Jan 30, 2016

Many of you have probably already heard about the new Barbie dolls coming out this year! If not, here is a photo that was shared on Barbie's official twitter account:

There have been many positive reactions to this from those I follow on Twitter and Facebook, as well as just in general all over the web.

At first, I thought this was kind of cool. It's great to see different dolls in all sizes, shapes, and colors, but then I began to think, why is this such a big deal?

Are we (adults), making too much of a big deal over how Barbie looks? I mean she is just a doll. I played with Barbie when I was younger and don't remember thinking, "oh I wish I looked like her." I remember being very fascinated with Ken because I never seen a boy naked, and was quite curious what was under there (only to discover later in life, past my Barbie days, that Ken was lacking some important details!).

I think this is more of an issue for the adults. For some reason they think Barbie sets a beauty standard, but a little girl or boy isn't going to know anything about beauty, unless we make a big deal about it. So maybe we should look at ourselves and wonder why we care so much about appearances, especially on a doll.

Also, they did this for Barbie, what about Ken? Where are the many different shapes, sizes, and colors of the Ken dolls? Why are we so focused on just Barbie? Do boys not have the same problems as girls when it comes to beauty? Or are we still in the mind set that boys can't play with dolls?

Overall, I think the change is good. It's fun, it's new, it's exciting. I mean there is a doll with blue hair! However, I don't think it was necessary and it's a bit over hyped. The dolls still all have the same size bust (from what I can tell), so having big boobs I guess is still a "beauty requirement." They also wear the same shoe size (how else are the clothes going to be interchangeable?), but I guess that's not as important as body shape.

This was a good move by Mattel though since they are going to be making big bucks!

Attribution: Images used in this blog post belong to Mattel.

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Jan 22, 2016

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Read full disclosure here.

This was a fun project for me and I decided to share how I did it with you guys! This would make a great Valentine's Day or Anniversary gift!

First here is a list of what you need:

  • Poster/Picture Frame (I used a 16x20 poster frame that I found at Target - you could make yours bigger or smaller)
  • Poster Paper (you can get big sheets at Michael's for 88 cents and cut them down to size)
  • Double Sided tape or glue (I used double sided tape because if we do manage to fill this, I can easily pick up my circles and move them to a bigger frame without redoing the whole thing)
  • Letter Stickers/Sharpie (I chose stickers, but you can always write on yours with a sharpie instead!)
  • Microsoft Word
  • Printer
  • Pictures of maps (I just searched on google images for mine)

Now for the step by step information:

1. Open up Microsoft Word. Go to the "Insert" tab, then find the "Shapes" button. Choose the oval shape.

2. Once you've drawn your circle, go to "shape outline" located in "Format" and make it thicker (I chose 1.5, but you can make yours thicker if you'd like). This will make it easier when you have to cut your circles. 

3. Now you are going to adjust your circle size to make it a true circle (area circled in red in the pic below). I chose to make mine 3"x3", but you can make yours bigger or smaller depending on your project.

4. Now select your circle and copy and paste it 5 times (you should have 6 circles total). Then click on "shape fill" and select "picture." Then all you have to do is find the maps you saved. Select a map and you are done! (Some maps might appear stretched or you might want to have a certain city fall in the middle if that is the case you'll have to open the photo in paint or another editing program to crop it before filling your circle in Microsoft Word. Try to make your image in a square shape to reduce stretching. This might take some playing around with before you get it to look how you want.)

5. Print out your circles and begin cutting them out. 

6. Now you have a variety of options: You can choose not to write on them, use letter stickers or a sharpie to write the names of places on the map circles, or use letter stickers or a sharpie to write the places name under or over the map circles. (I chose to use letter stickers and stuck them on the map circles). You can also choose to add a title to your project such as "Places We've Been Together," (I chose not to title mine to save more space for future circles and I didn't feel it was necessary.) 

7. Use double sided tape or glue to stick them in rows on your poster paper (make sure you cut the poster paper to the size of your frame first). You can use a ruler to make sure the rows are even. (I chose to order mine in the order my husband and I went there together for the first time from left to right, so we met in Minnesota and our last trip was to California)

8. Place in frame and hang on the wall, you are done!

Up close photo of my circles

Jan 15, 2016

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Read full disclosure here.

