Apples and Pumpkins


This weekend we went to a festival at our local apple orchard.  Elin loves checking out the pumpkin patch.  They had all kinds of pumpkins in every shape and size and we went home with one large one, 3 white ones, and 2 baby sized ones.  White pumpkins are not as popular but I am glad they had several to choose from because I like them better than the traditional orange.  I am hoping to find a place to display those in the house.

Elin loves giving all the pumpkins a once over to see which ones she wants. She kept mentioning “Biscuit” because she reads the “Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch” book at her Nana’s house.



She even took a break and found one that would be a good seat to sit on.  She is so silly.


She must have been getting quite tired because she also kicked back against a pumpkin in the wagon and rested while she rode around a little.


She also enjoyed checking out the mums, petting the little goats, and playing on the playground equipment.  It was getting crowded and hotter later in the morning so we didn’t stay long. I think Elin enjoyed herself and I have feeling we will be going back to a couple different pumpkin patches this fall.  We will probably have a ridiculous amount of pumpkins before Halloween but I guess that is part of the fun.




Pull Ups Big Kid Academy


We cannot ignore it anymore. It’s time to take action in a little thing called potty training. I was hoping I could be one of those people who claimed that their kids potty trained themselves by following benign neglect. I don’t think I am going to get off that easy. Elin has had her potty chairs out for months now and they don’t even get a passing glance from her. The tactic worked and I just have been ignoring them, too. However, recently I came across the Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy and now I am feeling more assured and ready to start the challenge. Here are my 5 top potty training tips.



5 Potty Training Tips
  1. Research & plan: I like to research everything  before I make decisions or embark on new adventures so I enrolled in the Pull-Ups big kid academy to get more information. I have been gearing myself up by checking out articles on potty training. I thought this was good one about potty training and working parents.
  2. Celebrate a new beginning: I purchased Pull-Ups with one of Elin’s favorite characters on them: Doc McStuffins! Elin Loves Doc and the gang, so she was thrilled to check the pull-ups out and was excited to try something new on. I let her know that these were because she is becoming a big girl and that this was so exciting to get new pull-ups! I let her get a good look at the new pull-ups so she was excited as well.
  3. Make it fun: The Big Kids Academy offers way to customize videos with your child’s name and picture and you can Facetime with fun Disney characters to encourage going to the potty. Elin  loved it and she also liked just checking out the games. I have downloaded the app which can remind you when it’s time to sit on the potty.
  4. Incentives: This sounds better than bribery, right? Rewarding is always a sure fire way to get anything done and I am looking forward to rewarding Elin for her strides in potty training. When I signed up for the Big Kid Academy, I came across the cutest potty training progress chart that you can download (it’s free!) with no other than Mickey and Minnie adorning it. Elin loves anything and everything Mickey and Minnie, so I know she will be drawing the colors and graphics on her new chart. I had almost purchased something similar off of Etsy and I am so glad I waited. I’m going to get some fun stickers to mark her progress.DSCN9694DSCN9711
  5. Keep it Stress Free: Elin feeds off my stress level and the more stressed I get about something, she will follow suit. I am going to keep it light and happy and if I think she is getting to overwhelmed, we will take a break and start another day. I want her to keep being excited and not make it unpleasant for either of us. DSCN9729_

These are just some tips that I am following, but I would love to hear your tips! Please comment with some tips that worked for you or some advice that others have given you.

Many thanks to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today’s post and helping me potty train with the Big Kid Academy.

Elin’s 28 month update


The Stats:

Weight: 28 lbs
Height: 35.25 inches
Clothes: 2T or 3T
Diapers: Size 5
Shoes: 7

Elin has a lot of favorites, so I will just post of her top five favorites in each of the categories.


Words and Phrases:

What is that?
Look at me!
Baby Care Bear? [Pick me up] (No one understands how this has come about.  She has no idea what Care Bears are.)
Clean Elmo [When she wants a new diaper--because Elmo is on her diapers]
What’s wrong baby?  (Says to herself when she is upset.)


