Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Kid Friendly Halloween Decor + DIY

I love Halloween and I love decorating for holidays... but I have a hard time doing so when I have little kids that like to trash my stuff (unintentionally and intentionally).  So most of my decorations are "kid friendly" in that if they get ahold of it, it's not a huge deal.  The other thing with the decorations I put up is that I try to make them kid friendly in the sense that they won't have nightmares (or that I won't have nightmares).  I'm not big on bloody-gory halloween stuff anyway.
So here's what I whipped up this year: My kids love these decorations.  They loved helping me make some last year, this year, and they love just having it out.  I grew up with decorations up during the holidays so that's just what we do.

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I made that wreath with burlap ribbon and a wire wreath frame and embellished it with some stuff I got at Hobby Lobby.  The "halloween" letters below I got as a gift from my mom but I didn't like the color they came so I painted it to match my other decorations.
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I love these little halloween blocks I made this year.  I saw my sister had some at her house and that's where the idea came.
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I got a thick board inside a package I got in the mail recently and decided to turn it into this "Boo" sign.  The other side has something Thanksgiving on it.
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I did a few crafts with the kids this year including painting some "trick or treat" cans with the boys (trick or treat was poked into the cans with a nail and they just painted it), I had them paint some big rocks to make them look like pumpkins, and we also made those lightweight spiders for our walls.  Here's how we did the spiders:
Large Pom-Pom Spiders DIY:
You need:
Large pom poms (super affordable at Hobby Lobby)
Black (or purple, or silver- be creative!) pipe cleaners
Hot glue gun

To make:
Take one large pom pom and put some hot glue on it- enough to secure four pipe cleaners and then put the other pom pom on top.  Push together firmly and for a little bit until the glue hardens enough. Then bend the legs and that's it!  You can even add googly eyes but I liked them better plain.  They are so lightweight it didn't take more than bending the legs a little around my frames to keep the up on the wall!  You can also use a push pin to keep on the wall.

Monday, October 20, 2014

So long, Summer.

Yes, it's still like 90 outside but summer is officially over!  I'm absolutely okay with that.  In Mesa it's warm most of the year so when I feel a little chill in the air for the first time I get really excited.  We do love summer though- it's nice to have all the kids home to entertain.  Here are a few peeks into our last month of summer:
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The kids love it when I fill our sandbox up with water in the summer.  One of these days we'll blow up the pool and use that!  It's so much work though, ha!Connie B 3 Roll 2-11blog Connie B 3 Roll 2-9blog Connie B 3 Roll 2-8blog Connie B 3 Roll 2-4blog
We love family walks around the Mesa temple but in the summer when it's so hot we like going to the visitors center.  Brody, always a sweetheart, is always picking me flowers and surprising me with them. (:Connie B 3 Roll 2-2blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 3-15blog Connie B 3 Roll 2-1blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 3-13blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 3-12blog
I've lived in Arizona (off and on- you knew that) for over 8 years now and I haven't ever seen this awesome park with a cactus you want to climb.  There's also a giant spider web and rock climbing stuff my kids liked.  Summer, you were great; but, I'm so excited for fall and winter!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fighting Human Trafficking

Admittedly, the first time I ever heard of human trafficking was when I saw the movie Taken for the first time.  Maybe I was naive and sheltered- but I like to think I was just exceedingly blessed to achieve that point in my life safely.  Well, I still count each day as a blessing that I am allowed to live and breath as I choose.  Unfortunately that is not the case for many of our sisters in this world.

I recently was introduced to the International Princess Project.  What an amazing company it is!  Did you know that over 3 million women and girls work as prostitutes on the streets of India?  It's heartbreaking- almost makes you feel hopeless.  Fortunately, there are people working to rescue these women and girls.  Why do you think some of these girls get into that world?  Some are taken- some are lied to and go- some do it out of desperation for money so they and their families can survive.  This is where the International Princess Project comes in...
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They have established sewing centers for these women who have been rescued from the sex trade and give them the opportunity to work and support themselves- most importantly they find hope and healing.

