Saturday, December 17, 2011

A New Pet In My Pocket - Michael's Birth Story

God has once again blessed our family with a new little pet in my pocket. I think every birth story is beautiful and full of excitement, and of course ours would be no different. But this time God threw in a few extra bits of excitement to remind us to count our blessings.

I had been having contractions for weeks, but had been assured that because this was my third kid this was normal (by the way, someone needs to write a pregnancy book for women on their third+ kid, because everything that's normal signs of concern with your first two pregnancies are considered normal happenings after the first two). I also learned with my second child that my body does not feel contractions the same way they are described in books or by most care providers. While being monitored, my contractions may be reading off the charts, and I'm not even really aware of them, or they feel so insignificant that I ignore them.

On Sunday, December 11, around 3pm I noticed that the contractions I was having seemed to be a bit more consistent. So I tried to focus on them so that my husband could time them--this was a first for us. (We'd never had the opportunity or need to time contractions with our first two.) They started out at seven minutes apart, and 1 1/2 later when we were ready to leave for church they were 3 1/2 minutes apart. So we decided to skip church and go to the hospital in stead. As soon as we got in the car, they slowed back down to 7 minutes. We still went to the hospital and spent a few hours being monitored. My midwife checked me, and I hadn't progressed from when I'd been checked two weeks prior, so I decided to just go home and wait it out. By the time we went to bed, I was actually feeling pains that I could associate with labor, but they stopped just after midnight.

Monday was a long day as both my husband and I had anticipated being back to the hospital to have a baby by mid-morning at the latest. But as it was, my contractions didn't even start again til mid-morning, and there was no consistency to them. By the time my husband got home from work they had regained a consistent pattern, and if I had to rate them on a pain scale, I would have given them a one. So, I put together my shopping list and we headed to Publix. I can't say I was completely comfortable throughout our shopping trip, and I knew I was technically in labor, but I wasn't miserable either. We got home close to 9, settled the girls into bed, and around 10 when we headed to bed I told my husband that I might be pushing a three on the pain scale.

At 12:40 Tuesday morning I woke for my routine potty break and realized that I was still having contractions. I climbed back into bed and watched the clock, then I realized they were starting to hurt. I laid there and debated whether or not I should get up or just see if I could ride it out til morning. I also prayed that God would let me know when it was time to go to the hospital, but planned to wait til my water broke. At 1:00 I noticed an intense difference in the contractions--and that they were only two minutes apart! I woke my husband and told him I was in transition. He moves pretty quick in the middle of the night! We called our neighbor to come sit on the couch and headed to the hospital. I called the hospital as we pulled out of our drive and told them we were on the way--my phone said 1:31 a.m. I remember glancing at the clock at some point on the way to the hospital, and it said 1:44. I don't know what time we arrived, but we walked up to labor and delivery. For the most part I was still walking and talking through contractions, and only had to pause three times to wait them out.

They had a room open for me and I walked straight in, grabbed the cup, and went to sit on the potty. As I went potty, my wonderful husband got the room readied my way. Not a single hospital light was on. Just my lamps. And he got me in the skirt I had had made myself for labor/recovery. Just as I finished leaving my sample in the cup, my water broke. With the next contraction I hit that moment that every woman in natural labor hits, and I told my husband, "I don't want to do this." I walked out of the bathroom and into the room, asked for the birth ball, and didn't make it any further. I hit my hands an knees, eagerly waiting for the birth ball to rest my upper body on. During this time a nurse was begging me to get into bed so she could check me, and I remember my husband telling her that wasn't necessary. She then asked if they could monitor me, and I told her no. I couldn't move. She wanted to get the baby's heartbeat, and I told her if she could get it without me moving, then go for. This is all happening in just a matter of moments. For the first time ever, I yelled in labor. It was more of a very loud moan, but either way, I was mentally berating myself because I knew that yelling wasn't going to help anything.

After what seemed like forever of a nurse trying to talk me into the bed, I realized I hadn't been saying any of what I was thinking out loud. Finally I managed to get out, "He's crowning, y'all." Well, that definitely changed the atmosphere. A very experienced nurse had already been summoned when the one nurse couldn't get me to cooperate. She came around the bed and said, "She's right, he is crowning." She then kept begging me to get up on the bed because she couldn't get to the baby. I didn't understand the problem. I had delivered my last child on my hands and knees and knew it could be done. I was mentally begging my midwife to walk through the door. (My husband told me later that I wasn't up on my hands and knees as I thought I was, but was actually resting my bottom on my heels, hence the reason she could not deliver me.) Suddenly the nurse called for the birth stool, it was there in a flash, and my husband lifted me off of the floor and sat me up on the birth stool. Another first happened for me then--everything stopped. Not for long, but for several moments there were no contractions, and time seemed to stand still. I'd never had that kind of break in my labors before. I'd heard of them, but never experienced it for myself. I remember questioning why everything stopped. Then the next contraction hit and at 2:04 a.m. my baby boy delivered!

During delivery, the nurse mentioned something about meconium, but I don't think he actually ingested any because he had no complications. His cord was also tight around his neck, and he wasn't breathing. Kudos to my husband who knew not to be alarmed because the cord was still attached, so he knew the baby would be fine. As soon as I started talking to the baby, he started turning his head. They clamped the cord when it stopped pulsating and took him to the heated crib. He then started crying. He was very bruised and swollen due to the very quick delivery. Due to the concern of meconium, it was a few minutes before I got to hold my baby. During that time I climbed into the bed. My midwife walked in a few minutes later, and I teased her about being late. She can be rather crabby at 2 in the morning. :)

I had studied and researched doing a hypnobirth and was really excited to implement some of what I had learned. I never had time to try to focus on relaxation. One thing however that I definitely knew I wanted to do this time was not push. I wanted to breathe my baby down. Well, I didn't actually concentrate on breathing my baby down, but neither did I push. My body did what God designed it to do, and naturally pushed my baby out.

So, thirty minutes after leaving my home that is twenty-plus minutes from the hospital, I delivered my son!Michael Joel ~ 9lb 6.7oz ~ 22in

I know this story may be a bit too wordy, but I've written it in bits and pieces as I've had time. There are probably facts I'm missing, but I think I have all of the important stuff that I want to remember. I doubt I'll ever forget most of the details.

Lucretia, the wonderful nurse who delivered Michael.
She wasn't too fond of having her picture taken.
She's been a L&D nurse for 31 years!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Memorial Days

Throughout the year we have several days that are set aside to honor and remember those who have sacrificed for our country's freedom and for the safety of our country--Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, etc. Yet it occurred to me over the course of this weekend that September 11 seems more like a memorial day to me than any of those other holidays. And then I realized that it's because, for me, it is actually a day with memories.

I whole heartedly express my patriotism and appreciation for our military, both past and present, on our other specified holidays. But often times those days hold very little meaning to me other than the fact that I take time to be thankful.

