March 1, 2015

Beating the winter blues with Heroes of the City

Though the calendar tells me spring is just a few weeks away, we're in what feels like a never-ending and very frosty winter. A's school district used up the last of its snow days last week, and I've lost count of how many delayed openings we've had for both kindergarten and preschool. I like to think that I am a resourceful and creative parent, and when another snowy, icy, too-cold-to-be-outside day hits I pull out my list of Fun Things To Do So None Of Us Goes Crazy. But I've used up an awful lot of our super fun and occasionally educational plans this winter, and when we are in need of a little distraction there's nothing like a new video to mix things up. 

We have been fans of Heroes of the City for quite awhile in our house - if you're not familiar, it's a Swedish cartoon about rescue vehicles in a small town where everyone has a chance to be a hero. Aimed at children ages 3-7, Heroes of the City emphasizes friendship and teamwork as Paulie Police Car, Fiona Fire Engine and others work together to keep their town running smoothly.

Both A and D enjoy the Heroes of the City apps, and one of their favorite pieces of those apps are the video clips. They love to watch the adventures of these silly and helpful friends, and I love that they're videos I don't mind watching either. 

You don't have to have an app to watch Fiona, Paulie and friends - Heroes has a great YouTube channel full of fun videos. 

Check it out and tell me which Hero is your favorite! 

Disclosure: this is not a sponsored post - simply sharing a favorite of ours with you!

February 15, 2015

Two bunnies are better than one

The jig is up, friends. For a very long time, we have kept a secret from our A and today she found out.

Once upon a time, a very small girl fell in love with a very small bunny. And for a little more than four years, A hasn't realized that there were two bunnies, not just one. We've swapped them out in secret every few weeks, and I've mended them to match each other every time one bunny developed a love-worn spot.

I tossed a bunny in with the last load of laundry, a load that has lingered on the couch in our basement for...well, let's just say awhile. And while my dear husband folded it today, A spotted her bunny. Except bunny was already with her.

"LOOK, MOMMY! THERE ARE TWO BUNNIES!" A shouted as she raced up the basement steps. I was glad to see a smile on her face, because I've worried for years what her reaction would be when she realized bunny was really bunnies. But it turns out her reaction was delight, because for weeks she's been telling me bunny needs a friend, and now he doesn't just have a friend he has a twin.

Bunny and Hopster (because she can't just call both of them bunny, obviously), I hope you'll be very happy with our girl.

January 26, 2015

Three, three, three

Three is many things. Three is the ABCs sung on repeat. You love the ABCs so much you asked us to sing it instead of "Happy Birthday" and when we did you were delighted.

Three is Thomas the Tank Engine and friends lined up on every surface in the living room. Three is always, always, always coloring at the easel.

Three is planning your own birthday party. I want kids to come to my house and play toys and make a sticker craft and eat cake, you said. And that's what we did.

Three is trekking to the farmer's market in the rain to get your favorite "egg sam-a-wich" from your favorite food truck before going to see a movie.

Three is also, unfortunately, ear-splitting shrieks in the house. And spitting, which only you think is funny. And a lot of I'm going to do it myself no wait I actually need help but I don't WANT help. Three is also dropping your nap, and that makes everything a little harder these days.

Three is so many things...and there's one thing it isn't: a baby. You are very clear that you are not a baby, and every time I slip up and call you my baby you correct me. I'm not a baby! I'm a peanut. 

Happy birthday, big boy. We're so lucky you're ours.

January 25, 2015

Don't forget your parachute

Like many people, we didn't have the holiday we'd hoped for. Instead of spending time away from school doing fun things, we spent most of the kids' winter break taking turns being sick. And like many kids, A got a "what I did on my winter break" assignment when she went back to school.

Unlike many parents, however, I got an email from A's teacher...wondering if we really had been skydiving.

We are writing about our winter break and A has a  very detailed story that is hard to believe.  She has so many details that I tend to believe her.  Did A jump out of an airplane with her father?  If so we would love to see a photo!  Of course A said “no cameras allowed” which would be true.  I said “Didn’t Mom stand on the ground and take a picture?”  She said no because you were helping her brother jump.  I’m letting her go with this writing idea because she has so many details, but can you confirm if A really had that adventure last week?  That girl makes me laugh!

Sadly, I had to reply that we did not go skydiving, and even if we had planned such a trip we would have had to cancel it what with all the being sick. 
I asked A about her assignment when she got off the bus. Yes, she told her teacher we went skydiving (excuse me, parachuting) - and she had to because we didn't do anything interesting.

