Sunday, February 28, 2010

Square Feet

Arin just asked, "How many square feet are in two or four or six?"  Seriously, where does she come up with this stuff?  Her question didn't make any sense, but it sparked a math lesson about square feet between her and her daddy!
Arin's a mathematician and a fashion queen!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sixteen Months Old

Today, my sweet little Ella turned 16 months old!  She still says only a couple of words, but she signs several words (mama needs to learn more signs so I can teach her more!)  Ella is a climber and has learned how to get herself on and off of beds.  She still likes to get into drawers and cabinets, but is starting to make less messes.  She loves to help me cook and clean.  She has a pink bear that she hugs, carries everywhere, and tries to feed!  This month she has finally started accepting small amounts of diluted juice, though it is still not her favorite.  She still squeals with delight whenever she sees Arin first thing in the morning. They are best friends!

Smoothie Pops

We recently made a batch of smoothie popsicles, which my girls love!  Ella gets especially excited when it's time to eat one.  She enjoys them for breakfast or snacktime.

To make these pops, blend together:

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. yogurt (we used plain which we sweetened with vanilla and agave nectar - sometimes we use honey)
1 banana
1 c. frozen fruit (our favorite is strawberries, but we were out so we used blueberries in one batch and peaches in another and the girls love them too)

Pour into cups with popsicles sticks, or popsicle molds.  Freeze.  Enjoy!

Play with Cousins

I was just looking at our list of 162 Things to do Before Kindergarten.  I haven't updated this list in a while. One of the things on the list was to play with cousins.  This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago at our family reunion.  This is the majority (one cousin is missing) of our girls' cousins from my side of the family.  In this picture are some of their second and third cousins too!  My girls have had the best time seeing their cousins for the past two weekends at family get togethers.  It is hard not to live around family anymore, but perhaps it helps us to appreciate the times we have together even more!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Counting by Two's

A few weeks ago, I took the girls with me to a doctor appointment.  While trying to keep them quietly entertained, I taught Arin about counting by two's.  She quickly memorized 2-10, but often likes to count by one's after that.  We are adding a new number in here and there.  Today, she practiced her numbers 2-14 and did a great job.

Andy wants her to practice counting by five's also, but I am hoping to get her counting by two's up to twenty before introducing the five's.  She did count by one's to 100 a few nights ago with only a little help from daddy.  She needed help with each ten's number change (thirty, forty, fifty, etc.).

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I was given a Boggle game about twenty years ago!  I still enjoy playing this game, but we have now found a second use for it!  Ella loves putting the lettered dice into the playing board.  This is great for hand-eye coordination and also for keeping her entertained for a few minutes!

She is her own best cheerleader!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Necklace Beading

Today, Arin found a container of beads and decided she'd like to make herself a necklace.  We don't have any plastic needles, so I cut the tip off a regular (large-eye) needle.  I threaded the needle with embroidery floss and then let Arin loose to design and make her new necklace.

She loved this activity!

Monday, February 22, 2010


It's Gratituesday!  Today, I am thankful for my sister-in-law, Angie.  As I was unpacking from a family get-together this weekend, I was thinking how awesome she is.  Not only is she my husband's sister, but also my brother's wife.  Good thing we get along so well since I am related to her twice!  She is an awesome hostess.  Her house is warm, comfortable and welcoming.  Angie always has a smile on her face, even when we are kidding her about things, which happens often :)  I am also super thankful that she sends hand-me-down clothes from her girls to mine (this has been a HUGE money saver for us over the years).  She is a great friend and fun to be around.  Happy Birthday Ang!

Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

We started cloth diapering again a few months ago and love it!  I was on one of my favorite blogs tonight, Passionate Homemaking and I saw a post for a cloth diaper giveaway.  Head over to her site and check it out!

Frugal Gift Wrap

Once upon a time, I loved to wrap gifts with beautiful wrapping paper and big bows.  Afterall, first impressions are everything, right?  Nowadays, I have a hard time spending money on gift wrap because I know it'll be ripped apart in seconds and thrown away. 

This weekend, we went to Andy's sister's babyshower.  While there, we also met Andy's newest nephew, who was born in December.  So we had two gifts to give.  I wanted to wrap them with materials that I already had on hand, thus making it frugal!  For each gift, I took a paper bag (I used the ones that you get in the freezer section at Wal-Mart).  These bags have writing on one side, so I covered the bag with card stock.  Then, I quickly free-hand drew designs (stars for the boy and flowers for the girl), cut them out, and glued them on the bag.    Then, I put the gifts inside the bags, rolled down the top of the bag, punched two holes in the top of the bag and tied it with a ribbon.

