Yellow Belt with Black Stripe

Nicholas completed his karate belt test and has moved on to a yellow belt with black stripe! Here are a few highlights from the belt test...

The belt ceremony...

Nicholas is so proud to have earned his yellow belt with black stripe. He thinks the black stripe means that he'll get a black belt next. Not quite, little buddy. But keep up the good work. We're so proud of you!

Spell It With Style

I recently won a giveaway from Fresh Confessions of a Screwed Up Texan. Hooray!

The giveaway was for a $35 credit towards a cute Etsy store, Spell It With Style. I love the handcrafted items that owner, Brook Durham, makes. Their featured items are custom upholstered name or initial plaques to hang on your wall. I've seen expensive home decor catalogs that show a child's name on their nursery room wall and I fell in love with that personalized touch. However, I never wanted to spend the kind of money that they wanted nor did I have the time to try to craft something like that myself. But with Spell It With Style, not only are their prices reasonable but you can custom order the fabric colors and patterns and even the font of the letters for your wall plaque.

The package was shipped just a few days after I ordered it. We were excited to find it at our door when we came home from running errands.

I was giddy as I opened the box. I couldn't wait to see the cute items I had ordered. I expected to dig through some packing material and see my items just lying there in the box. But I was so pleasantly surprised to see how wonderfully packaged they were. Brook gives her products that extra touch by individually wrapping them in tissue paper and ribbon. Don't they look cute?!

Of course, I still couldn't wait to rip into them to see my goodies in person. I actually let Rachel have the honor of opening them up but I'm sure I was more excited about it than she was.

Here is the name plaque I got for Rachel's room.

Her room is pale pink, pale green, and pale yellow. There is a patchwork quilt of these colors hanging on one wall so I thought this pink madras fabric went well with the room but had enough variety to it that it would go with most colors that we might use when we redecorate in a few years for a big girl's room.

I just LOVE how it looks in her room over her crib!

I also ordered this little shabby chic chalkboard for the kitchen. I've thought of getting a little chalkboard or whiteboard from Office Depot for Stuart and I to leave reminders for each other or for a place to write a "to do" list. But this chalkboard is the most stylish one I've seen...

But instead of using it for my intended purpose, Nicholas has written a sweet message about our family on it so now I can't wipe it clean. I like it's current use even better.

I really love the products at Spell It With Style. I'm considering repainting Nicholas' room and once we decide on a color scheme, I'll definitely order a name plaque for him too. I also like the idea of using a neutral fabric background with the word "Welcome" on it to hang in the foyer or you could even put your family surname on it and hang it in the living room. So many fun ideas and Spell It With Style offers so many wonderfully creative ways to display them. Check them out at

P.S. - I was not asked to write a review for this product. I simply love it so much that I wanted to share it here because it's such a fun way to add that finishing touch to your home decor.

Guys' Night Out: Hockey, Hot Dogs, and Video Games

Stuart and Nicholas had a Guys' Night Out this weekend. I love that Stuart makes time to do one-on-one things with Nicholas. It really means a lot to the little guy to have such quality time with Daddy, especially when they do cool "guy stuff".

For their night out, the boys went to see a hockey game at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco. They saw a great game between the Texas Tornados and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

Stuart and I became big hockey fans when we moved to Houston in 1996. Of course, since we've moved to the DFW area, we love going to Dallas Stars NHL games every chance we get. The Texas Tornados are in the NAHL (North American Hockey League). They are a junior hockey league which means the players are 20 years old and younger. The games may not be as polished as the professional NHL games but they are just as much fun and a whole lot cheaper which means we can afford to go more often.

We got a great deal for this home opener game - admission tickets and a Twister meal deal consisting of hot dog, chips, and a drink, all for $10. It's a really a good deal because the meal deal is $7 by itself.

The hockey game was fun. There were a few scuffles on the ice but nothing unusual for hockey.

