$10 at Target: Pretty Paper Edition

$10 at Target: Pretty Paper Edition  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

Hello and happy Monday!  I hope you all enjoyed your Father’s Day weekend!  Our family went to a local theme park on Saturday and wore the kids out, then spent Sunday relaxing with family.  Just before the weekend got started, I had a chance to visit Target all by myself and it was a lovely hour and a half.  I didn’t have anything specific I was looking for, but knew I could only spend $10 for this month’s $10 at Target challenge.  I am a co-host for this challenge along with a group of lovely ladies and it’s been fun to see how close I can get to spending $10 or less at one of my favorite stores.  Do you think you could do it?  Let me show you what I found this month.

As always seems to be the case, I stopped at the Dollar Spot on my way in.  Our local Target is usually jam packed with a lot of items to choose from, so I was a little disappointed to see that there was one entire side of the rack that was almost completely picked over.  However, there was a still a ton to choose from and I found a few items that were interesting and threw them in the cart.

I wandered around the rest of the store at my leisure since I didn’t have any kids or time constraints looking for something fun to spend my $10 on, but ultimately, I walked out the door with the same things I found at the beginning:  a mini pack of note cards with cute sayings on the front, two packs of paper fans and one ice cream banner.  The total on my receipt was a little over the $10 limit at $10.69 with tax, which is the same amount I spent during last month’s challenge.

$10 at Target: Pretty Paper Edition  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

As for the paper fans, one pack included 6 mini fans that could be strung together for a cute fan banner.  The other had three fans of different sizes in a mint/teal color.  I picked them out at the store because I thought the colors were fun and summer-y.  I was deciding where to hang them when my daughter suggested the space above our summer bucket list chart.  Turns out they look perfect and add some pizazz (love that word!) to the space on that wall.

It's easy to make your summer bucket list a fun part of your decor with colorful paper fans.

I’m excited to use the mini note cards this summer.  They are perfect for pretty much any occasion and I’m a little sad they only came with eight cards.

I love little cards to include with gifts, a plate of goodies or just because!

The ice cream banner was the most random purchase of the bunch because I don’t actually have any use for it at the moment, nor do I have plans for an ice cream party.  BUT this banner is practically begging me to throw an ice cream party with its bright colors and glitter, so I’ll keep you posted on whether or not that actually happens this summer.

Like I mentioned above, I am a co-host for the $10 at Target challenge and link up party.  If you’d like to join us, we post the third Monday of each month.  I’d love to see what you find at Target!  You can also check out what each of the other hosts bought with their $10 below!

$10 at Target: Pretty Paper Edition  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

Stephanie  |  Wife Mommy Me
Becky  |  by BMG
Ashley  |  Ashley Newell
Johannah  |  The Sirois Family
Stephanie  |  The Gifty Girl
Danielle  |  Sparkles and Lattes

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

May In Numbers

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

Whoosh!  Did you hear that?  It was the sound of May rushing past! *wink*  But seriously, I feel like I just wrote last months summary.  A lot of fun things happened in May, but most of them happened in single digits.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

1 – Dance recital.  We celebrated the end of my daughter’s second year of dance with her studio’s spring recital.  She performed in two dances: jazz (Dynamite – Kid Bop version) and ballet (See the Light from Rapunzel).  I am absolutely amazed at the growth she’s experienced this year and her teacher said that she can move up a level to be with the bigger girls next year!  I was also able to pick up her dance pictures I posted about last month and they turned out absolutely darling!  Although I’m dying a little at how much she’s grown and changed in a year.

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

4 – Books read.  Last month I shared my summer 2017 reading list and one of the books I wanted to read is called Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.  It’s the first of a trilogy and I picked the first and second one up at the library.  My neighbor casually mentioned that she had the third book and that I was welcome to borrow it because she knew how quickly the series moves.  Let’s just say I texted her the next day and told her I was going to need that third book, haha.  So I finished the trilogy in about a week.  Just prior to picking up this series, I read the assigned reading for my neighborhood book club called The Knight of Redmond by Jennifer K. Clark.  I’ll be picking up more books from the library soon!

9 – Years since we got married (aka Our 9 Year Anniversary).  My husband and I had so much fun for our anniversary this year.  We didn’t do anything really big because we are hoping to go somewhere really cool for our 10 year anniversary next year.  My mom came out and watched our kids for us.  First, we went to dinner at P.F. Chang’s and ordered their lettuce wraps to share, then the crispy honey shrimp and Mongolian beef.  Afterwards, we went to a little place called Provo Beach Resort.  It’s one of those places that has a bunch of activities all in the same place.  We got a pass and did the obstacle course, bowling (my husband won both games), mini croquet and some arcade games.  Our favorite arcade game was a Pac Man air hockey where it would drop about 20 pucks onto the table at the same time and you had to try and block them and make points (I won!).

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

1 – Amazing Mother’s Day.  While I’ve enjoyed all of the Mother’s Days I’ve celebrated being a mother myself, this year was probably my favorite.  My husband got up with the kids so I could sleep in as long as I wanted.  Then he made breakfast for all of us.  Afterwards, the kids gave me the cards they’d made and my present: a new DSLR camera!  I’d had my old one for about four years, but it didn’t quite have all the capabilities I wanted so my husband had been on the lookout for a new one at a great price and he found one!  I was really surprised and so happy.  (Be on the lookout for some videos!)  After church, we had family over for a big dinner.  It was a wonderful day.

