Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back on 2011

Every year, I write a blog post on the year. The things that have happened throughout the months, the things we have overcome, the challenges we have had, and the exciting moments of our life. This is that post for the year of 2011!

First of all, I can't believe this year is over. I actually got tearful the day after Christmas thinking about how we have gone through our first Christmas with Baby A and our last Christmas in England. It has been an amazing experience, and as time goes on it only gets more exciting and much crazier. When I was in high school, even at 16, I never thought I would be married the following year and doing what I am doing now. I never thought I would move to another country. I definitely never thought I would be a military wife, and I also never really thought about children and where my life would take me. Thankfully at some point in my life I put a lot of trust on God and let him lead the way, and looking back - I find that I have one of the most blessed lives that any young woman could ever have.

I have everything I have ever wanted and dreamed about, and I really do live a fairy tale life. I have entered my 4th year of not working, and started my 1st year as a stay at home Mom. I have overcome a 3rd deployment with Mr. Man and my first deployment as a "single Mom". I am thankful for the love, support, determination, discipline, and happiness that is in my life. I am thankful for friends and family for their continued support and love for our lifestyle. I am thankful to have a husband who is hard working and determined, who is good at what he does and enjoys his job. Despite the long hours he works, I am thankful that we find the happy medium to be a family - happy and healthy.

Looking back, there has been so much that has happened this year. So much that I just can't even begin to imagine where it started and how it started. But our journey, this year, will be one of the most memorable years of our life together!

January 2011 - I started the new advanced program for school.
February 2011 - I received my official diploma in the mail.
March 2011 - Mr. Man went to Germany for training, and *almost* sent to Italy for a deployment to miss the birth of our baby girl.... Yikes! I have been unemployed for 4 years.
April 2011 - Our daughter is born!
May 2011 - Mr. Man deploys to Korea for 4 months.
June 2011 - Mommy and Baby A goes to the air show.
July 2011 - Celebrate 5 years of marriage!
August 2011 - Begin our last year in England.
September 2011 - Mr. Man comes home from deployment!
October 2011 - Baby A goes to London for the first time.
November 2011 - We go to Scotland as a family!
December 2011 - Played Santa and Mrs. Claus for the first time!

Can you believe that 2012 is almost here?!

To start the year off right, we will be taking our two week trip to Germany. We will be leaving the 7th of January and be gone until the 23rd. Destinations included in this trip are Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt, Heidelburg, Stuttgart, Munich, Dachau Concentration Camp, and Neuschwanstein Castle.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve! And Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some Christmas Day Fun


 On Christmas Day, we started our day out getting ready for church. Since Baby A doesn't wake until about 8am, we saved the gifting opening for after church and after nap time! 


 Here is me and the baby girl after church! 


 Here is Mr. Man and his beautiful daughter!


This was her "big" gift from us. She was trying to make it go, but she ran into Mr. Buttons' bed!


She became Mrs. Claus! 


She was fascinated with all the bows on her gifts!


She absolutely loves this vibrating, jumping around piggy!


And, of course, I had to do this to her! :D

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

We had sweet potato pie on Christmas Day! It has been so long since either of us had this, so we thought we would cook one for Christmas! It was my first time, and it came out delicious! I thought I would share the recipe.

Sweet Potato Pie:

Ingredients:

1 lb. sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup of milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions:

1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40-50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato and remove the skin.

2. Break apart the sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with a mixer. Stir in the sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until a knife (or toothpick) can be inserted in the center and comes out clean.

*The pie will puff up, and then will sink down as it cools.



I thought it was a success since it was my first time making one! I enjoyed the process and did not realize it was so easy to do! So many people use can filling, but this is just as easy!

As always, if you try it let me know what you think! Mr. Man ate two pieces on Christmas day, which of course made me proud!

I hope everyone also had lots of yummy food during the holidays!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

101 in 1001 Days: Update


I wanted to update you all on my progress with 101 in 1001 Days. I have accomplished a few things within the last couple of months, so I thought I would update it while I am thinking about it. My end date is the middle of February of 2013. I can't wait to see how far we have gone in life and how much of these I actually accomplish. This will be an exciting next few years. 

If you want to join in, you can create your list at http://www.dayzeroproject.com. I hope you enjoy my list and get inspired to create your own!

