40 ideas - Number 12 - Fun and Easy Tent!

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 

Today's activity comes from Bri at Mod Memento.  She also runs one of my favorite places to buy art...also called Mod Memento. :)

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All kids love tents!  But thankfully, you don't need a store bought one to have fun. 


Use what ya got!  Round up some old blankets, sheets, and in my case, some old curtain panels and hunt for the perfect spot in your yard to set up your homemade tent.




I bought some clothesline rope at the hardware store and tied it around two big trees.  If you don't have trees, be creative and use your deck, your fence, a picnic table or whatever else you can find.  I then simply laid the curtain panels across the rope.



I laid some big rocks that the kids had painted on the corner edges on the curtain panels to keep them in place and not shift when the wind blew.




Then we made it cozy inside with some quilts, pillows, books, crayons and snacks!














The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes to set up and gives the kids a fun new play space.

Happy Summer!

Thank you! And be sure to go say hi to Bri at Mod Memento!
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40 ideas - Number 11 - Birdy Mobile!

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 

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Today's post is from Heather from Life Made Lovely.
I imagine doing this mobile with pages from kids books that have seen better days.  Moses will love this!  Be sure you cut your template out of card stock to help little ones trace the pieces a little better.  You could also punch a hole instead of using needle...all things to consider based on the ages of your kiddos.

Let's create a mobile the whole family can enjoy!


You'll  need:
-double sided paper.
i used an old book, but scrapbook paper would work, too.
-scissors
-twine, thread, or embroidery floss
-large needle
-stapler
(preferably one your grandmother-in-law borrowed from the VA hospital 40 years ago.)



Cut out 5 bird shapes,




and 10 wing shapes.




Hold 2 of the wings together.
Fold back a small portion at the front of the wings, away from each other.


Take those wings and slide them over one of your bird shapes.
Staple all three pieces together by placing a staple in front of the fold line.
Fold out the wings.




Use your threaded needle to poke a hole for hanging.
Be sure to leave enough room from the top of the bird to protect against tearing.



Repeat until you've created five birds.
Now hang them from your chandelier at various heights.


I think it's a fun way to enjoy some craftiness
every time you eat a meal with your fam!



And just for you...



a template you can use for the shapes.
Just right click to save the image to your computer

and print.





Happy crafting!!

Thank you Heather! Be sure to say hello to her over at Life Made Lovely.
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crazy pregnant woman - aka pregnancy hormones - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Let's talk about something that no one ever tells you before you get pregnant. I mean, there are so many things they DON'T tell you, right? If you have been pregnant, you know this. If not, here's one thing I deem important enough to let you in on: Your hormones will be jacked up. You will become a crazy pregnant woman. Yes, you. It's OK. Really. You won't be crazy all the time, but there will definitely be moments when the crazy version of you takes over while the normal one is tied to a chair in your mind yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, YOU CRAZY WOMAN?!?!"

I wasn't crazy for the duration of each pregnancy, but there were a few crystal clear moments that I remember happening out of my control while I was trying fruitlessly to slam on the emergency brakes. Externally I would be yelling at Doug for taking too long of a shower while internally my normal self had her arms crossed and was shaking her head at me. The good thing is once I knew what was going on, I could better prepare myself and Doug for these moments.

So, you'll be crazy.

And you will be sappy. Good luck watching commercials. Ever. I don't know what it is about those little snippets of TV, but for some reason, they drive to the core of your heart and turn on the hydrants. If you see anything with babies, puppies, servicemen, old couples, nature, kittens, men, women, children of any age, a satisfying shampoo, or anything remotely like any of those, turn away and run. Or you will need a box of tissues. Better yet, don't watch TV.

So, you will cry for no real reason.

Also, you may be snippy. Just a bit. The end of pregnancy can be challenging. You are huge. You are uncomfortable. Your doctor gives you a condescending look when he weighs you (IT WAS CHRISTMASTIME, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!). Strangers comment about how HUGE you are. Your patience was left back somewhere in the seventh month, and you really can't take another person patting your tummy like it will bring them good luck or something. Before you know it, you'll be annoyed by any ol' normal thing: out-of-date milk, no more cookies, lack of chocolate, stores closing at night when you NEED chips. The worst? Chick-fil-A closed on Sunday. Womp womp.

So, you will be a bit touchy.

My point is, you will feel like you are on one big crazy roller coaster. And you will be blind on it. In the rain. With no umbrella. The good news is that it doesn't stay that way forever. One day, weeks (yes, weeks) after you give birth, you'll look in the mirror and see your normal self again. Just hang in there until she comes back.

Any crazy/funny/amusing hormonal/emotional stories you care to share? I'd love to hear them!

And be sure you read up on all my other Huggies posts HERE! There's some good stuff in there!
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app!
Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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"lego review AKA tamer of the wildchild and $100 LEGO gift card, too!"



