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RoCA

Since this is Midwest Mom & WIFE … let’s talk about an awesome place to check out for date night 🙂

Travis and I were lucky to have someone watch our kiddos Saturday night for Valentine’s Day. We decided we would go downtown and check out the new restaurant RoCA!

They had delicious food, drinks and wine! Travis and I are big wine drinkers so we bought a bottle of Syrah. Our bartender was very knowledgable in wine and drinks. I actually learned a bit about wine while we were there.

We also tried the Smoking Gun cocktail. Travis and I are not big bourbon drinkers, but we were intrigued on how the drink was made! They take an old bourbon bottle that has a little bourbon and maple syrup on the bottom. Then they pump smoke into the bottle. When the cocktail is brought to you, you let the smoke sit and after a few minutes you pour the drink into your cocktail glass. It has a very smokey flavor. It was something new and different!

RoCA is known for their shared plates, boards, and schpreads. I am a huge cheese lover, especially when we are drinking wine! We ordered the Combine Meat & Cheese Board. Oh my goodness, it was perfect! There was goat cheese, blue cheese, pastrami, pickled cucumbers, nuts, and more. It was perfect! We also split the Smoked Mac & Cheese, which was delish also!

RoCA is the perfect date night spot! The atmosphere is fun, the staff is knowledgeable and the food & drinks are delicious!

Science Sleuths at the Urbandale Public Library

The kids and I checked out Science Sleuths Friday at the Urbandale Public Library. The Urbandale Public Library has become one of our favorite hang outs this winter. They have so much to offer!

Science Sleuths at the Urbandale Library-2

On the second Friday of every month, they offer Science Sleuths. This is a half hour program, that takes place in the story room. Each session has a different lesson. Friday’s lesson was ‘Sink or Float’. The kids had a blast learning about items that could sink or float!

We first listened to a couple of stories explaining why some items may sink or float.

Then we did a hands on activity to discover for ourselves, what sinks or floats. Our teacher brought in a large tub full of water and several different items such as: a plastic spoon, penny, balloon, CD, and more! She placed two signs up on the walls, in separate areas of the room. One sign read ‘sink’ and the other sign read ‘float’. Before she placed the item in the tub, the kids had to go stand by the sign that read what they thought would happen! Not only was this a good learning experience, but it also got the kids up and moving!

After the activity the kids were able to create their own sail boats using foam cups and/or trays, a dowel, paper, and tape. The kids enjoyed cutting and taping and creating their own boats that would sink or float in the tub of water. Some kids also experimented with placing items on their boats, to see if it would still float.

The kids were also given a worksheet to take home to extend their learning!

I highly recommend Science Sleuths! This is a FREE class! It is designed for children ages 3 years to 6 years, accompanied by an adult. I was also able to bring Amelia in with me. She enjoyed listening and watching 🙂 You must pre-register by calling 331-4490.

Do not miss next months Science Sleuths!

Disney Jr. Live! 2015

Monte experienced his first, live show on Sunday! When we heard Disney Jr. Live! was coming to town we KNEW we had to purchase tickets to take Monte. I was a little worried about how well he would do sitting there, but once the show began, I knew there was nothing to worry about.

This tour was the Disney Jr. Live! Pirate and Princess Adventure. Monte LOVES Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He loves anything pirates right now. We dressed him up like Jake and he looked adorable!

At the beginning of the show, while everyone is getting seated and adjusted, Doc McStuffins comes out with her toy “Monte” the Monster Truck (what a coincidence!) 🙂 All the children helped Doc make her truck feel better.

Of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse were there! They helped introduce the princesses and pirates!

The first half of the show was Sofia the First and all the princesses, including Cinderella!

The second half of the show was Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Peter Pan!

Monte enjoyed dancing, singing and getting involved in all the stories.

If you have not taken your children to a live show before, I think this one would be perfect.

WARNING: Be prepared to spend a ridiculous amount of extra money on light up toys, snow cones and food :/

Awesome resource for YOU!

I am really excited to share something new I have added to the Midwest Mom & Wife blog! If you look at the tab options at the top, there is a new tab titled ‘Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond’. After a lot of time and compiling all my resources, I created this resource for YOU.

When I created Midwest Mom & Wife,  one of my many goals, was to share with you my experiences and passions about: pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, and attachment parenting. Every now and then, I blog and mention these categories. If you follow my Facebook page, you know that I have a passion for these topics! I did not become familiar with these topics until after I had my son, Monte. I sure wished that there was a resource, that compiled all of these articles, book titles, local groups, local resources, etc. in one spot.

