Thursday, September 27, 2012

What I'm Reading: Blogs

Hello!  Happy Thursday!  Woot, Woot the weekend is almost upon us!!  Although, we did get a special treat yesterday since the hubs had off.  Such a lovely interruption of the weekly doldrums!

So anyways on Monday I updated you on my current book reads, but I thought that I might also share with you some new (to me) blogs I have been really digging lately!

Last week I stumbled upon the stellar Everyday Reading, and I have to admit it will probably become a part of my daily reading (see what I did there???).  The gorg author, Janssen, is a young mom (of a daughter that I am pretty sure is right around the Magster's age + one on the way) who used to work in a school and now part of her blog is about reviewing all types of books.  She has already increased my Goodreads "Books to Read" list by a bunch, andplusalso, she has two cool sisters and they do joint posts about books and fashion that they are into at the moment ( just one of the many reasons a sister would be so cool for Mags.....).  And finally, she is marking her current pregnancy with a ton of really cute outfits that I would love to rock in my next pregnancy!

And then there's Young House Love, which I KNOW, I am SUPER late to the party on this one.  In fact, John and Sherry are celebrating their fifth blogging anniversary as we speak.  I remember stumbling upon them when I first started blogging, but I lumped them into the DIY blogs and I didn't think their posts would interest me.....WRONG!  They are such a cute couple and their daughter, Clara, is so adorable.  I really enjoy reading their posts and hearing about all their new projects.  I really enjoyed the timeline that they posted this week, to show how they got to where they are.  Really made me wish I had Photoshop (and knew how to use it).

And finally, another late-to-the-party, but new-to-me find is, Momastery.  Glennon is so real and honest, and the community that she has created seems so strong and helpful.  It really seems that she is helping the supportive mom movement, where instead of bashing each other for our personal parenting choices, we embrace the fact that everyone is different and the majority of us are just doing what we feel is best for OUR kids.  I absolutely adore this post and love the saying "Carpe those Kairos!".

And of course, I am still loving all my old faves....
Enjoying the Small Things
Loves of Life
Mom-A-Logues
Harper's Happening

What are some of your favorite blogs?  I am always on the look out for some new, fun and interesting reads!

And I leave you with the blur that is my daughter these days, at the mall yesterday.....

This was her reaction to seeing  the ride-on arcade toys...Alas we had no quarters or cash...poor kid....
Hope that you are having a great day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Pinteresting Fall

As I said yesterday, I have been looking forward to fall for a couple of weeks now, and I have a month old Pinterest board to prove it!

First, of course, here's my agenda again....


A Better and Magnificent Mom: Fall Bucket List 2012


 Definitely going to try to make this for a little get together in October...

Pumpkin Fluff Dip
Pumpkin Fluff Dip


And I am pretty sure that this is going to be a part of our Pumpkin Carving fun...

 140 Pumpkin Carving templates

Might try this..

Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte - For the #pumpkin obsessed, a low fat, low calorie spiced latte you can make yourself.
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte


And this just looks amazing!

Pumpkin coffee cake with brown sugar glaze
Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze


Overall, I think that this says it best....

This is good news for me. 

What are your Pinterest Plans for the fall? 
Hope you're having a great day!!
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

And it is fall...

Happy Monday to you all! Instead of lamenting this start to the week, I'm embracing it for all it's worth! We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend, doing ABSOLUTELY nothing really, just hanging out and enjoying each others company, so I feel ready for the week ahead!  Also, it is finally fall and I am stoked.  I LOVE the fall, and we have so much fun planned in the next few weeks...can't wait!

But before we start this brand new week, I have some updates...

So last week was Mag's first MOPS experience (if you missed the explanation of what it is, check it out here) and it went wonderfully!
We started the morning out with a little photo shoot...

She was super into as you can see...LOL

I tried the whole, she holds a piece of blank piece of paper-which I would put info on later, but she wasn't really on board (shocker!!!).  So here's what will have to suffice...

