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New Mulch

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I know I am getting older when getting mulch excites me! Our poor beds needed it though. We didn’t do it last year, so it was running majorly thin. As always we went with the dark black. I feel like it makes the green pop.

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Did I mention, I love having this SUV? It was hard for me to give up my car, but this SUV comes in handy.

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It was about to rain (which it never did) and it started to get pretty chilly out, so this was the fastest we’ve ever laid mulch! We had to bring the crew in. Alexa was at a friends house, so she lucked out at not doing the manual labor part.

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Now what to do with these huge pots? I am trying to decide if I want to keep them in front of the house or move them around back. I can’t put it next to the front door since it would block my mailbox. Any ideas???

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Maker Faire of Kansas City 2015

My girls received their acceptance letter into the Maker Faire of Kansas City event in June and we are so excited for the opportunity. They came up with a product called “Wearing Wishes.” They are creating wish bracelets and donating half of their profit to Lee Anne Britain Infant Development Center.

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{I will post their designs as they come!}

Have you heard of Maker Faire yet? If not, you are missing out. It is a place for people to show off their amazing work. Check out their site here: http://www.makerfairekc.com/

LittleHoot

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I came across a cute app that I wish I had when my oldest was small. Its one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments when I found it. Its basically a really simple to use app called LittleHoot that captures quotes from those funny, kids say the darndest things moments. You know the ones worthy of knowing forever. Using this app, you can quickly record it.


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Facebook Mom Swap ‘n Shop

Two major things were happening at our little home. My town decided to do a fabric pickup free of charge on every trash day, which is super awesome. All I have to do is set out all of our clothes on our porch marked “PV Donation” and it gets picked up, hassle free and at no cost to us. The second thing happening is that I am in a major clean out the basement frenzy… sorta. It is moving slowly, but at least its happening. I have a zillion bags of clothes for all three kids that I am now sorting through and getting rid of. To try and maintain some sort of order, I separate them into 3 areas:

  • Donate
  • This is for all the items that either have stains, holes or are just worn down and not worthy of resale. This goes out on the front porch on trash day.

  • Ebay
  • I found that the best items for Ebay are my more expensive items. Like my Matilda Jane dresses or expensive shoes that my daughter decided to never wear that we regretfully bought. (Only click on Matilda Jane link if you are ready to spend your entire paycheck. These clothes are ridiculously over the top cute!)

  • Facebook Mom S&S Group
  • If you haven’t joined a local Facebook Mom Swap ‘n Shop, I would recommend it. I have had an amazing turnout for my items. I started last week and I’ve been able to get rid of 2 full boxes of clothing! Warning: There are a lot of rules to follow, but as long as you fully read and understand them it will be worth your time. My sister-in-law introduced me to them and I am excited to finally purge all my items. I simply take pictures with my iPhone, use PicCollage to put several pictures together and post to the group with the size and price. The moms comment on the items they want to purchase and I private message them with the total price and pickup location. I’ve been asked how it goes overall with the other moms and coordinating it all. I set pickup for Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 – 6:30 only in a parking lot near my home. All the moms have been overly nice and have followed through with picking up the items so far.

    bazingaOld Navypink Naartjie Pants

    How I post on FB Mom S&S

    How do you get rid of all your unwanted house items that are to good to throw away? Do you sell, donate, drop off at a local charity???

    1 Year Anniversary

    It is our 1 Year Anniversary since we moved into the house. October 1st is when we finally took back possession.

    I remember that our first few nights felt odd, because we still had some house construction going on and we couldn’t move in all of our items. Plus I was over 8 months pregnant and about to pop.

    This year flew by and I am excited to spend many more years here. We still do not regret the rebuild and we absolutely love our new house.

    House 1 year anniversary

    A Backup of My Backup of My Backup

    Does anyone else majorly fear of losing their family pictures? I know it is one of the things I worry about all the time. Below are some of my tips of how I organize and protect my digital pictures. It helps me sleep better at night when all my images are organized.

