Thursday, November 2, 2017

Toddler Halloween Outfits

I love holidays! We always go a little crazy with outfits and costumes during the month of October. I am already planning Christmas outfits for baby girl as well cause I just can't help myself.

 Outfit #1 Pants: Walmart Shirt: Walmart

 Outfit #2: Princess dress hand me down, Minnie outfit underneath: Birthday gift

 Outfit #3 Pants: Walmart, Shirt: Walmart

 Outfit #4 Our family costumes this year. Roger, Anita, and a Dalmatian (she called it puppy face)

 Outfit #5 This is what she wore to church and it was so cute! Dress: Screaming Owl Pants: Screaming Owl Bows: Walmart

 Outfit #6 Skirt: Walmart Shirt: Walmart Bows: Walmart

 Outfit #7 Moana dress: Walmart! This was Halloween morning and she wore this dress to storytime at the library and to run errands with mom. 

Outfit #8 Our last one! She was Princess Anna for trick or treating and loved it. She loved getting candy and passing candy out to all the kids. 

Happy Halloween! Hope everyone had a fun safe time!
XO Caitlin

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Books I read: October 2017

I read a lot in October. I got back on the bandwagon of reading and I finished some great books. I met and surpassed my goal of reading 3 books a month this month. I read a total of four books. Here are my thoughts and reviews of what I read.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

I was interested in this novel because of the movie trailer. It came out at the beginning of October and I was intrigued by the preview. After watching it I did some googling and found out that it was based on a novel. I also discovered that the setting is in the high uintah mountains. After reading the synopsis of the book on Wikipedia, I knew I had to read this book. The synopsis drew me in because it said that Ben and Ashley  found a scout camp and took shelter for a few days there. For those of you who don't know I worked at Camp Steiner for three summers of my life. Camp Steiner is located in the high uintahs. So being vaguely familiar with the area and having hiked many of the highest peaks I was intrigued with the idea of the book.

Good: His descriptions of the setting were pretty accurate. The scout camp he mentioned didn't remind me of Camp Steiner at all but that's okay, it's a novel so the author could have made up a new one if he wanted to. I loved the suspense of the novel and the premise of the story. Being stranded in the high uintahs in the middle of winter is not something I would want to do and his storytelling was really good. Ben is a doctor and so he did a lot of the story in recordings that Ben did to his estranged wife. These recordings were made just like a doctor makes his reports for his patients. Ashley is severely injured during the plane crash and until they get moving the first park of the book is about him trying to help her recover from the pain. Ben is very resourceful so he is able to make the most out of the situation.
Ashley isn't completely helpless and I like that. A lot of times heroines are often cast as women who can't do anything but she wasn't like that. She was strong and resilient in her  own way and I grew to really like her character.
The love story was unique and different and I was actually surprised at the end. I like when books do that so I wont say anymore about the end or the story in general.

Bad: The beginning part when they were still in the remains of the plane dragged on forever. The book picked up when they finally got moving down the mountain but it was just a long beginning. I liked how resourceful Ben was, but it was almost too good to be true in some parts. I wish they would have made him a little more human instead of this perfect Hero.

Overall it's a great read, very clean for those LDS readers. I loved the characters and was happy with the ending. I definitely recommend. It was also a quick read as I finished it in about a day and a half.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 

This was a fun read for this month. I really wanted something lighthearted and enjoyable. One of my piano students is reading the companion series to this series and reminded me about this book. I have seen the movie but I never read the books as a child.

Good: I loved the story idea. Each of the characters has a unique place in Percy's life, my favorite was his mom though. His mom sacrificed a lot for him, including living with a drunk to mask Percy's smell so the monsters don't get to him. Percy is a son of a God and so he has special powers. Monsters of the Olympian world are after him and he doesn't know about this. Anyway the story is great and the character development is also great. I loved that the movie actually stayed pretty close to the book. This would make an excellent read aloud book.

Bad: It is a children's novel, or middle school novel so it may seem too childish for some. Other then that, there isn't anything else bad to say.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Disclaimer: I know the underground railroad wasn't an actual train system. That is just the way this book portrays it as. This is a historical fiction novel.

