Saturday, April 30, 2011

CSN Stores Review: Pacific Play Tents

Not too long ago we received this adorable play tent by Pacific Play Tents from CSN Stores for review. They have a ton of play tents at really great prices so it took me a really long time to decide which one I wanted to review. I finally chose this one because of it's gender neutral colors, mesh sides, waterproof floor, and the age range was appropriate for Malakai.

I set it up in Malakai's room since we got it when the weather was still wet + cold (which it still is most days).



He really liked to play in it and especially when I climbed inside with him. He also enjoyed playing with the velcro door on the front. I was worried that with how rough he was being he'd split the stitches but they held really well!

A couple weeks later he figured out that he could tip it over. So all he wanted to do was run into the sides which got a little scary with him bumping into furniture. 


I think if it had weighted down sides or corners that he wouldn't have been able to tip it. I also would like to have stakes for putting it up outside to keep it in place. It may also just be better for him once he's a little older, so for now we put it away. I'm planning on brining it for our camping trip in July to give him a play space out of the wind and sun. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

photo friday: when he's awake

Since I mostly posted photos of my darling boy asleep this week (because I was marveling over every snoozing moment!) here are photos of what we did while he was awake over the past week.

{mouthful of crackers}


{lucky shot from underneath a blanket fort}


What did you + your little ones/loved ones do this week? I also did laundry, worked in my office, entered a million giveaways, and figured out appointments for Kai's surgery, but those things aren't as fun.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: heartbeat

Today Ben + I had our first appointment at my OB's office together. It's actually my 4th appointment, but Ben hadn't been able to make it to the others. Quite a contrast since last pregnancy he didn't miss a single one (perks of working together).

It was just a routine visit, but Ben got to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time. It was much louder than at my last visit and doctor says it's nice + strong. Such a beautiful sound!

Afterwards we scheduled the BIG ultrasound which will be in 4 weeks! That's a week sooner than I thought it would be. Yahoo! Dr. M asked if I had any inclinations of whether I was carrying a boy or a girl. I have NO idea. I don't really understand how people can have a "feeling" about gender, but maybe that's just me. Either way we will be happy to really dig into planning for this little bean's arrival.

This week, it's obvious what I'm thankful for...

611. A strong heartbeat and the upcoming ultrasound.

612. Malakai's smooth transition into his toddler bed.

613. more energy and less sickness.

614. experienced mom's to talk to about Kai's upcoming surgery.

615. God's grace, mercy, peace, and provision.

616. weak decaf coffee w/ fat free french vanilla creamer + costco applecrumb muffins.

617. a husband that is stronger, more understanding, and much more patient than I.

618. grocery store giftcards = a fridge full of fresh fruits + veggies!

619. supportive readers.

620. tonight's "ladies' night" at the church to look forward to.

What are you thankful for?

big boy bed: night time.

On Tuesday I converted Malakai's crib to a toddler bed. Nap time was interesting but I count it a success as I was anticipating much worse (like no nap at all and a lot of screaming). I figured that bed time would be a whole different story. It's dark, it's a longer stretch of sleep, and it usually takes him an hour to fall asleep anyway.

Following some advice I read in all my "toddler bed transition" research, we started bedtime early. (also because he only slept for a little over an hour at nap). It was going to be an hour earlier, but we got distracted by watching Malakai run back and forth across the house and purposefully fall down and then belly laugh. So, it was only half an hour earlier than usual.

At 7:30 Ben + Malakai went to settle down and have some quiet play time while I ran the bath. As per our usual routine, Ben gave him his bath. We let him linger in the tub a little longer to get all sleepified. Then I met them in his room and after getting his jammies on Malakai climbed into his bed on his own. He put his head on his pillow (which is a new addition) and kicked at the quilt (also new because of this). I snuck out, which is a newer part of the routine within the last few weeks because he's been acting severely attached to me.

Ben left his room and we sat in our bed next to the monitor to listen while surfing the internet. Malakai fussed for a bit on and off and then got super mad. What was strange is that we didn't hear him get out of bed as expected. When he sustained his crying for longer than we were comfortable with Ben went in, and Malakai was still in bed! Ben tried to soothe him but he wanted to be held. So he held him and walked him around the room for a little while and after a few refused attempts to put him down he left with the door open a crack so we could peek in.