Recently LEGO DUPLO asked if my boys and I would review their new "Read & Build" sets. Ummm, yes! LEGOs are huge in my house and very few other toys will tame my wild animals into quiet play.
We have a lot of experience with LEGOs but the boys were definitely intrigued by the whole book aspect to the sets. Each set comes with a book and a set of blocks to coordinate with the story line.
This reviewer, who asked us to keep his identity hidden, enjoyed searching for the pieces as we needed them. The book is set up to read a page and then build the creatures in the storyline.
Aaron sat still for the WHOLE book. He did not ask for snacks or a show or what came next. He focused on the task at hand.
He carefully (and QUIETLY) searched through the pile until he found the ones laid out on the page.
He was able to build each one on his own.
Each building section has a photo of the bricks they are looking for...Aaron enjoyed the match up part of this as well.
He took the time to find each one first and then built each little critter just as shown.
He worked hard and took his job very seriously. The only part I had to do was read. The whole set up makes it very easy to play along with your child, interact, talk about colors, words and otherwise involve them more in the storyline. I even found him later doing it on his own by "reading the story" and making the critters all on his own.
Overall, they were a hit! And we will be looking for more sets for birthdays and Christmas. Anything that encourages my boys to slow down, pay attention and learn a little is a good find by me.

Want to get some of your own? BlogHer is offering up a $100 LEGO gift card to one luck reader...just answer the question “How do you think Books and Bricks will help your child learn to read?” in the comment section below.
Visit LEGO.com to see other Read & Build sets and order online. Check out BlogHer.com to find other reviews and more ways you can enter to win.
Sweepstakes Rules:
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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/11 – 8/19/12.

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speed warp summer.

I feel like life has hit top speeds in the last month since we moved here.  Or has it been three weeks?  Either way, I find that I am still struggling to figure out the pattern of our new days.  With Doug's new job our entire way of life has been flipped upside down...in a good way...but still.  We've lived a certain way for years and years and now we have to find a new normal.  I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do here...so here's our life in the last three weeks...via instagram.

Above are a few treasures I found at a new to us thrift store.   
I started this...I am disgusted with me.  Technically I am doing it on my elliptical but it still sucks so it still counts. 
 I gave this $4 goodwill table a little chevron makeover. 
We had a "derecho" and lost power for 14 hours.  Which is DAYS less than many people lost it for. 
Then the next night we had an equally creepy storm.  
Then we headed to NJ for the 4th.  
I spent hours working on my blanket on the way there and that. 
 We went to a 4th of July parade.  The boys filled gallon bags with candy that was thrown to them.  Pretty much the best day of their lives. 
Moses was told that the more he waved his flag, the more candy he would get.  Here you can see him problem solving by covering his ears because of the firetrucks while also continuing to wave his flag.  
While in NJ we took the boys to this place, where Doug and his sister were taken a lot as kids.  Aaron started a riding mower.  Indoors.  By himself.  We made a quick exit.
We made giant bubbles. 
The boys went on a boat ride with their bopbop. 
We got the back to school shopping done!  Someone is very excited for Kindergarten.  Yep, that's all we have to buy.  
Scored some awesomeness at goodwill.  That's a hand sewn hexie quilt top.  
The hutch got an immediate makeover.  
CVS paid me .43c per item here.  Paid me.  
And then.  I lost seven pounds in less than 12 hours.  Of course it came at the cost of the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had. 

I'm still recouping but hopefully the worst has past.  I'm looking forward to a good nights sleep to completely get me back to normal.

So that's my summer so far...how's yours?
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what's in a name - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Today's post is all about the name game! What WILL you name that baby? What a huge job, right? You want to somehow find THE perfect name for that tiny little human you have been carrying around for the last nine months. It's a huge, daunting task that should not be taken lightly. Never mind that you don't really KNOW the person you are naming. 

With our boys, we knew we wanted a strong name for each of them. There are some boys' names out there that just don't scream BOY or man or strong. We wanted to name our boys something they would have to live up to. 

Naming Moses was much more difficult than naming Aaron. While pregnant with Moses, we went through name after name after name. Some of them I shudder to think of having used...and thankfully we didn't have a girl. I won't tell you what her name would have been. 

I was pretty far along with Moses (at the time still an unnamed baby) when Doug and I went out to dinner. The song "Moses" by Coldplay came on, and so we threw the name out there, batted it around a little, and before we left we had pretty much decided that our baby's first name would be Moses IF he was a boy. (With Moses, we didn't find out the sex before he was born.) When it came to picking a middle name, an easy choice emerged: Doug's grandpa is Austin, and we loved both the name and the man, so Moses Austin became our first little boy. 