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

168 – Amount spent on new tires.  Seriously, who likes buying new tires?  They are so dang expensive!  But I had to buy them in order to get our car registered so it was a necessary purchase.

11 – Types of plants growing in my garden.  We decided to upgrade our garden boxes this year from the two smaller beds to one big U-shaped raised bed.  My husband did a great job building it and I’m so glad we did it.  Our garden seems to be growing the best it has since we started it four years ago.  We planted peas, pole beans, tomatoes (two types), carrots, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, green onions, pumpkin, rosemary and cilantro.

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

2 – Blogger events attended.  When I started blogging back in October 2015, I honestly never expected to find so many new friends.  Some I’ve met in person, others through email or social media.  It’s kind of like having a pen pal who you feel like you know because you’ve interacted with them so much, but sometimes you never meet them.  Well, I am lucky enough to live in an area where there are quite a number of bloggers so blogger events come up pretty regularly.  The first one I went to was a blogger conference the second week of the month.  The second one was just last week where we got to visit a newly opened events area at a unique little place called Gardner Village.  I rode up with Julia from The Quiet Grove and found out she knows my sister in law!  Honestly, meeting other bloggers has become one of my favorite parts of blogging.

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

1 – Preschool graduation.  My daughter completed her second year of preschool last week and she starts kindergarten this fall!  I am kind of in denial about it.  But I know she will love it.  She is a very sweet and social girl who makes friends with everyone, but also loves learning.

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!

40 – Pounds of chicken ordered.  Yes, you read that right.  I ordered 40lbs of chicken and it’s set to be picked up in a couple of weeks.  We have a deep freezer so we have the space for it, but holy moly!  I’m pretty sure we’ll be set with chicken for the next few months.  I ordered it through a company called Zaycon Fresh and they are a meat co-op.  I’ll be sharing a post about them later this month but if you’re interested in checking them out before then, you can use my link here.

5 – (more) Pairs of underwear destroyed.  We are still dealing with potty training issues over here.  Please send prayers.  And chocolate.

2 – Items crossed off our summer bucket list.  The kids and I made a summer bucket list a couple of weeks ago and I put it all on a big poster board that is now hanging in our front room/kitchen area.  We were able to cross off a hike to Battle Creek Falls on Memorial Day.  Afterwards, we made a visit to a local pet store called The Puppy Barn where they sell just puppies.  You can go in there and hold them and play with them and it is my favorite way to get my puppy fix since I don’t see us getting a dog any time soon.

My kids love this fun summer bucket list!  Just some stickers, scrap paper and a marker are all you need!

You can check out my other month in numbers posts below:

February Month In Numbers
March Month In Number: Orlando Edition 
April Month In Numbers

Also, I’m linking up with Deena from Shoes to Shiraz who hosts the month in numbers link party.  You can go see who else is linking up and see what their May in numbers looks like.

My kids are just getting over a cold, but I’m looking forward to a fun June coming up!

$10 at Target: Gearing Up For Summer

$10 at Target: Gearing Up for Summer  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

Hey friends!  Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed Mother’s Day.  Today, I’m super excited to share a new series I am co-hosting called $10 at Target.  It is a monthly challenge where you have to try and spend…you guessed it: only $10 at Target.  Now, as we all know, Target is a wonderful lovely place where we go in for one thing and come out with 20 things way more items than we planned. *wink*  So spending $10 or less can be a real challenge!  Are you ready?

I visited Target a couple of weeks ago with this challenge in mind.  Of course, the first place I stopped was the Dollar Spot.  My thought was to pick up some things for summer since it’s finally starting to warm up here (although it’s supposed to rain this week…).  The way that I usually shop is to pick up things that I’m interested in and then look at what I have and see what I’m most interested in and then narrow it down.  Does anyone else do this?

I finally settled on these items: a baseball hat with a darling floral pattern on it for my daughter, three chalk paint squirt bottles, a package of cute, pink paper straws and a couple of glass jars with lids and plastic straws.  The total on my receipt was $10.69 with tax.  (The items I didn’t get: another package of teal paper straws, a lightweight spring scarf and hair tie bracelets.)

$10 at Target: Gearing Up for Summer  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

My daughter wanted to pull out the hat and wear it as soon as we got into the car and she’s worn it a few times since then.  It’s so dang cute on her!

$10 at Target: Gearing Up for Summer  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

As for the chalk paint squirt bottles, we’ve been saving those for a nice hot day when I can let the kids play and then let them run through the sprinklers in the backyard.  These would also be fun to do an art project using some inexpensive canvas and letting the kids squirt the chalk paint onto it.

$10 at Target: Gearing Up for Summer  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

The glass jars and paper straws were just really fun.  I am thinking I’ll probably use them for summer drinks and they will make for some great photo props, so keep an eye out in the next couple of months! *wink*

$10 at Target: Gearing Up for Summer  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!

