Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I'm Not a Fan of 'Elf on a Shelf'

The holidays are here and you know what that means....Elf on the Shelf. Here is the websites info on Elf on the Shelf if you aren't familiar with him. He is basically a little Elf that watches and listens to kids behavior then reports back to Santa. He moves to a different spot every night while kids are in dreamland and when the kiddos wake up, they go on the hunt to see where the Elf is.

The website states nothing about this creepy little Elf doing tricks, messing up the house, and all other types of crazy shenanigans that I see (mostly posted on Facebook). That is one part I am not a fan of. I have seen pictures of the Elf making "flour angels" in the kitchen, unrolling toilet paper rolls, and even playing with tampons!
Photo taken from a blog (ideas if you want them!)

Why, oh, why is the Elf doing these things? I get the humor of it. Ha, ha. Very funny, Elf. But now I have to clean up after you. A mess I made. And now I have to make another mess. I can barely keep my house clean as it is, let alone want to clean up after this guy's tomfoolery. 

Another reason this guy isn't allowed in my house is I don't like that idea of him "watching" you at night. Another creep point for you, Elf. I would have nightmares; I don't know how kids are still sleeping with him in their house. I swear, there is going to be a movie about this one day. 

Need another reason? So, this Elf is supposed to be a behavior management mechanism. You tell your kids, "You better not to (fill in the blank)...Mr. Elf is watching you! He's going to report back to Santa. You'll be on the naughty list. You won't get presents, etc, etc, etc. Isn't this false threats? You know damn well they are still getting presents. It may be a temporary fix to solve behavior issues, yes. But what when Elf leaves, Christmas is over, and they got all the things on their list? Who do you threaten them with now, the Easter Bunny? 

Look, I'm not saying Elf is a totally horrible idea and that all parents doing this tradition are bad. Trust me, I am NOT. Get that through your head before you go cussing me out or trying to defend your Elf. To each their own. I don't like people giving parenting advice to me, so I am most certainly not doing it to you. These are just my opinions and why I don't want to participate.

With that said, I do, however, like this alternative. I stumbled upon this website and thought it was so cute! How thoughtful and adorable is this...
Picture taken from website
Take a look at her other ideas, too. Super creative and fun.

I like this different take on Elf on the Shelf because it teaches thoughtfulness. It creates activities to do with your kids. It is not just them finding an Elf; it is doing something once the Elf/Elves are found. There may be some messes when you bake cookies for a friend, but that is a mess I am willing to clean. It teaches value, kindness, gratefulness, and most And that's why I am not a fan of Elf on the Shelf, but am totally on board with "Kindness Elves".

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Traditions

Now that Nate is 1 and Christmas is just a few short weeks away, I have started to think about holiday traditions. I want Nate to have traditions to remember holidays by and to pass them on to his future family.

There are so many options! I'm talking about Christmas traditions specifically in this post, but other holidays are in the back of my mind, too.

My mom always let me open one present on Christmas Eve. Jason is super anti pre-Christmas opening of any sort, so that's not happening in this house. So what traditions are we going to do with Nate?

Ideas I'm thinking of:
1. Christmas pajamas
2. 1 new Christmas book to read (more from the library to read)

3. Baking cookies for Santa. Leaving a note and some carrots (can't forget the reindeer!)
4. Watch Christmas movies on Christmas Eve

5. Make a gingerbread house
6. Find houses with the best lights
7. Nate writes a letter to Santa with 1 thing he wants and 1 thing he needs
8. Nate donates some toys and clothes to a charity
9. Make an ornament
10. Decorate the tree while listening to Christmas songs.

Those are just a couple ideas I think would be fun to do as a family. One thing I do NOT want to do is Elf on a Shelf. That thing is creepy, in my opinion. Many have a great time deciding what the little elf will do on a nightly basis, but for some reason I can't get into him. To each their own.

Another aspect of Christmas I have been pondering is Santa. Does he leave presents unopened or does he wrap them? Is he responsible for filling stockings? Does he give a certain number of gifts or just one big gift?

Even though Nate won't remember this year, I still want to get them in plan and plan ahead.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy December!

December is upon us and boy did it sneak up, huh? Seriously, every year goes by faster and faster.

The last month of the year. People are Christmas shopping (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa shopping), decorating, eating leftovers from Thanksgiving, wrapping presents, visiting family, and many more. What's one more thing people start to think of in this very last month of the year? New Years resolutions.

