Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Books + Toddlers

For some reason, reading is something I have never really enjoyed.  Even as a kid I didn't like to read.  I remember my mom signing my sister and I up for summer reading programs at our local library to try to enforce reading, but for some reason or another I never caught on to the fun.

Even though reading isn't one of my favorite pastimes, I do enjoy reading to Rowen.  Ever since she was a few months old, Ryan and I have been reading lots of books to her.  She has a library of well over 30 books and we easily read 5-10 books a day!  She loves it!

At first, I struggled with trying to find good books for Rowen, books she would enjoy for many years to come.  After a year and a half of experience, I think I've finally come up with a few good tips for picking out books that will keep a child’s interest:

Board Books:  If you have a toddler in the house you know that they like to destroy things.  So if you want your books to last, I recommend board books!  

Large pictures:  Large, brightly colored illustrations will help to keep a little one’s attention

Short and sweet:  I’ve noticed Rowen quickly gets bored with a book if it’s too wordy.  Books with short, easy to understand sentences are the way to go!

Rhymes:  A book that rhymes makes reading all the more fun! 

Here is a list of Rowen’s top five favorite books:

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom:  This is the newest book in our collection.  She absolutely loves the bright colored pictures and the way it reads (sort of like a song).

Big Bug, Little Bug:  This book is awesome!  It teaches opposites using bright colored illustrations and easy to understand sentences.  Not to mention there is an awesome pop-up at the end of the book, too!

Ten Little Ladybugs:  An adorable book that counts backward from 10 using rhyming to help reinforce the concept of counting.  Rowen loves it! 

Elephant:  This is one of five books in a small collection.  Animals (especially elephants) seem to keep Rowen’s attention the most!

Brown Bear Brown Bear:  I remember my teachers reading this book when I was a kid!  This book is very repetitive, and has helped Rowen associate colors with various animals.

What are your kids' favorite books?  I'd love to hear!

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Happy Kids, Inc.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

I hope you guys like Mexican!  Given that Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner, I packed this week's meals full of spicy, bold flavors!  I can't wait to try them!  Check it out and don't forget to re-pin using the "Pin it" icon at the bottom right of this post!  Enjoy!

Tuesday:  Ham Balls

Wednesday:  Beefy Mexican Lasagna

Friday:  Taco Pizza

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April's Homemaking

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend was jam packed, so I'll get right to it...

Friday night Ryan had plans with friends, so Rowen and I met up with my sister and cousin for some quality patio time at one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants!

The entertainment was great...

and so were the margs...

After dinner we spent yet another evening at the park - we can't get enough!


Saturday morning I skipped my usual morning run and decided to sleep in - until 7am.  My normal wake-up time is 5am, so 7am felt glorious!

I spent most of the morning meeting with a client for wedding invitations followed by a quick visit from Ryan's parents.  Ryan, Rowen and his parent's then headed out for lunch while I headed to a baby shower!

My friend Stacy was the guest of honor.  She's due in June with her first baby (a girl)!  We spent the afternoon playing hilarious baby games, (which I found out I am terrible at), eating sweets, and watching her open lots of gifts - so fun!  Stacy is going to be such a wonderful mom!

After the shower, I then met up with a few friends to do some "carb loading" for a race we were running the next day!  I inhaled about a pound of pasta - I feel full just looking at it!


Today, (Sunday) I woke up bright and early to meet up with friends for the race.  Every year, the City of Des Moines' Drake University puts on an awesome outdoor track and field event, which is regarded as one of the best track and field events in the US - pretty cool!  

The race was supposed to start at 8am, but ended up being delayed an hour due to lightening and rain.  So to keep dry, we headed to a nearby coffee shop and killed some time until the race began at 9:00.  

The race was a 10K (6.2 miles) sponsored by one of the biggest grocery chains in Iowa.  It was mostly downhill for the first three miles followed by some massive up-hills toward the end.   Thank goodness for that pound of spaghetti the night before because I ran a personal best! 

Sunday afternoon consisted of a post-race nap, a trip to the grocery store, and a get-together with friends of ours.  Dave and Janet, who we have known for the past seven years (yikes has it been that long), live only a few miles away and have a two year old daughter (Little-C) and a 9 month old son (R-man).  It's so fun to watch Rowen interact with kids her own age.   Little-C is so caring and sweet toward Rowen, and I can only hope they remain good friends as they continue to get older!

Have a good night!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finish This...

Today I am linking up with Lisa, Jen and Becky For a fun game called “Finish This”.  I love reading other blogger’s posts when it comes to fun link-ups like this, so I thought I would join in the fun!

1.  My Favorite Makeup item is…
This one is tough, I have lots, but if I had to choose just one (any brand), it would be my Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette. I love it. 

2.  The best book I've ever read was…
So I really hate to admit this, but the last legitimate book I read for fun was probably in 8th grade. Sad but true.  I absolutely hate to read -  I’d rather watch the movie when it comes out.  If I have down time (which is a rarity these days) then I’d much rather turn on the TV. 

3.  My favorite TV show is…  
Easy... Full House {childhood}, Scandal {current}, all time {LOST} 

4. The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is…
Deciding to run my first 20K race (12.4 miles) after only five weeks of training.  Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made!  I owe it all to my sister who basically She forced me to sign up.  I've been hooked on running ever since!

5.  I prefer DOGS/CATS because...
I am definitely a dog person – I've never owned a cat and was raised with a dog.  I currently own an adorable dachshund named Carly – love her to pieces! 

6.  I met my significant other...
Well, technically, Ryan and I met in Mrs. McTaggart’s first grade class.  Then, fast forward 12 years and you’d find us going to senior prom together, college together, and finally married!  It’s been quite the journey with him!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

I only have four meals planned for you this week as we are planning to eat out Friday night - yay!

Monday:  Skillet Beef & Veggies

Tuesday:  Roasted Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Wednesday:  Taco Meatloaf

Thursday:  Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Have a good night everyone!

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Meal Planning Monday

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Recap

Easter 2014 was so much fun!  I loved every minute of it and I am so sad that it's over. :(

On Thursday, Rowen kicked off Easter early with a bunny themed party at daycare!  They had cupcakes and made bunny ears!

Rowen loved her ears so much, she had to wear it home that night!  


Friday, Rowen and I had the day off.  We ran lots of errands and did some cleaning (sorry, not really picture worthy).


Saturday was spent with Ryan's parents.  They came over for a BBQ lunch and brought Rowen an adorable Easter basket filled with lots of springtime goodies including gardening shoes, her own potted plant and a bird feeder!  

Rowen and Grandma then headed outside to plant in her flower pot and set up her bird feeder. We placed the feeder right outside the living room window, and all weekend she's been listening and looking for birds!  Love it!

Saturday night, we headed to church with my family and then out to dinner.  After eating we headed back to my parent's house so they could give Rowen their Easter gift...a Crazy Coup car!

It took awhile to put together, so to distract her, we headed to the pond to watch the ducks.


Sunday morning, Rowen woke to another basket full of goodies from the Easter Bunny!  (You can read about that here.)

We spent the morning playing with her new toys, and then headed out to meet my extended family for brunch!

After brunch it was back to our house for an Easter egg hunt...

...and a little fun in the sun!

Then, it was nap time...for everyone!

We ended the weekend with a walk around the neighborhood and a quick trip to the park!

Fun, sun and Family - I could not have asked for a better weekend!

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