Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Recap

Such a wonderful weekend in the Peterpora household!  Thank you nice weather!  Saturday we went to the local farmers market so get some veggies and scope out where Monster Sillybets will set up.  I wanted to buy just about everything but was limited to a small wad of cash so I made do.  Bear got 4 wooden dollars and picked out cucumbers to buy.

We got carrots (Ninja Carrots), cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, baby greens salad and a big plump tomato!

Ninja Carrot

Then Bear had a lovely time playing with his Monster Truck while Mommy raked the lawn.  We also planted some succulents and seeded some veggies.

By the time Daddy got home it was time for supper.  Sunday was stressful at first (had a lovely run in with the SoPo PD because apparently I missed a tole back in JULY - oops) but they were extremely nice and didn't tow my car.  Phew!  So we drove home and took Tim's car instead.  We got breakfast at Rosie's in Saco which was great because Tim and Bear wanted lunch food and I wanted breakfast.

Bear chose to order onion rings but ended up eating half my eggs and some of Daddy's fries too.  Daddy got a turkey BLT with nice real turkey and I got hash, eggs and an english muffine (I piled it up and made a sandwich - it was soooo good).

Then we head over to Laurel Hill in Saco for our Semi-Annual Family Pictures! Hooray! Here are a few of my favorites...

The daffodils are why we come to a cemetery for family pictures.

Then Bear took a nice long nap and when he got up we painted pretty pictures in the nude (him not me - I prefer clothing).

After painting it was grocery time!!! Bear wasn't happy about it and threw a fit on the way to the car.  He had GIANT snot bubbles and I laughed which made him stop having a tantrum.  Then he requested a picture so he could see...

So handsome...

That concluded our wonderful spring weekend!  What did you do this weekend?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

April Nature Box Review - Yum

I got a deal on two months of Nature Box so decided we would try it out at the office.  Everyone is always bringing candy and it drives me nuts.  I (stupidly) forgot my boss was gluten free, so unfortunately there are only two things he can eat.

I am super pleased with this box, I sampled everything and some stuff I looked at and was like "I wouldn't be caught dead eating that" but ALL of it was good - even the Figgy Bars.

They have nice packaging and included a recipe for Broccoli Pumpkin Seeds Pesto

First I tried these Sunshine Chips which is naturally sweet from the veggies and fruits but also lightly salted and seasoned well.

Toasted Cheddar Stix - soooo addicting! Kind of tangy and definitely cheesy - I'm a sucker for sesame sticks anyway so it was a nice change.

Dark Cocoa Almonds - these are to die for - crunchy, chocolately and a hint of cinnamon...mmmmm (sorry my picture kind of looks like bunny poop)

Whole Wheat Raspberry Figgy Bars - this sounds disgusting and I never liked bars or fig newtons but these are awesome! They are individually packaged in the bag so you can take one on the go!

Vanilla Macaroon Granola - this is crunchy and coconutty for cure - tastes just like a macaroon! Would be really good on yogurt or with cut up strawberries for breakfast.

Each came in a mylar zip lock back that can be re-used several times and had all the facts on the back..

All of the Nature Box snacks have: No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Partially Hydrogenated Oils, No Artificial Sweeteners, Flavors or Colors and 0g Trans Fats!

There are a handful of things in here that Bear would eat too which is great!  Nature Box now has the option to choose what is in each box, but since this was my first it was a super surprise!  They add new products each month and have a variety of categories to choose from.  Definitely recommend this even if you get it as a special treat now and again.

The price per month (including shipping) is $19.95 but if you use my referral link you get $5 off your first box!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Proud Momma - Making Progress

It's safe to say some days are definitely better than others.  Today I got home from work and Bear hadn't napped - usually a BIG sign he wont eat dinner and will melt down by 630.  Knowing this I started bedtime early, bath at 6:45 which lead to a huge meltdown on Bear's part.  He didn't want to get out and he was itchy and didn't know how to deal with it.  I kept my cool, knelt down by the tub and asked him to tell me how he felt - he yelled more.  I offered to help him itch his back because he couldn't reach it and he eventually gave in and felt better.

