Monday, March 31, 2008

Stay Away...

Well, it happened. I am now sick with the stomach thing that started with everyone last week. Thankfully, I am not too bad, others in the family were much worse off, but still, not fun.

I felt I should update a little though since I had not written all weekend. Here is the update:

*Damian, Justin and Robyn came into town to finish up some wedding details (Damian, best man, Justin and Robyn, getting married) and crashed with us for the weekend (guys, I really hope you don't get sick) It was AWESOME to see them! And super SUPER fun to have all our friends over for a few "lets catch up" parties.

*Buzz finally quit barking Sat. and decided it was much more fun to just dig holes in the yard. Since our yard isn't anything to be impressed with, I really don't care about the holes so long as the barking had stopped. And for taking care of Buzz for the weekend, Joe and Andrea brought us DIAPERS! AWESOME! So, I am thinking I will offer to babysit Buzz more....

*My Little Dude is all over his stomach virus, as is Grandma and Grandpa; however, like I said above, it started hitting me last night....sigh.

**On a side note, I found out that anyone with diarrhea should not have dairy products, as the enzymes that our stomach uses to break down dairy gets flushed out and we have to give it time to build back up after our stomach returns to normal. How did I find this out? Since Little Dude wasn't eating, I got him some PediaSure vitamin/protein drinks. Then he started throwing up. Freaked us all out, so we called the doctor and he told us that the dairy was the reason for the sudden throwing up. Niiiice.

*Dakno is going great and I am learning TONS about optimizing key word searches for blogs and websites-it is super fun to try to figure out creative ways to place key words for search engines to find WITHOUT looking like I am spamming. Kinda like a game really; see how many times and ways I can say "So and So Area Real Estate Information" to get a certain web page or blog to show up when people are looking for "So and So Area Real Estate Information". Might sound boring, but trust me, it is pretty fun to do.

Alright, well it is raining, and I am going to let Eddie back in now, and try to lay down on the floor while Little Dude climbs on me. Normally this is a fun game we play, but today, it will simply be because I have no energy to do anything else for very long.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Follow the Yellow Brick Road...

Well, the weekend has already been an adventure. Buzz finally stopped barking, but now we have a stomach virus going around the house. We thought at first it was food poisoning; however, now Little Dude and I both have it as well.

The only good thing about Little Dude being sick is that he loves to cuddle with me, something he rarely does anymore. So, as much as I hate for his tummy to hurt, I am loving all the cuddle time he is letting me have with him.

Right now in our area, the tree pollen is getting crazy and everything is coated in a lovely yellow. I actually love the color yellow, but when it starts getting carried into the house and carpet, I start to hate it. The pollen is hard to clean! I did find some great cleaner in the auto section of the grocery store called "Tough Stuff" and so far it has gotten ALL KINDS of stains out of my carpets in my car and home, including coffee and yellow pollen!

Now if only I could find something to keep the pollen off the patio...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dogs Barking

We have a German Shepard, named Eddie. He is an awesome dog, though GINORMOUS, and often clumsy. Bill and I have often wondered if we should get a "friend" for Eddie by taking on another dog. Why? Simply because with Little Dude and Bill traveling for work a lot and now with me pregnant, Eddie does not get all the excersie he would like, nor all the attention he used to get with it was just Bill, him and me.

Today though, I have realized, I DON'T WANT ANOTHER DOG. Why, you ask? Because as of yesterday afternoon we started dog sitting our friend's dog, Buzz, for the weekend. What has Buzz done since being dropped off? BARKED. HOWLED. DUG HOLES! SCRATCHED the DOOR!! and WHINED. NON STOP. The dog wont stop! I have no idea what to do and I am about ready to pull my hair out. What's even better? My neighbor has her little bite sized very yappy poodle outside right now too, and Dolly has decided it is great fun to try to YAP YAP YAP along with Buzz. What is Eddie doing? Laying down in front of the door like he wants to come in-and wants nothing to do with the other dogs.

Also, Buzz has decided that he and Eddie really don't need water outside, because he keeps knocking it over. If it were just Buzz, I'd be like, "Fine, go for a bit without water since you can't figure out how to stay out of it". But, since Eddie is there too, I just can't. So, I am out there every 15 min to turn the water bowl back over and fill it back up with water. And Buzz is soaking wet, then JUMPING on me. I'm really about ready to kill him. The weekend can't be over quickly enough.

Well, on an upside, Rocks in my Dryer has some instructions on making baby burp cloths! Cool Beans! Esp since this baby is a boy too! I have not been able to get into the baby shopping since we have everything saved from Little Dude...but I could splurge and make burp cloths! I'm not a good sewer, but it looks easy enough and it will be something to do while the dogs are barking. In fact, getting out to the fabric shop will be awesome. I might even drive with the radio off, just for the piece and quiet. IN FACT, I think I will go to the fabric shop on the far side of town just for the time it will take me away from the house. Awesome! The day is looking better already...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beach Baby Safety

Ahhhh, summer is in the air. Yes, I know it is only spring, really, but in my hometown of Raleigh, NC it is in the 70's (F) and the weather is PERFECT for starting to plan our summer beach trip!