This book! It's a Pulitzer Prize Winner and it is so good. Synopsis from Amazon: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
     In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
     Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Good: This book taught me so much more in depth about the racism that went on in the south. Living in the west, we aren't really exposed to it everyday, or every month and therefore it's hard to grasp what really happened. Most movies I have watched about the struggles have been inspiring movies like Remember the Titans with good endings. This book dealt with everything the slaves went through, rape (be forewarned), torture, kidnappings, having children taken away, health experiments, etc. Cora is a great main character because she has a strong will power, she isn't afraid to be outspoken even when the consequences (a lashing) are severe. Her story taught me to be more accepting of others, that bad things happen to good people but those people can rise above it and that everyone has worth no matter what. Being Christian that is a principle taught on a daily basis but when you read accounts like these it just opens up your mind to that lesson and really makes you think about it.

Bad: The author is very descriptive. Not overly graphic but some of the scenes may cause unsettling feelings. The rape scene, when she gets off the railroad in North Carolina there are bodies along the trail, etc. She is also in a house for about nine months hiding in the attic and witnesses hangings at the local park, and other things that are pretty bad. I skimmed through anything I didn't feel comfortable to read.

The message of this book is powerful and if you are looking for a good historical fiction novel about the south then this may be of interest to you. Just keep in mind those things I mentioned above.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by  Michelle Hodkin

 This cover totally has nothing to do with the book. I really hate when they do that.

Okay so this was my Halloween read that I did this month. I wanted something spooky but not all out scary. This really fit that for me. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:  Mara Dyer doesn’t know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and “strong, inventive tale” (Kirkus Reviews).

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined—and what’s very, very dangerous.

This fast-paced psychological—or is it paranormal?—thriller will leave you breathless for its sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

It's a typical contemporary romance thriller. It came out around the same time Twilight was super popular. I would probably classify this as a paranormal. It was a typical love story suspenseful novel. It was okay. I probably wont be reading the books in the series but I don't regret reading this either. If you want something suspenseful but not creepy this would be good for you.

Well that is it! I am headed on a vacation for November (without my baby ) so I know that I will be reading a lot for the trip as well. I am excited for some warm mornings!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

General Conference Prep

General conference is coming up next weekend! I am so excited for general conference this year and I have been prepping by doing a few different things. I figured I would share those things with you all.

1. Start Praying now!
Pray for the leaders and speakers. Pray for you and your family. Pray to receive direction, inspiration, and guidance. Prayer is amazing and I need to do more of it so I am starting on this one as well.

2. Ponder about your life and know your questions
Think about your stage in life, are you a student that just moved out for the first time? Are you thinking of purchasing your first home? Are you trying to decide to get married, have a baby, further your education etc. Are you wondering what else you can do to have your days seem more fulfilling? Maybe there is someone in your life you are concerned about and you are wondering how you can help them? Ponder about all of these questions and more in the next week or so. Write them down. Knowing your questions will allow you to try and listen for answers. When praying (step #1, you can pray about the specific questions).

3. Read your scriptures.
I have been doing a lot more of this lately (Another blog post coming soon). Right now I read whenever I feel my anxiety creeping up on me. Whenever I need a "break" as a mom (cause we all need those), I read a few verses in the Book of Mormon. It calms my spirit and really helps me to refocus on my child and our family. Along with reading the scriptures, I also read general conference talks from the previous session. So right now I am working through April 2017 conference talks. I found that I watch a lot of YouTube videos while doing chores like laundry and dishes through out the day. I have just replaced that with watching general conference talks. I feel the spirit more and it gives me some new insight on my challenges.

4. Attend the temple.
The temple is a source of peace for me. It's a place where I feel grounded in the gospel. Much of the gospel gives me anxiety as I think about deep doctrines and principles. The temple allows me to reconnect with God and to say hey I can do this. Just take it one day at a time. The temple also allows me to worship Heavenly Father in a way that I can't anywhere else. I know that I feel of His love there and I am encouraged to do better. Attending the temple before conference opens my heart up to what I need to hear.

5. Plan your weekend with Purpose.
Make sure you don't over plan your conference weekend. If you go on vacation (like us) make sure and plan your activities you do around conference times. Make sure you have a way to watch or listen to conference while you are out of town. Planning less activities makes it so you have more time to focus on the spirit and you aren't feeling like you have to get somewhere really fast.

What are ways you plan for general conference?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fall Bucket List

Decorate for Fall
Prep for General Conference
Grotto falls hike
Melon Days in Green River
General Conference in St. George
Zion's hikes in St. George
Preschool for Claire Tuesdays and Thursdays
Story time for Claire on Wednesdays
Sign up for the early literacy programs with Provo library
Figure out planner stuff
Pumpkin Patch
Corn Maze
Eat a Caramel Apple
Drive alpine loop
Drive nebo loop
Have a campfire in the canyon with friends
Fall family photos
Visit Grandpa Keith for his birthday
Halloween family costumes
Trick or Treating
Legacy Center Halloween extravaganza
Halloween party with friends
Decorate for Halloween
Go to a haunted house
Carve Pumpkins
Roast pumpkin seeds
Watch Hocus Pocus
Halloween Town 1,2, & 3
Twitches 1, 2
Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin
Read 3 books for September, October, and November.
Caribbean Cruise (already scheduled and booked for November)

What is on your bucket list for Fall?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fall Decor

I put up my fall decor this weekend so I took some pictures and decided I should put it up on the blog! I'll post where I got everything from at the bottom of the pictures but hopefully you enjoy. I am so excited for fall and stay tuned for my fall bucket list post coming this week.

First we have my entry way table.

 The giant pumpkin on the bottom is from Hobby Lobby, as well as the Happy Harvest sign. The wood sign in the bin is from Michael's. The black candle holder is also from Michael's as well as the two pumpkins on top.

From there you see the piano and I put some pumpkins and then some flowers and candles on the right. The candle is from bath and body works and it is the leaves candle. Just a classic fall candle and I love it. The small burlap pumpkin on the holder is from the dollar tree as well as the flowers in the vase.

 From the piano you have my music shelf. The two wood signs are from Michael's. The leaf garlands from dollar tree and this candle is marshmallow fireside from Bath and Body Works. 

From there you see this book case (which I desperately need to organize). The flowers in the vase are from dollar tree as well as the pumpkins and the leaf garlands.

 The T.V. Stand has a white pumpkin from Michael's. Fall family pictures from last year in dollar tree frames. Some more dollar tree pumpkins and some leaf garlands.

My table centerpiece was a DIY I did with items from the dollar tree. The flowers are all from dollar tree as well as the burlap.

I love this little corner in my kitchen and the flowers and vase are from dollar tree, the pumpkin from Walmart and the candle is pumpkin cupcake from Bath and Body works.

I just love how cozy having this decor up makes our home feel and honestly it wasn't that much money. Dollar tree for the win!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Claire's two year update:

7 lbs 8 oz
19 inches long

Two Week Appointment:
8 lbs 8 oz 75%
20 inches long 75%

Two Month Appointment:
12 lbs 4 oz 75%
 21 inches long 75%

Four Month Appointment:
  16lbs 5oz  75%
25 inches long 75%

Six Month Appointment 
19 lbs 75%
27.5 inches long 95%

Nine Month Appointment
20lbs 3 oz 75%
28.5 inches long 75%

1 year appointment
22 lbs 0 oz 80%
31 inches long 95%

15 Month Appointment
23lbs 12 oz 50%
31 inches long 75%

18 Month Appointment
25lbs 4 oz 70%
33 inches long 80%

2 year update
27lbs 3 oz 75%
35 inches long 60%

Claire is now in size 2t/3t clothes (depending on the brand of course). She is in size 5 diapers and we are starting to potty train this month. She is so ready for potty training. She sleeps from 8pm to about 8:30am. She takes a 3 hour nap everyday. Her favorite foods are blueberries, chicken nuggets, and fruit snacks. She loves playing outside and since we have a house now we have been outside a lot. She loves reading books and building lego's. She can sing the ABC's, count to 10, and knows most of her colors. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to voice her opinion. We got a puppy so she loves playing with Oreo.  She brings so much joy and light into our home. We are so blessed to have her.


Claire's 2nd Birthday

August 22nd, 2015.

This sweet girl of mine came into my life. She made me a mommy! Now that sweet girl is 2.
For her party this year we did a Unicorn theme. I made a cute unicorn chalk invitation (can't show it here for privacy reasons). I found all the decorations at Target and Michaels.

 These are some cute photo booth props that Michaels had.

