Join Me For Rugged Maniac 2014 (Discount & Giveaway Inside!)

For over a year now, it’s been a goal of mine to complete a 5k obstacle course (mud run) so for my birthday last year, I asked for an entry into this year’s Rugged Maniac in Kansas City. I was elated to discover a note from my husband in my birthday card telling me that I would be participating in the event in 2014. Fast forward several months and we’re rapidly approaching go time! Even though I’m no where near “ready” (athletically speaking) for the race, I’m still going to get out there and enjoy the afternoon. With great friends (and amazing readers) to complete it with, I’m sure it’ll be a blast.

Rugged Maniac

I’m so excited to participate that I wanted to invite ALL of YOU to join me in the fun and my friends over at Rugged Maniac want to offer It’s An Ordinary Blog readers a generous 25% discount when you sign up this week! In addition, they’ve provided me with two FREE Rugged Maniac race entries to giveaway to a couple of very lucky readers so you can join me in the fun!

Rugged ManiacYour 2014 Rugged Maniac race entry includes:

  • The opportunity to hang out with me for a couple of hours, let’s get dirty together!
  • 25 FUN obstacles including a massive 50′ slide, underground tunnels, and fire.
  • An Awesome Rugged Maniac Shirt
  • Professional Race Photos
  • A Beer (Ages 21+)
  • The opportunity to have a near death experience (just kidding!).

Rugged Maniac

Online registration for this event closes one week from today and the race is scheduled for Saturday August 9th, 2014 at the Snow Creek Ski Area in Weston, MO. In order to take advantage of the 25% discount offered exclusively to It’s An Ordinary Blog readers, simply enter the code: OrdinaryBlog14 at checkout.

Rugged Maniac

TWO lucky readers will be joining me for FREE! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post telling me what obstacle you’re most excited about. You can earn an additional entry by heading over to the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page and commenting on my Rugged Maniac post! I will randomly draw two winners on Thursday morning at 10:00am CST. As always, good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Rugged Maniac

Rugged Maniac Kansas City

Saturday August 9th, 2014

Sign Up Today By Visiting The Rugged Maniac Website

 

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Join Me For The Color Run!

The Happiest 5k on the Planet

I am so excited to announce that I will be participating in the Happiest 5k on the Planet this may! The Color Run is coming to Kansas City on May 31st and I am thrilled to be a participant in this year’s race and to have the opportunity to share a discount code so that you can register, too! These events are a great way to get out and enjoy a healthy activity with thousands of metro area residents. One of the things I love most about The Color Run is their focus on celebrating healthiness, happiness, and individuality. At the race you’ll find seasoned runners, power walkers, people who want to enjoy their 5k at a leisure pace, and many people in between. I fall somewhere in between.

5k Magic

This year, The Color Run is doing things just a little bit different with the 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour! With new t-shirts, new headbands, new wristbands, AND awesome sling bags for EVERYONE that is registered. All of that, combined with great race attractions and fun music, The Color Run is sure to be an event that everyone will enjoy (relax, it’s only 3.2 miles, you can do it!).

The Color Run Magical Bracelet

 

 

I just love the design of the new gear The Color Run rolled out this year especially this fun 2014 bracelet which, apparently, has magical properties known to promote super powers (maybe it’ll help me run faster?). Fantastic.

Color Run Discount

Ready to join in on the fun? Register through The Color Run website at: http://www.thecolorrun.com/events, take a look at their newly redesigned website (it’s awesome), and type in the code COLOR5OFF for your discounted race registration!

The Color Run

Who’s ready to get colorful with me?!

 

 

Happy Birthday, It’s An Ordinary Blog! (Come In, Come In!)

Unless you’ve been following my blog from the start, you may not realize that It’s An Ordinary Blog turns 1 TODAY!

