Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mommy must haves

I know that I've written several posts about Grace's favorite things, but I've never posted anything about my favorite things for baby. These aren't things that Grace has any interest in mind you, but they are extremely important to me.

1. Rechargeable Batteries


In our house, we used batteries for the following baby items: the swing, the pack n play bassinet, the bouncer, the sleep sheep, the jumperoo, the exercauser, and all of the other small toys electronic toys including My Pal Violet. And of course, all of these items eat batteries quicker than you would ever imagine. One of our best purchases was several sets of both AA and D rechargeable batters. Yes, they are expensive. But I can't imagine how much we would have spent on regular batteries by now. Mike just made a habit of changing out the batteries every few days in the important things such as the swing and the sleep sheep so they never ran our during a nap! There is nothing more frustrating than just getting your newborn to sleep in the swing for a nap and then having the swing run out of batteries.







2. Dimmer


When Mike was getting Grace's room ready, I knew that I really wanted a dimmer switch for her light. I didn't want to turn the light on full power for middle of the night diaper changes. I also loved the idea of being able to just have a little bit of light during late night nursing sessions. He and my dad installed this wonderful switch that allows me to control the amount of light that I want in her room! Our switches are pretty and white though.They also have the wonderful fan control which leads me to my next must have!








3. Ceiling Fan


I am paranoid about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and I did a lot of research on how to prevent it. One of the main recommendations is to have a ceiling fan going in the nursery to maintain air flow. So of course, installing a ceiling fan was another job for my wonderful husband and father. I picked this pretty one out and they got to work! It's so nice to have especially during the summer when it can get pretty hot here in Missouri. With the dimmer switch I showed you above, I can set the speed of the fan so that Grace doesn't get too cold. Most of the time I put it at it's lowest setting to maintain air flow.









4. Glider and Ottoman

Every new mom needs a comfortable rocker. I chose to go with a glider, which worked well for me because it is easy to get in and out of with a sleeping baby! Grace has always been so sensitive to being moved when she is asleep and this was the only chair that I could get out of while keeping her asleep. We were lucky enough to find this gorgeous Dutailier set at an overstock store for about $400 below retail. The ottoman is a necessity because you legs need to be up to help with nursing and feeding support. This is the one thing I would say to splurge on. You will be spending a ton of time in this chair, so it better be comfortable!








Wordless Wednesday- She's going to be a reader!


 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crafts for little girls!

Have a little girl has inspired me to start crafting again. I've seen so much adorable stuff on sites like Etsy.com, but I don't have the money to buy most of it! So I've learned how to make it myself. Here are a few of my projects!

This is a bandana dress that I made for Grace back in July. It was my first attempt at sewing in years so I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I found the tutorial at Joy's Hope and it was so easy! It's two bandanas sewn together. You add some elastic and ribbon and ta da, gorgeous dress! We get so many compliments when Grace wears this dress and it was so easy.

I am addicted to headbands for Grace. Seriously I have so many flowers and bows for her! For her dedication I really wanted something special, so I made her this bow with flowers and jewels I found at Hobby Lobby. Headbands are so easy to make, I've got materials for about 4 more sitting on my sewing table.


Last, but not least is the tutu I made. This was certainly the most labor intensive project I've done, but I think it's the cutest! I used 3 different colors of tulle (dark purple, light purple, and white.) I found the tutorial at In This Tent. It was very easy but time consuming. I started it months ago and it got pushed to the side. I finally finished it this month and I'm very happy with the final product. I think we'll be using it for her 9 month pictures.

What crafty projects have you done lately?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I can cook....kind of

I do not like to cook. I can bake all day long, but cooking requires too much multitasking for me. I get frazzled with multiple pots and pans and having to get everything done right around the same time. Therefore, as Mike would inform you, many of our dinners are pasta, mac and cheese and anything else that can be done quickly and easily : )

However, I know that I need to get better about actually making real meals. I think sitting down for dinner as a family is very important and I want to make it a priority in our house. I need to start cooking for this to happen!

So I decided last night to turn to Pinterest to find some recipes for dinner. My first project: Homemade Olive Garden Breadsticks. I found the recipe on the Full Bellies, Happy Kids blog (she got it from the Misadventures of Mrs B) and I followed the recipe exactly. They turned out pretty well although I think I over kneaded them a bit and they certainly aren't as pretty as hers. They were a little buttery for Mike's taste, so I'll use less of the butter sauce next time. They really do taste like the bread sticks at Olive Garden!