Please excuse the blank stare and slack jaw, I made the mistake of leaving the TV on....Rookie mom photo mistake!
So as I said, the morning went really well.  I dropped her off in her 2 year old classroom and she ran right in.  Outside the classroom, a set of twins were expressing their EXTREME dislike of the situation and Mags was distracted by them, but only for a minute.   Luckily, she was concurrently distracted by the "Toys!" and ran off to inspect.  At this point, I decided to make my exit and started backing out of the room.  She looked over at me a little confused, with a look on her face that said, "Hey, where are you going?" but then another shiny object caught her attention and I made my escape.

The meeting that I attended was really interesting and informative and the food they served was awesome.  I think that this is going to be a great setup for us.  When I went to pick Mags up, she was excited to see me and tell me all about what she did.  She even had a marker stamper craft to show off.  She told me that she played and I asked her if she shared with the other kids and she said, "Two kids, I share with two kids!".  Better some than none....LOL. 
She also informed me that she did something "team" and I thought, oh maybe they talked about being a team and working together...how cute!  Then this weekend she pulled out her tea set and said,"I making team, Mommy!"....ahhh, gotcha sweetie!

All in all a great time, and I can't wait till our next meeting, to that end I wish it met every week instead of two days a month....Oh well.

In other news, the winner of the Minted Giveaway is Gina M. I will be emailing you shortly. 
And just so there isn't any confusion, there was another entry, but I accidentally deleted the comment, so I did the Random.org drawing out of 2 and the second person was the winner.

So what else is new?  I finished two books this past week.  Both were short story collections, which are not what I regularly read, but I really enjoyed both of these!
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of LiberationShout Her Lovely Name

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: This one got me, because hello!  the title....yes, please!  And the short story that accompanies it is awesome!  I liked a lot of the stories, but the title story and "Sin City" were my faves.

Shout her Lovely Name: I read about this in People and thought that it looked interesting.  Most of the stories are independent of themselves, but there are a few that revolve around the tumultuous mother-daughter relationship of Ruby and Nora.  I really enjoyed the title story and "Plum Trees".

Next up are The World without You and The Timekeeper.  I'm on Goodreads (in case you want to be friends) and when I joined in May I gave myself the challenge of reading 20 books by the end of the year, so far I'm about halfway there.  Guess I have to step up my game! 

In fall season TV news, I am loving "Glee" so far, can't wait for "New Girl" to come back this week, not sure how "The Office" is going to wrap things up and I'm still working my way through "Gossip Girl" 's last season.  Can't believe that show, "30 Rock" and "The Office" are throwing in the towel this year.  And now I hear rumbles that this may be the last year of "How I Met Your Mother"...say it ain't so (actually I am mixed on this since I am DYING to know who the mother is, but will miss the show once it is over).

And on that note, I say goodbye!  Happy Fall!!!  And I hope you are having a great day!!!

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lately

Last Sunday, we had the opportunity to take Maggie to her first Phillie's game. It was a day game and it fell right around her nap time, but we couldn't pass up the chance to take her to the baseball game, especially since we got the tickets for free! So we didn't expect Mags to sit quietly and pay attention to the game that much, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well she did. She mostly amused herself with her sippy cup and a straw and would get excited when everyone else cheered or there was music playing.

Can't get enough of the straws!!!
Couldn't ask for a better view!
Wearing her Phillies hat proudly!

We made it all the way to the 8th inning before Mags let us know that she was ready to go.  Pretty good for a 2 year old, if you ask me!  And then we went over to Nana and PopPop's, where we finished watching the game on the TV, and they won!  Go Phillies!!!

Then this weekend we headed down to MD for a visit with MeeMaw and PPaw.  Lots of fun!


Enjoying the "roller coaster" toy next door

 
Flying with PPaw
It was a very relaxing visit and we had a great time!

Don't forget to enter the Minted giveaway!
Hope you're having a great day!!!