You start to think of the new year, but did you even accomplish your goal in the present year? Jason and I did year resolutions and then we picked 2 to do for each month. We did about half of them. The first part of the year went well. Read here for all of our resolutions for 2013. After re-reading them, at the end of the year we will have completed half. 12 out of 24 mini-resolutions. We could have done better. We should have done better. Why is changing/doing something so hard to do!? After reading the list, I am feeling a little disappointed in myself. UGH! I guess 2014 will be my year!

I found these simple tips to help you keep track of progress.

Good thing we have Facebook to tell the world about our resolutions! And who doesn't like rewards? Count me in if I get a prize! Now I just need to think of next years resolution.

Any fun ideas? 

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Tribute to Friends.

Back in the day, when I was young, I'm not a kid anymore, but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again.

Yes, I just threw those lyrics out there. If you need to hear that song now that I just reminded you of it's awesome-ness, here you go.

I sit here, thinking of friends. Elementary friends, Middle school friend, High school friends, San Diego friends, Georgia friends, Iowa friends, Army friends, etc. I have had the opportunity to meet so many people. Some have become friends. Some were friends and we have lost touch. Some I went to school with, but never talked to really and now I consider them friends. Some I don't talk to much, but I know if I called they would answer and it would feel as if nothing changed.

 Facebook and social media plays a huge part in keeping in touch with all of these people. I would have never been able to reconnect or start a connection without it. Through status updates and pictures, I can tell who I relate to and who I can press the "unfriend' button on. Is it mean? Not in my opinion. People grow apart and some you grow closer with. It is really amazing to witness other people's lives. There are friends I have know since 4th grade and I look at their Facebook page and just shake my head. I think to myself, "What happened? They used to be so (fill in the blank)...". Maybe they do the same when I have posted the 5th picture of Nate in one day.

A friend is someone you like, trust, have a bond with. Does it mean you have to be BBF's? No. Does it mean you have to talk to them everyday and spill every detail of your life to them? No. I have a group of "friends" that I talk to on a regular basis, whether it be calling, texting, or Facebook chatting. That group is small, under 10. They are extremely important to me and I hope I am to them as well. I am not discounting all the other people I consider "friends" though. Even if I don't talk to you everyday or even every couple of months, I know you are there. I learn from you. I see how your life is, even if it's through Facebook. Although I get sucked into Facebook, I love it because I can see all my friends. There is no way I would be able to talk to you all. I just love the fact that I can get tid-bits of information of your life. We are busy. You work, you have family, you have a wedding to go to, or a friend's birthday, or it's football Sunday with your significant other. It's life.

So to all my "friends" out there. Cheers to you! Thank you for being in my life, whether it was for one day or for 20 years. You have all impacted me in one way or another.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Time is flying...

Seriously! Where the heck does it go?? I looked at my last blog post written on Mother's Day. 6 MONTHS ago! Ridiculous, unnecessary, and it has to stop. Writing is like therapy, even if it is scattered, all over the place, or doesn't make sense. Is  writing for the writer or the reader? Most of the time it is for the writer with the hope that something will catch a reader's eye. The reason I started a blog was to have some "me-time", have family keep up with our lives because we are long-distance, and for me to capture memories with not only pictures, but through my perspective that they happen.

I have been MIA in the blogging world for way to long. So...what have we been up to the past 6 months? I keep it short and in a nutshell.

1. We moved from Iowa to Hawaii.

2. We've had more visitors in Hawaii the past month than any other state. I LOVE visitors...especially when you live in paradise!
3. Nate turned 1 year old.

4. We are trying for baby #2.
5. I hiked and saw my first waterfall.

Those are the top 5 I can think of at the moment. I can list probably a million milestones for Nate, but I'll leave that for another post.

I knew this post would be all over the place because I haven't written in so long. It's like I forget how to form proper sentences. I will get better though. I will post more. And I will not let time get the best of me. It will continue to fly by. I will just remember to stop, pay attention, and enjoy the moments.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful November so far and is getting ready for the craziness of the holiday season approaching us. Remember to not let the craziness get to you. Enjoy your family, have dinner together, make cookies, go on a walk, take lots of pictures, and love as much as you can.

How do you make sure you aren't letting time get the best of you?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

1st Mother's Day

Today is a first for me. My first Mother's day. Technically, my little booger was growing in my belly last year, but today he is physically here. 