And yes, I know that this really counts more as baking than cooking, but I did make a new casserole to go with it that I'll post next week so it counts!

Jumbo bread sticks!


Olive Garden Bread Sticks 
Credit:  The Misadventures of Mrs B.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, covered. Mixture should be frothy.

2. In separate bowl, combine flour and salt.

3. Add to yeast mixture. Add melted butter. Mix with paddle attachment of stand mixer or wooden spoon until fully combined.

4. Knead dough for a few minutes just until dough is smooth. Do not overknead!

5. Grease a cookie sheet. Pull off pieces of dough and roll out into strips.

6. Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

7. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and once heated, put in the bread sticks.

8. In microwave, combine the following:

          1 stick unsalted butter (or 1/2 cup margarine)
          2 teaspoons garlic powder
          2 teaspoons salt

9. After 6 or 7 minutes, brush the bread sticks with half of the butter mixture.


10. Continue to bake for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown. Mine got a bit browner than I wanted because I had a fussy child! 

11. Immediately upon removal from the oven, brush the other half of the butter on the sticks.

12. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday- Grace learned to sit up!


Please excuse Mike's gaming talk in the background :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Favorite Books Monday- Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss. I know that most everyone has been exposed to Dr. Seuss at one time or another in their lives. but as a librarian, I cannot stress how wonderful Dr. Seuss books are for kids. They have a limited amount of words that are frequently repeated (which has been proven to help learn kids to read) and of course, the illustrations are bright, colorful and so creative. His books capture your imagination and are always funny and silly.

One of my favorite thing about Dr. Seuss books is that they have no age limit. So many books are only interesting to babies or to older kids, however my 6 and 4 year old nieces, Emma and Haley, hopped onto my lap with Grace the last time they came to visit to listen to one of our favorite Dr. Seuss books, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? Grace loves the pictures, plus, the rhyming text keeps her attention. She loves it when I make the funny noises that Dr. Seuss always includes in his books and I never get bored reading them over and over! Haley and Emma both used Dr. Seuss books to help them learn to read and they love all of the silly creatures, phrases, and noises that are unique to Dr. Seuss books. I don't know how many times my brother, parents, and I listened to Haley "read" Hop on Pop. She had memorized all of the words and would read it to anyone who would listen! I don't know many books that inspire kids to read as much as Dr. Seuss' books do.






There is a reason that Dr. Seuss is still popular almost 50 years after his books were originally published. I really can't think of a better author for kids to introduce them to a love of reading. Luckily Dr. Seuss wrote a lot of books, so Grace and I still have plenty to explore!

Coupon adventures

I've been slacking with posting my couponing deals lately! Here's the stuff I've gotten over the last 2 weeks:

Last week:


CVS: 
  • Beach toys set- normally $9.99, on clearance for 75% off= $2.50
  • 2 Swim rings- normally $3, on clearance for 75% off= $.75 each
  • 2 Carefree panty liners- free after ECB (don't remember the exact pricing)
  • 2 Milky Way candy bars- free with coupon from CVS machine
  • AA Batteries- free with coupon from CVS machine
  • 4 Hersheys Air Delight Bars- free with coupons
  • Garnier Herbashine hair color- free with coupon from Facebook giveaway
Target:
  • 2 packs of Pampers Cruisers Diapers- $19.99 each with 2 $10 off coupons from complaint to Pampers + $10 gift card to Target for purchasing 2=  $9.98 total
  • 4 boxes of Lansinoh breast pads- 4 for $22 (these are normally about $9 each on Amazon so this was a great deal)
  • 2 Platex Straw sippy cups- Buy 1 get one 50% off=  $6 total
 My best deal from Target- A Graco MyRide 65 Carseat for $80. We needed a carsat for Mike's car and this was a great deal. It normally retails for $160!