Then something else set him off so I decided it was time to take the flailing toddler out of the tub filled with water - I foresee bad things happening.  He wouldn't stay in bed while I tidied the bathroom so I told him it was time to run as fast as he could as many times as he could for 10 minutes - seemed like a good idea...right?  It went well until I was done and told him he could run the house only TWO more times, I counted, I got to two, annnddddd screaming, fists on the floor, kicking his feet. Time for bed.  At least he he told me "Im angry" which is what I have been trying to get him to do (tell me how he feels).

I put him in bed, and he screamed for his "little TV".  I kept my cool, offered to rub his back, orrfered to sing a song, play music, read a story but no.  He knows me too well, he kept stopping for a moment and then saying "I stopped crying now I want my tv" and I tried to tell him that the reason I wasn't giving him the TV was because it was bedtime not because he was upset.  After ten minutes of this, he finally let me cover him with the blankies but then he got itchy again (dry skin) and I grabbed lotion and told him it would feel better if I could put it on.

I put on the lotion, he calmed down just enough for me to begin to reason.  Covers, then a drink from sippy cup, then I sang "you are my sunshine" four times and he was out by 7:45.

I am proud of him for calming down and working out his feelings with me.  I am proud of me for not loosing my cool and not giving in to toddler demands.  I am feeling good and hope we can do this again tomorrow - maybe with a little less freak-out on Bear's part?

How are the end of the two's treating you?


Subscription Box Madness

Very excited to be able to review some boxes in the near future - check them out..

bluum - we are trying out the bluum toddler + mom box.  Similar to CitrusLane but we'll see how they compare. (15 blumm bux)

Pawalla - a box for kitties and pups! Excited to try this one but will not keep it going.  Price is a bit high but I scored a deal and our kitty deserves a treat. ($6.50 off)

NatureBox - sends you snacks! We got this one for our office, people keep bringing in candy and it's killing everyone so I figured some healthier snacks are in order.  They also just added the feature to choose which snacks you want which is cool. ($10 off)

ConsciousBox - this is a random mix of samples ranging from food to household to beauty all from companies with the earth in mind.  You can also rate products for points to shop their store. (No referral discount)

Keep a look out!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Family Dinner: Easy Cheesy Chili

Looking for a cheap 15 minute meal?  Last night we made this awesome chili for the first time - yum.

Please ignore my desk in the background.  We try to do at least one meatless meal during the week.  Sometimes it's home-made pizza, sometimes just pasta and sauce.  This week I had a craving for chili!

1 Packet of McCormick's Mild Chili Seasoning - we have made our own with cumin, chili powder and paprika before but it was NOT the same.  This is nice and mild but enough to taste like chili.
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Pinto Beans
1 Can Kidney Beans
1 Can of Corn
Cheddar Cheese
Box of Corn Bread Mix
2 tbs flour
6 tbs water
Instant Rice (optional)

How to:
Cornbread: Follow the directions on the box.  We make it in a pan instead of as muffins and it takes about 13 minutes to cook which is the time needed for the chili.

Chili: Don't follow the directions on the packet. In a colander rinse all the beans.  I don't like the goop, it grosses me out.  Pour rinsed beans, diced tomatoes (and liquid) and corn (half the liquid) into a large pot.  Put on medium/high heat and add in the packet.  Once heated through and bubbling, mix the flour and water in a separate bowl and slowly mix into the chili - this will give it a nice thick "spent all day cooking" texture.  Cover and let simmer until the cornbread is done.

If you are making instant rice, it takes about five minutes.  If you want everything done at the same time, put the water to boil when you put the pot on the stove for the chili and add the rice after you add the flour.

Serve with cheese on top!

This meal cost us about $7 and we got 6ish servings out of it.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

April CitrusLane Box Review

Goody goody CitrusLane - sorry for all the boxes - I just want to share.  I am not in the mood to blog about parenting or fussy toddlers today and I was blessed with TWO packages in the mail today! Wahoooo!