However, September 11 has a different affect on my emotions and the reasons I am thankful. Every year, on September 11, people will ask, "Do you remember where you were?" And I think to myself, how can I not remember? How could anyone forget where they were and what they were doing at the time that they heard such tragic news? And then of course the aftermath--not just in the days that followed, but in the weeks, and now in the years. I have memories from this day, and so this special day, though not an official holiday of memorials, is still more of a memorial day to me than Memorial Day is. But that's exactly what memorial means--it's something that reminds us of a person or an event.

Through this realization came another sobering thought. All of those other holidays that are purposed as days to remember our soldiers hold the same meaning for others around me. There are numerous people for whom the date December 7 holds the same sacredness as September 11 does for those in my generation. I've seen footage from the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and it does affect my emotions, but there's something different when you have actual memories of such a day. There are many who could tell us where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. For many of us, Pearl Harbor Day may be just something we see pre-printed on our calendars and we fleetingly think of the tragedy of that day, and go on with our lives without giving that day another thought. But when September 11 roles around we spend the days leading up to it and the day of reflecting on the memories, the footage, and the fatalities still occurring as a result that tragic day.

I wanted to remember these thoughts I had, and to remember that while to me December 7 is another day to remember a historic event for our country, to others it is a day with memories and emotions attached. And while none of us have memories of that great day of our independence, I hope I can remember to better appreciate the full meaning of that day and to realize that it was a real day with real meaning, memories, and emotions for people gone before us.

May we never forget. A phrase almost to flippantly used, but full of so much truth and meaning if we really stop to think about it and pause to remember.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Honey Glazed Pork and Apple Kabobs

This was one of my many made-up recipes. I had something in mind and thought, why not try it? I love experimental cooking, and have found myself doing quite a bit of it recently. This recipe was SUPER easy, and my husband LOVED it. My husband isn't a picky eater, and he's not one to throw out compliments for a meal. He just eats food and thanks the cook. :) Easy to please, but it's nice to get a bit more feed back on a meal. :)

I think this was the first time ever I've gotten such a response from my husband. He took one bite of the kabob, closed his eyes, and sighed a satisfied, "Mmmmm." To top it off, he asked me to do another batch of just the apples, and that's what he and the girls had for dessert. So this was definitely a winning recipe with him!

I think it would probably taste good with some red or vidalia onions on the kabobs as well, but I didn't have any. So here's the recipe. (And my portions may seem small. We try to cut back on the amount of meat in a meal to cut on cost.) But make as much as you like!

Honey Glazed Pork and Apple Kabobs

1/2 honey
1/4 cup brown sugar

1 lb pork loin steaks cut into square pieces

1-2 apples cut in large cubes


1. Melt honey and brown sugar in microwave for 20 seconds. Continue in 5-10 second increments until mostly liquified. Stir together and put in ziploc bag.

2. Place meat and apples in ziploc bag with glaze and zip shut. Mix around to get everything well coated. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Put meat and apples on kabobs.
4. Grill and serve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Black and White Cheesecake Bars

These were amazing! I've had this recipe sitting in my recipe binder for a few years, but due to my daughter's allergies I either didn't have the ingredients on hand, or chose not to make it since she couldn't have any. But since dairy is no longer a concern, I thought I would give it a try. Oh, boy was this yummy! Thankfully, I have a few more weeks to balance out the weight gained from this dessert before my next prenatal appointment. :)

Black n' White Cheesecake Bars

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers crushed)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring occasionally. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside 1/4 cup for topping. Press the remaining crumbs into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in milk, egg and vanilla. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or until completely chilled. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.
By the way, if I were to ever write a recipe that used sweetened condensed, I would short the recipe by a few ounces so I could guiltlessly enjoy eating spoonfuls of the milk without concern that I was going to mess up the recipe. Mmmmm...I just love sweetened condensed milk!

After being refrigerated, the crust is very hard. You may want to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting in.

I just realized that I failed to get a picture of the finished product. :/

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Blueberry Apple Crisp

I think this would probably go down in a top ten of family favorites for my family. We inhale this dish, and could happily have it a few times a week--not that we do, because then our blueberries wouldn't last very long.

It's very quick and easy to put together, and is rather healthy. It calls for a very small amount of sugar, and if you really want, that could even be lessened. I haven't actually tried not using any sugar, but you probably could.

The recipe is originally written to be made in individual custard cups, but I make mine in a 9x13 (or this time, in what I think might be an 8x10--not sure, it's just a little smaller). As a result, I quadruple the topping from the
original recipe. I will type out the recipe the way I make it.

Blueberry Apple Crisp

2 1/2 c blueberries
2 1/2 c apples, peeled and chopped

1 c flour, divided

1/2 c brown sugar (note, if you actually quadruple the original, this would be 3/4c)

3/4 c uncooked oats (note, if you actually quadruple the original, this would be 1/3c)
1 t ground cinnamon

1 t ground nutmeg
6 T softened butter (or margarine)

1. Combine fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 T of the flour.
2. Spread the fruit into a 9" x 13" baking dish.

(Note, if your blueberries are frozen, you will not want to use a stone, as they will make your stoneware cold and will possible cause it to shatter once placed in the hot oven.)

3. Combine remaining flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and resembles course meal.

4. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats.

5. Sprinkle mixture over fruit.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.

7. Let stand 10 minutes.
Another note, sometimes the topping may come out more dry and crumbly than you would like. If you don't notice this until it is done baking, you can melt about 1 T of butter in the microwave and then sprinkle it over the topping and place back in the over for about 5 minutes. I've had to do this a few times. I guess my conversion isn't quite accurate. :)

This makes an excellent dessert, breakfast, or snack. It is delicious topped with a good vanilla ice cream or even whipped topping.

Relaxing Education

My daughter will soon be 3 1/2 years old, and has been talking about going to school for about a year. This is in part because most of her church friends are in school (daycare), in part because school is mentioned in stories and tv programs, and probably majorly in part due to the fact that we live across the street from a public elementary school. Every day of the school year for as long as she can remember she has watched school buses coming and going, heard children playing on the playground, and watched children arrive and leaving carrying backpacks and lunchboxes. To her, school is something very exciting!

She has been begging to do schoolwork, especially since she figured out that a young friend (and girl she adores) is doing schoolwork at home. So, even though I hadn't planned to start schooling her for a few more years, I've decided it will be a nice way to put some routine in our days and keep her from begging so much. :)

I take a more relaxed approach to schoolwork, especially at this age. I don't see a need to make a young child sit still in a seat for extended periods of time or to frustrate them with schoolwork when in my mind, they're really still too young to be in school. I believe that children should be permitted to enjoy their childhood--afterall, they only get it once. Children are not adults, and should not be forced to behave as adults. Not many adults handle sitting still very well for extended periods of time, so why on earth should I expect as much from a child with an attention span of maybe 10 minutes?

So what have we done for schoolwork? Simple things that really aren't too much different from what we would do on a normal, everyday basis, but now we call it schoolwork. Both kids work on the same or similar things to keep the peace. They both enjoy doing whatever the other one is doing, and to give one child a different project than the other causes both to become distracted.

I recently printed some play-doh mats, and my 3 year old and 18 month old love them! Really, what kid doesn't enjoy play-doh? And while play-doh is great for stretching a child's imagination and creativity, why not make it an educational tool as well?
My 3 year old loved the challenge of making the "squiggly lines" for the 2 and 3, and preferred to make pancakes rather than balls to stick on the dots.
My 18 month old enjoyed putting play-doh on the dots, and of course took a few taste test of the play-doh.

Another fun thing we've done is finger painting. We were blessed to be able to get a roll of paper for free, and the girls had gotten smocks as Christmas gifts. Last week I purchased paints with the back to school sales going on (because my attempt at making finger paint failed--but I'll try again some time).Unfortunately, I didn't notice that the finger paints were not primary colors, so I haven't been able to teach what colors come from mixing primaries. But we've still played with mixing the colors to see what we come up with, and my daughter finds this exciting. Our plan is for my husband to build an easel for the girls as a Christmas gift, and then we will be able to be a little more comfortable (and perhaps less messy) while painting.

While the girls do these and other activities, I read them their Bible lesson and we review their Bible verses. We also will sing our songs we are learning that week. We learn one hymn and one fun song each week, along with one new Bible verse. It was frustrating myself and my girls to try to make them sit still while doing lessons that required sitting still, so through Money Saving Mom I learned that it's actually more beneficial to give them an activity to do while reading to them. My oldest is still listening, can still answer questions about the story or re-tell the story, even though she had something keeping her hands busy while I read to her. In this case, having a distraction was actually more benficial. When I'm trying to make her sit still she finds distractions that keep her from hearing the story, plus the story is constantly interrupted with, "Sit still." If they have busy work, I really don't have to say anything to them, so the story is read uninterrupted.

Today we enjoyed some amazingly beautiful weather for this time of year, and spent nearly two hours outside! We haven't spent that much time outside since April or May, I don't think! While they played on the playground we sang hymns and some other songs and said our Bible verses. Then I restricted them to the front porch area, and we read our Bible story.

While on the playground we experimented with different textures in the sand. We started with our shoe prints, then used sticks and other objects we found around the sand area to see how they imprinted the sand. My daughter loved making tracks by rolling the pine cone along the sand.

Indoors today we practiced counting from 1-20 for about a half-hour while playing hide-and-seek. We stopped several times to sit down and count 1-20 without hiding to help my daughter remember that there were numbers between 17 and 20. :) Then while I did my exercises, the girls played with legos. They first separated the squares from the rectangles. Then they had to make a tower with a pattern of red-yellow-red-yellow. Then the made a row with a pattern of blue-green-blue-green.

It is my philosophy that children learn most of what they will retain from simple, everyday living. We don't typically sit down and practice numbers or number recognition--or colors, or shapes. From the day I started reading to my children (which was a very early age), I have pointed things out in their story books. We count all of the objects on the page. We point out the different colors on the page. When playing with blocks, we name the shapes as we move them around on the floor or stack with them. When playing with legos, we say the colors as we handle the legos, not just build with them. Every moment and every encounter with a child is a learning experience. They can enjoy their childhood and still learn the basic, educational materials they would be learning in a classroom at a school.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Count Your Blessings - Winter Clothing

Locally we have an area wide consignment sale that is HUGE. I did a post on this sale several months ago. We're now looking forward to the second sale for this year. As I mentioned before, our family survives off of this sale. This sale is how the Lord has provided the clothing needs of our family as well as the toys and other accessories that we've needed.

Well, this season, we really can't even afford to benefit from this sale. With baby number three on the way and still not even half-way paid for, we don't have the extra funds to put into making purchases at this sale, even if they are necessities.

We've been struggling not to be discouraged about our financial situation, and have been trying to focus on keeping our faith and trust in God to provide for us as He has promised. We chose to trust Him for our children and when we would have them. Now we are reminding ourselves that God has chosen to add this new little blessing to our home, and when and how He sees fit, He will provide for our financial needs with this baby. We fail to not focus on, "I don't know where we're going to get that money from."

One huge blessing God has poured into our lives in the last twenty-four hours as a reminder of His faithfulness to care for us is regarding our concern about how we would have things to get the girls through the winter if we couldn't afford to spend money at the local consignment sale. I grew up on hand-me-downs, but it doesn't seem that people within our circle do hand-me-downs. We've never received any for our kids. But as I said, God has provided in other ways, and we've been fine.

Yesterday I pulled out what I thought was the only bin of winter clothes from the girls for last year and went through to inventory what we had and to see what we would need for this coming winter. The girls enjoyed playing dress up as we tried things on to see what fit and what didn't. Thankfully my three-year-old hasn't grown much since last winter, and everything was really baggy on her last winter. Some of the clothes are still baggy on her at this point, and I'm prayerful that they will get us through the short period of cold weather that we enjoy here. Sadly, there was almost nothing for my eighteen-month-old. She had been such a chunky baby last winter that I tagged and attempted to sell most of the things that would now fit her for this winter, because I thought she would be long past that size by the time this winter rolled around. Well, as it is, she really hasn't grown as much as I'd anticipated.

Discouraged, I inventoried what I had for her. My husband and I discussed last night what I would absolutely need for that one and the new baby (which at that point, I hadn't pulled out the bucket of newborn clothes), and we determined that even spending bare minimum, we'd be stretching the funds too far. I half-heartedly prayed about it while talking with my husband about the special prayer time I had had just the day before about trusting God to care for our needs as He has promised.

This morning I went out to the garage to get the bin of newborn clothes and found another bin labeled "Winter 2010." (I know, it's not size specific--that was becoming too much of a headache for me. I just started sorting by season.) So I dragged that box in the house along with the newborn bin. I went through that winter box first and found quite a bit to fit my eighteen-month-old. Enough to meet what would be the bare minimum for necessity. Then I sorted through the newborn stash and made inventory of what I had for a winter baby from birth to six months. Even though this is my second winter baby, there still wasn't much. I really didn't have much for my second child--about 5 sleepers and a ton of onesies. I finished my inventory, set that box aside, and looked at the very small stack of items that I had set aside during this process to sell at the upcoming sale.

I then went to the garage one more time to grab the bin labeled "M2M - winter." The box of stuff to be sold at the sale. It was full of items that didn't sell last winter, and I was simply going to add my small stash of items I collected today to the bin of clothes. I dragged the bin into the house to make room for the handful of items. When I opened the lid I almost squealed in delight!

