Director Jewels: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Adelaide's Attic $25 Gift Card Giveaway {Showered With Love}

Have you stopped by my Etsy shop, Adelaide's Attic by Director Jewels, lately? I have some new items in the works and hope to have them listed in the next few weeks - make sure you are following along. And go ahead and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a shop gift card!


Welcome to the 2nd Annual Showered With Love Event hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!


We all know that April Showers bring May Flowers, but did you know that some of your favorite bloggers have come together throw a huge Shower of our own – a virtual Baby Shower! The Showered with Love Event will run from April 1-15, giving you plenty of time to enter all of the great giveaways, in the linky below, including the Grand Prize of a Combi Catalyst Travel System!

I love giving handmade items at baby showers, so it seemed like a shop giveaway would be great for this event! If you're new to my blog and my shop, you can expect to find a variety of handmade items. Stay tuned to my shop Facebook page for details on that!

For now, here are some sneak peeks of the things you'll find in Adelaide's Attic if you shop today!







See something you love? Use coupon code SHOWERED2014 for 10% off your purchase now through April 30!

What's one item you would love to see featured in my shop?

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a $25 Gift Card to my shop, Adelaide's Attic. This giveaway will end on April 15 at 11:59pm CST.  This giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers only.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well.  All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Once you finished entering my giveaway, hop on over and enter to win the Grand Prize! Then hop around to enter all of the other fantastic giveaways, too!









Follow Lindsey G. {Blogging Mamas/SEBG}'s board Showered with Love Giveaways on Pinterest.




Disclosure: So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Showered with Love participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Big Rig & Honk Honk! Beep Beep! {Children's Book Revews}


Disclosure: I received sample copies of the books highlighted below for review. I received no compensation and all views expressed are my own.

My little boy has been obsessed with trucks for as long as I can remember. Since we are a little bit obsessed with reading, as well, I'm on the lookout for good vehicle-related books for our collection. Anything with a car or truck seems to log more reading hours than other books - with Lincoln, at least.

Today I'm sharing a couple of our recent favorites!


Big Rig, by Jamie A. Swenson, is a perfect preschooler introduction picture book. We've just started reading books with paper pages in the last few months, and I love that this one is not overly filled with words. The pictures do most of the storytelling, which is great for busy little boys with short attention spans. This book is aimed at ages 3-5.

There are lots of loud truck sounds included in the text, to allow dramatic parents to astound their kids with their noise-making abilities. Near the beginning of the book, we get to count all eighteen of the wheels on this big rig, which helps to reinforce number learning.

Lincoln calls this the "flat tire book" because after several pages of learning about how big trucks operate, Frankie - the semi truck - has a tire blowout! He has to wait for a repair truck, but that doesn't stop his spirit! We love reading this story over and over - there are lots of new details in Ned Young's illustrations each time we read it!

Big Rig retails for $16.99 and is available for purchase now. You can visit the author - Jamie Swenson - online. 



Honk Honk! Beep Beep! is popular not just with Lincoln, but with Adelaide (16 months), too. This is a board book written and illustrated by Daniel Kirk, featuring the journey of a little boy's toys to greet the morning. A father and baby start off in their jeep and pick up lots of friendly passengers along the way.


This book is the perfect size for toddler hands and features a rhyming text that is fun to read. The story also features a monkey who is distressed because his car has a flat tire, so Lincoln makes sure to point that out every time we read it. Flat tires are a big deal around here. Addie loves the monkey, sheep, bear, and choo-choo train that appear throughout the story.

You can read more about the author, Daniel Kirk, on his website - turns out he also illustrated one of our other favorite truck books, My Truck Is Stuck!

Do you have any other favorite vehicle books for kids?

Disclosure: Thanks to Disney Publishing Worldwide for my review copies of these books! I received no compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Computer Virus Dolls Plush {Review + Giveaway}


We're longtime fans of GIANTmicrobes and there is not a birthday or holiday that goes by when my hubby does not ask for more plush microbes for his our kids' collection. I was excited to learn that their creator, Drew Oliver, has released a new collection of Computer Virus Dolls.


