the animals were done, she needed my girls to model with them for Handmade Baby Memories advertising.  
What I received from Catharine and Handmade Baby Memories was FAR beyond my expectations!  It was all in the name of advertising and I couldn't be happier!  Handmade Baby Memories made beautiful stuffed animals from my girls' baby clothes and Catharine (Bliss Photography) took stunning photos of my girls!
Click photo to enlarge and see
I was NOT asked to write a post about Handmade Baby Memories and Bliss Photography.  After all, it was a deal between those two companies and my girls just happen to be models.  However, I was so impressed with both that I just had to share--I asked both companies if I could do a post for them!

Handmade Baby Memories is based out of the UK but ships to the US.  Bliss Photography is based out of Rochester, MN but she travels small distances (i.e. to the Twin Cities) for a small fee.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions!

Since we've grown leaps and bounds over the last few months and we get asked the same questions over, and over, and over (and over, and over...) again, we thought we'd FINALLY do a Frequently Asked Questions post!  It's about time, huh?

1)  Are you two sisters?
No.  Glad we got that out of the way.  Now we can move on.
2)  But you look so much alike.  Are you sure you aren't related?
No.  We mean, no, we are not related, and yes, we are sure of it.

3)  How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Funny story: We were talking on the phone trying to decide on the name of our blog.  We wanted something that we always yelled at our kids when they were bored and getting into trouble.  Suddenly Lindsi said, "Hang on a sec..." Jamie heard Lindsi say, "Can you PLEASE get your toys out of the dryer!  I am sick of finding toys in the dryer!"  When Lindsi got back on the phone, Jamie said, "That's it!  That's the name of our blog!"

4)  Why did you start your blog in the first place?
We had both been blogging on different blogs for different reasons and those blogs took up a lot of our time.  We were talking one day about ideas to help us spend more quality time with our kids.  We decided to start a blog together to help us do just that.  We know, it's technically counter-productive, however, it really hasn't been for us!

5)  How old is this blog?
Our first post was September 5th, 2011.  As of this post, we are not even a year old!

6)  Wow!  You've come a long way in the last (almost) 11 months!
Thanks.  We're pretty proud of ourselves but that really wasn't a question...
7)  How long have you guys known each other?
We've been inseparable for the past 8 years.  Ok, maybe not inseparable but we've been pretty close.  We met in late 2004 and hit it off right away!  We don't actually see each other that often (even though we only live 1/2 hour apart) but we talk a MINIMUM of 2 times a day on the phone!  No lie!  Ask our husbands!

8)  How has this blog changed your relationship?
It's definitely strengthened the relationship we have with each other AND the relationships our families have with each other.  Lindsi has learned that Jamie is super laid back, easily distractible, and extremely techy.  Jamie has learned that Lindsi is extremely organized, very creative, and likes to have things scheduled in advance.  That's ok, we've learned we're the perfect blogging partners for each other!
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