Whatif Monster Story Time and Craft Idea for Kids

Monday, May 4, 2020

It's been a couple of years since I have been active on this blog, but I want to start sharing again here! Many of the posts you'll see from me in the future will focus on family, kids, literacy, and home.

Many of you know that I have been an Usborne Books and More consultant for the past couple of years. I love the variety and richness of the books they offer and I relish being able to fill our home with them. One of these incredible books, Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster, was the inspiration for today’s story time and craft with my daughter, Kate! 

Here is an quick overview from the Usborne Books website about this book... "Whenever Jonathan James finds himself in a new situation, he hears his Whatif Monster asking all kind of questions to stop him trying something new: What if it’s scary? What if they laugh? What if it’s hard?  Finally, Jonathan James has some questions of his own: What if they don’t? What if it isn’t? What then?"

The Whatif Monster book provides an amazing gateway to talking with kids about anxiety, worry, and fear of the unknown. It is an invaluable tool to have for children ages 3-8 as they navigate new experiences in life. This book is also a fun read aloud and has an endearing quality, but I especially love that it opens the door for many important conversations with my kids. 

After reading this book to Kate, I told her we would be making our very own Whatif Monsters! Girlfriend is always on board for a good craft so she was ecstatic. To make our Whatif Monsters we used the following supplies:

A Fork
Green Paint
Black Marker
White, Yellow, and Black Cardstock

Have you ever heard of fork painting? I hadn't until I saw this craft idea from the Artsy Momma, but it is literally the perfect way to create a copycat Whatif Monster! First, pour some green paint into a bowl or plate. Next, have your child dip the fork in the paint and use it as a stamp on the white paper. They'll want to make it into a rectangle like shape so it looks like the body of the Whatif Monster. While you're waiting for the paint to dry you or your child can cut small rectangles from the black and white cardstock to make the arms of the monster. Feel free to glue on the arms and feet at this point or wait until the paint is dry. Once the body is completely dry you or your child can draw the face. I let Kate choose whether she wanted her Whatif Monster to be happy or sad. 

We enjoyed this craft because it brought a beloved character to life, was low prep and easy to make (mom win!), and introduced us to a new crafting technique! If you'd like to watch a reading of this book with myself and my kids, head over to my Facebook page, Raising Readers with Hannah! Once you are there, search "whatif monster" or "story time" in the search bar at the top of the page.

Would your child enjoy this craft? Would they benefit from reading the book and the conversations that would ensue? I'd love to hear! Let's chat in the comments below. 

Life Lately + Some Family Photos

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's been soooo long since I posted... I know. And I keep saying "I'm going to start blogging again!", but you have seen how that's been going. LOL! Until I am finally able to really start posting again, I wanted to give a quick update about our lives because I truly intend to get back to consistently posting soon!!

If you don't follow me on Instagram or know me personally, here's a very condensed version of the past two years. Obviously you all know that I have always wanted lots of kids... and the quicker the better, but God's plan was different for us. After all we went through to have Kate we figured we'd just start trying for another baby basically as soon as she was born. Kate was a huge fan of breastfeeding to the point that it ended up being it's own natural birth control. Once she finally started eating solids, I had a couple sporadic cycles and to our surprise (given everything we did to conceive Katie) we found out we were expecting in April of 2016. We were so excited that it happened all on it's own without endless doctor visits, ultrasounds, medications, etc. Then I started spotting two days before I hit the 12 week mark. We were scheduled for our first ultrasound that week and I was spotting so lightly that we weren't really concerned about it. Darren and I were giddy with excitement as they started the ultrasound, but quickly turned solemn as we watched the tech struggle to find a heartbeat. She told us she saw not just one, but two babies, but that there were no heartbeats. We were shocked. Our first two miscarriages were at 6 weeks so we weren't expecting it to happen this late. It hit us hard, but despite how devastated we were, that maternal desire for more children drove me to want to keep trying despite the extreme emotional and physical pain it might cause.

So we tried again. And a few months later, somehow my body said "OK!" and I got pregnant. No medication - just lots of love. The way it's supposed to be. We were wary at first, but as the weeks went on we started to hope. Then, just like the last pregnancy, we lost our fifth angel baby right at 12 weeks. We started to think there was an underlying issue and our doctors agreed. So ensued loads of blood work for me, genetic testing for both of us, etc. Everything came back normal until an ultrasound showed a large uterine polyp. My doctor couldn't say for sure if that had caused our last two miscarriages, but I needed surgery to remove it regardless. I had the surgery in January of 2017. 

In February, a month after my surgery, I got a positive pregnancy test. We held our breath for every milestone. We passed the 6 week mark, when we lost our first two pregnancies. At 8 weeks we got to see our miracle for the first time. My doctors completely understood how fearful we were and offered to let me come in for weekly doppler checks at that point. It helped keep the worry *somewhat* at bay. Weeks 11-13 were the scariest for me. At one point around 12 weeks, I had myself convinced that something was wrong and rushed into the doctor's office. They brought in the handheld ultrasound and there he was (yes, HE!) kicking and flipping all over the place! 

Fast forward to today. I'm currently 27 1/2 weeks pregnant! Things have been going great. Other than combating loads of worry during the first trimester, it's really been a wonderful pregnancy so far. You guys have no idea how thankful and blessed we feel. We know we are some of "the lucky ones" on this journey of infertility and miscarriage. Never for a second do we take our two miracle babies for granted!!