Malakai fussed about being put down but calmed down rather quickly. He tossed + turned and fussed for a little while and then was quiet. By 8:30pm he was passed out, laying on his pillow, with his quilt pulled up to his ears.

We were SO PROUD! We couldn't stop gushing to each other about how amazed we were that he fell asleep so quickly and never even tried to get out of his bed. Although I did say that I wasn't going to celebrate yet, he could still easily wake up prematurely.

At 2:30 am Ben and I were startled awake by a crashing sound. Ben jumped out of bed but I stopped him and told him that the sound didn't come over the monitor so it wasn't from Malakai's room (which is what we both though at first, of course). Ben searched the house and found that our wireless switch for a hard-to-reach lamp had fallen off the wall, right outside Malakai's room. Kai made a slight stirring sound and never woke up.

He slept in his bed, all. night. long! How does that even happen? On the first night?! It was a miracle, I'm telling you. This morning we were beaming with pride at how quickly our sweet boy had adapted. Even more so when he woke up at 7am and chirped happily to himself, still in his bed, until I came in at 7:20 to get him up for the day.

{Miracles do happen people}

Again, I'm not going to celebrate too early and think that the rest of the transition will be as easy as this, but I'm still so proud of how well he did. All of this pride and celebration stems from our son's terrible sleep history. He did not sleep through the night until he was 15 months old and every time we'd travel or he'd get sick we'd have to sleep train all over again (No Cry Sleep Solution, Pantley). Hence our shock over such a painless transition.

Here's to hoping he continues to do so well, especially during the recovery from his upcoming surgery.

Don't forget to come back later today for Thankful on a Thursday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cutie Clips Giveaway Winner

Hello All,
Thank you for entering the Cutie Clips Giveaway! What a great turn out! Welcome all of you new followers, I hope you stick around and join the fun community we're building here. Now, on to business...

Ultimately only one winner takes  the prize package.


And that person is...

Lola G!

Congratulations! I've emailed Lola and she has 48 hours to respond or I will need to pick an alternate. Stick around for more giveaways coming up in the next couple of weeks. Don't forget to visit Cutie Clips if you didn't win and pick up your favorites!

If you have a product that you would like to see featured here at Breaking New Ground, contact me!

big boy bed


After much debating, asking for advice from message boards and facebook friends, talking it over with Ben  on numerous occasions and weighing all the factors against each other, we converted Malakai's crib to a toddler bed.


I started to get tears in my eyes while I was taking the front off of his crib. It just looked so...grown up. Malakai didn't even notice that I was in his room taking his bed apart until I was finished, which was actually very helpful of course.


It was really easy to do and I'm so thankful that our crib came with all the necessary parts to make the conversion. It's funny how I didn't even want a convertible crib when we were shopping. I assumed we'd just use the crib for babies and get a toddler bed or use a twin bed when the crib was needed by the next little one. Now, with Kai's surgery pending and money being so tight, spending just $60 on a toddler bed is out of the realm of possibilities. We have roughly 6 months until the baby is born and possibly another six before he/she needs the crib so we've got at least a year before we need to worry about another bed.

We ultimately decided to make the change when not once, but twice, Malakai had gotten close to climbing out. His mattress has been on the lowest setting for a few months now and I surely don't want any broken bones. Originally we were going to hold out until he recovered from his surgery, even after it got pushed back by 4 weeks. Kai's climbing changed our plans and we figure we have just under 3 weeks to make the transition before his surgery. Ultimately if it comes time for his surgery and he's not fully acclimated to the bed we can very easily put the front of his crib back on during his recover and try again once he's back to his old self. Nothing's permanent.

Part of the debate over switching him had to do with his ability and tendency to climb other objects. His dresser isn't fit for the traditional latch locks so he could open the drawers or cupboards and climb up it. He hasn't done this yet, but I don't want him to discover it in the middle of the night. We're thinking of trying the magnetic "tot locks" (if you have an opinion or experience with this, email me!).

