Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Brain Teaser

I used to love when my elementary school teachers gave us little brain teasers.  Some of my favorites were little pictures that depicted well known phrases.  For instance, guess what phrase is illustrated by the following picture.

       Answer:  Read between the lines.  Okay, now that you've had a bit of practice, take a look at a teaser that yours truly created... I think it depicts my life pretty well right now.  I'm thinking of making a printable to frame with this little teaser...

That's right... 2 under 2

toddler bed phase one

This last Saturday, we set up the toddler bed for the smallish child.  I am NOT ready for her to be in the bed yet seeing as she can open doors and she won't stay in bed.  So right now it's set up in her room and we just do a lot of talking about how she'll get to sleep in her big girl bed when she gets bigger.  This will be quite a process seeing as I'll need to get her to stay in that bed, leave her crib empty for a little while and then convince her that the crib is now Brigham's-a process that will take months.  Good thing I'm not in a rush to get Brigs into the crib right now.

For now, she loves simply spending time on that wonderful thing.  The day we set it up, she literally didn't leave the bed.  She would get off to grab a toy or book and then get right back on.  A few days I've let her take a nap there but our rule is that if she gets off the bed, she has to go in her crib and she always gets off (to get a toy).  So she always get's put back in her crib.  This is fine for me.  It gives me a chance to start teaching her to stay in her big girl bed without any harm to me.  She normally gets off her bed within the first 5 minutes of going to sleep, so I just plan that in and don't start anything until she's in her crib.

She was very insistent that the picture of the temple go right there.  I'm not going to fight her on wanting the temple right where she can see it.  **Cue letting go of my OCD tendency to have things look just so in a room**

Singing Away

About 700 mosquito bites on her arm.  Mother of the year right here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Free Baby Food: Yes Please!

As many of you know, baby food is rediculously expensive!  While it's super convenient to open a jar and shovel it in the mouth of a hungry baby, (and believe me, I'm not above that!  Sometimes it's totally worth the convenience) it can save so much money to make your own baby food. 

Now, I have two children under two and seeing as they are still on different nap schedules (working on that one folks) I don't have a lot of time to whip up tons of baby food. Enter the brilliance of my new food processor.  Nathan and I have been married for 3 years, and I finally used up the last gift card we were given in order to buy it.  It was well worth waiting that long.  I have used it SO much-and it makes whipping up baby food a BREEZE.

I also live in a small rental right now and the fridge is a small size.  Meaning, I don't have a lot of room to freeze tons of homemade baby food.  So, because I don't have a lot of room to freeze the food, and I don't have time to be making tons of brilliant recipes, I've simply made it out of some things that would have gone bad had I let them sit.

Over labor day, when we were helping my sister and brother-in-law on the farm, they sent us home with a bunch of green beans.  We ate some for dinner the next few nights and still had a bunch left that would've gone bad before we ate them.  Enter baby food idea.  I simply threw them in the food processor with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to make it delicious (babies deserve good food too, you know), poured it into ice cube trays, froze them, and put them in zip lock bags.  In about 10 minutes of work, I now have 42 meals of green beans for Briga-bud.  That's about 21 jars of baby food and roughly $10 saved.

Then, my neighbor brought over some peaches from her tree. Once again, we ate a bunch, but they were going to go bad and I already made a ton of canned peaches with my mom, so I decided to simply make some more baby food.  Using the left-over 8 peaches, I got another 38 meals for the wee one.  That's about 19 cans of baby food and another roughly $10 saved.  You don't need to add anything to peaches, but I had some applesauce that had been in the fridge for awhile, so I added that which helped it stretch a little farther and it will be more fun to eat:).

Also, as I have been teased for, I'm an obsessive label-er.  Obviously this is baby food (when was the last time you froze food for yourself in ice-cube trays), but I couldn't help writing it on the package-it's like a disease with me;)

I can't wait to bust these out in the next few months to see if Brigham loves them.  If he doesn't, I didn't spend any money, so no harm.  If he loves them, that's $20 and time running to the grocery store saved.  In my eyes, it's a win/win!