Favorite Songs:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Are You Sleeping?
Flower Song
Rock a Bye Baby


Favorite Books:

A Potty for Me: Karen Katz
Polly’s Pink Pajamas: Vivian French
Amelia Bedeliah’s First Day of School: Herman Parish
Commotion in the Ocean: Giles Andrea & David Wojtowycz
Anna’s Act of Love/Elsa’s Icy Magic: RH Disney


Elin is full of energy and full of life. She loves to dance and spin, all while singing and laughing. She also enjoys reading her books, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins, playing with her kitchen, playing with her little friends, and petting her doggies. Mostly only Fifi because Angel is pretty scared of her.



She still attends ballet class, Gymboree, and story time. She is always trying to do somersaults, so a gymnastics class might be in the near future.


Elin has enjoyed toeing the line and testing the boundaries on what is right and wrong. We have been lucky to escape major tantrums but we have some mini ones of throwing toys, screaming, and running from me. She usually screams and runs and sits on the stairs when she is upset. When she is over it, she comes running back and acts like everything is normal.

I am constantly amazed at all the things she knows and picks up from others. You tell her something once and she remembers it for a lifetime. She is our silly girl and we love her to bits!


Rosemary Beach 2014


We just got back from a lovely vacation in Rosemary Beach, Florida with Elin’s Nanny and Papa. It was our second time there and we rented out the same house as last year which made things easy and familiar. We drove again this year which is quite a long drive but it went really well again this year and Elin was so awesome in the car going and coming home. I don’t think she cried even once! She was either all smiles and gabbing to everyone, watching her shows on the Ipad and portable DVD player, or sleeping.


Despite the forecast prediction of rain we got lucky and the rain was mostly overnight.  The weather was hot and sunny–perfect beach weather!

We got in town early on Monday morning and after settling into the house, we decided to go to the grocery store to get staples for breakfast and lunch and then we shopped in town.  Elin kept asking to go to the beach so despite the drizzle rain we went to the beach to let her check it out.  We went home for Elin’s nap and then went back to the beach in the afternoon because the weather had turned sunny again.  We were happy to get in some beach time on our first day.  We then pretty much went the beach every morning early and stayed until mid afternoon before going back the house and getting cleaned up before going out for dinner and shopping in the evening.



Elin loved the beach again this year!  She was a little more leery of the water because I think since she is older, she realized the magnitude of how big the ocean is and that was a little overwhelming but she loved it once she got used to it.


She thoroughly enjoyed the sand this year with all her little beach toys.  We all had to draw Mickey in the sand a million times!  She also loved us to write her name.




A fun activity that we did was go on another sunset cruise while we were there.  I highly recommend going on one if you are in there area.  Elin was really cranky the whole time we were on the boat but she was thrilled to see the dolphins and perked up each time she saw them.






Another fun activity is shopping in the picturesque town.




Elin is fond of the two toy stores in the town square, Gigi’s and Fitz and Emme.  She could spend forever in those stores checking everything out.





Rosemary is known too for the celebrity sightings and a few own homes there. I had seen HGTV’s Designer of Design Star, Vern Yip’s house online in this article and so I was super excited to scope out the house and get a look of it it in person.  It looked stunning!



There is a second story outdoor pool over the garage and there are apparently great ocean views from the pool.


To say we were sad to see our vacation come to a close is an understatement.  We had a great time and can’t wait to get back there again soon.


Elin’s First Vacation – Rosemary Beach 2013


I am excited to be getting ready for our vacation in Rosemary Beach and I thought I would document some photos from our vacation last year.  It was Elin’s first vacation and her first time ever at the beach and she loved it!  I cannot wait for her to experience the water and sand again this year.  I think she will love it even more.



Last year, I wanted to find a vacation spot in the country that had beautiful white sand, blue waters and most importantly be more private and exclusive.  I knew that I wanted to rent a house on the beach and not stay in a hotel and I wanted something different and unique.  I originally was thinking of Martha’s Vineyeard or Cape Cod but then I found out about Rosemary Beach.