My Project:
1. Go horseback riding.
2. Get a job.
3. Go to a concert.
4. Go camping.
5. Dance in the rain.
6. Visit Egypt.
7. Buy a car.
8. Try 5 new foods.--Main dishes. 
9. Visit Italy. 
      -Rome
      -Florence
      -Siena
      -Pisa
      -Milan
      -Verona
      -Venice
10. Visit Germany.
- Leave January 7, 2012.
11. Visit France.
12. Try 5 new vegetables.
13. Visit an aquarium.
14. Go biking.
15. Use only reusable grocery bags.
         -working on that.
16. Crochet a scarf.
17. Eat at 5 new restaurants. 
18. Finish a scrapbook.
19. Buy new couches.
       -Purchased on Monday, June 28, 2010
20. Graduate from college. 
21. Donate to a charity.
        -East Anglia Hospice
22. Learn how to make sushi.
23. Visit 5 castles.
24. Try 10 new wines.        
25. Visit Ireland.
        -Dublin
26. Paint a painting.
27. Host a BBQ.
28. Stretch everyday for a month.
29. Start a family.
        -Born: April 5, 2011
30. Learn to Crochet.
31. Redecorate a room.
32. Learn how to eat with chopsticks.
       -Teri-aki's.
33. See a musical in London.
34. Go scuba diving.
35. Swim in a large body of water.
        -Lido, Venice, Italy.
36. Find 100 things that make me happy.
37. Make 5 New Friends.
        -AW
        -SY
        -AF
        -SG
        -SM
38. Clean out my closet and donate the things I don't use.
39. Run a 5K with others.
40. Go to church every Sunday for 3 months straight.
41. Have 2 sets of family photos done within 2 separate years.
42. Go on a last minute mini vacation.
        -Wales.
43. Read 5 books (not including my school books).
44. Go on a fossil hunt.
45. Attend 10 museums.
46. Pass the teaching certificate test.
47. Climb to the top of something high.
        -I did a lot of this in Italy. I will name the places once I gather their names.
48. Make all A's and B's in school.
        -So far all A's!
49. Build a sand castle with Mr. Man.
50. Visit Snowdonia.
         -October 2010.
51. Print out pictures of vacations and put them in memory books.
52. Touch an animal that I am scared of.
53. Get a second Miniature Schnauzer.
54. Find 50 things that inspire me to be a better person.
        -Obseity
        -Teen Moms
55. Support a cause.
        -We actually support many every year. We do Christmas Operation, Toys for Tots, Cancer Research, etc.
56. Collect refrigerator magnets or postcards from major places. 
       -Italy-(Siena, Rome,  Pisa)
       -Wales
       -Dublin, Ireland
       -Edinburgh and Inverness/Loch Ness, Scotland
57. Drink protein shakes regularly for a month.
58. Send care packages to troops from other military services.
59. Write a story about how I see and want my future and open it later in life.
60. Say No to people who ask me for favors when I am already busy.
61. Go to the eye doctor every year.
62. Celebrate my birthday in style.
63. Have movie night once every 3 months.
        -Doing this.
64. Get lost somewhere and find my way back.
65. Get fit! (The way I see it.)
66. Sell/Pay off our house.
67. Do not complain for a week.
68. Do not eat ice cream for a full summer.
69. Submit 5 photos to a digital photograph school.
70. Start Master's Program.
71. Renew our wedding vows in a Catholic Church.
72. Open a TSP or IRA.
73. Keep $10,000 in savings.
        -So far, so good.
        - Now working on keeping $20,000.
74. Start a separate savings for our children.
75. Lay out at night with Mr. Man and look at the stars.
76. Crochet a pair of booties.
77. Attempt to learn how to play a PS3 war game. 
       -Accomplished on  June 9, 2010. I'm HORRIBLE at this.
78. Only buy necessities for a month- 3 times.
79. Stay on Mr. Man's butt to finish school.
80. Take a fitness progression picture every couple of months.
81. Make 5 baby blankets.
82. Attempt to Ski or Snowboard.
83. Go hiking again.
         -Snowdon.
84. Try 3 new fruits.
85. Learn how to use the weed wacker.
86. Drive somewhere using only a map.
87. Take professional bodybuilding pictures.
88. Give 10% of income to church for 5 months.
89. Recycle a Christmas tree.
90. Go canoeing, kayaking, or paddling.
91. Use no butter for a week.
92. Make homemade cards for an event or holiday.
        -Christmas 2010
        -Announcement/Thank You Cards
93. Cook 26 dishes in a row from A-Z.
94. Do not eat Chinese Food for 6 months straight.
95. Volunteer at a local school or nursery.
96. Commit to a date night every 3 to 5 months.
97. Do morning cardio outside during the summer months.
98. Let 5 people know how much I appreciate them.
99. Go to Disney World, Disney Land, or Euro Disney.
100. Learn a new dancing style.
101. Donate a dollar for every thing on this list that I do not accomplish to any organization of my choice.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Magic Reindeer Food and Poem:

Many people asked about the Magic Reindeer Food that we made to sprinkle on Christmas Eve. Even though it is after Christmas, I thought I would go ahead and share. Many of you could save this for next year! I do wish I would have posted this early. Next year, I will be sure to spend all of December posting things that we do during Christmas, and the things that are kid friendly. 


The Magic Reindeer Food (or Dust) is something that many parents (and teachers) have been doing for years. I decided that I wanted to do this whenever I had children, and my time has finally come! 


Magic Reindeer Food is simple and inexpensive to make. All you need is some oats and some colored sugar sprinkles (or glitter). I use the sugar sprinkles because they are biodegradable and safe for the birds - as some people have told me. The amount depends on how much you want to make and where you want to sprinkle it. 


Since we live in base housing, we only sprinkled it at our doorstep in the grass. I used a 1/2 cup of oats and a 1/4 cup of sugar sprinkles (I chose red!). I mixed the two together and let Baby A sprinkle it by our doorstep. She did not try to eat it.... she understands what is meant to be eaten and what isn't. But if you have a child who WILL eat this, especially an infant, be extra careful or sprinkle yourself. 


For us, by the morning, most of it was gone. It "looked" as if the reindeer truly did have a snack, but Baby A is still too little to understand but this year was our test to see if it would be gone by morning. 


There is a cute little poem that goes with it. I know many people who make it and put it in ziploc bags or glass jars, tie a ribbon around it, and put a tag with this poem on it. 


Make a wish and close your eyes tight,
Sprinkle this on your lawn Christmas Eve night, 
As Santa and his reindeer roam,
This sparkly dust will lead them to your home,
The reindeer will love their oatmeal snack,
While they are waiting for Santa to come back. 


There are a variety of poems. The one above is my favorite. It's the cutest, but yet still short and to the point. 


My second favorite is this one...
Inside this special package is a treat
but not for you!
It contains magical reindeer food 
and here is what you do.
Sprinkle this magical reindeer food
carefully on the ground.
And tonight if you are lucky
Santa's reindeer will come around.
But here's a secret I have to tell,
one you must try to keep.
That Santa's reindeer only come
when you are fast asleep.
So quickly put your jammies on
and get a story read,
Then sprinkle this magic treat outside
and hurry off to bed!


The one above is cute if you do it as a craft with a group of children. The poem is a bit longer, but it is super cute and explains how to use it if they bring it home to their parents. 


Such a fun, easy, and inexpensive craft to do for Christmas!! 


I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, and enjoy your time with your family!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Questionnaire: Part 3

Part 3 of the Christmas Questionnaire. If you are interested, be sure to check out the other two!!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
I did  not ask for anything. There were some things that I would like to have, but nothing that I just had to have. Husband caved and told me what he got us.... a new camera lens.

26. When does your family open gifts?
Christmas morning. This year since it is on a Sunday and Baby A doesn't wake until 8am, we will do it after church.

27. What is the best gift you have ever gotten?
I always enjoyed when my Mom would give me cash to go shopping.

28. What's the worst gift you have ever gotten?
I really have never received a horrible gift, BUT this one time I received an alarm clock. I was about 10 or 11 years old. It was at the Christmas Eve party when we exchanged gifts. Someone that barely knew me drew my name that year, and they got it for me. To be honest, it was the best clock ever. And I have had it ever since. Well... until we moved here. It got lost during the move.

29. Who gives you the most gifts?
When I was little, my Mom/Dad and Maw and Paw gave me the most gifts. But now, it's Mr. Man.

30. Have you ever had a secret Santa?
Yes, actually. When I was in school.

31. Do you like wrapping gifts?
I do like picking out paper and having fun wrapping just to go back through all the gifts, but I am horrible at it. I guess practice makes perfect.

32. Do you make cookies?
Something we have decided to do is bake something for Jesus for his birthday on Christmas Eve, and we will share a piece with Santa. We also make magic reindeer feed.

33. Have you ever gotten a kiss under mistletoe?
Never a real mistletoe, but every year my husband puts a fake mistletoe somewhere in our house and when I stand under it, he randomly runs up and kisses me. It's cute and fun little game to play. And now he does it with Baby A.

34. Do you go carolling?
No, not like how it was in the states. We do go to church carolling services.

35. Do you drive around and look at Christmas lights?
When we were in the states, yes. It is a must, and I miss it so much! But here, it isn't the same. Not many houses decorate.

36. Who and where do you celebrate Christmas with?
We celebrate as a family. I feel it is extremely important to spend it with your immediate family. Mr. Man, myself, Baby A, and Mr. Buttons, and at our home.

37. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
YES!!! In England, year before last. The one that Mr. Man deployed right after.

38. Does your family take a picture at Christmas?
Yes, we always take pictures now that we have the baby.

39. What is your favorite Christmas scent?
The smell of a real tree, apple cinnamon, and apple pie!

40. What year is it?
2011.

Well, again over 10, but it is complete! Hope you enjoyed. I know I will enjoy coming back and seeing how my taste change and what traditions remain the same!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Questionnaire: Part 2

Another part to the Christmas Questionnaire I started yesterday!

11. Do you celebrate Christmas Eve?
On Christmas Eve, we use to meet at my Dad's side of the family's party and exchange gifts. This year we are starting a new tradition of watching Christmas movies, sipping hot cocoa, cooking gumbo, and staying in our PJ's.

12. Do you hang up stockings?
Yes, we have a stocking for Mr. Man, myself, Baby A, and Mr. Buttons.

13. Does your family read "Twas the night before Christmas"?
We do not read it as a family, but we do have it. I read to Baby A every night, so Christmas Eve we will read this book.

14. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
To be honest, I have a few. Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street, and Home Alone.

15. Who is your favorite character from any Christmas movie?
Ralphie!! Not sure if I spelt that right.

16. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, and - to sing with the kids - Rudolph the Red Noise Reindeer.

17. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
I was blessed to have many really awesome Christmas's. I would say that the one that sticks out the most was the first year that my Mom gave me and my sister $1,500. We took it the next day shopping during the sales. We went to 3 malls in two states that day. It was a blast!

18. Would you rather give or receive?
No one can lie. They love to receive, but some love to equally give. This year I can proudly say that we gave in the same amount that we spent on our family to the less fortunate children, Angels, and Toys for Tots.

19. Do you prefer eggnog or cider?
I love cider!!

20. Which color do you like more - Red or Green?
Red is my 3rd favorite color, tied with purple.

21. Ham or Turkey?
Depends on how each are cooked. Lately, it has been ham - my ham.

22. Do you put a star or angel on the top of your tree?
We have had a star since I was little. Mr. Man and I still have a star, but I am ready for an angel or bow.

23. White Lights or Colored Lights?
Colored.

24. Blinking lights or still lights?
Blinking on a tree. Still on the outside of houses.

So I went over 10 because I felt the last few went with one another and were simple answers. Remember if you answer these as well, leave a comment with the URL so I can read them myself. I love hearing other people's traditions!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Questionnaire: Part 1

A Christmas Questionnaire for a bit of fun! If you join the fun, leave a comment with the URL so I can read yours!! :D 

1. Does your family send Christmas Cards out? 
In the past, we really didn't. We will start now since we have Baby A. Checkout this post with our card this year.

2. How soon do you start shopping?
From January to October, we put money into a separate savings account for this. I generally start shopping by September/October. This year we were thankful that we didn't have to buy much because Baby A was gifted so much and she's only 8 months old. She really doesn't need much. We set an allowance for her, and the extra money that isn't spent we put in her savings account. 

3. Who do you shop for?
Mr. Man and I shop for us a gift together. This year we got a new lens for our camera. We, of course, shop for Baby A. This year we bought her 6 gifts - 3 books, 2 movies, and 1 larger toy that is a ride on, sit and play, and standing/walking toy. I also buy for my Mom from me and my brother, and we generally get picture gifts for our grandparents and other parents because we never know what to get them.

