Home  //   About  //   Life  //   Homeschool  //   Recipes  //   Places to Play in PA  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

5 Months Old

Okay normally when I do the monthly post I get all emotional, but this time 5 months seems like a breeze. And that is because my previous baby as in the little boy who will always be my baby... is turning 4 in two days. I just. want. to. cry.
Here he is with his baby brother. They were both hamming it up until I got the real camera. Ah well.... anyway, I don't want to think about having my baby turn four years old. So, let's talk about my baby turning 5 months old.
Just so you know, he was laughing and smiling like crazy and I thought, "Well I'll be (well, not quite that, but you get the idea) we might actually do his monthly picture onthe right day!" So again, I grab the camera. Nothing. He was NOT in the mood... so I got a quick picture of his cute feet.
It was a tough day apparently.... he couldn't make it pass his slippers! Well, anyway tried to get a few more shots but he was not having hit. Then my friend Tina comes over to pick up some 31 things and he is smiling like a lovesick little boy at her. So, I tried again...
I think his shirt says it all... he is so cute but too clever to let Mommy get a picture of him smiling. Although, it also might refer to how he cleverly has me wrapped around his pudgy little finger. Either way, he is cute-- can't you just hear a little Italian accent here, "Yo mom-mee-- lets eat some rice cereal and pretend its pasta!" Well, that might be an exaggeration, but the expressions this kid makes I'll tell ya!
These were taken a few weeks ago when he was happily eating his hands and I could get a few pictures without him minding.
Yummy hands. I think he is going to be an early teether if the drool is any indication. But, okay, look at these sweet little baby feet?!
They have seen a lot of this little piggy action.
And those cheeks... MMMmmmm. I just want to kiss him all day!
And then apparently, he caught on. He got a little suspicious. Or tired... but ah well, is he not adorable? He is getting so big too! No really, he is in 6-9 month jammies and those are getting a little snug length wise. He is squealing, laughing, follows us with his eyes, loves to stand, started hanging out in the johhny jump up, and just last week he began eating rice. He is growing so fast and is getting loved on every single step of the way! There, that was much better than thinking of my baby turning 4...
but no, I just couldn't help myself. Look at my little baby.... now I need to go and kiss his chubby little cheeks while they're still the cheeks of a three year old...

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Burger With Big Promises

Tonight my husband talked me into going out for a burger at Elevation Burger. He said he had heard they use all organic beef and are really into being healthy. Sounded good. We went in and there were signs all over promoting their 100% organic beef-- looking good. My hubby ordered for us-- one elevation burger, three kids burgers, a grilled cheese, and two orders of fries (which are fried in olive oil). Sounded good. Smelled good. And then our food was brought over. They serve their burgers in cute little paper bags on metal trays. The beef looked good. But, okay, here's where they go down hill. They serve their burgers on potato rolls. Not wheat rolls. Not even made with organic flour. This is the first red flag. This means that its probably filled with preservatives to give it a longer shelf life and pretty much just plain ol' bad to eat. Next, I looked at the lettuce and tomato and then take a closer look at the sign-- none of their produce is organic. Another bad sign. Now I look at my grilled cheese (which is actually a potato bun with a piece of cheese in there). A piece of yellow cheese was used. I don't care how long they claim to age this cheese, when you have to use dyed cheese that's just not cool! "Today, many supermarket cheddars are still colored to satisfy consumer’s expectations of what cheese should look like. (Research has shown that color preferences influence how people shop for cheddar.) But inconsistent cheese color isn’t much of a problem anymore, since large-scale confinement farms have come to dominate dairy production over the last 30 years. Cows kept in confinement and fed a carefully formulated mix of grains, protein supplements, and dried grasses tend to turn out milk with virtually no irregularities. Milk from confined cows also contains considerably less beta carotene than milk from pastured cows—hence the need for dye."- from the Article Food Explainer: Why Is Cheese Yellow When Milk Is White? By Nadia Arumugam http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/07/26/why_is_cheese_yellow_or_orange_when_milk_is_white_.html So there I am eating my potato roll with cheese (which on its own is a sorry excuse for a grilled cheese) and I begin to get pretty upset. Lets look at McDonalds-- we all know they're bad for you, but guess what? They don't make any claims to not be! Elevation burger has healthy beef and bacon. That's it! The rest that they put around and on the burger is all crap! So, people go in and they see the signs about the organic beef and think they are making healthy choices, but when you take something good and cover it in crap, you're eating both my friend! I went up (much to my husband's dismay) and asked an employee why they didn't serve wheat rolls and he said this load of baloney, "We don't want to overshadow the burger." To which I said, "Yeah, but putting something unhealthy with something healthy is kind of counterproductive." Its just wrong. Next I asked about the produce. He said that would make the burger to expensive. Hey buddy, at over 5 dollars for just the burger, it ain't cheap-- especially when the only quality ingredient is the meat. I also asked about the dyed cheese and he said he had no clue. Thats what I thought! It just gets my goose that companies are masquerading as healthy alternatives and to quote Elevation burgers own slogan "Ingredients Matter" and serve up things that aren't healthy. It wouldn't bother me as much except its really deceptive. If you can't make a commitment to completely serving only the best ingredients than you probably should not make the claim ingredients matter. Because obviously, only a few do. We didn't even try their milkshakes which claimed to be hand scooped. That sounds like fancy wording to cover up the fact that there are most likely a lot of additives and perhaps even dyes used. So would I go there again? Absolutely NOT! They give people who are trying to eat right a bad association! What do you think? Have you been there?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Consignment Sale Shopping Tips and Tricks!

