Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hand, Foot & Mouth

I wrote last week about my mission to become more content in my role as mother and homemaker. Almost as soon as I decided this, my kids came down with a virus. Fevers, rashes, mouth blisters...not fun! A visit to the pediatrician brought a diagnoses of hand, foot and mouth disease. What followed was three days of no eating, no drinking, screaming fits, no sleep, round after round of advil and tylenol, and holding my 2 year old down in order to force feed him liquids. It wasn't fun.

I'm actually happy that, if we had to have this illness permeate our home, it came right after I decided to become more content. My first instinct was to get frustrated. (And believe me, it wasn't always easy to push that frustration down!) But for the most part, I managed to remember that my kids didn't feel well. They needed me. Yes I missed out on several fun mommy gatherings and a Halloween party for the kids. But the important thing was to take care of my children. To nurture them, to comfort them, to let other things fall by the wayside.

I realized that in order to do this, to put them first without being resentful, I needed to refocus my thoughts. I'm constantly telling Stephanie, my 3 year old, to be more mindful. To pay attention to her body so she doesn't run into things. To slow down and listen to what i'm telling her so that she doesn't end up in the bathroom with the dinner plate that she was supposed to be bringing to the sink. (This really happens in our house. Frequently. Her head is often in the clouds.) I needed to do the same thing. To slow down and catch myself exhibiting signs of discontent. Just the simple act of being aware of my huffs and sighs and frustrated feelings helped me to turn them around and not be as aggravated. It's amazing how really slowing down and acknowledging my feelings helped.

Happily, our family is now back to normal. The kids are almost completely healed and I'm going back to my original project of enjoying the ins and outs of everyday life. Stay tuned, next up is how i'm learning to enjoy early mornings.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Becoming Content

I've spent the past few months doing a lot of thinking.

In general, I know that i'm a happy person. I know I have many blessings in my life, and i'm very grateful for those blessings. I have a loving family, a supportive husband, two healthy children, a beautiful home, and most of all I get to live my dream by staying home and raising my kids.

But I find myself acting unhappy. I snap at my children and husband too often. I sigh through my household chores. I find myself looking at the clock waiting for bedtime. Too often I think "I seriously have to prepare another meal for these kids?" And I don't like feeling like this.

In an effort to start acting happier, I re-read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I love that book. I've also been reading blogs by other stay-at-home mom's. And I've come to the conclusion that, while i'm happy, i'm not content. And I want to be!

A big part of becoming content is changing my attitude and the way I think about and approach the job that I am here to do. I've been working hard (and I have a lot more work ahead of me!) to start being content, and I hope to share these things with you. Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about:

Training Myself Not To Yell
Developing A Daily Routine
Streamlining My Meal Plan and Grocery Shopping
Saying No To Outside Obligations
Living In The Moment

And more. I have a lot of ideas, a lot of plans, and I'm excited to start implementing them. I hope you'll follow along on my journey, and feel free to share any of the ways that you've found to be content and happy with the everyday aspects of your life.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday

It's been a long (long) time since I've written a Thankful Thursday post. I've missed it. I have so much to be thankful for each and every day, and having this space to write down those things help me focus on them. Recalling the good things in life help make the not-so-good things more manageable. So this week I'm thankful for:

~My healthy babies. My heart broke for blogger Diana Stone when I read that her two week old son didn't pull through. If you aren't familiar with her story, the very short version is that she lost her twins early in her pregnancy last year. (Maybe 20ish weeks.) Her water broke, but she managed to keep them in longer than anyone expected. Eventually she gave birth to them, and lost them. When she got pregnant again with her son, I was thrilled for her. Then he was born, and they discovered he had a heart condition. I sobbed reading the news that he wasn't going to make it. It made me hug my own little ones extra tight.

~Our house. With Dan in the middle of extensive training, we haven't seen him much at all. When I start to get irritated about not seeing him, and the kids are cranky and whiny, and I have to do everything alone, I remind myself that it's all for a good cause. His job is the reason we have our house at all. And the alternative would be living back on the college campus, something I definitely wouldn't want to go back to.

~My 3 week nannying stint. My friend Julie asked me earlier this year to watch her 3 year old daughter for the last three weeks of the summer. I watched her for a year back when our girls were babies, and it was nice to get the opportunity to do it again. It's been a good distraction for the kids, to have something each day to look forward to and to keep busy. It takes their mind off the fact that they haven't seen their Daddy for more than a few hours over the course of two weeks.

~Our very, very limited budget. Ok this one is a stretch. Trying to spin this into a positive isn't easy. But since buying our house we've had to cut many non-essentials. I'm living on a shoe-string, and there are days when I get frustrated because the kids need fall wardrobes, our fridge is bare, and there's no money left in the monthly budget. But, I remind myself that things will get better, and this is a good lesson in being frugal. It's teaching me the difference between wants and needs, something I thought I already knew. But it turns out that a lot of our needs aren't really so necessary and it's amazing the things you can cut out and still lead a happy life.

I hope you all have a happy weekend, and remember to look for the good when times are tough. It's not always easy, but there's usually a silver lining if you look hard enough. What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Living

Oh why hello there blog world. It's been a while.

Summer has been busy and not so busy, all at the same time. We've spent equal amounts of time at home being lazy and trying to get out of our blistering hot house. Since we didn't get air conditioners until mid-July we did a lot of mall trips to escape the heat. Once we did get air conditioners we spent time home, relishing the fact that we could be in our brand new house without melting completely.

We've had a lot of play-dates with friends that we're excited to finally live close to. We've had barbecues and beach nights, birthday parties and zoo trips. We've gone camping, swimming, and playgrounding. But most of all, we've soaked up every last minute of normalcy with Dan coming home each night.

Sadly, that part of summer ended this weekend when he moved back to our old apartment for a two-week session of training his new school-year staff. He'll have to live there now until December when he'll get a month off, and then again until May. We're sad, but looking on the bright side. The end of summer means the upcoming fall season is almost here, and we love fall!

So while it'll be hard to once again solo parent 6 out of 7 days and nights during the week, I'll be eagerly looking forward to crisp, cool weather, cardigans and boots, colorful leaves, pumpkins and apples.

The season feels over for us, but if you're still in summer mode, soak up every last bit of the season. I *promise* to update more frequently now that we're back to our own version of normal!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

BabyGanics Pure Mineral Sunscreen Review!

By now most of you know how much I LOVE Babyganics. They are a fantastic company, and I look to them for so many of my baby, toddler and household needs. I love knowing that I can feel good about using their products on my children because they are all completely non-toxic and free of any "yucky" stuff. (PABAs, Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Nano-Particles and fragrances.)