Until that moment I had forgotten how disappointed I'd been last winter sale when most of my items didn't sell. I was confused because it was decent stuff that I thought would sell for sure. But the sale was REALLY big that season, and it was hard to sort through the items because the racks were so overstuffed. So it was easy for items not to sell. Inside that bin was more than I need for my children for this winter! Including the new baby.

Well, praise the Lord, those items didn't sell. God knew that this winter we would need those clothes. He knew that we would have a new baby on the way and would need the newborn items I had tried to sell last year as an attempt to have money to spend at the sale last year. He knew that because of the new baby on the way we wouldn't be able to afford to buy anything at this current sale. He was providing for the needs of this year a year ago when He allowed my items not to sell!

Now all we really need for this winter are dresses, since my oldest only had one last year, and that's getting a little short, and shoes. And even in the shoes area, we may not need those. It just depends on how these little feet grow! There are a few other needs for the new baby, but very few. Most are just desires. :)

So now what was going to cost us too much, will now cost us very little, if anything at all. What a mighty God we serve!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beautiful Babyhood

After the birth of my second child, I suffered greatly from post-partum depression (PPD). At the time I didn't realize that that was my problem. I was exhausted! I had an extremely active 20 month old and an extremely fussy newborn, and I was on my own two days after coming home from the hospital. I hated my life, I went through moments of wishing I didn't have my kids, I was convinced my husband hated me, and I felt that God didn't care too much for me either.

When my newborn was six weeks old I got a Moby wrap--that became a lifesaver! I could carry the crying infant any time she needed and still get things done around the home. Most importantly I felt like I could be a mommy to both of my kids at the same time, rather than just one at a time.

Well, that fussy infant reached a point somewhere near six months or so where she wasn't so fussy anymore. She became the sweetest, most pleasant baby anyone could imagine. She has been a great source of joy and entertainment in our home over the last year.

She has also been my baby. She doesn't seem as grown-up to me as her sister did at this age. She just seems like a baby still. Though she definitely has her moments of independence, she is very much a cuddler and loves to be near one of her parents. She says words, but she's not really what I would consider talking. She's not really potty training yet. Beyond those little milestones she still just seems like a little baby and not the big girl that she is quickly becoming.

Over the last few weeks I have felt like I have re-entered that post-partum depression (or perhaps a pre-partum depression?). A few weeks ago my little baby weaned herself from nursing. To some degree there was a bit of relief in this since, being four months pregnant, breastfeeding really wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world. But she had been much more of a comfort nurser than her sister had been. My oldest needed to be encouraged to nurse--she was always too much of a busy body to take time to stop and eat. But my second cares more about food than she does about anything else in life. If she was hungry, she wanted to nurse. If she was tired, she wanted to nurse. If she was hurt, she wanted to nurse. I knew my milk had changed back to colostrum, and eventually she went from nursing a few times a day and through the night, to nothing. I seriously went through a stage of mourning. This beautiful time of connecting with my child had come to an end. She suddenly became much more independent of me, and started to become as much of a Daddy's girl as her big sister.

Also in the last weeks she has gotten much better at doing things for herself. She can climb into her highchair, get herself into her car seat, and once the straps are over her shoulders, she can buckle herself in. She can undress herself, though she is not quite so good at the redressing part. :) She loves to wash her hands and brush her teeth. She enjoys independent play, and in the last few weeks she and her sister have gotten much better at playing together for LONG periods of time. These are tasks that I know I will great appreciate once the new baby comes, but did she have to do all of her growing up so fast?

To top it all off, last week she decided she didn't want to sleep in the crib anymore. For the last several days she has been sleeping in a toddler bed. I know it's really the same size as her crib, but somehow she just looks so small in that bed, but at the same time seems like such a big girl. She's been amazing about staying in the bed. We haven't had a single instance (yet) of her getting out of the bed. (Her sister had been much more difficult!)

I know I can mostly blame pregnancy hormones, but having my little baby be so grown up just makes me want to tear up and sniff a little bit. On some days it makes me want to just cry into a pillow. And any time she crawls up into my lap, I just hold on tight, knowing that these precious baby days will quickly pass, just as they did with her sister. Yes, there will soon be another precious bundle to hold, but I don't want to miss out on a moment with the sweet baby that I have right now.

Tasty Tuesday - Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins (mix)

ALL summer long I've been wanting to share some of the delicious blueberry recipes that my family enjoys, but as I recently explained, blogging fell to the bottom of my priority list this summer. So, now I will try to catch up on some of the tasty recipes I've been wanting to share!

My oldest and I LOVE all things bread. My husband and second really don't care for bread-type items. In my attempt to make our foods healthier I started making bread items with whole wheat flour and/or oats.

I was unable to take pictures of each step of this process as my camera was out of commission for nearly a month. But this is a simple recipe, and I use it as a make-ahead meal of sorts. I make my own muffin mix with this. Since my daughter is allergic to eggs, I use a powdered egg substitute in the mix, but I will include directions for doing this with a real egg instead.
These muffins come out very moist, and usually don't last a whole day around here!

I grab one mixing bowl and 4 containers (I think they may be 3c containers, but it doesn't say on the bottom). I mix up one batch in the mixing bowl and then put the ingredients for four other batches in each of the four containers.

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

Dry Mix
  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 t Ener-G egg replacer
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 T warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and drained
Note: In place of the water and egg replacer you can use just one egg.
I usually use closer to two cups of berries. :)
Note: I often use 1/2 whole wheat flour, 1/2 all-purpose--it does make the muffins more dense.


  1. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, egg replacer, and salt.
  2. Mix in milk, water, and oil; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
  3. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
And apparently there are still issues with my camera. Anyway, I label the container with instructions for what needs mixed, what temp to bake, and how long.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Do You Want to Be My Friend?

I our latest batch of books from the library we have one book by Eric Carle (LOVE his books!) called Do You Want To Be My Friend? It's an sweet story of a little mouse who goes from animal to animal trying to find someone, anyone who would be his friend. He first sees the tale of the animal and asks to be his friend, and the when the mouse sees the head of the animal he realizes that animal wouldn't make a great friend. He eventually finds another mouse at the end of the story with whom he can be friends.

I often times feel like that little mouse. I feel so lost and lonely sometimes, and if I'm not careful, Satan can really use my lack of friendship as a means of discouragement. I think I've mentioned before that I've never been good at making friends, and looking back of my years of growing up and going through college, I think I really only ever had three people, aside from my husband, who could actually truly fit the definition of a friend. Now I face a reality that the people who could most closely fall under the definition of a friend are people I've gotten to know through Facebook. But for some reason, I'm just not good at real, face-to-face friendships.

And I can't honestly figure out why.

I'm a blunt person. If someone asks my opinion on something, I may try to be tactful in my answer, but I'm not going to sugar coat my answer or be apologetic for my opinion. Maybe that's a problem? I can be pretty opinionated. But I try to just spout my opinion (outside of my blog) without being asked.