Over the past three years, I have bookmarked favorite sites and articles that have helped me make decisions regarding my pregnancy, birthing, and parenting. I have broken down the ‘Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond’ tab into six topics:

  1. Pregnancy & Birth
  2. Breastfeeding
  3. Attachment Parenting
  4. Cloth Diapering
  5. Babywearing
  6. Co-Sleeping

In each of these topics I have compiled links and resources for you to learn more about the topic. Some may include my own blog posts, resources, memberships, services, articles and websites.

Please remember, that these articles and resources, are just information for you to gather your own opinions and decisions. When it comes to these topics there is no right or wrong. The most important thing is that you have done your research and you are informed. I hope these articles and resources, help you do that!

Please feel free to contact me if you provide a service, have a great article and/or resource you think should be included. I would love to add it! I will also be adding as I learn and read more 🙂

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Flix Brewhouse for Kids

Monte just turned 3 years old and still had not been to a movie, in a movie theater! My dad and I took him to his first movie, Ice Age 2, last Saturday at Flix Brewhouse. We all had an awesome time!

I know what you are thinking … “taking a child to a brewhouse?” Yes! Once a month Flix Brewhouse offers a special children’s movie, Saturday morning, where the kids can wear their pajamas and enjoy the theater experience. I had been wanting to check out Flix Brewhouse since they opened at Merle Hay Mall and this was the perfect opportunity.

It was amazing to see how much Merle Hay Mall has changed since the remodeling and addition of the brewhouse! The entrance/dining area was very nice and the staff were super nice and helpful also!

The awesome thing about Flix Brewhouse is not only the fact they brew beer and you can drink it DURING the movie, but they offer awesome food that you can eat DURING the movie! You have a server through out the whole movie! They offered a special brunch menu that included a breakfast burrito, pancakes (children portions), warm croissants, egg omlettes, and more!

They also offer coffee and mimosas 🙂 And of course their specialty brews. My dad and I tried the Luna Rosa Wit which is similar to a Blue Moon. Very good!

Tickets for the special monthly, children’s movie is $5 per ticket plus whatever food and drink you purchase. The food and drink is reasonably priced for a theater. When you purchase tickets online it is recommended to come 25-30 minutes before the movie start time. I would highly recommend doing this! One, they will not let you into the theater once the movie has begun. Two, it’s easier to order all your food and drinks before the movie begins, because it takes some time to get it and the lights are on. You can continue to order through out the movie also.

If you have a little one who has not been to a movie at a movie theater, I highly recommend crossing this item off your list at the Flix Brewhouse. We had so much fun!

 

Cutie Booty Box!

I have something fun and awesome to tell you about! Do you have a cloth diaper obsession?! There is a brand new business that will “help” you with that cloth diaper addiction 🙂 Cutie Booty Box! You have probably heard of StitchFix, Barkbox, Wine of the Month Club, Beer of the Month Club, etc. This is the same idea, but all about cloth diapering!

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Bianca, is the owner and creator of Cutie Booty Box. The idea came to her last year and she has worked extremely hard making her idea a reality! She is very familiar with cloth diapering and products, since she has cloth diapered her daughter. She is also located in Altoona, Iowa! She is local! Yay, for supporting local businesses! She also strives to support local businesses also.

I was VERY lucky to receive a Cutie Booty Box, to test it out! I was so excited and happy to open my package to see what goodies I had received.

Inside of every box is one diaper. You can choose from a gender neutral box, girl or boy box. I chose the gender neutral. There are also full size sample goodies from other companies for you to try out! Along with all your goodies, is a form, with a list of your goodies and descriptions of what you have received.

This months Cutie Booty Box included …

  1. Sweet Pea Bamboo AIO Diaper
  2. Sweet Pea Liners
  3. Baby Bits Try-Me Pack
  4. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm Samples
  5. Rockin’ Green Water Tester

The diaper was super cute, owl print of course! I was also excited to receive the Baby Bits Try-Me pack, because I have been wanting to try cloth wipes. I had purchased some reusable “wipes” from a vendor at MommyCon last year, so this will be the perfect opportunity to test them out!

I also enjoyed using the Rockin’ Green Water Tester. Since we started cloth diapering, about three years ago, we have had on and off issues with washing our diapers. We have always been told our water was hard! Now, I got to see exactly the hardness of our water was!

Umm pretty hard water … :/

It only takes 3-easy steps to sign up for a monthly subscription of Cutie Booty Box.

  1. Choose your box – Boy, Girl or Gender Neutral
  2. Choose your plan – Month to month, 3-month prepay or 6-month prepay
  3. Then fill out your billing information and address

If you choose to do month to month it is only $29.95 a month. Just think about it. Purchasing one cloth diaper can be anywhere from $20 to $30. You are getting one cloth diaper and extra, awesome samples! Also, every month, your box is different!

To sign up just go to www.CutieBootyBox.com

You can also follow them on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date with giveaways, deadline reminders, and other awesome things they are adding to their boxes.