A few years ago before the birth of our third child I went to my first consignment sale. It blew my mind how crazy wonderful it was! And, I became infatuated with these wonderful second hand kids sales! Seriously, if you have never been, GO! And, moi, will let you in on some secrets and tips and let you know how you can shop and get the best deals! First, go through all your kids clothes and see what fits and what doesn't fit. Then do the same with their shoes. I know this seems like a big task (and trust me, it took me two days with homeschool and nursing the baby) but it is a MUST! If you are cosigning and selling, this would understandably be done before hand. But, if your life is crazy busy and your clothes will go through three sons and one nephew, then go through the dressers, tubs, and wherever else you store your clothes. Secondly, make a list! Write down each child's name and what they need. Be specific! For my oldest my list said things like pajamas and then next to that I put a note (he only has x amount of pairs. I do this so when I'm shopping I can remember how important or of how little importance this need is. He only really needed one more pair so I wasn't going to shell out 10 dollars for some as it wasn't an urgent need. My daughter on the other hand desperately needed church shoes, so I starred this item ( I know, you're blown away by how sophisticated my key is). It gets crazy hectic when you are there so not only do you need to know what you need, but sometimes you need to know how much. My daughter needed to pairs of jeans and a few dresses. I made note of this so I wouldn't forget (and with four kids, I forget pretty much everything these days but their names). Okay, you got your extremely detailed list. Now, get a good bag. I used my 31 large utility tote and it was perfect. Get your help. I got my husband (I figured it was the least he could do since the kids are half his). Plan to bring your kids. Okay-- I know this goes against every other tip there is, but listen for a second. I think it is so important to teach kids how to shop. How to be responsible shoppers. I also made it into a math activity for them and my 6 and 8 year old really got into it.
My oldest son kept tally marks of how much we spent. he took his job very seriously and I'm not gonna lie, it freed my hands (and mind) up for keeping track of the merchandise. My Daughter worked on a graph of what we bought and she loved it! My youngest was supposed to graph what color shirts people were wearing but there were so many people he got overwhelmed and forgot all about his list. I should have maybe reminded him, but we could have spent all of our time just doing his graph there were so many people. But, he did look super cute!
Okay, you got your list, your bag, your help, and your kids set up with something to do to engage them. Now, lets prep the team! And believe me, this operation does require team work and team togetherness! Have kids wear socks (so you can try on shoes and see how they will fit) and comfy clothes. Let everyone know upfront if they can pick out a special toy or if they can't. Let them know ahead of time what happens when you are done. Go to a park, out to eat, or back home to play. Let them know this will be a long time, but it's not forever and something fun follows. Pack a snack, diapers, water, and be prepared to make a potty stop. I like to do it once so everyone has to go at the same time. But, plan it to happen if you can and it will make everyone happier. Okay, Now let's do this!!!
Have your list and stick to it. We bypassed all of the toys, games, etc. that weren't on our list and went right to the exersaucers and crib mattresses. These were two big items that we really really needed. We secured these and left them at the holding station. Utilize the special features the sale offers-- like a holding station! The Just Between Friends Sale also had a lovely little nursing area-- huge blessing! Ask the workers where something is and save yourself time searching rows and rows of things with your help and kids. Make the most out of your time and your help. Okay, we had our big things, now off to the shoes! I took my daughter and the baby so I could have her try on shoes (remember, she really needed these). I think when your kids get bigger the sizes get even more all over the place so here is another reason I think bringing your kids is a huge asset. My husband took the two boys to check out games. This was great as he had half the kids and was able to do a quick look and then he came back and looked for shoes for my son while I got some baby slippers. This gave the kids a break from one another. When they regrouped it was like the meeting of long lost siblings! How are you? What did you get? Hugs all around!
At this point, we began to run into some friends we knew. Here is a fellow 31 sister and her gorgeous new baby girl! Always stop and admire a baby--it will make you feel better! Okay, now you are recharged-- onto the clothes! I like to save these for last as they take up a huge part of my list and lots of my bag space. When buying clothes look for: holes, stains, spots, stretched out fabric, dry rotted waistbands (take pants off the hanger and test the waistband) and overall wear left in the garment. Is it on your list? See if you didn't have a list you might by 10 sleepers when you needed one. I also knew to look for a shirt that matched purple pants. I got specific and it helped! While I looked for my daughter and baby, my husband took my three year old and got in line. Again, maximize your help. I shopped, then went and checked in with hubby. We switched kids and I took some to the bathroom, nursed, switched kids again, shopped and then bam! Time for checkout!
My hubby did the checking out. We were sorted and ready to go which made it quicker... until they misplaced one of our hold items. No big deal since we caught it and they got it right away. This was a good time to give the kids a snack, water, and sustenance! They did a great job and learned valuable math skills that correspond with real life shopping skills. My son was upset he was off on the tally marks and had the wrong dollar amount. He then made sure we were okay spending more than what he had figured out. This was a great opportunity to teach budget and responsibility with money. My daughter happily chirped that we bought more clothes than anything else. We talked about why this might be and if she thought going into the sale she thought this was our greatest need. Now, phew, you are all done! You did it!! Go get something to eat (this is my personal favorite reward-- who wants to cook after all that organizing and shopping?!). Yay for lunch out and another tip-- put dinner in the crock pot before you leave so you can have a day off from cooking! Woot woot!
And then you'll have time for a nap too....zzzzzz.....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Becoming an Auntie