This was a quick and free (had everything on hand) gift wrapping project.

Friday, February 19, 2010

No Bake Cheesecake

Last month, my sweet friend, Karen, invited me and some other girls from our former playgroup to her house for Mom's Night In.  It was so much fun getting together again with everyone.  We had great fun playing a board game (Balderdash), laughing, talking about our kids and what's been going on in each other's lives, etc.  Karen made some amazing food for us.  One of my favorite treats was this awesome, super yummy, no bake cheesecake, which I remade this week.  Andrew is now a huge fan of this dessert also!

Summer Cheesecake

9" graham cracker crust
1/3 cup sugar
8oz cream cheese, room temp
6oz Cool Whip
Frozen strawberries in sugar, thawed
Blend Cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend some (no real measurement on this) strawberries in blender or food processor.  Add to cream cheese/sugar and blend.  Fold in cool whip. Pour into crust and chill for 2 hours to set.  Top with fresh or thawed strawberries.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thank You Cards

We got behind on our thank you cards, so a few days ago, while Ella napped, Arin made a batch of cards.  I like to buy packs of plain cards as a starter and then put our own special touches on them.  I gave Arin four colors of paint and told her cover the front of each card.  Once she was done, I held her finger and helped her write "Thank You" on each card.  Once the paint was dry, I asked Arin to pick the specific card that she wanted to send to the individual/family. I love having Arin involved in making/sending her thank you cards.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unplug Your Kids: Spiral

This month's theme at Unplug Your Kids is Spiral.  Immediately, I thought of cinnamon swirl bread!  We love to make food for our Unplugged themes.  Usually, it is just Arin and myself making the project, but we ALL get to enjoy the fruits of our labor, if we make a food item! 

We started the project with Arin helping to make my normal bread recipe, which can be found here

Ella, has a natural curiosity about the goings on in the kitchen.  She LOVES to be held while I am making dinner, and I believe this is just because she likes to watch.  So I sat her at the bar to watch Arin make the bread. 

Ella was content to watch Arin, but then I let her try helping and it was all over from there!  She LOVES helping as well and she really didn't make much of a mess!  It was a delight to cook with BOTH of my girls today!

After, the bread did its first rising, I rolled it out and let Arin butter it and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.  Ella quickly climbed on the chair to see what was going on, but she didn't fuss about not helping, which was a good thing.  I rolled up the bread, allowed a second rising and then baked it off.

This bread tastes amazing, like a giant cinnamon roll.  This is the second time that I have attempted cinnamon swirl bread and both times, the outside rose beautifully, but the inside was not so pretty.  What am I doing wrong?  Not rolling it tight enough?  Not letting it cook long enough?  I need some advice so we can improve the appearance and continue enjoying this yummy treat!

Juice Pops

When I was a kid, we always had juice in the house, but rarely, if ever, had store-bought popsicles.  My mom would take the fruit juice, pour it into a cup, put a spoon in it and pop it into the freezer.  I loved these popsicles.  We eventually got popsicle molds and those were fun too. 

A few days ago, I decided to make juice pops for my girls.  I like the idea of giving them 100% fruit juice vs. the sugar loaded popsicles they were used to.  I made the popsicles in small Solo plastic cups (maybe 2oz) with new popsicles sticks as the handles, and covered with aluminum foil (which helps to keep the stick more upright).  I like that once I have given the girls a popsicle, I can simply rinse the plastic cup, fill it with more juice, put a new popsicle stick in, cover it (I reuse the same piece of aluminum foil) and pop it in the freezer for the next treat.

This was the first time that I have introduced homemade juice pops to the girls.  Ella was brave and ready to try it immediately.  Arin, on the other hand, thought that I had lost it.  She was much more leary about trying this new treat.  She whined that she wanted a different kind of popsicle, but when she finally realized it would be this popsicles or none, she gave in and tried it.  She loved it!

I have a tray of these popsicles in our freezer.  Everytime I open the freezer, Ella tries to sneak a popsicle.  It is so disappointing to her that mommy doesn't allow these popsicles anytime she wants them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Gratituesday has been hosted by one of my favorite blogs, Heavenly Homemakers, for as long as I have been reading her blog, which seems like forever.  I love reading once a week the things that she is grateful for.  I have often thought of joining in, but as you see, I haven't up until now. 