It's An Ordinary Blog Turns One

On October 4, 2012, I published my first ever post on It’s An Ordinary Blog. In case you missed it (which I assume applies to 99.99% of you), you can re-visit the post here: A Weighty Issue, What Makes a Role Model? Looking back on my year, I feel incredibly humbled. With just a few readers (mostly family…okay, pretty much just my husband and mother) and a whole lot of ideas, I started on this journey. Even though I’m still working to develop who I am as both a blogger and an individual, I feel that I’ve come into my own as a writer. I love having a place to share my adventures in parenting and in life with all of you. Even more than that, I feel blessed beyond measure that there are people out there who are even remotely interested in reading what I have to say. This day is so meaningful to me in so many ways but mostly because I’m grateful for my readers.  Let’s take a look at this past year:

It's An Ordinary Blog Goes On Vacation

We took an incredible trip back East and stayed in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Downtown Disney

We spent some time in Downtown Disney.

Door Jammer Giveaway

I hosted my first giveaway from Bumblefly~N~Butterbees!

personalized birthday gift

I shared about meaningful gift giving.

Toddler Visits Santa

My daughter hated Santa.

It's An Ordinary Blog

I hosted a baby shower…

Classic Pooh Diaper Cake

Or two.

It's An Ordinary Blog - Copyright

We played in the snow.

Minnie Mouse Theme Birthday Party Table

We celebrated C’s 2nd birthday!

It's An Ordinary Blog

We celebrated Spring.

Stuffed Pepper Recipe In The Oven

We ate some food…

Johnson Family Farms

And spent some time on a farm.

Guest Room

We re-did our guestroom for less than $15.

Corydon Indiana

We traveled to Corydon, Indiana

Succulent Sundays

And enjoyed some comforts of home.

It's An Ordinary Blog

Most importantly, we had the wonderful opportunity to share all of our experiences with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my journey. Words cannot express how immeasurably thankful I am for this blog and can’t wait to continue sharing with you in the coming years. To you, to me, to It’s An Ordinary Blog…Happy Birthday!

Warmly yours,

Holli Ann

Hey, Look! It’s a Movie Review! “After Earth”

After Earth

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images.

Cast: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Release Date: May 31, 2013

Potential viewers, take heed: After Earth is most definitely not a 1990’s Will Smith sci-fi movie. Cypher, as portrayed by Will Smith, is not the alien punching, cigar munching, one-liner spouting Will Smith that we all know and love.  Well, maybe he used to be, but now he’s retiring to become a better dad.

In the world of After Earth, what was once humanity’s home planet has been abandoned due to irreparable human-inflicted damage. In the meantime, the creatures remaining on Earth have evolved into fear-smelling human killing machines.

The only way to protect one’s self is to become devoid of fear, and thus be absent of the fear-induced pheromones that draw the creatures’ attention. Cypher is good at “ghosting” his fear. So good, in fact, that he is the Prime Commander of the Interplanetary Authority that deemed Earth uninhabitable. His son Kitai (as portrayed by Smith’s real life son, Jaden) is not so good. He flunked out of Not Being Afraid of Stuff school (not its actual name) and, along with everything else he fears, is afraid of being seen as failure in the eyes of his father. In an effort to bond, Cypher plans to bring his son on one last, nice and easy mission.

Obviously, predictably, and inevitably, they crash on Earth and have to face great peril in order to survive. The only problem is there’s not that much peril.  For a movie where the main characters are stuck on an entire planet that is out to get them, there is a surprising lack of action and excitement.

What there is, in abundance, is father and son bonding, and that is where this movie succeeds.  Over the course of the film we see both father and son trying to protect the other and each of them grows in the process.  The movie does not succeed as a thrilling sci-fi adventure as it portrays itself in its trailers.

Also of concern is the philosophy of fear being a choice that should simply not be chosen.  In the world of After Earth, fear is what gets you killed.  In the real world, it is just the opposite.  Healthy and rational fear prevents people from making stupid choices and putting themselves in dangerous situations.  Obviously one does not want to be paralyzed by fear, but it should be something that is acknowledged and overcome rather than totally suppressed.