Like I mentioned above, I am a co-host for the $10 at Target challenge and link up party.  If you’d like to join us, we post the third Monday of each month.  I’d love to see what you find at Target!  You can also check out what each of the other hosts bought with their $10!

$10 at Target  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!
Stephanie  |  Wife Mommy Me
Becky  |  by BMG
Ashley  |  Ashley Newell
Johannah  |  The Sirois Family
Stephanie  |  The Gifty Girl
Danielle  |  Sparkles and Lattes
Jess  |  Secrets of a SAHM

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

April In Numbers

April in Review (by the numbers)

Happy May!  May has always been one of my favorite months because the weather finally (hopefully) starts becoming a little more consistent and a little warmer, which makes me a much happier person.  It’s also the month my husband and I got married, so I’m a little biased. *wink*  But before we can get into May, I want to share my April month in numbers with you.

If you read my March in numbers post last month, I did a special Orlando Edition talking about all the things that happened on our trip to Orlando and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It’s a pretty fun post, so go check it out if you want a quick recap of my trip using only numbers.  That being said, April was not nearly as much fun.  Why?  Two words: potty training.  But rest assured, not all my numbers have to do with the potty. *wink*

3 – Packs of underwear bought.  A couple of weeks before we left for Orlando, my son started showing signs of being ready to be potty trained.  We’d gone through this already with my daughter a couple of years ago and I was both terrified and ready to begin the process.  I took him to the store and let him pick out a couple of packs of underwear (Paw Patrol and Disney Pixar).  We ended up buying him another pair about three weeks later due to accidents.

April in Review (by the numbers)

6 – Underwear not salvageable.  I’m not going to go into this one in too much detail.  If you’ve potty trained your kids, you know it’s a messy job and you’re going to end up throwing away some of the underwear because it’s just not worth it.

8 – Loads of just underwear washed.  No, I didn’t actually count the number of underwear only loads, but there were enough that it’s worth mentioning.  Or maybe not.  But I am anyway.  The first few days, we went through the entire two packs of underwear, which I expected, and the number of loads slowly dwindled from there.  We’ve had more and more days with no accidents and I am singing Hallelujah!

April in Review (by the numbers)

63 – Bribes made.  Okay, I didn’t really count this one either.  And if I think long enough about it, there were probably more bribes made than I’m counting.  We started out with a sticker chart and some prizes he could earn along the way, but he quickly filled out the first chart and so I made another one.  After so many stickers, he wasn’t as excited about them so we moved on to candy bribes: “If you go pee, you get one M&M.  If you go poop, you get two.”  We did run into an issue where he was having more accidents that successes so the bribe changed to screen time on Daddy’s phone playing one of the games he has on there.  That one worked pretty well and he still brings it up if he happens to have an accident: “I had an accident, so no playing on Daddy’s phone.”  Haha.

2 – Picnics in the backyard.  The weather has been all over the place lately.  Just last week, we had SNOW.  Mother Nature needs to get herself together!  But before the weather went all crazy, the kids and I were able to have a couple of backyard picnics.  They love eating their meals outside, even if they don’t stay seated to eat their food most of the time and more ends up on the grass than  in their mouth. *wink*

April in Review (by the numbers)

April in Review (by the numbers)

12 – Rainy days.  Like I mentioned above, we had snow last week, plus it rained and was windy almost every other day.  My kids and I were getting used to spending the late morning and afternoon outside so the bad weather put a damper on all of our spirits.  One good thing about the rain though (besides helping with the drought) is that our grass is a beautiful emerald green color and my garden is growing like crazy!

2 – Books read.  Earlier this month, I shared 3 books I read in 3 weeks, but all of those were actually in March.  I was only able to make it through two books in April: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.  (Watch for the review of Throne of Glass next week.)  They are both totally different books but I really enjoyed each of them.  I’ve decided that Lauren Graham would be a pretty cool person to meet.  She seems so down to earth and likeable.

845 – Easter eggs stuffed.  Okay, this isn’t a real number either, but when you are stuffing Easter eggs, it sure seems like a lot more than it is!  When I was pulling out my Easter decor, the kids noticed the plastic eggs.  They took them and started doing their own Easter egg hunts and hiding them around the house for each other to find multiple times a week leading up to Easter and even for a while afterwards.  They were still just as excited to do the real thing when Easter came though and it was so funny watching them.

April in Review (by the numbers)

1- Girls Night Out.  The parents of a girl in my neighborhood live in a beautiful house up the canyon about 30 minutes from where I live.  They were out of town for the weekend, so she asked them if a group of us could come up and have a girls night.  There were about 30 of us girls up there, eating soup, salad and rolls, stuffing our faces with popcorn, candy and brownies and laughing hysterically during the games.  About ten of us spent the night and let me tell you, it was amazing to get a full night’s rest, knowing nothing was around to wake me up.  (Except maybe the giggling girls in the room next to mine.)  Another perk: no cell phone reception!  There was absolutely nothing that was going to interrupt us and it was so great to take time away and visit with friends and recharge.