Thank you, thank you to those of you who so willingly gave me your hand grown delicious food.  We loved it and hopefully Brigs will too!

Friday, September 20, 2013

photoshoot attempt #2

While this shoot had just as many laughs as the last one, things went much better.  I followed my own advice, relaxed and simply let the kids act and pose the way they felt comfortable, and I think you'll see that we were a little closer to success.  Enjoy!

Disclaimer, this photoshoot was unplanned.  Thus, they are both in their PJ's and it's about 10 minutes before bedtime, but the lighting was beautiful and my finger had a hankering to push the capture button:)

I love getting totally unplanned things recorded.  This wrestling happens every day, but I hardly ever think to pull out my camera and capture it.  How I will treasure this picture in years to come simply because I pushed the pause button on something that happens daily.

 Couldn't you just die looking at those adorable chubby toddler hands?  I love noticing the little things and clumsy toddler hands are some of my favorite things.

This smile is reserved only for her daddy.  And what could be better than posing on a tree stump that's just her size!?  She did anything I wanted her to do as long as she could sit on that tree.  I'll take that compromise any day!

Like I said above, it's the little things for me.  I love that he's drooling out of the corner of his mouth.  I think many photographers would take that out, but it's part of who he is right now, and to me, it's endearing.  I don't want to take that away and forget how often I had to wipe that adorable mouth of his.

I love getting these two together, because sometimes I forget how big Brigs is.  I mean, hello.  Almost 2 year old and a 4 month old.  She had to try really hard to sit up so he wouldn't push her over.  That's why she's laughing so hard.  Also, don't you just melt over the super awkward placement of her hands?  She's trying to hold him, but she isn't sure how.  I LOVE IT!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

just doing some dishes

 Someone please tell me that I'm not alone in the "toddler thinks they need to be between my legs at all times" boat?!

Kids Clothing Inventory

Your neighbor drops off a whole bag of clothes for your kids, but they don't fit quite yet, so you sort them, and put them in boxes in the closet for a few months.  Later, you find a great deal on some clothes and you want to stock up in bigger sizes for the kiddos.  But, you can't remember for the life of you whether or not you already have jeans in a certain size, or pajamas, or a coat.  Suddenly, the deal doesn't seem so great because you don't want to buy something you already have.  Yes, you could buy it and then exchange it later, but what a pain!  If I've dragged my two kiddos out of the house already, there is no way I'm going to waste my time!

Enter my solution for the problem.  I knew I needed a list of what clothing items I have for each size and gender and a way to access it whenever I am out shopping.  I had already started an excel document on my computer to keep track of the clothes I had, but I didn't have a way to keep track of it on the go.  Now, if I had a smart phone, this would be really easy, but alas, that's a no go right now, so this was my solution.

I whipped up two separate trackers.  One for girls clothes, one for boys (and just in the sizes that are coming up in the next 2-3 years.  My excel spreadsheet has everything from newborn-about 7 years old, but I needed something concise so I don't have to carry a lot around).  This took about 5 minutes to whip up, so when I need one with new sizes, I'll simply make up a new sheet.  I wanted to always have access to the information, so I made it a size that would fit in my wallet without creating a lot of bulk.
                                    Exhibit A: The wallet that I have with me 24/7.
 Because I always pay for things with my debit card, I don't carry a lot of change.  Enter the change pocket that is WAY underused right now.  I cut them to fit perfectly inside so that I could still zip the pocket and they won't be in the way unless I need them.

This makes perfect sense to me.  I simply keep tally marks under each size and clothing category so I know how many of each thing I have.  When I'm at the store, I simply glance at my sheet and I know what items I should stock up on.  When I get home, I have to take my reciept out of my wallet and enter it on the computer anyway, so I simply update my excel sheet and my wallet inventory while I'm at it.  It takes about  4 seconds and saves me tons of work in the long run.

I love getting ideas from other people that make my life a little easier.  I hope this will help some of you! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Deal Me In

I love a lot of things in life, but one of my very favorite things in the world is getting a good deal.  There's nothing better than the thrill of walking out of the store, my arms loaded with things I love for a great price.