4. Do you put up a Christmas tree? 
Yes, we put up a tree every year. There has only been 2 years that we did not have a tree. One year was when Mr. Man was deployed for the holidays. We do real trees, so I put up an extremely small artificial tree because I went home for the weekend of Christmas. Then year before last when Mr. Man went to Afghanistan, he was scheduled to leave the day before Christmas so I didn't feel I could do a tree by myself with having to send it to a special place to dispose of, so I did the small tree again - even though he didn't deploy until 29 of December. 

5. If so, is it real or fake?
We love real trees! The smell is absolutely amazing!

6. Do you like tinsel?
Some years, yes. Others, no. Depends on which ornaments I want to use. It changes every year. This year we have tinsel.

7. Do you use handmade or store bought ornaments?
We have a little of both. This year we made salt dough ornaments, so we could make one with Baby A's foot print for her first Christmas!

8. Do you put Christmas lights outside of your house?
When we were in the states, we did. We have not since being here and in base housing. Too many rules to keep up with and we have to have them off by 8pm every night. 

9. Do you put lights on your tree?
Yes, we do!! I like the ones that have the different blinking patterns. You can set them to blink fast, slow, in a rhythm, or not at all. 

10. Is there a wreath hanging on your door?
Yes, there is. It is dried apples with cinnamon sticks. It has red sparkly ornaments and holly berries as decorations. Smells great when you walk up to our door! 

All together there is 50-ish questions, so there will be multiple parts. 10 a day sounds like a plan! 

Hope you are enjoying your Friday! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blessing Bags: A way to give back this holiday season.

Recently, I have been thinking about things that I am grateful for, things that I am very blessed to have, and some basic things that I have that are often taken for granted. I have been seeing "Blessing Bags" circling the air between blogger, facebook, and pinterest, so I thought I would share my version of the Blessing Bags in hopes that it may put others in the giving spirit this holiday season.

Blessing Bags are easy and fun. They are also an inexpensive way to give a small gift to someone in need or to a neighbor. The Blessing Bags started as a way to give to local charities, especially the homeless. Many people do not want to give the homeless money because they are afraid of where that money will go and what it will be used on. Blessing Bags are a great way to give a homeless (or other person in need) some basic essentials to brighten their daily life. It will help get their mind off of their daily struggles, and the most powerful thing of all is that these bags are not taken for granted. Any individual who is in need will appreciate this little bag of goodies and be so thankful for such a thoughtful person.

The original idea of the Blessing Bag was a way to create a bag full of small/travel sized necessities for people in need. An example includes:

A bag (even a ziploc) full of:
travel sized toothpaste
travel sized toothbrush
travel sized shampoo
travel sized conditioner
travel sized deodorant
travel sized body spray
disposable razor
travel size shaving cream
travel size q-tips
travel size tissues
bar of soap

It can even include small items of food, such as:
cookies
crackers with cheese/peanut butter
fruit cup
gum
mints
applesauce cup

Even travel sized medicines, such as tylenol, motrin, etc.

That was the basic idea. The idea of giving this holiday season.

Since I was a bit late on discover this great idea, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to find local military families whose spouses are deployed during this time. In my neighborhood, there are several.

My approach is to send them love and happiness, and a touch of warmth for this holiday season. To let others know that we are here for them and love and support them.

For my bag, I gathered several brown lunch bags. I baked lots of baked goods. Breads, Gingerbread men, cookies, brownies, muffins, fudge, etc. I put a little of each in each bag. I also put individual packages of hot cocoa and marshmallows. I punched holes in the bag to tie ribbon to close it tight. I also put a tag on the ribbon with a quote of thanks and blessings.

Tomorrow I will be sending these to each of the houses while they are out for the day.

As a military spouse myself who has had her husband deployed during the holiday season, I know just how much it would mean to me. How thankful, and how excited I would be to know that people cared, loved, and supported me and my family during that time. I hope that this small gift of giving to these local families will bring a sense of warmth to their holidays.

Did you do any gift giving this year? If so, what did you do? I would love to hear other ideas and  your way of giving during this time of year, whether you are a military spouse or not!

Merry Christmas to everyone, and Hope you all have a happy New year!! 2012 is just around the corner!