2 – New recipes tried.  Last month, I pulled out all of the cookbooks I’ve received over the years and sorted through them.  Most of them were neighborhood cookbooks given as gifts.  I’d tried to go through them all and mark recipes I was interested in, but there were so many cookbooks and recipes to choose from that I never even opened them up.  So I decided to spend part of an afternoon looking through each one, marking ones that looked good, taking pictures of them on my phone and then throwing the cookbooks away.  It was so liberating, haha!  I found a chicken and mushroom quiche that was amazing and some brown sugar muffins that were yummy as well!  My family gobbled both of them up so you better believe I’ll be sharing them on the blog.

1 – Dance pictures taken.  My daughter is in her second year of dance (she takes jazz/ballet).  She loves dancing and getting up on stage so it’s perfect for her.  One of my favorite things about little girls and dance is seeing them all dressed up in their costumes.  Too cute!  We’ll be getting the pictures back at her recital later this month, but I manged to snap a few behind the photographer and I can’t wait to get the professional ones.

April in Review (by the numbers)

4 – Happy mail received.  I’ve been participating in the Momma Love Fellowship hosted by Little Dove.  My partner is Patricia from Life of a Minister Mom.  She and I have been sending snail mail aka happy mail to each other for a couple of months and getting to know each other better.  It’s been so fun to actually receive something other than bills in the mail!  I’ve also gotten a couple of packages which is always fun. (p.s. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and watch for a post this Wednesday for a giveaway that has to do with the packages I received!)

You can check out my other month in numbers posts below:

February Month In Numbers
March Month In Number: Orlando Edition 

Also, I’m linking up with Deena from Shoes to Shiraz who hosts the month in numbers link party.  You can go see who else is linking up and see what their April in numbers looks like.

And that’s a wrap!  I’m looking forward to what May has to offer!

Font Friday: 10 {Free} Spring Fonts

Font Friday: Spring and Easter fonts (all free!)

Happy Friday!  I hope the end of the week finds you well and ready for Easter weekend.  I always look forward to spring and Easter and what it represents to me.  Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays and having kids to celebrate it with makes it even more special.  And springtime is always a wonderful time of year, even if the weather is a bit fickle.  At least there’s no snow, right? *wink*

It’s been a while since I did a Font Friday and I wanted to share some fun new fonts with you as you head into the weekend.  If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of downloading and installing fonts on your computer, don’t be intimidated!  It’s really easy and once you know how to do it, you’ll be installing new fonts left and right. 

You can visit my tutorial HERE to learn how to download and install fonts.

All fonts listed below are free to download for personal use.  Click on the name of the font to be taken to a link where you can download it.

Font Friday: 10 Spring and Easter fonts (all free!)

Janda Flower Doodles (images only)
Easter Art (images only)
LP Rabbits 1 (images only) 

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

The month of March was full of anticipation for our trip to Orlando.  It felt like it took forever until it was time to leave and then the entire vacation went by way too fast!  But that’s pretty normal I think.  Last month I participated in a February In Numbers post and shared my month that way.  I had so much fun with that I decided to do the same thing for March, but kept it specific to our Orlando trip.  So here’s March In Numbers: Orlando Edition.

19.4 – Miles walked.  My husband has a smart watch that kept track of our steps/mileage while we were out and about.  Between our park day at Hollywood Studios and walking around Disney Springs, we did 17 miles.  I did some walking around the resort myself but I don’t have a smart watch so I kind of estimated the remaining 2.4 miles.  It actually might have been more if you count walking to and from the shuttles at the airport and the airport itself.  Suffice it to say, I definitely got my 10,000 steps in. *wink*

5 – Rides ridden at Hollywood Studios.  If you’ve been to Hollywood Studios, you know that it is a different kind of theme park in that it’s not very ride-heavy.  There are about the same number of shows as there are rides.  We rode almost all of them: Tower of Terror, The Great Movie Ride, Aerosmith Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Star Tours and Toy Story Mania.  My absolute favorite is the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster!  I would have ridden it multiple times if we’d had more time.

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

3 – Shows watched at Hollywood Studios.  Out of the three shows we watched–Muppet Vision 3D, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi–the best one was the Indiana Jones stunt show.  It’s really interactive because they bring people down from the audience and incorporate them into the show.  They do some real stunts and you get to see how it’s done and get a feel for how it might be if you were on a real movie set.

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

1 – Star Wars Fireworks show.  At the end of our day at Hollywood Studios, there was a really cool fireworks show centered around Star Wars.  They used multiple projectors to project images onto three of the largest buildings using a combination of all the different episodes that have been released.  There were lights that looks like lasers and tons of fireworks and of course, some of the most recognizable music in entertainment.  It was a great end to the day.

3,862 –  Miles flown.  We flew direct from Salt Lake City to Orlando and were able to get a direct flight back home as well.  On our flight to Orlando, there was a little screen in the seat in front of me where I could track where we were and how much farther we had to go.  It’s crazy to me that you can fly 5+ miles in only 30 seconds!

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

2 – Trips to the bathroom mid-flight.  This one is a little funny because although I’ve been on airplanes more than a few times, I’ve never actually used the bathroom on a plane.  My husband couldn’t believe it but whenever we’ve flown, it generally hasn’t been very far.  And after having been in one (twice) I can say that I’m terrified of being sucked down the hole!

