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Showing posts from 2014

Pro-Tip: They Aren't Twins

In light of the gift-giving season...

Don't buy 2 of the same item for gifts by this I mean, if you have two kids close in age and the same gender, don't treat them like twins and buy them the same gifts to be "fair".  They don't need 2 cars in the different color, 2 of the same action figure, 2 of the same lego sets, 2 of the same gift if it is easily something they can both enjoy together. Save a parent a little sanity here please.  Any gift is appreciated, but this is really best for all of those involved.

Christmas Gift Reviews

Let's recap from my Easy Gift post and see how things ended up this year. I did ok.  Budget wise I blew it, but stuff wise, actually wasn't too bad. I don't have Santa's remorse yet.

Even though I still struggle with spoiling my kids, I realized by reading this article, that I do indeed spoil my children mostly for myself.  This year my niece and nephew are 14 and 11 and only request gift cards or money.  No more waking up and them running into my brother's room yelling "Santa came!". No more mystery as many relatives already have disclosed to them what they are getting. No toys. So knowing that the future holds that course, I am ok with spoiling them for now and donating all of their unused toys.  Christmas morning now is more for me than it is for them, as I think it begins to be for any parent.

Any who...back to the gifts...

a chapter book, a sticker book and a board book
These were the “Santa” gifts – a Lego set for each boy and a crawling…

Pro-Tip: Food Allergies and Parties

Today's pro-tip is a super easy one.

If your little one has food allergies please inform the host of the party.  
See, wasn't that easy?

You know what isn't easy?  Having a house full of 7 year olds and one of them vomiting all over the bathroom because they and their parents neglected to tell you that they were allergic to eggs and "sugar".  Sidebar- how in the hell is one allergic to sugar?  Anyways, I felt absolutely awful for this little man as he then didn't fess up to it because he thought he would be sent home from the party.  There was a language barrier between myself and the parent when they returned to pick up their child but I did my best to tell them to just warn others before another incident happens for the little guy.

I then counted my lucky stars that his allergy and reaction wasn't life threatening.  I have many friends whose children have special dietary needs and I know how serious they can be. Food allergies are no joke to be messed wi…

Easy & Simple Christmas List for Kids

The 5 Gift Rule (also sometimes found as a set of 4 too) has been going around the interwebs for a couple of years now.  It is a very smart way to approach the overabundance of commerce that I tend to find myself contributing to this time of year only to then curse myself for it all come January.

I'm sticking to this as much as I can this year, but as with all things, I like to over indulge, so I have added a couple of other categories that I just can't help. 

Perhaps this list will inspire you to trim down your own shopping, or perhaps help you organize your  shopping lists for loved ones.

Stay tuned and I might just get a minute or two over break to let you know exactly what my kids lists look like.  I also need to desperately update the kitchen posts on here too.  Someday I'll publish the twenty-some drafts I have for this blog.  

Pro-Tip: Breastmilk Freezer Storage

I have already shared with you about my new Deep Freezer and how I mainly got it to help with breastmilk storage. But how am I going to organize all of this milk?  I had no organization system going on until I saw this on Pinterest.  Run and do this now if you're going to be in the position of freezing breastmilk.  It has saved me so much time in the mornings just grabbing the bags I need for the day.

All you do is get a small sized gift bag, preferably just about the dimensions of your milk storage bags.  I used some old ones I had on hand.  Simply cut the bottom of one end out and then stack your milk bags with the oldest date on the bottom going on up to the newest date on top.  When it is time to take your milk out, just pull the one through the slit.

I also labeled my bags to know which ones to start with.

I believe another handy substitute to this method would be any cardboard box lying around too, maybe an old cracker box.  I like the bags due to the handles, but I plan to …

Somebody That I Used To Know

**dirty laundry alert**  This post is 2 years in the making, but this blog has been therapeutic for me before, so here we go again.
I've mentioned on here before my love for Mad Men.  In season 2, one of the many scenes that have stuck with me was between Don and Peggy. I won't give spoilers away in case you haven't seen the show (do so now please), but in the scene Peggy is going through a pretty emotional event and Don shows up to offer his support.  He then says this line...

In a show that's largely based upon searching for yourself while living life through an alter ego, this dialogue really hits the theme home with things I've been experiencing the past 2+ years.
I wonder just how we do keep moving forward and how significant events in your life can really someday cease to exist in your memory.  It is really incredible when you think about it, that events once consuming decades of your life and energy could and often will one day become an insignificant blip …

Delayed Kitchen

I really need to keep things in perspective, but ugh, come on. The counters got pushed back a week. Then I finally get the tile picked out and we're looking at a 2 week special order. The good news is that as of this time next week we'll be able to have a fully functioning kitchen. That or I'm playing hardball for a discount.
Good news: The floor is awesome.  The cabinets are awesome.  The hardware is awesome.  And I finally picked out tile backsplash (after bringing home 8 samples) Bad news: I can't figure out the paint color.  I've bought 5 samples and I don't like any of them on the wall, but we're close. I think we're going to get something just a smidge darker than the lightest shade below.

Kitchen Update

I'm getting antsy!

And fat.

I need my kitchen back and hopefully by midweek next week that will be the case. That puts us at 19 working days but it feels longer at this point. Some glitches with stuff put us behind this week and surprise a new found change order this week has me all flustered.

I'll post pictures soon, but I'm waiting on those countertops get in. At least all of the plastic is down so we are dont' feel like we are living on the set of ET anymore.

Still trying to decide paints too, hrmph.

You Know You're Popular When...

You have a sheet set named after you at Pottery Barn!  It's a cute pattern, but I can't really distinguish the colors of it online that well.  What do you think?  In other news, I'm really hoping this doesn't mean her name is going to become popular.  Woomp woomp.
Sweet Cora is now 6 months old and I can't even describe how over the moon with her I am.  She is such a dream!  She is getting the hang of crawling, although mostly in circles and reverse and we're holding off on table foods until the kitchen is done.  She's almost sitting up unassisted, and her favorite past time is smiling at her big brothers.  She loves to fumble through The Very Hungry Caterpillar and her favorite toys are her Little People Disney Princesses.  I've come to give her the nickname of Cora Belle, not sure why but it just rolls off my tongue easily.

Kitchen Makeover - Day 3

So we're only 3 days in and I feel like Drew & Jonathan will be popping up in my house any moment, but have yet to do so. Wah. Wah. Maybe they are waiting for the big reveal :)

So far so good. They got through all of the demo and then of course in true HGTV show style we hit a work change order to the tune of $900 for electrical fixes. Sad Panda. Add that to my previous upgrades in granite color and sink choices and well, my other kidney is looking primed for the black market. However, there should be no more setbacks or surprises and thankfully we're still on schedule to get 90% done by the end of this week.  Eek!

Our makeshift kitchen in the basement has proven to work out just fine.  We're eating lots of microwaved things but thankfully toddlers and my husband can live on pbj's, easy mac and nachos respectively.  It has been best that we're out of the house during all of the day and they make it a point to be out pretty quickly once we arrive home which is …

Kitchen Makeover - The Plan

Eeks!  They are starting in 3 days!

The planning process has gone super quick and I *hope* I made all of the right choices.  We used a "one stop shop" contractor.  They came back with the lowest quote, best customer service, and the shortest time line which were all things we were looking for.

I've accepted that this kitchen is costing me a kidney, and I know it will be a fantastic upgrade, but it is still a modest one comparatively speaking.  Seriously how do people on TV or in McMansions afford these remodels??

Here's what we've got picked out so far....

What do you think? Should we have kept the yellow :) I can't wait to see it all come together which should be by the end of the month. 

We'll still need to decide on paint too, but hopefully I don't mess that one up like I feel we did with the nursery


Menu Planning- Make Ahead Rice

Like most people I love spending weekends with my family but I know that if I put in a little extra effort cooking on Sunday for the rest of the week, I'll be ahead of the game and less stressed in the long run.

Today I very quickly and easily busted out 5 meals of rice. I do not like to use Minute Rice any more and I discovered that freezing and thawing rice tastes just as good as the day I made it originally, so now I cook it and freeze it in batches. It is also a great substitute for those tasty, yet not so nutritious, rice packets that take 5 minutes to cook.  This might seem like a "duh" recipe to you, but I really was just so used to buying quick processed meal items that I didn't even think this was a possibility.  It was like I thought only the magic grocery Gods could prepare food for me.

It's a insanely simple process to do.

I use a full 2lb. bag of Basamati Rice and add a little olive oil vs. butter.

Cook rice as directed, portion out into quart siz…

Summer of Sanity - The End

What a great time we had!  I think the little bit of organizing that I did this summer helped greatly.  I've only been back to work 5 days and my mind is completely baby-brain-mush.  Who knows what it would've been like this summer without a little planning for my sanity.  The boys really liked the charts and each got a nice Lego set with their money they earned ($20) and the other $20 they earned went into savings.  Alex is still doing his reading challenge, we're in the beginning of Treasure Island right now together.  Cameron is all set for preschool and Cora's been adjusting to the sitter.

Here's how Cameron's chart ended up:

And Alex's:
--oops, his didn't get pictured

I better start looking now for ideas for next summer.  Cora will be on the move and doing that drunk toddler walk which will be all sorts of fun to keep up with.  Until then we're gearing up for fall with preschool, 1st grade, work, soccer, flag football, and a Kitchen Makeover!…

Kitchen Makeover

Perhaps I got him to say "Yes" because I was a whiny 9+ month pregnant woman, but who cares the why because Scooter finally agreed that it's time to redo our kitchen! Wahoo!

We were going to start this in the spring but our HVAC needed replace so our savings took a big hit.  Now we're ready again and actually it will probably be better that we are going to be at work during the mess.