This week:


CVS:
  • 2 Brilliant pH Tampons- $6.79- $1 off coupon= $5.79 + 6.79 EBC ($1 moneymaker each!)
  • 2 Softsoap bodywashes- $2.99- $.75 off coupon= $2.24 + 2 ECB
  • CVS allergy relief- $3.69 + 3.69 ECB
  • Airwick air fresheners- free after multiple coupons
Walmart:
  • 4 Operation games- normally $19.99- Price matched with Big Lots for $5.00 with 4 $4 off coupons= $1 each (most of these games will be donated to Toys for Tots for Christmas!)
  • 4 Battleship games- normally $19.99- Price matched with Big Lots for $5.00 with 4 $4 off coupons= $1 each (most of these games will be donated to Toys for Tots for Christmas!)
  • Monopoly- clearance for $5 - $4 off coupon= $1 *I went back later in the day and got 3 more of these games for $1 each!*
  • 4 Cokes- free after coupons from Facebook giveway
 In the mail:
  • Forever 21 aqua tanktop- Free from Cheer giveaway
  • American Apparal gold tshirt- Free from Cheer giveaway
  • VeggieTales full length DVD- Free from VeggieTales website
 Have you gotten anything free this week? I love hearing about everyone's great deals!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Late night post

Everyone in my house is asleep. It is quiet. No baby crying, no dogs barking, and no video game noises in the background. And yet I am awake. Sometimes I love being awake after everyone else is in bed. It's the one time of day that I feel like I can really think and reflect. And tonight, I just can't believe how lucky I am. Seriously, I am in awe of this beautiful child.



There are so many times that I look at her and think: "I can't believe that Mike and I made her. We are so blessed." Watching her grow it the most amazing thing I have ever experienced and I can't believe how lucky we are. Even the hard days are a thousand times better than any great day we had before her. She is turning into such an amazing person already. She makes us smile and laugh and I really can't imagine our lives without her!

Sometimes at night I love to watch her sleep, please tell me I'm not the only parent who does that?? She just looks so angelic and peaceful.

I love you baby girl, always remember that.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bright Starts Click & Giggle Remote Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is....
#18: Mama G said... I Like Bright Starts on Facebook 
 
Congrats Mama G!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Giveaway Reminder!

Don't forget to enter my first giveaway for a Bright Starts Pretty in Pink Click & Giggle Remote! Click here to enter!

8 Months Old (1 day late!)

Grace,

You are 8 months old today. Seriously, where did the time go? You are growing up way too fast my dear!

You still look older than 8 months to me and everyone tells me you look closer to 12 months old! You've grown like crazy this month and you're starting to lose your baby fat rolls that I love so much. I don't know your exact stats but I know that you are over 20 lbs. I  will be interested to see how tall you are at your pediatrician appointment next month because you've shot up in height! I tried to put a 6-9 month outfit on you today and it was pretty comical how short it was. You're wearing 9-12 months clothes and are quickly growing out of them, I can't believe that you'll be in 12-18 month stuff soon!

 You've reached so many milestones this month it's hard to know where to start!
  •  You're crawling! You army crawl all over the place now by pulling yourself forward with your arms and pushing with your toes. You get up on your hands and knees ocasionally and rock back and forth but you still find that a combination of army crawling and rolling gets you where you need to go! You really like getting under your jumperoo and the table to play and you love to chase the puppies, which Doc loves and Buddy hates!
  •  You love your daddy so much.  I'm getting a bit jealous of the looks you give him when he comes in the door after work. You will be grumpy all day long, but when he gets home you are as happy as can be! You love to feel his beard with your hand, it's pretty adorable.
  • Speaking of daddy, you decided to babble your first words this month. And of course, your first real babble had to be dada. You have since added baba and gaga (which your grandmas believe means grandma.) I keep reminding your daddy that you don't actually know what you're saying yet, but he fully believes you are saying daddy!
  • You figured out how to pull up. So far you like to pull up on your changing table and on mommy and daddy. Your 8 month photoshoot was very difficult because you kept trying to pull up on the arms of the chair!
  • You've moved up to eating some table food this month. You love turkey, beef, pasta, and bread. You figured out how to feed yourself puffs (or as they are called in our house, stars) and you get very excited when you see the container! The only thing you didn't like this month was prunes. I fed you the first bite and you started screaming. Overall, you're a very good eater!
  • You also have mastered drinking out of a straw. This means that you think every straw you see should belong to you. You managed to drink some lemonade out of your papa's cup before he realized what was going on!
  • You have 6 teeth. 2 on bottom and 4 on top. You love to bite mommy with them. 
Showing off some of your teeth!  

  •  You love playing in your room and looking in your mirrored closet doors. Mommy got artsy the other day and took some pictures of you doing one of your favorite activities (looking at yourself!)
  •  You have started sleeping through the night again! We are now getting 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep and it's been wonderful. Please keep this up baby girl!
  • You are still a ham. You love attention and you love to make people laugh. When we are at restaurants, you strain your head back in your high chair to watch people and you try to make eye contact with them. You smile and giggle at people when we shop and of course, people just eat it up. Seriously, you get so many people to talk to you, it's amazing!