These are some of the photos that we had taken last month by Tyler White Photography, who is a friend I have known since Jr. High, but also happens to be a phenomenal photographer. If you are anywhere near the Bloomington or Indianapolis, IN area, I highly recommend you use Tyler and his wife, Casey, for your photography needs! They are the sweetest and so incredibly good at what they do. 

If you're still following along with the blog, I would love to hear from you! Let me know what kind of things you'd like to see here in the future. I appreciate any and all feedback from my readers. Thanks for hanging with me through this lengthy post! I'm really hoping that this will be the restart of a wonderful new blogging journey for me. xoxo, Hannah

Etsy Shop Closing

Monday, January 16, 2017

In 2010 I opened up Katie Darling Paper Co. (known then as Bahana Splits Boutique) as a venue to sell cards that I made in my free time. I had no idea that within 3 years my "hobby" shop would sell over $65,000 worth of my very own handmade goods and craft supplies and that I would be shipping orders all over the globe. I had zero business education, no marketing or SEO skills, and no idea how to be a small business owner. What I did have was "want to" and Google. :) I read books about starting a business and product photography. I read every single help article Etsy published for sellers... I mean it!! Every single one. I say all this to say, anyone can do this if they want it bad enough. Don't ever doubt yourself.

Circumstances in my life have changed A LOT since my business took off. I became a mama in 2014. That changed everything. I've discovered many things about myself too... one of those being that I'm not the kind of parent that can pull myself away from my kid when we're home together to focus on my business. I wish I were better at that, but I'm not. Given the choice, I always choose Kate and as a result, my business has taken the back seat in my life. But that's ok. I'm ok with it. I've decided to close my shop so that I can wholeheartedly enjoy my time at home with my family without the guilt knowing that my business is suffering because I'd rather not pull myself away from them when we're together.

I'm so grateful for the past 6 1/2 years. I've learned so much and have been able to meet and interact with so many amazing people. Some of my best memories are of my husband staying up late with me to help package orders, my shop being featured on Etsy's home page, participating in craft shows, surpassing 10,000 orders, and getting a call from Real Simple magazine to send them samples. My stuff didn't make the final cut for the spread, but it was still such an honor to be chosen as an option!! It's been a wonderful experience and I'm so thankful to every one of my customers. You are the ones who made it happen.

Lastly, I want to thank my husband for supporting me and sticking with me through the ups and downs of running a creative home business. Only you and I know the scale of all you've done.

Changing gears now!! Everything that is left in the shop has been discounted and is ready to ship. In addition to the already reduced prices, you can use the coupon code GOODBYE for an extra 25% off. Link to shop HERE.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. 

- Hannah -

White Chocolate Sauce Recipe (healthier & cheaper than Starbucks!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Today I'm sharing a recipe which is a first for me! I love to bake. I could do it all day every day and be happy. Cooking is a totally different story (my husband can testify to my lack of skills in that area) so you'll probably never see me sharing any sort of cooking recipe here! But not to fear, because I classify coffee related recipes as baking. K? OK!!  :)

The main reason I decided to make the switch from my usual store bought white chocolate sauce to homemade was because of the ingredients. Starbucks' white chocolate sauce ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, potassium sorbate, and monoglucerides... all of which can be harmful to your health. My homemade recipe has zero preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup! #winning

The second reason for the change was because of the price difference. My recipe costs approximately $14.00 for 63 ounces versus their $25.00 for 63 ounces. It makes sense to take 5 minutes a week to save $11.00, right? I think so. 

Just a warning... this recipe is very sweet! If you're not a fan of sugary coffee concoctions then this is not for you. However if you like your daily dose of caffeine to taste sweet then you've come to the right place! I love to add this to my morning coffee combined with a little peppermint syrup (recipe coming SOON!) to make a Peppermint White Mocha drink. Peppermint is my favorite and I refuse to wait all year until the Christmas holiday to have it so I make it on the reg and let me tell you - my taste buds thank me every time. 

Without further ado... here is my take on a Starbucks Copycat White Chocolate Sauce. 

White Chocolate Sauce Recipe
Yields 18-20 ounces 


1 Can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup of Milk - try to make sure the expiration date on the milk is at least a week away
1 Bag (11 oz) White Chocolate Chips

Pour sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and milk into microwaveable glass bowl and stir ingredients together. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and add white chocolate chips. Stir and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir again and continue to microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time, if needed (stirring in between microwave sessions) until chips are melted. It usually only takes me 1-2 minutes max for my chocolate chips to melt. Be careful not to over cook!

Pour mixture into a mason jar and refrigerate. The sauce will harden in the refrigerator. This is normal! Once you scoop it out and add it to your hot coffee it will melt pretty quickly. Try to use within 7-10 days.

What drinks will you add this sauce to? This coffee addict would love to hear your feedback and ideas!! 


Friday Favorites - Pillowfort by Target

Friday, March 4, 2016

Have any of you mamas been to Target lately?! I finally got the chance to see some of the Pillowfort collection in person last weekend and oh. my. word.... I am IN LOVE! Coincidentally, a plan had already been in the works to make a playroom for Kate with shades of mint, coral, and pink in mind so when I initially walked down the Pillowfort aisle at Target I may have hyperventilated for a brief second. It's a decorating lover's dream when you have a vision of a room in your head and then walk into a store and see nearly every piece that you need to complete said room. Here are some of my favorite things from the collection that I'm dying to get my hands on and a little preview of the inspiration I have for Kate's play space. 

What are some of your favorite pieces from the collection and would you use them in a kids room or somewhere else in your home? Please do tell, because I'm looking for reasons to buy every single item!  :)  Happy Friday!

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