Rosemary Beach is in Florida, but when you are there you do not feel like you are in Florida.  The town is so cute and quaint–it is more reminiscent of a small European village and the beach is just beautiful.




For Elin’s first vacation, we went with my parents and rented a beautiful house that was so close to the beach and was beautifully decorated and elegant.  From looking at all the homes for beach rental, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the houses. Renting a house as opposed to a hotel was so nice and offered lots of space for a toddling baby and 3 small dogs.





We spent our time at the beach and walking around the town and the neighboring towns in the evening.







We took a dolphin cruise and plan to go again this year.  Elin loves to point out dolphins in books and on her puzzles, so I know she will be so excited to see them in person again.




I am sure she will also love getting a chance to drive the boat again this year.


Even the doggies got to enjoy the beach.

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Target Dollar Section: Back to School

Who doesn’t love the dollar section at Target?  I am personally obsessed!  Some of their collections are better than others and recently the dollar section has been awesome!

Elin is not old enough for school yet and she is not in Preschool until next year but I went ahead and got her some workbooks and flashcards because I think she will enjoy looking at them and it never hurts to start purposeful play and learning.


This beautiful clear acrylic container was unfortunately not found in the dollar section but was still a steal in my opinion for $7.99. I love clear acrylic accessories. This one is so similar to this one but the Target version is much more affordable. I love that all her items can be seen easily in this container.


These flashcards looked right up Elin’s alley with Mickey Mouse and Doc McStuffins. I think she is going to love looking at all the pictures and learning the concepts of identifying the pictures and matching.


Then I noticed these workbooks targeted towards Preschool.  I think they are too advanced for her right now but I was just looking at all the pictures on the cover and the inside thinking how much she would love just looking at the pages and I think this will be great to maybe start closer to when she turns 3.


Then I spotted these cute first reader books and ABC stickers.  I know she will LOVE those stickers and the books.


Other items I saw was this tin for storing crayons.  I think this will be a great way to keep different mixed sets all together and is much more durable than the cardboard boxes the come with the crayons.


My next find that I love are these play packs of a little coloring book, four crayons and a sheet of stickers.  These are perfect to take on dinners out for entertaining and I stocked up for our upcoming vacation.  We have already gotten lots of use from these and it takes Elin awhile to get through a whole pack since there are a decent number of pages to color.  I hope Target continues to carry these.


Last but not lease they have Frozen items in the dollar section!  Most of it was school related and not appropriate for Elin’s age but I love these puzzles!  I know these are advanced as well with 48 pieces but I thought she might enjoy checking them out and watching me put them together.  So basically this was a purchase for me but she might get some educational value by watching me put them together. :)


I think I found some great items but I know not all Target’s sell the same things in their dollar sections.  Did anyone else find something interesting that I missed?

Zoo Family Day

This weekend my husband’s employer had a family day at the zoo.  Truthfully, I am such a bleeding heart for animals that zoos make me really upset.  I used to  buy into thinking that animals liked it there and that they were safe from the dangerous lands they come from.  I now feel horrible for the tight conditions and over crowding in their cages and aquariums.  Buying and selling of animals that no one owns just doesn’t sit right with me.  But, for the sake of not being the weird mom that doesn’t let her kid go to the zoo, we go and I enjoy seeing the animals. Who knows?  Maybe they love it there?  It’s one of those things I try not to think about.

Anyway, we were excited to see the new orangutan exhibit. We first took the little ride around the orangutan exhibit.  We had a longer than expected wait but Elin was very patient and she loved her first ride!  It was nice to see amazing views of the park and city.



Then we got off the ride and got to see one of the orangutans out.  He came right up the glass and was staring at the crowd of people.  Unfortunately all my pictured showed too much glare from the glass but I did get this decent one of him after he walked away.


Then we went to the dolphin show which is was fun but we left right before the end because someone was getting awfully antsy trying to sit still.  Then we went to see the penguins and other aquarium animals.  They had lights out for the penguins and most of them were asleep, much to Elin’s dismay.  Those are her favorite!  But this seal was so cute and loved to get up close to up and followed my hand on the glass.