I was thrilled when I was sent a bottle of their Cover Up Baby Pure Mineral Moisturizing lotion, SPF 30. This mineral lotion is awesome because, not only does it provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, but it moisturizes at the same time! This is a huge selling point for me because we all have dry, sensitive skin that typically gets worse with sunscreen use. This one left our skin smooth and hydrated. I love that it's water resistant, maintains it's SPF for up to 80 minutes, and the active ingredients are Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. (I always prefer our sunscreens to have those as the main ingredients, as opposed to the various chemical combinations out there.)

I loved the feel of this sunscreen (I used it on myself as well as my kids) and loved that once it was blended in you didn't feel like you were wearing a thick layer of goop. It took a little extra time to blend in, but I feel like that is a small sacrifice for all the other great qualities that this sunscreen has.

It's also worth mentioning that it boasts a "Tear Free!" claim on the bottle. I can attest to the fact that this is true because my daughter loves to help apply her sunscreen and she got in on her eyelids and never once whined or complained that it stung. That's a major win in my book!

If you're looking for a safe, natural, and most of all effective sunscreen for your kids this summer, than I highly recommend BabyGanics Cover-Up Baby Pure Mineral Sunscreen. You can find it at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, babiesrus.com and Diapers.com. It retails for 10.99 and is available in a 4oz tube. Definitely check it out!

*Disclaimer: I was provided product for this review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summertime (Almost)

I've spent the past few months on a merry-go-round. At least, that's what it feels like. Life has just been go, go, go, go, go. And I don't like it. I want things to slow down. I want to enjoy my life, my kids, my husband. I want to live in the present instead of always thinking about what I need to do next. This is a constant battle for me, and one I've written about before. But right now I think it's achievable and I'm determined to slow life down just a little.

Stephanie's school ended last week, and our library story-time ended the week before. Dan's summer work is much more scheduled and routine than during the school year, so his comings and goings are more predictable. We have a lot of occasions and get-togethers and events planned, but our general day-to-day life is wide open. And I plan to take full advantage of it.

We are going to have slow mornings, with breakfast in our pjs. We'll have playdates, but not every day. We'll have times where we don't leave the house at all. We'll relax. We'll play outside. We'll eat dinner from the grill. If the house isn't spotless and the laundry is piled high, well it's summer. Who cares? I can't wait to play, to laugh, to read and splash and create with my kids. They are at such a fun age, and i'm determined to take advantage of our freedom from obligations! In fact, i'd be quite content if all of our summer days were spent like this:

Here's to a great summer!

*I know that not every day will be entirely fun, relaxing, and free from obligations. But if we can have even one day a week like that, i'll be happy. And I figure that if I state that it will happen, then i'm more apt to ensure that it does!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Forever Touch Giveaway!

Father's Day Gift Ideas (that won't be donated to Goodwill next year)giveaway hosted by Baby Gators Den
*My friend Joanna over at Baby Gators Den is hosting this giveaway. I think Forever Touch is fantastic so I wanted to help her promote them!*

Father's Day is only a few weeks away and I've already started racking my brain for gift ideas for my husband. How can I find something special enough for the man who is such a loving father to my two children? I don't want to give some golf balls or something that's going to last a year or two then get tossed into a donate pile during the next basement purge. I want to give the fathers in my life something that they will hold close to their heart and treasure for a lifetime. Some of my most prized possessions are pieces of jewelry or keepsakes passed down from past generations because when I hold them I feel a connection to my great-grandmother or whomever it belonged to. So when you're thinking about Father's Day gift ideas for your husband, dad or grandpa this year, think outside the box. Wouldn't it be amazing to give them something that they can feel a connection to you and your children at any time or place? I've written about Forever Touch before and how much I love their keepsakes and jewelry. They can make whatever your heart desires for the father in your life. Just think about how special it will be for not only them, but future generations in your family.
Father's Day Gift Ideas (that won't be donated to Goodwill next year)
The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas that Forever Touch can design for you:
  • pendants
  • bracelets
  • cuff links
  • money clips
  • tie bars
  • tie tack
  • key rings
  • paper weight
  • whatever you can dream up, they can make...
The owners of Forever Touch, Virgil and Cynthia, are some of the kindest people I have ever met. Not only can they create one-of-a-kind keepsakes that will be treasured forever, but they make it an absolute pleasure to work with them. If you live in Rhode Island, you can visit their Cranston showroom (935 Park Ave., Cranston, RI 02910) but if you live out of state they can make the process just as easy by mailing you everything you need to make your keepsake. Give them a call at (401) 467-6880 or visit them on Facebook to talk with them about your one-of-a-kind gift.
Visit Forever Touch to learn more at:
I'm very excited to be able to giveaway a $250 gift certificate to Forever Touch to a lucky reader. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. There are multiple ways to earn an entry and the more you enter, the better your chances! Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Family Fun Weekend!

For the first time in a long time we had an entire weekend that wasn't focused on house-related chores and errands at all. Instead, we spent both days together, as a family, having fun.

On Saturday we headed over the bridges to beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. We go every year the weekend after Mother's Day so that Dan and the kids can take me out to lunch at The Red Parrot restaurant. I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough. For one thing, it's located right in downtown Newport.The staff is friendly, they are very accommodating to little ones and the strollers that come with them, and the food is fantastic.

We spent the rest of our time in Newport watching the boats, popping in and out of stores and discovering fun things like lobsters, anchors and cannons!

Today we headed to our local zoo, Roger Williams Park and Zoo. The kids had a blast seeing the animals, but watching the Elephants get their bath was definitely the highlight of our trip. (Stephanie gets upset when we go and the Elephants are actually outside where they belong and not inside being cleaned.) 

We walked through the zoo for about an hour, then stopped for lunch. (I planned ahead and brought our own, which was both healthier and cheaper!) Then we went to the zoo's Big Backyard, an outdoor play and exploration center, where Joseph got soaked in the sprinklers...and loved it! And of course, no trip to the zoo is complete without a stop for fresh popped popcorn at the end. 

As we left, Dan and I talked about what a great day it was, and how both kids are at the perfect age for the zoo now. They get excited to see the animals, we don't have to worry about keeping the stroller moving so Joseph doesn't get fussy, and we don't have to be as concerned with feeding and nap schedules. Instead we get to focus on having fun as a family. In fact, we had so much fun that I didn't even take any pictures! Bad blogger, I know.

I love relaxing, fun weekends like this, and I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend too!  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

I'm not going to bother making excuses for why it's been so long since I've blogged. I honestly feel like I've promised myself i'm going to get back to writing consistently about, oh, 100 times since the start of this year.

So instead I'll just jump back into it, and hope it's the start of a new trend!

Yesterday, of course, was Mother's Day. It was my 4th year celebrating being a Mom, and I think it was the best yet. The kids slept until 7:15, which meant I was able to drink 2 cups of hot coffee AND read my book in peace before they stirred. Seriously, that could have been all the celebration I needed. That's how much I had been craving that morning alone time.

