Friday, October 31, 2008

AddsYou

OK, so ever since I could read I have had my nose in a book. The first thing I do when moving to a new area is join the local library. Yes, I am a bookworm. And as a bookworm, I have always had the secret dream of becoming a published author.

I even know how I would word the dedication, but so far I have only had one poem published. Awesome, yes, but I have found something that may just catapult my dream into warp drive.

AddsYou has come into my life, and as an invited writer, I get to try out the alpha version of their business, eventually get paid for blogging and GET PUBLISHED. In the "Real World" out there beyond my little blog here. Oh. My. Goodness. Something I write here might get published. I am giddier than a school girl!

Needless to say, I am super excited. THRILLED doesn't even start to describe my feelings here. AddsYou is a network site that will be collecting writing samples from authors, professional bloggers, journalists, and just ordinary people like me so we can share our stories, passions, poems, plays, papers and resources with the world! AddsYou will market our writing to the rest of the world, like news papers, magazines, book collections, and other social public networks so that your dusty screenplays, novels, journals, thoughts, and reflections can finally find their audiences! And now there might be a purpose for all those 10 page reports I had to write in college besides collecting dust in my attic....

You can learn even more by listening to the AddsYou interview with LuckyStartups.com and sponsored by Kirtsy.com.


Painting With The Little Dude

So, my son loves to paint, draw, run around, play ball-really anything that involves getting dirty is super to him! Taking pictures though? NOT up his alley! So, I tried to sneak in a picture of him finger painting because he looked so happy. But this is what I got:



I am hopping tonight he will be a little more friendly with the photo taking because I really want a picture of him in his dinosaur outfit and JR in his pumpkin outfit!!

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays, mostly because it is one we can spend just as our nuclear family' instead of trying to figure out where to go or who to visit. It is a very nice neighborhood celebration and I LOVE that. Along with the great old scary movies (no gore for me, thank you) I just love spending the night with my sweet Bill, playing with the kids, spending time as a family, watching old black and white scary movies, and greeting all the neighborhood kids and neighbors with candy. No stress, no travel, and really very little cost for the amount of fun. Yes, I have to say it is my top holiday.

I really hope I get some good pictures of our first year with both the boys, but we will see; if I get caught with the camera all the Halloween pictures might have Little Dude frowns in them....

Happy Halloween!!




Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Tips For a Safe Night

It is fast approaching to be

Halloween

! And with all the fun it brings, it also brings (sadly) a little danger.

Yes, as parents, we must beware Halloween and make sure our kids stay safe, because though it can "take a village to raise a child"*** sometimes that village has crazy people in it.

**(wish I could remember who said that..I think it is an African Proverb, but I'm not sure....I'll blame mommy brain for my lack of knowledge here)

So, here are my recommended tips for safe Halloween Trick or Treating with your kids:

*Don't use costumes with masks-this hinders your child's ability to see clearly and could cause them to fall, get hurt, not be able to breath well, etc.

*Don't allow children under the age of 18 to go alone. Yes, I know the older kids will fight you on this; HOWEVER, the older kids are also the ones that would be targets of child predators, or more likely to give to peer pressure, prove they "aren't scared" and do something dangerous. Thus, GO WITH THEM.

*Same for Little Kids. NEVER let them go alone, there should be an adult for every 4 little guys 6 and under and add one kid per age group or as you feel comfortable keeping your eyes on

*Don't go to neighborhoods that aren't lit up. My street back home is fully lit, and all the neighbors I know fully participate in fun decorations and lighting to help the kids see clearly. NEVER go up to houses that are hard to walk to, hard to see in, or dark except the one porch light. Though porch lights being on is supposed to be a sign of giving out candy, I would still never go wander to a house where there are not other trick or treaters coming and going or a lot of bright street lights and activity

*Don't go out too late. For little guys, go out right as it is getting dark, make your rounds to 10 houses or less, and then head back so you can let them participate in handing out candy to the older kids. They will get as much fun out of that as they did getting candy-if not more! For older guys, (again, under 18) make them be back by 10pm. As my mom always said, nothing good is going on past 9pm. As much as I hate to say it, she was right. I'm pushing it to 10pm for this holiday, but really, there is no reason for a high schooler to be out past 10pm. Esp since you or hubby or a trusted relative/neighbor will be with them-us parents need our beauty sleep!