Stationery card

Pretty Pattern Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wishful Wednesday: New Vehicle?

Mr. Man and I have been shopping around for new cars. We haven't decided what we want to get or when we will actually get one, but we know it will be soon enough. I like to shop around and fall in love with something before I just up and buy it.

I can't decide if I want another car or if I want an SUV. All this will depend on where we go next and how soon we leave. So a lot of things are in the air. But here are the vehicles I would love to have that are definitely in the run!


Nissan Altima


Audi Q7


Audi A4

I have gone back and forth between the A4 and A6, but I prefer the look of the A4. As far as the SUV, I am having a hard time because I am super picky and Mr. Man refuses to allow me to drive a minivan.

Color of choice, black!

There will be two vehicles purchased closely together depending on where our next station is going to be. If we go back to the states, we will both get new vehicles. If  we stay overseas, then Mr. Man will purchase something from that country and I will get a new car. 

I would love to hear opinions, thoughts, advice, recommendations, etc. We are hoping to purchase a car in the next 3 - 6 months! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Growing Up

Baby A is getting so big so fast. I can't believe in just a few short days she will be 8 months. It is so hard to believe that 8 months ago I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. Really, it's hard to believe.

She is doing all kinds of exciting new things. She has started to pull up on just about everything possible and occasionally walking along things that she can grab and hold on too. She holds on to almost everything with everything she has. She has a tight little grip for a little bitty thing. She is so impressed with her standing skills that every time she stands, she jumps, squeals, and giggles. And this happens so darn much. She stands in the bath tub, which scares the living day lights out of me, but I feel that I can't force her to sit because she sees it as progressing and doing something amazing. But of course she is still a baby, so I just watch her closely and hold her if she is in the bath tub.

Speaking of bath tub, she still loves water. Now she drinks from a sippy cup and she has so much coordination. She grabs it and puts it straight to her mouth. She has been doing this for a while now.

She doesn't have much teeth, though. Which I am 100% ok with. We can see 6, but they have been lingering around for a while. Waiting to see when they will actually break through. I'm not in any hurry for that though.

We are still nursing, and it has been an amazing experience. I am still unsure of when I will start the weaning process, but I feel like she is already starting to do it on her own. She only nurses 3-5 times during the day, and it is generally closer to 3 than 5. But at night she still wakes to nurse. This is something we are working on breaking because she use to sleep through the night, but for some reason she wants the comfort. I am ok with it for now, but at some point, it will need to stop.

She takes two naps during the day, around 11am and 4pm. She will nap from about 1 hour to 2.5 hours depending on what is going on, if we are home, and things of that nature.

She eats solids now, of course. She eats them 3-4 times a day and she's a piglet. She has a fruit with oatmeal in the mornings and a meat, veggie, and starch for lunch and dinner. Occasionally she will have a snack between lunch and dinner, which will be a fruit or vegetable depending on her mood and mine. She does very well with eating and understands the spoon is to feed. She knows exactly what to do with a spoon, but doesn't have the coordination to feed herself of course.

Things have been great for the last few months, even through our traveling. Mommyhood is a great experience and will continue to be - I am sure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Blogger: Picking The Right Window Treatments For Your Baby’s Room



While I am away on vacation, I will have some guest bloggers posting for all my readers. I hope you enjoy, and I may just pop in for some updates and pictures while in Scotland! 