Sadly though, I am the only person in my family (out of Bill's and my sides) that does not EVER tan. All I do is burn. So, I have to be super SUPER careful to keep the sunscreen slathered on and the hats on my head. Most people are rather surprised to learn that my mother is Mexican and Native American, because of how lilly white I am no matter how much I am in the sun. Yes, I was blessed with all the Irish Leprechaun genes. Very Short, Very white, and red/brown hair. Nice.

Anyways, now that Bill and I are parents, and by next summer will have two little dude's to keep safe from the sun, we have already been checking out some of the baby products for sun protection. One of my favorites is this Beach Tent from Target. It has ventilation so it doesn't become a cooker inside, and with the sides made the way they are, there is little wind resistance, meaning you won't have to go chasing after it. Also, the floor keeps all your stuff pretty sand-free and you can add weight (like your cooler) to the floor to also fight the chances of it flying away like a kite. Very Nice.

I have also found THIS awesome baby sling that I am simply going to have to save up and buy as it would be perfect for shallow wading with the new baby and keep my hands free to hold back my toddler from trying to take on the waves!

I also really love sunscreen on a stick, and it is made in SPF 50, PABA free at Walgreens Pharmacy. I don't know what the real term for it is; however, for a squiggly child that is ready to play, it is super hard to get faces good and covered with liquid sunscreen. It looks like a chap stick, and works great for getting Little Dude's face slathered in sun protection. Even better, I don't have to interrupt his playing (heaven forbid!) to put more on; I simply go sit next to him and roll it everywhere I think he needs a touch up and viola! No extra rubbing in or disturbances from me; he is free to continue digging to China.

If you want to check out more beach baby safety, check out the Crystal Coast Blog, a blog all about the beautiful beach areas of my state. Our beaches of choice are Emerald Isle (that is where Bill and I got engaged!)and Topsail, and you can learn a lot about vacation homes, investment homes and general fun beach life info at Crystal Coast Blog.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easy Clean Poster Paint Recipe

It is another Works for Me Wednesday! Yay!

As you may not know, I have been a daycare provider for babies-toddlers and preschool ages 4-5, so I have a few tricks up my sleeves to share! Here is one of my favoirite, cost effecitive, easy clean, paint recipes:

Detergent Poster Paint

You will need:
small jars or plastic containers
1 tablespoon clear liquid detergent per container
2 teaspoons powdered tempera paint per container

In each small container, mix together 1 tablespoon liquid detergent and 2 teaspoons powered tempera paint. This recipe makes enough for one painting session.

For even every young toddlers and older babies (those that can sit up), this recipe is great AND EASY TO WASH OUT OF CLOTHES!!! Children usually love feeling different textures, and the intorduction to new textures is a GREAT sensory learning experience for kids of all ages.

I would undress the younger kids down to diapers, and the older kids I would request the day before that they being some old clothes to school along with wearing one of my kid oil cloth aprons while painting to keep the clean up as easy as possible. However, it never failed someone would get paint on someone else, on me, or the carpet.

This recipe has always been super easy for me to get out of my clothes, even after drying and staining all day long at the preschool before I could even think about washing it out. FANTASTIC! Also it is great because you can just make the amount you need, instead of storing jars and jars of different colors of wet paint just waiting to dry out or tip over.

The Tempera paint and some really great, sturdy paint jars you can get at Michaels Crafts and though the jars are a little pricey, for the fact they are so hard to knock over and stackable, they are well worth the extra money. Besides, you will save a lot buying the tempera powder colors as apposed to getting new Crayola paint all the time.

Keep in mind the age of your child, younger ones need thicker paint and brushes, and you can thicken this recipe up by adding a little cornstarch (melt it in some hot water first, like you would for gravy, and then, of course, don't let you kid paint until it has cooled).

Not all kids love sensory experiences, like painting, the first time (or even five) that they try it. However, keep trying, and perhaps, if you have been undressing the child for the painting session, try keeping old clothes on, or even just putting one of your husbands old t shirts over him/her because part of what may be upsetting your child is being cold. If your child still doesn't like it, keep trying to make it fun by getting in there and painting yourself, but certainly don't make your child do the project if they are super upset, just put it away for another day and try again, or move on to another sensory activity, like playing in a sensory box.

Well, that is what Works for Me! Head on over to Rocks in my Dryer for other great tips!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where is the bathroom?

For Easter, we had a lot of family coming and going and staying with us, which was super fun! But, with all the people, it made Bill and me realize that two bathrooms get filled up quickly, and often!

Someday, Bill and I would like to have 4 children, perhaps more, but 4 seems like a really good number (that number will fill my van while still having room for Bill, Eddie, and me). Though, of course, I have reserved the right to change my mind at any given point, since I am the one pushing them out of my tiny body. Anyways, seeing how busy the bathrooms were over the weekend made us realize: We need to add a bathroom asap.

We have two boys (one due in July!). But having the groups of people over made us realize that with 4 children and their friends and our friends and family, our two little bathrooms will be constantly in use. Esp. at holidays. And the lines for showers will last all morning.

So, we have added another task to the list of home "to-do's", which we had finally gotten down to just a few small items too! Start work on the downstairs bathroom, just as soon as the deck is done.

And now I must go, as Little Dude is calling for water....again.....

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter pictures and JR kidneys

Hi, Everyone! We are happy to say that JR looks great! SUPER YAY! His kidneys are still large; however, my Dr. is not at all worried as they are still smaller than the size where he would worry and there is nothing wrong with the tubing to the kidneys, so there are no obstructions or anything causing them to not be functioning at birth. GREAT NEWS! I am so very relieved and happy to have the great news. We will still be checking the kidneys again later in my pregnancy and probably through ultrasound after he is born just to ensure everything still looks good, but otherwise, the Dr. wasn't worried. YAY!!!

So, as for the Easter egg hunt Friday-Little Dude was SO EXCITED he dropped his basket and started running around laughing as soon as the announcer said the kids could start finding eggs.

The Town of Clayton put out 6,000 eggs for each age group, 3 and under and 4 and up. We were, of course, in the 3 and under age group. Little Dude had so much fun just running around and watching the other kids! Once I showed him with one egg how to put them in his basket, he was transformed into a Competitive Easter Egg Grabber! He was so super smiley and having such a great time! When we got home I counted his eggs-16!! That is super good for a little guy that didn't even start grabbing eggs until late in the game!! Also good for me, as they all had candy in them so I benefited in eating the caramel and chocolate. Yay!

Easter weekend was wonderful, our family and dear friends came by to visit, and Bill cooked the best ham ever! We had tons of fun after dinner letting Little Dude dye eggs. I think we had as much fun watching him dye the eggs as he did putting eggs in the cups! His little eyes just filled with wonder at the dye tablets in the vinegar and then they got even bigger when he realized that 1)he could stand in a chair and 2)he could shove eggs in a cup and 3)he could mush the eggs in the cup!!and 4)the eggs changed color!!!!!! I don't even know how to describe his excitement, and the pictures really don't do the event justice, but you'll just have to see for yourself.

Here is Little Dude running around; this is after he has discovered the fun of putting the eggs in his Easter basket.

Here is Little Dude putting eggs in his basket while scanning the grass for the next egg to grab.

Here he is dying eggs-he had such a blast! This would be a great rainy day activity, though notice there are no clothes on him...

More Easter Egg dying fun-he was amazed with the colored dye!

Our family

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jogging...and Easter Pre-view

So, I have been looking for a double jogging stroller for awhile now, and though I have found some brands and styles I am just IN LOVE WITH, they are sadly way too expensive for my work from home budget.

BUT!! I did find this stroller that I am just in love with. However, I haven't been able to find one to look at in person and even though $200.00 has been a deal for a light yet sturdy double jogging stroller, it is still a week worth of work for me at Dakno before I can afford it.

So, I am wondering if anyone out there has any advice on what type of double jogging stroller they enjoyed? And what do you think of this one I am looking at?

I was blessed enough that a parent at my preschool gave me a single jogger as a present when I left to start staying home and I really loved getting back in shape with it. Little Dude also really enjoyed the running (well, honestly, it was more of a walk with a hop to it for a long long time-I really started running about the time I go pregnant again and had to stop...hahah!) So, anyways, the point of that was to say that I really enjoy running and want to do it as a way to loose the baby weight with this baby; however, I don't want to get stuck with a stroller that is two heavy or hard to push with two kids.

I have been thinking long and hard about it and I do have plenty of time to get one, since JR can't ride in the stroller until he is holding his head up very well any way (I think 6 weeks is recommended; however, I would probably wait until closer to 3 months to do more than a real light jog/quick walk with both the boys.)

So what do you guys think? Anyone with double jogger experiences to share? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Also, I wanted to report we dyed eggs tonight with Little Dude and he had a BLAST!! I will put up pictures on Monday, as I am sure with all the family and church activities I won't have time to get on here tomorrow. I wish you guys could have seen him in action with the egg dying..he was just in heaven and having the GREATEST time.

Of all the fun Easters I have had; this, by far, has been the best. Our Little Dude loved the Easter Egg Hunt Friday (I will put more about that Monday too) and has been playing with the plastic eggs and his basket ever since. Tonight was wonderful with my in-laws and John over to share in the fun. Little Dude was all business with the eggs and smiled like crazy watching the colors dissolve in the vinegar and water. Be on the look out for tons of pictures Monday!

Oh my goodness; the greatest joy is just watching him experience new things! I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Easter (if you don't celebrate, then I hope you got to enjoy a fun day off from work and great time with family). And, I hope that everyone just has a wonderful, WONDER-FILLED day like my Little Dude.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Baby Bump Watch!!

Well, for the benefit of family far away AND for the chance to win a super awesome diaper bag (because, really, a stylish mom can never have enough!)from Pinks and Blues Baby Bump Watch, I am posting a picture of my Baby Bump! Here are two:

I am now 23 weeks and 4 days pregnant. The baby is kicking around like crazy and letting me know he's getting ready to play with Little Dude!

We have to go back to the doctor to check on J.R's(what I'm calling the baby for now) kidneys. When we last went to the doctor, she noticed J.R's kidneys were waaaay to big for his age and size, indicating that 1)he may not have peed (can I say that?) yet for the day or 2) there could be something really wrong with his kidneys that may require surgery or catheter once he is born.

So, we are going back to the doctor this Monday to see if the kidneys still look big. If so then we are going to a specialist at Duke Hospital asap. Our doctor was acting like it was no big deal, and said not to worry, but, of course, I have been worried. At any rate we find out soon-hopefully it will be that my son just has kidneys of steel and can hold his pee a loooooong time!

Here are some updated pics of my Little Dude as well:

We went to visit a friend and stoped by the Starbucks I used to work at (one of them at least) and my old manager was sweet enough to give Little Dude a Honey Cream Frapuccino-let me just say he LOVED it. I couldn't get it away from him! It tasted like honey icecream and had no caffine. A perfect little kid's drink!

Here is my "Cool Dude". Little Dude loves his sunglasses; esp. if I am wearing mine too!

And here is my sweetheart at the park. He has gotten so big!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A good, old fashonioned Barn Raising.....

So on Tuesday of this week my neighbors had a lot trees taken down and since they were just going to get rid of the wood bits left after the tree stumps were ground down, I decided it was a great way to get some free mulch!

Yesterday, Bill, Little Dude and I went over to start filling out our wheel barrel with some mulch for my flower garden. Then our other neighbor's son came over and started to help shovel mulch. After John got home, he came over and started helping too. Then Amy and Alan got out extra tools and their wheel barrel and an awesome pitch fork (we just had shovels) and started moving mulch as well. THEN Caroline and the kids, Cole and Keely came over to hang out and give moral support. By then Randy came over to open the gate for everyone moving wheel barrels (he had back surgery a little while ago so he couldn't do any lifting). By this time our whole little block of neighbors is helping and hanging out, all the while moving VAST amounts of mulch across the street to our yard!

We got more mulch than I had ever thought we'd get (I seriously was going to quit after getting enough for the flower garden), but with all the help, we had all of it moved in no time at all! And, even better, got to spend some really awesome quality time with all of our awesome neighbors. Alan even said after we were done that it was time to "raise the barn".

I have to say, seriously, if I ever did win the lottery, I could never move to a new house. I just couldn't leave my neighbors! And on the flip side, if a number of them start moving away, we are moving in a heartbeat. Isn't it wonderful how a great group of neighbors can make or break a neighborhood? Bill and I talked about it last night after all the fun and togetherness: we would choose this house and the sweet neighbors we have any day over an awesome new house (where toilets don't decide to flush themselves...story for another day) with bad neighbors.

No, you know what? I already have won the lottery. I have been blessed with an awesome family, a warm house, and super great neighbors that I think of as extended family. What more could anyone want?

I didn't take any pictures last night; I should've! But, here is a picture from back in Nov. of Amy, Caroline and me and our kids and Blake, Randy's son. The fire truck came to check out a reported fire in the park, which ended up being nothing, but they were so nice and let the kids explore their trucks.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday-Baby Sign Language

As a prior pre-school teacher and day care worker, I was quite comfortable falling into the role of "Mommy". But I just want to share, that having a very strong willed toddler who lacks the verbal commands to dictate what it is that he desires off the counter top, has made me realize Toddler Mommy-hood is by far the hardest job I have ever had. Granted, I took care of babies and toddlers in the daycare; however, the key point was, I could send them home with parents!

So, what Works For Me? American Sign Language. I started teaching Little Dude sign language at 4 months (about the time I started some baby cereal with him) and slowly introduced 3 signs: eat, drink, and more.

He did not respond until he was about 7 or 8 months, but it is all about being consistent. It may feel silly, but do the signs, over and over and over....and over (all the while saying the words out loud too) For example: "Do you want more (sign) cereal? Do you want a drink (sign)?" Once you're child starts to respond to the signs, life gets TONS easier and the crying fits die down considerably simply because your child has found a way to communicate with you!

Now, Little Dude is 18 months old and has a verbal language of about 5 words, and a sign language of about 30, most of which are foods and drinks, which are the most helpful, but now it helps even more to keep adding words for him, like bath, book, poop, etc. The other day we went outside in the backyard, and Little Dude was all happy-then suddenly he came over to me and signed for water while saying "wa wa", so I immediately went inside and grabbed his water cup for him. Think though, about the meltdown we would've ended up having if he had not been able to communicate any other way than by crying because honestly, a lot of the verbal things he says I would not recognize on their own without the sign language to go along with it. So, without the sign, I would've thought something outside bothered him, brought him inside, and gone through a whole spectrum of things before stumbling upon "wa wa" as being what he wanted and needed.

I found the local library to have a vast source of differnet instructional sign language books geared towards teaching children, my two favorites were Baby Signs by Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr Susan Goodwyn (this one had GREAT pictures to go with insructions) and Sign with your Baby by Joseph Garcia This one had great instructions on how to go about teaching and pictures of children doing the signs, which is motivating when your child is not responding yet, and a dvd that is awesome and I highly recommend, though you can buy just the book for much less or even better, check it out at your library for free.

You can also find local classes, though honestly, being consistent in your teaching will have better results than just taking an expensive class, so if you do the class be sure to keep up the signing after the class is done! Also, check out these links, they helped me a lot as resource guides:

American Sign Language
Sign Babies
Baby Signs

Teach Your Baby to Sign (online signing dictionary)
Signing with your Baby
Sign 2 Me
Handspeak: American Sign Language Dictionary

Babies and Sign Language

So, that is What Works For Me! Happy Signing to you! And if you have questions, feel free to leave comments or email.

Calling all Babywering Bloggers!

Steph, over at Adventures in Babywearing has started a blogroll just for us Babywearing Mamas! Cool Beans! So if you want to get on the list, go over to her site, email her and get the code for the cute graphic! Also, for the fun of it, post some pictures of you wearing your baby! Here are some of mine. (Sadly, I realized that since I do almost all of the family picture taking, there are only a handful of pictures of me with Little Dude in his sling-mental note that with the next baby I will have people take more pics of me with the kids!

This is at my cousin Erika's wedding. The sling was FANTASTIC for carrying him around and still enjoying the big party!

Isn't he all cute and snuggly? He eventually fell asleep in the sling, so Bill and I were able to dance and have tons of fun without having to sit next to a car seat/portable bed to keep an eye on him-he stayed with us! Also, the sling I had and loved was a "Buddy Sling" that I got off an ebay store when Little Dude was 6 months old called, yes "Buddy Slings". It was really reasonably priced, as far as slings go,at around 40 dollars, though you can try to win it on bidding for cheaper, which is what I did. And it was made to my measurements, so it fits me perfectly with 3 different ways to wear your baby. It's made out of super soft, breathable cotton with enough overlap that I could nurse Little Dude and stay covered and discreet. "Buddy Slings" also makes super cute diaper bags in matching fabric. It has been my very favorite diaper bag, as it has tons of pockets, magnetic open and close (for those times you only have one hand) and a nice clip for your keys and phone so they don't get lost at the bottom of the bag! Also, when the sling and bab gets dirty, I just throw them in the wash!

Now that Little Dude is way to big for his sling, Eddie, our dog, has taken on the role of "babywearing". Yes, Little Dude sits on our dog. Eddie, it seems loves it and will often lay down in from of Little Dude in what looks like attempts to get Little Dude to climb on board. It works every time. Can I just say I have the most awesome dog ever?

Would you like a sling so you too can wear your baby? Over at Elinghouse, you can enter a contest to win a Mod Mum sling. These slings are amazing and beautifully made out of quite stylish fabrics. You can read a review about them here. I am in love with the Taylor pattern, but also really love the Carmen pattern...I am thinking that if I don't win a free one in the contest I will ask Bill if I could have one of them for my birthday. They are kind of pricy, but trust me, with all the wear and tear I put mine through, a well made sling is well worth the price.

Here is another place you can enter to win a baby carrier that your husband can use and still look manly.

Happy Babywearing Blogging!! And don't forget to check out Adventures in Babywearing-a fantastic, smart blog full of parent advice, stories, give-a-ways(yay!), and, of course, babywearing!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

This is a picture of Little Dude last St. Patrick's Day.

Well, today is St. Patrick's Day! Yay! My family is Irish, so this holiday has always been a big deal in my parents home. Even though my husband's family isn't Irish, I have gotten him to fall in love with all the things I cook or decorate for St. Patrick's.

Every St. Patrick's Day I simmer a corned beef brisket all day, which, let me tell you, makes the whole house smell yummy! About an hour before we are going to eat I chop up potatoes, cabbage and carrots and throw them in the pot. SUPER YUMMY!

My mom makes soda bread; however I stink at making the dough and still have never gotten it as good as hers. I will be trying again this year. Cross your fingers for me. *Sigh*

Then we make an awesome Irish Cake that my Granny always called "Tipsy Cake". I included the recipe and though it says a 1/2 cup of whiskey (my Granny always added more), you could put in some rum flavor extract or leave it out completely for a tipsy tasting yet alcohol free cake. And, on another note, I never cook it the day before. My mom would, and it would be great, but I usually don't have time until the day of to cook it, so it will turn out great even if you don't let it sit in the whiskey for a long time.

2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
2 cups of sugar
5 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter
5 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons baking soda
Dash of salt
1 (16-ounce box) of brown raisins
1 (16-ounce) box of golden raisins
1/2 cup whiskey, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a Dutch Oven. Cream sugar and butter in large bowl. Add in eggs one at a time. Add seasonings. Mix baking soda into the buttermilk. Alternate adding flour, buttermilk and raisins into mix. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours in covered Dutch Oven. Cake is finished when knife inserted into middle comes out clean.

Optional- pour 1/2 cup of whiskey over cake immediately after removing from oven. Cake is best when cut after a few days.

Also, for anyone interested, I found a great site that has the history of St. Patrick, the traditions, and general information:

Enjoy the day and don't get pinched!

Friday, March 14, 2008

How to Garden With Kids

I got this from the April 2008 Parenting Magazine. It is so cute and so true that I just had to share it. While I read the article I was laughing out loud, so I hope you all get some good chuckles as well! Enjoy!

How to Garden with Kids
When our fantasy collides with Real Life, by Chris Jordan *Chris Jordan blogs as Notes From the Trenches on The Parenting Post at Parenting. com

1)Go to nursery and pick out heirloom tomato plants. Because heirlooms must be better, right? Surely they have survived this long because of their juicy goodness.

2) Bring plants home and unload them onto front porch.

3) Leave them sitting there until the following weekend, because buying them at the nursery was enough gardening for you.

4) The next weekend, go buy some gardening gloves.

5) Leave plants on front porch.

6) The following weekend, put on gloves and go out to plant the tomatoes. Discover a couple of shriveled-up green stems.

7) Go back to nursery and buy more heirloom tomatoes. Come home and decide to plant them right away.

8) Find a nice sunny spot for the pants and put them in the ground.

9) Feel very proud and gardener-like. Decide this might be the hobby for you after all.

10) Vow to water them every day, in keeping with your new gardener identity.

11) Two weeks later, realize that you have forgotten all about the plants.

12) Pull out hose and turn it on as quietly as possible.

13) Supersonic, bat-like hearing enables kids to hear the hose, and they come running.

14) Children beg to use the hose and promise to water the plants nicely

15) Acquiesce against better judgment.

16) Once plants are floating in a pool of muddy water, tell children to stop watering them.

17) Wrestle hose from child and get a face full of water. contemplate "accidentally" squirting child in the face.

18) Remember that the neighbors are probably watching. Turn off hose and discover children splashing in the mud.

19) Briefly consider bringing them inside to clean them off. Remember that it is only noon. And that you've already cleaned the bathtub this week.

20) Spray children off with hose in spite of their protests.

21) Remembering neighbors, say loudly, "Oh, I thought you WANTED ME TO SQUIRT YOU! I'm so sorry, OH PRECIOUS LIGHTS OF MY LIFE!"

22) Put hose away again. Discover wet children rolling in dirt.

23) Question will to live.

24) Successfully ignore them for 3.2 seconds. when they decide they've had enough of being outside, hose the children off.

25) Forget about the neighbors and yell, "If you'd STOP COVERING YOURSELVES IN MUD!..."

26) Leave hose lying across the driveway for husband to run over when he comes home from work.

27) Repeat this scenario semi-weekly until the plants finally die.

28) Buy some super-delicious tomatoes already grown by someone else who has no children, or more patience, or both.

29) Vow to remember that you are not a gardener.

30) Until Next year, when the spring air renders you amnesiac.

31) And you find yourself buying several flats of some vegetable plants, wondering how hard it could possibly be to take care of them.....

HAHAHAHH!!!! Oh my goodness, I hope you guys have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Yes, this is a post about Toddler Poop, just to let you know. As a lot of you know, I have taught Little Dude sign language, and he is quite verse with it. He has about 25 words that he can put together into two work "sentences" along with just the simple verbal request of some things.

Anyways, I decided to try out teaching him the sign to "Poop". So, every time he had a poopy diaper, I would do the sign, and change him. Well, as of a Tuesday he has been requesting for his poopy diapers to be changed! COOL. Esp for the ones that don't smell. (Yes, I have been blessed with a toddler whose diapers sometimes don't smell...crazy nice for me, kinda bad for diaper rash).

I suppose then, that he is showing signs of potty training readiness....but I am not sure if that is something I want to do before the new baby comes. I don't mind in the least having two babies in diapers, so really I only think about it as when potty training will be best for him. If he is hating the dirty diapers now, I don't want him to get used to them and not mind them again...can that happen? I dunno....this is beyond my pre-school experience!

At any case, I had been thinking of waiting until he was around two (which is this Sept), and giving him a little potty and potty seat for the big potty for Christmas from Santa, then really getting down to business with the potty training. What do you guys think? Anybody know? And with boys, is it better to start off sitting to pee or standing? I dunno that either...seems like switching would be confusing and make them regress a little, but again, I have no idea. I will definatly have to talk to The Grady's about it. And perhaps Steph over at Adventures in Babywearing.

Also, if anyone knows, what is best? Starting with a little potty or getting the potty seat for the big one? Or doing both at once? And are there kinds to avoid? I am going to do some review searching over at Pinks and Blues and Adventures in Babywearing to see if they have anything to say about it.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

Well, this is my first Works For Me Wednesday post and I am quite excited to share!

As the mother of a VERY energetic toddler; I am always at a bit of a loss on rainy days. So, I am going to share a rainy day activity that Works for Me!

Little Dude loves playing in the dirt and sand, so the perfect indoor activity is to bring the sandbox INSIDE. Yes, I did say that, but it is not what you think. NO SAND INVOLVED. All you need is a cardboard box or plastic baby bathtub and fill it up with puffed wheat, rice cereal, uncooked rice, or even dried pasta.

Children enjoy playing in the sandbox with cups, spoons, bowls, buckets, scookps, shovels, cars and other toys and containers. A funnel and scoop that can be used to fill an empty plastic soda bottle with sandbox material will also be a HUGE hit. An old sheet, shower curtain or plastic tablecloth place under the "sandbox" will make clean up a bit easier. I always set mine up in the kitchen and then Little Dude "helps" me clean up by sweeping with his kiddie broom while I try to navigate around him and actually sweep.

Here are some suggestions for indoor sandbox material that gives a great sensory experience for toddlers and young children AND can be bought quite cheaply in bulk:

*water softener salt
*dried beans
*shredded paper
*cedar shavings
*deer corn
*foam packing peanuts
*confetti dots from a hole puncher
*sea shells
(small, I get mine for free from beach trips and save them in a craft basket)
*cut up yarn (cut into small enough strips that it could not possibly get around a child's throat)
*potting soil (this one is messy; however, if you do the play in the bath tub, the mess is controlled and once sensory time is over bath time can begin!)

Take into consideration if your children has issues with textures and sensory reception; choose items and amounts you deem appropriate to slowly introduce him/her to different sensory experiences instead of doing a lot at once.

And also, keep into consideration that not all the suggestions I made above are safe for kids to be putting in their mouths. You will know what is appropriate for your child and you while exploring this sensory play.The items are all ones I have tried with Little Dude or my preschool class back in my teaching days and all have been huge hits with kids ages 10 months to 6 years.(older kids might enjoy it too; however, my knowledge of entertainment and learning ideas ends with children past 6 years.)

That is what Works for Me! Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more fun tips; I hope you all enjoy your next rainy day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pictures! and more...

Well, I don't really know what to write today, as I am still a little in shock. My husband travels out of town every so often as part of his job-this week he was to be in Tennessee and Georgia, back Thursday night. Nothing unusual about it; however around 4pm Bill called to let me know a truck had t-boned him on 1-40 outside of Asheville. WHAT??? Yes, I all I could say was WHAT?? Thank God no one was hurt and THANK GOD no one was driving next to Bill when the truck hit him because it pushed him across 3 LANES OF TRAFFIC. It scares to me to think about how bad it could have been.

At any case, Bill is OK and the car is a company car, so it will be fixed and the trucker took responsibility for the accident, so everything with insurance should go smoothly, though we don't have to deal with it, United Forming does. I do wish Bill could come home now; however, it will still be Thursday (really late Wed. at the earliest) that I get to see him again. Drat.

So, on a happier note, it has been way too long since I put up some new Little Dude pictures. I wish I had some J.R. pictures to put up; however, this time around we didn't get a CD of the ultra sound pictures and I didn't think to ask about it until we had already left the doctor. Bummer. Anyway, we go back on the 24th for more ultra sounds to check on the baby again (there might be a small issue with his kidneys, no worries until we know more then) so I will ask for a CD of pics then. So, enjoy these of Little Dude, he is now almost 18 1/2 months...WOW. Time has flown way to fast!

Little Dude trying to wear Bill's shirt.

Little Dude's first black eye. Sigh.

Little Dude looking ever so cute in his bathrobe

Making sweet tea with Mommy-Little Dude is adding some lemon juice

And now, the best part...TASTING the sweet tea!

