Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year comes around and I think about all of the things for which I'm grateful. 

I can't believe my baby boy is almost 18 months old!!  I am so very thankful to be a mother.  Not only do I enjoy it, but he helps me remember to be very thankful for the little things in life.  The joy he gets from reading stories and pride he has pointing out animals is so pure!  The look he has on his face when we give him a "cookie" (graham cracker) that expresses his gratitude.

I am so very grateful for my amazing husband and the father of my son!  He is truly my "base" and keeps me grounded.  I am thankful for the relationship he and Jack have, because I can not imagine those two without their special bond.

I am thankful for my job, while it definitely keeps me busy, it also helps me provide for our family.  I am glad to have learned skills and knowledge through my short post-college experience.

I am so lucky our extended family who helps make the fact that I need to work outside of the home that much easier.  My mom's help to watch our son is priceless!  Not only does my son get to stay at his home when Mommy & Daddy are working, but he gets to have such a special bond with my mom.  I really don't know how we'd function without my mom!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kawaii Cloth Diaper

When I ordered some cloth diaper laundry detergent (Rockin' Green, which I still haven't started using because I'm waiting to run out of the 1st batch of detergent I bought) and a couple of new wet bags a little while ago, I used a free cloth diaper coupon I got from Kelly's Closet.  I wanted to provided a review of the free diaper I got, because I was pleasantly surprised:
  • Kawaii (one-size, pocket diaper):  We got this diaper in a blue with velcro closures.  I must admit that when I got this as my free diaper, I was kind of disappointed.  I took it out of the plastic and it didn't seem that great at first glance... I was thinking "no wonder this is only $9.99."  Boy, was I wrong!  The fleece that is against baby's bottom is SO soft and has held up to washing very well so far.  When stuffing the inserts, I noticed the waterproof liner was not sticky like other diapers, the hole is kind of tiny but stretches open pretty decently.  The two inserts it comes with are very trim.  I could see them being kind of bulky on a little baby because there is no difference in the length/size of the 2 inserts, but maybe not.  We've used this diaper overnight with no leaks (with both inserts in) and it was still really trim.  Jack tends to get major bubble butt with overnight diapers, but not these.  The one thing I don't like is the laundry tabs to keep this diaper from sticking to others in the wash (which has happened a few times, with no "damage" to other diapers)... but the diaper does come in snaps!  I suppose I could always put bigger laundry tabs on in the future too!
Overall, I would say this pocket diaper is great for someone on a tight budget who doesn't want to deal with prefolds (because I don't think I want to).  I wouldn't mind adding more of these to our stash, especially when/if baby number 2 comes along and our budget is even tighter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DIY Grippy Socks

I recently read an article over at I am Momma-Hear Me Roar on how to make grippy socks using standard socks and puffy fabric paint.  Here are the steps I took to make some for Jack:

Socks in your child's size:  I bought some from WalMart similar to those found here (in fact, I think they're the exact same size but I bought them in smaller than a 12 pack).  Cost per pair = $0.73
Puffy paint:  I know you can get bigger bottles, but I got the smaller ones for ease of handling in my small hand.  Cost per bottle = < $1; I estimate this boils down to $0.05 per pair for paint, depending on how much you use on your design
Cardboard:  I just remember fabric paint always going through fabric when I've used it in the past.  I decided to use empty cardboard toiletpaper tubes because it ended up being about the perfect length to fit into Jack's size sock.  Cost = free because they would've otherwise been thrown away

Total estimated cost per pair of homemade grippy socks = $0.78
Store bought grippy socks = $2.00 at Gap, $1.50 at Old Navy or $1.00 at Target

Photos of the process:

Tubes from toilet paper roll, each tube cut into thirds.
Put the outside of the curve against the sole of the sock, where I would be painting, to make sure to smooth out the fabric.
Before painting (they are previously worn/washed)

My color palate of puffy paint!

After (still wet)!  I just had fun and played around with different shapes.  I will probably see which ones help Jack the most before repeating this process on more socks!

 I had a lot of fun doing this!  I will possibly get a little more creative in the future with the designs to show a bit more of Jack's personality, but I wanted to start small.  You could probably apply the same concept to knit adult socks to make grippy slippers!