After Earth is a surprisingly heartwarming father-son story about a boy learning to be a young man, and a general learning to be a father.  Those going in with that expectation will be pleased, but those looking for action will find that it missed the mark.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best and 10 being the worst again, I give it an 8 and an emoticon based sub ranking of, “Confused Face”. 

In Memoriam

Image Credit: TNT Emerson

I love that our nation takes the time to honor and celebrate those who risk, and have given, their lives in dedication to our country on Veterans, Memorial, Independence, and Labor Day. The sacrifices that these men and women make for future generations is one of the greatest gifts that could ever be given to the people of this nation. I feel like I always say the same thing when I make a post dedicated to our troops but there really is not enough ‘thanks’ in the world that can effectively articulate how incredibly grateful I am and how proud I am to be an American.

I’ve been asking myself a lot of those big questions lately (in terms of what I believe): Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? The one thing I keep coming back to is that maybe the answers to those questions don’t matter as much as this: We are here. We are here with one another. We are here with one another and we should make the most of of that. We should strive to be better than our forefathers, to give hope to the children of the world, and to provide the kind of example that will make a lasting and positive impact on those who will come after us. The men and women of our armed forces, law enforcement, and emergency services do just that. More so than any professional athlete, musician, or actress: the men and women who dedicate their careers and their lives in service to their people are truly an inspiration. They are who I want my child (and subsequent future children, maybe someday) to look up to and admire.

To those who give their time and all of their efforts: Thank you.

To the families of our dearly departed: Thank you. 

As we move forward into the hustle and bustle of summer, I hope we can all take a little bit of time to express our gratitude for the freedoms we have, and the people who work to get them for us. Happy Memorial Day.

Heartbreak & Hope: Reflecting On The Week in Boston

What an emotional week for us here in America. Boston started it off by honoring the fallen victims from the Newtown tragedy during their annual marathon only to be faced with an act of terrorism that shook the region, and the nation, to the core. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. On Thursday, the bombing suspects were at war with local law enforcement and the FBI. There were bombs, guns, grenades, and the unprecedented lockdown of an entire city. I, like many Americans, were left wondering what’s next? As we reflect on the events that unfolded this week, we can only pray that it won’t happen again. But how do we move forward from here? How do we explain to our children what happened? And why? I’m not sure there are any easy answers…This morning I woke up with two feelings: overwhelming sadness and hope.

I was up almost all night on Thursday reading the live updates online and listening to the police scanner from Boston, trying to make sense of everything that was happening. It just didn’t seem real, like scenes out of a movie. I was heartbroken for the people of Boston, the police officers who were up against something they’ve likely never had to deal with before, and the families who anxiously awaited their return to their normal lives. It’s something that we don’t typically have to deal with here in the United States and, for that reason, I think it’s easy to forget that we’re at war with extremism. I’ve always had this underlying fear that it was only a matter of time before we experienced another attack on American soil and the prospect of something like this happening again is very scary.

I had the news on Friday, trying to follow whatever updates I could while they searched for the 19-year-old who was responsible for much of the chaos throughout the week and I realized that I was subjecting my child to it. How unfair for her. I turned it off and decided to try to focus on the things I can control: my life, my happiness, and what I can give to my family. As I hugged my daughter, tears in my eyes, it hit me. Hope.

Our children will grow up in a world faced with problems that we didn’t have to deal with when we were little. Because of advances in media and technology, they’ll have to see things that we never had to while we were growing up. I have to hold hope that our children will one day work together to put an end to it. To live in a more peaceful world. We had the news on last night, watching the people of Boston cheer for the police, FBI, and military who had worked so hard to keep them safe. That’s the kind of news, more than anything else, that I want to share with my child.