Dan showed up an hour or so later and he came bearing bagels, donuts and more coffee, as well as flowers and gifts from the kids. We had a nice breakfast together, went for a family walk, had lunch and put the kids down for naps. Then he went outside, leaving me more quiet time to myself. I almost didn't know what to with such unusual amounts of me-time!

Later in the afternoon my parents and sisters came to celebrate. My amazing mom brought dinner, and we all had a nice time chatting and spending time together.

It was such a great day and i'm so thankful to have such a wonderful family. Being a mom is the best thing I've ever done with my life, as well as being the most challenging. It's made me understand my own mom so much more, and has brought me so much closer to my sister and all my other mom friends. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day! I hope all of you had a wonderful day too, and I really hope to write again sooner than a month from now!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BabyGanics' Fine & Handy Hand & Face Wipes: Review

I know I've written before about how much I love Babyganics products. This line of safe, non-toxic, and most importantly effective baby products are a hit in our house. We use everything from their sunscreen to their toothpaste, and have been thrilled with it all.

One of the items I use frequently as a mom of two messy toddlers is baby wipes. I find myself using wipes for so much more than just diaper changing. I grab them to wipe down little hands that have been playing outside or with messy crafts, faces that clearly show how much my child loved his or her meal, and much more. I've always just used regular wipes, but when I learned that BabyGanics had created a wipe specifically for hands and faces, I couldn't wait to give them a try!

BabyGanics' Fine and Handy Hand and Face wipes are fantastic! I have been using them for so much, both around the house and when we're out and about. Joseph is very messy when he eats, so when we're out at a restaurant I will grab one of the BabyGanics wipes for his face and hands. I also wipe down his hands with one every time we leave a store. (I never remember to wipe down the shopping cart handle until he's already held onto it for most of our trip. I figure wiping his hands at the end is just as good!) I love the compact packaging of these wipes, because it's easy to toss them right into my purse as we're heading out. They are also useful around the house. Stephanie is very into crafting, particularly with messy things like glitter glue. She hates when it gets on her hands though, so I leave one of the BabyGanics wipes with her at her little table, and she'll use it to wipe her own hands whenever they get messy.

My favorite part about BabyGanics' Fine and Handy Hand and Face wipes is the fact that they don't contain any of the icky things that many other wipes do. They have no chlorine, parabens, bleach, sulfates, or phthalates. They're made with natural, plant-based ingredients and are non-toxic and gluten-free. Not only do they work great at cleaning up messy little hands and faces, but they also moisturize and hydrate with special skin conditioners. This is great for my kids because, like their mama, they suffer from awful dry skin almost all year long. And finally, I love the fact that they are biodegradable. I always feel guilty when I reach for a wipe to clean up my kids instead of a cloth, but this eliminates that guilt because they are environmentally friendly. 

You can find BabyGanics' Fine and Handy Hand and Face wipes at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon.com, Diapers.com and Vine.com. They retail for $4.99 for a pack of 30 wipes. I highly recommend these wipes...and with a face that often looks like this...
...we use a lot of wipes!

*I was provided with products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Little Peek Into Our New House

We have officially been in our new home for a full week now! We lucked out last weekend and had beautiful weather for moving. The sun was out, the temperature was warm, and we had many helpful friends and family to assist us.

The past week has been a whirlwind of unpacking, adjusting, setting things up and just generally settling into our new place and our new routines. 

The kids adjusted really well, although Joseph isn't sleeping great in his new room yet. The first few nights were the worst, with him refusing to go to sleep unless I rubbed his back, and then he woke 5-6 times throughout the night. Luckily he's stopped that, and will put himself to sleep again. His night wakings are down to 1 or 2, and they're quick little "I lost my paci!" wake ups. 

He also took a few days to get comfortable in his new surroundings. He was following me around and whining and refusing to let me out of his sight. Now he's thrilled to explore, discover and play with his sister. 

They especially love their new play area and our sun room. They both beg to play down here all day long. It's a great space for them to run and feel like they're outside while still being contained. (There are two windows that look into the room from the kitchen  You can see one on the left side of the picture. It's so helpful for me because they will play and entertain themselves in here while I cook!) 

Stephanie is lost in her own little world, playing in her favorite room

The playroom. The sliding glass door to the sunroom is on the left wall of this room , not visible in the picture. The kids love being able to go back and forth between the two play spaces!

Looking into the living room from the hallway. This room is my favorite! It gets sun all  day long and is so cozy. I can't wait to get the last of the boxes out of here and get things hung on the walls!

I'm thinking I should probably take some pictures of the house in the daylight to share! There is sunshine in every room all day long, except for the kitchen. I never have to turn lights on in the daytime. 

I'm excited to finally be settling in and will get back into my regular blogging routine this week! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

I had plans to do a big Easter recap post yesterday, but as with most of my plans these days it didn't happen. We did have a wonderful day though. The kids, Stephanie especially, had so much fun tearing into their baskets and hunting for eggs. We went to my sister's house for Easter dinner and I ate way too much good food which, combined with the overabundance of chocolate in this house, is not helping my get healthy goals. But anyway.

During the egg hunt at my sister's house, Joseph's wheezing seemed to get worse. He has been sick on and off since February, with this latest cold lingering longer than most. His sleep had been non-existent and we were having nights reminiscent of the first 7 months of his life. (Meaning we walked him around our tiny apartment for hours on end, trying to help get comfortable.) But he acted completely fine during the day. Maybe a little whinier and clingier than normal, but still his happy self. Even the wheeze didn't concern me much, as it's something we notice every time he gets a cold and the Dr usually says it's nothing. But it was really pronounced when he came in from running around outside in the cold air, which caused a little niggle of worry in my brain. Then he had another night of no sleep, so it was off the the Dr we went yesterday morning.

Sure enough, the Dr says he has a slight case of pneumonia. I had no idea he was so sick. This boy has the opposite of a man-cold every time he gets sick. The smile never leaves his face, so it's hard to know when he really doesn't feel good. But I feel so terrible that all those nights of frustration from him not sleeping were really him unable to breathe comfortably. But the good thing is that now he has medicine and is on the mend. He slept all night long last night and knock on wood is sleeping soundly tonight too. He should be well on the road to recovery by the time we move to the new house on Saturday.

If you celebrated, I hope your Easter was full of blessings and that you had a wonderful day!

Happy Easter from my loves

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Delicious Banana Bread!

Stephanie is very into baking lately, and asks me every day what we're going to make. I love the time that she and I get to spend together in the kitchen, and I have to say that she's a very good helper! She pours things into the bowl and mixes everything together for me. She is always proud of our final product and tells me that she is my star chef. 