We are also offering a FREE giveaway! Follow the rules below to win a 1-month subscription of Cutie Booty Box!

Fun at Apex Athletics

The kids and I checked out a new, fun place last week … Apex Athletics.

Apex Athletics-2

Apex Athletics is located in Johnston and known for their all-star cheerleading and tumbling. They have been open since May of 2009 and since their opening, they have won several grand championship rewards, spirit rewards, community recognition, and more!

Not only do they offer cheerleading, tumbling,  and dance for ages pre-k and older, but they also offer awesome open play times, morning out programs, kids night out, and more!

We dropped in for a Des Moines Moms Blog play date event and had a blast! The gym was open for all the kids to run around and play. All of the tumbling equipment was available, a huge trampoline to jump on, a balance beam, a large area with lots of balls to play with, and more!

There were also several kids and moms their. It was a great opportunity for moms to meet other each other and the kids made friends quickly also.

Apex Athletics offers a lot and it’s all very affordable also.

Mom’s Morning Out: Monthly registration program. $80 a month or $25 for drop-in. Monday or Friday 9 am – 12 pm. Drop the kids off while you go run errands! The kids will enjoy crafts, gym time, snacks and more!

Daytime Playtime: Available every Thursday 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. The entire family cam come and enjoy the gym. Families come meet other families, while the children run around and play. There is no age limit and it’s only $5 per family!

Lunch Bunch: Available every Friday 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm after Mom’s Morning Out. $10 per child. This includes more play time, crafts, and children bring their own lunch to eat. Register the previous week to attend and you do not have to participate in Mom’s Morning Out to attend.

Pre-K Tumbling: These specific classes are available during the week days. The classes are available as 10-week sessions. They will learn basic tumbling techniques, coordination, and more. Check here for dates, times and prices.

Recreational Cheerleading: These specific classes are available during the week days for children ages 3-6 years old. The classes are available as 10-week sessions. Children will learn tumbling, jumping, stunting, dancing and more! Check here for dates, times and prices.

They also offer a lot of special events monthly and other fun activities. This is definitely a site to bookmark to keep track of what is going on!

A Robot Party!

My baby boy turned three years old this past weekend! Oh my gosh, I cannot believe he is already three!! Where has the time gone?!

Monte has recently become attached to the movie Robots. I actually had not heard of it until recently, but Monte wants to watch it ALL THE TIME. It’s okay though, because it’s a pretty cute movie. Travis and I decided we would have a themed robot party and he loved it!

We decided to have his party at the Grimes Community Center. We rented out a large room and rented the tumbling equipment to go along. It ended up working out perfectly! The kids really enjoyed burning off some energy.

I ordered special invitations from, of course, Etsy 🙂 Unfortunately, I do no have a picture of the invite, but you can take a look to see what they looked like and purchase yours from here!

I also ordered him a special t-shirt with a robot, his name and age on it. This has become a tradition. I usually order a t-shirt with his birthday theme, name and age every year. It’s something fun and something we can keep forever 🙂 I ordered his robot t-shirt from here.

We also got the idea to build robots as decorations from Pinterest. They were very easy to put together. We just wrapped old boxes with solid color wrapping paper, added googly eyes, glued pipe cleaners on the top for antenna’s, and used construction paper for the rest! They turned out really cute and Monte knew exactly what they were, “Robots!”

We had small snacks, cake and drinks. I found this fun idea on Etsy also! It was easy to print out the labels, fold them, and staple to snack baggies of chex mix. You can purchase these labels here.

I also offered a small craft … “Build a Bot”! I had foam shapes, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-pom balls, popsicle sticks, and glue sticks sitting out. The kids were able to create their own robots. This was perfect for some of the bigger kids that attended and the little ones loved it also!

Of course, there was cake! We ordered our cake from Kissner Cakery and I highly recommend her! She did such a fantastic job and everyone loved the cake. Not just the appearance, but it was tasty also.

Overall, Monte had a great time celebrating his birthday. The robot theme came together very nicely and it was super easy! There are so many ideas out there!

What birthday themes have you done? 

 

MommyCon Minneapolis 2015

I am so happy to be an official MommyCon Blogger of 2015!

I attended MommyCon in Chicago last year, while I was pregnant and had a lot of fun. This year, I will be attending MommyCon Minneapolis with Amelia in tow 🙂

For the next several weeks I will be doing a lot of blogging and talking about MommyCon. I will be offering FREE tickets and I will also be offering a discount code so you can receive $5 off your tickets!

Some of you may be wondering, what is MommyCon? So, let’s start with the basic information and get you as excited as I am!

What is MommyCon?

