Archive for March, 2010

This morning, we made the dreaded trip to Sears to get updated professional pictures of the kids (Kelvin’s 18-month pictures and Ava’s 3-year ones).  I say “dreaded” because every photo shoot we’ve had in the past has been pretty stressful thanks to uncooperative kids.  It’s like they sense how badly Mommy wants nice pictures and will do anything they can to make it difficult.

Today, though, I was pleasantly surprised!  Kelvin was a little bit tough to get into position, as evidenced by this picture (they were supposed to be holding hands):

We still managed to get some good ones of him, though:

And some goofy ones:

And Ava had her best photo shoot ever!  She was cooperative, followed directions perfectly and we got some really great pictures of her!  These are the ones we got of her in the dress my Grandma Darlene sent for her birthday:

And these are the ones we got of her in her birthday tutu from Tutu Cute By Molly:

Then the photographer tried to get some “jumping” shots that didn’t turn out so well:

We also got a few of them together.  They didn’t seem to want to share the spotlight, though, so we were only able to get one pose:

As you can see, we got tons of great shots, so I ended up spending way too much on prints and a CD that has all the pictures on it (I probably could have paid a month’s worth of bcbsnc insurance with it….well, maybe I didn’t spend quite that much LOL).  But I can justify it because they’re getting older so we’re not doing pictures as often as we were when they were babies, right? 😉

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I love my readers and I would never want you to go through the stressful, overwhelming, downright nasty week I’m going through right now.  So….I’m going to reveal what a failure I am at birthday planning so all of you can learn from my mistakes.  So listen up!

Here is what not to do:

  1. Do not decide on a party theme without first confirming that your store of choice does, in fact, carry party supplies in that theme.  Even if they carried that theme last year.  And if you disregard this advice, please for the love of purple, do not wait to shop for party supplies until three days before the party.  Bad, bad, bad idea!
  2. Do not limit the number of invitations you pass out to the number of people you’d like at the party.  Pass out an extra few or ten.  Remember that many of the people with children over the age of 3 will have scheduling conflicts.
  3. Do not plan a pinata as one of the party activities if the majority of the party attendees will end up being under the age of two (see Mistake #2).  Also a bad idea if it might snow the day before and you don’t want candy in all your couch cushions.  If you insist on planning a pinata anyway, keep your receipt!
  4. Do not expect to have the house perfect for your houseguests that are arriving the day of the party.  Not only will it look like Party America threw up all over your house, but there’s a good chance you won’t have time to vacuum under the couch or wipe out the refrigerator, with all the punch-mixing and gift-wrapping and streamer-hanging.  Pat yourself on the back if the bathrooms are clean and the main rooms are vacuumed because now is not the time for deep cleaning!!  Daniel and Jessica, if you’re reading this, let me assure you that sometimes my walls don’t have fingerprints all over them, and sometimes there isn’t dust on the end tables and sometimes I don’t still have snowmen decorations on the mantle at the end of March….but you’ll probably have to come back again to see it!
  5. Do not let yourself get so stressed out that you lose sight of the reason you’re doing this in the first place!  Let a few things go so you can enjoy this time!  No stress-related eczema allowed!

Did you notice there was nothing on this list about a cake?  Hopefully it will stay that way!  My friend Miriam is coming on Friday to help me do a Dora cake.  I know she’s made this exact cake before and it looked so cute, so hopefully I won’t do anything to mess it up!

I’ve never been a lucky person when it comes to contests or giveaways.  I’ve entered literally hundreds of giveaways for everything from cloth diapers to baby slings to books to office furniture …you name it, I’ve probably tried to win it!  But I’ve never won a single thing…until recently!

I entered a giveaway on The Frugal Homeschooling Mom‘s blog and was shocked when I got an email telling me I won a crayon bag from Simply Stitching!  And when I say shocked, I truly mean that…I may have screamed.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy, folks!

I’m incredibly impressed with this bag, and not just because it was free.  It’s well made and came with the crayons and a coloring book inside!  Ava loves it too, as you can see from the picture.  I’m glad I asked for a Dora one (Lori didn’t have one listed, but told me she had a lot more bags in stock than she had pictured on her site) because that was just the icing on the cake for Ava!  I’m pretty sure I’m going to be ordering another bag for Kelvin in the near future because he already loves carrying Ava’s around with him (when she’s not looking, of course!).

I have a new favorite website….Diapers.com!  When I first heard about it, I thought, “Well, I rarely use disposable diapers, so that site won’t do me much good.”  (See my Cloth Diapering 101 series, which I really am going to finish someday!)  I’m glad I went and checked it out, though, because they carry so much more than disposable diapers!

Of course, they do carry disposables at pretty much the same price you would pay in the store.  But they also carry cloth diapers, including cloth swim diapers and training pants.  Yippee!  They have all the major brands….Fuzzi Bunz, flip, bumGenius, Bumkins, Happy Heiny’s, and the list goes on.

But that isn’t all!  They have toys (I ordered a lot of Ava’s birthday presents here), books, clothes, maternity supplies, baby food, formula, strollers, car seats, and more.  Even though it’s called diapers.com, you can find almost everything you need for Baby here!  And all their prices are very similar to what you would pay elsewhere….no gouging you like some life insurance companies do (if you want to see current life insurance rates go here).