One of our favorite baked goods is banana bread, and after trying many different recipes I finally found the perfect one. The original recipe came from SimplyRecipes.com and can be found here: Simply Recipes Banana Bread

I modified it very little because it was almost perfect the way it was. I've made it twice now, and the first time it came out a little overdone, so I shortened the baking time by 5 minutes. I added walnuts the first time, which was delicious as well. (My husband likes chocolate chips in his banana bread so I'll be adding those next time.)

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Banana Bread

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed (I used 3 each time and let Stephanie mash them with a potato masher. It was her favorite part of the whole process.)
1/3 C melted butter
1 C sugar 
1 egg, beaten
1 teas vanilla
1 teas baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

1) Preheat oven to 350 
2) With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas, in a large mixing bowl
3) Mix in sugar, egg and vanilla
4) Sprinkle in the baking soda and salt. Mix.
5) Pour mixture into a buttered 4/8 inch loaf pan. (I used cooking spray instead of butter)
6) Bake for 1 hour (As I stated above, I took it out 5 minutes sooner.)
7) Cool on a rack, then remove from pan. Slice to serve. (We ate this yesterday while it was still warm from the oven. SO delicious!)
*I'm linking up with my friend Candice over at The New Modern Momma today for Tasty Tuesday! Hop on over to get some other delicious recipe ideas from some amazing bloggers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sibling Bonds Over At Moonfrye

My third post went live over at Moonfrye yesterday!

I'm sharing a little mom-confession regarding my initial wish for another girl the second time around. I'd love for you to hop over and check out my story of sibling bonds and the love between a sister and brother. It was one of my favorite posts to write, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Sibling Bonds on MoonFrye

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Well-Being Wednesday

Way back in January I posted about my goals to get healthy. (I originally planned to have a different goal every month of 2013. But since trying to get healthier is a never-ending battle for me, I'm continuing with that until I feel I've reached a point where I can say I've achieved my goal.)

The winter has been tough, full of illnesses and house buying stress. But I've noticed that I'm snacking a lot less and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet. I don't buy many processed snacks at all anymore which means they aren't in the cabinet tempting me. I also cut nighttime snacking cold turkey. It's the only way that works for me because once I have one small snack, I can't stop and attack everything in sight.

I've been planking every day and alternating between either yoga or strength training each day. I make sure I get at least a 10 minute workout in because there is no way I can claim to be so busy that I can't take 10 minutes for myself. It might not seem like much of a workout, but it really seems to be making a difference. And since I only need to do 10 minutes I don't blow it off or stop doing it altogether. It's all about finding what works, and what works for me is small daily workouts!

I haven't reached my goal weight, and i'm 1.5 pounds away from the lowest I've been since having children. But my clothes fit better, I have more energy and my body seems much leaner and more muscular than it was before. (I'm no body builder but some of the leftover baby flab has started to disappear.) I also managed to wear a pair of my pre-Stephanie pants for the first time ever on Monday. (They are really too tight though, and by the end of the night my stomach hurt from the button digging into me. But I was still proud of being able to get them on!)

It's good to finally feel like i'm making progress toward becoming a healthier version of myself. I know I still have a long way to go, but just the fact that I started this journey in January and am still plugging away at it in March is good for me! (I have a tendency to start a project, go into it full force and then forget about it a few weeks later.)

Are you working on becoming healthier? Are there other goals or resolutions that you've been working on? Feel free to share what works and doesn't work for you!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Little House Update

Our official closing date is set for March 27th. That's less than two weeks away! I feel like there's still so much to do, even though we've accomplished a lot. (I have to give credit to my husband for that. He's been on vacation this past week and got so much done.) We aren't officially moving in until April 6th, since the weekend before that is Easter, but we plan on spending that in-between week moving a little here and a little there, and buying any necessary housewares.

I really need to get a move on the packing thing. I packed only three boxes so far, but in my defense we don't actually have any more boxes. So I guess the first thing on my to-do list is to get more. But I run into the issue of what to pack. I look around and think, "But we might need that before we move!" I also don't know what to do with the boxes once I fill them. I think I just need to resign myself to the fact that it's going to be chaos around here for awhile.

We bought furniture last week, which was fun. (We're going into this house with zero furniture. We've been living in a furnished apartment for as long as we've been together. So we get to start from scratch.) It's all set to be delivered two days after we close. So even if I don't pack anything else, at least the house will be furnished!

Other than that, it's been a lot of talking, a lot of phone calls and a lot of list making. Our whole lives are wrapped up in this process right now, and I honestly didn't realize quite how much it takes over everything. So I apologize in advance if you don't see much of anything besides house and moving stuff on this blog for awhile! I really haven't been able to focus on anything else.

If you have any moving tips for me, especially moving with two kids under 4, please share! In the meantime I'm going to go sit and think about boxes. Maybe if I think hard enough, they'll just appear...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Raising a Good Eater; Moonfrye Post 2

My second Moonfye post went live on Sunday! I meant to update over here as well, but as usual I can't seem to stay on top of things. I promise once we move I'm making myself a blogging schedule and I'm sticking to it!

I'm very blessed that my kids are great eaters. I know some people really struggle to get their kids to eat, and some have tried every trick in the book with no success. But if you're looking to get some ideas, I wrote down all the things we've done and continue to do at meals and snack times to help our kids eat well. I'd love for you to pop over to Moonfrye and check out the post!

How To Raise A Good Eater

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sick Days...

We've spent the past few weeks inside battling colds, ear infections, stomach bugs and flu-like viruses. One of the four of us has been sick every day since February 18th. I'm so sick of it! I've been the latest one afflicted, just as I thought my cold had gone away. On Friday night I started to not feel good, and I woke at 2am with chills, body aches, nausea and dizziness. I went to the Dr. yesterday and he said he thinks it's the flu, although the rapid flu test came back negative. That basically means I have a virus but since it's not technically THE flu, he can't give me any medicine. Is it spring yet???

Right now I'm pretty useless around the house, and feeling so grateful that my husband has stepped up to take over the child care while I rest and feel sorry for myself recover. Up until I got hit with this round of sickness I'd been doing my best to keep everyone busy while one or both children needed to be kept indoors to get better.

This has been tough, because both the kids and I have a tough time being cooped up, and it's always worse when you don't feel good. It gets especially rough when the kids are starting to feel better but Dan and I feel sick. (We had colds at the same time. It was not fun.) Somehow we managed to keep ourselves busy with books, puzzles, games, and crafts. I have to offer a huge thank you to everyone who gave Stephanie busy gifts for her birthday. The board games and crafts were a huge help in keeping her occupied while she didn't feel good!

One of the things that Stephanie and I decided was that we needed to bring a hint of spring into our house. She thought it would be a great idea to do some spring crafts, so I decided to let her make a giant flower.