Friday, November 19, 2010

BBQ Pulled Chicken Nachoes

So, this is probably not good for you at all... but it is delicious!  As Matt jokes when I find something I really like "You just put that in your pregnancy craving bank."

Crockpot/slow cooker

BBQ sauce
Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips
Sour cream
Tomatoes, chives, etc. (any other taco-like fixings)

  1. Put chicken (depending on the number of people you're feeding) in the Crockpot/slow cooker cover with water, on low for 8 hours.
  2. Pull chicken out of the slow cooker once finished & shred using a fork.  (If you make more chicken that you plan on eating that evening, you can refrigerate the shredded chicken in a sealed container here.)
  3. Toss shredded chicken in BBQ sauce and reheat if the chicken was refrigerated.
  4. Place tortilla chips on the plate, top chips with the BBQ chicken and shredded cheese.
  5. Microwave until the cheese is melted (took about 45 seconds in our microwave).
  6. Top with any other toppings (heat if you want).
  7. Dip in sour cream if you choose and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Problem Solver

Our pediatrician has been constantly reminding us on how many preventable injuries occur in children Jack's age.  While, we have kid-proofed a lot in our house, Jack's height is allowing him to grab things from the kitchen table and counter that were previously pushed back far enough to be out of his reach.  I know we keep a pretty good eye on him, but at the same time there's no way for a parent to stare at their children 24/7.

My father-in-law always tells Matt & I "No fortress is impenetrable to the mind of a child"... referring to all of the things kids will find a way around.  One weekday when Matt was off work, I got a picture message with Jack standing on his ride-on giraffe after he had pushed it up against our couch in order to climb up on the couch.  Here is a picture of him showing Mommy his new trick later that day:

Shortly after I took this picture, he stood up and let go of the handles... depending on your perspective the appropriate response is: ta-da or duh-duh-duuuuhhh!
Needless to say, the giraffe toy only comes out when Mommy & Daddy are not cooking or doing dishes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Relaxing Fall Weekend!

This weekend we've tried to keep it low-key.  Our week was very busy with Carol's wake and funeral.  Matt did have to go to work for a meeting yesterday, but he was making a sale so it was a great use for his time.  Friday, I went out to a bar downtown with friends for my friend Holly's birthday.  Her birthday is referred to in comparison to her 21st, so this year it was the 4th anniversary of her 21st birthday.  Here's a picture of me & the birthday girl:

(Too bad my glasses slid down!)
Today, we had a family outing to the zoo!  It was a bit chilly, but the sun was out and the crowd was thin at the busiest.  I think we saw the most in one trip today, then we ever have! Here are a few pictures from our trip:
Petting the goat!

Polar bear standing on the window above us playing with some shell/toy thing!  He loved that toy!

Getting a ride from Daddy!


This is how close you can get to the kangaroos!  Jack loved it!

In lieu of a child leash, Matt kept a hold of Jack by his hood.  The boy can pick up speed going downhill!

Being an octopus... he kept wanting to stick his head all the way through and look down at the ground.

Jack's hand in the scuplture of an adult male gorilla.

Nemo... "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming"  Reminding me that I need to watch that with Jack!

Four of the six manatees we have at our zoo.  The water was actually clearish too!

The baby elephant statue

Rino... that Jack growled at.

Jack next to the painting of a tiger standing up.  Looks about 2 1/2 feet here and he was 31 inches at his dr's appointment last month, so the display is pretty accurate!

Papa lion was passing back & forth in front of us.  The mama lion was staring at something, possibly thinking there was prey in another exhibit!
So while our weekend seemed to be pretty busy, it actually has been relatively low key for us!  Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teach Me How To Factor

Here is my good friend from college with his students and another teacher. He is a high school math teacher who really goes the extra mile to connect with his students. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! If you have kids, neices or nephews who are learning algebra this should help the concept of factoring!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Welcome to Heaven Carol!

As you may have read from a month ago, Matt's aunt Carol's health had been failing.  Early yesterday evening she joined her father (Matt's grandpa) in heaven.

Please say a prayer for Matt's family, especially his grandmother who had dedicated her entire life to caring for all of Carol's needs.  Carol was full of spunk!  She loved cartoons, balloons stuffed animals, and to eat!  She will be missed greatly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Right of Christian Initiation for Adults

I was recently asked to become an RCIA sponsor!  When we joined our parish I checked a number of boxes on the "time commitment interest" sheet, one of them included being a sponsor for someone going through RCIA.