I can be perhaps too open about personal things sometimes. Perhaps as a result of never having a set friend to share things with, if I find someone who I think may be a friend or friendly, I have a tendency of taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to someone. Maybe that's my problem? I really should learn to be a more quiet and stand-offish person.

I've always been gullible, and being a follower is always what kept me in trouble as I was growing up. The only friends I had then were ones who could (and would) use me. Well, I'm not of much use to anyone now. So maybe that's my problem? No one can use me so they don't want to be my friend.

I think I may come across as too abrupt. I like to serve and take care of people. But often times I think I may just come across as pushy in my attempt to help people realize I'm not just throwing out false offers of help knowing they won't accept. When I offer assistance I'm being serious and genuine. Maybe that's a problem. I shouldn't be pushy in trying to help people. I should just offer once and let it alone.

In the last few months I've manage to alienate at least three people, and I'm thinking perhaps a fourth. The three weren't really friends, but acquaintances in good standing, I guess you could say. In two of the three cases I was asked why I take a certain stand on a certain subject. In each case the person disagreed with my answer. One totally blocked me from anything on Facebook and has attempted to be cordial in public but I'm not fooled. The other never responded and has still remained a nice acquaintance, but I was very hurt and upset one day when we were in a place with our kids and I watched my daughter try speaking to her, and the adult ignored her. The third would be a result of poor communication on my part and an unintentional insult. And the fourth? I really don't know what I've done wrong, but I did it. And that one hurts the most because that one wasn't an acquaintance. I really thought I'd found a friend.

Recently my husband encouraged me to go to a ladies' night out which was suppose to be a craft/fellowship night with some ladies at church. I really didn't want to go. But he thought it would be nice for me to have the opportunity to get out, do some crafting that I never have the opportunity to do, and fellowship with adults, which I rarely get to do. Fellowshiping with adults makes me nervous. Anyway. My sweet husband took me to JoAnn's and let me get supplies to work on craft I wanted to do all in preparation for that evening. When I arrived, I sat in the parking lot for at least twenty minutes trying to pep-talk myself into going inside. Once I walked in, I knew I'd made a mistake. I felt like Daniel walking into the lion's den, only I wasn't so confident in the lion's mouths being closed. The event was "hosted" by the one who had completely blocked me from her social network. Talk about awkward. She was standing there greeting everyone as they come in and trying to figure out how to politely skip over me--which she did. I sat at a table by myself and was barely spoken to. I tried to join a conversation at a nearby table, but one lady purposely kept her back to me and another turned her back toward me during the conversation. So I stayed out. I did get to speak with two ladies whom I hadn't met before, and I did enjoy the little bit of conversation I had with each of them. But part of me just knows better than to get my hope up of having some type of friendship with any of the ladies. As soon as I politely could (around people getting up and speaking during the evening) I packed up my bag and brought myself home to pout on the couch and cry to my husband.

I know I need to learn and fully accept that God truly is the only friend I really need. And I need to be content in the companionship of my husband. I'm am thankful for my God and for my husband. I will continue to strive to be content without a female friend.

I really think I can live without girlfriends, but having SO many enemies really bothers me. I know that it's not pleasing to the Lord for me to be at odds with so many people, but I really don't know what to do about it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Boys will be boys." --Really?

I understand there is some truth to the phrase, "Boys will be boys." But I'm getting quite annoyed with the fact that often times mothers of boys seem to use this as some sort of excuse for bad behavior. I have only girls so far, so these words may come back to haunt me one day. But I really believe that it is possible to allow boys to be boys without allowing them to be rude and discourteous to others. My mother raised three girls, and thirteen years after the youngest girl was born my mother was very surprised to discover she was expecting again. This time a boy! My brother is now nearing eight years old, and is definitely a different challenge to my mother that we were as girls. I'm not arguing that there's something uniquely different about the way God designed boys and girls. My mother (as well as many other mothers of boys) has told me many times that you can't keep boys from playing with guns. They're just born with guns on their fingers. I can understand this. God made boys (men) to be protectors, and when a fight is necessary, men are who God designed to go to war. I haven't had the opportunity to be around my brother too much because of the great age difference between us (twenty years!). But I have been around him on a playground or when he's playing with friends, and while he thoroughly enjoys playing rough and playing war-like games with his playmates, I haven't witnessed him being rude to other kids on the playground. He is a very tender-hearted boy, so perhaps one could attribute his politeness to his personality, but I would like to credit it to the training of my mother. My daughter has almost decided she doesn't like play dates anymore because the boys are so rough. I have told her that boys are rough, and God made girls to be gentle and sweet. But when boys are shoving past girls and throwing them out of their way and stepping on them or over them in their attempt to keep up with their battle, that is no longer behavior that can be passed off with a simple, "Well, boys will be boys." No, that is simply rude and inconsiderate behavior. And when another child is asking those rough-housing boys to please leave them alone or to stop, those boys should be trained to be considerate enough to leave that playmate out of their rambunctious behavior. Today I watched one of those boys wrap his arm around my daughter's neck and get ready to body slam her to the ground, and I was greatly angered. A child should never be permitted to wrap his arms around another person neck and body slam them unless he is doing so under the supervision of a trainer in a martial arts program. And to a girl? What happened to training boys to be gentlemen?

As I said, I may one day end up eating my words. But I spoke of this with my husband, and he agrees that while boys will be boys, and boys will do boyish things, they can still be taught to respect others, to be polite, to be considerate, to be courteous, and to be mindful of the feelings of others around them. Boys should be gentleman in training. I'm in no way saying rob a young boy of his childhood and put him through rigorous manner courses. I am a firm believer of allowing children to be children and not forcing them to act like adults when they aren't adults. However, since every moment with a child is a moment of some type of training, there are ways to teach and encourage respectful behavior in young children without forcing or expecting them to be as adults. My 18-month-old is old enough to understand that she is not to hit or kick or bit or push another person. So I definitely believe that a two or three-year-old boy can understand that you treat girls differently than you treat boys. They can understand that boys, if permitted to hit other boys, do not hit girls (or push, or any of the other aforementioned actions). I hope that when I have a boy I can raise him to be a gentleman to young ladies, to be courteous to other kids in a play area, and to be respectful to the adults around him--and all of this without "robbing him of his man-hood" or "turning him into a sissy." I want my boy to be a boy, but not at the expense of others feelings and his own reputation and testimony.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Daddy's Little Girls!
My oldest decided she was going to work with Daddy today, so she went into his closet, picked out a shirt, and put it on. Naturally more of a Mommy's girl, my youngest picked out one of my shirts instead.
Aren't they cute?!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Out of the Loop

So I have majorly been out of the loop with blogging. I've been majorly out of the loop with a lot of things in the last few months, and while I've been trying to pull the rest of the scattered pieces together, blogging got set on a back shelf. It also doesn't help that I think of plenty of things to blog about while away from the computer, but when I get a chance to sit down and perhaps blog, I can't remember what I thought so important earlier in the day.