I cut a tulip shape out of yellow paper, handed her a bottle of glue and a bag of spring-colored pom-poms and it kept her busy for at least half an hour.

She insisted that the final product get hung on the wall. I think it came out pretty cute!

What do you do with your kids on rainy, snowy or sick days when you can't leave the house? I'm always looking for fun suggestions! Also, please send healthy vibes our way...

Monday, March 4, 2013

February Book List

I can't believe it's March already! This is an exciting month for us, as it is the month that we will officially become home owners. February was spent in a whirlwind of realtor meetings and phone calls, bank meetings, etc. Hopefully the time we have from now until closing will be a little more settled and I'll find more time to read!

At the beginning of February I wrote a list of all the books I read in January. (You can find that list here!)

In February I only read four.

1) Does this Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen. This was a follow-up memoir to Rhoda's first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. She writes about her journey with cancer, her second marriage, and her newly discovered faith. I love memoirs, and found that the author attacked some very serious subjects with a good dose of humor.

2) Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher. This was a quick easy read. Set in the late 1800s, the book tells the tale of a woman names Felicia who moved to Idaho to become a school teacher. It's a romance, and a bit predictable, but a heartwarming tale.

3) Habits of the House by Fay Weldon. I read this book because Jane Green, one of my favorite authors, recommended it on her Facebook page. She said if you're a Downtown Abbey fan, you will enjoy this book. I've never seen Downtown Abbey, and really have no idea what it's about but I decided to read it anyway. I found it a little slow, but the story wasn't bad. It's about an English Earl who falls on hard times at the beginning of the 20th century. He is struggling to keep up appearances while helping his family gain back some of the riches they lost. The book is the first in a trilogy, so I will probably end up reading the rest of them at some point.

4) Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska. I really, really liked this book, and flew through it. It's a novel about a man raising his 8 year old son in New York City. (His wife ran out on them a few months earlier.) His in-laws pay for his son to attend a ritzy Upper East Side school, which is pressuring him to put his son on ADHD medicine even though he doesn't think it's necessary to do so. It really gets you thinking about the culture in our country and the way we push our kids to succeed, to the point of putting their health at risk. I highly recommend this one.

What have you been reading lately? I'm always open for suggestions! If you decide to read any of these (or have already read them) let me know what you think!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber Review

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much trouble we went through to get Joseph to sleep through the night. He had stomach issues, so for the first 7 months of his life he woke every two hours. He's finally sleeping through the night, but often takes time to settle down, which is why I was excited to hear about Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber products.

Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber is a line of natural bedtime products for infants, designed to help enhance quality sleep for little ones. The line includes a 3-in-1 Body Wash, Massage Cream, and Calming bedroom mist. Each of the three products contain natural botanical ingredients such as English Lavender Oil, German Chamomile Extract and Yylang Yylang Flower Oil. The best part for me is that they are hypo-allergenic and contain no artificial fragrances, gluten, soy, alcohol, sulfates, phthalates or parabens. My kids inherited my sensitive skin and eczema, so I need products with gentle ingredients and these fit the bill. 

When I received  the products, I set aside a night to give all three a try. First I spritzed the bedroom with the calming mist. The smell was subtle and not overwhelming, which I love. And now that I've used it every night for a few weeks, it's a calming and familiar scent for my kids. The Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber Mist retails for $5.99 for a 3.25 fl oz bottle and is available at Walgreens.
Next I gave the kids a bath and washed them both with the Baby Wash. I was only going to use it for Joseph, since Stephanie isn't really a baby anymore, but she insisted on using it too. Again, the scent was light and not overbearing, and it's tear-free which is great for Joseph who refuses to keep his head back when I rinse his shampoo out. It worked very effectively as a shampoo, body wash and bubble bath, and didn't irritate their sensitive skin. I love the ease of having all three in one bottle too! The Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber baby wash retails for $7.99 for an 11.75 fl oz bottle and is available at Walgreens.
Lastly, I used the massage cream when bath time was over. (Again, Stephanie insisted on using it too, and now "Massage time!" is part of our nightly routine.) The massage cream was gentle and nourishing and left my kids' skin soft and moisturized  It also made my hands feel soft and not at all greasy, which meant I didn't feel the urge to wash it off my hands like I do for many lotions. The Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber massage cream retails for $6.99 for an 8.25 fl oz bottle and is available at Walgreens.

I highly recommend each of  these products! They have been a great addition to our bedtime routine, and I love that they don't contain any icky stuff. We all have sensitive skin but haven't suffered any irritation from the Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber products. The calm, soothing scent is an indicator to all of us that it's bedtime, and using it as part of our nightly routine helps us all settle down at the end of the day. 

*I received products for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday! (On Friday...)

I've missed Thankful Thursday for the past few weeks, but I really wanted to link up this week. Yesterday got away from me so I decided to just do it today.

This week my Thankful list centers around the home buying process, which has pretty much taken over our lives lately!

Today i'm thankful for:

~A fantastic Realtor.  I LOVE the woman we've been working with. She's friendly, knowledgeable, always available for us when we need her, and she and I get along so well. I'm so happy that she's the person we have helping us navigate our first home buying experience.

~The fact that we found a house we love very quickly. The one we chose was only the third house we saw, but it's perfect for us, and everything in it is brand new. It is completely move-in condition!

~A positive home inspection. We had our inspection last week, and the only things that turned up were very minor issues.

~A repair negotiation that we are happy with. It was touch and go for awhile but we finally got the seller to agree with most of our requests.

~That our mortgage has officially been approved.

Everything has moved so fast, and I still want to write more about our home-buying process. But for now i'm thankful that everything is going smoothly and we are on track to close on the property on March 27th!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! If you have time, hop on over to Baby Gators Den to read other Thankful Thursday posts. I love to hear what others are grateful for each week.


Monday, February 18, 2013

3 Year Letter To Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,

Last week you turned three years old. Three. It is unbelievable to me that the past three years are already behind us. I am amazed every day at what you know and the things you can do.

You are such a smart girl. You've been able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet for over a year now, and you're starting to put them together to recognize and sound out words. You can almost spell your name (it has a lot of letters!) and want so badly to learn how to write. You know colors, shapes and numbers and love to point these things out to your brother.

Your favorite activity is reading. You love having Daddy and I to read to you (we once read 17 story books in a row) but you also love to read on your own. I often find you curled up on the couch with a book, retelling the story almost word for word. You have a fantastic memory. (This also means I need to watch what I say. If I tell you we're going to do something later you won't let me forget.)

You also love coloring, stickers, gluing and stamping. You've recently developed a love for puzzles and will sit at the table putting a small jigsaw puzzle together all by yourself. It makes me so proud to watch you struggle to put the pieces together and then cheer when you've completed it.