We didn’t get to catch the butterfly exhibit this time before  it closed, but all in all it was a successful visit to the zoo.

First Day of Dance Class

Elin had her first day of dance class and it was a success!  Ever since she had her initial tour and visit to buy ballet shoes and leotards, she has  had dance and ballet on the mind! When she woke up and I told her it was the day of her first class, she could’t have been more excited.  She kept talking about her shoes and dress over and over.  She was also very excited that her friend Lydia was going to be there.  These girls get together 2-3 times a week and have grown quite close.


We arrived early to take pictures and the girls had fun checking out all the pretty tutus and shoes for sale.


The anticipation was too much and they were all smiles bouncy around and awaiting their first class.


Finally it was time for class and they got to go in and meet their teacher, Miss Katie again and the other little girl in class.  We think that there will be more joining the class in the coming weeks. But, for now it is a great opportunity for a more individualized experience.



There was even a balance beam which is one of Elin’s favorite items in her Gymboree class right now.  This one was taller and a little more intimidating so she preferred to just scoot along on it.



Learning to curtsy.


Before we knew it, class was over and it was time to get a stamp and sucker for a job well done.  Pictures with the teacher and class were mandatory.



This picture cracks me up because as I was trying to get a group shot it was hard to get everyone to look at once and so the teacher said, “Elin, where is your mommy?” to get her to look at me and instead of just looking she pointed and started to run towards me saying, “There is my mommy!”


I think it’s safe to say Elin loved dance class and will be looking forward to going and learning more each week.


I got her a ballerina balloon and a tutu for her stuffed dog to commemorate the occasion.



Tiny twinkle toes


Today is Elin’s first day of dance class and she is so excited!  Elin loves having activities and things to do so I saw that dance classes start for 2 year olds and signed her up.   She went and toured the dance school during the day with her Nana and the report back was she loved it and was excited.  She is also looking forward to starting lessons with one of her friends that she meets with every week.  I took her over the weekend to get shoes, leotards and tights and she was thrilled to pieces to try everything on.  She has been talking about her ballet shoes ever since. I can’t wait to see her in action today!  I have a feeling that she is really going to love dancing and that this will be another great activity for her. 


Special K Chewy Cookie

I have to share a great recipe I just came across the this weekend. When I was a student in college at Indiana University there was a little shop in the student union called Sugar and Spice and they sold coffee, smoothies, and some bakery items. My favorite lunch was stopping by and picking up a delicious treat they called a Special K chewy. It’s a bit like a rice crispy treat but using Special K cereal and it  tastes like peanut butter and caramel. It has never crossed my mind to try to replicate it, but I saw a recipe on  a blog that seemed like it would be similar but not the same, and that got me interested in searching for something that would be similar.  So I did a quick search of “Special K Chewy” and “Indiana University” and lo and behold, I learned that this elusive treat was a cult favorite  and indeed there was a recipe that was sworn to be the exact same recipe! I found it interesting that someone who claimed to be a student in the 1970′s said they had the treats back then and they had searched for the recipe because after all that time they still remembered them.

Do I have you interested in these yet?

Let me tell you….they delivered.  From what I remember, these are pretty much the same thing!  They are delicious! Please make them and then report back how much you loved them.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you my favorite part!  They were simple to make and used very few ingredients.

Here is the recipe I followed:


  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of white corn syrup
  • 4 cups of Special K cereal
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Blend corn syrup, vanilla, and salt in a 2 quart microwave safe dish.  **I did this and will be using a bigger dish next time just to make stirring easier.** Cook on high 4 minutes, or until mixture boils and sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir in peanut butter, then add cereal.  To make it easier on yourself, put in the cereal in 1 cup increments at a time to blend easier.
  3. Drop teaspoonfuls on wax paper. Let cool before storing at room temperature.  ** I choose to make bigger ones like they sold in the store so I made them by using a large spoon as a guide. About 2 hours is enough to cool.**

There you have it. It’s that easy! The key is too work quickly so the mixture doesn’t harden.  I recommend getting all your ingredients and wax paper set out in advance.