The people in my country give me hope. We may have differences in opinion when it comes to politics, religion, how to raise children, how to define marriage, or any other hot issue but at the end of the day we’re Americans. In times of struggle, need, or despair we band together. At the end of the day, the only thing I see is love. We love our nation and we love each other. It’s amazing and, even though the events of this week have been horrible and dim, it makes the future seem just a little bit brighter. Thank you to all of the men and women who make a commitment to protect and serve their community. You are amazing and you are heroes.

To the people of Boston: Our hearts are with you and you try to move forward from this situation and return to some semblance of normalcy.

We Went to Paint, Glaze, and Fire! (And I Have Some Exciting News!)

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

I had the opportunity to take C to a local ceramic art studio called Paint, Glaze, & Fire for a fun event hosted by iFamilyKC. I am so excited to announce that I will be blogging for iFamilyKC in addition to my posts here on It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can find my first post, about the event, here. I wanted to talk a little bit more on my blog about our experience at Paint, Glaze, & Fire and share a few extra photos that I snapped while we were there.

It's An Ordinary Blog

I definitely think places like this are a great way to make creative gifts for special days in your life and I may or may not (I can’t give too much away because my husband reads my blog, hi honey!) be planning a little something for my husband for Father’s Day.

Paint, Glaze, Fire

I think those mugs are a lot better (and more meaningful) than anything you could purchase pre-made.

Paint, Glaze, Fire

Next time we go I’m definitely planning to try one of their Mocha Frappes (they looked really good).

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

If I get a chance to go with my girlfriends for a GNO I have my eye set on one of those owls. Whooo wants one?!

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

This photo doesn’t even do justice to the amount of ceramic pieces they have on hand.

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

Overall Paint, Glaze, & Fire was a great experience for C. I think it’s an activity that’s probably more suitable for older children but I know that C will be thrilled when we get our pieces back next week. It’ll be a fun reminder when she’s older of an event with mommy…and isn’t that really the point anyway?! She was so tired when we were getting ready to leave that she plopped down on one of their chairs and didn’t want to get up:

It's An Ordinary Blog

The Easter Basket

Do you remember when I asked on Facebook for some Easter gift basket ideas for C?! Well…Here’s the finished product!

Easter Basket Ideas

My husband and I are not big fans of candy ourselves and want to be careful about how much exposure our own daughter has to sugary sweets. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t judge other parents who give their children sweets, it’s just not a choice that we make for our child and, in my opinion, it’s a lot easier to prevent a problem than to try to stop it later on down the road. For that reason, we don’t keep it in the house. One of the biggest sellers on Easter, it seems, is the candy that comes in the eggs and in the baskets that children enjoy each year so for parents who don’t want to give their children sweets, it’s important to find other alternatives for their baskets. Armed with your fabulous ideas and a $25 budget, I went out on a mission for C’s 2013 basket.

Extra Small Heart Box from Target

Rather than spending my money on a basket that will either be thrown out after we use it or that will sit in the closet collecting dust until next year, I wanted to take a more logical approach for our “basket” this year. So I found this adorable Circo XS Heart box at my local Target for under four dollars. It was the perfect size for the goodies I put inside it.

Non Traditional Easter Basket

One of C’s latest obsessions is painting (any kind of craft, really) and so I picked up some blank paper that we can use for quick projects at home. Since it is the tallest/largest item, I placed it in the back of the box.

Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Then I added in an adorable picture frame that I found on clearance for $3.98 and a fun pool toy that we can use in the coming months. We’re getting ready to convert C’s nursery into a big girl room and I thought the picture frame might be the ideal way to have a picture of my husband and I in our daughter’s room (so we can be with her while she sleeps).

Non Traditional Easter Basket Ideas

I had a coupon from Target for $2 off two American Greeting cards and knew I wanted to find the perfect card for C.