My sister made the amazing Unicorn cake! The hair looked so cool. We also had cupcakes for people with gold unicorn horns. 

 Zack and I got her this Anna dress for dress ups. She loves dress ups lately and now she has so many. She got so many wonderful presents but I think she just enjoyed being around people she loved the most.

We love you Claire!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Toddler Learning Folder

Continuing on with the last post I did on toddler educational supplies, I purchased this toddler learning folder and I wanted to share it with you. It's a great way to start learning with your child every day. I got it on teachers pay teachers here. You can easily make this on your own if you have Microsoft word, publisher, power point, etc. It would be easy just time consuming. I chose to just buy it but really you could make it. Here is a video of what is included in the binder and how you would use it. We have loved it so far. I plan to laminate each page, cut out the pieces and put everything in a binder so it will hopefully stay nice.
Sorry for the bad quality of the video but hopefully this helps give you some ideas about what to do with your toddler in the fall. 

 Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Toddler Target Educational Haul

Hello! I am back with a different type of post. The last month and half I have been watching a lot of YouTube, and especially a lot of homeschooling videos. Homeschooling is seriously something I never even considered but as I watch Claire learn and grow I just realized that I want to be with her longer then I would get to if I sent her to school. I went through public school and it was totally fine, I have a bachelor's degree and I feel like I was prepared for college when I left high school.
Claire is only 2 years old (well turning two in a few weeks) so she doesn't need preschool right away. I have found, by watching a lot of YouTube video's, that there is so much I can do with her now to prepare her for school when the time comes.
Recently Target came out with all of their educational materials in the dollar spot so I decided to pick up a bunch of items for our homeschooling experience. Here is everything I grabbed (some of this stuff is still in stores but going fast so make sure and pick it up if you are interested).

 So this first batch of stuff includes everything you see above and I'll show close up pictures further down.

 I got this alphabet magnets and number magnets. These are great because you just get a metal cookie sheet and Claire can play with them all day. They are good for her to trace the outside of the number to recognize the shape. The alphabet ones are fun because they are in the shape of something that starts with that letter. We go over the sounds of the alphabet right now to help her with reading.

 We got this chalkboard to also practice coloring on. She isn't writing letters now and I don't expect her to but it's good to practice writing by coloring.

 These books were only a dollar each! What!! I loved them all and Claire has been enjoying reading them.

 I got some flash cards as well. It's easy to start the "school" day off with flash cards.

 I also got some stickers because she is highly motivated by stickers.

 Here she is reading one of her books. She just loves it!

Now onto the second batch of stuff from Target.

 The first thing you see on the left is those wall cleans, they will be great for the bulletin boards I have planned for our playroom.

 I got some matching games, a number and sequence puzzle and some flashcards. I am really excited to use them.

 I got a dry erase white board. This is also a great tool to practice writing through coloring.

 These month decals also come with numbers so that will be great to go over days of the week/ months with her as we switch them out.

 I found these felt books and I am so so so excited for them. These are the only two I found but I can't wait to open them up for hands on reading.

The last thing we got was this read aloud book because it's very important to read to your kids. We read at least 20 minutes a day.

I will post a schedule of what we do every day for our Toddler Home school later on after we have it down but I don't plan on spending more then an hour and half in school each day. That's all she needs and then we can have open ended play play time.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Bucket List

I've seen so many great posts about summer and bucket lists that have formed from them. I have been working on ours and so far we have crossed off a few things. I love summer because there is so much to do as a stay at home mom and that helps me to get out of the house and not get bored. Here are the items on my summer bucket list:
  • Have a picnic lunch with my friends and their families
  • Try out some new hikes
    • Payson Grotto 
    • Provo river falls
    • Battlecreek falls
    • Dripping Rock
    • Pine Hollow
  • Despicable Me 3 (Claire's first movie at the theater)
  • Lagoon
  • Rodeo and Strawberries and Cream
  • Strawberry Days Parade
  • Stadium of Fire
  • Go to the pond to feed the ducks
  • Make blanket's for Claire and I
  • Write 10 more chapters in my book
  • Finish my piano studio binder for fall
  • Story time at the library (every Tuesday)
  •  Camping in Payson Canyon
  • 40 Pines!!!!
    • Old Faithful
    • Fire hole
    • 4 wheeler ride
    • shooting 
    • fishing
    • reading 
    • relaxing
  • Do fireworks with Claire 
  • Eat at Dalton's restaurant 
  • Attend the temple once a month
  • Workout 5 days a week 
  • Thanksgiving point farm
  • Museum of Curiosity
Well that's it for now, we have a lot to do still and those hikes alone will take up most Fridays until the end of summer. I am excited to get out of the house more and get going on more of these items. Now I just need to add this list to my bullet journal (more on that next week) so I won't forget about them.