These very unique plush toys are designed with the 1's and 0's of Binary code (and feature the doll's name in code on the attached ribbon). There are offered in a variety of designs such as Malware, Trojan, Worm, Virus, Bot, Macro, and more. Removing a virus from your computer system is sometimes a feat worthy of a prize - perhaps next time you encounter an issue, you should reward yourself with one of these.


We were sent a Bug plush for review. A bug is a flaw in a computer code that causes a program or electronic device to function improperly. Most bugs cause small aberrations in behavior, which can make them difficult to isolate and correct. Bugs are typically the result of human error made during programming.

Our Bug resides at work with my hubby, reminding him to avoid coding bugs into his web work. Lincoln and Addie thought the Bug was pretty fun to play with, before he headed off to sit on Daddy's desk.


We also received a Worm keychain, and it is super cute! I love that the very unique designs offered  by the company - these are definitely one-of-a-kind gifts!


If you have a hard-to-buy-for tech-savvy person on your gift-buying list, you may want to keep Computer Virus Dolls in mind! They would make a really cute graduation gift for a computer programmer and they are just the right size for stocking stuffers, when the holidays run around.


You can follow along with Computer Virus Dolls on Facebook and Twitter!

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a Computer Virus Doll of their choice! This giveaway will end on April 14 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well. All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Thank you to Computer Virus Dolls for providing my sample and the giveaway prize! I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

13/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Lincoln - Today he insisted we were having a party and dumped every car, piece of toy food, and half our books into a pile at my feet.
Addie - She reads all day long and it is lovely.
 
Linking up at Practising Simplicity.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Disney on Ice presents Let's Celebrate {Review}

Disclosure: As a Feld family ambassador, I received press tickets for my family to attend the performance highlighted below. No other compensation has been received and all opinions are my own.


Ever since last year, when we were able to see Disney on Ice: Rockin' Ever After, we have been looking forward to springtime and another Disney on Ice tour! Lincoln and Addie were both so excited when they woke up on Wednesday morning and I told them that we were going to go see Mickey Mouse when Daddy came home!


We brought our niece to the show as well, since she's a big Disney fan, too. Several of our plush characters went on the adventure to the Kansas City Sprint Center with us (and even more of them stayed in the car. I wasn't about to bring in twenty different toys).


We arrived just before showtime and got settled into our seats as there was an announcement that the show would soon begin! The kids were all content to just sit still and wait - which means they were definitely really excited!


Let's Celebrate started off with a big ensemble choreographed song, and introduced Mickey and Minnie to super loud cheers all over the arena! The very first celebration featured was a very merry Unbirthday! Lincoln has been talking ever since the show about the "birthday cake!" There were lots of ice antics between Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto were all heavily featured throughout this show (much more so than the tour last year), and the kids loved it. I can only recall one scene that Mickey or Minnie was not out on the ice during the show. The celebration theme lends itself to the inclusion of Disney classics that may not otherwise fit into an ice show, such as The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Nightmare Before Christmas.


The Halloween segment was hosted by none other than Jack Skellington, which my hubby found entertaining, as he is a big fan. It was fun (and unexpected) to see Disney villains like Cruella, Captain Hook, and Maleficent on the ice.


Addie's favorite part, by far, was the segment where Minnie met the Fairy Godmother, and subsequently, the Disney Princesses. Jasmine and Aladdin appeared first and Addie practically threw herself at the stage. After a few minutes, I figured out that she was trying to give them kisses (something she does while we read books about the characters at home). It was precious.


My little princess was mesmerized!

Our blogger group:
Chrissy, Anna, Molly, Ashley, Stefanie, Stephanie, me, and Mandy.

During intermission, we had a mini blogger meet-up! There are so many great bloggers in the KC area - make sure you hop by and tell them hello! I would have loved to chat more, but between potty breaks for the toddlers with me and helping hubby keep track of those toddlers, I was a little frazzled! It was a relief to have our little gang corralled back in their seats.