One of my favorite things about you is your love for your brother. You are always looking out for him and hugging him, and you hate when he is crying in his bed. Oh you certainly have your moments of not wanting him near you and you've been known to yell at him from time to time. But in general you two are best friends and I am thankful that you have each other to go through life with.

You love to watch TV and aren't always happy when I set limits on how often it's on in our house. But you've learned that you can watch a little first thing in the morning and when you wake up from your rest in the afternoon. Oh yes, I said rest. You gave up your naps before Christmas. This means you are often quite cranky by dinner time and we've gotten into a lot of discussions about whining. If you can't talk to me without whining, you know you need to go into your bed and rest until you can use a nice voice. But back to TV! Your favorite show is Thomas the Tank Engine. I love how much you love it, and the fact that you aren't exclusively obsessed with princesses. (Oh you do love princesses, but your love for Thomas is a good balance.)

You started nursery school in September, and although we had a rough start you've learned to love it. You talk about your teachers and friends with excitement and look forward to going to school so you can tell them things. I always hear you singing the songs you've learned and it makes me smile when I recognize them from my years of teaching at that school. I'm proud of how far you've come from the days of crying for the full 2.5 hours that you were there.

We had a wonderful year last year, and I can't wait to see all the new things you will learn while you are three. I have no doubt that you will continue to amaze me as you grow and change. You are a sweet, loving, smart and beautiful little girl and I feel so blessed to be your Mommy. I hope you always have the strength and perseverance that you exhibit now, and that you will always be as happy and carefree as you are at 3 years old. Thank you for being all that you are.

I love you a million billion sweet girl!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless-ish Wednesday

My sister watched my kids today while we had our house inspection (more news on the house soon!) It turns out that Stephanie and my niece wore Joseph ragged. When I arrived at my sister's house to pick the kids up, I was met with this:

(Thanks to my sister for capturing this picture!)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard 2013

When this winter began, I wished for a lot of snow. I guess I should have been specific...I wanted a lot of little snow storms, not one huge blizzard! But a blizzard is what we got, and i'm just thankful now that we still have electricity. So many friends are without tonight, and temperatures are dropping steadily. Many are stuck in their homes as they wait for plows to come through and clear the roads so they can seek shelter and warmth. My thoughts go out to all who are without power tonight!

As an adult I tend to think of storms in terms of the impact they will have. Meaning, what damages they will cause. My kids on the other hand just think it's fun and exciting! Stephanie has been begging for snow all winter, so she was thrilled yesterday morning when it started coming down and quickly became heavy.

Dan had to work all day yesterday so the kids and I made snow crafts (gluing cotton balls onto blue paper to make a snow storm), smelling the chili that was bubbling in the crock pot, eating snacks and watching the snow come down.

Our power flickered off and on about 10 times throughout the evening as the blizzard arrived full force, dumping wet heavy snow and causing loud, angry wind gusts. Luckily it never went out for good, and I woke up to two very excited children who were eager to get out and play.

When we finally ventured outside, the kids had a blast playing in snow that was over their heads in some places.

When they came back inside, their cheeks were bright red and they were full of enthusiastic giggles as they watched their Daddy attempt to shovel out our car. Eventually they settled down and snuggled up on the couch to get warm.

We spent the rest of the day looking at the huge amount of snow out our windows, hoping our friends and family would get their power back, and trying to keep ourselves occupied. (Two days of not leaving the house can make for some boredom for all of us.)

Tonight we will go to bed with much quieter winds outside, and no threat of losing electricity. (We hope!) Our family is sending all of our good thoughts to those who have been negatively affected by this storm! I hope you all stay safe and warm tonight.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sibling Love

It's a good thing this is Wordless Wednesday because I can't even tell you how much this melted my heart at snack time today!

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Meal Plan

I'm a little behind on this (I meant to post at the end of January) but I figured better late than never! I did really well sticking to our food budget last month, but not so well sticking to the meal plans. This month my goal is to stick to both!

Here's what we'll be eating for dinners this month:

1: Family dinner at the '99 Restaurant
2: Super Bowl gathering at my mom's house. (I made football pizza with my little helper!)

3: Super Bowl Sunday snack foods (pigs in a blanket, cheese with pepperoni and crackers, raw veggies, chips, brownies for dessert.)
4: Chicken Pot Pie
5: Pasta with Sauce and fresh steamed broccoli
6: Leftover Pot Pie
7: Macaroni & Cheese (Dan works late and isn't for dinner on Thursdays)
8: Chili
9: Leftover chili and some vegetables to supplement
10: Ham, baked beans, peas and applesauce
11: Stephanie's birthday dinner at a restaurant of her choosing
12: Leftover ham
13: Calzones or homemade pizza (I use the same ingredients for both so it just depends on what I feel like that night.)
14: Valentine's Day Dinner at my mom's house (I think she'll be making stuffed shells)
15: Soup & rolls
16: Stephanie's family birthday (we're having deli meat platters, chips and a raw veggie platter.)
17: Party Leftovers
18: Beef Stew
19: Tacos
20: Leftovers
21: Quesadillas
22: Cranberry Pork Chops (A new recipe I'm going to try)
23: Leftovers
24: Sausage and Tortellini Stew
25: Sweet n' spicy crock pot chicken
26: Lemon Pepper Pork with pilaf rice and a vegetable
27: Macaroni and Cheese
28: Homemade Pasta Fagiole

I lucked out this month because there are tons of celebrations and eating out opportunities. And most of my meals are of the one-pot variety, which is nice and easy! I'm really excited to try out the new pork recipe, and when I make my march meal plan i'm hoping to try one new recipe a week!  Feel free to share your meal plans or any new recipes you have.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Year of Books: January

Happy February!

As usual I've gotten myself behind on posts. I have a lot of fun things coming up, but I wanted to make sure this one got written first.

Most of you know that I am a huge fan of reading. I'll read almost anything and I always need to have a book going. I also read fast, and I make sure to squeeze time in for a book every day. (I wrote more about my reading habits in this post.)

Even though I love to read, I rarely keep track of the books I've gone through. But my friend Annalee over at Happiness at the Core recently wrote this post about how she set herself a goal to read 50 books in 2013 and is going to keep track of them on her blog. (You might remember that I wrote about Annalee and her beautiful daughter Maya back in June.)

I love the idea of blogging about the books I've been reading. Some of them I plan to review in more detail, but I just couldn't bring myself to list them without saying anything, so I've included a little synopsis of my thoughts on each one.