Toddler 4th of July outfits

As mentioned we had so many 4th of July outfits so Claire wore 5 of them. Starting on June 30th all the way to July 4th.
Outfit #1: Target, Bow Walmart

 Outfit #2: Everything (including shoes) Walmart

Outfit #3: Walmart

 Outfit #4 Target
Outfit #5: Walmart. 

She's so cute and getting so big! She'll be two in August. I had so much fun putting these outfits together and I already have outfits for Halloween coming in.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Favorites

I really need to step up my blogging game. I think once I officially start working from home (next week) I'll be able to do it more frequently. In the meantime I have a lot of things going on that I am super excited to share about. Today I am doing a June monthly favorites post. I haven't done one of these in a while and it has been fun to get all the stuff together that I have liked so far. I like to break the items down into four categories so here we go.
I have been getting back into wearing makeup and have actually worn it almost every day during the month of June. It's helped a lot because my face hasn't gotten burned or anything since my foundation has SPF of 15 in it. So the biggest beauty item I have been loving is the new lipsense color I got in the shade Goddess. It was a limited edition color a while ago and I was lucky to get one and I love it.

I stopped by the bella ella curvy boutique in American Fork a couple weeks ago and fell in love. I am always looking for some new cute plus sized tops and they had a lot of ones I was dying to get. I ended up getting two and one is the best. It's this mustard yellow color with cacti all over it. I also picked up a pair of their jeans and I must say I am really impressed with them. I love how they fit and look so I am really happy I found a new store.

sorry for the annoying volume button in the middle of the picture but I am wearing the cacti shirt here. 

For toddler clothing we have been loving the holiday skirts that Walmart puts out with every new holiday. I of course have a week's worth of red white and blue clothing for Claire but you know I can always use more. It helps that in Utah we celebrate Pioneer Day (July 24th) and that is also a red/white and blue holiday so we can wear those outfits all month long.

I mean really how cute is that skirt! We bought that one along with this cute outfit from Target.
I plan on doing a 4th of July outfit's post next week since we have so many.

Snacks/Food related items
I'll start with Claire for this one. We recently have been transitioning out of her needing a bottle at nap time and we have found what really works is getting her a new sippy cup. She loves new things (she gets that from her mom) so it helps her stay excited about what is happening. I picked up the tommy tippee sippy cup with a straw in it and so far it's been a big hit. I love that the top closes down over the straw so I don't have to worry about it spilling out all over the diaper bag. She still has mostly water or milk at this point but she likes the cup a lot. 

I recently discovered the M&Ms Caramel version and they weren't to bad. It tasted like a rolo with some crunch added to it so if you are looking for a new snack give that a try.

I also love the fudge striped cookies in the cookies and creme flavor, they are so yummy!

Multi-Media Favorites:
I have to start this section off with Wonder Woman. I love her. Seriously she is so amazing and inspiring. After watching the movie I was like yes let's go work out, I want to look like her (ha I have a LONG way to go but I seriously want to do it). I am so glad they put out a movie with such a strong female role model. She's amazing and I love that movie.

Another media favorite has been Big Brother! I am so excited it's back on and I just get sucked into this show.It's basically Survivor but in a house instead of on an Island and there is usually a bunch of young kids under the age of 30. It's fun. I like watching the drama of it all. I would say it is definitely my guilty pleasure show.

My last favorite from June would have to be my new job. I started at Entrata the first week of June and just finished up my training. I took my work computer home with me and I am ready to start working Monday. It will be a big change but I am excited to be working from home and to have more time to be a housewife and a mom. I've missed spending time with Claire during the day so I am glad I get to do that now.

Thanks for sticking around even though I haven't posted very regularly. I do plan to but I always find things to distract me with. July will be better though.