You’re probably wondering why you’d want to order diapers online when you can go to the store and not pay shipping.  Because they have FREE shipping on orders over $49!  And it’s fast….I placed my orders late at night and they were shipped UPS the next day and arrived the day after that.

Wait…it gets even better!  Use this code to get $10 off your first order of diapers: LXRA6649 .  You’re not going to find better deals than this, folks!  This is an awesome way to try out cloth diapers on the cheap, if you’re not completely sold on them.

Happy shopping!

Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are 100% mine and I was not compensated for this post by Diapers.com.  However, I will receive a referral bonus for each person who uses the code for $10 off their order.

I am eyeball-deep in spring cleaning right now.  Every year, we celebrate the Days of Unleavened Bread where we clean all of the leavening out of our homes, from loaves of bread down to the tiny crumbs in the silverware drawer.  For the last few years, I’ve had pretty good reasons to simply stick to deleavening and not do any extra spring cleaning (first having a newborn, then being on bedrest with Kelvin, then having two children under the age of two).  But this year, I don’t really have any good reasons, so I’ve been busy!  (I should probably use that same logic to get myself on that refurbished fitness equipment, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.  Wouldn’t want you to pass out!)

Anyway…

Anytime I clean I have lots of “help”!  Normally, if I told you I had help, you’d think it would help me get the job done quicker, but not in this case!  In this case, it means I have a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old emptying every box I fill, climbing on chairs to reach the stuff I purposely put out of their reach, and fighting over all the stuff I unearth from under the couch!

Here are five tips to make cleaning with children more enjoyable, without plopping them in front of the TV.  Not saying there’s anything wrong with letting them watch TV in moderation so you can get a few things done, but obviously you don’t want to be doing that every time!  🙂

    1. Give them a job.  If you don’t give them one, they’ll find their own and it will probably be one you don’t want them to have!  As I’ve been cleaning out cupboards the last few days, I hand them things as I take them out and let them put them on the floor so I can sort through them.  I also let them load up boxes with things that we’re packing away (and then I re-organize the box later when they’re not looking).
    2. Give them “special” cleaning supplies.  My kids would love nothing more than to get their hands on all the cleaning bottles under the sink, but I don’t want them getting chemicals on their hands (for obvious reasons).  Instead, I fill clean squirt bottles with plain water, give them a rag or paper towel and they never know the difference!  You can even get brightly colored bottles, which they love even more!  I also have a child-size broom and dustpan that they use while I sweep.
    3. Make it fun!  Turn on upbeat music, challenge them to a race, ask them to hand you all the red items (then blue, then yellow, etc.).
    4. Have alternative activities on hand.  Even the most helpful child will probably run out of steam before the job is done, so have puzzles or books nearby to keep them busy while you finish the job.
    5. Plan an easy follow-up meal.  I don’t know about your kids, but mine would not appreciate spending time helping me clean only to have me turn around and start cooking dinner.  On days when I have quite a bit of cleaning to do, I have a casserole thawing from the freezer so I can just pop it in the oven when it gets close to dinner time.  You could also plan something simple like soup and sandwiches.

      What are your best tips for cleaning with your children?

      For more great tips and tricks, visit Works For Me Wednesday temporarily hosted at Rocks in My Dryer.

      Ordinarily, after a period of nine days with no posts, I would open this post with a whole list of excuses about why it’s been so silent here.  But I’m not going to.  You wouldn’t have believed me that I was trapped in circuit city for a week anyway, right?  Didn’t think so.

      The truth is, I just haven’t felt like writing.  Anything.  Which is weird for me, because that’s my creative outlet.  I don’t paint, I don’t craft, and I’m not that good at sewing….so I write.  But when the juices aren’t flowing, they aren’t flowing.

      But did you noticed the new header?  The old one was from over a year ago, so my mom made me a new one with more recent pictures.  I love it!

      Last week, it finally got warm outside and we went across the street to the park and flew the kids’ kite!  Kelvin couldn’t care less (he just wanted to run), but Ava thought it was coolest thing ever.  She thinks we should go out and fly it again this week, even though it’s going to rain ALL. WEEK. LONG. I’m thinking not!

      And now I’m off to restore some order to the house that, incidentally, I also did not feel like cleaning last week!  It’s good to have my mojo back!

      We finally got our van back last week, so I was able to get to Walmart on Thursday.  I got enough produce and milk that I didn’t need to shop at all this week.  Of course, I stopped into Dillon’s and picked up sale items with coupons, but that was it!

      Monday: Leftover Cowboy Pie, Mixed veggies
      Tuesday: Shortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu, Green Beans, Fresh Fruit
      Wednesday: Creamy Spring Soup, Biscuits, Fresh Fruit
      Thursday: Enchiladas, Salad
      Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup, Rolls, Fresh Fruit
      Saturday: Ziti in the crock pot for a potluck
      Sunday: Chad’s night to cook!

      Some of these dishes are repeats from last week that I didn’t get around to making.  That’s why we’re having soup twice this week!  We’re big soup-eaters, though, so it shouldn’t be a problem.  🙂

      For more great menu plans, visit Menu Plan Monday!

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