Late last week I got a voicemail saying there was a need and they hoped I would still be interested.  I called back and left a voicemail, but the woman who had called me only worked on Mondays & Tuesdays.  Monday afternoon I got an email mentioning that they had already started the "program" and that the teaching Mass was this Tuesday.  Luckily, my mom was able to stay late Tuesday, so I could make the meeting.

RCIA has a very special place in my heart as my Dad became Catholic when I was in junior high.  I am the oldest in my family, so my younger siblings may not have as much memory of when my Dad was not Catholic.  I remember the Easter Vigil when he became Catholic like it was yesterday.  His sponsor's family are still great family friends of my family because it is such a special experience.  To this day when RCIA candidates enter into the Church at Easter Vigil, it is such a beautiful moment that it brings tears to my eyes.

I unfortunately didn't get to meet my candidate Tuesday because she had a work event, but will hopefully get to meet her next week.  Please take a moment to say some prayers in support of all those considering becoming Catholic!  Please say a special little prayer for me as I enter into this journey in support of this person's faith development.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little Lamb Kidz Halo Tshirts Review

I am honored to get to review the new Halo shirt from Little Lamb Kidz.  First, a little background about Little Lamb Kidz (I would never provide a product review without also providing company background):
What happens when a child is first exposed to children of other faiths? Without proper guidance, confusion and conflict can set in. Little Lamb Properties, LLC and its New Spiritual Child Development™ program provides an avenue to introduce your child to the existence of other faiths in ways that foster respect and understanding. Scripture and beliefs unique to any one religion are left at the door. One way this is accomplished is through a series of fun-loving media characters of multiple faiths that behave and interact like children – they laugh, they live and they love their pals without prejudice or fear.

The goal of Little Lamb Properties is relatively simple in concept, yet at the same time, quite powerful. They aspire to reach all children, of all faiths and backgrounds, and help them develop strong spiritual roots which will guide them and ground them for years to come.
This is something that is near & dear to my heart.  As a Roman Catholic woman, I was blessed to be able to attend Catholic school through grade school, high school & college!  I will never forget one of my favorite classes in high school, it was on world religions.  Now, it may seem strange that our Catholic high school was educating us on other religions, but education and awareness is something that is necessary to learn how to be understanding.  As part of the class, I got to do research on Confucianism and it not only strengthened my faith but helped me understand truly how universal some of our Catholic teachings are. To this day, I have been strengthened in my faith due to being able to converse with those from different faiths.

In college I participated in a fundraiser for a very special charity called SmileTrain.  Here is a bit of information from the press release provided to me from Little Lamb Kidz:

Cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common birth defects of the head and face for children worldwide. Children with cleft lip/palate suffer from multiple health issues including difficulty breathing and eating, ear infections, hearing loss, speech and language delays and dental problems. Multiple surgeries and long-term follow-up care are often necessary. There are currently millions of children throughout the world who simply can not afford to have their cleft lip/palate medically treated. In developing countries, a child with unrepaired cleft lip/palate is not allowed to attend school or a job. They are looked down upon by their community and live a life of isolation and shame.
The company Little Lamb Kidz has started The Halo clothing line to support SmileTrain.  I received a tshirt to review and it really is pretty adorable for my little boy!  The logo glows in the dark which is a fun extra feature and great for getting kids to enjoy their clothes.  The shirt is preshrunk so the size when I pulled it out of the package was accurate to how it would be after I washed it for my little guy.  The quality is great, the screen printing will last through many washes & wears!  I did receive a 3T, so it is a little big for Jack these days but as a tshirt it should be perfect for next summer!

Details on how this tshirt supports SmileTrain: 10% of the sales of this shirt go to SmileTrain, to help provide cleft lip/palate surgeries to children in third world countries.  At under $19.95 for an adult shirt and under $14.95 for a children shirt, that results in a minimum of $1.49 going to SmileTrain for each shirt sold!  You can order them here.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a PR rep from Orca Communications Unlimited, LLC on behalf of Little Lamb Kidz.  I received a child's tshirt, press release & image included above to facilitate my review.  I have not been compensated in any other way for this post, and my thoughts expressed above are completely my own.