It was a bit tricky coming up with a title for this post because these books aren't really about the process of trying to conceive, but they are about pregnancy and being married with kids. However, these are books I have read before we started and while we were trying to conceive and I feel these are books that others should also read before they consider starting a family. It paints a better picture as to what marriage will be like with a baby and by doing the research in advance, one can feel more prepared when baby arrives or maybe realize that they aren't quite ready for kids yet before trying to get pregnant.

I have read more books than these, but these four were my favorites, so I believe anyone who is thinking about adding a baby to their marriage should definitely read these before trying to have a baby, more specifically the first two books on the list.

The third book is about pregnancy and that one you can save for when you are actually pregnant. It debunks a lot of the pregnancy myths such as you can't each sushi or drink coffee, and backs it up with research. It allows one to feel more in control of their pregnancy, rather than just doing what the doctor says without knowing the reasoning behind it or if the doctor is really right.

And the fourth book is actually about trying to conceive and was a comfort to me during the long process. I highly recommend it to anyone who has been trying for awhile and needs some reassurance.

Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More and Argue Less As Your Family Grows

By Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O'Neill, and Julia Stone 

I'll start off with a warning for this book, it tends to beat up on the husband quite a bit. My husband claimed that this was a "man-hating" book (he didn't read it, but I always ask for his opinion after reading), and I totally get that. This book is from the point of view of women, so it is biased, and sexist at times.

However, if you can overlook that, there is some great advice in here, especially if you are having a difficult time communicating with your spouse or getting your spouse to help out around the house now that a baby has been added to the picture. This book gives great tips for solving arguments and just communicating in general. 

Happily Married with Kids: It's Not A Fairy Tale

By Carol Ummel Lindquist  

This is a must read. Carol Ummel Lindquist is a marriage counselor, so she knows what she is talking about. She is as close to unbiased as you can get. I loved it for that reason. 

We don't even have kids and I already saw flaws in the way I was communicating with my husband! I'd yell at him to take the garbage out or say things like "you never" or "you always," which one, isn't true, and two, not a great way to get what you want. She points out that it's "me" that has the problem so instead of using "you," I should be using "I," so when I am upset I should say things like "I feel" or "I don't like." It's a nicer way to let your spouse know you are upset and then they are more willing to work at changing, by blaming them, you're just adding fuel to the fire. 

A lot of her advice comes down to "if you wouldn't say it to a friend, then don't say it to your spouse." Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend and they deserve just as much respect as any other friend. 

There is a lot more advice in this book, so I recommend reading it even you don't have kids yet! She talks about the 5 stages of marriage and helps you figure out where you are at and how to work on getting to the final stage of bonded. This is one I'd recommend buying so you can refer back to it again and again.

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know

By Emily Oster

I'm not even pregnant yet and this is probably the most important book I have read! 

Emily Oster goes through almost every pregnancy myth there is and explains why it exists, whether or not it should exist, and provides research/studies for all her conclusions, but leaves it open for you to decide. 

Her goal is to give all pregnant women the option to make a choice that works best for them. She provides the numbers so you can choose if the statistic is big enough for you to worry or not worry about.
Jean M. Twenge provides a lot of information and gives tips for trying to conceive. The overall book was just comforting to read, especially since we have been trying for a while. She gives awesome advice and basically says it's okay to be stressed and worried. It's totally normal. I just felt better about the whole process after reading this book, so I highly recommend it whether you are just starting to try for a baby or if you have been trying for a while.

Jan 11, 2016

Here are some 4x6 in. autograph pages I made. These are free for you to use on your visit to Disneyland or Disneyworld!

Disclaimer: All images belong to Disney®. These are completely free. Do not sell. For personal use only. All images found using google image search.







What you'll have to do is buy some blank 4x6 note cards or cut your paper beforehand into 4x6 rectangles. You'll load your printer tray with the 4x6 note cards or paper. 

Download the PDF. Open the PDF using Adobe. Go to print and in the print box, at the bottom, there will be a button that says "Page Setup" click on it and change the size to 4x6. Just hit print and you're all set! 

Another method is to set it up so you print 4 per page, but I believe this will actually make the autograph pages smaller than 4x6. However, some might find this easier than the above method.

Step by step guide with images: