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NWI Parent
NWI Parent

Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom to three boys and a baby girl, but don't let that fool you. She'll keep you in style and in-the-know with this thing called parenthood. Even though none of us know what we're doing.

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Call for Auditions: Listen To Your Mother 2012

February 28th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana 2012 call for auditions

Calling all moms or people with moms!

Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana is in search of original essays on any aspect of motherhood for the second annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 7PM.

People of all ages, types, and backgrounds — and writers of all experience levels are invited to audition to read. Although mothers are welcome, you need not be a mother to audition. Funny, sad, moving, hilarious, thoughtful - any subject or perspective!

Auditions will be held on Sunday, March 11 at the Memorial Opera House by appointment only.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER will be in 10 cities this year and I am so excited to be a part of Northwest Indiana’s show. It is a community-oriented celebration of the beauty, the heartbreak, the trials and triumphs that are MOTHERHOOD directed and produced in Northwest Indiana by (me) local mom, writer, and blogger Stephanie Precourt. No previous stage experience is necessary.

Bring your original, humorous, poignant, painful, joyful and soulful words on mothers or mothering. Previously published work accepted as long as the author retains full rights or has express permission to read the work for this event. Oh, and it’s a reading- no memorization required! :)

Commitment for cast members includes two group read-throughs (dates to be determined), a pre-performance run-through, and one 7:00 p.m. performance on May 10.

To schedule a March 11 audition, email stephanie.precourt@gmail.com. Your audition piece should be no longer than 5 minutes when read aloud (please time yourself and edit if needed.)

LTYM-Cast-2011

Listen To Your Mother Show Northwest Indiana 2011 cast

View the past Listen To Your Mother shows and find Northwest Indiana’s 2011 Listen To Your Mother Show here

Spread the word! If you know someone perfect to read at Listen To Your Mother, let them know! Find Listen To Your Mother on Facebook and Twitter @LTYMshow and be sure to check out Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana online here.

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Many Many Valentines

February 12th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

Valentines

Early Saturday morning, right after our awesome big breakfast of homemade egg Mckmuffins and hashbrowns, I had each of the kids sign their Valentines. I did not want to wait until the last minute for this - with three kids in school and 30 Valentines for each of them… we got it done!

Of course it’s been impossible to avoid seeing everyone’s suggestions for DIY Valentines on Pinterest and Facebook but I didn’t even give it a thought. Target had Angry Birds Valentines! And Lego Star Wars! Much easier and cooler, right? Oh my goodness. Not very.

Valentines 2

I had to separate all 90 of those things, on the perforated lines, then fold them, then help the kids insert each little mini tattoo or sticker or whatever they had with them.

Valentines 5

Thankfully this year they could address and sign their own. But still. Maybe making our own next year will be smarter? How do you do your Valentines?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

2012 Resolution Check-In

January 30th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

So, while I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I did post 5 ways I want to be a better mom this year. I wanted to check-in on my progress now that we’re one month in.

flying

1. I have definitely been using a softer voice, which is great because when I need to use a louder voice it’s noticeably different unlike before, when they just thought that was my normal voice.

2. I have been reading to Ivy more but not all the kids. Bedtime is still a bit chaotic around here and I hope to remedy that soon, incorporating more bedtime stories by me then, too.

3. We’ve been better at playing games and doing homework together at the table as well as crafts and just fun stuff like hot cocoa just because and desserts, etc.

4. The rooms are tidy-ish, but not ideal. We have to work on that. I have been getting in more of a routine on certain days of the week (Mondays I wash bedding and clean bathrooms, etc) but I really need to get the kids on board to help out more.

5. Adventures… we are doing more of this. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean we can’t bundle up and go to the beach or the Riverwalk or walk around Coffee Creek. We also have been forgetting the wonders of Bellaboo’s and even the mall play place and Merry Go Round, or just making time to have more playdates (we have two this week!)

How are you doing on your 2012 goals?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Filed under: parent.

What does your house look like at dinnertime?

January 25th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

THANK GOD there are no cameras in my home but if there were, around 5:00 in the evening tonight you would have seen me getting ready to make dinner. And as I prepare something I think is pretty fabulous and not-microwaved: steaks in the broiler and homemade mashed potatoes, I wonder how in the world moms in the past did it without trashing the place. Like, it would just be so awesome to cook a fully-from-scratch meal but then not be completely exhausted afterward. And then have all that clean up still.

So, in between pre-heating the broiler and peeling potatoes you’d find me also assisting Gray with his Kindergarten vocab work. Ten problems and he needs help with every single one. Ivy is at the kitchen counter reminding me that she’s so starving every three minutes. Oh yeah and there’s also a tent in the living room, still up, from last weekend’s fun “let’s go camping indoors!” adventure and then no one ever actually got in it.

I finish up the potatoes and get them boiling on the stove. We clean up the homework and other various items from the table so we can, like, eat there. Turn the steaks. Remind Ivy again that we’ll be eating dinner in a few minutes. “Someone turn that flashlight off and get it off the floor!” “WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS?” “Get your dinosaurs out of the sink, please.” The smoke alarms go off. One child is on back door duty: open and close really fast like a fan. One goes to the front door, and I whip my kitchen towel at the alarm to get it to shut up. The other two children run into the tent with their hands over their ears.

Believe me when I say that I mashed those potatoes. I mashed them real good. Finally it’s all done and on their plates and cut up just so and we sit down and eat. That’s right about the time Noah asks “What’s for dessert?” and I give him my angry eyes.

I redirect their conversations to not include crap or fart at the table. Now that the older ones are capable, I don’t get up from the table anymore. Someone needs a drink or a second helping? Brother will get it for you. Dinner is over disturbingly too soon considering all the time and prep to make it. We clear the table. I crank up the Cold Play and wash the dishes by hand (I don’t have a dishwasher, I’m over it, it’s no big deal) and cut up strawberries (that’s what’s for dessert.)

I am much too tired to put away the dishes, so I let them air dry and collapse into the nearest chair/bed/wherever I land until bedtime. When a whole other routine begins…

What’s it look like at your house come dinnertime?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

5 ways I am going to be a better mom in 2012

December 31st, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Family Photo

So, I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions anymore — mainly because I can never keep them, and also they are just too much pressure. But, I do have some ideas in my head that I hope can happen in the coming year, and I definitely have dreams for 2012. I just don’t want to say them outloud.

In my heart I feel like the end of the year is also a great moment for an attitude adjustment for me as a mom. Just keeping it real… here are 5 ways I will be a better mom in 2012:

1. I will use a softer voice and bring back whisper Mondays
2. I’ll read to the kids more, and with feeling!
3. I’ll be sure the kids (and I) play games around the table, together
4. I’ll help them keep their rooms tidy (and this means me, too. I need to set a better example)
5. We will go on more adventures, even if for just 1 hour a weekend

Do you have any goals as a parent for 2012? Oh, and Happy New Year!

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Photo Credit: Suni Danielle Photography

Filed under: parent. Tags: , , .

Happy Holidays! And a little gift guide.

December 9th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Christmas Ivy

I honestly was in shock when I realized that Christmas is just 2 weeks away. I thought there was PLENTY of time to still think about Christmas shopping — and there is still time — but only if you get on it now!

I thought I’d do a little round up of some great gift ideas from local shops and online as well, to get the gifts on your list in time to really enjoy the holiday.

We were in Piper Boutique in downtown Valparaiso this morning to get Ivy some new boots. I had planned to give them to her for Christmas but wanted her to try them on and then it DID snow today, so. She got them early!

ecosnooper

They also have some really awesome holiday dresses and coats on their 1/2 off clearance rack AND the cutest animal purses & backpacks (for boys and girls) by Eco-Snoopers. Awesome prices, too- starting at just $13. The perfect gift idea especially for that kid who has you stumped!

Know a new or preggy mama? Mothering By Nature Center on Indiana in Valpo has got it ALL. Cloth diapers, slings, BabyLegs, teethers, toys — and at great prices, too. Definitely the best selection in all of Northwest Indiana!

The Bargain Barn in Valparaiso has a great selection of Melissa & Doug items. I’m planning on stopping in there tomorrow to get some puppets for all my kids. Ever since we saw the Muppets, they are so into puppet shows! (Speaking of which, movie theatre gift certificates make GREAT stocking stuffers! And don’t forget iTunes. My boys have iPods and want a new app, like, every day!) PS Bargain Barn will probably have something for every single person on your list. You just have to stop in there. You shall see for yourself!

Ichoosejoy

My friend Janelle makes beautiful hand-stamped jewelry at Grace Tags and is offering 15% off your order through tomorrow! Use code CHRISTMAS at checkout. The I Choose Joy necklace [$24] is a personal favorite. Fab for mom, grandma, or tweens.

For the shabby chic friends and family on your list you must stop into It’s Just Serendipity. One of my favorite places to shop for gifts (and myself!) There’s something for all ages there. While you’re in Hammond, stop and see Santa at the Welcome Center at Christmas Story Comes Home, too. That’s where we see Santa every year. And you can even get a leg lamp for dad while you’re at it. LOL.

santa
Carter tells Santa what he wants for Christmas at Christmas Story Comes Home last year

What’s on MY list? I’m so glad you asked! Well, really the big thing I want this year is new boots for myself actually. Silcott’s on Washington in downtown Valpo has the best selection of UGG and Emu boots that I’ve seen so far and I think the lattice cardi UGGs in a fun color would really cheer me up. Just sayin.

Where are you doing all your shopping this year? What’s still on your list?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Family Game Night

November 29th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

So, we aren’t big on board games in our house — mainly due to certain little ones that steal all the pieces. Jeff taught the older boys to play poker and they LOVE that, but it’s something I crinkle my nose at. No fun for me.

There are, however, a couple games we got recently that I’ve found myself playing with after the kids have gone to bed. Let’s talk about the Bop It XT. Have you played this game? Can you say addicting? I have a whole workout routine going with this one, and it didn’t take me very long to beat the novice level (you have to get up to 100.) I will say the expert round has totally got me stumped.

Perplexus

The other one that I think is really too hard for children is the Perplexus. Now, we were given this one at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair a couple weeks ago. There is an easier version recommended for kids (the Rookie.) The one we have is the Original and, um, I haven’t gotten very far with it AT ALL. But, I still keep picking it up to try again. Often.

While we were away this past weekend in Grand Rapids we visited the old log cabin in the Children’s Garden of Meijer Gardens. There was this wooden ball-catcher toy that I’d like to get for the kids for Christmas. We also played Skittles- this amazing wooden spinning top bowling-type game that I’d never seen nor heard of before. This is the best photo I could find of it.

I’d like to add more games to our game night lineup. What do you enjoy playing most as a family? What games are on your kid’s Christmas wish list this year?

Dear Santa (ALREADY?!)

November 18th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Dear Santa

I am NOT the kind of person that skips Thanksgiving and goes straight to Christmas as soon as we hit November. I actually really wish people and STORES would slow it down. Sheesh. But. It’s hard not to be influenced by the things around us. Seriously, in the grocery store on November 1st they were playing Holiday music. I’m talking Wilson Phillips singing Hey Santa! and you know what? It’s been stuck in my head ever since.

And, the kids. Well, they have already started making their Christmas lists. The toy catalogs that stuff our mailbox daily aren’t helping either. I admit I put the Magic Cabin and Nova Natural copies at the top and try to recycle hide everything else. Noah is convinced he’s getting an iPad. Seriously. I want an iPad.

THANKFULLY we remember to be thankful and absolutely celebrate Thanksgiving and all the fixins. We are grateful!

But in the morning, we are attending the big & awesome Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier (the largest public toy and game fair in the US!) and I have a feeling… well… the Dear Santa letters are going to be pretty fat when we get home.

(I do have a special coupon down below for $2 off admission if you’re interested in attending this weekend or click here to download.)

The fair runs this weekend, November 19-20. Admission is $10 for adults - $5 for children - free for ages 3 & under, and FULL of toys to preview, play, and purchase. Go to kick-off your holiday shopping or just be in the know about the hottest new toys and games!

Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet the inventors of the toys and games on exhibit, and enjoy live entertainment, contests, Star Wars Breakfast, costumed characters, and more!

More info available at Chitag.com

I’m REALLY looking forward to it! Hope you can check it out, too!

Have your kids already started making their wish lists for the holidays?

ChiTAG 2dollar off coupon

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph .

Disclosure: my family is attending a special breakfast at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair tomorrow and received free passes for admission.

Photo credit

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Happy Halloween!

My kids are so excited to trick or treat tonight. I’m happy it’s not raining! Do you take your kids trick or treating? What are they dressing up as for Halloween?

The fun doesn’t end tonight, thankfully. Taltree Arboretum will have the Trail of Scarecrows through this week, and I am really looking forward to checking out the Kids Art Project every Saturday until the end of the year at rTrail Collective Edge in downtown Valpo.

I also heard about some awesome events for kids coming up at The Yoga Room in Crown Point. Yoga for Kids Classes are now open for the Fall and Winter, 1-2:30 pm on Saturdays November 12 and December 10, and Sundays January 15, and February 12. Kids 4-11 years old will learn to develop strong, flexible & healthy bodies, increase concentration, focus & attention as well as build self-esteem and confidence among many other benefits of yoga. Classes are $15 with discounts for each additional child, and no prior experience necessary.

Also really cool is Bank of America’s Museums on Us this weekend November 5-6 (and the first weekend of every month hereafter). Just by showing your Bank of America bank card, you get free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Du Sable Museum of African American History, Chicago History Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

What do have planned to do with your kids in November?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph .

Amazing Autumn in Northwest Indiana

October 12th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

county line orchard

On a whim, last Friday Ivy and I found ourselves at the County Line Orchard. We were out that way and I was in the mood to get some apples and walk around with my best girl. Usually we’ve made it there a couple times already but just haven’t yet gotten the chance this season.

It was a gorgeous day and the main parking lot was not even totally full. TONS of buses and field trips were abound but it really wasn’t that crowded. It was just right.

For $6 we wandered around the little farm. Ivy loved the cows and pigs most of all. And the goats always put on a good show. We took our time shopping in the big red barn - you can find just about any type of gift as well as some amazing culinary treats in there. We got an apple cider to go and a bag of the homemade cheese popcorn (as well as a peck of Honey Crisp!)

pumpkins

Ivy danced around the pumpkins for a while but I decided that they were a bit too pricey for the amount and size we wanted to buy, so we headed on over to Johnson’s on Rt 6 in Hobart. Their huge carts made it easy to browse around and pick the pumpkins we wanted, and this is where we also discovered fairy gardens… Ivy now has a few pieces to start her own. (It was all on sale.)

Next door at Marilyn’s bakery we got some delicious black bean soup and fresh croissants for lunch. Delish!

Everywhere we drive, my breath is just taken away by the colors and leaves! They are possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen this time of year.

The other morning we drove 49 north up to Rt 12 and over to Beverly Shores. The beach is amaaaaaaaaazing right now. Do not miss it! Leaves falling onto the sand, and the waves so still. I am hoping to head up there again tomorrow.

And I still hope to get some good hiking in with the kids- Coffee Creek, Deep River, and Bailly Homestead and Chellburg Farm are some of our faves.

Where do you go to enjoy this gorgeous fall?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph .

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