In January I read:

Bottled Up: How The Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood and Why It Shouldn't by Suzanne Barston. This book was written by a fellow blogger, and while I really wanted to love it...I just didn't. I started reading it in December but found it was so dry I had to put it down and pick it up again in January. It was full of great information but also loaded with statistics. I was hoping for more of a story, but it was more an informational book. It wasn't bad, just not what I had been expecting, and Suzanne is a wonderful writer, so if you're interested in the topic I do recommend it. Just be warned...it doesn't read like a blog post would read.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. I saw this is the store and when I read the back found out that it was about 3 sisters. Being one of three girls myself, I just had to read it. I thought it was a great book about sisters who have grown up and moved on with their lives but then return to their roots to deal with a family crisis. The sisters are nothing like me and mine, but I did enjoy it so gave a copy to my older sister for her birthday.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I LOVED this book. I don't know much about Ernest Hemingway, but I found this fictional tale about his first wife to be a wonderful read. I highly recommend it, and I think it was my favorite from all the books I read this month

A Season of Angels by Thomas Kincade and Katherine Spencer. This is the last book in a long series of Christmas-themed books by these two authors. They are far from great literature, but they're sweet tales about a little town in Massachusetts and the people who live there. I read the entire series in the month of December but hadn't gotten this one in time so I read it and completed the series in January. 
Motherland by Amy Sohn. I didn't like this book at all. I don't know why I read it, since I didn't like her other book, Prospect Park West, either. It's supposed to be a fictional account of modern motherhood in a ritzy area of Brooklyn, but I just found the themes of abuse and adultery to be too much to stomach. It had the potential to be a really good book, based on the description from the dust jacket, but it just wasn't the type of book I like and fell short of my expectations. 

The Yoga Body Diet by Kristen Dollard and John Douillard, DC, PhD I loved this book and plan to write more about it a little later this month. It lays out a four-week plan to get the body you want based on yoga and it's principles. I won't be following the plan completely, but I learned a lot and hope to incorporate various bits and pieces of the diet and lifestyle plan into my own life.

Are you a reader? What have you been reading lately? Feel free to send me your suggestions, either in the comments below or on my Facebook page. I'm always looking for book ideas, and need to get started on my February reading!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Sugar Cookies!

My mom is a fabulous baker. She bakes all year long, but she truly shines at Christmas time. Each year she makes all of her friends and family members huge trays, loaded with a wide variety of different types of cookies. I will never have the patience or the love of baking to create the same kind of cookie masterpieces that she does, and I've accepted that that's just the way I am. (Even though I would love to bake like her.) However, one of her simplest and easiest recipes is, in my book, also one of the best tasting. I used to love helping her make them when I was a kid, and the recipe was one of the first I asked for when I moved out. To this day, for any occasion, I make her sugar cookie recipe.

Thanks to different cookie cutter shapes I've made sugar cookies for holidays, for my sister's baby shower, as gifts for people, and sometimes just because I feel like having them. Pretty soon I'll be making them for Valentine's Day, and I'm excited to get Stephanie in on the action this year! (They are a great cookie to make with little kids.)

Sugar Cookies

~6 Tbsp butter
~6 Tbsp shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 teas vanilla
2.5 C flour
1 teas baking powder
1 teas salt

*Mix shortening, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla
*Blend in flour, baking powder & salt. Cover and chill 1 hr (I have made the dough and chilled overnight also. It comes out fine.)

~Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
~Roll the dough and cut out shapes.
~Decorate with sprinkles (optional)
~place shapes on un-greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper. Clean-up is much easier that way!)
~Bake 6-8 minutes at or until very light brown.

My favorite part as a kid was decorating with the sprinkles. Now for some reason I find that part tiresome, but I know Stephanie will have a blast with it. You can also add food coloring to the dough to make it different colors. (My mom always made orange at Halloween and I swear for some reason they tasted better than any other time she made them!)


Linking up with The New Modern Mom today for Tasty Tuesday! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Winter Doldrums

Has anyone else been suffering from the winter doldrums? I definitely have, and I'm sick of it!

I've been feeling cranky, un-motivated, tired and really just blah. The worst part is that I truly have no reason for these feelings. Oh sure I could attribute it to many things. The cold weather, the fact that we've been cooped up, the nagging cold I've been fighting for two weeks, the letdown of the holidays ending, etc. But I feel like none of that is worthy enough for me to be feeling this way, so then I feel guilty on top of it because really, why have I been so cranky?

Finally I had enough and decided that it's not worth figuring out why I feel this way, I just do. Instead of wasting my energy looking for reasons I need to snap myself out of it. And I have been, slowly but surely.

My first step was to acknowledge that I have these feelings to others. I told Dan i'm cranky and I don't know why. I told some of my close friends how i'm feeling. Just saying it out loud seemed to lift a load from my shoulders. (Thank you to those who let me vent!)

Secondly, I've stepped up my healthy eating and water drinking habits. I feel better physically when I eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and when I drink more water. Feeling better physically leads to better emotional and mental health.

Then I cut myself a break. I've been feeling guilty about all the things I haven't been doing because my computer was broken. I haven't been blogging, I haven't been able to read and comment on other blogs, I've let some opportunity's slip away that I was really hoping to participate in. All of this was very disappointing, and making me feel overwhelmed and like I would never catch up. So, I decided not to bother. Everything that I haven't gotten to do is in the past. Now i'm going to move forward and do all the blogging related things I want to do, without rushing around to get to the things I've missed.

And lastly I upped my social interactions. I took the kids to a playdate on Friday, which was great for them but even better for me. I chatted with my mom friend whom I haven't spent any real time with in months. It was refreshing to catch up with her and to get out of the house for something other than school drop off or errands.

Then I had time out with my family. We went to lunch yesterday, just the four of us, and it was so nice to be together out of the house.

And this morning I went for a coffee date with three of my dearest friends. We've known each other for years, and always have a blast catching up with each other. We've decided to make our coffee/brunch ritual a once-a-month habit, and knowing that I have that to look forward to just makes me smile. There's nothing quite like talking with people who know you almost as well as you know yourself.

I know the winter can be tough, especially when you have young children that you're trying to keep occupied. I'm glad I was able to start pulling myself out of these doldrums, and even though I know there's still many weeks of winter i'm hoping I'll continue to feel better going forward.

How has this winter been for you so far? Feel free to share any tips you have for getting rid of bad moods that hang on for weeks!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January Resolution Check-In Week 3

I have to apologize for the lack of posts this week. My laptop is broken, and my husband brings his to work all day, so I haven't had access to a computer. I also realized that I never posted last week on how my January resolution is going, so I definitely have some catching up to do.

I made a resolution this year to set a new goal for myself every month. This month my goal is to work on getting healthy and lose weight. (I know it will take more than a month to lose the 20 pounds I'm hoping to lose, but I used this month to jump-start things.)

I'm excited to announce that I've dropped the 5 pounds that I put on over the holidays. I've also finally gotten my eating under control. It took a few weeks but I've slowly started changing my habits. I'm logging my food into the myfitnesspal app every single day, and most days I'm within my calorie range. I only have 2 or 3 small snacks each day, instead of eating from the minute the kids go to sleep until I go to bed. (This is huge for me, because snacking has always been my downfall.)