*Try hosting a party for the teen children back at your house. Send out invites to the parents to let them know that they can let the kids "stay out" past trick or treating by hosting a sleep over for them. But don't hover too much at the party; try to remember being their age parents=not cool. But do hover a little, that's the point of the party, you know where they are and what they are doing (which will be eating popcorn and watching a non gory scary film. I love the black and white Dracula myself) and keeping the temptation to get into trouble at bay.

*Ration the candy. The kids will hate it, but really, no person needs that much candy in one night. If you don't, you'll never get them to sleep and you'll end up with a huge cavity bill later down the road.

*Find out if there are registered sex offenders in your area. This is huge for me. I know where the registered people are around me, and luckily there are none in my immediate neighborhood. Thus, I just will always avoid the neighborhood where the one I know of lives. Now remember, registered sex offenders could be for any crime,like statutory rape (which even if the girl is consenting but the boy is 3 years older, the parents can file against him, not particularly fair for a young man, just thought I'd throw that out there) not just child molestation, so don't go after that person with torches or anything, BUT I would take care to not allow my children around his/her home PERIOD. Because you don't know, and honestly, to me a little stereotyping in that department for me is worth it since it involves the safety of my children and me. You can search the national sex offender registry to find out what offense they have and where their home is (though please don't go harass them because really, they have to live somewhere-just don't let your children play there)

*CHECK ALL CANDY before letting your children (or yourself) eat it. Like I said above, there are some crazy people in this village of ours! Anything that is opened, might have been opened, has a tear, was homemade -unless I specifically know them and trust them, like from a dear family friend-THROW OUT. This is the one time I say go for the packaged processes stuff and nothing else. Sad, but safe. Besides, you will have so much candy on hand, following this rule will be a great way to downsize.

*Carry flashlights and have reflective tape on the backs of your costumes so cars (and people) can see you. You can find this cheap at wal-mart or even a dollar store.

*Have a charged cell phone with you. 'nuf said.

*Tell other people what route you are taking and stick to it-no deviating-then if something happens, like you sprain your ankle and can't walk AND your cell dies, someone can find you.

*Tell someone what time you will be back, so they know when to start worrying or coming out to find you and your sprained ankle

*That said, wear tennis shoes, even if your costume would look better with high heels, walking in the dark in heels is ASKING for a sprained ankle-wear the tennis shoes and make the kids to so too.

*Make your children wear age appropriate costumes. Since we are going to worry about predators we should also try to not make our children appear "sexy" or "older" than they are. No low cut/short hemmed dresses or over the top makeup for girls, no chest bearing outfits for boys and nothing that sexualizes them, even for those older guys and gals in high school. They will have plenty of college/grown up years to decide if they want to wear such costumes.

*Everything should be fun and enjoyable, so just go out, have fun, relax, and go to a few houses. Then, go back home, enjoy the candy and snuggle as a family (or try to hover over teens without looking like your hovering).


Bella Sara Review!

For anyone with little girls, you will be excited about my new review on my Miche Reviews page!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some of My Favorite Things...


So this is a special themed Works For Me Wednseday: Toys That Worked For You!

Here is a few of the items that make my list:

The Amazing Animals Sing N Go Choo Choo This is a toy my 2 year old STILL loves to play with and there are enough different songs and sounds that after over a year of owning it, I am still not tired of it. Also, there is an Off switch, for if you do!

For Little Babies, any stackable or nesting toys are fabuloust, like this or this. I love the bright colors on both of these, and the fact they are soft, safe to chew on AND with the great animal theme you can work on animal noises, names, where they live, how they act, etc-all interactive play with your baby that he/she will love. Also, the stackable/nesting type toys are some that even older kids enjoy doing, so these toys last a good long while.

For older babies and kids (around ages 1 and up ) I LOVE play kitchens!! I actually got mine really cheap ($10) off Craigslist.com, but this one here is a nice, affordable one if you are looking for something new for a holiday present, or if you are planing on having a lot of children use it, it is a good sturdy, long lasting choice because it can adjust for your kids! I also love to get cheap kitchen items, like measuring cups, spoons, what not at Dollar Trees, or any kind of discount dollar store-you can find all kinds of great stuff along with play food all for a dollar. I also reuse stuff from my kitchen (which is what Little Dude want's to play with anyway) by taping the lids on cereal boxes, or saving old plastic salt and pepper shakers so he can have them to play with in his play kitchen. Trust me, he loves the real ones (and he knows the difference!) to the really fake looking kid kitchen items you can find and they are free when you just recycle your own!

I love any toys that foster imagination with minimal lights and sound, so simple drawing and coloring are my fav. go to items. Doodle Pro is a great drawing toy for travel and even just when you are out of blank paper and there are so many kinds now! We have the orange one and Little Dude can play with it forever-it saved us on our drive to Mobile AL!