He also has a tendency to want to play, and play hard. He has never fallen asleep while playing so I was worried he'd never sleep. I know that's silly, but with Kai it's possible!

So yesterday after another fail at getting Kai to eat some veggies at lunch, we got washed up and changed for nap time. I went through the normal routine of reading to him, but this time it was while he sat in his bed, that he climbed into himself. Then I told him goodnight and left the room (with a baby gate secured in his doorway). He started to whine for me, which is a new stage he's just entered into, but usually just when I'm leaving. I had to reassure him multiple times that I wasn't leaving, that it was just nap time.

Finally I just had to walk away and let him be sad for a minute. It was probably even less than that before he was fine. He got out of his bed and wandered around his room. Over the next two hours I went in several times to reset him, I tried adding a comforter and pillow (both of which he doesn't sleep with) but the novelty wore off quickly.

 I tried laying next to his crib and he kept whispering "mama steepin". He lay down next to me at one point and started naming the parts of my face, then he proceeded to sit on my hip and bounce up and down.

Next I decided to just leave him alone and let him play until he was tired. He emptied the sheets + towels out of a cupboard, discovered he could reach his alarm clock, and knocked over a shelf. I removed all these things and more toys from his room. About 15 minutes later I heard him fuss, I peaked in and he was tucking himself in to his bed! I walked away for 5 minutes, peeked back in and he was passed out!

{blurry because I wanted to hurry so as not to wake him!}

Ultimately it only took 2 hours, which would seem like forever but I just made sure to stay calm, get support from some friends on facebook, and dedicate all my time to the task at hand instead of trying to get a chore done and being frustrated that he wouldn't sleep so I could work. It could have been much worse and I'm so proud that he actually climbed into bed and put himself to sleep.

But this was just nap time...

P.S. come back later today for the winner of the Cutie Clips Giveaway!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

15 weeks

The last 3 weeks have flown by! I can't believe I'm already 15 weeks along. Only 5 more weeks until the BIG ultrasound! I have an appointment this week so I'm guessing we'll schedule the ultrasound then. yay!

{after work/church on Easter Sunday}

How far along? 15 weeks, 1 day.
Total weight gain/loss: Not sure, it's been a month since my last appointment. Baby is the size of an orange.
Stretch marks? nope
Maternity Clothes: a mix of small maternity and medium sized pre-pregnancy clothing. 
Sleep: it could be better, it could be worse.
Best moment this week: Kai's 1st Easter Egg Hunt + feeling the baby move on a daily basis.
Movement: yes! This is when I start to actually feel pregnant!
Gender: hoping to find out end of May.
Labor Signs: nope.
Food Cravings: nothing too intense, but I always enjoy fresh fruit.
Belly Button in or out? in
What I miss: being able to lean over Malakai's crib with more ease.
What I am looking forward to: Ben hearing the baby's heartbeat for the 1st time this week.
Weekly Wisdom: If you have other children, relish the time with them before your new little one arrives.
Milestones: nothing major in the last week.
Baby Brain Moment of the Week: constant accidental spoonerisms

Monday, April 25, 2011


Here are the pictures I mentioned in my Easter post. Malakai in his pinstripes on Easter Sunday. He didn't mess with the tie or the vest all day, I was so proud!

{that might be my hand keeping him from running across the stage}


Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Clark

Easter Saturday {and Sunday too}

We did our family celebration of Easter on Saturday this year for a number of reasons. Ben's mom and my dad both work graveyard so Sunday after church they needed to sleep. Speaking of church, since I work there and Ben was on the worship team and in the drama, we were all there til 1pm. Then afterwards Kai needs his nap.

I am SO thankful we chose to have brunch and do Kai's 1st egg hunt on Saturday because the weather was sunny, warm, and absolutely perfect. Sunday, it was cloudy, cold + raining almost all day. We also did his Easter basket on Saturday morning so he could use it for his egg hunt later.




We got him his first Bible, a little bunny, sidewalk chalk shaped as eggs, and empty plastic eggs. I thought about it later and we could have put something like fish crackers or cheerios in them since I didn't want to do candy, but he was happy with the empty eggs. They were his favorite gift.