No, he can't say my mom. No, he can't wipe his own ass yet. No, he doesn't take a bottle or a pacifier well. No, he doesn't sleep through the night. He still has my heart. I wake up to his smiling face (most days). I get to cuddle with him and rock him to sleep. I get to clean him and feed him. I get to stay home with him and watch him change daily. He depends on me for so much, his life entirely to be exact. This is a huge responsibility and love I never knew until he was born. 

On my first Mother's day, I spent the day with my son and husband. And I should say, I couldn't be a mom without Jason (do I really need to explain this?) So, I thank my husband for giving me the opportunity to be a mom and always giving me compliments and reassurance that I am doing a job well done. Reassurance is one of the most important things as a mom. I am constantly questioning myself and knowing he thinks I'm doing a decent job helps the self conscious me. 

I also want to thank my mom. She has definitely set the bar high. She spoils me rotten. She supports me. She is proud of me. She is a great listener. She is caring. She is my mom. I get to see here a day after Mother's day, but she deserves celebration more than just one day a year. 

Most people think Mother's day is a day of pampering the moms in your life. In my day, a nap, an uninterrupted shower, and eating with both hands qualifies as pampering. It has been a great, relaxing first Mother's day. I hope all the moms out there had a very special day with whatever you consider as "pampering". Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever done. 

Happy Mother's Day!! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Next move...Hawaii?

So...Jason got an email saying his orders were ready to be reviewed. My stomach was in knots. As we waited for the page to load, all I could think was..."please don't be Alaska". I am so over the cold. The page loads and he scrolls down to the "assigned to" portion of the orders. What does it say? Hawaii. Pearl Harbor. Report date 21August. Whoa. Stomach still in knots. 

But can we be excited yet? Of course my hopes are already up. Picture taken and posted on Facebook within minutes. Why do I let myself get my hopes up so easily!? We had orders to Hawaii before and they got changed. Will it be different this time? I can only hope. Having mixed feelings at the moment because I know they could change again, but on the other hand, I want to search for a new place to FREAKING HAWAII!! OK, I'm calm again. 

Before we got this email, I was telling Jason how excited I was about getting an açaí bowl. He didn't think I was speaking a real word, so Google here he comes! Apparently, they are super easy to find...over a 100 locations in Honolulu ALONE! It must be fate. It must be, right? 

Please don't fail me Army...I want this everyday. on the beach. in the sun.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Nate's First Haircut

As many of my friends and family know, we have been battling eczema/rashes/cradle cap/allergies with Nate. We have tried SO many different remedies, both homeopathic and prescription. Finally, his body skin is under control with a combo of Cerave and a steroid ointment. His face and head have still been an issue. He scratches himself bloody and if he is not wearing socks it looks like he got in a fight with 7 cats. It's not pretty. With the scratches, his eyes get swollen and red. The poor guy gets so irritated and it affects his sleep.

Yesterday, Jason and I decided to cut it. I have been debating this for a couple weeks, but have been having an internal battle with myself. What if it doesn't look "cute"? What if it doesn't help? After weeks of going back and forth, the decision had to be made. Cut the little guy's hair. Who cares if he doesn't have an adorable mohawk anymore. And what do we have to lose? We've tried everything else, why not this?

He did decent while Jason cut his hair. Of course he was a wiggle worm, but nothing as bad as I thought. So here are the pictures of his first haircut experience. And no...I didn't cry.

What the heck is happening!?

Shaving it off!

Exhausted after the cut and bath...even had a 3 hour and 45 minute stretch of sleep!

The morning after with daddy. 

We shall see if cutting it will help his scalp, only time will tell. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May!!

Well hello May, you just snuck right up on me! I can't believe we are in the 5th month of 2013!

It is FINALLY feeling like Spring/Summer here in Iowa...took long enough! The parks have been so nice to go to and Nate loves to go on walks and be outside.

This post is going to be a little all over the place because I have just written 2 other blog posts for Quad City Moms Blog for this Friday, did the dishes, washed diapers, went to a consignment store and Burlington, took out the trash, made lunch, had coffee, changed 4 diapers, and thought about upcoming events happening in the Kappes household. I didn't think I was going to get to my blog, but Nate is taking a nap so I am trying to type fast and rock his rocky chair at the same time. I've learned to multi-task and do a lot of things one-handed. Not sure if I should brag about that...

