Friday, November 29, 2013

We're Back ! And we have a new addition !

No I am not pregnant and there is not a new baby in the house. Our new addition is our Elf.  I started seeing this elf stuff popping up all over the internet a year ago. Friends were posting pictures of weird things Barbie was doing with the Elf.  I wasn't super clear but I wanted to find out. I did my research and decided we had to have one. I never did get around to buying one last year but I had planned to get an Elf, no matter the cost, this year. Lucky Me because I found one at a Holiday Sale the church did to raise money for missions. I only spent $5. We read the story and the twins both wanted to name him. Of course at 3.5 years old, they could not agree. One liked JINGLE and the other one liked GEORGE. I got them t o combine their ideas and add a little bit of silly mom to it ....... TA DA - we have Jingle Georgie ! He has been hanging out in his box in the living room waiting for the turkey to be put away to make his grand entrance.

He arrived tonight in a new (to us) space ship filled with candy canes. He left his book propped open on the tail fin and the page is marked with a candy cane. It is open to the part that reminds kids not to touch the Elf or he could lose his magic. Jingle Georgie even left a note with a big NO. The twins are 3.5 there will be a lot of reminders.

Well, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. It ended up being just the three of us today but it was nice. The boys fell asleep before pie so they will have to eat it tomorrow. I might go do some shopping but it will depend on the kids.

I want to hit a couple craft stores tomorrow to take advantage of some great coupons. I can get 30% my entire purchase which would be a nice savings for my pocket. SO let's explain that... I love being crafty and creative. After more than a couple people told me to sell my stuff, I started taking them serious. It grew and I have been making and selling hair bows, headbands, mini hats, tutu dresses, and even wreaths and picture frames. I have even spray painted a couple lamps and a desk. It is lots of fun and it is something I really like to do. It is great at relieving stress and I have plenty of that.

My business page : CoCo Pretties

OK - next big reason I never blogged for nine months

Halloween kept me busying making tutu dresses for costumes and taking part in a photo shoot for a couple other local business.  All the tutu dresses and hair pretties were made by me at my home.
(Pet free/Smoke free/But I do have toddlers)


September was a battle of trying to get the boys approved for preschool. Not delayed enough for one program, too delayed on another issue for this program. Meanwhile Sam does OT, PT and Speech on a weekly basis while Jayson does Speech every other week.

August is the month my oldest boy graduated from Basic Training at Fort Benning with his blue infantry cords. The ceremony was on a Friday morning in Georgia.  HE flew home to AZ with his fiancee and the wedding was Monday evening.  (Sadly my grandpa ended up in the hospital again and then was transferred to a rehab facility until he could heal more.)

June and July was hectic too. My grandpa had taken ill after a stroke in April. I went down to PHX for a couple weeks to help out. He was back at home but he still needed help in the house and getting to appointments. I was glad to spend those two weeks down there helping out my favorite grandpa.

March, April and May - I can't remember. I do know that we were out doing stuff as much as possible. We enjoyed being outside and having new bikes to ride.

I use facebook way too much for things that should be kept as memories. I should treat this blog like a journal. So all the cute things are saved in one spot.

CHEESE !!!!!!!

Well, after a pseudo clean up of a potty training accident - they are back to sleep in my bed - so I need to go to sleep as well. If anyone is still reading, thanks.

Grinch and Max are up to no good.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm going to Disneyland !! (Trip Planning Advice)

Well not really :( but I would love to help you plan your trip. {We have a new trip planned: Spring Break 15}

I have been a self proclaimed Disney Dork for a long time. Recently somebody called me an expert when it comes to trip planning. I think of it as more OCD and being anal-retentive but EXPERT sounds better! 

When I see friends or even strangers (friends of friends on facebook - not random people in the street) talking about a trip to Disneyland - I want to help. I love planning my trips and I haven't been as much as I would like in the last few years. Just so you know my background. I did an internship at WDW in FL and mainly worked at EPCOT. I had annual passes for years for DL in California and have been on trips with toddlers, preschoolers, elementary kids, middle school, teens and newbies. 

Here are some of my favorite places to find info about the parks or plan my trips:  This is a MAP of the area with local hotels and restaurants. It even has a walking feature so you can estimate how much of a walk it is from a certain hotel to the gates. The main entrance on Harbour Blvd is marked at the letter A across the street from the Best Western.

This is a great website that I have used for years. Not only do they have a weekly update for Disneyland (and WDW) but they have great articles, info and a discussion board. You can create an account and log in to ask a specific question or just search for an answer and browse.

If you plan on doing a character meal - which I highly recommend - you will want pictures. The best deal is Photo Pass+. For Disneyland it is $69.95 as long as it is ordered 14 days prior to your trip. (It must be mailed to your house and you have to bring the certificate with you.) It includes print and digital copies of pictures taken at the character meals ($35 per print package if paid separately) and digital copies of your ride photos (on their own $10 for digital, $15 for print). It includes a limited license for printing the pictures after your trip. You can edit them online and then they send you all the files on a CD. We had approximately 225 pictures on our 4 day trip this past fall.
I think Goofy's Kitchen is my favorite character meal. They have breakfast or dinner which is nice. It can get very noisy in there so take that into consideration. Priority Seating can be arranged 60 days in advance. It is best to wait until 60 days from the last day of your trip so you can plan all your meals at once. Disney Dining can be reached over the phone or you can even email them. 

Disneyland Calendar of events - (Edited: I hope this link works.)