  • I have a mirrored backup. I have my images on two different external hard drives. Those puppies are known for dying all the time. So much so that I have both my external hard drives plugged in when I download my images off of my memory cards. An alternative would be to back-up to the cloud. I just prefer external drives over the cloud. Plus external drives are becoming cheaper by the day.
  • Organize by Year, Month, then by Day with Event. I have my images well organized so I can easily find them as long as my memory can recall the timeframe the image took place. If you look at my hard drive, I have a folder for each year (Ex. 2014), then you can drill down to see each month in the year (EX: March), then by Day with the event that took place (Ex: 10.25.2013 – Coens Birth.) It’s gives me a little peace of mind knowing that they are all organized.
  • Village Cape Cod house pics live somewhere else. My kiddos come first, so I try not to combine the two. I don’t worry about preserving my house pictures as much, which helps free up space on my hard drive. I figure that I can always come to the blog to grab the picture.
  • Family Blog. I keep a personal blog about the kids. Once a year I export it to a hardbound book by using http://blog2print.sharedbook.com. I plan to give each of the children a book for each year at their high school graduation of all our family memories. Plus it gives our photos a purpose. We take so many images that aren’t picture frame worthy, but we love the memories behind them.
  • Organize when you move your photos off your memory card. I try to plan ahead prior to a big event where I will be taking a ton of photos, but there are times when I let all five of my memory cards load up. That’s when I get in a hurry and just dump all my images onto my hard drive without organizing. This causes a huge headache and more work later on.
  • Devote time. As I see my camera’s memory cards fill up, I try to devote a late night at moving them off. I only delete them off of my memory card if both of my external hard drives have a copy of the image.
  • What tips do you have for all your precious family memories? Does anyone else out there fear losing their memories? I don’t know how many horror stories I have heard of people losing their images. It happened to me one time and I vowed it would be the last!

    Cars 4 Heroes

    One of the best things about being an Air Force Reservist in the Airmen and Family Readiness Office is that we get to do good things and meet neat people. I built up a relationship with Chris over at Cars4Heroes.org over the past couple of years. This is an amazing organization that gives individuals associated with the military that are in need the opportunity to receive transportation for free. All they have to do is apply.

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    The other day, I got a call from Chris asking if there was anyone at Whiteman AFB in the need of a car. I sent out an email to everyone I knew that would know of an Airmen. Unfortunately, nobody had anyone they could think of, so I told Chris that nothing was turning up.

    Until our UTA weekend. That’s when one of our unit members came up and mentioned a fellow Airmen that worked for him. She was beyond the perfect candidate, so I had her meet me in my office, showed her the application and she sat down and applied. It couldn’t have been better timing on everyone’s part, because she was in need right at that moment. Her car had broken down and she had been borrowing her father’s to get to work, but he was going to start needing it again.

    Check out her story here: http://www.dailystarjournal.com/news/local/article_9c4351ee-4235-5e35-b0b6-75b6d62dac5c.html?mode=story

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    Photo is by Sue Sterling :: Star-Journal from http://www.dailystarjournal.com/news/local/article_9c4351ee-4235-5e35-b0b6-75b6d62dac5c.html?mode=image&photo=1

    I had a tiny role in it all and I couldn’t be more proud and excited for this individual. I can’t begin to thank Cars4Heroes.org enough, but for one last time…


    THANK YOU :: THANK YOU :: THANK YOU


    Back to School Blues

    It is happening tomorrow unfortunately and I wish I could hold it off, but the girls are headed back to school. The kids actually seem excited, but I enjoyed having them home this summer. Some of those reasons are selfish (easy to pop out of bed and head to work), but I also loved having them around all the time. It seemed like the summer flew by and I am barely prepared for the new school year. At least the girls are organized and ready to go.

    Here is our checklist of everything we did prior this weekend to prepare:

  • Back to School Clothes Shopping :: Maren counted down the days for this and she ended up getting the least!
  • School Supply Shopping :: This year Alexa has a locker for the first time, so I let her get some extra special locker items. Maren’s special item was her backpack. At the last second her dad ran her to a store to get one. We made her sign a contract that she won’t get a new one until high school, because she had to have a Vera Bradley backpack. I usually allow the girls to get a new backpack every two years, but this one will need to last at least 4 due to its price.
  • Labeling of All Items :: We brought our good ‘ole Sharpie out and labeled everything in sight and the girls organized them all. I remember as a little girl spending hours organizing and re-organizing all my new supplies.
  • Lunch and Snacks :: Jay ran to the store to get lunches and snacks for this week. It’s only a 4 day week, so we didn’t have to buy too much.
  • Closing of Summer :: We ended our summer with a nice weekend at the lake with the cousins.
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    One thing I regret not doing are haircuts, but the girls aren’t complaining. The hate their haircut! They both want super long hair.