Anyways, I hope everyone is having a great day and I'm hoping I can keep up more with my blog posts. This past month we went to Chicago for the Cubs vs. Giants game, Emi came to visit, and Kim and Savannah came to visit. It's been a fun and busy month! Bring on May...well, I guess we have no choice.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy April!

Wow. I have been lacking in the writing department. It's been almost a month since my last blog post. There have been and still are so many things I want to write about. Part of the reason for not writing is lack of words. They are all jumbled in my head and I just couldn't muster up enough strength to write complete sentences or thoughts. Another reason is we have had back to back family visits this month. My mom and brother were here for a week, as well as, Jason's family for a week. I could've written, but it's rude in my opinion to be glued to the computer while guests are here...even if it is family. The last reason is Nate. He isn't really a big sleeper at night. Up every 1-3 hours still and wakes up before 7am pretty much every morning. This past week has been especially difficult. He has skin issues (dry air or eczema or something else?) and had 4 shots, and may be going through a growth spurt. Needless to say, I am one tired momma and he is one uncomfortable and cranky boy. I just have to keep telling myself, "this too shall pass".

If you have been following my new year resolutions...they are still going on. Last month was meal planning the entire month and spending half our budget. Meal planning went extremely well. Half the budget while having 2 sets of visitors, not so much. We aren't giving up though! We are going to try this month for half our budget again. The other 2 are no sitting on the couch (or Jason's desk chair) and only 30 minutes of Internet/T.V daily (60 on weekend days). The no sitting on the couch is going to be HARD! We are allowed to sit anywhere else (I'm at the dining room table) and I am allowed to sit on the couch while breastfeeding. We shall see how this goes. No Internet is also going to be tough. I'm usually on facebook. It will actually be a nice change and hopefully I'll be more productive with my time.

Since this post took about 10 minutes of my Internet time, I'm calling it quits. Happy April and I hope wherever you are Spring has actually sprung and you have temps higher than 30.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Another month has past. Good-bye February and hello March!

Jason and I are doing well on our monthly resolutions, so far. Completed January. February was giving away 30 items each. We did that VERY easily. It was also no sweets. Jason completed, I cheated 3 times. Not bad on my part, but it was also a short month. Oops.

March is meal planning dinners for the entire month and sticking to the menu and only spending half of our monthly budget. We have a calendar with all of our meals and we are doing well. Three days in. Go, us! Only using half our budget is going to be TOUGH! My mom and brother are coming to visit in about a week so the eating out budget will probably be the hardest. The grocery bill will also be difficult since we are feeding 4 instead of 2. I am looking for coupons to cut costs on the meals I plan to make while they are visiting, as well as, the meals we have plans for the rest of the month. Planning a monthly meal calendar and looking for specific coupons will help a lot.

We shall see how this month goes. If anyone has any good coupon sites they use, let me know!

Arbonne Winner!

The winner of the Arbonne giveaway is....

Juliane Edwards!

She chose the body wash as her prize so I am excited to see what she thinks of the product.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Arbonne Giveaway!!!

This entire month I have been using various Arbonne products. And I have to say, the products are awesome!! I do have some favorites.

My first favorite is the night creme. I will say I never used night cream before. I just washed my face with soap, brush teeth, and put chapstick on. That was my nightly routine. I have easily added Arbonne's night creme to my routine. It is very lightly scented and makes your face feel soooooo soft. LOVE! I have been using the trio set, but the night creme is my favorite out of the three.

Next favorite is the make-up primer. Just one pump goes a long way. Another product that makes your skin feel silky without feeling oily.

Third favorite are the protein shakes. The vanilla tastes like liquid cake batter. I added a banana to it and it was DELISH and filling.

All the products were great. The only product I wasn't able to try was the diaper cream because it's not cloth diaper safe. I'm sure it is still a wonderful product though!

Enter to win HERE! Winner will be chosen randomly on March 1st. Good Luck!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tax Bubble, I didn't mistype. You probably thought I meant tax bracket, right? No. I put bubble because I am in one. I kind of knew I was in a tax bubble, but now I know I am FOR SURE in one. I absolutely know nothing about doing taxes. Nothing. 

My mom claimed me until I was 25, so she handled them every year. Then, I got married when I was 25, so Jason has handled them. Not once have I gone to an H&R block or used Turbo Tax. I knew they existed, but didn't pay much attention. Basically, I am spoiled and have lived in a bubble my entire *almost* 28 years of life. Wow. 