Unconventional Easter Basket Ideas

I finished the box with some detangling spray, sidewalk chalk, leg warmers, and an Easter book before adding in the pink crinkled paper to give it that finished look. The pink “grass” will go into a ziplock bag and into my holiday box to be reused next year. If you’re using that kind of fake grass this year (it’s only .50 at Target) I would encourage you to do the same…or to recycle it when you’re done.

Non Traditional Easter Ideas for Toddlers

I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it on Easter morning!

What are your plans for Easter?!

Growing Children Are Expensive: Here’s How I Budget (Plus Another Giveaway!)

In case you don’t realize this yet, let me clue you in on something….kids are expensive! In the first two years of life, they need new wardrobes every few months none of which they’ll never be able to wear again once they grow out of it. Now that my daughter is two she’s growing out of her clothes less quickly than she was in 2011 and 2012. And since I’m a stay at home mom it’s still important for us to stick to our budget when it comes to getting new clothes for C. One of my favorite ways to save some money while hunting for some great finds is shopping our local consignment sales. The Kid’s Closet Consignment sale is coming up in Blue Springs this week and so I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about the sale, what kind of stuff you can expect to find there, and to share a special giveaway that owners Kevin and Jill Moxley have graciously offered to six of my lucky readers.

Kid's Closet Connection

If you missed last week’s post about Kid’s Closet Connection, where I discussed being a consignor, you can find it here:

Selling at Kid’s Closet Connection

At a KCC sale you can expect to find name brand clothing and shoes for your little one at a fraction of retail cost. They have strict guidelines for consignors so you can rest assured knowing that the clothes you find will be well taken care of. When it comes to second-hand items, it really doesn’t get much better than that. Not sure what I mean?! Take a look:

Old Navy Outfit For Toddlers

I created an outfit with items that I would definitely buy for my own daughter and piece together for a fun Spring day out. From what I’ve seen, a lot of items that you find at the Kid’s Closet Sales come from Old Navy, Target, JcPenny, Gap, and other more popular clothing stores for kids and families.

Here’s a breakdown of what I would spend if I walked into Old Navy right now to purchase these items:

$10.00 on the Jeans (On sale from $16.94)

$12.94 for the Graphic Tee

$16.94 on the Hoodie

$13.00 on the Shoes (On sale from $16.94)

$6.94 on the Socks

For a total of $59.82!

In my experience shopping at these consignment sales, I’ve been able to find jeans for five dollars a pair, shirts for as little as $1.00 (usually two to three dollars), Jackets for around four dollars, shoes for under five dollars, and large quantities of socks for just a couple of dollars. Given what I’ve learned, I would venture to say that this outfit would likely cost me  around $15.00 total. And if I shopped on half price day, it would be even less, making the Kid’s Closet Consignment sale the ideal way to shop for your little one.

I remember the first time I went to a consignment sale in my area. It was Autumn 2010 when I was pregnant with C. I found maternity clothes, newborn clothes, and infant toys that were great assets to have on hand when C was born. I was surprised to see that there were high chairs, breast pumps, bedding, and just about anything you would need for infants, toddlers, and young children. I’m excited to explore the upcoming Spring sales and see what goodies we can find for our little lady.

All that said, the Kid’s Closet Connection owners have decided to do another great giveaway on my blog. They’re giving away six passes for early admission to the 1/2 price event on Friday evening. Interested in getting one?! Head on over to my Facebook page for the details on how you can enter.

Kid's Closet Connection

Planning to go to the sale this weekend?! Here’s what you need to know:

Kid’s Closet Connection Blue Springs Sale

425 NE Mock Ave. Blue Springs, MO

(Inside Sports City at I-70 & Adams Dairy Parkway)

Thursday March 28th: 10am-7:30pm

Friday March 29th: 10am-7:30pm

Saturday March 30th: Noon-5pm (*half price day for most items)

*Friday March 29th 11am-noon: FREE exotic animal show featuring 8 animals at the sale!*

Kid's Closet Sale

My Child Has Outgrown Her Clothes and Toys….Now What?! (Surprise: Giveaway!)