The first half of the second act featured Lilo & Stitch and a Hawaiian luau. I'm not super familiar with Lilo & Stitch, but it was still a fun party to watch on ice! The kids were a little more restless during the second act, but overall, they did great (especially when you consider we had two 3-year-olds and a 16-month-old out past bedtime).


The final scene - a Christmas holiday celebration - was a big hit, especially when we were surprised by the appearance of some beloved characters from Toy Story! I was impressed by the skating Rex and Hamm, since they were in over-sized (super cool) costumes. We also thought the Treasure Troll was a fun touch.

It was a very entertaining show and I'm so thrilled we had the opportunity to take the kids - I only remember attending one Disney on Ice show as a child, but I know it was so much fun to attend as a child. I love that we are creating magical memories for our kids. Now I'm even more anxious to take them to Disney World (someday)!

If you're hoping to catch the show this weekend, you can purchase discounted tickets for the show now - just use coupon code KCMOM to save $5. Valid only on the $22 and $16 tickets. Not valid on Wednesday, March 26. Not valid on premium seats. Max six per code. Expires 3/30/14. Not valid with any other discount offer. Make sure you follow Disney on Ice on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates!

Huge thanks to Feld Entertainment for providing my family's tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Easy DIY Backyard Bird Feeder Craft for Toddlers

 Here in Missouri, spring visited us for about three days - and then went away again. It's been cold and snowing here in the last week. Sigh.

I think we're out of the woods when it comes to snow days, though, so I'm making lists of ways to keep my little ones entertained if it's ever warm enough to go outside. We've been spending a lot of time looking out our windows at the bunnies, squirrels, and birds that frequently visit our yard, and I thought Lincoln would enjoy doing a project that would make our animal watching even more enjoyable. So, a few days ago, we waited until Addie went down for a (20-minute) nap to break out some craft supplies and make ourselves a nifty little backyard bird feeder.

Okay, so we actually had to make a trip to Target to get bird seed (and clearance twine, because...it was Target and it was on clearance, duh) before we could even think about doing this craft, so our project was a little slow to start. But we finally made it home and set to crafting.

This is a super simple project that my spirited three-year-old actually really enjoyed. So that's a win in my book!


1. Gather Supplies. We used an apple, peanut butter, bird seed, and twine. 


2. Gather an Eager Little Helper. Well, that part was really easy!


3. Cut apple in half, horizontally. Only mommies are allowed to use knives, though.


4. Use the knife to cut a hole in each apple slice. My holes turned out like giant rectangles, but my kid is three. He thought it was awesome regardless of how it looked. 


5. Use a spoon to spread peanut butter on one side of each apple slice. Tasting is optional and encouraged.


Yummy.


6. Use a spoon to add bird seed on top of the peanut butter. Please note that regardless of how big a plate you use, there will still be seed all over the floor. In hindsight, this would be a great outdoor craft.


7. Loop a piece of twine through the hole in your apple slices, tie, and hang on a tree or shrub! Then enjoy your child's glee every single time you say "Hey! Are there any birds eating from your bird feeder right now?!"

We're definitely going to be making these multiple times this year. And no, it's not just because I now have a 10-pound bag of bird seed in my pantry. It was a kid crafting success!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thirty by 30: A List of Goals

Two days ago, I turned 27 1/2. And I decided, it's about time that I publish my 30 by 30 Goal List.

Have you heard of this trend? It's like a bucket list of things to achieve before you reach a certain age. The first time I saw a 30 by 30 list, I found it kind of silly - but the more I thought about it, I really really like it.

I'm the sort of person who makes a lot of plans, but I need a strategy to see them through. I do my best work at the eleventh hour, which means if I don't have a deadline, it may not get done. So having a tangible list to report back to from time to time? That's the sort of thing I need.

So here they are, in no particular order. Thirty things I want to accomplish by my 30th birthday! Some of them are silly, but some of them are serious. All of them are things I really do want to do in the next couple of years. Bonus: I wrote this list months ago, and have actually already crossed off a couple things! Yay! I'll keep updating the list as things are completed!