I grew up with many aunts-- there is even a childrens book that I adore called "The Aunts" and I am already an aunt to two teenagers and one little girl older than my children (who sadly we never see, but thats another story), BUT having my sister become a mom really made me feel like I became an aunt. I am an Aunt. Being an aunt is almost as cool as becoming a grandparent... but Im still really young to be a really cool aunt. There are plenty of parenting books out there (trust me, I read most of them when I had the time with my first pregnancy) but no books on becoming an aunt. But that's okay because its not like I'm not a mom so I think maybe it's like being a mom, but you get to do all the fun things... or say things like, well at least I'm not his mother if he misbehaves sometime in the far off future.
This little guy was due two days before my 30th birthday... I consider him a belated present. Is he not precious? Do you not love him? How does Lily say it (you know that adorable mouse who has Julius for a baby brother?) "stroke his head, kiss his nose, and say he is the baby of the world!" Something like that.... but he is so cute!
And now, here is my simply beautiful baby sister... we played mommy together so long ago (using of course, our younger brother and youngest sister as babies) that to share inthis real life journey of motherhood is something I am eagerly looking forward to!
Her husband is the absolutely most perfect brother-in-law and Uncle-- we love having him be a part of our family! And here is one of the reasons why:
He not only saved the hospital socks, he is proudly wearing them! Love it! He is a funny guy! He also has some great parents...
My sister's in laws have raised three terrific sons... I have a feeling one day I may have to sit down and pick their brains. But, I see my husband and myself one day not being the parents of the mom, but of the son and it is just a little different. Speaking of my husband (you didnt think he'd not be able to hold a newborn did you??)...
MMMM-mmmm... there is nothing hotter than a man with a baby. Except maybe a man changing a babies diaper. Or a man washing a babies diaper... well, actually diapers are gross... and my husband is super hot. So there is nothing hotter than my husband... and of course, my husband holding a baby...
Speaking of my husband and a baby, here is our baby. He is king of his new cousin's swing. No, seriously, he could be crying his head off and you sit him in this swing and he has the biggest smile. Except, he heard we were about to take his picture with his new cousin and see the size difference (and I think he was a bit suspicious some people think he has some thunder thighs...)
Please excuse his cloth diaper camel toe-- what can I say, cloth diapers are money savers, but not figure flattering. I have a feeling these two who are just four months a part will be good little buddies in the years to come. I am secretly.. well, I just shared it, so I am joyfully happy that my sister had a little boy for my little guy. They will be two peas in a pod. And me, I will be the happy auntie...
(and please excuse my Olive Oil bun thingy here... I am going through that awful post-pregnancy hair lost stage.... thats a whole post right there!!!).... but, back to the auntie love-- I am so excited to be this little gift from God's auntie!