Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Johnson's Baby Says, "Your Promise is Our Promise" #PromiseToBaby #partner

As a mom, I promise to love my children.  I promise to nurture them, help them grow, and inspire in them a love for life and a joy in learning about the world around them.  I also promise to keep them safe - from the monsters in the closet to the cars as they cross the street. 

cute baby girl under pink blanket

Just as I promise these things to my children, Johnson's Baby has also made a promise to moms.  They listened to moms who shared their concerns about some of the ingredients in their products and they acted.  Johnson's Baby took a stand and changed their formulas to give moms peace of mind.  They have removed formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and reduced traces of 1,4 dioxane from all of their baby products around the world.

The Johnson's Baby Family is excited to introduce seven newly reformulated products:

  • Johnson's Baby Head-to-Toe Wash
  • Johnson's Baby Lotion
  • Johnson's Baby Shampoo
  • Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Conditioner for Thick and Curly Hair
  • Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Conditioner for Thin and Straight Hair
  • Johnson's Baby Shampoo with Calming Lavender
  • Johnson's Baby Soothing Vapor Baby Bath

Additionally, for most of their new and improved baby products, Johnson's Baby has removed parabens - ahead of their 2015 commitment as part of their promise to you.  The new and improved products will continue to roll out onto retail shelves until their meet all of their commitments.  For more information about Johnson's Baby policies and timeline, please visit http://www.safetyandcarecommitment.com/.

As the new products hit shelves, Johnson's Baby is launching a heartfelt campaign called, "Your Promise is Our Promise" as a way to express their ongoing commitment to moms.  Just as moms make promises to their children, Johnson's Baby also makes promises so moms don't have to worry about the products they use on their little ones.

Watch this beautiful video here:


Johnson's Baby has made this "Our Promise" video as an open letter to moms showing their scientists and their families coming together to build an origami stork mobile, symbolizing the delivery of their promise to always listen to moms.

This amazing video concept was inspired by a Japanese legend that folding 1,000 origami cranes will result in a wish granted and a promise fulfilled, which is thought to be a big labor of love.  Changing their products was Johnson's Baby's labor of love for moms and babies, but they used storks in the video because they represent the delivery of babies and the hopes and promises of families.



I'm proud to have used Johnson's Baby products with both of my babies.  Do you know other moms who have had concerns about ingredients in the baby products they buy?  Please share this post with them so they can feel good about their promises too.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in partner with JOHNSON’S® Baby and The Motherhood. I received compensation and free product in exchange for providing this post. However, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Elsa Doll Pin {Easy Activity for Kids}


We learned all about early Colonial America this year and Rachel loved learning how little girls made their own dolls out of clothespins.  She even picked one out as her souvenir when we visited Log Cabin Village.  So she was really excited when I gave her the supplies to make her own doll pin.  Of course, she had to make her favorite character, Elsa from Disney's Frozen.

Easy Activity for Kids: Elsa Doll Pin Craft

I actually stumbled upon the wooden doll pins at a garage sale but I'm sure you can find these or something similar at Hobby Lobby or another craft store.  I pulled out other basic supplies that we already had on hand.  

Craft supplies: Doll pins and felt

I wanted my little girl to be able to make as much of the doll on her own so I gave her some felt.  This made it easy for her to just cut out the dress without worrying about the fabric raveling.  Felt is so forgiving and it is great for a "no-sew" project.  

For the adhesive, I knew that school glue would just soak into the felt and not work very well for this project.  Ideally I would have used a hot glue gun but that was obviously out of the question for a 5 year old.  So I gave her some of my Thermoweb Zots Clear Adhesive Dots that I use for a scrapbook adhesive. 

Girl using Thermoweb Zots

Zots are amazing glue dots!  They stick on anything and they hold strong.  They come stuck to a roll of paper.  Rachel just cut out the dot she wanted to use, held the paper and pressed the dot onto the felt, then gently peeled back the paper.  Instant sticky spot!

Rachel made a blue cape for her Elsa doll and she didn't want to just stick the cape to the top of the dress.  No, she actually wanted a piece of ribbon on the cape so she could really tie it to Elsa.  You might think this would have to be sewn on but nope!  Zots to the rescue!

Using glue dots to attach ribbon to cape

She stuck the ribbon right on the cape and tied it on.


She made a belt and stuck it on the doll with glue dots as well.  That's one cool looking, albeit bald, Elsa doll, designed and created entirely by my 5 year old!

Elsa doll pin

Rachel wanted her doll to have white hair.  We talked about using a cotton ball but she wanted Elsa to have a braid in her hair.  That wasn't going to work with a cotton ball.  I found some fluffy white ribbon in my stash and let Rachel work with her doll's hair.  She hasn't quite mastered the art of braid yet so she was happy to let me help with her hair.


She used a black Sharpie marker to add eyes and a nose and mouth to Elsa's bare face.  Then she asked for the glitter to make her sparkle.  Cringe!  Glitter is so messy and it multiplies and spreads all over your house, regardless of how thoroughly you clean up the craft table.  But alas, I still love glitter so I have lots of it.  I put a light coat of glue on the doll's hair and clothes and Rachel went to town shaking glitter all over her.

Little girl using green glitter

She is so proud of her Elsa doll that she made (mostly) by herself!  I'm pretty amazed too.  When I pulled out the craft supplies I had no idea that she would take over the entire project on her own.

Elsa doll

Of course, there was a little bit of fun sensory play with the left over glitter when she was done!  It is fun to feel the glitter as your hands slide through it.  Rachel enjoyed writing in it with her fingers.


And I wonder how glitter ends up all over my house!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Making Cupcakes for the Cast Party

The Actors Conservatory Theatre hosted a cast party for the the kids tonight to celebrate a successful 8 show run of The Hobbit.  We decided to make cupcakes to bring and the kids were excited to help.  Nicholas tried out a new skill - breaking eggs with one hand.  He broke all three eggs perfectly like this.  Way to go, little man!

Rachel was begging, almost before we started, to lick the spoon when we were done.  Nicholas was hesitant to lick the bowl because he knew that there was raw eggs in the batter.  But after lots of "mmm's" from Rachel and her spoon, he couldn't resist.

boy making cupcakes
Of course, he is officially an actor so he had to pretend like he instantly died from salmonella poisoning from the eggs.  What a ham!

boy playing dead

We decided to make lots of mini cupcakes because we could make 36 of them instead of just 12 big cupcakes.  It called for a little more work to frost and sprinkle all the little cupcakes but my kids didn't mind.

cupcake sprinkles

We made a few big cupcakes for us to enjoy too.  Yum!

boy eating cupcake

Rachel got a little heavy with the sprinkles and colored sugar.

sprinkles and colored sugar on cupcake

But she usually just eats the toppings anyway.  She rarely even takes a bite of the actual cake inside.

girl eating cupcake

The kids had a great time at the cast party.  Nicholas was given the Bifur dwarf doll that was used as part of the costumes on stage when he and the other dwarves were flying on the wings of the eagles.  It is super cute and looks just like him.

Dwarf doll from The Hobbit

We are so grateful for the wonderful theater experiences the kids have had this year with Nicholas on stage and Rachel helping me with props as well as selling raffle tickets and flowers for the shows.  If you are in the Lewisville area, please check out some of the shows at the ACT.  If not, find a local children's theater in your town and take your family to see a show.  

Actors Conservatory Theatre


Monday, July 21, 2014

Medieval Times in Dallas

We took Grandmother C. to the Medieval Times castle in Dallas for dinner and a show. Where else can you watch a great tournament and eat an entire meal with just your hands?  

We had reservations and got there before the doors opened.  However, there was already a line to get in.  Our 5 year old was not the most charming about having to be patient in the hot Texas sun!

Family at Medieval Times in Dallas

But the castle is the perfect place to go for summer entertainment and dinner while enjoying the cool air conditioning!  We all donned our fabulous blue crowns and got ready to for a wonderful dinner and tournament.

Crowns at Dallas Medieval Times

No utensils are needed at Medieval Times - actually they aren't even available for you if you want them!  Your fingers are all that you need.  The garlic bread is perfect for dipping into the hot Tomato Bisque soup.  But my soup bowl must have had a hole in it because it was completely empty.  I wish they offered seconds!

Tomato Bisque at Medieval Times

The bisque was followed by chicken, rib, baked potato and dessert pastry.  The food is always delicious here.  And of course, napkins and wet towels are available to clean up with afterwards.

We watched the falconry performance and the beautiful Spanish horses as they danced around the arena.  Of course the jousts and sword fights were amazing too.  I just love the chivalry and pagentry of the performances.

Blue Knight at Medieval Times

Here is a quick video of one of the Blue Knight's battles:

Medieval Times is located at 2021 N. Stemmons in Dallas, Texas.  For more information, please call them at 866-543-9637 or check out their website at www.medievaltimes.com.  Tickets are $60.95 for adults and $36.95 for children but there are a few promotions going on now that you might be interested in.  
  • Promo code SK39WEB, adults can go for $39.95 and kids for $29.95 through Labor Day weekend.
  • Promo code 35WEB, all tickets are $35, Monday - Thursday only, through Labor Day weekend.
  • Promo code KFWEB, kids go free with a regularly priced adult ticket purchased, Monday - Thursday only, through Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Puzzle, Play, and BBQ

We had a leisurely start to the day with a big homemade breakfast.  Grandmother got some fun play time with the kids.  She worked with Rachel on this 100 piece puzzle but she said that Rachel did most of the work.  We talked about how she and I would both try to work the corners and edges first but Rachel starts with the characters first.  She just has an amazing way of solving puzzles.  She's always been really good at puzzles.

Hello Kitty puzzle

We all went to the 2:00 show of The Hobbit.  Nicholas did great.  There was a little extra pep in all of the actors because this was the last show.

On Friday, Rachel had helped me as I volunteered at the flower table in the lobby.  She enjoyed explaining to Grandmother how the small, medium, and large bouquets should be assembled.

Flower bouquets at theater

After the show, we headed to dinner at Hard 8 BBQ in Coppell.  I don't even use BBQ sauce when I'm here.  The meat is smoked to perfection and I think the sauce just makes it harder to taste the delicious sausage, brisket, or ham.

Hard 8 BBQ in Coppell Texas

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Wonderful Day in Grapevine

After breakfast, we took Nicholas to the theater to start getting ready for the 2:00 show and we headed to Grapevine.  We stopped at Vetro Glass Studio to show Grandmother C. how beautiful glass art is made.  We saw some beautiful pieces in the gallery but unfortunately their furnace is being replaced so we couldn't watch any of the artisans at work.

We headed next door to the Grapevine Foundry where they make incredible pieces with bronze and other media.  We had the incredible opportunity to watch the owner, Linda Lewis-Roark, working on the clay sculpture with the live model right there.  The artist has been working on it the clay sculpture for a couple of months already.  Once the clay sculpture is complete, they will cast a wax mold of it.  The wax mold will then be used to make the actual bronze statue.  So amazing!

Grapevine Foundry artist sculpting clay

We browsed around the Grapevine Farmer's Market and sampled some delicious foods.  Somehow we ended up buying a little of everything we sampled!  But the fresh cantaloupe is my personal favorite.

It was about time for our scheduled tea party at Let's Pretend Tea Parties.  Stuart left the girls and headed to a more guy-friendly place like Bass Pro Shops or something.

We started out by picking out our dress-up costumes.  I was surprised that Rachel didn't pick a more "princessy" dress.  She went all glam instead.


She got a little bit of blush and eye shadow.


Then it was time for tea and cupcakes!


Rachel was having a wonderful time!  She picked a vanilla cupcake and had seconds on the raspberry tea.


She kept going back to the costume area and picking out more pieces to add.  I think the purple boa was the perfect addition!