Once he was done taking them apart and putting them back together we all got ready to go to my in-laws house for Easter brunch with them and my side of the family as well. I decided it had been far too long since we got both sides together and it would be fun for both sets of grandparents to be there for Kai's 1st Easter egg hunt.

We had a great potluck brunch of rolls with turkey + ham, assorted fruits + veggies, deviled eggs, strawberry lemonade, and muffins. Of course there was also plenty of Easter candy. Afterwards Ben and my siblings "hid" the eggs in the backyard.

Malakai was confused at first and just ran around the grass. Finally Ben pointed out an egg and told him to put it in the basket. When he did everyone clapped and cheered and he was hooked. He found the rest of the eggs all by himself and had a blast being the center of attention.

Thanks to my mom and her artistic eye for all of the Easter egg hunt photos!


{daddy was the basket holder}

{the cheering section, and mama takes a turn}

{stopping to smell the tulips...really he was looking for eggs}

{afterwards he had to show off his collection to my brother's friend Haley.}

{Easter Seesters}

{the best attempt at a family photo. someone just wanted to run}

The next day, Easter Sunday, Ben left with a friend for worship practice at 6:30 am. Malakai and I left at 7:45 am to set up the classrooms and goodies for my volunteers. I was so blessed to have extra volunteers since there would be a lot of visitors to the church for the holiday. I thanked them by delivering coffee + muffins. Unfortunately I made the mistake of wearing wedges and with all the walking between the cafe, the sanctuary, my office (upstairs), and the two classrooms my feet were killing me!

It was so fun to see all the kiddos in their Easter best. Malakai wore a pinstriped vest + matching pants complete with a clip-on tie. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos, but I think someone else did. When I get a copy I'll be sure to post it. He looked like such a little man!

Worship, the drama, and the message were fantastic. We just love our church so much. I am so thankful that I am learn something and am challenged in my faith each and every week. 

How did you celebrate Easter?

"He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, 
just as he said would happen."

(Mat.28:6, NLT)

P.S. Don't forget to enter my current giveaway, ends tomorrow night!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cutie Clips: Shop Feature, Review, + GIVEAWAY! {CLOSED}

It has been a while since I've done a shop feature. I love to introduce you to new shops, especially handmade goods which you can find all over Etsy. This feature is especially exciting because I know the owner and her family! I worked with Tricia, her sisters, and their mom at Northwest Christian University in years past.


Where are you located + are you from there originally? 
I was born and raised in Eugene, and I am still living in and loving the city of Eugene.

How did you come up with your shop name? 
My product name is based solely on the purpose of the product, what makes an outfit more cute…well a clip does, thus Cutie Clips.

How long have you had your shop? 
I started making clips when my niece was born with a full head of hair. I enjoyed making the clips so much that I recently started creating more product and decided to start selling to the public. 


What inspires you? 
I get inspired by seeing ribbon that I can’t pass up and need to use for something. Plus the clips look so cute in little girls’ hair and who can’t be inspired by that! 

What is your favorite item in your shop? 
I love all the items but I like the bows the best.


Do you have any other jobs or hobbies? 
I also love to scrapbook, play and spend time with my niece and nephew, and I am always looking for ways to get creative.

Share an interesting fact about yourself. 
I am the oldest of 4 girls in my family. 

What do you hope your future holds?
My hope for the future is that I will always show appreciation for what I have, find joy in all things big or small and create unforgettable memories every chance I get. 


Shandell's Review

Tricia sent me a couple sets of her Cutie Clips and Cutie Clip Bows for me to review. I maybe might have tried one on Malakai at some point. there are no photos, so you don't have any proof (don't tell Ben). 


I think that she has a great eye for detail, coloring, and textures. All of the Cutie clips are absolutely precious and really well made. They have a textured lining on the inside so they grip on even the finest of hair. 


As you can see in the photos of her niece above, the bows and the clips are adorable and appropriate for babies and toddlers. I think even big girls and teenagers could appreciate some of the styles, especially the clips. 


Check out her shop, the prices are excellent and there are plenty of colors, patterns, + styles to suite your unique taste. 



Tricia is providing the same set I reviewed for one of you lucky readers to win!