Nicholas got to meet the Tornado's polar bear mascot, Ike.

But one of Nicholas favorite parts about the night was that it was Family Night and there were lots of activities for kids such as a bounce house and the beloved Game Truck right there next to the ice rink. Watch a little hockey, bounce a little, watch a little more hockey, play some games. How fun is that?

Yep, that's my kid with the black hooded sweatshirt on with his eyes glued to the video games.

Stuart thought it was funny that he was standing right next to the ice watching an exciting live hockey game while just behind him were a hoard of kids watching each other play hockey video games!

You can check out the schedule for upcoming Texas Tornado games HERE. But I don't know that the bounce house and Game Truck are usually there so you might have to actually sit and watch the ENTIRE hockey game! Stuart will be jealous of you :)


Rachel and I attended Fun on the Farm Fridays at Heritage Farmstead yesterday. It's a parent and child program that involves some hands-on farm activities as well as a storytime and a craft. This program was all about sheep. Baaaa!

We got there a little early. Rachel enjoyed picking up little pieces of gravel and running back and forth along the fence...

...running some more...and laughing...and clutching her little handfuls of gravel...

We looked at plants (and one of us picked a pretty purple flower that I'm sure we weren't supposed to pick - oopsie!).

I enjoyed looking at the 1809 Kitchen Garden. Such wonderful aromas from all the great classic herbs grown there.

Rachel was just fascinated with the scarecrow. She kept pointing and saying, "Look at dat, Mommy. Look at dat!"

The program started in the little red 1-room school house where we listened to Ms. Victoria read, "Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep" by Teri Sloat.

Rachel really enjoyed sitting at her own little desk.

Next we learned about pulling and spinning wool.

Rachel tried but quickly lost interest.

She was much more interested in checking out the spinning wheel. It actually spun so it was much more entertaining than the silly stick and fluffy wool:)

Next we walked over to meet some real sheep. At first Rachel was a little frightened. She came over to me with her arms up and said, "Up! Up! I want uuuup!". I picked her up and we talked a little about the sheep. Eventually she wanted to get back down to check them out on her own.

We watched some of the other children feeding the sheep and I was amazed when she said she wanted to feed the sheep too. But she did a great job and didn't flinch or get scared.

On our way to the barn we took a detour down to the creek. Everyone hold the handrail!

Everyone took turns throwing their rocks in the creek. Who doesn't love throwing rocks in a creek?

Rachel didn't want to leave. That's my little nature lover :)

Then we had to stop and look at a few others things on our way to the barn. Everything is exciting to a toddler.

We finally caught up with the group and made it to the barn to do our sheep craft project. Rachel covered her sheep with glue...

Then she put pieces of wool on her sheep. Baaaa!

As we walked around earlier, Rachel saw the tractor and got scared. She even wanted me to hold her as we walked by it. So when I found out that we were going to take a tractor ride, I figured that we would probably have to skip that part. But I let Rachel watch the other kids get on and then asked her if she wanted to ride. My brave little girl conquered her fears and said, "Yes!"

...and she had a blast!

At one point during the ride I looked down and notice her little hand clasped closed.

Surprise! She was still holding on to that gravel...

Hello again, Sheep!

Rachel used the corn mill to grind up corn to feed the chickens.

Checking out the chickens. Rachel said, "Hey little chickens!" in such a sweet little voice.

She wanted to just hold the corn and let the chickens eat out of her hand like the sheep had done. I kept telling her to just throw it in the pen but she said, "I don't want to". The chickens were very interested in the food and I was getting a little antsy. Fortunately, the little booger finally threw the corn. Thank goodness because Mommy was about to have Chicken Piccata for dinner if one of them pecked the baby girl's hand while she was trying to feed them.

We enjoyed a cup of cold water under a shady tree.

And how convenient! Now we have empty cups to collect more gravel to bring home and scatter throughout Mommy's car. Yeah!

Note: No gravel was kidnapped from Heritage Farmstead at the conclusion of this program. Mommy offered to hold the cup and "accidently" spilled it when the little one wasn't watching....and she never seemed to miss it. Sneaky Mommy!

Heritage Farmstead is located at 1900 West 15th Street, Plano, Texas 75075 and their phone number is 972-881-0140. Their fall preschool programs are from 10:30 - 12:00 on Fridays and cost $8.50 per parent/child combo. Here is the schedule for upcoming programs:

October 15, 2010 - Lets Go Camping

October 29, 2010 - Let’s Build A Scarecrow

November 12, 2010 - I Spy A Bird

November 19, 2010 - The WILD WILD West

Harvest Moon

The moon has been particularly beautiful this week and it's been a wonderful sight to see. September 22nd marked the change of seasons from summer to autumn. For the first time in 20 years, this change of seasons occured on the night of a full moon and it was a Super Harvest Moon. Unfortunately our part of the sky was covered in clouds so we missed it's peak performance. But Stuart caught these pictures the following night.

What a brilliant glow. Just breathtaking...

Don't Be A Yuck Mouth!

Who says you can't learn a thing or two from Saturday morning cartoons? Well, at least "back in the day" when I was little you could. The ultimate in educational cartoons was obviously School House Rock, hands down. Where else could you learn about bills becoming law, conjunctions, electricity, the Declaration of Independence and so much more, while being entertained and learning a catchy new tune. Man, those were some great little shows and their songs would just stick in your head all day so you couldn't help but learn about whatever they were teaching. If you watched cartoons in the 70's, you know what I'm talking about. You're singing the song to your favorite School House Rock show right now, aren't you?!

Although it wasn't from School House Rock, I also have another little catchy song that I learned from a cartoon back them. A few years ago I started singing it to Nicholas to get him to brush his teeth. It's called the Yuck Mouth song. It's about some guy that doesn't brush, has food in his teeth, and gets a cavity. This guy is gross so it really helped encourage kids to brush their teeth. Nicholas loved the song and he had me sing it over and over until he had it memorized. Wow, I actually learned something beneficial from cartoons that I'm teaching to my child 30 something years later. That just makes me laugh.

Well on the way to our Tiger Cub outing last night, we were singing the Yuck Mouth song. It was totally appropriate since our field trip was to a dentist's office!

Jamie at Dr. Wyatt's office was wonderful with the kids. She showed them some really cool xrays that she used to show the different parts of the teeth and the jaw bone. Nicholas thought these were really cool because they were kind of creepy looking since you are looking at part of the skull.

Then she taught the boys the technique for proper brushing. She did a great job with her instructions but I honestly don't know how much the boys heard. They were too busy going gaga over the giant mouth and giant toothbrush. Who knew that would be so exciting?!

Next the boys got to chew on disclosing tablets. These are tables containing a harmless red vegetable dye that sticks to plaque on your teeth so you can see areas that need more brushing. Nicholas did rather well but there are definitely some areas he needs to do a better job with.

I'm not sure if they really tell you anything about the tongue but all the boys had very bright pink tongues. They thought this was funny to show everyone their tongues.

I have never looked for disclosing tablets locally but I'm sure they are available. However, I know you can find them several places online and they aren't expensive. I'm going to stock up on some and let Nicholas see how he's doing from time to time. It's an easy way to inspire some extra careful brushing.

Jamie gave all the boys their own little dental mirror to keep. Nicholas quickly figured out how to use it with another mirror to see behind his front teeth.

Dr. Wyatt gave each cub a goodie bag complete with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, finger puppet, mini flashlight, coupon to Sonic, and more. Nicholas really liked the two disposable gloves that Jamie gave them. They made fun balloons.

And now that I can't get that dang Yuck Mouth song out of my head, I thought I'd share it with you so you can catch yourself singing it as you walk down the grocery store aisles too.