Picking The Right Window Treatments For Your Baby’s Room
Providing the perfect living quarters is just one of the many things you have to bear in mind when welcoming a new born baby into the world. This is often one of the happiest moments in any person’s life, however what isn’t always documented is just how stressful a time it can prove to be for those concerned. In addition to making sure the baby has enough food, clothes and toys, it’s is also of huge importance to ensure you are bringing the child into the safest environment possible.
There are a number of potential risks to a small child’s safety in any home, and it’s important to make sure that you eliminate as many (if not all) of these as possible. One hazard that many people may not consider is the one caused by your choice of window treatments, so it’s important to pick these very carefully.
Any baby in a new environment is likely to want to wander round and explore their fresh surroundings. As you are unable to keep your eyes on your child for every minute of every day, it’s key to ensure that the items within their reach pose as small a threat possible for the occasions when they’re out of your site. Whilst curtains may be attractive on the eye, they often come with lots of loose materials which can provide temptation for children to play with and, in turn, potentially get tangled up in. An alternative solution to this is a set of roller blinds which, the majority of the time, can be operated with the use of a cordless device. If you take advantage of the “made to measure” service that a lot of companies provide then you can also make sure that they are the right size for your windows, but also kept out of the reach of any wandering hands.
As well as helping to provide a safe environment in terms of material fittings, they can also help when it comes to assisting your baby develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Blackout roller blinds are available to ensure that the lighting in a room can be maintained at the correct level, which will help your baby get their head down at a good time no matter how light it is outside. In addition, roller blinds can also contribute towards maintaining a healthy temperature in a room, meaning the baby’s sleeping quarters are insulated perfectly during all adverse weather conditions.
Whilst they are a practical option, roller blinds are also easy to the eye too. The simple design means that it shouldn’t be too hard to find a style to fit in with any existing d├ęcor and colour scheme. This could prove to be particularly convenient over time, as children are notorious for changing tastes and styles over the years.
There are likely to be a million and one things on your mind during this life-changing period, and cost-cutting is more than likely to be one of them. It’s worth considering roller blinds, as they are a very cost effective way of providing a perfect environment for any new born baby.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Blogger: Why is it important for my child to have their eye's tested?

While I am away on vacation, I will have some guest bloggers posting for all my readers. I hope you enjoy, and I may just pop in for some updates and pictures while in Scotland!

Why is it important for my child to have their eye's tested?

Getting your child’s eyes tested is extremely important and more important still is ensuring they get their eyes tested as early as possible. A skilled Optometrist will see your child from as young as 2 years old so you should not be worried that they are too young.

Below I have listed my top 3 most important reasons that you should take your child for an eye test:

 1. Check their vision is developing: The first 7 years of your child’s life are critical in their visual development. Beyond this age it is virtually impossible to correct a lazy eye. During an eye examination your Optometrist will be assessing to see if your child has a lazy eye and also checking to see if they are at an increased risk of developing a lazy eye. If either of these apply, your Optometrist will act accordingly in the best interests of your child. A lazy eye is an eye that even with the best possible eye glasses will only be able to see partially down the eye test chart. A lazy eye can only be treated by your Optometrist if it is picked up below the age of 7 years old (the earlier the better) and is not treatable with laser eye surgery as people wrongly assume.

2. Check their eyes are working together: Your Optometrist will be carefully assessing your child’s ‘muscle balance’ which effectively means how well their eyes work together. If your child is found to have a ‘turn’ in their eye, this will require either full-time glasses wear or possibly eye surgery (this is different to laser eye surgery). If your child’s strabismus (turn in the eye) is left untreated or picked up beyond the age of 7 years old, then the eye that is turning will be permanently lazy. As well as this your child will have very poor binocular vision which is essential in judging depths and distances. Poor binocular vision will mean your child will struggle with fast moving ball sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis and American football. In addition to this, your child will not be able to see in 3D which means they will not be able to enjoy 3D films at the movies! If the strabismus is picked up early enough and either treated by surgery or with glasses, then it is possible that some binocular vision will be saved.

 3. Health of their eyes: Just because your child is young does not mean they are immune to developing eye diseases. The most serious type of eye disease your child could develop is Retinoblastoma, which is a fast growing cancer of the eye. This can be easily picked up by your Optometrist during a routine eye examination. For this reason, even if you think your child has perfect eye sight you should still take them for an eye examination as early as possible.

 This article was provided by Tim, an experienced Optometrist from the UK. Tim works as a full time Optometrist and sees a great number of children. He also writes useful information for his own website TreatmentSaver. Tim’s take home message from this article is as follows: Taking your child for an eye examination should be right at the top of your list of priorities. Don’t assume your child’s vision is fine as often parents may think this is the case only to be shocked that their child has a lazy eye. Providing we see your child early enough (from as young as 2 years old) most visual problems can be corrected giving your child the best chance of achieving success in both their academic and sporting activities.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Halloween! (Very Late)

I had created this little announcement to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween, but we had some internet troubles during the week of Halloween up until our vacation so it was never posted or shown. Here it is anyway!

Used MyMemories! Be on the lookout for a review, giveaway, and discount code to be used for this software program!

