Natalie's Blogging E-Course


Our Favorite Elephant & Piggie Books!

I’m a huge fan of kid books. I love love them!
We wanted to share some of our favorite Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems!
Sienna’s favorite is the NEW and LAST book in the series… The Thank You Book.
It’s as cute and silly as the others!

My Aunt sent the girls a whole bunch of these one year for their birthday and they were a hit!
I love how they look on the bookshelf all lined up…such pretty colors!
Do you love kid books as much as me?? :)

Our “Mo Mail” package arrived earlier this month and the kids were so excited!
Sophia immediately started reading to everyone The Thank You Book!
It came with fun things like stickers, t-shirts, tattoos and a huge poster.
A spinning wheel thingy to help them think about who they can say thank you too.
Just a fun box of goodies!
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The Thank You Book is all about Piggie wanting to thank EVERYONE.
But Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone…someone important.
I love seeing the two personalities of the characters and their cute expressions.
It’s such a great book for early-readers.IMG_2052IMG_2041IMG_2057 

Sophia picked out her favorite Elephant & Piggie Book…
There is a Bird on Your Head!
(because it’s silly.)

The author who created these characters
we have come to love is Mo Willems and he is a number one
New York Times best-selling author and illustrator!
His Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has won so many awards.
If you’ve looking for some great books for your readers check them out!
Author Photo

You have the chance to win a fun prize pack too!
The prize pack includes your own copy of The Thank You Book,
Elephant & Piggie event kit and standee, 2 Elephant & Piggie tshirts!
(Open to US addresses only. Prizing provided by Disney-Hyperion.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can visit Thankorama.com to learn how to draw Piggie, download activity sheets and more.
My kids are always loving when I print out coloring or activity pages!
You can download and print your own “I Will Thank” Speech Bubbles!
(Pink or Grey) Share on social media and use #Thankorama!

Thank you Disney-Hyperion for Sponsoring today’s post!

How to Get Baby to Sleep- Or Survive Trying


Oh my friends.
These babies… they are seriously laughing at us.
They know how cute they are and how sleepy we are. lol.

It can be rough trying to figure out how to survive that early stage of baby fog.
You can read one of the million books about it or call your  mom!
But I feel like every baby and mama is different. You have to do what feels right for you.
I thought I would share our experience with the whole thing.
I’m not an expert. I’m PRETTY SURE we did it wrong every time. lol.
But I wanted to write this post just to encourage any mamas out there who are feeling frazzled.
It all works out.. eventually they sleep MORE!
Key word is more. lol.
I have 3 bigger kids and you can count on at least one of them waking up at night.
I’m pretty sure they take shifts. It’s a whole operation to crack us.

I was blessed with friends who all have babies
who sleep through the night at 4 weeks old.
LIE TO ME. Don’t tell me that. lol.

My babes never want to sleep through the night till 8 months.
Asher is seriously right on track….
Tonight, for the first time in almost 8 months…(June 2nd)
He slept through the night!!!!
It was amazing, besides the excruciating pain in my chest from not nursing all night.
holy cow.
Don’t hug me or touch me people. don’t even look at me.
I tip toed up this morning at a few minutes before 7.
Asher is in there just laying on his stomach with his head up looking around.
So adorable and cute It almost made me forget the months of mombie mornings.

I’m pretty sure if I followed all of the advice that everyone in the world
gives you for getting your baby to sleep, He might have slept through the night sooner, lol.
BUT we just did what worked for us at the time.
The big breakthrough for us was when we moved the crib out of our room.
In most of our houses we have had to have the crib in with us because of space.
In this house we had asher in our room and then I hit the point where I knew that if I
didn’t let him cry a little bit more at night mommy was gonna cry.
all the time.
because I was going coo coo.
He was 6 months and it was TIME.
We moved Micah man into the girls room and moved the crib into his room.
I didn’t want all the boys together just yet. Micah is still a loose canon and
I didn’t need both boys up partying like rockstars all night.
Divide and conquer.
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That crib move was HUGE. He started sleeping longer chunks.
I think he just sensed that he was tucked away from us but safe and quiet.
It was great for Ben and I because even though it started off as only a few
hours still of sleeping solid, those hours felt very separate and a good break.
We had the monitor and we could just relax for a bit.

We let him cry it out a few times each night…not long…
just a couple minutes…calm him down…help him know we are here but he’s ok.
This was a few months ago. He started sleeping longer and longer chunks of time.
I would put him down to bed around the same time as the kids…. Asher at 6:30….and big kids at 7:00.
I would nurse him and get him sleepy then lay him down.
The first time he would fuss I would typically let him cry a bit and he would soothe himself back down.
There was only a few times we had to let him cry longer than a few minutes…
but I knew that he was ok. He was dry, fed and sleepy.
He was waking up twice to nurse and be changed:
usually around 10 and 12…then would go back to sleep till around 5.
That was good for us…I felt a huge difference.