Yesterday, I walked into Khols to exchange a few things that I was given for Brigham that he never wore because he grew too fast.  And what did I walk out with? (Please forgive the pictures, it's rainy and no light is coming in.

10 shirts/pants for Brigs (varying sizes), a dress for Eden, and jeans for me. All for $26.47.  Can I get a what!?what!?

As you can see these are high quality clothes.  Carters is a great kids brand.  The shirts ranged anywhere from $12.00-24.00 normal price, Eden's dress was originally priced at $32.00 and my jeans were normally $44.00.

I found the clothes on the 70% and 80% off racks.

As you can see, I paid little to nothing for these BRAND SPANKIN NEW kids clothes that will last me for years!  My jeans came out at a staggering $9.60.  I'll tell you what, my theory is that if I find a pair of jeans that fits me, I buy them!  And if they are only $9.60 I would be a complete fool to pass it up.  To make the deal even better, I got a $10 Khols cash coupon for making this purchase, meaning that I can go back today and get 3-4 more shirts for my kids for FREE.  Yes, FREE.  That will mean that I will get roughly 14 shirts/pants for the kids, a Sunday dress for Eden and jeans for me for a mere $26.  (Do the math, that's less than $2 a piece including adult jeans)

I love dressing my kids in really cute, new clothes, but that doesn't mean that I turn up my nose at used clothing.  I'll get a deal however I can and I frequence the D.I. and yard sales each week to see if they have anything good-the rule of thumb is that if you always have what you need, you'll never be forced to pay more money for something just because you need it. So when you find a great deal, stock up!  Buy things in bigger sizes so that your kids will grow into them.  Yes, you don't need a 2T shirt for your 3 month old right now, but if the deal is incredible, you may as well buy one because otherwise when he gets to be 2T and you find you have no clothes for him you'll pay full price for things because you need them.

The best way of getting clothes for the kiddos are hand me downs (let's face it, they sometimes grow out of a size in a week and $3 is way more money than you should spend on shirt they will only wear once!).  If you can pay $0 for clothes, that's the best deal of all.  The picture below is of a bunch of clothing that my cousin gave me yesterday.  Most of the clothes are size 2T but there are a few 18M, 3T, and 4T along with 3 great pairs of shoes and socks galore.  Thank you, thank you to those who have given me things!!  I even have a whole bag of things to pass along to someone else because I was given more than I need.

 But somehow, even though free is best, I still love the thrill of the shopping even more.  Here's to finding great deals and walking away knowing you are awesome:).

**Watch for my follow up post that will share how I keep track of what clothes my kids have so that I can quickly grab things that I know they need when I find a good deal.**

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

Last year, we went to my sister and brother-in-law's home for Labor Day weekend in order to help them with their harvest and had so much fun, we just had to do it again.  We spent the weekend picking the garden, canning and freezing tons of veggies, swathing?, and generally having a wonderful time.  We sure love spending time with our family and missed Blake and McKay so much.

Little Alfalfa moment for Brigs

My first attempt of "getting in the shot".  I want my kids to know that I was there with them, I want them to look back and see my love for them. So my goal for the next few weeks is to work on getting some beautiful shots that show that I was there.


There's no getting this girl to look at the camera when there is a tractor to watch.

Eden loves Lauren and Aubrey so much, I love getting shots of them together.

Lauren is such a champ, she spent her whole weekend carrying Eden around to everything she wanted to see.  E loved watching Clark on the lawn mower.

The boys husking corn. Nate, Levi, Kyson, and Ty.

What's a family weekend without any sports?  Sport of choice this time?  Volleyball.  Shout out to my little sister, Aubrey who made the Jr. High volleyball team as a 7th grader!

Making Jam with Katie's delicious raspberries.

Licking sugar

Aubrey and Lauren made the jam this year and even did a great job of letting Eden help without getting jam all over her, a feat I'm sure I wouldn't have pulled off.