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Minted Giveaway

Have you started thinking about the holidays yet? If you have, then you have probably started thinking about picking out your holiday cards. 
If you are starting the search, check out the selection at Minted.

Whether you are looking for a photo card...


or a Non-photo card....


Minted has you covered!  There are so many choices, basically something for everyone!  There are corporate cards and New Years cards, as well. 

And the nice people at Minted want to get your holiday card shopping started with a $50 giveaway and free shipping.  All you have to do is be a follower of A Better and Magnificent Mom and leave a comment letting me know which card you might pick if you win!
The giveaway will end Friday, September 21, at midnight and a winner will be chosen through Random.org.  Good Luck!
    

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mabel's Labels Review

So I haven't mentioned it one here yet, but next Tuesday Mags and I are going to be attending our first MOPS session.  MOPS stands for Mothers of Pre-Schoolers, and basically it is an organization created to support and educate moms.  This of course sounded very interesting to me, but what really piqued my interest was that while I sit in a meeting, with crafts and games and supposedly really good brunch food, Mags will be in a classroom setting right down the hall from me.  Awesome!

I am thinking that this might be just the transition that we need.  Mags desperately needs some structured time away from Mom and I want her to start to get used to the idea of a classroom and knowing what that looks like.  And if there's a problem, I'm right down the hall.  I am really excited about this!

So just like other kids heading off to school, Mags will need to take some of her own things with her.  And with a classroom of other kids, it is really important that everyone knows whose things are whose. 
Enter Mabel's Labels.
I was fortunate to receive a sample of some of their offerings a little while ago, and they are going to be perfect for MOPS!

This is the adorable box I received

Really nice packaging!

 Preschool Shoe Labels- Butterflies are perfect for Maggie!

Write Away Labels
Both of these types of labels are going to be very helpful. 
The shoes labels break in half, and one side will go in one shoe, and the other in the other shoe.  That way if she takes off her shoes, they are easy to identify, and once she starts learning to put them on herself, she will be able to see which one is left and which one is right.
The Write Away labels, are dishwasher and microwave safe, so these would be perfect for her sippy cup, or any other food related items.  The last thing you would want would be for the sippy cups to get mixed up....ew!

So I am super excited to be able to use these labels for our new adventure.  I think that they are going to be really useful! 

Find out more about Mabel's Labels over here:
www.facebook.com/mabelhood
www.twitter.com/mabelhood

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good from Bad

Please note, I am in no way trying to negate or belittle the tragedy and horror of 9/11/2001, please don't misconstrue what I am expressing here....

On September 11, 2001, my alarm went off at 7am.  I got up, jumped in the shower, climbed in my car and headed to work.  After I got my costume, I headed to the locker room and overhead, I heard the news break into the music on the radio to announce that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center.  I didn't hear everything that was said, but I thought to myself, "Hmmm, World Trade Center, I think there is one in Baltimore, wonder what happened....".  Walking through the tunnels to head onstage, I passed a break room that had a tv playing and as I walked by they replayed the tower being hit and I see that they are talking about NY and that this is serious....possibly not an accident at all.  I hurry to punch in and take the elevator upstairs.  My co-cast members who have been there since earlier that morning, bombard me with questions.  I fill them in with as much as I know.  A manager walks by to caution us from discussing the situation on stage.  We don't want to alarm the guests. 
An hour after I arrive, we are informed that we are evacuating the park, and for the second time in the history of the Magic Kingdom, it will be evacuated and closed for the day.

So where were you?

I was right here...

Source
So today, I remember those lost souls and mourn the atrocities that accompany that fateful morning.  I remember being a scared twenty year old, many miles away from family and friends.  I remember the sadness for the loss of the world that we had once known.