My 30 by 30 Goals.

-Take a dance class.

-Grow a garden.

-Take the kids to Disney World.

-Buy (and learn to use) a serger.

-Read the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter again.

-Done. Open Etsy Shop.

-Visit 2 states I've never been to.

-Eat all the BBQ. I've lived in KC my entire life and have only ever eaten at one of our many famous BBQ joints.

-Read The Silver Linings Playbook, The Boy on the Porch, The Fault in Our Stars, and Night of January 16. I told my librarian husband that he could pick some books for me to read - these are his choices.

-Done. Make my own bread. I did this...and then my bread machine died three days later. New birthday wishlist item: bread machine.

-Attend the Plaza holiday lighting ceremony.

-Watch all Disney animated movies in release order.

-Blog - Reach 20K unique visits/month. Feel free to help me get there!

-Have an article published in a magazine (other than my ongoing review column).

-Sew an incredible Belle dress for Addie.

-Clean out my scrapbook room and donate some supplies.

-Catch  up on yearly Project Life.

-Pay off credit cards.

-Reach 100 Etsy sales.

-Attend a blog conference.

-Find a church we love.

-Blog the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series.

-Perform in a theatre show. I miss the stage.

-Direct a dream theatre show.

-Write a complete work of fiction. This is crazy talk, but...maybe.

-Memorize the order of presidents. So my history-major husband is not mortified at me when I start homeschooling.

-Read the Bible completely. I've done it before, but it's been awhile.

-Have another baby. I might be crazy!

-Host a BIG playdate with tons of friends.

-Start an adoption fund.


Did you make a 30 by 30 list? What would your list look like compared to mine?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Drama Teacher Resource: Free Printable Character Analysis Worksheet

Drama Teacher Resource at directorjewels.com - Free Printable Character Analysis Worksheet
I'm constantly sharing about my work-at-home Etsy business here on the blog, but I very rarely talk about my other job: teaching drama.

I've been giving drama lessons to kids for almost ten years, and my little program has grown a lot. My typical class session is 8-10 weeks and features a performance at the end of the semester. Our shows are based on short stories, most of which I have adapted myself. This semester, I'm teaching five classes, which comes out to eight hours of teaching a week. I'm blessed to have two sets of grandparents who are happy to keep track of Lincoln and Addie while I teach - and equally blessed that so many people want to participate in my classes.

When I started teaching, I had no idea what I was doing. I was a community theatre enthusiast and thought "well, I love it - so probably I can make it work." Yes, that was my strategy. Thankfully, people stuck with me in spite of my inexperience. I've come a long way since then, and am constantly incorporating new learning tools like improvisation games, projection exercises, and memorization bribes rewards. This year, I taught a short monologue memorization/recitation class, which inspired me to add in a Character Analysis Worksheet for my students this spring.

A character analysis is useful anytime someone is portraying another character, and I think this exercise will help take some of my students to the next level as far as character development. Since I teach kids from ages 6-16, I see a wide range of characters in the final productions. Sometimes they blow me away with their true-to-life characters and sometimes, I think "well, at least their lines are memorized."

I started searching for a good character analysis worksheet, but could not find anything that fit the needs of my class. So, I made my own! It's a one-page worksheet and features questions that will help even the youngest actor develop a character of their own. I am testing it out this semester and may add another sheet of more detailed questions for my teen students next time around.

This is a little outside the realm of my "normal" free printables here on the blog, but maybe some other drama teacher out there will find this to be a useful tool! I hope so, anyway. If you use it, let me know what you think - are there any questions I need to include in an "advanced" version?

You can download the Character Analysis Worksheet here! And make sure you grab my list of favorite free printable Tongue Twisters!

Wordless Wednesday: Consignment Sale Prep is Brutal


For real. It's also brutal trying to take photos at night in a dark basement.
See also: 11 Things No One Tells You About Consigning.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Didn't Go to Prom

Today's prom dress discussion is brought to you by JenJenHouse. All opinions expressed are my own.