We headed back to the house to get ready for the 7:00 showing of The Hobbit.  Grandmother wasn't feeling well so she stayed home.  My tummy was feeling a little queasy too - I think we may have had too much raspberry tea!  Rachel was tired from our busy day and managed to get her Daddy to carry her into the theater.  Look at that smile on her face!

Little Girl in Daddy's arms

She's a bit too big to easily be carried in our arms but her Daddy knows that there won't be much longer before she will quit asking to be carried so he savors the days while he can.

Little Girl Being Carried By Her Daddy

We had a wonderful day exploring the area with Grandmother.  Tomorrow promises to be just as much fun.

Best Breakfast in Lewisville: Ham N Eggs

Where can you get a Texas-sized breakfast in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?  Look no further than Ham N Eggs, a busy little diner hidden in a strip mall in Lewisville.  They serve breakfast and lunch until 2:00 every day.

We went for breakfast.  There was quite a wait for a table and unfortunately there wasn't a place to sit or even stand where we would be out of the way.  People just seem to hang out near the door in small packs until tables are cleared for them.  There was a steady flow of people coming in for a late Saturday morning.  

Ham N Eggs is famous for their big pancakes and biscuits.  Their pancakes are HUGE.  Seriously, they hang over the sides of the plate!

Ham N Eggs Giant Pancake Breakfast in Lewisville

The five of us each had plates full of food.  But it isn't just about the size of the portions.  The taste of the food is amazing too.

Family breakfast at Ham N Eggs in Lewisville

I had the Texas Sun omelette with biscuits and gravy.  Look at the size of that biscuit!  Their biscuits and gravy are a very close match to our favorite breakfast diner back in southern Louisiana, and that is saying a lot for this truly southern meal.  The omelette and hash browns were perfectly cooked and seasoned.


The prices are very reasonable considering the amount of food you get.  We ate on our leftovers for 2 days!  I love all little diners but Ham N Eggs is probably at the top of my list for the best breakfast in the area.

Ham N Eggs is located at 297 W. Round Grove Rd #190 in Lewisville, TX.  They don't have a website but you can call them for more information at 972-315-1155.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Lunch Ideas for Kids: Make a Pizza!

With Summer here, I've been trying to come up with new lunch ideas for kids.  Nicholas has a new favorite: Make a Pizza!

Summer Lunch Ideas for Kids: Make Pizza!

We could make our own dough and pizza sauce but I'm not Martha Stewart so we just buy prepared ingredients.  We need some pre-made pizza crusts, olive oil, pizza sauce, and toppings.  

Ingredients for kids to make their own pizza

First Nicholas spreads a thin coat of olive oil on the pizza crust then he slathers on some pizza sauce.

Boy making pizza

Then add your toppings.  My kids keep things simple for me with just shredded cheese and pepperoni.  You can get totally creative with this step.  For my pizzas, I like to add some crumbled sausage, diced onions and bell peppers, and a few sliced mushrooms.

Pop it in the oven following your pizza crust's directions.  Ours bakes for 7-10 minutes at 425 degrees.

Kids pizza baking in the oven

I love giving my kids a little bit of independence by encouraging to make their own lunch.  They take such pride in their creations and they are learning confidence in the kitchen.

Kid eating pizza

I think Nicholas would make and eat these kids pizzas every single day if only I could keep the ingredients in stock.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Getting Ready for the Show {The Hobbit}

As we wrap up the first weekend of The Hobbit, I decided to tag along with Nicholas as he got ready for the show.  He starts with putting on his costume.  He wears comfortable shorts and a t-shirt to the theater so that he can just slide his costume pieces over his clothes.  Having clothes on underneath the costumes keep them cleaner so they can go all 8 shows before being washed but it also cuts down on dressing time.

Once he is in costume, he grabs his makeup pencil and gets in line for makeup.  He has simple boy stage makeup as a dwarf.  Once his makeup is done, he goes backstage to hook up his microphone.  I was surprised that he has learned to do this on his own but he does.  He used mic tape to help secure the mic in place.