It was about a month ago that extreme exhaustion set in and I kept saying, "I guess the pregnancy symptoms are finally here."  Then, three weeks ago yesterday, I found out that the baby I was carrying had no heartbeat.  I allowed my body the next two and a half weeks time to pass the fetus, which never happened, so this past Friday, I had surgery to remove it.  During the two and a half weeks from finding out until sugery, I cried many tears, felt depression, had to force myself out of bed everyday and I couldn't wait until it was naptime for the girls so I could crawl right back in bed myself.  Though physically, I was zapped, mentally, I knew that I had to keep positive.  Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage of our precious baby and I dwelled heavily on the why's, what if's, how come's and it drove both myself and Andy insane!  So this time, I chose to focus on the blessings in my life.

I am thankful for the love, support and encouragement that came in during this difficult time.  It is always an awkward conversation when you let someone know that you've miscarried, but I am so thankful that there were no unintentional, unkind words spoken to me in the past three weeks.  Instead, I had an overwhelming outpour of encouragement and sincere sympathing and concern from friends, family, long-lost friends, and fellow mommy bloggers.  The love came in so many forms: visits, emails, phone calls, daily texts, blog comments, Facebook comments/messages, etc.  It has meant so much to me and helped me during this time.

I am so thankful for my sweet little girls.  They always know how to make me smile.  They love me whether I am playing with them or simply laying on the couch with them.  The second of which happened more times than I can count over the past three weeks.

I am thankful for my doctor, who listened to me and allowed me to choose what I felt was right for myself.  She never pushed me, but supported each of my decisions.

I am thankful for the ability to travel.  I found it most helpful for my mental sanity to be surrounded by my friends and family.  Over the past three weeks, my sister and her boys traveled from Florida to spend half of the week with me.  The girls and I traveled an hour away to to spend the day with a friend.  We were able, as a family, to travel to Florida to spend the weekend with family and I was able to catch up with a great friend and also to attend a Mom's Night In with some great friends that I had not seen in seven months.  Andy's family was able to travel four and a half hours each way one weekend to spend the night with us.  We were able to drive an hour and a half to meet up with family for lunch one Sunday.  A friend traveled an hour to stay with my girls so I wouldn't have to take them to my doctor's appointment with me.  Andy's sister and brother-in-law were here overnight after my surgery.  We were able to travel to Florida to an awesome family reunion.  I am so thankful that I was not alone during this time.

I am thankful for my patient husband.  Because I had no energy and I had to force myself out of bed, most of my housework was put on hold, only doing what was absolutely necessary.  I can't even remember making a dinner for my family during this time.  I must have, but it was infrequent, which means we ate out A LOT.  Not even one time did Andrew complain.  I know he must have thought that it was time to "snap out of it" but he always spoke kindly to me.

I am also thankful that I did finally choose to have surgery.  Almost immediately, I felt mental clarity and my energy returned.  Though I am still taking it easy, I do not feel the need or even the want to be in bed all day long.

Thank you to everyone that has stood by our sides and given us comfort, support, love and encouragement during this battle.  It has been appreciated so much and been crucial for my mental health.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Number Sequence

I have seen this type of activity several times on Chasing Cheerios and thought it'd be great for Arin.  Arin can count pretty high, but she doesn't recognize all of her numbers.  Today, we worked on the numbers 11-20.  She didn't recognize very many of them on her own, but quickly realized that she could look at just the second number to put them in order.  Once they were all in order, we said their names (eleven, twelve, etc.).  This was a quick activity, which was great because Ella was upset that she wasn't included in on the fun.

I love this picture.  I handed Arin the numbered cards and told her to put them in order.  As you can see by the look on her face, she was a bit confused as to what she was supposed to do!

Sorting the cards so she can see them.

Happy with her accomplishment!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Family Reunion

We had the BEST time at our family reunion today.  It was for the families (my mom's side) that live in the south and also for the ones that are in Florida for the winter.  My grandmother, who, a month ago wasn't expected to live, was there.  I am thrilled that she was able to make the long trip down from New York.  It was so great to see her and we took so many pictures with her.  I also got to meet my two and a half week old great niece for the first time.  She's so tiny and so sweet!  I got to see a cousin that I haven't seen since my wedding seven years ago and I met another cousin's husband.  Also met three second cousins.  It was such a great time to all be together. 

(The Oldest and Newest Members of the Family.  Kynzie, who is 2.5 weeks old was born on her Great-great grandmother's 92nd birthday!)
(My girls with their Great-Grandma)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Andrew & I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary this week. 

Arin was looking at our pictures and decided she'd like to wear a princess dress too, so I let her try on my wedding dress.  She thought this was so much fun!