So this is Bear's box:

Sorry the picture is not spectacular - my mom snapped it quickly mid-day before I got home and the minute I walked through the door I tore it all was one of those days :)

In the Box:

Zoo Straw Bottle by Skip Hop - they were testing a new "add on" feature this month so I paid $6 for the bottle.  I liked it because it has a cover that slides over the straw so it wont leak and the straw wont fall out.  Also has a neat little strap that is easy for small hands. Retail this is $6.00

Paint with Water - Melissa & Doug - I actually almost got this through a zulilly sale a month or two ago but decided not to since I am trying NOT to spend money.  We haven't played with it yet but it looks super fun! Retail $4.99

Keepin' Fresh Kids Food Storage by InnoBaby + Bonus 15% Off - We got two of these.  They are cute and have snap sides which I like.  You can never have too much storage right?  Retail $3.75 round + $4.00 square

Non-Slip Placemat by Oogaa + Bonus 30% Off - Love this!  Its a silicone placemat with outlines of little animals on it.  Worked will with dinner and wipes down easy for fast cleanup.  Retail $8.99

Kids Mashups by Plum Organics + 2 Bonus .50 Off Coupons - We got blueberry flavored.  Normally Bear turns his nose up at these food in the bag snacks but it was half gone when I got home so it couldn't have been that bad!  Retail $1.12

Shampoo & Body Wash by The Honest Company + Bonus 20% Off - I have wanted to try Honest Company for a while.  There is alot of hype and with a momma like Jessica Alba behind it I found it intriguing.  The shampoo has a nice mild smell and the pop-up lid has a different design than most shampoo bottles (sucker for design).  Retail $9.95

Total Retail Value (excluding the SkipHop Bottle) $32.80

This was a good box - not fantastic but some months are bound to be better than others since it is a "one box fits all" kind of deal.  Can't complain :)

To get $10 off your first box go here: CitrusLane


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Touchy Subject - Kids & Gun Safety

Maine is pretty gun friendly - we're big on hunting, gun ranges, etc.  When I was very little I was never really exposed to real guns and it wasn't really a huge issue.  Bear has a neon green plastic revolver (eh-ehm daddy) and we have always told him not to aim the gun at people or our pets and we made a target to hang on the wall.

Well I thought I was doing the right things but we've hit the terrible two's like a seagull flying into glass.  EVERYTHING makes Bear grumpy or sets him off, he's mad if you're "playing wrong" or cooking dinner too loudly or if the tv made a noise he didn't like.

Last night I was cooking dinner and he came out with the fake gun and "shot" Daddy - I immediately jumped and said absolutely not, I'll take it away if you aim at people and Daddy lay on the floor playing dead.  I can't really blame him since that's how he played guns as a kid.  But it seems Daddy and I need to be on the same page at least.  Bear responded to me "It's not Daddy it's a robot"

What surprised me is what Bear did next.  He kept pushing the trigger aiming it at Daddy and saying "reverse button reverse" (at this point it became kind of funny but I kept from showing it).  I explained that guns don't have a reverse but he was so busy playing robots I don't think he really got it.

Basically I am having an internal conflict.  If I take the toy guns away, he will find other things to be "guns" and if I let him keep them I feel like I am being a terrible parent.  We don't have any real guns accessible let alone one's Bear has any idea exist but I know some day he will know that guns are real and do real things.

Am I over-thinking this one?  How do you teach an almost 3 year old gun safety?  Is it OK to still play traditional western cowboy in the living room?


Friday, April 12, 2013

April Birch Box Review

Woooo!! So very excited to get my April BirchBox! Already tried some of it out :)

I am a design geek and when it comes to handsome packaging, BirchBox has it right.  This months came in their usual hot pink box but with a green sleeve announcing their partnership with WomensHealth this month and their Spring changes geared toward health and #TinyTweaks

In the box:

Protect & Detangle by Beauty Protector - I already have a sample bottle of this and love it.  The smell is a bit strong at first and you kind of smell like a vanilla cupcake but it only lasts 30 minutes into your day.  I have been getting angry at my bangs for either being flat and stringy or puffy and dry and I started adding a tiny spray of this into my morning routine and I LOVE my bangs today!