8 hr 22 min – Time spent flying.  The flight to Orlando was pretty uneventful.  My husband watched a show, I read part of a book and the guy next to me almost fell asleep on my shoulder.  I did get a little teary-eyed as our plane lifted off thinking about our kids.  I’ve never been away from them for more than a night since our oldest was born over 5 years ago.  Our flight back was longer and harder to get through, although I was thankful for the window seat.  I read more of my book, watched Moana and dozed a little.  Oh, and used the bathroom. *wink*

253  – Pictures taken.  Yes, I literally counted all the pictures on my phone that I took during our stay in Orlando.  There are pictures of us on the plane, pictures of the hotel, food, rides, friends, my husband and I, and all the things you take pictures of when you go on vacation.  Looking back at the pictures now, a little over a week since we got back, makes it feel a little surreal since the minute we got home, we jumped right back into life.

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

4 – Calls made to our kids. Each night, we called our kids about 30 minutes before their bedtime.  My mom watched them for the first two days and then my sister-in-law and her husband watched them the next two.  The kids were so cute and I could tell they were having so much fun.  One of the days we called, my son didn’t even want to stop what he was doing to come say hi!  Little stinker.

80 – Average daily temperature.  One of the things I was looking forward to most was warm weather and sunshine.  The forecast for home said it was supposed to rain the whole time we were gone so I was glad we missed that.  Unfortunately, it was a little bit rainy and windy one of the days we were there (the day I wanted to relax by the pool all day, of course) which was a little disappointing, but the other two days were mostly sunny and perfect for walking around without getting too hot.

2 – Girlfriends visited.  Another thing I was really looking forward to on this trip was the chance to see some friends I haven’t seen in a long time.  One was my friend Lara.  She and I danced on the ballroom team in high school and hung out a lot our junior year.  I lost track of her for a little bit until I got invited to her baby shower about 7 years ago.  I haven’t seen her since then because she and her husband moved out to Florida for his schooling.  She was sweet enough to pick me up from the airport, take me back to her house and feed me, and then take me to my hotel.  It was so great to catch up with her and we both agreed that we haven’t changed much since high school.  What do you think?

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

The other friend I got to see was a girl named Erica.  She and my husband actually dated in high school, but she and I really good friends.  She and her family moved away about 7 years ago so her husband could go to law school and then they moved even farther away to North Carolina and we haven’t seen each other in about three years.  When she found out I was going to Orlando, she and her husband decided to turn it into a vacation for themselves and visit at the same time as us.  We got to spend all day Friday with them at Hollywood Studios and then a part day on Saturday before we had to head back home.  It was SO good to see her and our friendship is one of those that just picks right back up where it left off, no matter how long it’s been.  We even went so far as to have matching shirts!  (tutorial coming soon!)

March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

10 — Crab legs eaten.  I know I’ve already mentioned this on Instagram and my character dining post, but I LOVE crab.  It is one of my favorite foods and I wish I could have eaten more of it while we were in Florida.  The only reason I didn’t eat more than 10 legs was because I needed to leave a little room in my tummy for dessert. *wink*

0 — Items forgotten.  Woo-hoo!  Thanks to my handy packing list, I didn’t forget anything for my trip!  I’d definitely call that a win.  Especially since a toothbrush at the store in the hotel was $5. Yikes!

I hope you enjoyed my Orlando trip in numbers!  You can check out other March in Numbers posts on Shoes to Shiraz where I’m linking up.

If you’d like to read more about the hotel we stayed in, click HERE.
If you’d like to learn about our character dining experience, click HERE.

February In Numbers

February in Numbers: a unique way to show a month in review (Link up with Shoes to Shiraz)

Today I’m going to have a little fun and do a month in review using numbers.  Normally, I’m not really a numbers person.  Math is not my strong point.  I took Statistics twice in college and only barely passed both times.  However, I am really good at counting down to things like my birthday or vacations or calculating the discount on a cute shirt from a favorite store. *wink*  So without further adieu, I give you February in Numbers.

30 – Cookies consumed.  I don’t normally eat this many but we had Valentine’s Day which meant lots of parties and by default, lots of cookies.

February in Numbers: a unique way to show a month in review (Link up with Shoes to Shiraz)

3 – Snowy days.  This February had to have been one of the strangest I can remember in terms of the weather, even for Utah.  We had a couple of days where the kids played outside in short sleeve shirts, riding their bikes around and leaving the windows open all day to let some fresh air in.  Then of course we had some really horrible storms, leaving us with over a foot of snow in a matter of hours and me refusing to leave my house.

February in Numbers: a unique way to show a month in review (Link up with Shoes to Shiraz)

1 – Vacations booked!  My husband has a training he is helping with in Orlando this month and we are using it as an excuse to take a little vacation without the kids.  We’ve gone places overnight before to celebrate our anniversary each year, but this will be the first time we’ve left them for more than one night.  I have mixed feelings about this: one part of me is over the moon excited to be able to do whatever I want for four days and the other part of me knows I’m going to miss those little stinkers and it’s probably going to be harder for me to be away from them than the other way around.  Either way, it will be a nice break.  Stay tuned for some fun Orlando posts at the end of this month and the beginning of next, as well as social media updates while I’m there.  Please pray there won’t be any hurricanes, rain or other awful weather while I’m there!