    What are your back to school traditions?

    I am still a little in shock that I have a middle schooler. Can I really be that old already? She is officially in 7th grade! I still can’t get over it. She is half way through her school years already, which worries me that she will be off to college before I know it. My husband teases me about how crazy I will be when that happens and how I need to start preparing now.

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    Did I mention that my kids will never again attend the same school?

    Maren got one of the teacher she wanted (she really wanted a new teacher that played professional soccer) this year and actually got some of her friends in her class. The past couple of years she has only had one or two in her class, so I think this is going to be a fun year for her.
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    I also made bag tags using a word business card template (Avery 15671) for the girls for a first day of school surprise. Their bags had a card holder, but FedEx/Kinkos has bag tags at their stores that you can laminate your tags and buy there.
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    Amy Adams and I Have 2 Things in Common….

    The obvious on is our name and the second one is that we both gave up a first class seat to someone.

    Here is Amy Adams’s story if you haven’t heard yet.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/amy-adams-seat-class-u-s-solider-article-1.1846797

    http://www.businessinsider.com/amy-adams-gave-up-first-class-airplane-seat-for-soldier-2014-6

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/06/28/%E2%80%98first-class%E2%80%99-move-amy-adams-gives-airplane-seat-soldier

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    Here is my story.

    I was running late to my Sunday night flight to get me to my soldering school for the Air Force Reserves (jealous already, right?). When I got there the airline told me that even though the flight hadn’t even arrived to pick us up that they could not allow me to be on the flight. It was right after 9-11, so everyone was really touchy still and rules where in a lock down. After a few exchanged words between each other (which most likely was the reason I wound up on the no fly list) it was decided that the flight would leave without me once it came. After sitting there watching the plane arrive, load and take-off, the airline gave me the option to standby on the next flight. The trick was that the flight wasn’t full leaving Kansas City, but it looked packed on my connecting flight. I had no choice but to risk it.

    I was able to make my Kansas City flight, so I ran to the Customer Service desk to see where I was at on the stand-by list. They said unfortunately it didn’t look very good and to top it all, it was the last flight for the night. Not only did I not know where I would stay that night, but I was also upset b/c this would cause me to be late to my class the next day. Not good. Being late for anything for the military is never a good thing. So my only option was to beg and plead to be on the next flight. I even offered to do the jump seat or fly in the cargo area. The guy thought I was pretty funny (or desperate) and said that he hoped that I made it on, but couldn’t promise me anything.

    Did that guy deliver? Not only did I get on the next flight, but I also had a first class ticket. Whew. I made it. I was sitting in my first class seat 100% relieved from this horrible day event when a lady sat down beside me. She had the same expressions I had, so I started a conversation with her. Basically she said that she had waited over 12 hours on stand-by and finally got on. She was happy about that, but unfortunately her 75 year old mother didn’t make it. Since she had to work the next day, they had decided that she would go first and her mom would fly out the next day.

    Eventually, everyone loaded the plane. Then all of a sudden this old lady walked on who seemed very excited. As she approached I realized that the old lady was the women beside me’s mom. As she started to pass, I realized that these two should sit together and relax in first class. I knew they had a hard day and they both deserved it. Plus, I was truly happy to just be on the flight and I really didn’t care where to sit. Instantly, I told her to take my seat and I would take hers in coach. Both ladies were so sweet and thanked me over and over as I gathered my stuff to head to the back of the plane.

    I finally got to the back and took my seat. As I was sitting there a stewardess came up to me and said in a very stern voice that I needed to come to the back of the plane. I instantly thought the lady I exchanged words with in the beginning of this day in Kansas City, somehow contacted her and that she was either going to jump me with the other stewardess friends or kick me off the plane. I just knew I was in trouble again…
    As I headed to the back of the plane, the ladies back there basically started asking me a million questions as to why I would possibly give up my first class seat to this lady. They were convinced that the old lady forced me too. I kept apologizing and saying that I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to do that and that I just wanted to stay on the flight. I explained the whole story to them and they all started laughing. They said I wasn’t in trouble and one stewardess said that in 20 years she had never witnessed someone giving up their first class seat voluntarily. They promised from that moment on that they would treat me as if I was still in first class.