But also, there is a sense of gratitude for a catastrophe that came to inspire me.  A spark, that set into motion an amazing set of events:

September 11th created some of the lowest park attendance that Walt Disney World had ever seen...
The college program interns had our hours considerably cut...
I wasn't making much to begin with and now I was making even less...
I could barely make ends meet and I knew that I could never live like this again...
I knew that I had to go back to school and finish my degree...
I started researching colleges and spoke with my father about moving to PA and going to school there...
Applied to Millersville University and was accepted for Fall 2002...
Went to school and entered the Secondary Education program...
Was placed in Hempfield High School for my Student Teaching...
Assigned to Mr. Harry Sachwald as my co-op...whose classroom was two doors down from a Mrs. D'Orio, the co-op teacher of....the Hubs.

Our wedding song is "The Luckiest" and if you have never heard it, I beg you to give a listen.  One of the main reasons that it really resonates with me is because of this line...

"I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns
The stumbles and falls brought me here"

So as I have said, I of course mourn with our nation the loss and tragedy that is remembered today, but for our little family, I feel blessed. 
Good can come from bad.  And we are the proof.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Bucket List 2012

Since I had such a great time making a Summer Sand Pail list this year, I decided to continue the fun with a Fall 2012 Bucket List!

Here she is....


Disclosure time, I did not make this template, once again I had some help from another website and I edited it in Picasa, since I don't have any fancy editing programs.  But I like the way that it turned out and it is making me super stoked for the Fall!

Now I learned my lesson from the Sand Pail list...less is better, so I don't have 25 items like we did over the summer.
And to update you on the Sand Pail list, we accomplished 15 out of 25, not too shabby if you ask me...
Honestly, we got a lot check off in June, but July was too busy to get any more finished.  Oh well, we had fun so that is all that matters!

So as for our Fall List...I can't wait to start checking things off!
Hope you're having a great day!!!

Linking up here and here.

 

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Dream Come True....

I have loved Walt Disney World ever since I can remember and after trips there in 1987 (6 years old, don't really remember anything), 1991 (10 years old, lots of fun), 1995 (14 years old, school choir trip...I was away from my family and I had TRAVELER'S CHECKS!!!!  LOL), and then working there in 2001, I came to adore this magical place.

I have always wanted to go back and being able to take my 2 year old daughter just made it even sweeter. Now I had some misgivings, taking a two year old (IMO) is not an ideal situation and August (as I remember) is hot as heck.  I wasn't sure how Mags would do with flying, the characters and having her routine/schedule turned upside down.

If only I could go back to the Sarah of a month ago and tell her...."Hakuna Mata!".  No worries sweetie, just get excited, because you are going to have a BLAST!!!!!

So here's the basic gist of the trip (don't want to bore you with TOO many details)...
We stayed from Saturday-Thursday, at the Treehouse Villas at the Saratoga Springs Resort on Disney property.  We rented two cars for the 7 of us and it was really helpful since we were there with Brian's grandparents and we could do our own thing if we needed to.
The flight was awesome and Mags actually asked for them to do the landing, "One more time?".  We got in and went to Downtown Disney for the night.  It was way too packed, but we checked out World of Disney, which is the best!
Sunday was insanely awesome.  We decided to do Magic Kingdom as our first park of the trip and we made it there that morning for the rope drop (the opening of the park for the day).  It was magical and I got a little misty eyed seeing Mags super excited about it all.  Then we hoofed it back to Fantasyland and walked on to Peter Pan's Flight.  For the most part we had minimal to no waits for all the rides, and the only one that we had to wait for was The Jungle Cruise (only 15 minutes aka nothing).  Basically in that first day we went on every ride that we wanted to go on with Maggie.
She met her first character, Fronteirland Donald Duck and she was a little leery at first, excited but wary, and allowed us to take a pic with me holding her.  Then we found Pirate Goofy at Pirates and again, we took a pic together.
Since she seemed ok with the characters I thought we should try the Mickey/Minnie character meet at the Town Square.  It was incredible!  She was sooooo excited and kept saying, "Oh my goodness" over and over again.  The feeling was mutual for Minnie and Mickey and they acted quite enamored....LOL.
 That night after Mags went to sleep, Brian and I went back to the Magic Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hours, and closed the park at 12am after going on the "adult" rides like Space and Splash mountain (Splash was the gift shop that I worked at, and it has changed since I worked there 11 years ago...it looks good!  And their costumes are 100 times better!!!)