  •  Your hair has finally started to grow in and it's getting a little crazy and hard to control! It's adorable.
You are so amazing and smart and beautiful, I could go on and on. You surprise us everyday by how much you are learning and absorbing. I can't wait to see what the next month brings. I am sure you will be walking and talking before long and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that! I'm already starting to think about your 1st birthday party and I can't believe it's time for that yet!!



We love you so much baby girl!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grace's dedication

We had a very busy weekend at our house because Grace got dedicated on Sunday!

We got some pictures beforehand because I didn't know how long Grace would keep her headband that I made for her on! Plus, I love using our backyard as a back drop for pictures!





At the church waiting for service to start

She was being adorable at the church and charming everyone. Can you believe she's not even 8 months old yet? Everyone always tells us she looks so much older and it makes me sad to agree....

Our church has 8 babies that have been born since December, so they decided to do one big dedication ceremony instead of doing each one individually. It was a very nice ceremony where we dedicated Grace to the Lord and promised to raise her in a Christian household. They showed a video in which each set of parents said their prayer for their baby and then the pastor introduced each family and baby and gave us a small gift. Grace was very fascinated by the gift!


They gave us a beautiful certificate, a story Bible, and a pretty necklace with her initial

After the service, we had all of our family and friends who came over to our house for lunch. I think we had about 16 people! It was so nice of everyone to come and show their support for Grace. We had a great time!!
There were more people hiding behind the camera

It was an exciting and fun weekend!

Favorite Books Monday- Five Little Ducks

My mom bought Grace a very cute board book called Five Little Ducks a few weeks ago and it is quickly becoming one of Grace's favorites!

This book is the classic song in book form illustrated by Laura Ferraro Close. Grace loves that each duck is a cut out at the top with a felt beak and squiggly eyes. As you turn each page, there is one less duck at the top, which will be great for counting skills when she gets a little older! She loves to play with the ducks beaks and use them to turn the pages. It is a short book, which is great for a 7 month old's attention span!

Do you have a favorite books suggestion? We always love adding to our collection!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Click! Pretty in Pink Click & Giggle Remote Review and Giveaway!

Grace loves Bright Starts toys! Some of her favorites include the Pretty in Pink teether and the Flexi ball. So when Bright Starts offered to send us one of their new products, the Pretty in Pink™ Click & Giggle Remote™, we jumped at the chance. I figured Grace would love it because she is always trying to play with our remotes, phones, and computers.

The Click & Giggle Remote™ is for children ages 3 months and above. "Now baby can play with this cute remote control, just like mom and dad!  This remote features over 25 nursery rhyme melodies, numbers, and fun television sounds.  The remote also lights up as the buttons are pressed to keep baby engaged."

The Remote can be purchased for $9.99 at





    Review

    I was excited when the package arrived and immediately opened the box so that Grace and I could play!  I grabbed the video camera to capture Grace's reaction to the remote.


    This was her fist time ever seeing the remote and she very quickly figured out how to make it work! She loves the different noises and songs that it plays and her new favorite game is to press the remote's up and down buttons to hear the different TV noises! She also loves that the end of it lights up when she presses the buttons. 



     
    I love that the buttons are easy to press on this toy. So many baby toys require an adult to press the buttons which quickly gets boring for my active baby girl! She can play with this toy independently. It allowed me to get several loads of laundry folded yesterday.

    I also appreciate that for each toy purchased from the Bright Starts Pretty in Pink Collection™, a portion of the proceeds goes to support Pink Power Moms charities and breast cancer research and awareness. Mike's mom passed away from breast cancer and my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor. I am so glad that Bright Starts cares enough to give money to such an important cause and it makes me love their company even more. Please take a few minutes to learn about the Pink Power Moms by clicking here.

    Giveaway

    Would you like a Click & Giggle Remote for your child? Bright Starts has offered to give away a remote to one of my lucky readers! Here's how to enter the giveaway (open to US residents only):

    First, follow me using Google Friend Connect (in the right sidebar.) Then, visit Bright Starts and leave a comment on this post letting me know which toy you would like to have for your little one! These two steps count as one entry and will be verified.

    To get extra entries, leave me a comment for each item.
    The giveaway will end Friday, September 16th at 11:59 PM Central Time.


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