    As I took my seat, so the plane could take off, they all kept coming up to me asking me if I need anything and giving me drinks and magazines. They even offered to package up a bottle of wine for the road, which I turned down. The couple next to me turned to me and asked if I was famous or something? I just said no and that I simply did something nice.

    Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

    Good News :: we went on a fun vacation to Laguna Beach / Disneyland. Hence the Go-go song title. It was a short notice vacation since I combined an Air Force Reserve job and our vacation together, but we had a blast. If you’ve never been to Laguna, you should go out there. They have a great beach, cute shops and gelato. We LOVED their gelato. The beach was the first portion of our trip, which was very relaxing and prepared us for the last part of the trip – Disneyland fiasco. Believe it or not we did survive our trip with an almost eight month old being out of his element. He is such an easy baby! (Plus he is a pro now. He received his first Disney World princess’s kiss at only eight weeks old.)

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    Bad News :: I dropped my camera lens. I had a bad feeling that would happen and of course it was prior to my family photo with Mickey in Disneyland. Major bummer, but at least I had my video camera that also takes still shots. Not as good as my camera, (I am very spoiled now) but it worked. Plus we have Amazon Prime, so I could ship my new lens to our next hotel just in time for two of our days at Disney.

    At least my Disney photos came out fine.

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    More Bad News :: Our shipment was delayed… so delayed that I had to cancel the order since I would already be home by the time it arrived to the hotel. Amazon was nice enough to attempt to reroute it, but it logistically didn’t work out.

    As soon as I broke my lens, Jay and I both hopped on to Amazon to figure out if I should buy a replacement lens that was identical to the one I dropped or get a different one. I had a 18-55mm one. We went back and forth with whether I should get a 70-300mm instead. Both came in around the same price range ($100 – $130 on Amazon.) I don’t claim to be a photographer, but anyone with a fancy camera understands that the lens range makes a huge impact on your photos. I do more close-up portrait shots (18-55m), where my husband thought it would be nice to get a better zoom capability.

    In the end, we decided that it would be best to just get an identical replacement lens for the camera and maybe in a little while splurge on a different type. New item to add to my Christmas list!

    Nikon 18-55mm



    Nikon 70-300mm



    Heads-up :: This post contains affiliate links. Village Cape Cod will receive commission if a purchase is made using these links.

    Happy Tree in PV

    Right across from our house is a little triangle where all the streets intersect nicknamed “the fountain.” Prairie Village made it a nice place by decorating it with trees, benches and a fountain the kids can play in. On a typical day you can see tons of children running around on the triangle with their parents relaxing on a bench after a long day of work. (usually with a beer or wine in hand to help relax – no judging going on here)

    The other day my daughters came home from the fountain after playing with their friends. They were excited to tell me about the happy tree that someone made on our special island. The happy tree had a bag of tags, a sharpie and a sign instructing everyone to write what makes them happy:

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    Our girls wrote their special message. Maren wrote that she was happy for World’s of Fun while Alexa put that she was happy for her brother and sister. Our favorite silly one came from one of Alexa’s BFFs:

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    This happy little tree made the PVPost.com: http://pvpost.com/2014/05/12/who-is-behind-the-happy-tree-in-prairie-village-27599

    Plus we woke up this morning to see the KMBC news van parked at the island too. Kansas City news: http://www.kmbc.com/news/Prairie-Village-Happy-Tree-inspires-smiles/25960896

    Nobody knows who created this happy tree still today. This just goes to show how special our little neighborhood is and another strong reason why we rebuilt instead of moved.

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    Mommy Day Must Haves from Etsy

    I’ve been a mom for 12 years now and the time has flown by, but I will always remember my first one. I was still going to college when I had Alexa so Jay got me school supplies. Some might have thought it was silly, but I loved it. It just proved to me that he supported me in completing school still.

    Now fast forwarding to today my mommy needs have fully changed. Here are a few of this year’s must haves that I have found on Etsy.


    Follow Niki Adams’s board Mommy must haves on Pinterest.


    Check out my whole board for more items.