Children's Theater - Putting on a microphone

Next he heads back down to costuming to finish getting into costume.  He was surprised on opening night to learn that he would be wearing a wig.  He wasn't thrilled with it but he is actually more disappointed that he doesn't have facial hair as part of his costume.  He starts with putting on his wig cap.  The wig cap helps to hold his natural hair in place and give the bobby pins something to grip to.  It also helps to keep the wig clean by putting a barrier between the kids' sweaty heads and the wigs.

Children's Theater - Putting on a wig cap

Next he waits in line while Ms. Joe Ann styles everyone's wigs.  She is the founder of the Actors Conservatory Theatre and the director for The Hobbit so it was neat getting to hear her talk with the actors as she fixed their wigs.  She has so much knowledge and experience in the theater.

Children's theater - getting the wig styled

Finally, Nicholas is ready to perform his heart out on stage as the awesome little dwarf, Bifur.


4 shows down and 4 more to go next weekend!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Hobbit at the ACT - Opening Night!

Tonight is opening night for The Hobbit at the Actors Conservatory Theatre!

Nicholas auditioned for the part of Gollum (also known as Smeagol).  The auditions took place during a crazy time in our lives when we were living out of a hotel.  I remember feeling terrible that we had been so distracted with other things that we had not spent much time helping Nicholas prepare for his audition.  He did great but didn't get the part he hoped for.  Instead he got the part of Bifur, one of the 13 dwarves who go on a mystical adventure with Bilbo the Hobbit and Gandalf, the great wizard.  He loves his part.  He is on the stage for almost the entire play and has many lines and lots of songs, choreography, and even a battle scene.  What a blessing in disguise that he didn't get the part that he had hoped for!

The ACT starts each production with a family potluck.  It's always quite a spread and it is a fun way to get to know the other actors and their families.


We wimped out and brought pizza but some people got really creative and brought Hobbit-themed food.  Our favorite were the little meringue and chocolate mushrooms which apparently Hobbits really love. Yum!

Hobbit-themed food, meringue mushrooms

After the potluck, the director, Ms. Joe Ann, talked to us about the story of The Hobbit.  She also told us that she had actually corresponded with J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit, while he was still alive.  He was living in England and she wrote to him to ask his permission to write and produce a children's play based on The Hobbit.  Tolkien thought this was a wonderful idea.  He said that The Hobbit was read by students in England by age 8 and he was disappointed that children in America didn't read it until their high school years, if at all.  He was excited that she wanted to introduce the story to elementary students in a theatrical way.


As usual, Stuart and I have been very busy helping the production behind the scenes.  Stuart has spent many evenings and weekends building an amazing set with platform and sliding door that the dwarves and other characters will crawl across during the show.  I've been working on props.  They had an old copper tea kettle that they bought at a thrift shop that was dull with tarnish and I learned how to polish it to shine like new.  I've also worked on painting walking canes, weapons, making old maps, and more.  Here is one of my painting projects.  They had some old yellow plastic mugs that they wanted to look like small wooden barrels.  I love being able to help give these old random things new life on the stage.


We were even able to donate a big piece of light brown carpet that used to be in the playroom to make a big rock for the stage.  They placed it over a frame and added some paint accents to it and voila!  Instant rock!  This picture was taken early on.  They have even added more finishing touches to it to make it look even more like a rock.  So cool!

Stage rock made out of carpet

Nicholas has a simple costume as a dwarf.  He will have some simple makeup but I don't think he has a wig or facial hair.  He's happy about that!


Here is a little sneak peek video of one of the songs early in the play.  It's called Chip the Glasses, Break the Plates.  I took this video at the dress rehearsal last night.  Here the dwarves have just invaded little Bilbo's neat and perfect house and made themselves at home.  They are supposed to be cleaning up after they helped themselves to a meal.  They are singing about being careful with the dishes because Bilbo hates chipped glasses and cracked plates.

The Hobbit performances are from July 11 - July 20, Fridays at 7:00, Saturdays at 2:00 and 7:00, and Sunday at 2:00.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.getintotheact.org.