PUNJAMMIES!  Adorable pj pants like the ones you see on me are what these women learn to make.  You can support the cause by purchasing your very own pair.  The proceeds return to grow the program.  I feel honored and humbled to wear these- to be reminded of hope and also humbled at the reality of things- that some people have it so hard and need our support and prayers.
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As if the cause wasn't enough to go out and buy every pair they have, they are also EXTREEEEMLY comfortable!  I feel like I'm wearing sweats but making a fashion statement.
My 6 year old wasn't getting the full effect of these adorbs pants (although high five to him for still getting them in focus!)... so I jumped on my chair and broke my own rules to show you them top to bottom.  I CANNOT say enough about how comfortable these are.  I just might never take them off. IMG_7044blog
Great for lounging around, taking care of the babies, checking the mail, sleeping, and still feeling fabulous.  You can see me in them at Target or picking my kid up from school.  My new uniform.  I just wish everyone passing me by knew the story behind them.  We can share and spread the word!IMG_7024blog
My heart breaks for women who find themselves in the sex trade... but thankfully there are good souls in this world that work to rescue- and then amazing companies like the International Princess Project that give them hope at a brighter future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oak Glen, California in the Fall

I grew up right down the hillside from this darling place.  My family and I would drive up to Oak Glen often to play in the snow in the winter, or buy organic locally grown apples in the fall.  It didn't matter what time of year we went, it was always a treat to go.  I got to go a couple weeks ago with MY own little family.  It was such a fun chilly fall morning.  We enjoyed some chocolate covered honeycomb (from the candy store my sister used to work at), ate delish loaded nachos, and watching our boys go down the bounce slide about 500 times.  I brought my Contax 645 camera since I can't get enough of that beauty.  All of these are film (other than the "parrish" sign.ConnieB Set 4 Roll 2-1blog IMG_7727 ConnieB Set 4 Roll 2-7blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 2-8blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 2-5blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 2-3blog ConnieB Set 4 Roll 2-4blog

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My new routine

I'm talking about exercise today!  Goodness, how my opinion about working out has evolved the past few months.  About a year ago I was pregnant with my youngest.  I wasn't even THINKING about working out- it was the farthest thing from my mind and to-do list.  I wondered if I'd ever work out again to be honest.  I figured it would be something I'd attempt to do once all my kids were in school and I had the free time... so, in like 5 years.  Having 4 kids age 5 and under just felt like a good excuse NOT to "exercise".  Chasing after, picking up after, and cooking for them was exercise enough.  Not to mention all the exercise I got chasing after other people's kids at photo shoots.  Yep, I pretty much had myself convinced I didn't need exercise in my life.  I seemed to maintain my weight pretty well doing what I've been doing.

IMG_5084blog IMG_5130blog IMG_5150blog  Then my surprise c-section happened.  After my c-sec, I noticed it took much longer to feel like myself again.  I also started to notice my energy level drop drastically, and my muscles seemed lacking.  I just felt exhausted, overwhelmed, and drab.  I remember sitting in my living room chair and thinking: I AM GOING to workout again.  I didn't know what I would do, just that I had to do something.  I needed a boost in confidence and function.

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All my life I considered myself an active person who makes exercise a part of her life but technically I let that slip away.  So then fast forward 5 years when I had my fourth baby and realized the thing that was missing in my life was a good sweaty workout.  My husband has had goals to lose a few himself so he joined a gym but realized it wasn't as effective as having a personal trainer would be.  Since personal trainers are pricey, we looked around and found a place that combines a personal trainer with a group workout that incorporates cardio with weight training.  Since you sign up as a group you have a lot of motivation to do your best- plus you're investing more money than you would at a regular gym so you tend to GO more.  So Tony started going and since I could see he loved it, I got interested too.  We started going together since our summer break schedules allowed it.  That was a ton of fun.  Since school has started again I've had to go alone but I just love being active again.  It's made a lot of difference to my overall mood each day as well as give me more energy!  People always say that, and I already knew it, but it's really true.  I'm always surprised when I realize it again just how true it is.  I can't believe I let 5 years go by without working out consistently!