Let me repeat that: I didn't go to prom. GASP.

Actually, though, I was fine with it. I was a homeschool student who couldn't care less about boys and dancing, so I didn't even feel like I was missing out. Looking back, though, I can imagine the ridiculous fun my group of girlfriends and I would have had at such an event. We would have probably crashed it.

Even though we didn't go to a dance, that never stopped us from appreciating prom dress fashion! Yes - we were the teenagers who went to a department store with the sole purpose of trying on fancy prom dresses. We took photos and made scrapbook pages and laughed ourselves silly. 

If Addie wants to attend prom someday, I guess I will have a whole new shopping experience ahead of me. But maybe we'll skip the fitting rooms altogether and shop on the web. Online stores like JenJenHouse offer a phenomenal variety of special occasion dresses - definitely a larger selection than what would be found in a typical store.

A dress like this probably would have looked great on me.
I would never have picked it back then.

It makes me feel really old thinking about prom, and my daughter is not even two years old yet! I wonder how much fashion trends will change in the next sixteen years. I'm not a super fashionista, but I'm having fun browsing http://www.jenjenhouse.com/. I wonder if my drama students would be up for an Awards night celebration with everyone in formal attire - I kind of want a fancy new dress for myself now!

Thanks to JenJenHouse for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

12/52



 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Lincoln -He's begged for this track every day this week - Andrew finally put it together.
Addie - She's perfecting her furrowed brow.
 
Linking up at Practising Simplicity.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Letter to the Mom Whose Kids Don't Sleep

Hey, mama. Yes, you - wearing those pajamas coated in spit-up from last week, trying to peel the contact lenses from your burning eyes (because, yeah, you left them in all night), and wondering what on earth you will feed your starving kids for breakfast.

I didn't get any sleep last night either. My kids tag-teamed the whole night and I woke up to one of them climbing on our bed with an explosive, leaky diaper. The other sat up from where she had been curled in my arm and and projectile vomited all over me. I don't know about you, but these are not the moments I dreamed about when I saw a plus sign on a pregnancy test almost four years ago.

Nobody warned me that when they said "you'll never sleep again," they meant your body and soul will be so weary that you will not comprehend how you can make it through the next ten minutes, much less the next ten years. There is precious little anyone can do to help out a mama whose little ones don't understand, value, or even seem to require a reasonable amount of sleep.* One of my children does not sleep unless she is lying in my arms at night. It's not an exaggeration. On a good night, she stays asleep in her bed for twenty minutes - which in mom time is long enough to pee, take off your bra (if you were wearing one to begin with), and throw another load of laundry into the dryer.

When your child doesn't sleep, the work piles up so high you feel like you will never dig your way out. Your house may never feel clean again. But....it's okay.

When your child cries for you after ten minutes of uneasy rest, it's okay that you want to cry too and just bury your head in a pillow. It's okay that you sometimes (often) feel more frustrated than loving.

When people tell you that you "just need to let that baby cry," it's okay to ignore their (probably) well-meaning advice. Sleep training doesn't work for every family and that's fine. The moms who have successfully taught their kids to sleep have my absolute respect and I wish my kids would take a hint, but just because it worked for them doesn't mean it will work for me. And? That's okay.

People tell me that eventually my children will decide that they need sleep. I'm often warned about how "I'll never get them up" when they are teenagers. And honestly? I look forward to that time. I think I'll be fine with them sleeping past 6am more often than twice a year. But that doesn't mean I am wishing away this time, right now.

Because when they are teenagers - and shortly thereafter, grown and gone - they won't ask me to rock them to sleep.

They won't have to sleepily dig their fingers in my belly button and giggle as they push my skin until it feels like it's touching my spine, just to feel secure enough to drift off to dreams.

They won't crawl into my bed in the middle of the night and whisper "I love you, mommy." They won't need me. Twenty-four-hour-around-the-clock-always-alert care will be a thing of the past. A memory. And it's incredibly likely that I will cry just as many tears over missing those tiny warm bodies snuggled up close to me, where they feel safest in the world, as I do over all the times that they wake up too soon and disturb the sweet silent peace of my nights.