We'll have to make sure spring break is fantastic.

January 6, 2015

Make the Music of The Little Mermaid Part of Your World with Disney's Legacy Collection

Note: I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  This post does not contain affiliate links.

When I was in sixth grade, The Little Mermaid came out, and it quickly became one of my favorites. 25 (!!!) years later, I can still sing the words to every song in the movie because they're some of my very favorite Disney songs. I thought very briefly about making a video to demonstrate my impressive song lyric memory, and then I remembered that people I know read this blog Feel free to imagine me singing "Les Poissons" instead. 

One of the most fun parts of parenting is sharing my childhood favorites with my kids, and I was very excited to bring The Little Mermaid home to show my princess loving A. Unfortunately, Ursula the Sea Witch has thwarted our efforts to watch the full movie. Twice we have tried, and twice we have had to stop once she is onscreen...which means my daughter has missed some of the very best songs in the movie (little brother doesn't share her fear of Ursula and watched the movie with me one day when sister was at school). 

Thanks to the beautiful new Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection, my daughter can enjoy some of my childhood favorites without fear of an Ursula sighting. To celebrate The Little Mermaid's 25th anniversary, Disney has released a two disc Legacy Collection edition soundtrack. 

Disc One features the songs and score of the film, while Disc Two has 12 work tapes and song demos performed by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. 

A 20 page booklet includes liner notes, lyrics, and beautiful artwork - including some new art created by Disney visual development artist Lorelay Bove.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid is available at the Disney Music Emporium...and one lucky reader can win a copy right here! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Open to all readers in the US and Canada. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please note: if it comes to my attention that the winner of this giveaway has won this same prize on another blog, I reserve the right to choose another winner. The winner will receive their CD direct from Disney in 4-6 weeks.

December 31, 2014

2014: Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, it's hard not to take a minute or two to reflect. This has been a year of new adventures, of graduations, new habits. It's also been a year of revisiting favorite places.
2014 was the year A graduated from preschool. I didn't cry at the sweet little ceremony, but I teared up when I picked her up from preschool for the very last time. D had a graduation this year too - from physical therapy

I spent a lot of time knitting this year...a scarf for my mother. a blanket for my husband, and so many hats

We escaped what felt like the longest, snowiest, least amount of school-iest winter ever for a few days in the sunshine with grandma and grandpa

2014 was also the year I discovered Pure Barre, and it was love from first bend stretch. My two most viewed posts of the year were Pure Barre related: Five things you should know about Pure Barre and The sisterhood of the sticky socks. I joined the 100 club, have muscles I've never had before in my life, and more importantly, I've made some wonderful new friends.  In other fitness news, A and I ran what she deemed a running race. A loved it  but was disappointed there was no medal, so she ran a second race later in the year to bring one home

A started kindergarten in the fall, and D started big boy preschool. A and I took on a joint venture not long after the school year began: we're Girl Scouts now.

My husband and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, a milestone I'm not sure either of us is old enough for.  To celebrate, we took our kids to one of our very favorite places (and the place we went on our honeymoon): Charleston, SC

2014 was also the year I struggled with what to write here. I started but did not finish a 365 photography challenge because as A and D get older I've begun to realize that not all of their stories are mine to tell. Months later I'm still trying to sort this out, and I'm hoping 2015 will be the year I figure out what I'm doing here. Or in general, if we're really being honest. 

Here's to a healthy, happy 2015, and to at least a little clarity. Goodbye, 2014 - here are some of my favorite pictures from this wild and wonderful year. 

December 23, 2014

Very merry

Today marks the official start of Christmas vacation chez Home and Never Alone. Roles were reversed today, and big sister was delighted to drop little brother off at preschool and collect him at the end of the morning. Instead of waving goodbye to my girl at the bus stop we drove off alone together after she visited her old preschool teacher for a big hug.

I've been quiet here, but in between what feels like a month of sickness for all four of us we've made time for merriment whenever we could. We've been to The Nutcracker, decorated the house inside and out, made a gingerbread train, been to a gingerbread house party, baked cookies, bought and donated toys for Toys for Tots, and visited Santa.

The best part about this Christmas isn't on that list though. The best part? They get it this year, both of them. They know Christmas is coming and they are so, so excited. How excited?

This excited. Full body blurry because they're dancing with joy excited.

Doing a synchronized dance of their own invention at a Christmas party excited, with a side of glow sticks. They're so excited I haven't gotten an in focus picture of them in weeks, and I love it.

Merry Christmas, friends...may it always be this exciting.