MommyCon is a natural parenting style, influenced convention. The event is full of speakers, workshops, shopping and much more! It is a great event to attend whether you are about to become a parent or are already a parent, there is something for you. You can learn about cloth diapering, babywearing (even try on some awesome carriers), breastfeeding, bottle feeding, etc. There are so many different resources available to see and ask questions.

When is MommyCon Minneapolis?

It is Saturday, April 18th 9 am – 5 pm and will be located at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington.

How much are tickets?

Tickets are $35, but if you use the code MIDWESTMOM15  you will receive $5 off!

Can dads attend?

Of course! Last year, there were several dads that attended the event. They can learn just as much as you!

Can I bring my baby and do they need a ticket?

Yes! Bring your kiddos! Children who are 16 years or younger are FREE with their parent.

Can I bring a stroller to the event?

You are allowed to bring a stroller, but due to the high volume of traffic and attendees, it is recommended to wear your baby.

What if I need to feed my baby?

MommyCon is okay with however way you need to feed your baby and wherever you want to feed your baby. They do offer a special lounge area for just women also.

Are there special hotel accommodations?

There is a block of hotel rooms at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington. The rate is $99 per night and you must book by March 18th.

 

As we get closer to the event I will be talking about LOTS of things to see and do, talking more about the speakers, and more. Of course, if you have any questions, please do NOT hesitate asking! You can post here or e-mail me!

I am looking forward to sharing this with you and I hope you ALL attend!

 

 

 

Mary’s Berries

You may have seen my post about elderberries and elderberry syrup. It’s been one of my must have items when cold and flu symptoms start showing, or even better, to prevent them! I was introduced to a new superfood this summer, aronia berries. Aronia berries are also known as choke berries and are about the size of a blueberry, but more bitter.

Aronia berries are different then any other super berry such as acai berries, blueberries, elderberries, and so on. Aronia berries have the highest dose of anthocyanins! HUH?! I had no idea what that was either. Anthocyanins is the dark purple pigment color of the berry. This is the part that carries the greatest benefits such as:

  1. Strong antioxidant properties
  2. High levels of vitamin C
  3. Protect against colon cancer, diabetes, & heart disease
  4. Slow down aging
  5. Protect skin from environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke & UV radiation

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Now that I’ve told you all about these wonderful, super powerful berries, let me tell you where you can find them!

Marys’ Berries, located in Leon, Iowa is ran by Mary Johnston and her husband. In October of 2010 they planted 1100 plants and in 2013 they had harvested about 1200 pounds! Aronia berries start producing on their third year. Last season, they picked about 3000 pounds! That is a lot of aronia berries! Mary’s Berries are organically certified and they only use water.

Mary explained that they are a lot of work, including: weed eating, watering, mowing, and crawling around on the ground pulling weeds. They are ready for picking towards the end of August, beginning of September. She knows when they are ready by measuring the sugar content of the berries.

Each year they sell most of their berries to Sawmill Missouri Valley, but do offer for people to come pick their own for $3 per pound, which sounds like an awesome deal. Mary’s daughter, Sarah Norman, also sells them for $6 a pound if you are not wanting to make the trip to pick your own.

Sarah, Mary and her husband have had tremendous results taking aronia berries daily including the removal of inflammation, it also has helped protect them from viruses, flus, and colds.

Now that you know about aronia berries, you know where and how to get them, let’s talk about how you can consume them. The best part! 🙂

There are three different ways you can consume aronia berries:

  1. Whole, blended in smoothies
  2. Baked into yummy treats
  3. Made into a concentrated syrup

Sarah Norman, daughter of Mary, regularly makes a concentrated syrup. Here is her awesome recipe you can try at home!

Aronia Berry Syrup by Mary’s Berries

1 pound aronia berries fresh or frozen

Water to cover

1-1.5 cups raw honey

1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stock pot

Immersion blender

Mesh Strainer or Cheese Cloth

Put berries in a small stock pot and add water until berries are covered. Bring to a simmer for at least 30 minutes and mash/immersion blend them as the berries begin to pop open. After simmering for at least 30 minutes pour through a fine mesh strainer or through cheese cloth, over a bowl and press the berries to get all the juice. Get 2 pint jars and fill about 1/3 full with raw honey (1/2 – 3/4cups depending on sweetness preference). Add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and then pour in still warm juice leaving plenty of headspace to blend. Blend the juice, honey, and cinnamon until completely combined, then top off with more warm juice and shake to combine all.

Makes 2 pints.

Important: clean up any spills or splatters immediately! Aronia berries stain!

 It is recommended to consume about an ounce a day which is about 25 berries OR 1/4 cup!

If you are taking the syrup 1 Tablespoon or less is recommended for adults!

So drink up!

 

References

Bellbrook Berry Farm

Health Benefits of Aronia Berries (Chokeberries)

Mary Johnston from Mary’s Berries

Sarah Norman

Superberries