61 – Candy eaten.  I might be a little off on my estimate of how much candy I ate during February, but I do know that it was more than average because of Valentine’s Day.  My favorite candy was the caramels my husband brought home from work.  He doesn’t like caramels.  I know.  Crazy.  But I can’t complain because more for me!

2 – Trips made to the Dollar Tree.  We picked up a birthday gift for my daughter’s friend and Valentine’s decorations for our family Valentine’s Day dinner.

4 – Valentines parties attended.  Valentine’s brunch at a friend’s house, preschool Valentine’s party, dance Valentine’s party and church Valentine’s dance party.  My kids loved it because they got to play with their friends and eat candy and I loved it because while the kids were playing, I got to visit with other adults.  It’s a win-win!

February in Numbers: a unique way to show a month in review (Link up with Shoes to Shiraz)

7 – Birthdays celebrated.  February is a popular month for birthdays.  Two of my best friends celebrate their birthday this month, plus my mom, my grandma, my grandpa, my step-brother and my daughter’s friend.

8 – Containers of Play-Doh bought.  Like many kids, my kids love to play with Play-Doh.  Also like many kids, mine leave it out on the table when they are done and don’t put it away which leads to dried out Play-Doh.  A few years back I noticed a tip on one of the containers which said that if the dough becomes hard, just add a little water to it and work it in.  I spent an hour doing this with the Play-Doh only to have it dry out again a week later.  From that point on, I just throw the stuff away and spend $.50 on a new container from Walmart.

February in Numbers: a unique way to show a month in review (Link up with Shoes to Shiraz)

4 – Restaurants eaten at.  I’ve been horrible at meal planning lately and as a result, I get a little burnt out trying to figure out what to eat for dinner based on what we have in the fridge/pantry.  So the days we went out were also the ones that I just didn’t have it in me to make up something for dinner and my husband suggested we go out.  Thank goodness for understanding husbands. 🙂

I hope you liked my little monthly summary.  You can check out other February in Numbers posts on Shoes to Shiraz where I’m linking up.

You Know You’re a Blogger When…

How do you know if you're a blogger?  Read what these 5 bloggers have to say!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in how people think and why they think the way they do, which in turn causes them to act a certain way.  I find it totally fascinating.  We each have different talents and abilities, likes and dislikes, interests and desires.  For example, I’m really glad that there are people out there who like accounting.  I hate accounting (and pretty much anything to do with math), but I am really grateful for them when tax season comes around. *wink*  There are also people out there who do this crazy thing called blogging.  And unless you are a blogger, you probably don’t think like a blogger or even know what bloggers think about in the first place.  Well my friends, you’re about to find out.

When I started Sunshine & Munchkins 16 months ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing.  I set up a new blog separate from my personal one, bought a domain name, created social media accounts and read A LOT of articles found on Pinterest about all things blogging.  Slowly but surely, I’ve learned about HTML, photography, finding my voice, telling stories, sharing my vulnerabilities and challenges with strangers and making friends all over the world.  Blogging is a powerful thing, even if it’s only for the person doing it.

But enough about me.  What you want to know is how to know if you’re a blogger!  Odds are if you’re reading this, you already are one and are looking to connect and maybe have a little laugh, almost like an inside joke that only bloggers will get.  If you aren’t a blogger, then this is going to be a fun little peek into our brains.  You’ll get to see how we think, feel and try not to go crazy trying to manage our lives and this blog thing that you don’t really understand why or how we do it.  (Kind of like our kids!)

I’ve partnered up with 4 other awesome bloggers to share “You Know You’re A Blogger When…”  You can read the full post on Little Dove.  Then be sure to check out the other ladies and their blogs and social media.  You just mind find someone new to like (besides me, of course *wink*).

Using Natural Light In Your Photography (Plus a Giveaway!)

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.

In today’s world, cameras are only an arm length away (or less!).  Like many people, I keep my phone nearby during the day in order to check my texts or emails, but more than anything, I want a camera close by to capture pictures or videos of my kids.  But how many times have I taken a picture thinking it’s going to turn out so great, only to be disappointed because of a lighting issue?  Let me tell you, the answer is a lot.  And it’s frustrating!  But the good news is, using light to your advantage is a skill you can learn, especially with the help of a good teacher.

Meet Kendra from Kendra Leigh Photography and Video.  If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might remember the guest post she did last spring about how to choose colors for family pictures.  It’s a fantastic post and I highly recommend it if you’re considering taking family pictures any time in the near future.  In addition, Kendra is the person behind many of my more styled shoots (the ones where I’m in the picture), such as this and this as well as one coming up this Friday. She is a very talented photographer and I’m so lucky to have her as my friend.

Today, Kendra is going to be sharing an important tip on how to use light to capture those beautiful images on your camera that you see with your eyes.

********************

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.

I am Kendra Hill of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video; I’ve been a professional photographer for three years, and have a Bachelor’s degree in Film from UVU.  Because I take pictures all the time, and I love what I do, I’ve been able to learn many tips and tricks on how to use different qualities of light to capture beautiful images.  The mastery of light is something everyone can learn, and I will teach you how to create beautiful images regardless of what camera you have!