So, bring on the hazy mornings and the ever-weary nights. I suppose that someday will be here sooner than I realize, and I'll look back with a smile and tell some excited young pregnant first-time mom "say goodbye to sleep!" And she will have no idea where she's headed.

But she will find out soon enough. And like me, once her baby is grown, she won't remember the complete aching, tear-filled exhaustion - at least, not completely.

She'll end up in the same place as a mama like me. And I'll be busy recalling little arms wrapped around my neck and sweaty little maple-syrup scented fingers entwined in my hair and little voices that stole their way into my heart in the middle of all of these sleepless, sleepless nights.

I will wish with all my heart to hear, just once more, the little thump of somebody crawling out of bed and heading down the hall to find me in the dead of night. My eyes may be less heavy, but the weight will have transferred to my heart.

So bring on another night of less than enough rest with an extra side of snuggles. Sleep is overrated** anyway, right?


*reasonable, here defined as at least 4 hours of solid sleep with no waking, whimpering, coughing, and/or playing.

**this is a lie and we all know it - but if it makes us feel better, it's worth it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spit & Sparkles 1-Year Blog Anniversary Giveaway Event


I've learned in the three years that I've been involved in the blogging community that it really is just that - a community. It's so cool to find other moms out there who are in a similar situation as me - we can commiserate and celebrate milestones together. My friend Steffany over at Spit & Sparkles has twins who are just a few weeks older than Addie, and I love reading about their adventures and all of the cool Tot School activities they do. She also has some super cute free printables!

Steffany is celebrating one year of blogging with a huge anniversary giveaway! There are 15 prizes up for grabs, with a value of over $325. Included in that giveaway is a $20 credit to my shop Adelaide's Attic, so I know you want to enter! There are lots of other shop credits and ad spaces (if you're a blogger or shop owner looking to advertise), too.

So hop over and tell Steffany congrats - and go ahead and follow her blog while you're there. The only thing cuter than seeing pictures of a baby is seeing a picture of TWO babies, and she has plenty of those to share.

And make sure you enter the giveaway - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Laura Doherty: "In A Heartbeat" Children's CD {Review + Giveaway}

Disclosure: I received a sample CD for review purposes. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 

I have a history in musical theatre, so you can imagine what I do when I am alone in my car - I sing. I sing a lot, and at ridiculous volumes. There's just something about car acoustics that make you want to belt a song at the top of your lungs.

My kids, on the other hand, are not (yet) big fans of Broadway. They don't understand the continuity of a story through song, so they lose interest in my music fairly quickly. So I am constantly searching for new music to play for them as we drive around on our everyday adventures. We also have a lot of kitchen dance parties, so anything upbeat gets automatic points.


We were recently sent a review copy of Laura Doherty's new CD release In A Heartbeat - and it is a new favorite! Laura Doherty is a nationally touring children's recording artist and award-winning producer. In A Heartbeat is a collection of heartfelt, upbeat children's songs performed in folk-pop style, performed with many acoustic instruments. 

One of our favorite tracks is the CD opener, "I'm a Little Fish" - which we sing in the car and in the bathtub (and this summer, probably in the pool). It's a catchy tune and features the names of lots of sea creatures. So, while we sing we can learn to identify seahorses, octopuses, dolphins, and more!  We also love "Woolly, Woolly Bear" - which we were surprised to find out was actually not about a bear! It's another educational song that will be great through the next few preschool years to help as we learn about all sorts of creatures. And I love to sing "Butterfly" to my kids as we drive around town. 

Don't think that the only cute tracks are about living things, though - "Bicycle" and "Breakfast Gives Me Energy" are both great dance party songs! I love that the songs are all written around items that kids are familiar with - it really helps keep it on their level. The more they understand the music, the more they enjoy it!

 
Hop over to Laura's website, where you can read all about her music (and tour schedule), and listen to some preview tracks. You can follow along with Laura on Facebook and Twitter!