When it came to naming Aaron, well, like I said it was much easier to name him. You can't have a Moses without an Aaron. We decided to keep with the grandfather line and used a name from Doug's other grandpa, Howard. That's also Doug's middle name and Doug's dad's middle name. It's also fun that Aaron's initials are the same as Doug's dad's. :) 

So both boys ended up with strong, meaningful names. Names they have to live up to. Names we love as much to this day as we did when we gave them.
My humble advice to you when naming your new baby? 

Look A LOT! Makes lists, look on the internet and books. I did not ask people, other than my husband, what to name my baby. People get all weird if you don't use their name suggestions. In fact...
DON'T tell anyone your baby's name or names you are considering. Wait to tell them until the baby is born. People are a lot less likely to weigh in on your choice once it's already written on the birth certificate. With Moses, only one person besides Doug and me knew his name. With Aaron we were a little more relaxed, but I think we kept the middle name a secret at least. Maybe.
And finally...you HAVE to agree with your husband on the name choice. You both have to love it. You can't wait until your husband is out of the room and rush the nurse to write up the birth certificate. Don't use an old boyfriend's name or some name your husband hates. Just think how YOU would feel about that. :)
Above all, give it lots of thought. And don't worry too much about how kids in school will make fun of it. No matter what you choose, kids will always find a way. :)
Be sure to check out all my other baby advice posts HERE. Worth a read, for sure!

Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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hot fun in the summer time - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

This week's post is all about hot fun in the summer with that new little person you have! I would personally take a new baby in the summer over being very pregnant in the summer. I've done both, and believe me, carrying a baby whale in your arms is much easier than being a beached whale in the summer! A word to the wise that my doctor failed to share with me: If you are pregnant, you are more prone to sunburns than when you are not pregnant. I NEVER burn, ever, but the summer I was pregnant with Moses I got the worst sunburn I've ever seen and after only a very short time in the sun. I could barely walk it was SO bad! So be warned and save yourself some misery!

Now back to that baby.

There is little that I love more than to see a pudgy baby in a bathing suit splashing around in the water. We've had a lot of great memories with our little babies in the warm months. Even though they are little, you can still have a lot of fun!

The most important thing ever is sunscreen! I found out pretty quickly that I much prefer a spray to a cream. You can get it on quickly, evenly and thoroughly, and it comes in very high SPFs. Use it always and often, even if you think you will stay in the shade. Better safe than sorry! To date, the boys have never had a sunburn, and I plan to keep it that way! Now that they are older we make them wear special swim shirts with SPF built in as well. Pale is the new tan!

We also make a habit of staying out of the sun during the hottest and most sun-intense times of the day, which is generally from 11 to 2 or 3pm. You may even find that it's cheaper in some places to swim if you go for only the last hour the pool is open. This worked better for our schedule anyway. Lunch and naps were happening during the hottest hours, so it's not like we were missing out on anything.

Even with these precautions, you may find that it's just TOO hot to be anywhere near the outdoors. On those days we would lay low at home, hit the mall to walk around in the AC (say NO to mall play places!!!), or hit the library. We also found that our local bookstores would host storytimes, too! Even my little, little guys liked storytime!

The best part of summer? Less laundry! Most days baby will be happy in a onesie and a diaper...or skip the onesie altogether! The dry summer air is also great for getting rid of diaper rash in a jiffy! Just take off that diaper and head outside. Diaper rash will disappear! It did the trick for my boys every single time, even when diaper cream had failed us repeatedly. And you moms of boys: I also found that a dash of baby powder in the boys' diaper area helped to stave off the rash that can develop from them being overheated and sweaty.

If all else fails, buy a little old baby pool! Even the tiniest of babies can enjoy splashing around in one. And because they are still so tiny, you can get away with a tiny pool! Or a little bucket will work too! Just be sure to never leave baby unattended, and dump the water out when you are done!

Did I miss anything? What's your best trick to beat the heat with a tiny baby in the summer?

Be sure to check out the rest of my series HERE.

Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app!
Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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Reminders!

Don't forget...

it's not too late to enter to win...

a $500 SpaFinder gift card  On growing old{er}.

Win $100 with by making an ordinary day fun with Breyers!

And for good reading...be sure to check out my Huggies posts all about babies and life with them! :)

Have a super day!

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easy chicken tortilla casserole!


We made this for dinner the other night and it was SO good!  SO good I had to share!  Super easy and super tasty!  My favorite combo!

Here's how to make Easy Chicken Tortilla Casserole
3 cups of diced chicken
10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
10 oz can Rotel tomatoes, drained
6 large flour tortillas

Mix together cooked diced chicken, soup, cheese and Rotel. Layer 3 flour tortillas on bottom of greased square dish (the edges of the tortillas will hand over the top), then ½ of mixture, then 3 more tortillas, then the other ½ of mixture.

Cover and heat at 375° for 20 min.

Top with a little more cheese and put back in the oven until it melts.  Serve with corn bread. :)a
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