One of the best ways to improve the quality of your photography is to ‘see the light.’  Light is the most powerful tool we have when we take a picture.  It can make the ordinary look absolutely extraordinary.  There are quite a few kinds of light, which we will talk about during the Snap Happy Course (see details below).  One of the best types of light for photography is diffused light.

What is diffused light?

When using natural sunlight, it can be very harsh when shining directly on your subject.  But, it can be diffused by cloud cover, a doorway, garage, window, tree overhang, etc.  By using an object to diffuse harsh front light, it becomes a softer, more flattering light.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Sheer curtains diffuse the light in this photo

If at all possible, you want to avoid harsh front light as it creates dramatic shadows, and often leaves your subject squinting to protect their eyes.  We don’t always have a choice on what time of day we take our pictures, and it is important to capture your memories regardless of the light you have to work with.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Trees diffuse light in this photo

However, if you can find a tree, door, sheer curtains, or other way to soften that harsh light it will help you to create more beautiful images.  This is only one natural lighting technique.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Edge of wall diffuses the light in this photo

Coming in March is a photography class you don’t want to miss.  It’s called Snap Happy and in this class, I’m teaching you how to take the best photos possible, in any kind of light, whether it is noon or dusk.  This is a local, hands-on class on March 4, 2017 from 2-5 PM in Springville, UT.  (Sorry to those of you out of state or not within driving distance!)

This beginning photography class will cover:

  • Equipment
  • Protecting your Memories
  • The 5 Steps to Happy Snaps
  • How to Lose 10 lbs in the Camera
  • And a Q&A

The Snap Happy class is $60 for a 2-hour technical course, followed by a photoshoot with a child model, or we can take photos of each other if you want, so you can practice what you’ve learned.  When I have received your class fee, your spot is secured. I have a limited number of seats and they are filling up, so sign up quickly.  This is a class you will not want to miss!  To give another person the opportunity to transform their snaps, Shani and I have teamed up to do a giveaway and present one of our followers on social media a chance to win one of our remaining spots!  If you send in your class fee to secure your spot and happen to win our contest, your fee will be refunded.

A DSLR is not a requirement, however, portions of the class which discuss manual functions may not be applicable on other cameras.

If you have any further questions, please email me at kendra@klphotographyandvideo.com, or call/text me at 385-221-8849.

 ********************
I’ve got to tell you that I have made the mistake of taking pictures of my kids outside, knowing that light is important for good pictures, only to end up with squinty eyes or hands over the face because I put them directly in the sun.  Have you been there too?  
The giveaway for (1) Snap Happy class will run from Wednesday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 21 ending at midnight MST.  The winner will be announced on both my and Kendra’s Facebook page on Wednesday, February 22.  If you’d like to enter the giveaway, see the requirements below.  Good luck!
Requirements:
  • 14 years or older
  • Ability to come to the class in Springville, UT on March 4, 2017 from 2-5pm
  • Have a camera (any kind!)

To enter the giveaway, you will need to:

  • Visit Sunshine & Munchkins Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Visit Kendra Leigh Photography and Videos Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment below about a photography technique you’d like to learn (1 entry)
  • Follow Sunshine & Munchkins on Instagram (optional: extra entry)
  • Follow Kendra Leigh Photography and Video on Instagram (optional: extra entry)

I am signed up to take Kendra’s class next month and I am so excited to be able to learn from a professional and then try out what I learn on my poor, unsuspecting kids.  Good luck and if you know someone who would be interested in signing up for the class or entering the giveaway, send them my way!

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

4 Tips For Staying Organized Using A Paper Planner

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: I love paper planners!  I received my first one in 7th grade and I’ve been hooked ever since.  But it wasn’t until I got into high school and college that I started buying planners that were both pretty and practical.  I mean, it’s so much more fun to stay organized if you love what you’re using to keep yourself organized, right?

About the same time as I got my first paper planner, the fancy schmancy PalmPilot was becoming popular for kids my age.  Do you remember those?  Everyone wanted one and you were counted lucky if your parents bought you one for your birthday or Christmas.  But as for me, I was never interested in one.  I loved being able to look at my whole day or whole week or even my whole month and see exactly what I had going on.  It just made sense to me to put it on paper, plus it was a whole lot prettier.  You can’t doodle your crush’s name using Gelly Roll pens on a PalmPilot! *wink*

Even now, 17 years later, I’ve had people (like my husband) ask me why I don’t just do everything digitally.  Dump the planner and use the apps on my phone.  I’ve actually tried different apps and systems, but nothing compares to my good old fashioned paper planner and pens.  Call me a creature of habit, but nothing else helps me stay organized the way a paper planner does.

If you feel the same way and are part of the paper planner fan club, head on over to Time Saving Mom to see how I personally use my planner to keep my life organized. (see note below)  Plus, I’m sharing 5 of my favorite brands for pretty planners to get you excited to stay organized in the coming year!