After that day, the rest of the trip was spectacular, filled with fun and wonderful memories.  We hit up Epcot on Monday, with more character greetings and I got to go on "Soaring" for the first time (so awesome!), Mags met Beast (she was a little scared, {he is HUGE!!!} but we still got a pic), and we had an amazing dinner in Germany.
Tuesday morning we did Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary (OMG that buffet was awesome!!!) and then we hit up Hollywood Studios.  Mags got to see the Disney Jr. stage show, which she LOVED ( a little too much, she wanted to run up the stairs and hug Mickey SOOOOOO bad...) and we tried for Toy Story Mania but the Fast Pass at noon was for 8:30 that evening....BOO!!!  Again, after Mags was in bed, we went back and did The Tower of Terror and Star Tours and I got a Mickey Mouse Ears ice cream!
Wednesday was our last day in the parks, so we spent the morning in Magic Kingdom and then headed to Epcot for a spectacular meal in Mexico.
Thursday was a relaxed day, spent packing and then we finished our time in Downtown Disney, this time without the crowds. 

Final words: Extraordinary and When can we go back???


Have 8 minutes to spare?  I made a video....



Just want to look at some pics?  Here are a few of my faves....









Hope you're having a magical day!!!

 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

OCMD August 2012

In the beginning of August, we got the chance to head down to OCMD for a nice long weekend.
I think I have amply documented my love affair with the OC...MD, like here and here.
What can I say... I spent A LOT of time there as a kid and it is one of my favorite places on Earth!

So we headed down late Friday morning, leaving rainy PA and arriving in sunny MD.
 We got there in time to put Maggie down for a nap.  When she got up, we headed out to my favorite Friday night dinner spot, Bull on the Beach.  They have the BEST shrimp salad sandwiches, and I was not disappointed!

Afterwards, we headed down to the beach for a little walk.  Mags wasn't interested in getting down, but she wasn't as scared of the ocean and even seemed curious about it.
My loves in my heaven.....


My parents and grandparents made it down at that point and we relaxed the rest of the evening.

The next day was pretty icky, weather wise, but we didn't let it stop us!
Waiting out the rain with Great-Grandaddy
We headed down to the boardwalk for Maggie to go on some rides.  It was perfect, because although it wasn't a beautiful day, the rides are covered, so it didn't bother us!  Now the majority of these rides are "kiddie" rides, but they are mostly the type that the child would have to go on by themselves.  Mags had never done this before, and I wasn't sure what she would think about it...
I'll let the pictures do the talking....
Now some of these are a little blurry, but make no mistake, the girl was in seventh heaven!!!! LOL
 After that we went out for a late lunch and then had another relaxing evening.

Sunday, we lucked out and it was a beautiful beach day.  We got Mags all ready and headed down.  I didn't have high expectations of her loving the sand, but overall it wasn't that bad.  She was ok with sitting on the blanket and actually played with the sand toys with my mom....a WIN in my book!
 


Did this one all on her own...best seat on the beach!!
 Then after our fun on the beach, my parents and grandparents headed home and we headed out to our other favorite dinner spot.  Fish Tales is a bay side restaurant and it is mostly uncovered.  Well, as we headed down it started to look dark and foreboding.  I was getting upset because I really wanted to eat there.  When we got there, we asked if there was any covered seating, but they said it was whatever was available.  We got seated outside and as we sat down it started to spit a little, and then all of a sudden, the sun peeked out and the rain stopped.  It was a great night!

These were the delish fish tacos that I got!  They were AMAZING!!!!
 

After dinner, we headed out for some ice cream.  Mags was happy!


And this is how the Magster insisted on going to ice cream....

This girl is too much!


After ice cream we stayed in for the night and then we left Monday morning.  It was a stupendous trip!

Hope you're having a great day!!!  

 

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