I stopped blogging, I think somewhere mid-April, due to a severe case of morning sickness. Why is it called morning sickness? I've had four pregnancies, I can definitely attest that there is nothing restricting such unpleasantness to just the morning. Of my four pregnancies, this time was much worse. I seriously spent about 6 weeks flat out on the couch. I wasn't good for much of anything but sleeping and puking (if I could add eating a pooping in there, I'd sound like a newborn!). My home and family were greatly neglected, and thus I could not justify any extra-curricular activities such as blogging.

Toward the middle of this six week period, my cousin died after a hard-fought battle with cancer. So I spent two days in the car with my girls driving to the funeral, two days there, and two days in the car coming back. Praise the Lord, I actually experienced relief from my sickness during that time. The sickness abated around 15 weeks, but it still seemed to take me a while to start getting my act back together. About five weeks after my cousin died, my grandfather died. But thankfully the Lord blessed by providing a plane ticket, and my youngest and I flew to the funeral and back.

So eventually, our home started returning to normal. I started cooking and cleaning again, I didn't spend my whole day in jammies, and my girls had there mother back. I could once again run errands and do grocery shopping. I eventually made myself get back into couponing. I love the savings, but honestly, I hate dealing with sales and coupons. It stresses me out greatly. This month I am determined to return to the couponing full force and start seeing the savings that we were seeing before I was ill. We became a little too free in our spending since April, so we're going to have to almost retrain ourselves, but we'll do it. (Especially since this is the only way that we can humanly see that we'll be able to pay for the baby.)

My other goal is to get back into blogging. I've missed it ever so much. I love to write, and I frequently find myself having thoughts in essay form. But unfortunately I probably won't be able to blog as frequently as I would like. But I will try to do better keeping up to some degree.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Being Stewards of the Body and the Bank

This one post from Heavenly Homemaker pretty much explains what I have been saying and thinking about saving money with coupons. I spent many months frustrating myself because I wasn't seeing the same amazing savings each month as so many of my couponing comrades around me. I was seeing some savings, but I wasn't coming out of stores with less than a $10 balance nearly every shopping trip. I spent hours, sometimes more hours than I would be working if I had a part-time job, trying to get my lists narrowed down so that I was paying as little out-of-pocket as possible.
One day I reached a break through, and I had a nice long stretch of paying very little money for lots of product. We got past the point of having no food in our house and no money with which to buy any more food. Eventually we had shelves stocked with food, and I would still stand back and say I had nothing to feed my family. My shelves were stocked with canned soups, bread crumbs, boxes and boxes of pasta, and numerous other items--the only of which that was getting used on a semi-consistent basis was the pasta. We don't eat canned soups, we rarely use bread crumbs, DH really doesn't like pasta, and many of the other items were things that just seemed useless, but I'd gotten them for free. I refuse to by processed foods for my family (Hamburger Helper type things, freezer dinners, pasta or rice mixes, etc.), and we don't do any unhealthy drinks (under which category I consider Crystal Light because of the artificial sweetener).
I was recently discussing with someone the reasons we seem to see so little savings in comparison to others around us. But it all comes down to what you are willing to eat and what you're willing to feed your family. Really, the only way to come out spending nothing on groceries is to feed your family a bunch of processed foods and beverages loaded with artificial sweetener, artificial coloring, and artificial flavoring. When you're trying to adhere to a special diet, for health reasons or by choice, couponing may not seem as beneficial to you. But be it great or small, I am still saving money.
I believe it is just as important to be good stewards of the bodies God gave us as we are of the money God gave us. We can scrounge for coupons and deals, buy out stock at a store, and hoard a year's supply of product in our homes, but what are we doing to the vessels God gave us to care for? I'm a firm believer that many of the illnesses that surround us today could have been prevented by healthier eating. I am by no means a health-freak. That wouldn't fit within our budget, not mention I don't think the picky eaters in this family could survive such a diet. One way I try to keep my family healthy is that I make nearly everything fresh and/or from scratch. By doing so I may be spending more money on a bag of whole-wheat flour and a block of cheese and some produce than I would on several boxes boxes of frozen pizza, but the flour will go a long way (can't say as much for the cheese--we like a lot on our pizza!), and there aren't any added preservatives in our meal. And with three dozen boxes of pasta on the shelf, why on earth do I need a few dozen boxes of hamburger helper when I could make the mix from scratch without the astronomical amounts of sodium? Fruit may be a bit pricey, but it's definitely much healthier than a package of congealed, fruit flavored, dinosaurs or Doras.
We hear all the time about the rise of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but the American people seem to push these warning to a back shelf as if they are invincible. My jaw hits the floor every time I pick up a box of prepackaged food just to look at the nutritional facts and I see the sodium content. Sodium in prepackaged foods (as well as what is sprinkled on to the food after it has been prepared!) is just as life threatening to our children as sugar. (Here is one report I read regarding sodium in American diets.)
But it's not just a matter of what we are feeding our families now. But consider what habits our children are learning and forming. True, we may be teaching them frugality. We may be teaching them to give to others from the surplus. But what about the eating habits our children are forming? If we start our children at such young ages with the habit of eating such unhealthy foods, what are we teaching our children about caring for our bodies, not just our bank accounts? They have very little hope of making it to their adult years without blood pressure issues--especially if there is already heart disease in their family. And before throwing out the excuse that no one in your family has heart disease or diabetes, realize that of the millions of Americans who now find themselves with one or both of those conditions, prior to diagnosis they could have said the same thing.
By no means am I saying don't be a crazy couponer, but I would like to challenge my couponing comrades to think a little bit about the items you're saving money on. You may be saving money now, but is it costing the life of yourself or someone in your family?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Co-sleeping Isn't.

There is a billboard in our city with a picture of a female medical-examiner and the billboard states, "Don't let me be the last doctor to see your baby." The billboard goes on to point out the dangers of co-sleeping with your baby...never mind the dangers of trying to read their billboard while driving.

I think when people hear the term "co-sleeping" they conjure up an image of a queen-size bed with Daddy on one side, four kids in the middle, and Mommy on the other side. Or they picture a momma sleeping on her side in the bed with a precious newborn cradled in her arms up against her. While these do depict some forms of co-sleeping, this not necessarily what co-sleeping is.

I was at a SAHM playgroup today and was talking with some ladies. I knew to watch my step (and my mouth) because I'm on a very different parenting page than probably the majority of the ladies in the group. I'm a cloth-diapering, breastfeeding (demand feeding), non CIO (cry-it-out), co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attachment parenting, natural parenting, non-spanking momma, and let's just say that everyone I'm surrounded by is pretty much the opposite except for the breastfeeding, but most are not demand feeding. The topic of sleeping with baby was casually mentioned, and I could tell that everyone was in agreement that it was definitely wrong.