For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post relevant to the following entry requirements. Be sure that your email address is easily accessible in your blogger profile or leave it at the end of each entry comment. example: shanleann1 at gmail dot com (to avoid spam + such). Be sure to leave one comment for each entry.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit Cutie Clips on Etsy. Then come back and leave a comment on this post with your favorite item. 

Extra Entries:
(mandatory entry must be completed before extras count)

~like Cutie Clips on Facebook, leave a note on her wall that Breaking New Ground sent you (1 entry)

~Favorite ("heart") Cutie Clips on Etsy. (1 entry)

~Share this giveaway on Facebook, be sure to link back to this specific post (1 entry)

~Share this giveaway on Twitter, be sure to mention Breaking New Ground and use @ShanLeAnn and the url to this post (1 entry) 

~Publicly follow Breaking New Ground through Google Friend Connect (2 entries)

~Post the Breaking New Ground badge on your site + let me know where I can find it. (2 entries)

~Purchase an item from Cutie Clips by April 26th (4 entries)

Giveaway ends at 11pm PDT on April 26th, 2011. Winner will be announced here on April 27th. 
Winner will be selected at random via and will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. 
Open to U.S. residents only. All comments will be verified. Comments subject to removal without notification based on their relevance to contest. All comments will be verified. So, please be sure to follow instructions carefully. 

Questions? As always click on the "email me" button to send me a message. Please do not leave a comment here that isn't intended to be an entry into the giveaway. However, feel free to include additional comments within your entry if you want to leave some love for Cutie Clips.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

LOTS of ways to enter! Best of luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: backyard blooms

I am the opposite of a "green thumb"...whatever that is (black thumb?). I cannot keep simple house plants alive, like a lovely winter cactus I had taken home from my great-grandmother's home to remind me of her after she passed. You think that I'd be able to keep it alive because 1. it had sentimental value and 2. it's a cactus, but somehow it still died.

Outdoor plants do much better around me, only because nature takes better care of them than I ever could. This goes for weeds + moss too which have taken root in our grass. Although, in our defense, our grass was messed up before we bought the place (yet we didn't know because it was overgrown, disguising the dead leaves that had killed patches of grass).  I digress.

We gained a LOT of foliage when we moved her last spring. It was so fun to watch things bloom and try to figure out what they were. We have two very large maple trees (a PAIN in the fall) and a dozen smaller flowering trees. One is a plum and one we suspect is an apple that no longer bears fruit. We also have a lot of flowers; tulips, hyacinths, many different colored roses, mini roses, petunias, a butterfly bush, wisteria,  a rhody and a few others I don't know much about.

For our housewarming one of Ben's aunts gave us some lovely yellow daffodils and lilies. We set the pots outside with every intention to plant them. Eventually it was "out of site, out of mind" and then when Ben was mowing the lawn last week he mentioned that the daffodils were growing. I missed getting a photo of them while they were still blossoming, but it cracks me up that nature did a better job taking care of these plants than I could.

{I mean...really?}

Here are some other, prettier, things that have begun to bloom and blossom in our yard recently.

{purple buds that turn into very pretty blossoms. anybody know what this is?}

{this one reminds me of cherry blossoms, but I know it's not. maybe?}


{pink + white tulips that did not bloom last year}

{our wisteria is running out of room to grow. We may move it soon}

{these poor strawberries are being strangled by weeds}

Perhaps some day I'll find enough time, motivation, and know-how to make things look a little better. For now I'm content looking at how pretty the flowers look without any effort on my behalf.

This week I am thankful for:

601. the lovely plants + flowers that defy the odds and bloom anyhow.

602. a week full of gathering with friends just for the sake of socializing and catching up.

603. God's promise of provision.

604. Ben's promotion at work! woohoo!

605. a close knit family.

606. meeting new people and making new friends through my church/job.

607. sweet little movements in my belly increasing every day.

608. the way my husband makes me laugh.

609. the joy of putting together Kai's Easter basket, including his first Bible.

610. lunch out with my mom + sister today, even if Malakai maybe might have been a cranky, screaming, thrashing, mess.

What are you thankful for?

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