    Losing the Baby Weight

    I am back in my non-maternity pants!!!! They are a little tight (still counts, right?) and it took six months but I am finally there. Anyone that has had a baby understands what a big deal this is. While pregnant and shortly after it seems like this would be an impossible feat.

    I still have a couple of slacks that aren’t cooperating, but now I am encouraged to keep going until I can fit in those.

    I wish I could say it was from diligently working out, but let’s face it. Being a new mom with a busy work schedule, I have no time to devote to working out everyday.

    Eventually I will drop the 10 extra pounds and I will be happily in my pre-baby size.

    Here is cute shot of the littles that are more than worth the weight – pun intended.
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    IKEA is coming to Kansas

    You either love or hate their meatballs, but nobody can deny the fact that Ikea is the bomb. Let me explain why to those that have never stepped out of KC and made it to one.

    Ikea has fun, trendy items at such a lower cost than other places. If you are an organizational junkie like me, you will love this place. Just check out their website: IKEA.com. The downfall is that they don’t offer everything online that they have in their stores. Throughout the years they slowly have added inventory, but it’s still not everything.

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    Years ago I emailed IKEA a request to build one in Kansas City. It was followed up with a really nice email saying that we just don’t have the population to justify an IKEA. What? Do they not realize that there isn’t one near us that isn’t at least six hours away?

    Apparently others felt the same way because soon after my email pleading for a new IKEA, Facebook petitions popped up asking for IKEA to come into our town.

    Not only did IKEA deliver. They plopped it down basically in my own backyard. It’s about a 3 mile hike north of me, no highways needed. Talk about answering my wishes. I will no longer need to make my out of town relatives drive me to their IKEA or mail me whatever fun thing I want from there. I can run right after work.

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    My poor family may never see me again after the opening this fall of 2014. Go Merriam, KS

    I am still pretty sure that this was all due to my persuasive email.

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    Maren ironically had to make a hate for her school’s hat parade. Her country was Sweden. I kept asking her to add the fact that Ikea came from Sweden, but she couldn’t be pressured. We stuck with the following facts:

  • Sweden is known for their iconic meatballs.
  • Sweden is the third largest exporter of music
  • Princess cake is a well-known cake in Sweden.
  • The moose crossing sign is one of the best souvenirs, so much so that hundreds are stolen each year from the side of the road.
  • Sweden is comprised of 50% forest.
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    Maren Has a Point

    I cut my hair off a few months ago. Did I tell you I hated it? The lady went super super short. Boy hair short. I came home feeling sad and wondering what the hell I just did to myself. Luckily my husband said he loved it (and he doesn’t sugar coat or lie about these things, although at times I wish he did.) Anyway, Maren, my eight year old caught on to my sadness. Her and her ornerinous came up to me and said “Now you know how I feel everytime you force me to cut my hair short.” Damn if she isn’t right. Good point little! I instantly told her that she can grow her hair out as long as she would like if she kept it cleaned and brushed. By her reaction, you would have thought she won the lotto.

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    Isn’t her hair so cute short!

    From here on out – my girls will have long hair! (As I am constantly reminded by Maren of my promise everytime I am braiding her hair.)

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    Not convinced on my boy’s hair growing out yet (first haircut at 7 weeks.) I do still have a little military in me.

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    Staircase Mystery

    One day I will find hidden stairs. I have a reoccurring dream about it all the time, but since we tore our house apart I know it won’t happen in our Cape Cod.

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    I wonder if it’s finding a secret that sparks my mind or that it’s all a mystery? Where do they lead to? Why were they covered up? In this dream it connected to my bedroom and led to a ran down storage area. I was able to put in a door to connect it to my room and clean the storage / attic area and make it into my own craft room.

    Our builder has built several hidden rooms in his other spaces. Oh how I wish we would have had a dead space to make one in our house when we were rebuilding, but we don’t even have an attic in a Cape Cod.

    Beach Style Hall by Savannah Interior Designers & Decorators Joel Snayd

    If I ever build a house, I will for sure have a hidden room with a staircase leading to it.

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    Growing up, I had a friend who lived in an old farm house that had a maid’s quarters. It was always rumored to have a hidden staircase. years later my mom’s friend bought the house and remodeled. During the kitchen remodel they found the stairs hidden behind a wall. How lucky were they?