A momma mentioned that when her daughter was a newborn, grandma kept holding and rocking that sweet little baby, and momma wanted baby to be put down in a bed to sleep. Sadly, I was like that for the first week of my first daughter's life. "The book" (i.e. Babywise--who has many followers local to me) said to never hold your baby when they're sleeping--not even to put them to sleep. In an attempt to be a "good mom" I followed the book for the first week of my daughter's life. At the end of that first week I had a baby who screamed for 40 minutes waiting to eat and one that I had held only for feedings--just like the book says. I lost a whole week of enjoying many of the sweet and blessed moments of motherhood that I had so looked forward to. Devastated that I had allowed some man to steal those precious moments from me, I scrapped the book, picked my daughter up, fed her when she was hungry, held her when she wanted to be held, laid her on my chest to take naps, rocked her to sleep, and from that point on enjoyed every moment I could with my precious little baby. (And for the record, she learned to sleep through the night and in her own bed just fine!)

Okay, so I keep side-tracking. In response to this momma's comment I said that I sleep with my babies and enjoy those precious moments--you should have seen the looks I got! (Although everyone politely kept their mouths shut.)

So, I just want to clarify what co-sleeping is and what co-sleeping isn't. There are many definitions or concepts of co-sleeping. Yes, co-sleeping can be one big happy family sharing a bed together. Yes, co-sleeping can be a new momma sleeping in a bed with her little new born snuggled up next to her--let me tell you, that's a whole lot more comfortable that trying to get out of bed to feed a baby in the middle of the night when you have a bazillion stitches and hemorrhoids in your bottom! (TMI, I know. :)

But by definition, co-sleeping is a family sleeping closely together for the comfort and convenience of all involved in the family. This does not mean that everyone necessarily shares a bed. All of you who sleep with a cradle or bassinet in your room for those first weeks? You're technically co-sleeping!

No, in all honesty, I rarely sleep in the same bed as my kids because that is neither comfortable or convenient for me. I'm a super light sleeper, and to have my kids in my bed keeps me from falling into a deep enough sleep to get any rest. My oldest daughter moves to much, and I usually move to the couch when she climbs into our bed. :) With my little babies, I'm too nervous about them suffocating (because as a new momma, I'm too exhausted to be very alert when I fall asleep), that I end up not sleeping at all if the baby is in bed with me. I do keep the baby in a bassinet right up against the bed so I am close by. I also unashamedly love to take naps on the couch with that precious newborn laying on my chest--just the two of snoozing away together. What sweet moments! But if my kids need us in the middle of the night, our bed becomes their bed. And if our kids are sick, they usually end up in our bed because it's just easier to take care of them if they're right there.

I agree that co-sleeping, by what many think it to be, can be hazardous. As I mentioned, I know that as a new momma I'm too tired to be an alert sleeper in the bed, so I don't keep my little baby with me. However, some momma's sleep better with that baby right there, knowing that baby is safe.

Co-sleeping is a practice where the family sleeping arrangements help each member of the family to get the best night's rest without causing fear, discomfort, distrust, or feelings of abandonment on the child (CIO). We are here as parents, mom's especially, to be love and comfort for our children. Co-sleeping, for many moms, is a way to provide that for their children while also taking care of mommy's health and rest as well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Market

Saturday my husband decided we would do our grocery shopping together while we were out running other errands. Believe it or not, I think I prefer shopping with just myself and the kids! He's not really that bad, but to me it always seems to take longer when he tags along. I'm more purposeful and walk through a store as if my britches are on fire, he's very laid back and relaxed. He hunch over the shopping cart with his elbows resting on the handle bars and idly pushes the cart through the store. It was beneficial to have him on this trip since my daughter decided she needed to take an extended vacation to the restroom--I didn't have to haul my youngest daughter and all of my coupon/purse stuffs into the bathroom with me. :)

Okay with the sarcasm, Saturday was a great trip! We have my oldest daughter on almond milk, and I plan to keep our kids on non-cow's milk. This past week Publix had Silk almond milk 2/$5, and there had been a $2/1 printable coupon available. Through the graciousness of many acquaintances and friends alike...and some people I don't even know...I was able to pull together nearly 20 coupons. Some of them I didn't acquire until after this shopping trip, so I'll redeem those tomorrow before the sale ends. So Saturday alone I was able to purchase $56 worth of milk for only $8! (Sorry to my FB friends, I believe I calculated wrong the other day and posted the totals wrong. :/ )

I came out of the store with 6 bags of Banquet nuggets, 16 cartons (there's 6 in that case in the picture) of almond milk, 2 marinades, 2 salad dressings (which around here are also marinades), 2 packs of slivered almonds, 2 packs of craisins, 2 boxes of granola bars (which DH had just been asking for!), 2 bags of pretzels, 2 bags of Sunchips, a bottle of vitamins, and 4 boxes of pasta (as if I really need anymore, but I'm trying to keep a continuous supply instead of buying so much en masse)...and what is the total you want to know? I paid $38.28 oop, and will be getting back a $10 rebate gift card!

I also hit up Staples on Friday to take advantage of the free printer paper deal. I bought 2 packs of HP ColorLock paper at $5.99, used 2 $1/1 coupons (had to do this in two transactions), and submitted for the $4.99 rebate. I used their easy rebate, which I had misunderstood the easiness of it. I had been told that you can get the rebate back by PayPal rather than waiting 4-6 weeks for it to come by check. But I understood that to mean that the rebate would be rather quick. However, when I submitted it, it still said a processing time of 4-6 weeks, it will just go to my PayPal rather than a check being mailed. Oh, well. It's money back in the bank at some point in time!

So we're now a little low on funds for this month's grocery budget, but out of this month we're getting back $30 in rebates. ($10 in gas cards from the Kellogg's cereal last week, $10 from the Staples paper deal, and $10 from the Banquet/Con Agra deal)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dream Date

I've recently gotten it stuck in my head that I really want to go on a date with my husband. I've been a bit more clingy with him recently. I don't know really how to explain it. We're a pretty "hands off" couple I guess you could say. We enjoy each other's company, but rarely do we take time to enjoy it without the kids. We're not all googly eyed over each other. We're more of a "mature" couple. Sometimes I wish we were more googly eyed and less mature. I sometimes wish we hadn't treated our dating relationship and marriage more like a business arrangement in order to avoid being one of those nasty, mushy couples all over our college campus that just gross people out.

Anyway, recently when I've been out I'll pass something and I'll think, "If we ever went on a date, I'd like to go there." Ever is a key word there. Since I think we've been on maybe five dates since our three-year-old was born, and two of three of those would have been his company Christmas banquet, so perhaps doesn't count. So here are a few of the place that I've noted recently (and that I can still remember)...