For the past 3 days I've been drinking water like crazy, which was one area I hadn't been doing so well with. I log in at least 8 glasses a day, sometimes as much as 10.

The thing I still need to focus on is exercise. I started out the month doing really well in this area, but I've slowly slid out of the habit. (I also haven't been feeling 100%, and can tell my body is fighting some kind of cold germ, so I'm letting myself rest without too much guilt.) As soon as I feel better I'm going to add at least some form of exercise into every day, whether it be cardio, strength training or yoga.

There's one week left in January, and even though I still have a lot of work to do this year, i'm excited by how my first month is going.

Did you set resolutions? Have you kept them? I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to comment or strike up a conversation with me on Facebook. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Joseph is having a blast at the pediatrician
Happy Thursday readers!

As always, I have so much to be thankful for this week, including:

~Having a lot of family time while my husband has been off of work for a month. (He always has off between Christmas and the third week of January.)

~That today my husband went back to work. While the family time is so nice, and he's been very helpful, I crave our normal routine. We've been basically having weekends every day for three weeks straight, planning fun things and spending so much time together. It's nice to get back to real life. (And I need to catch up on cleaning and organizing!)

~The health of my children. Knock on wood, they haven't had any bad illnesses or colds this winter, just the occasional sniffle. I also took Joseph to the Dr for his 15 month check-up on Monday and was happy to hear he's growing and developing just the way he should.

~Stephanie's adjustment to school. From September to December she cried a lot when I brought her to nursery school. (Sometimes for the majority of the 2.5 hours she was there.) She's finally gotten over that, and for the past two weeks has only cried for a few minutes when I drop her off.

~The love and support of my awesome girlfriends. Knowing I have people to vent and complain to, as well as share my happy times with is so amazing. I'm very appreciative to be surrounded by so many strong women who are always there for me when I need them. (This includes online friends and in real life friends...I feel blessed to have a network of both, some that coincide with each other.)

I hope you all are having a wonderful week. As always, thank you to Joanna  from Baby Gators Den for hosting the link-up, and please join us if you have a Thankful Thursday post of your own!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Crock-Pot Sausage & Tortellini Stew

Happy Tuesday! Today i'm linking up with my friend Candice over at The New Modern Momma for Tasty Tuesday.

I've been using my crock-pot a lot this winter because it's such an easy and quick way to get a hearty meal on the table for my family. I love being able to prepare dinner in the morning or afternoon instead of in the evening when we're all getting tired and cranky.

One of my favorite crock-pot meals is Tortellini Stew. I've been making this recipe for years, and all four of us love it. (I think I originally cut it out of Family Circle magazine.)

It's quick and simple to prepare and only takes about 15 minutes. My favorite kind of meal!

4 Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage links, casings removed
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes w/basil, garlic & oregano (if I don't have a can of tomatoes that has the spices in it, I just add them myself.)
1 9oz package of frozen cut green beans
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1 9oz package of frozen cheese tortellini
1 Tbsp fresh oregano


1. Crumble sausage and stir with tomatoes, green beans, onion and italian seasoning. Cover crock-pot and cook 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

2. When 20 minutes of cook time remain, stir in tortellini, oregano and 1 cup of water. Continue cooking. Serve immediately.

I highly recommend this recipe, it's so easy and delicious!

*If you have time, head on over to Candice's site and check out all the other linked up recipes! I find a lot of good meals through this weekly blog hop.*

Monday, January 14, 2013

My First MoonFrye Post

My very first MoonFrye post went up yesterday! (I wrote about my new writing venture here.)

I'm discussing another of my goals for 2013, and this one is an important one!

If you're interested in popping over and checking it out, you can find it here:

I'm thrilled to finally see this dream of expanding my writing beyond A Baby Makes Four come true. (But don't worry...i'll still be here several times a week sharing all the mundane interesting details of my life.)

Thank you for all of your support!

*I'd love to connect with you on Facebook! Come visit my A Baby Makes Four page!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sibling Love/Mommy Brain Mixer

*Happy Thursday everyone! I'm excited to be co-hosting the Mommy-Brain Mixer this week, which is a blog hop hosted by the lovely Jelli and Cassie.*

One of my favorite things about having two children so close in age is watching them grow together and learn to love each other. At 1 and almost 3 years they truly do just adore each other. (I know this won't last so I'm soaking of up every minute that I can!)

Stephanie's new favorite thing to do is say "Hey Joseph, come play in my room with me!" He'll jump up and toddle after her and they'll spend time in there playing together. Or they'll sit down and read books together, Stephanie "reading" as Joseph looks on.

Since they share a room, they typically wake around the same time, but Joseph wants to get right out of his crib while Stephanie chooses to hang around lounging in bed. I go into the kitchen and make Joseph his milk, but he won't take it and walk away unless I make Stephanie's too. Once I do, he'll grab it out of my hands and run into her room to bring it to her.

Yup, not even 3 years old and she's already got somebody bringing her her morning milk in bed. (I wonder if I could train him to bring mommy her coffee in bed...)

Their childhood is rushing by so fast that I really try to take a moment and relish these moments. To pause and smile as I witness these acts of sibling love. They are so sweet together and I'm so happy that they love each other as much as they do.

They spent all morning yesterday walking around holding hands! So precious :)
*I'd love to be friends on Facebook! Come "Like" A Baby Makes Four :) 

mbmixerban Welcome to the Mommy-Brain Mixer! So happy you're here. One of our favorite things to do is to share stories about motherhood and our littles. At the Mommy-Brain Mixer, we invite your to share about anything and everything motherhood! Link up your funny posts, serious posts, sweet & sappy stories, mommy-brain episodes, memories from when your older children were younger, lessons learned, and anything related to motherhood or little people. This is a perfect place to find great blogs to follow, make wonderful new blog friends, and enjoy entertaining reads!
Mommy MUSTS:
  1. Follow our lovely co-hosts: Megan, Andrea, and Dawn.
  2. Link up your mommy post, not your homepage.
  3. Visit at least the two links ahead of you & leave comment love.
Optional, but appreciated:
  • Follow your hosts, Jelli and Cassie
  • Mom bloggers have more fun. Be inspired & make friends at the Mommy-Brain Mixer. –>> Tweet this!
  • Link back to the party by adding the button or a text link to your blog post.
Photobucket Button code (copy & paste): <a href="http://www.jellibeanjournals.com/tag/mommy-brain-mixer/" title="Mommy-Brain Mixer"><img src="http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg481/fairyjuliet/mbmixerbuttonidea.png" alt="Mommy-Brain Mixer"></a>
If you are interested in co-hosting a Mommy-Brain Mixer, send an email to Jelli at jellibeanjournals@hotmail.com!
Link on up, Ladies!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...