GetAwayToday is the company I used for our trip this past October. {I used them to schedule our upcoming trip for #SpringBreak15 as well.} They had great deals on hotels and you can add on other attractions in the area or character meals. Make sure to watch that the hotel you pick is actually close to the main entrance of Disneyland. A lot of hotels in Anaheim will say they are close but they can be a 5-15 minute drive to the parking lot. I usually choose to stay within walking distance because I don't want to deal with buses or trams in the morning. An extra 5 minute walk in the morning is not a big deal when you will be walking 5 miles during the day in the park. Plus if it is close by, you can walk back for lunch or even a nap during the busy part of your day. I have never used this service, but I have heard good things about it. I wouldn't use it for a short trip. Helpful for a short trip to WDW.
I also like to read up on posts from this blog:

IF there are any other questions you have about planning a trip to Disneyland. Please leave it in the comments.

Have fun !

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mom to 3 yr olds!! (Toy Story Birthday Party)

I can not believe it ! 

(Stolen from Quincy on Little Einsteins -- I can't be the only mom that knows that quote by heart.)

Found via google image search

My babies are no longer babies. They are BIG BOYS ! They turned 3 a few days ago and we had a great party over the weekend. I took almost all of my party ideas from Pinterest. I even hired a photographer to do the "photo booth" that I had set up in their twins' bedroom. The pictures turned out really well and I got to enjoy the party instead of being behind a camera.

Christie from Savage Photography was amazing ! She is local to Flagstaff. 

Here are a couple shots :

Me - I am channeling Woody and Mr Potato Head. The hat is from the dollar store and has been smushed by the boys. The nose and mustache were made out of fun foam.

Sam - wearing a clearance costume after his homemade costume was destroyed at Halloween.

Jay - wearing his Woody costume that I made for Halloween 12.

Me with the Etch a Sketch photo prop. The props were made with fun foam and craft sticks. I just looked at the toys and started cutting. No templates, I just eyeballed it.

And some random shots of our Toy Story Birthday Party !

My front door is magnetic so I used brown craft paper, fun foam and magnets to make a Mr Potato Head  for the kids to play with.

Decorations were easy ! Mr Potato Head toys dressed as Buzz and Woody and toys in the window sills and on the counters next to the food and drinks.

Cupcakes with homemade fondant . Aliens were made using two different size oval cutters and forming little antennas. I used Wilton candy eyeballs to finish them off. They were so yummy. The 3s were made from a cookie cutter. The icing job is horrible but nobody seemed to mind.

Well, I will have another post up soon with family photos that we will be taking later this week. We had it scheduled for their actual birthday but it was raining. I will also have a giveaway next week so check back...

~ Courtney

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Big headaches...

HUGE headaches...

Behind my eyes, near my temples,  neck is tight.

Yet they keep fighting and screaming.

This last time was because Sam took apart the box Jay made out of foam shapes.

So they are in time out.

It has been a very long weekend.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Meal Planning

I have been trying to come up with a meal plan and a grocery list this weekend. As I checked my news feed on facebook tonight I saw a blog post from Karen at Desert Chica Ramblings. She is trying to stick to a meal plan and use items in her pantry to keep from being wasteful. Since I have been stuck on the same idea all weekend I decided it was worth a blog post of my own. I am a stressed out single mom most days and I hate the scrambling that happens at the end of the day when I have to figure out dinner. It is even more stressful when I have toddlers that only want fruit snacks and cold hot dogs. (I hate the idea of cold hot dogs, it makes me cringe just typing it out - gross!)

I am hoping that by making this a blog post it will help me to be accountable too :) I used to have a pretty good plan in place where I had a type of meal for each night. That fell apart as our schedule changed and life got more hectic. If you have seen any of my posts (blog or fb) you know I have been stressed a lot lately. I am hoping this will make life a little easier.

SO, I started with a spreadsheet and started listing types of meals and recipes that I know my boys will eat. Examples: Mexican, Italian, Crock Pot, Easy, Pizza, etc. I then organized the list into these categories and tried to come up for 4 or 5 "recipes" for each night of the week.

Monday - Soup and/or Sandwiches
Tuesday - Mexican dish
Wednesday - Italian dish
Thursday - Crock Pot meal
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday - Leftovers or Easy
Sunday - Breakfast for Dinner

There were a couple different reasons behind each night's choice. Monday is stressful for most people, so I wanted an easy way to start the week. Taco Tuesday just sounds cool and it is something I love to eat. Pasta  or some sort of chicken/pork on Wednesday will leave some yummy leftovers. Thursday is MOPS so being able to throw food in the crock pot and let it cook is always nice on a busy day. My boys love PIZZA so most weeks will be frozen with the occasional call to Domino's. Saturday is usually hectic so being able to play with the boys and not worry about dinner will allow me to use the leftovers and empty out the fridge for the coming week. Breakfast at our house is usually dry cereal, frozen waffles or fruit - so having it for dinner on Sunday night lets us have a big meal of pancakes, french toast or eggs, hash browns and sausage that we normally don't get to eat.

I am going to link to my spreadsheet and meal plan when I get a chance. I want to add links to the recipes where I can and turn it into a public google doc. Give me a day or two and I will update this post. 

This week's plan :

Monday - Grilled Cheese sandwiches and Soup

Tuesday - Chicken Enchilada casserole (layered like a lasagna, not rolled)

Wednesday - Pasta and Sauce (whatever I have on hand, probably meatless)

Thursday - Southwest Dump (sorta a cross between Taco Soup and Chilli)

Friday - Pizza

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - French Toast and bananas

Well, it isn't fancy but the monsters should eat it. Let me know if you have any other ideas or want a recipe.

~ Courtney