SOS Morning Eye Rescue by Caudalie - first of all, tiny samples are adorable secondly this didn't leave my under-eye greasy or feeling gross - yay!  Haven't used it enough to know if it works.  I'll have to update in a week or so.

Stem Cell Repair CC Cream by Juice Beauty - I am excited to use this because it claims to have "color-correcting wonder" which I need.  I have acne scars on my chin and sides of my face and I am really looking for something wonderful to come along and help make that go away.  I have other products by Juice Beauty and I have been very happy with them.  I was originally introduced to their lotion through CitrusLane!

Lip Butter by Yes To Carrots - I just like this brand.  I have their face mask and it leaves your face feeling like baby's skin.  I have used this lip butter a few times today and my lips feel super-soft.  I for the mint one and it is a little sting-y but I like it a lot.  It applies thicker than Chapstick and feels more like it's doing something than regular brands.

Daily Facial Scrub & Dark Spot Serum by Yes To Grapefruit - Again, I love this brand and I am looking for a dark spot corrector.  Also, I am almost out of the scrub I use in the morning (St Ives Blemish Control) so maybe this one will do nice things for my tired mommy-face and I will upgrade to the larger size - woohoo!

Nothing bad to say about this months box!

To try it out (and get me 50 points) click this link and sign up: HERE

Also as a bonus, BirchBox sells everything featured in their boxes right on their website - the best part? You get points for purchases (1 point per dollar) and 10 points for reviewing a product.  100 points = $10.  $50 for free shipping AND all full sized products you received in your box are available for free shipping during that box's period.


Cars Themed Party

So I was all gung-ho about Bear's Third Birthday party being dinosaur themed and had everything all designed and pretty.  My mom always put so much into our parties growing up and I was so excited to do this for Bear.  I don't ever remember having parties themed after movies or characters so I wanted to keep his parties generic as well.

Unfortunately, for me, Bear is obsessed with the movie Cars NOT Cars 2, just Cars.  So I have decided to change it all over and keep the files for dinosaurs for later.  As I started working on this I got really excited and now I have it all planned out in my head!

Today I made the invitations:

And decided to make each kid a "pit pass" with their names on a lanyard..

The compromise I made with myself is I will not buy all cars themed everything.  I am going to try and stick with just red plates, black straws and make place cards/table stuff to match the invitations.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with buying party packs - it's just not for me.  I like to be more involved and get all stressed out about everything being perfect :)


Monday, April 8, 2013

Pom Poms - Kid Craft

We made super cut pompom monsters caterpillars this weekend.  I ran into AC Moore to grab some eyes for Monster Minibets and saw a big bag of neon pom-poms on sale for $1.99 and we have craft foam and googly eyes at home.

You Need:
Tacky Glue (or elmers)
Googly Eyes
Pom Poms
Craft Foam

For Caterpillars you need a needle and thread as well.

The feet are just hearts I cut out.  I left Bear assemble them and I did the glue dabbing. For the caterpillar just use a needle the thread the pom poms in a line, when it is as long as desired run the thread through the opposite direction and tie the ends (they make nice antennae)

Good craft for before dinner - they are done drying after you eat.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

10 Indoor Party Games

My friend Sofia and mother of three is throwing an indoor party.  It's so easy to throw the kids outside with a ball and call it a day but what if you can't?  Entertaining kids inside sounds daunting but it got me thinking and I've put together a list of indoor games and activities fit for kids 3+


Bean Bag Toss
Get bean bags or foam balls (foam may be better in a smaller more...breakable...setting) from the dollar store.  There are two ways to do this, start by marking your "standing line" at one end of a hallway or stretch of room with masking tape.

Option 1 (probably better for older kids) cut holes in the tops of boxes and number the outsides with point values.  Place them at different distances from the start spot.

Option 2 (for the younger crowd) make squares are various distances on the floor with masking tape and number them with different point values.