Starbucks - grande chai creme frappucino

Olive Garden - once my favorite Italian restaurant, but the last two times I went I wasn't overly impressed. I also like Macaroni Grille. But something Italian, with alfredo sauce, and mushrooms, and either chicken or grilled shrimp, and a big salad with lots of tomatoes....yummm...

Domino's - LOVE me some Domino's pizza with extra, extra, extra (no kidding) mushrooms and extra cheese, light on the sauce, hand tossed crust

Cinnabons - not really a major favorite, but it smelled good when I walked past it in the mall today. :)

Marble Slab - along with Oreos, ice cream is a major weakness for me. But unlike Oreos, I never allow myself the pleasure of spending money on it. I can usually get Oreos cheaper. But I LOVE ice cream!! And Marble Slab makes ice cream fun!

Beach - We use to go to the beach during or after sunset with a light breeze blowing and sand crabs running around in the sand and the moon reflecting off of the water. This was before kids and when we lived 10 minutes closer to the beach than we do now. :) As we walked, hand-in-hand talking about who knows what (especially now since we haven't done this since the kids were born ) the gentle breeze would just blow our cares and burdens out with the rolling tide.

Games - I LOVE games--and my husband HATES them. But wouldn't it be fun to end an evening with one (or two) challenging games of Scrabble or Backgammon or Hand and Foot or something?

Conversation - I don't know if it's even possible or realistic to think we could have a conversation without talking about the kids. Sometimes I try to remember what we talked about before we had kids, and I really can't remember. But just to have a conversation without, "Excuse me. Excuse me. Mommy, I said excuse me." Or the 15 month old yelling, "Pleeeease," as she vigorously rubs her chest with the sign. Uninterrupted conversation...I really don't think we would know what to do or what to talk about!

These are just some hastily "scribble" ideals for a dream date. What would your dream date be?

Friday, April 8, 2011

There Are Some Things Girls Just Know

Princess - I never taught my daughter what princesses (or princes) are. She hasn't seen any Disney, and overall, we've avoided fairy tales. For Christmas she got Disney princess panties from her grandmother, but that's about the extent of her exposure to princesses. Yet she still pretends to be a princess, and she calls Daddy her prince. And you're hard put to get her to wear any of the 30 pair of panties she has if it's not one of the 7 pair of princess panties!

Twirly dresses - I remember begging my mom for twirly dresses. My daughter doesn't quite beg for them (not yet anyway) but both girls love them. They somehow know when you put a certain dress on them that it's a good one for twirling around in. I never told my girls to spin around and watch their dress twirl. They just knew!

Tea Parties - My daughter also enjoys playing tea party. We've never really had one (although i plan to do one with her friends). She got a tea set for her birthday, and without me telling her what the function of each piece was, she laid out the tray, placed the cups and teapot on it, carried it to her table, and started pouring tea. It was like instinct!

Flirting - Even at 15 months old, my youngest one knows how to get what she wants out of people, and both girls know how to play their Daddy! They sidle up to you and give you a sheepish, coy smile, and sweetly say, "Pleeeeeease." No one needs to teach children (not really just girls I guess) how to be adorable beggars!

Modeling - Recently I went to take a picture of my three-year-old, and she put on this perfect Vogue stance with an air of dramatic flair and a saucy smile before I could snap her picture. I couldn't help but laugh at her. I have no idea where that came from! But it was cute!

Each of these things allude to the "frilly" nature of girls. A characteristic I wish to preserve in my daughter. I once use to think that I wasn't against feminine rights of equality and such. And while, to a certain degree, I'm not an anti-feminist, to another degree I am. Why should it be wrong for our girls to learn that it's right and natural for them to be and like frilly, dainty things? Why does society push princess objects at our kids when they're young, but then somewhere in the pre-teen years, you rip the fairy-tales away, throw them into reality, and tell them that girls aren't to be dainty and frilly, and if a man treats you like a "weaker vessel" than it's discrimination? Isn't that what you taught them through the years of sitting them down in from of Disney princess movies?

Just some controversial issue to tack onto the end of an otherwise nice post...leave it to me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Market Monday

Well, I'm a day late, but definitely not a dollar short!

For the first time in
months I actually did a drug store run. And I think for the first time ever both CVS and Walgreens were successful trips without any glitches...well there was one small "glitch" that I noticed after getting home, so I'll go get it "fixed."

The other day I did a quick Publix run to use up some expiring coupons. I came out with all of this for $10.89!

My Walgreens trip was quick, simple, and profitable. Got mine and my husband's favorite Easter candies for cheap! I got the M&Ms for $1 a bag!! Sadly, I didn't have a coupon for the Cadburry's, but they were still a great price anyway. I did the toothpastes first in two transactions, and put the combined $6RR toward my third transaction which included the candies and the tissues. I started with no RRs and my goal was to leave with no RRs so I didn't have to stress over remembering to use them up later. So I paid $7.36 for all of this. I was surprised until I realized that I'd failed to calculate tax before going. Tax on this was more than one bag of M&Ms!

CVS was again, quick, simple, profitable, and I thought uneventful. When I got home I realized that my ECBs didn't print for one of the toothpastes, so I guess I grabbed the wrong one. I'll go back to exchange it and hope that they still honor the coupon price that was used...if not I'll just return it.

And last but not least, Publix. This didn't turn out as great as I would have liked. I ended up needing to split the transaction between two stores because one was out of the cereal. That messed up the number of $/$$ coupons I was able to use. I would have had $15 if I'd been able to do this all at one spot. As it is, I still was able to use one $5 coupon for each transaction.
I also ended up picking up a few extra items that I hadn't previously known an amount for, so I hadn't worked that into my calculated total. The internet list that I'd printed off of Southern Savers didn't list the Campbell's soup sale, so I'd also forgotten to include that. So my total in store jumped about $12 from what I'd planned before walking into the store. But since I was still saving money on items I needed, I didn't feel too bad about it. I also wasn't able to dig up any of the $1/2 Kellogg's coupons for the Smacks, but my husband really likes those, and I figured the free milk helped balance out that purchase. :) And sadly, that cereal won't last as long as people might think it should. But I must commend my husband, he's gotten much better at rationing his cereal and practicing self control. But he could seriously happily live off of cereal and rice--speaking of rice, they were all out of that so the poor man must suffer with pasta for at least one more night. :) My most exciting purchase for myself was the Campbell's cream of mushroom soups! My daughter seems to be tolerating dairy pretty well, and I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to cook with cream of mushroom soup again!! The hummus was my only splurge item because it's something I've been wanting to try anyway. Now, how do you eat hummus? With something, in a recipe, or by itself?
So, to summarize Publix, spent $41.07, saved $94.64. Purchased 51 items and used 23 coupons. Not the best savings margine ever, but good, and I got stuff we really needed!