Wednesday, June 29, 2016

All Through the Night

I think all moms go through a little bit of anxiety putting babies to sleep at night. From more minor things like an arm stuck in the bar of the crib to something as serious as SIDS, there are definite worries in the night time. I remember the night that we moved Kymri to her own room for the first time. She was 6 months old. Before then, I noticed basically every move she made during the night. She was literally 6 inches away from me since kept the crib right next to our bed. I could hear her breathing. I could open my eyes and know that she was okay at any moment. 

Baby Feet Black and White

But that first night that we moved her to the nursery? Rough. I don't think I slept a wink. I was in her room time and again to check her breathing, make sure she wasn't too hot or too cold, and just to watch her. I was worried that she would wake up and not see me there and be scared. I was worried that I wouldn't hear her through the monitor when she did wake up (she was far from sleeping through the night). I was worried that she would feel abandoned. As silly as some of these sound, they were legitimate concerns that I had at the time. I remember praying to God, pleading for Him to watch over my baby and to relieve some of the anxiety that I felt. I will always remember the answer that came: "You may not be able to be with her all night, but I can." In that moment, my fears and anxieties were swept away. There were still nights I felt a little worried, but not at all in the same level. I knew that a loving Heavenly Father was watching over Kymri. I knew that angels would attend her. I knew that she would be well. Then I was reminded of my favorite primary song:

A Child's Prayer

Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now 
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to Thee.

Pray, He is there. 
Speak, He is listening. 
You are His child.
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayers.
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven.


I realized that I had been trying to get through my troubles on my own. I had been asking my body to do the impossible, staying up all night to watch over my baby. And I had forgotten this sublime truth: God hears and answers prayers. He loves His children. All we must do is ask. I could not protect my baby all through the night, but He could. He can. What a wonderful truth to know and to someday teach to my children. Pray, He is there. Speak, He is listening. For we are His children. 

A Child's Prayer Free Printable. Pray He Is There Speak He Is Listening

Pray He Is There Speak He Is Listening

Pray He Is There Speak He Is Listening
Pray He Is There Speak He Is Listening. A child's prayer free printable



Monday, June 27, 2016

4th of July Free Printable

It's almost the 4th of July! Is anyone else super excited about this? I love the 4th. I love an extra day set aside to be grateful for our freedoms and liberties. I love the BBQs. I adore the fireworks. I love spending the day with my family. Seriously, it's a great holiday! So to help you get in the mood, I designed this cute free printable for you!

Enjoy!

4th of July Free Printable





Friday, June 24, 2016

Easy Father's Day Gift

We had the best Father's Day! Kymri was absolutely adorable and so much fun for Brad. She was even more of a daddy's girl than usual, which was so perfect. 

If you are looking for a quick and simple gift for a Dad, go grab a wooden D and A for this super simple photo op. Brad loved it and it was definitely quick and easy! Three prints and a 3 opening frame later, and you have a super sweet gift for daddy's desk. Love. 




Friday, June 17, 2016

DIY Love Story Wedding Board

About a month before her wedding, my dear friend Jessica sent me this picture of a wedding board. "Can you make this?" was the question. I was pretty sure I could. Plus, there was plenty of time before the wedding, so if I found out that I just couldn't do it, I would just find someone else who could. 

And then I preceded to forget about it completely. *facepalm*

I was in the midst of birthday planning, preparing to move, and planning our vacation. It was so unlike me, but I literally spaced it. Three days before leaving for the wedding, Jessica checked in. I semi panicked! How in the world had I forgotten? Could I really make this happen? I know the stress of being a bride... and I didn't want to add to that for Jess. How was I going to find the wood? Could I seriously pull this off? My Cricut is pretty small and slightly limited (one of the original models) and I didn't even know if a project this size would be possible. Man did I say a lot of prayers in those three days. And a wedding miracle happened! My landlord happened to have a ton of barn wood after tearing down his cousin's old barn. He offered to put it all together for me. My cricut cut big enough letters. Kymri took fabulous naps so I had plenty of time to work. Seriously, wedding miracle. 

So if you are looking to save a little money and want to do your own wedding board, here is a simple DIY for you. It's definitely time consuming, and I wouldn't recommend waiting until three days before the big day, but it is totally a doable DIY. I appologize that I didn't take many pictures along the way (I was pressed for time, remember??), so if something is not making sense in the explanation, please do not hesitate to ask questions!

DIY Wedding Board

DIY Love Story Wedding Board



Materials:

- Barn Wood, cut to desired size-- Mine was 3' wide (any wood will do, but I like the barn wood look)
- Sand Paper (an electric sander is ideal)
- Cricut Electric Cutter (or any letter cutter)
- White Cardstock (Can also use vinyl, but I used paper and tacky glue for ease and to cut down on cost)
- Tacky Glue 
- Clear Matte Spray Sealant
- 2 Strips of wood, 1 inch x 3 inches 
- Nail Gun 

First, decide on your "important dates." These can include such a range of things: first met, first date, first kiss, "I love you," DTR talk, proposal, wedding, etc. 

Next, cut out your words and dates using the cricut machine. I used a variety of fonts from various cartridges. Find fonts that you love. Lay the words out across your table or floor. It doesn't matter where... just to get an idea of what you'll be working with. I personally work on the floor a lot. 


Next, measure the width of the longest set of words and cut the boards to the correct size.


Sand and clean them up a bit.
Arrange your words across the boards. Glue one letter/word on at a time, pressing down hard on each for about 30 seconds. Allow to dry well. I usually go back and press them down a few extra times, just in case.


After the letters are good and dry, take them outside to seal. Spray each board individually with a thin coat of sealant. Allow to dry. 


I let the boards dry overnight. Once dry, it's time to nail them together. Make sure all of the dates are in order. Flip the boards over. Measure the height of the board top to bottom and cut the 1 inch by 3 inch boards slightly shorter than that measurement (about 1.5 inches shorter). Run the two boards along the back. 

Do this on a flat table... This picture is after the nails are already in place.

Use a bit of wood glue to keep the boards in place. Nail them down using a nail gun (about 2 nails for each piece of barn wood) and voila! 



DIY Love Story Wedding Board

I seriously had so much fun making this wedding board! It's a slightly time consuming project, but an easy DIY that you could definitely pull off for a wedding.

DIY Wedding Board. Our Love Story.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Free Summer Fun-- A List of Free Splash Pads In Phoenix AZ

We took Kymri to the splash pad for the first time today.


We're talking pure joy here!





And you seriously can't beat free summer fun!

We started out with a relatively small splash pad (Water Tower Park in Gilbert), since we didn't know how Kymri would do. Now that we know that she L.O.V.E.S it, we will be trying a few different pads in the area. If you're in AZ, here is a list for you of free splash pads to visit!

EAST VALLEY

Riverview Park
2100 W. 8th Street, Mesa

The Eastmark Great Park
10100 E. Ray Road, Mesa

Santan Mall
2218 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert

Water Tower Park
45 W. Page, Gilbert

Tempe Marketplace
2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe

Jaycee Park
817 W. 5th St, Tempe

Hudson Park
1430 S. Cedar St, Tempe

Tempe Town Lake Beach Park
80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe

Espee Park
450 E. Knox, Chandler

Desert Breeze Park
660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd, Chandler

Chuparosa Park
2400 S. Dobson, Chandler

Founder's Park
22407 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek

PHOENIX

Edison Park
901 N. 19th St, Phoenix

Altadena Park
3711 E. Altadena Ave, Phoenix

Desert Ridge Marketplace
Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix

NORTH EAST VALLEY

Rotary Park
12925 N. Saguaro Blvd, Fountain Hills

Agua Linda Park
8732 E. McDonald Drive, Scottsdale

Paiute Park
3210 N. 66th St, Scottsdale

Pima Park
8600 E. Thomas Road, Scottsdale

WEST VALLEY

Gateway Park
10100 N. El Mirage Road, El Mirage

Glendale Heros Regional Park
8100 W. Bethany Home Road, Glendale

Goodyear Community Park
3151 N. Litchfield Road, Goodyear

Pioneer Park
8755 N. 83rd Ave, Peoria

Rio Vista Community Park
8866-A W. Thunderbird Road, Peoria





These are just a few of the splash pads in the area. There are SO many more, it's amazing. Just Google splash pads in your city and you will find one near you. If you aren't in AZ, most places have a splash pad or two. I love that these make for such easy summer fun. Plus, they are free! So go cool off and let the kids go crazy!

Free Splash Pads In Phoenix AZ



Monday, June 13, 2016

9 3/4 Things to Do in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

This summer has been pretty great. And our trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood was nothing short of magical. Literally. I will be sharing more details about our trip and how it went down with a baby (teaser: she did great), but for now, I want to share 9 3/4 things that you absolutely can't miss when visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood. (9 3/4... see what I did there? It's really just 10... but how boring does that sound? This is Harry Potter World we're talking about here).

Harry Potter World Universal Studios Hollywood

Brad and I feel like we grew up with Harry. We started reading the books in third grade. We were eight years old at the time... only three years away from the magical age of eleven. I don't think we were alone in secretly hoping that we might receive that wonderful letter by owl when we reached our eleventh birthdays. And even though we didn't get that magical letter, we loved our journey through the magical world, accompanying Harry Potter along the way. When we closed the cover of the final book, we were in the summer before our final year of High School. So you see why we feel like we grew up with Harry. From true friendships to disappointment, teenage angst to learning and maturing, Harry was right there with us.

Now for those of you who are like us... slightly sad that you never received a letter from Hogwarts, you will be glad to know that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood is everything you ever hoped for. You will enter a magical world and leave feeling that you're actually leaving those magical grounds. So from two Harry Potter nuts, take our advice. These are the ten things you just can't miss out on when you visit WWHP Hollywood. 


1. Explore the Castle--Take Your Time
The castle was probably the most exciting part of the day for me. You will automatically visit the castle if you want to ride HP and the Forbidden Journey. But if you are only caught up in the ride, you will miss quite the experience on your way through. We literally let people pass us in line because we weren't done looking at certain things. It seriously felt like we were really in the school. I could picture the students going from class to class, lessons on the grounds, and the like. We even spotted a few Hogwarts students along the way.

Hogwarts The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

 It's very dark inside, so pictures are tough.

 Perhaps you will see your greatest desire. 

The greenhouses were awesome. Spotting some Mandrakes made it all the more real.



2. Fly Away on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Which leads me to the ride itself. After exploring the castle, you will end up in the main attraction of the WWHP: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I had never been on a ride quite like this one. It was fun, slightly intense, and put you right in the action of it all. I jokingly told Brad going in to the park that I wanted to catch a Golden Snitch... little did I know I would actually get to try! This ride is definitely worth the wait.

3. Drink a Butterbeer... or Two or Three
I don't usually like soda, so I didn't think I would care for the stuff. But after reading about the famed drink for years and years, I had to try! We bought a regular and a frozen version (both are non-alcoholic), and let me tell you, they were amazing. Don't miss our on the butterbeer. You can drink them in the three broomsticks, or grab them from carts outside (which will cut down on your wait time).




4. Eat In the Three Broomsticks

I'm usually one to be all about picnicing it when it comes to theme parks. I mean, the food is generally outrageously expensive and mediocre at best. But when it comes to WWHP, you just have to splurge and eat in The Three Broomsticks. First of all, Universal Studios is pretty stingy about what food items they allow in the park. Secondly, It's really less about the food and more about the experience. I seriously felt like I might see Hagrid walking in for some Fire Whisky at any moment. If you've read the books and know how awesome The Three Broomsticks is, you just can't miss out on eating there yourself.


 And the food is actually really good! Especially for theme park food. We wanted to go with something nice and British, so we chose the fish and chip platter and the beef Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding. Both were delicious. We would especially recommend the roast. So good!


If you don't want to fork out the money for an entire meal in the three broomsticks, please just eat dessert! You will still get the experience of dining inside the of the famed pub, and you won't miss our favorite treat of the day: Butterbeer Potted Cream. Seriously. So. Good. It was a rich and delicious butterscotch style pudding. You thought I was gushing over the butterbeer? Well I would choose the potted cream version over the drinks any day. Don't miss it!