We're looking at a complete gut:
New CabinetsNew FloorNew CounterTaking out a WallSoffets gone Those are the main points.  We are keeping our existing appliances because they are not really that old and can gradually be replaced to fit into the design. No more Citrus Kitchen for us! Bah Bye yellow Formica!

From the pictures above, the main thing to go is the wall where the fridge is.  That will soon be a bar peninsula and the fridge will be next to the stove where the small pantry currently is.

We are scheduled to get underway here soon at the end of September and it should hopefull…

Summer of Sanity- Week 8: Camp

Week's Theme: Camp
With only 2 weeks left of summer, this week was easily filled up with Day Camp.  The boys went for half a day everyday and had a blast.  In the meantime I worked out, worked on my super secret project, had breakfast with a friend and went into see my classroom for the first time since March.

Camp was a great way to get Cameron ready and excited for Pre-School and I was very happy that his teachers had such good reports for him.  He attended a session named "What Did the Fox Say?" where he learned more about animals and made several crafts.  Alex enjoyed his "Scooby Doo" session which dealt with solving mysteries all week.  A perfect fit for my little logical dude.

Next week is our last week home together and I'm so torn between desperately needing my work routine back and being there for my kids.  In the end I know I'm not cut out to be a SAHM but it just pains my heart to know that they will never be this age again.  It just feels l…

5 Reasons Teachers know it is August

I don't need a calendar to remind me what time of year is approaching...

Summer of Sanity - Week 7

Week's Theme: Pool Parties!
I told you that the weeks would fly by and that our scheduled themes would go by the wayside.  This week we recovered from vacation by finally getting some warmer (notice I didn't say hot) weather.  Thankfully 2 of my friends own pools and were gracious enough to invite us there along with all the other toddlers in our co-workers circle.

The boys are doing so good at swimming now and are at a great age where still supervised, but I'm not the hovering helicopter I once had to be which means I can enjoy my burger hot vs. warm.  I fear for next summer when Lady Cora will be walking and wanting to keep up with them.

The hostesses need a shot out too.  One is a grandma of 3, but you'd never know it with her energy.  She's who I consider my "work mom" and I talked about her in this post.  She has a wonderful garden that she showed me might be so difficult for me to pull off in my own backyard someday.

The other hostess is 37 weeks pr…

Summer of Sanity - Week 6 - Vacation!

Week's Theme: Vacation
What a fun week it was. As most vacations tend to do, it went too fast. We ended up going to Michigan this year vs. our usual jaunt to South Carolina due to: my 94 yr. old Grandma wanting to join us, I didn't want a 12 hour trip with new baby, and Scooter's brother who we usually see were busy themselves awaiting a new baby any day (she was actually born our last day we were away). This new location also came with the excellent perk of my bestie coming to visit me which came with the all-time bonus of meeting her new baby girl who is a month older than Cora.
Highlights included:
My grandmother conducting her ritual "balloon in long underwear" game that came with perfect blackmail pictures of my niece to use at her graduation party and my brother's bff claiming a "force flex" allergy to get out of it.Chocolate & Wine tasting tour that included a warm apple pie in a bag that was orgasmic, yes it was that good.  Thank you …

Summer of Sanity - Weeks 4 & 5 - Free Weeks

Technically they weren't Free Weeks but we just had other stuff pop up and get scheduled so I didn't need to stick to the original schedule. Remember, this whole summer of sanity is about staying sane, not to schedule every second into a perfectly planned Pinterest day.

Since we are in the midst of summer, I am glad the days are filling up on their own with normal summer fun like cookouts, family visits and all the general things it takes to keep 3 kids alive.

This past week I even added another kid to the mix, my 13 year old niece stayed with us and was a big help.  It was so nice to get to spend time with her. I put her to work with getting used to baby duties (she's got a little sister coming in October) and other domestic duties like cooking.  It was cute to see her handle raw meat for the first time and gab until the late hours of the night about things.  That girl is going places I tell ya, watch out!

I'm not sure if we'll get back to any of the themes fully …

Summer of Sanity - Week 3 - Geography

Week's Theme: Geography

We had lots of pop up showers this week which was perfect for the release of the Lego Movie on DVD , but we lucked out having excellent weather for a geocaching and pool party midweek.

We ended the week going Geocaching for the first time with a friend of mine and her boys and it was a really great time. I simply downloaded the app to my phone and we decided to meet at a nature reserve area for a picnic. After the picnic we went on our search for treasure and found it just in time before a major rain storm hit.  

I highly recommend geocaching as a fun time for the family, we've found so many near us. The boys simply loved it. For extra fun, remember to bring some trinket with you to leave behind as you get to take one from the box that you find.

I did make use of the rain day to make a craft with my oldest son while the other 2 kiddos were napping. I got the inspiration from this pin on Pinterest. I was super mean and made him redo the "our house&…