Have a happy day!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Adoption Perspective

I am posting two posts today because I just read the most interesting insight into an adopted child's perspective. You'll have to go here to read it, but guys, it is well worth the read, esp if you know anyone that is adopting or thinking of adopting yourself.

One of the girls I have been talking with online about adoption sent it to me to help answer some questions I had. After reading it, I certainly had a new look at the whole transition process and how very frightening the whole experience must be for the child. I wonder if it would help any if the child did speak the same language? Or is someone in the family spoke the child's language, like say Spanish or French. Though honestly, I can say that if I were in that situation, it would be impossible to initially trust anyone, even if they did speak the language.

I guess it just is something I will muse over as I do more research info the whole adoption process. I did get great advice; I am going to pick a country and then find an agency that deals a lot with that chosen country. So far I have been doing it backwards and not really known what to ask agencies or felt pushed into certain countries by agencies that seemed to just want my money right away instead of helping me figure everything out. There is certainly a lot to research and learn before we seriously start the ball rolling.

Day Light Savings

So I have decided Day Light Savings is a thorn to all parents. At least, it is to us. Instead of getting up at 7:30 or 8, he is now getting up at 6:30 or 7....ARGGGG!!!!!!!! Even though we put him to bed at 8pm (which is now really 9pm)last night, he was up in his crib playing til 10 because he wasn't tired. Sunday and today...I'm going to cry if he is up that early tomorrow. Sigh. On top of it all, it seems now I am going to have to figure out his nap times and feeding times all over again because instead of just pushing forward an hour, my boy has decided to just re adjust everything. Yesterday was crazy. Super Nice.

In any case, the upside is that it is still light now when Bill gets home! And it will be nice and light for us to go jogging together once the new baby comes! Yay! Bill is my motivation; he is doing so great jogging his 3 miles every other day! I am so proud of him and can't wait til we can jog together with the kids. I am looking at a couple of different double jogging strollers, but haven't found a favorite yet. I'll post my "research" findings here for all of you who may be interested. Have a great day!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Digging In The Dirt

Yesterday was a success, everyone! Little Dude had SOOOOO much fun playing in the dirt and meeting earth worms, rollie pollies, and digging for pirate treasure! Little Dude's friend, Cole, came over to play in the dirt as well, which added to the fun!

Cole is 2 1/2, a very fun age, with a great imagination. Hey kept asking what things were (like a huge piece of mulch). My answer? Part of a pirate ship, of course! So, he got super excited to find gold, and his excitement in digging got Little Dude all excited, so the two of them furiously digging away was hysterical to watch.

I also had a sneaky plan behind all the kid's digging activity, I actually got to get all the left over fall leaves and insulation layers I put over my bulbs each year OFF the plants. Fabulous! The kids had fun, my plants got uncovered for spring, and now my flower garden actually resembles a flower garden. I also convinced Cole and Little Dude to carry the "seaweed" (weeds I had up-rooted) over to the "ocean" (a rock area back behind a huge bush next to my house, but hey, if we have pirate ships in my garden, why not an ocean next to the house?). They had a lot of fun "feeding the fish". AWESOME.

The kids really were fascinated by earth worms too. It was super great to watch them watch the worms! Cole was reluctant to touch the first worm and Little Dude kept trying to grab it (and since I was afraid he would kill it (perhaps by, gulp, eating it), I had to make the worm off limits except for "good worm pats" (I explained they were like dogs, couldn't eat them, but they loved to be petted very gently. Once the worm seemed like a dog, Cole was all about naming it. The name he thought was great? Pirate. Nice. My powerful influence is awesome.

So, enjoy the pictures, they are crazy cute!

Here is Little Dude and Cole Looking at some worms

Here is Cole telling Little Dude how my garden kneeler is really a surf board.

Little Dude digging for "gold" (my rock path)

Cute Cole!

Here are the kids moving the weeds behind the bush. Little Dude and Cole started playing peek-a-boo at this point and both were laughing quite hard! Adorable!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Happy Thursday

Today has already started out as a great day, even though it is only 8:20 in the morning. Why? Because I have gotten the house nice and clean, breakfast baking in the oven, and I am sitting here sipping some decaf coffee with lovely toffee nut creamer.I know, not good for my heartburn, but it just seemed like such a nice coffee moment I couldn't resist; all while Little Dude still sleeps away.

I LOVE it when mornings like this happen. I always start the day off more relaxed, better focused and motivated to come up with creative ideas for play. I might take him out to my "flower garden" (in quotes because really, I have to be honest and say it is a few plants struggling around some weeds) and see how he likes digging in the dirt. I know! This is the kind of cool stuff I don't mind when my day starts off so nicely! Who cares if he gets mud and dirt all over the entry way when the rest of the house is sparkling? Today is so very pretty a trip the to park will be in order, too!

Awesome. I hope the rest of you have as great a day as I am. I'll report back tomorrow on how the dirt digging goes!