Well, those are a few of the toy items that have really worked for me and have been worth every penny I spent(or even more if I found great deals!)to have for my kids. No need to buy the latest, greatest, most expensive electronic toy, because nothing beats a great toy that inspires imagination, because that, I think, is the greatest way a kid can learn.

Now go check out Rocks In My Dryer for more great toy recommendations!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blog Giveaways!

Well, it is the wonderful Blog Carnival time, and I have quite a few giveaways going on right now! So, head over to my Miche Reviews page and see some great giveaways and discounts from Bugaloo, pHisoderm, Pillsbury, Yoplait, Sabby Apple and Lansinoh!

Leave comments on the posts with the items you want to win OR leave a comment here saying what you want to be entered for. As always, make sure I have a way to get in touch with you (ie, email or blog) to let you know if you win!

And check out all the other great giveaways going on at the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival!!

How Long Could You Survive? Part 2

So Catlin found me this great Survival quiz that pertains more to us moms. Though mad skills against a velociraptor are dandy, how are your skills at taking on 5 year olds?

18

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site



I have no idea if this is good or bad...someone else with have to take the test and tell me their number. Have fun and thanks Catlin!!

How Long Could You Survive?

So my friend Caitlin over at Soon To Be The Briggs' had this cute quiz and, like she said, it does seem to be handy information to have on hand for when, you know, velociraptors invade Mobile Alabama.

I could survive for 1 minute, 3 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds.net



If you think I have mad skills, check out Catlin...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Secret Keeper Girl

Young girls today face all kinds of peer pressure, and as a mom of boys, I do still worry about the pressure girls face, because someday my boys will date those girls. For any parent of a soon to be teen (or even a soon to be soon to be teen)girl, you should check out The Secret Keeper Girl Series as a great stepping stone for teachign lessons in modern day modesty and integrity while also opening the doors of communication between mom and daughter, something that can all to often close up in the hard to navigate tween/teen years. Read the rest of my book review on my Miche Reviews page to learn why you will want to go out right now and get this book for you and your daughter.

Hands On Learning For Me

As a family we went to the park after church on Sunday and it was so fun to watch my husband and Little Dude running around all the play equipment. Watching them play made me realize something very important:

There is nothing like hands on learning.

Yes, there are TONS of awesome toys out there, educational toys, toys that teach languages, math skills, reading skills, improve brain power....but you know what? Of all my years being around kids, it took watching my son and husband play to realize the BEST learning happens when you are with your kid.

Be it showing him how to roll down a hill (much to his sheer amazement and joy!) or letting him stir flour in a bowl while making pancakes, your child will learn the most by watching and being with you.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cloth vs Disposible

So, I use disposable diapers and have for over 2 years now. But I am beginning to think I would like to try the cloth route.

Why, for heaven's sake?

1-My sons both poop out of their diapers every time they poop, so no matter what, I am doing laundry for poop covered clothes, so really the added washing of cloth diapers won't up my laundry bill or time.

2-Both my boys get really bad diaper rash and one of the moms I met down here said he might be allergic to the chemicals in the diapers. Though the Lansinoh Diaper Rash Ointment is great at fighting the rash and keeping it at bay, my friends comments made me think "gosh, perhaps I am buying a product with a chemical that is irritating his skin then I'm spending MORE money on a product to fight that irritation" Seems like a waste of money.

3-It hit me I have no idea what those chemicals are in the diapers and sometimes they get so soaked from over night wearing that little beads of something are rubbed all over my sons' skin. That kinda bothers me. What is that stuff?

4-I have found some really cute ones along with cute water proof bags to put them in.

5-I have figured the cost I will spend for these diapers (that I can use on both boys, so no multiple sizes, just one size that adjusts) and realized that it is only a little less than what we would spend a year in disposables.

6-If we are blessed with another child (which I can say right now we do want another)then if I switch to cloth, there will be NO ADDED COST. I will have everything I need. If we stay with disposable, we will roughly have to spend another 1000.00 dollars a year. And that is if Little Dude is completely out of diapers before the third child is born.

7-Also, of my mom friend down here was telling me that disposables have been linked to male infertility because they cause body heat to stay trapped. Hmmm. I have sons. And I do want grandchildren someday. :) I know that is probably a bit conspiracy theory and probably not true, BUT it did make me think-there have been times when their little bums have been sweaty and hot on hot days outside (like the past few summers) and I'm sure the plastic the diapers are made of aren't as breathable or comfortable as a cloth one would be.

8-Again, the cost. Though the cost for cloth will be all up front, it won't cost more than what we will spend this year on diapers (in fact, if we spend the same as we are now for diapers, the cloth will come out at 223.45 cents less in the long run) And remember, I already do kid poop laundry anyway. But that would not sway me completely if it weren't for the fact that we do want another child-if not two more-and the thought of saving a couple thousand dollars by using cloth is just mind boggling-think of how we could put that money in their college funds and let it grow...wow!

9-All the women I have talked to about it say kids using cloth are potty trained much sooner than those in disposable because, frankly, wet cloth is not comfortable and you can't ignore it the way you can with the disposables that still feel dry even after the children have wet.

10-I am somewhat drawn to the cute colors I could get the diapers in-I know, dumb reason, but gosh aren't they cute?

11-They save landfills, and the more I look at our world and what I am leaving for our children, I want them to have a clean, safe world to live in, and putting their poopy diapers in a landfill for all eternity to let whatever those chemicals are in there to sit and leak into the ground has suddenly hit me as not worth it vs. the time it would take to throw a diaper in the washer....

Hmmmm... so what do you guys think? Anyone have suggestions for good cloth diapers? Anyone know where to get them used? Any options at all?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Adventures at the Library

So we went to the library for a few hours yesterday because it was raining like crazy ALL DAY and I just needed to get out of the apartment. The libaray is my favorite go to place on a rainy day-not much can top spending time reading books with Little Dude, talking to the librarians (adult contact, yay!) and finding great new reads for me (I am loving the Outlander series-fantastic!)

So where did the adventure come into my library visit? When I lost my keys.

Yes, you read right, I lost my keys. At the library. Right before lunch and nursing time. And Bill works AN HOUR away. Needless to say, I was ready to panic.

I asked everywhere, no one had found them. Then it dawned on me...perhaps I locked them in the car!!! I usually lock the car with my remote button, thus ensuring I can't lock the keys in, but this time I specifically remembered doing it manually because I had so many books, the sling, Little Dude and everything else in my hands...

So, I ran out to the car, IN THE DOWNPOUR, with BOTH the kids to desperately look in the windows to see if, in fact, I would need to be calling a locksmith and bugging Bill at work. Since I didn't see them, I actually panicked more, because, if they weren't in my car, then WHERE WERE THEY?

Well, you would all be proud of me, because I remained calm, ran back to the library (remember it was raining hard) and retraced my steps all the way back to where I had been when I first realized I was missing my keys.

And you know what? There were my keys!

Right there. On a book shelf next to the book I had wanted to check out before I realized I didn't have my keys (which has my library card on it).

Nice. Super nice. So, all three of us, soaking wet, finally got to check out books and then we went home, since, now that I had keys, we could get in the apt. Figured I should go and get in the house before I "lost" the keys again....

Can I still blame this brain dead moment on "pregnancy brain" or is 4 months after birth to late?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blogs Can Change Lives

When I worked at Disney World, I had the unique opportunity to volunteer at Give Kids The World and thus met some extraordinary kids with terminal illnesses back in the spring of 2000.

Meeting those children was such a humbling and mind opening experience. The bravery, the cheerfulness, the faith those kids had in the world, in life and in others was just amazing and breath taking to be a part of. I feel so honored to have been a part of their lives and glad to say they have forever touched mine.

And so, without further ado, I am passing along some information from 5 Minutes For Mom about how to help out children with terminal illnesses:



Pay it forward and tell the world about this great gift from Play Station and 5 Minutes For Mom-PSPs for Hospitalized Kids


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Quick Foods Works For Me!


Well, I have gone down the route of making everything for Little Dude from scratch-baby food, snacks, chopping, pureeing, smashing, and cooking-all the while making sure my child was getting good nutrition.

I'm slightly embarrassed to say I am not doing all the "from scratch" type cooking now that I have two kids. Simply getting everyone ready for a trip to the park can become an extreme sport, getting the toddler to keep his shoes on, dodging the baby spit so there is not yet another shirt change...it all takes tons of time all day, which is crazy fun, but also doesn't leave much time for cooking "from scratch". So, I have a few secrets up my sleeves now.

First off, I subscribe to Kraft Food and Family magazine-it is FREE! And full of great, QUICK meals loaded with nutrition and "sorta" homemade with lots of pre-made shortcuts. Perfect for me or anyone with a busy schedule!

Second, I use quick and easy snacks for my son that still offer great nutrition but don't take all my time to fix (then I have the time to play with JR!) One of my favorite go to items for snack time is Yoplait Kids Cup Yogurt-they come in great flavors Little Dude loves, but packed with extra vitamins and minerals to help little kids grow! They are also a GREAT source of calcium and vitamin D, which is fantastic when you kid doesn't like to drink milk very often!

Third, I cook with my crock pot all the time. I throw stuff in it in the morning, while Little Dude eats breakfast or right after I nurse JR, and then it is done by dinner, no more thoughts needed for it. My favorite recipe I got from our friends Mike and Beth:

In a Crockpot put
Thawed Chicken- 1 lb (preferably de-boned, but as long as it is thawed it is fine-also, this amount feeds Bill, Little Dude, and me with some left over)
1 16 oz can of salsa-whatever kind you prefer, I like Medium Pace
1 can of corn
Add salt and pepper to taste

Let cook (with lid on)on high for about 4 hours, or until the chicken is done. Then simply keep on warm until ready to eat.

I serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole all placed on a bed of rice. The rice I make according to package directions, usually 2 cups water to 1 cup rice, bring water to boil then add rice and turn to simmer with lid on for about 30 min. you could also mix it up by chopping up the chicken before or after cooking, and put all the items in a tortilla roll. It is super yummy, full of nutrients and no worries at all with cooking. You can also make it super healthy by getting rid of the chicken skin,fat, using lowfat sour cream and cheese and using whole grain rice or wheat tortillas.

Last, I also really enjoy anything that is quick in the oven. For fun "date time" with my husband after the kids on in bed, I LOVE to cook Pillsbury Savorings Flaky Pastry Bites. They come in different flavors, my favorite being Cheese and Spinach, and they are a great combo with a nice glass of wine-perfect for my husband and I to have some quiet and fun down time without the cost of going out!


So, those are my quick food ideas and secrets that I use. I hope the suggestions help you out with ideas! Also, if you would like to get some coupons to try one package of Pillsbury Savorings along with a "Savoring the Moment" giftbag or One package of Yoplait Kid's Yogurt along with a fun cooler tote (every mom needs a good one!), then leave a comment on my Miche Reviews page with your contact info or email me with your mailing address at coordinatedchaos@yahoo.com and say which one you would like to try the most; 3 winners for each item at random. Also, make sure you stop by Rocks In My Dryer for more fantastic Works For Me Wednesday Tips!




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Best I Could Do...

I took the boys to a pumpkin patch as part of a mom's club meeting! It was super fun, but after the activities, when I tried to get pictures of the boys together, well, this is what I got:


Little Dude would not go anywhere near his brother for a picture, much to my dismay and annoyance. JR posed sweetly for me, while I tried my hardest to talk Little Dude to coming at least in the background of the picture. Nothing worked.
Here is JR starting to not enjoy the photo taking as much
Here is when Little Dude decided to start running back to the parking lot-I snaped the picture as I was jumping up to chase Little Dude and drag him back over to the pumpkins, and did not realize I had captured JR falling over until I went through the photos later. So, guys, this is what happens when you have two kids-One runs off and the other falls over as you try to catch the running one-either way you feel like a very skilled mama. heh.
Here I FINALLY got Little Dude to go near his brother, but had to take this picture without him knowing it. And, you'll notice, JR is now propped on BOTH sides so he couldn't fall over again.

Out of desperation, I caved to the will of a two year old, and offered candy as a reward for sitting with his brother. Do you know the little hose bag was immediatly all smiles and even put his arm around JR for numerous photos? I was a little irked I had to bribe him, but hey, it worked for what I was wanting. Though, as you can see in the photo, by the time I caved to bribing Little Dude with candy, JR had had enough of the whole pumpkin patch experience and just wanted to be put back in my carrier. So, even though Little Dude was happily sitting and smiling, saying cheese and being a ham, this is the only picture I got of the two of them before JR just started screaming.

So, this was the best I could do, and of all the pictures, I think this is my favorite, because it just makes me laugh! It has my little ham playing it up for candy and my other son protesting the picture taking I was putting them through. Oh the humanity.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Day..

Well, I am late finally getting a post up, but I'm sure you guys will enjoy the update:

Little Dude is pooping EVERYWHERE. JR is spitting up EVERYWHERE. Both have wanted to be held all morning and I am covered with poop and spit up. I'm still in my pjs and in desperate need of a shower to save me from the body fluids of my sons.

I am looking forward to nap time and hoping the boys go down easily, because after they go down, I have a work call, then I am taking a shower and hopefully will still have time for a nap.

Gosh, it is only Monday, (and the day isn't half done yet!) and I am fully cooked.

But in the chaos of the day thus far, it is nice knowing I can still be in my pj's, even if they are no longer clean. Ahhh, motherhood is nice, even at it's messiest.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bye Bye Diaper Rash

After a few years and trying out a half dozen different diaper rash creams and ointments, I have finally found one that works AND doesn't stain! Lansinoh, the brand us breast feeding moms can depend on for safe and pure lanolin now has a Diaper Rash Ointment! It is just fabulous and I am in love with it-you can read the rest of my review AND learn how to score some awesome Lansinoh products for yourself by reading my Miche Reviews page!


Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love the Ghosts In My Home

Oh how I love the Ghosts in my home. They don't show themselves often, but when they do, my heart stops, I take a quick breath, and my eyes tear up for only a moment as the little Ghosts I am surrounded by flit in and out of view.

I saw one today, as my son studied his toy train, in the way he tilted his head, lowered his lashes and studied his toy. A Ghost from his infanthood flashed across his face, and my heart swelled up, thinking of how, not so long ago, that beautiful look was one I saw everyday. And then it dashed away, as he glanced up at me I saw, instead of that lovely infant face, the beautiful, mischievous face of my son.

As the days number, and my sons grow older, I see more and more Ghosts. Little baby ballet hand gestures that have all but faded away, come out every so often to visit me. Sometimes I see a little laugh that reminds me of those first baby smiles, before it fades into the bigger and louder laughing fits of older children. Little tumbling waddles sneak out every so often to visit, before bursting into the full on runs my son now loves.

Yes, I am surrounded by many Ghosts. Some are Ghosts of the past, that spring into view every so often, through a look, a sigh, a snore and some are Ghosts of the future, breaking into my present world.

Those future Ghosts I am glad and sad to see, because they mean I will only have more Ghosts of the past to visit me, and some past Ghosts might start to fade completely from my view, as my sons travel further and further to their exciting futures and adulthood.

I am so joyful to see my sons accomplish new things, reach new goals, exclaim proudly, "I DID IT!!!" To meet their futures as strong, confident men, loving husbands, adoring fathers-I enjoy all these days leading to those events in their lives.

But I know, that even when they are fathers of their own, there will be Ghosts haunting me, bringing me back to the past. A look, a sigh, a laugh, somewhere at some point, the little Ghost I know so well will pop out, and I will recognize my sweet infant in the face of a strong man.

My heart will stop, I'll take a deep breath, and I'll want to cry because I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many Ghosts.

Submitted to Scribbit's October Write-Away Contest.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holgate Blocks


Blocks are the greatest learning toys for young children-they inspire imagination, develop gross motor skills, improve language skills, and teach our children about spacial relations in the world around them. Yes, simple blocks are really super toys, and I have discovered Holgate Blocks that are simple, super and full of fun learning opportunities. Want to know where to get some learning blocks for your little one? Read the rest of my review to learn why Holgate Baby Blocks are the best!


Mom's Night Out!

The Mom group I joined down here has had a few playdates so far, and I am getting to know a few other people in the area, which is so nice for helping me to get out of the apartment and find things to do.

This weekend, I get to do something I have never done before WITHOUT kids-A Costume Party!!! For only the Moms!! Whoo hoo! Bill was so sweet and offered to take the kids before I could even finish telling him about the party!

I had one problem though-since all our stuff is back in NC, I didn't bring a costume down with me. So I searched around, but nothing seemed right until I found this in the adult section of Disneyshopping.com




It's Snow White!! I just had to have it, so I ordered it a few days ago, and it arrived yesterday! Ohhhh, I am soooooo excited!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Little Miss Muffet....



So, this is a Banana Spider, and they are ALL OVER the place down here in Mobile, AL. This one happens to live outside our apartment.

I happen to be SCARED TO DEATH of spiders. Cockroaches and Spiders I CAN'T STAND, any other bug or creature I am OK with. Though, as long as the spider stays outside, I am good with her, otherwise it's bye bye spider.

However, these Banana Spiders are so big, that I already told Bill that if he ever came home to find me and the kids in the van, he would know one of those giant spiders go into the house.

But, this one is kinda growing on me, and in an attempt to not make my son scared to death of spiders as well, we have even given this one a name: Charlotte.

Yes, like Charlotte's Web. I'm liking the spider more already.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Life Aquatic!


For the past few weeks, my toddler has been in a very wet heaven! You can find out why and how by reading my latest Toddler Product Reviews and learning why we are so excited to be on cloud nine living The Life Aquatic thanks to Spin Master!

Seeing if I can win a Bed...


5 Minutes for Mom has a contest to win a new bed set when you enter a picture of your child sleeping...this is my favorite of Little Dude sleeping next to Bill on the floor. I think it was from this past May and they just wore each other out playing! My awesome guys!

And so, keep your fingers crossed we win the Summer Breeze Set, cause that would be so awesome....


Monday, October 13, 2008

4 Months




I can't believe it has been 4 months already-where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday he came into our lives! What is even more unbelievable? He is sleeping through the night now!! Hallelujah! Though I am sad he is getting so big so quickly, I am ever so happy to get sleep again.

Happy 4 Month Birthday, JR!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Perfect Dress at Shabby Apple



As a new mom, I hate shopping for clothes. Nothing fits, and it is hard finding clothes in those first few post partum months that make my body look fabulous, instead of "good for having just had a baby". It can be a bit alarming when you try on size after size, realize how much your body changed during your pregnancy, and how some of that just is never going to go back to "before". Thus, my newly founded hatred of the mall.

Never fear though, I have found a perfect solution to dreaded clothes shopping for moms everywhere!! Not only do I get to avoid trying to juggle two kids, all their STUFF, a double stroller (though awesome for keeping the kids from running off, you can't avoid the size), and stacks of clothes in every size possible hoping, er praying, that one item might fit, I get to help fight global poverty with my purchase! Now that is a shopping experience!

What is this wondrous place I speak of? The Shabby Apple. And trust me, their clothes and amazing accessories are anything but shabby!

Learn more about the Shabby Apple line of chic everyday, every night and every occasion dresses by reading the rest of my review! You can also earn a discount on your next purchase-learn the details here!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Everest

My friend, Steph, has wonderful posts up here and here

And there is some great Motherhood questioning going on here

To be honest, I am going to have to think hard about my answers-What do I excel in as a Mother? If you asked that about my crafty skills, or back when I was in high school, I'd have a whole slew of answers for you, eager to show off what I thought I did very well in. But now? I honestly don't know that I excel at motherhood. I do my best, I have fun doing it, but excel? There is really not much that I do that I feel would win me mother of the year. I often don't have the dishes done, or the laundry folded. Sometimes I forget the time and naps are late. And yes, sometimes when I work I turn on the tv to keep Little Dude busy. So am I a good mom? I don't know. I'm glad The Extraordinary Ordinary asked, but I really can't pin point anything that I am just super great at as a Mom. In fact, I would say I am all around mediocre.

And let's not even get started on what I fail at as a parent. I can think of many more of those than I want to admit. The biggest? Since having JR I fail at leaving the house. It's hard for me to get everything together and done and out the door without just feeling like the effort is not worth it. But deep inside I know it is, and so I keep trying, over and over again because I know someday I'll get it. And I fail at patience. Again, since JR, I know I have much less patience, and I try to blame it on lack of sleep, but really I know that it is just because I am overwhelmed with all the things I want and try to do with the kids, and get upset when I can't get them accomplished.

But you know, I think it is OK to be mediocre at Mothering, because my Love is bigger than Everest, and eventually I will make it to the summit. I know the view from the top will be well worth the climb.

And then, we will make it out the door without me forgetting half the stuff we need, enjoy a nice picnic at the park without anyone running away as I try to grab the baby and catch him, Little Dude wont fall while I'm not paying attention and bust his lip open, and I will come home to a nice clean house, dinner ready on time, dishes done, laundry done,....

Who am I kidding, the laundry will never be done.



Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sweet Sunrise


Gosh, I don't know the last time I watched a sunrise; I had forgotten how amazing it truly is. This morning, JR's feeding timed up right before the sunrise, so I pulled a chair outside and nursed him on the back patio while we waited for the sun to come up.

It was just amazing, and filled me with so much inspiration for our world, our lives, and our future. Sitting there with my son-snuggling with him and talking to him-while watching the sun come up, just reminded me how very unimportant and insignificat things I stress about are.

As most of you know, my computer died this past weekend, and I ended up having to buy a new one. I did get all my files switched over, but I am still trying to learn where they are and figure out this Windows Vista (I had Windows 2000, I think...) organized everything again, and most of all catch up on all the TONS of work that piled up for me at Dakno. All of yesterday I was stressing out over how I would ever find the time to catch up on everything that had piled up on me.

But this morining gave me a breath of fresh air. Sitting, listening to the world around me come alive as the sun started to warm us all up. In the big scheme of the world, I am so small in insignificant, and I have all my needs and majority of my wants satisfied. I have a healthy family, lovely boys and a wonderful husband. We have jobs that pay well. In fact, I have the best of both worlds with my job-I stay home with my sons, and work when they nap or when I have extra time at night.

So, overall, nothing to stress about today, because years from now it won't matter if I had to let my boss know I couldn't finish a project on time. But it will matter that I spent the morning with my son, watching the sun rise.

Yes, I think I will remember this morning into my nineties.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shaving Cream Finger Paint

This is a repost of one of my favorite toddler/children activities. Little Dude just loves it and spent hours yesterday playing with the shaving cream, coloring, and just having a blast! Here is how to do it:



It is another Works For Me Wednesday hosted by Rocks In My Dryer! This time around I will share a fun fingerpainting alternative for preschool aged children (or children that are no longer trying to eat every new thing they see).

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint

I wouldn't advise this activity for children with sensitive skin or those prone to licking their fingers! If you like, substitute whipped cream or instant pudding if you are worried about the kids trying a taste.

Take:
Shaving Cream
Food Coloring or Tempera Paint

Squirt some shaving cream (or whatever you decide to use) onto a table top, highchair tray or piece of paper. Add a few drops of food coloring or sprinkle a bit of powdered tempera paint for instant fingerpaint fun!

Also, this is a great way to introduce letters and numbers to those of you with children 3 or 4 and up. You can put the shaving cream on the paper, spread it out, and show your kids out to spell out their names, initials or count up members of the family by using their fingers as "pens" in the cream. This is great for kids that are ready to move to learning letters and numbers, but just not quite at the motor skill level to hold a pen, crayon or chalk very well yet.

And this is a great way to make learning fun-just as it should be, esp for young children! This is also a FANTASTIC activity for a rainy day or to even do in the bathtub, with or without water. Just put the shaving cream on the tile walls and let the kids go to town. (watch the dye if you have white grout, as it might stain, you may prefer to just use plain shaving cream or pudding in the tub.)

All my preschoolers loved writing in the shaving cream and picking out the colors they wanted the cream to be, and it is also a great way to show how primary colors, when mixed, can create dozens of other colors!

Well, I hope you all have fun with this project!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Time

Some of my friends and family wonder how I do everything I do. Honestly, most of the time I don't feel like I do that much! The key, I think, is organization:

Whenever I have work to do for Dakno, I prioritize what I can get done quickly, and try to save big, on going tasks for weekends, or nights when my husband can take the kids for a few hours. Otherwise, I work when the kids nap.

For my blog, I have been doing posts during some of my nighttime feedings for JR, and I have been trying to write a few posts ahead of time (like this one I actually wrote on Monday) but then schdule them to post later in the week, when I know I will be too busy to spend time wrting for my blog.

With the kids, even though I like organization, when it comes to them, everything is pretty go with the flow. I do my best to not stress if we can't make a playdate on time, or miss library time, as long as I can get them out to play outside at least once a day, I am happy. Being flexible with their needs, (and putting those needs first) makes it easy to schudule everything else around them.

If I know we will be going to a playdate at 10, and that is working out with feedings, etc, then I know I can plan to get the kids lunch and naps by 12, and then start working by 12:30 or 1. Or, if we miss playdate because of a JR feeding, then I will take the kids for a walk, and then do my best to have them naping by 1, and start work around 1:30.

What if JR won't nap when Little Dude does? I make sure he is comfortable, fed, has a new diaper and toys to look at, or a swing to play with, and I put him down to entertain himself while I work. In the cases where he is unwilling to be put down, I wear him in a sling and let him watch me work. Usually after a little bit of wearing, he will fall asleep for me.

When do I clean the house and grocery shop? I do all cleaning in the afternoon while dinner is in the over. I geneally try to cook things that I can be unplugged from-like deep dish caseroles, or other such oven items. That way I can walk around tidding up the house before Bill gets home (and because really doing it before hand never works, the kids just pull everything out again anyway). All errands I run first thing in the moring, as early as possible so as to not have to mess with afternoon lines and so that I have the rest of the day to devote to kid outtings.

And above all? I have an awesome, amazing husband that loves jumping in to take care of the kids and give me breaks from them, which gives me the chance to really play with my blog, or if I need too, work. Thanks, Sweetheart!