IMG_5105blogger IMG_5123blogIMG_5111blog What I love about my new routine is the combination of cardio and weight training.  I feel like I'm accessing muscles I never have before.  The best part of it too is making time for me.  I think more moms need to do that!  Plus, I've noticed my kids are learning this new way of thinking- that exercise SHOULD be a part of their daily lives.  We took them to the track in their new Skechers shoes and I taught them some of the stuff I do at the gym.  Planking, push-up, squats (galore), and lunges... to name the most common moves.  A few days later at home Brody caught me doing more and asked, "is that a lunge?" and he started doing them with me.

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It's nice to have shoes for kids to be active in and that I'm confident they are comfortable with.  These all have memory foam inserts and Kenley and Hyrum's shoes are both 100% machine washable!  Knowing this, I thought that would be a nice feature for 6 months from now when I wanted to clean them but little did I expect I would have to wash them after only an hour of wear when he vomited all over it!  So, funnily enough I got to check out how good they did in the wash.  They came out as good as new so I'm a happy mama!  Don't worry about Hyrum; he was okay, he just ate too many skittles before running around having races with us.  That, and the heat and his asthma might've contributed, too.  Now that I have working out down, I should probably reevaluate our eating habits and the bags of candy we seem to have lying around. (;

IMG_5169blog One of the reasons I didn't want to exercise much the past several years was worrying that I just didn't have enough time to shower & doll myself up afterwards.  Sure, it's kind of a trade off some days but I've noticed that- all it really means is that I have a bun in my hair most of the time.  Doing it this way has actually simplified my life.  What I've gained: more energy, confidence, muscles, tone and definition, healthier skin and hair, kids who are learning how to live better, eat better, and I'm also a better mom when I give myself a break and do something for me.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kenley's 2nd Birthday Soiree

I have to be honest, I hadn't given Kenley's 2nd birthday party THAT much thought.  I guess with having 4 kids now some things happen a little more suddenly and with less planning... and anyway I was prepared to do something more simple this year.  Then my husband planned a end-of-the-summer family BBQ and I realized it was the day before K's birthday!  So we just rolled the two together.  I got to collab with Tiny Prints on this.  I love their site!  They have sssoooOOOoooo many cute things to customize for really any occasion.  I was able to use a few of their lovely items for Kenley's birthday party and so instead of having something simple, we had a SOIREE!  (he he)
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"K" stickers and ADORABLE pineapple invitation from Tiny Prints.kenley's 2-1 kenley's 2-2
You know me, I love to decorate for parties.  I decided since I had those awesome invitations I needed to do more.  I decided to make letters out of pipe cleaners for her cake topper, this pineapple garland to add to the party table to incorporate the invitations, among other things.  The color scheme ended up being silver, gold, black + white, and hot pink.
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I used the "K" stickers to close up these party favor bags.kenley's 2-4 kenley's 2-5 kenley's 2-6 kenley's 2-7
You better believe we had pina coladas in coconut cups for the "Summer Soiree!"  Super jealous of Annalynn's tan here.  I feel like I'm whiter now than when summer started! ha!kenley's 2-8. kenley's 2-8 kenley's 2-9 kenley's 2-10 kenley's 2-11 kenley's 2-12 kenley's 2-13
And of course no pool party is complete without a "relaxation-station".  Okay I just made that up, no one called it that.  heh heh.
I LOVE these custom pillows from Tiny Prints. We went with some Kenley-themed pillows, of course.kenley's 2-14 kenley's 2-15 kenley's 2-16 kenley's 2-17 kenley's 2-18 kenley's 2-19 kenley's 2-20 kenley's 2-21 kenley's 2-22 kenley's 2-23
My oldest baby has no top teeth!  I love it.kenley's 2-24 kenley's 2-25 kenley's 2-26 kenley's 2-27 kenley's 2-28 kenley's 2-29 kenley's 2-30 kenley's 2-31 kenley's 2-32 kenley's 2-33 kenley's 2-34 kenley's 2-35 kenley's 2-36
I had a lot of fun putting together Kenley's 2nd birthday party.  I don't know if any of my kids will care that I decorate and that kinda stuff but I enjoy it so it's worth it for that, too.  But I do think they love it by how they act when I'm making stuff or putting it up.  I love this spunky little 2 year old of mine.  Some moments I will say those "terrible two's" have arrived but for the most part she's still my angel.  She's so great.