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a copy of "In A Heartbeat" on CD! This giveaway will end on April 4 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well. All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: Thank you to Waldmania for providing my sample CD and the giveaway prize! I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

College on the Cheap with CampusBookRentals.com

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by CampusBookRentals.com. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Announcement: I don't have a college degree, and I'm totally okay with that. Would it be useful in my career as online influencer? Probably. But when I graduated high school, I wanted a break - and I didn't know what to study at college anyway. Rather than spending thousands of dollars and hundred of hours on a degree I may or may not be able to use, I chose to invest myself in a full-time job and the part-time work of teaching children's drama. I've seriously never doubted my decision.

If I had the time and resources now, though - there are plenty of degrees I would like to have. Early education, marketing, journalism, theatrical studies - as an adult, now I know I would love any of these fields. Unfortunately, I don't think it's feasible for me to go back to school while taking care of two kids who never sleep, but if I could, I would be looking for ways to save.

I recently learned about CampusBookRentals.com and I know for sure if I were to enroll in even a single college course, I would be headed straight there for my required books. There are some pretty great perks to renting textbooks versus paying full price for them!

-At CampusBookRentals.com, you'll save 40-90% off of bookstore prices! That's the kind of savings I like to see.
-I hate paying for shipping, and they offer free shipping both ways. Win.
-You can highlight in the textbooks or take notes as needed! I never would have thought that would be an option in a rental book.
-Each book has a flexible renting period - if you decide to drop a class, you have 21 days to return your books for a full refund.
-With each textbook rented, CampusBookRentals.com donate to Operation Smile - so your rental is helping an amazing organization, all while you are getting a great deal on your books.

Even cooler is their newest program available: RentBack. This is a new option that lets students rent the textbooks they own to other students and make money off each rental! I've heard stories from friends about selling textbooks back to school bookstores at a fraction of the original cost. But with RentBack, you can make 2-4x more money because your book might be rented multiple times! 


I'm thinking I may go dig out some of my hubby's old textbooks just to see if any of them are in demand by current students. We could definitely use some extra cash - not to mention the extra bookshelf space! Do you have a pile of textbooks sitting in your house? Why not set up a RentBack account and find yourself with some money and storage space to spare?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by CampusBookRentals.com. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Toddler's Favorite Foods {Toddler Time Tuesday}

Friends, I have obviously failed at the weekly link-up post. I thought I had it in me to be diligent and post every single week. I honestly think my success rate would have been higher if my children had managed to stay healthy this winter. We are on week six of one or both of them (or all of us) being sick, and I am desperately hoping the end is near!

So, please take my mind off how many times I have wiped snot off someone's face today and let's have a fun discussion - about toddler food!


I wrote a post awhile back about what to feed a toddler, expecting that my kids would continue to eat the lovely variety represented and expand their taste buds often. HA. Apparently, that's not the way it works around here.

Lincoln has decided recently that he is not a fan of really anything. We battle over foods like pizza, chicken nuggets, and macaroni and cheese. Obviously I'm not being a food dictator when those are the options set before him! Sometimes he loves them and will eat with no reserve - and other times, he flat out refuses. Lately the only things he has actually wanted to eat are toast, crackers, and more toast.

Addie has a wider palate at the moment, thankfully. She refuses most grains and prefers to devour bits of most things offered - but she primarily prefers broccoli or cheese. She frequently asks for cheese at meal times.

Both kids are still eating me out of house and home with their applesauce consumption, and they will both nurse or eat sugar at any given opportunity. I know they aren't starving, but I wish I had more tricks to get them to enjoy eating healthy things like vegetables. I can only make muffins so often!

Now it's your turn! Link up a post below talking about your toddlers and their food habits. I'd love to hear some tips to inspire healthy eating habits! 

Director Jewels

Don't forget to plan ahead for our next toddler discussion!

Upcoming Toddler Time Tuesday Topics
March 25 - Mommy's Favorite Foods
  April 1 - Nursery Tour
  April 8 - Something You Love About Your Child




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