5. Send a Note by Owl
The Owlery is a must see for me. They seriously got every detail, including owl droppings on the floor. The workers will even post mark your letter with a stamp from Hogsmeade. Here's a little bonus tip: They will stamp any kind of paper for you (they won't stamp skin though, so don't bother asking for a hand stamp), so take your own paper, stationary, envelopes, etc. And it's totally free to get the stamp! You can't beat such an awesome souvenir at just the right price. You can also mail your letter directly from Hogsmeade, but I would suggest bringing your own stamps... they only sell HP stamps at a very steep price. Which is why the post cards we bought still haven't been mailed... oops.






6. Check out Hagrid's Hut: Flight of the Hipogriff 
Flight of the Hipogriff isn't the best ride in the world, but waiting in line for it is the only way to get a close up of Hagrid's cabin. The ride is cute enough, but I may not wait for it were it not for Hagrid's cabin. Hagrid's hut makes it all worth it.


7. Take a Ride on the Hogwarts Express
Pictures inside the train are available for purchase only, but anyone can take a picture with the conductor outside. He is so much fun, welcoming you to Hogsmeade and commenting on all there is to do in the village. A highlight of the day was when I brought out my big girl camera and he asked everyone to clear away for the Daily Prophet Photographer. Seriously awesome! Now I just need to get in contact with Rita Skeeter...

Hogwarts Express Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Express Wizarding World of Harry Potter



As for the pictures inside, I thought it was a little spendy. But even if you don't buy the pictures, you can go inside and put on props from the different houses and at least have the experience of it all. 

8. Experience Olivanders
The wand literally chooses the wizard. And you might just be the lucky one that is chosen! I loved that Olivanders was just like I pictured it. The wands were perched precariously on top of each other with very little organization, the shop was dusty and dark, and it all just felt so real. Here's a little tip: if you aren't one of the very first people in line, maybe wait it out a bit. We got there about an hour after the park had opened, and the wait was 90 minutes. We waited until after lunch time and waited 30 minutes. During peek season, it's probably not going to get any shorted. But on our Wednesday in April, we were glad that we waited until the line died down a bit. The wait is so long because it's really an experience. A small group of 15-20 is taken in at a time to meet with a wand maker. The wand maker selects one lucky individual to receive a wand. After that, the group is free to shop and browse in the next room over. We ended up not buying a wand (we had every intention of doing so, but changed our minds last minutes) because the experience of it was enough for us. 

9. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth in Honeydukes

Honeydukes Wizarding World of Harry Potter

 If you don't have time to visit all of the little shops, choose Honeydukes over the rest. It is adorable! Honeydukes was probably Brad's favorite part of the day. It was exactly how he had pictured it. They have all of the big name treats from the books: Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Fizzing Whizzbees, Chocolate Frogs, Cauldron Cakes, and more. We could have spent hours just looking at all the fun treats.

Honeydukes Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Honeydukes Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Honeydukes Wizarding world of Harry Potter
 \

Honeydukes the wizarding world of Harry Potter

It would have been easy to buy all sorts of goodies, but we settled on a chocolate frog.
Chocolate Frog Honeydukes Wizarding world of Harry Potter


10. Take Time to Watch the Magic of it All
If you are just buzzing from one thing to another, there is a lot you will miss in the WWHP Hollywood. We enjoyed time just strolling the streets and watching the magic around us. The workers generally refer to park goers as Muggles, and will even make comments about muggle money. You can catch the sounds of Moaning Myrtle in the bathrooms. Interactive wands make magic happen in the shop windows. And the excitement of it all makes for a truly magical experience. Try not to treat the Wizarding World of Harry Potter like other theme parks. Instead of running from attraction to attraction, think of yourself as vacationing in Hogsmeade. Slow down and enjoy the experience.

Hogsmeade wizarding world of Harry Potter


So there you have it. My 10 must do's of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood. Now, there is sooo much more that you could do and see. And we did! But we visited the park on a Wednesday in April when the crowds were minimal. Which means we did pretty much everything there was to do. But if I was on a time crunch, these are the things that I absolutely wouldn't miss. Stay tuned for more magical possibilities in future posts including a frog chorus, shopping experiences, photo opps, Zonkos Joke Shop, and the like.  If you make the trip, let me know what you think! It's absolutely worth it my book.

Hogwarts The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal studios Hollywood.




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