Have the kids line up and take turns tossing into the spots.  Keep track of points on a poster or paper OR just throw for fun!

Best Buds Relay
Get several medium sized balls that are lightweight (the ones from grocery stores or dollar store are good - soccer ball? Not so much).  Designate a starting and ending point - for little kids a straight line is better, for older you can add obstacles like circle the couch twice.  Have the kids pair up and put one arm around the neck of their partner side by side and put the ball between them (held between their sides above the hip)

If you drop the ball or touch it with your hands you have to start over, the first pair to reach the finish win!

image from Parenting

Freeze Dance
I LOVE doing this with kids.  They are so cute dancing and get all giggly when you stop.  What I like about this is it is not as rough as musical chairs (which can get pushy and end in tears).  Get some good kids songs and a nice wide space for dancing.  Dance crazy while the music goes but when it pauses everyone has to stop!  If you want it to be less competitive just have a kid stay frozen for one dance if they don't stop when the music stops.  Then they are not sitting on the sides by themselves.

Simon Says
Pretty similar to the above - and we all know how to play.  This is not only learning how to listen but also super fun!

Laser Gazer
I've seen this one all over the internet so I apologize that I don't have the source for the original image.  Tape red yarn from wall to wall at various angles.  The object is to get through without knocking any down or touching them.  A toddler will most likely just rip it all down so may be better for older kids.


Under Table Home
Get a table cloth or sheet that hangs over your table and just touches the floor.  Make a slit from the floor to just below the top of the table OR just cut out a door.  Use tie-backs to hold the door back and draw some windows with sharpie and any details you want - tada! Playhouse that is gone in a snap!

Carpet Town (or wood floor)
Using masking tape, you (or some kids) can plan out an entire city - use the tape to make sidewalks, roads, city lines, building lots, etc.  Feel free to incorporate leggos for buildings, play people and lots of toy cars!

Exploration Station
Collect a bunch of toilet paper and paper towel rolls.  Cut them all the be the same size (about 5 inches) and staple two side by side and use a hold punch to make holes on the sides for a yarn neck-strap.  Make enough sets for each kid and let them decorate with markers.  Make bingo sheets that picture objects around the house.  At each object you drew place a sheet of stickers next to it. Pair up the kids (if younger) when they find the object they put the sticker on the image and the first to get 4 in a row wins!  The binoculars just make them look like little explorers - not really necessary :)


Its getting late and it was a long day so I am just going to list off a few and count them as Nine and Ten on my list :)

Rock Painting - can be done with markers so there is no paint mess
Make Your Own Hat - make pre-cut pieces of yard]n, tape, colored paper, crimpy scissors, small boxes, etc and award each kid with different things (pre-make "best blank" plaques on paper. Ex Tallest Hat, Prettiest Hat, Most Colorful Hat...
Egg Dying - not just for Easter!
Party Plate Masks - get cheap white plates, markers, yarn and stickers.  Cut eye holes and make masks

Any more ideas from any of you creative Mommas?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

FREE Printable Roundup

I am a big fan of printables - let's be specific - FREE printables.  Lots of blogs offer them (and if I could figure out how to customize my blog with tabs, I would make a whole bunch too) until then, here is my toddler friendly printable round-up!

I love TinyMe, their products are adorable and they add stuff to their print section all the time.  Bear and Nana made the "Color-Me-In" stick puppets a few weeks ago.  Some require a color printer and some do not. Free Printables Here

image from TinyMe

Spoonful has lots of creative ideas for little kiddos.  Check out their "create" tab for fun activities.  These are their Top 25 Printable Mazes & Games. Free Printables Here

image from Spoonful

Babble has it goin on - I could get lost on this site for hours but stumbled on these 10 Fabulous & Free Printables.  These require paper and little imaginations. Free Printables Here

image from Babble

Mr. Printables is the mother-load.  There is everything from Robot Masks to Snake Puppets and flash cards.  All is well designed and eye catching. Free Printables Here

image from MrPrintables

I definitely need to get my printer up and going again :)


Monday, April 1, 2013