But now LAST NIGHT he slept from 7-7 and it was insanity and amazingness
and I’m hoping that he can keep it up.
I remember when our sophia started doing that.
I would lay her in her bed and pat her back “night night” and she would
fall asleep right away and sleep till morning.
The rain clouds broke apart and the sun came shining into my world. lol.
It’s a game changer as a mama.
It’s around that time I would feel way more confident and capable as a mama.

I think he grew another neck in his sleep last night.
Also his bottom teeth are just killing me.

I am cheering on all of you going through the same challenges
and just want you to know that YOU GOT THIS!
Be patient with yourself…and baby…
and know it’s ok to take a minute and just breath and re group.
Motherhood can be exhausting and we can be hard on ourselves.
Remember you are doing one of the hardest jobs in the world
but amazingly rewarding!
Enjoy the baby snuggles.
Eat all the oreos when he or she finally sleeps.
jk. that last part is horrible advice.

Farmers Market Stand Tutorial

I love dramatic play for kids! I love giving them toys or activities where they can be creative in pretend play!
You might have seen my blog post a while back where I shared this lemonade stand I made them.
We brought it inside to use for their market/grocery store in their room. Micah Man broke it the other day. He was apparently too strong for his own good. He Hulk Smashed it pretty good. It was a sit down and come to Jesus moment for the little guy. But I realized I needed to make it a little more sturdy when I fixed it.
I’m throwing a Garden themed party this week as one of the featured parties in my Video Party Course!
(eek so excited!! filming and editing all week long! launching in June!)
SOO… I decided to get some wood at the store and create a sturdier version using
the existing cubbies from the previous project. I love how it turned out!!
You could work up the same idea with your own cubbies and measurements.
More details below.

This was the previous set up… it was awesome but not as sturdy as I
needed and the pvc pipes were too easily taken out and used as swords. lol.
This is real life guys.IMG_0088


A few products made this project come together really easily and finished it off nicely!
I was originally going to just paint the chalkboard part on…but then Fancy-Fix sent these
amazing Adhesive Chalkboard Rolls and they made it look so much more polished!
They also sent me some chalkboard markers that ACTUALLY wipe off with WATER.
I tested ladies. Because I know so many of you are looking for ones that don’t take all of
your elbow strength and some weird pinterest concoction to wipe it off.

They write like a dream! I’m excited to be able to change it up for whatever the kids are playing.
Farmer Market, Bakery, Workshop, Lemonade stand… Super hero store.
We have lots of ideas for how to use this stand. ;)

I’m writing this post giving you the general inspiration!
You can take it away from here!

I used the original cubbies that I already had as the base.
I got ours at Home Depot.
They have similar designs at ALL the stores.
IKEA, Target, Walmart, Kmart etc etc.
Measure the tops and sides of your cubbies.
I got one big panel of plywood. (Over by the smaller panels of wood.)
I was able to use that sheet to make all my cuts at home, but if you don’t have a saw
you can give them your measurements at Home Depot and they can help you out!
I would have made my measurements and cuts a little differently
(let the top be longer and hang over the side pieces)
BUT.. we had four kids hovering around us and it was a-get it done now we have to do
other things like make them dinner-kind of moment.
I was able to use the whole panel for my cuts of wood.
I then used two 6 foot pieces of wood to hold up the sign.
I trimmed four or so inches off of those to get the height I wanted.
Ben screwed the big pieces in and then we found our nail gun battery, and finished off the rest with that.
I gave everything a quick sanding with a sanding block. Didn’t go crazy.
Then I gave a quick coat to the new wood with my Rust-oleum Chalk Paint in Linen.
I had some leftover from a previous project. Doesn’t take much!

Next I took my chalkboard adhesive and just cut out the size I needed and stuck it to the board!
It was pretty forgiving as I was lining it up and laying it onto the piece of wood.
I feel like it looks better than if I would have painted it…just a more polished look.
Then we hung it up behind the two tall pieces and nail gunned it on.
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Done! Let the playing begin!
I ordered some toy vegetables on Amazon and they arrived earlier today.
Perfect timing!

Makes my heart happy seeing how much the kids love playing with it.
They take turns being the customers and worker.
I know it will be put to use often for different things.
Summer is around the corner, so I’m thinking a lemonade stand is in our near future.

Have a great weekend!
Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you get the info first on my
Party Planning course and can see the garden party set up and fun!