**UPDATE 12/17/16**

Amanda has decided she is no longer going to be running the Time Saving Mom blog so that she can focus her efforts in other areas.  She offered to let me move my content from there to here so that nothing would be lost.  Below is the post that originally appeared on Time Saving Mom on December 12, 2016.

*******
17 years ago, I received my first paper planner.  I was in 7th grade, still learning how to navigate the halls, find the right classroom and remember my locker combination.  I was in a new school and feeling a little nervous about all the new changes and experiences I was having.  My mom had just gotten remarried and we were living in a new house.  It might sound silly, but having a planner really helped me feel a sense of control in  my life when I didn’t feel like I had a lot of control in so many other areas.  Being able to organize my time and obligations in this way helped me stay grounded and created a calm space in my otherwise crazy life.
I am, by nature, a planner and organizer.  (If you read my interview post on TSM, I talk about it there.)  It comes easily to me and I often have people ask me how I’m able to keep things organized in a way that sems beyond their reach or understanding.  I tell them that I don’t do anything fancy–I just have a planner and I use it.  Granted, I’ve had a lot of practice over the years perfecting a system that works for me, but I truly think that anyone can use a planner successfully if they put their mind to it.  I think one key to this is finding a planner that you like and makes sense to you.
Today I’ll be sharing 4 tips on how I personally organize my planner to give you some ideas and a jumping off point for your own planning.  Plus, I’ve picked out 5 brands of pretty planners that will (hopefully) help motivate you to stay organize in the coming year.
Keep Your Planner Visible  If you want to remember something, one of the best ways to do it is to make it visible.  Put it in a place where you know you’ll see it.  This is why we’re told to put our goals, positive affirmations, quotes or anything else important some place like the bathroom mirror.  We know we have to go into the bathroom at some point during the day and we’ll see it.  Same thing goes for a planner.  I keep my planner in my kitchen next to my computer and pens.  A lot of my time is spent in that area of our house, so it makes sense to keep it there.  If something comes up that I need to write down, I know exactly where my planner is and I have pens readily available to make note of it.
Use Color Coding  When I first started using a planner, I just wrote everything down one right after the other.  It took me a little time to figure out that using different colors for different things helped me stay more organized because I was able to see exactly what I needed at a glance.  I’ve used both highlighters and colorful pens to keep things fun and help me stay organized: one color for appointments and things that are static (example: preschool for my daughter), another color for my to-do list and another color for anything that doesn’t fall into one of those two categories.  I recently changed to a new planner, so I don’t use color coding in terms of different pens, but I use stickers to help bring important things to my attention.
Plan Out Your Week Before It Starts  Each Sunday night, I pull out my planner and pen and plan out my week.  I’m able to view my entire week at a glance which gives me a starting point for what the week looks like.  I start with the non-negotiable items, such as appointments, meetings, preschool, and fill those in first.  Then I look at what needs to be accomplished that week and determine what has to be done on a certain day but maybe not a certain time.  Lastly, I add in flexible items that can be done at any time, trying to space out my time throughout the week so I have flexibility if anything else comes up.  When I start my week off this way, I feel more prepared and ready to face whatever is ahead.
Make It Fun  The last tip I have is to make it fun!  Gone are the days of boring planners with a solid colored cover and no pretty designs or colors inside.  I honestly believe that paper planners are here to stay because they are so much fun to use!  When I mentioned color coding above, I said that I use pens.  These are just pens you accidentally steal from the bank.  They are cute, fun, bright colors and a little higher quality.  I personally love these felt tip pens.  I even like to use double sided scrapbooking markers.  Just using something that is a little nicer makes me happy and more likely to use it.  I also love these and these stickers, which I use in my Happy Planner right now.
As promised, I’m including my 5 favorite brands of paper planners below.  Check them out and see which one you like best and order it!  Make a new goal for the new year to get organized and start with a pretty planner.
The Happy Planner  This is the planner I am currently using.  I got it when I went to Pinners Conference at the beginning of November and it is so much fun!  It’s like a cross between scrapbooking and planning and definitely falls into the pretty and practical category.  I use stickers to help me color coordinate and draw my attention to certain items.  I love the week at a glance, the motivational words scattered throughout and how easy it is to personalize.

Sugar Paper  This is the planner I just finished using.  I love the cute and simple covers they have to choose from and they are also thick and super durable.  The smaller 5×8 size is perfect for throwing in your purse or bag.  The inside is pretty basic but there are lots of lines for each day which I really like.
Blue Sky  I’ve used this brand of planner many times and love it.  The covers are fun and the inside has color and pattern as well.  It is also pretty basic in terms of how it’s set up but very easy to use and see what you have going for the current week.
Orange Circle  I’ve never used this brand, but just look how pretty it is!  I love the colors and designs they have available, plus they have inspiring quotes throughout to help motivate and uplift you.  We all need that!
Bloom Daily  This is another planner I’ve never personally used, but I just love the designs they have available.  Included in their planners are places for you to write down your monthly goals, as well as end of the month reflection questions.  A fun and unique planner for sure.
I hope you found my tips helpful and that you found a planner or two that you are interested in.  Paper planners are so fun and I love how you can use them to create a system that works for you and keeps you organized.  
What planner was your favorite?  What helps you stay organized?