This year I asked Jason if I could watch him do our taxes. Not because I wanted to, because I thought I need to learn. This was our little convo:

Jenn: "Can I watch you do our taxes this year?"
Jason: "ALL of it?"
Jenn: "Yeah, why...does it take a long time?"
Jason: "Are you serious? How long do you think it will take?"
Jenn: "I don't know, a couple hours? 2?"
Jason: "Are you serious!? *laughs*
Jenn: *super confused* "What? How long? It looks so easy on T.V"
Jason: *shakes head* "Google the average time it takes to do taxes."

So I googled it. Some site said it took an average of 37 hours! What in the world!? Heck no am I going to watch Jason do taxes for that long. And I wouldn't do them myself either like he does. 

This was just shocking to me. Shocking because I had no idea, but I am also super thankful I have had nothing to do with it in my entire life. They seem boring and take a long time. 

I plan to stay in my tax bubble, thank you very much. And thank you, mom and Jason for knowing how to be an adult...I clearly am not one.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Minestone Soup

I found this soup on Pinterest, of course. I should've taken pictures because it was super tasty. I followed the recipe almost exact, except added smoked sausage and didn't garnish with Parmesan cheese.

I would definitely recommend it! I put the sausage in because the hubster "needs" meat. Such a carnivore. I liked it because it had SO many veggies. It has carrots, onion, celery, spinach, zucchini, squash, and diced tomato. I mention all these veggies because I really don't eat them as much as I should. Veggies are rabbit food and don't taste that great. Not the case in this soup.

This picture is from GimmeSomeOven and since I copied the recipe, I had to give it credit. Thank you GimmeSomeOven for the awesome soup recipe.

Friday, February 15, 2013

be happy.

This past week I've been in a little funk. The weather is still cold, Jason has been traveling a lot, and Nate hasn't been sleeping well. Oh, and don't forget February is no sweets month. Lack of warmth, husband, sleep, and sugar will put you in a funk.

Today I woke up happy. Nate slept from 9-2, Jason comes home tonight and has 3 days off, and I had a cheat day yesterday full of Oreo eating. It's still cold, but 3 out of 4 is AH-MAZ-ING!

I know someday I will be in a funk again. That's just a lie if I said I was NEVER going to let myself go into blah state of mind. All I can do is try. I can choose to be happy and look at the little things that are great. And I have SO MANY great things in my life. Way more than I could have ever imagined to be honest. I have a husband that loves me and provides for me and Nate. I have a son that makes the silliest faces and "talks" to me. I have lived in 5 states in 4 years. I have an education. I have friends. I am healthy (for the most part). The list goes on and on.

So today will be a good day. Tomorrow will also be a good day. Choose to be happy and look at the great things you have in life. And laugh.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Last Minute V-day Treat

Did you know Valentine's Day is tomorrow? It really sneaks up on ya, doesn't it? Jason and I don't really celebrate the holiday...a nice dinner and time together is enough for us. Flowers are too expensive and die too quick. We can't have sweets this month, so chocolate is out. I would LOVE to get some Tiffany's, but I don't wear jewelry that much anymore and it's overpriced. Man, I am seriously getting cheap in my old age. that Nate is here, I have Valentine get-togethers with other mommas. I wanted to bring a treat. And I wanted it to be cute. And I wanted it to be bite-size. I made chocolate covered pretzels.

Here is what you need:
1. Pretzels. I used nuggets so they would be bite size.
2. Candy melts, red and pink
3. Wax paper
4. Sprinkles (optional)
**It costs $7 total and about 35 minutes of my time**
Step 1: Put candy melts in separate bowls. Heat in 30 second increments until melted completely.
*Melt one at a time so the other color doesn't harden.

Step 2: Dunk the pretzel in melted chocolate and place on wax paper. This will get a little messy. 

Step 3: Once all the pretzels you want are covered, melt the other color. 
*you choose how much of each color you want or just do them all one color.*
Step 4: Using a fork, go back and forth, drizzling over the dunks pretzels.
Here's what the drizzle will look like...

Step 5: Add sprinkles.
Step 6: Let chocolate set. Only takes about 10 minutes.
Here's the pink with red drizzle...

Step 7: Place in bowl, container, or package them up to give away!

I made them to take to a get together and then I set the packaged ones with Jason to his work. They are super cheap, super simple, and super festive. If you need to make some treats for tomorrow...there is still time!! Go, hurry!!

What do you like to do on Valentine's Day?

Oh...Nate says happy Valentine's Day and gives kisses!!