Nothing makes you feel like a pack rat quite than being a mom. Sometimes I feel like my house is really nothing more than a storage facility for baby and toddler items but not once have I ever felt like I was alone in that. Kids grow; They grow fast and, unfortunately, that adorable outfit and those sweet tiny shoes no longer fit my two-year old child. She won’t sit in an infant swing (okay, she might want to but she’s too big for it), she can’t wear any of the clothes from last year, and she’s emotionally outgrown a vast majority of the toys we had for her when she was younger. So what am I supposed to do with all of that stuff?! I’ll admit that I’m pretty OCD about her clothes and toys and so I’ve kept most of her belongings in very good condition…good enough that they could all be used for any subsequent children we may have down the road. Living in a house that’s right around 2,000 square feet doesn’t really give us enough room to comfortably store everything for that big “if” someday in the future (you might remember that we’re not sure if we’ll have more children or not). I wanted to talk for a few minutes today about what I’ve done with the toys, clothes, and baby items that no longer have a space in our home and I also want to give my local readers a chance to win one of
five really great prizes (more on that in a minute).

When my daughter was younger, I always tried to circulate her toys so that everything always seemed relatively ‘new’ (and it was easier to keep things in good shape that way). I would take the toys that she had been playing with out of her room and our kitchen (where many of her toys live) and replace them with toys that she hadn’t played with for six weeks. Eventually, though, as I’m sure many parents with young children well know, she grew out of those and we had to make the decision as to whether or not we should keep, sell, or donate the old items. I try to keep the favorites (toys, clothes, shoes, blankets, etc) and then figure out what the best course of action is for the remainder of the items. Then I came across the Kid’s Closet Connection sales in our area. I will be the first to tell you that I was nervous about signing up to consign with Kid’s Closet for the first time last year. I had no idea what to expect but it’s a great way to get rid of the toys, clothes, shoes, books, high chairs, and every other baby, child, and maternity item that you just don’t have the space for. The best part about it is that signing up to sell is so easy. Let me show you…

Kids Closet Connection

To get started you’ll want to head on over to http://www.kidscloset.biz.

Kids Closet Connection

Click on “Account Login” (you’ll have to go there first in order to register).

Kids Closet Connection

Click on “register” to submit your information and get a consignor number.

Kids Closet Connection

Find a sale to consign at (there are sales across the country both in the Fall and during the Spring).

Kids Closet Connection

Kids Closet Connection

Once you’ve found a sale you want to sell at, you’ll want to start creating your tags (what will identify your items to potential customers).

Kids Closet Connection

Adding your items is really simple. To illustrate how easy it is, I pulled one of C’s dresses from her closet (sorry, folks, it’s not actually for sale).

Kids Closet Connection

 Kids Closet Connection

Kids Closet Connection

Each item is tracked in KCC’s online system that you can monitor during the sale.

Kids Closet Connection

When you’re done entering in all of your items, print the tags off (on cardstock) and attcach them using safety pins onto a hanger. Bring your items to the sale and you’re done. See how easy that is?

Kid’s Closet Connection has been awarded numerous times in the Kansas City metro area for their incredible events that draw thousands of shoppers every season.

Kid's Closet ConnectionKid's Closet Connection

Consignment sales are, by and far, my favorite way to clear out some of C’s old items and earn some money for items she can grow into and to add towards her college savings fund. Owners Jill and Kevin (pictured below) have graciously offered to host a giveaway to my local readers for the upcoming sale in Blue Springs, MO.

Kevin and Jill

If you’re a Kansas City local and you’re thinking about signing up for one of the Spring sales, it’s not too late! If you’re planning to shop and want to win one of the fabulous giveaways, you can earn entries by following the Rafflecopter link below (I promise it’s safe) and by heading over to the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page. Good luck!

CLICK HERE >>> Rafflecopter Link to Enter <<< CLICK HERE