Guest Blogger: The Secret to a Budget-Friendly Family Vacation



While I am away on vacation, I will have some guest bloggers posting for all my readers. I hope you enjoy, and I may just pop in for some updates and pictures while in Scotland! 

The Secret to a Budget-Friendly Family Vacation
A family vacation is a wonderful thing. It’s a chance for bonding, a way to create life-long memories, and it’s just plain fun! But in this day and age, it’s also an expensive proposition. Unless you know the secret.
The secret to a fun budget-friendly family vacation is renting a timeshare. Many people aren’t aware that when timeshare owners can’t use their weeks, they list them for rent.  This gives families who are looking for vacation accommodations a great deal. You‘ll be able to take the family to a luxury resort that you might otherwise not have been able to afford.
A timeshare rental gives you:
1. Affordable Accommodations. Most timeshare rentals are up to 50% less than the cost of a hotel room.
2. Space. A timeshare rental gives you much more space than one cramped hotel room. You get separate bedrooms, a living area, a dining area, and a patio or balcony. It’s a real home-away-from-home where the entire family can truly relax.
3. Kitchen. Your timeshare rental will come with a full-sized, fully-equipped kitchen for further cost-savings – no more need for the budget-busting  expense of taking the family out to eat three times a day. And even though cooking on your vacation might not have great appeal, you have to admit that $50 worth of groceries goes much further than $50 at a restaurant.
Having a kitchen is also very convenient. The family can eat breakfast in their pajamas; easy to fix snacks during the day for those constantly hungry kids; stock your own popcorn and ice cream for at-home movie night.
4. Washer and Dryer. Pack light and save on those escalating airline check-baggage fees – most timeshare rentals come with their own washer and dryer!
5. Amenities. A timeshare rental that is attached to a resort will also include many of the resort’s amenities in the rental price. These can be multiple swimming pools, often with waterpark features, hot tubs, kiddie pools and children’s playgrounds, arcade game rooms for your teens, and even lighted tennis courts. Depending on the specific resort, additional on-sight activities can also include such things as arts and crafts, volleyball tournaments, miniature golf, ice cream socials, or even a karaoke sing-along.
Just to give you an idea about the cost-savings of http://www.redweek.com/timeshare-rentals">timeshare rentals, here are a few examples:
·         Sheridan Vistana Resort – in Orlando, just a mile from Walt Disney World – timeshare rentals start at $56/night
·         The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui – timeshare rentals start at just $63/night
·         Hyatt Beach House Resort, Key West, FL – timeshare rentals are starting at just $25/night.
·         Wyndham Old Town Alexandria, Washington, D.C. – Take the kids to see our Nation’s Capital for just $68/night.
Compare these and other timeshare rental prices to what you would be paying at the same destination for a hotel or even a motel.
You almost can’t afford not to take your family on a budget-friendly timeshare rental vacation! Happy Memory-Making!
Alice Perkins is a timeshare travel blogger for http://www.redweek.com>RedWeek.com, the largest online market place for timeshare rentals, where vacationers can find luxury accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel room. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skip the Gym! (Guest Blogger)


While I am away on vacation, I will have some guest bloggers posting for all my readers. I hope you enjoy, and I may just pop in for some updates and pictures while in Scotland! 

Skip the Gym! - Fitness tips for Work at Home Moms Using Things You Already Have in Your House

Being a work at home mom certainly has it’s benefits – more flexible schedule, more direct oversight of the running of you house, more time with your kids etc. However, juggling working at home and being an all-in-all cook/mommy/driver/home-manager/clean-up-patrol-woman leaves little time for “extras” such as going to the gym (or even just washing your hair!)

However, keeping fit is vital if you want to stay healthy and be able to stay on top of things. So how can you do this without taking away from your other important to-dos for the day?

One of the most practical ways to get in some exercise everyday is just to do little spurts of physical activity throughout your day. You can do this pretty easily, and it will keep you energized the whole day. Here are a few quick moves you can do when you have a few minutes, or even when you don’t have a few minutes to spare.
  1. Baby Squats

Squats are like the exercise of all exercises. They work your entire leg and your glutes and even help to strengthen your back and your core muscles. What’s great about these is that you can do them anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment. When my daughter was young, she would wake up from her naps crying until she was held for about 15 minutes. I utilized this time to do a few squats and the added twelve pounds of the baby helped make the exercise even more challenging. However, if you do this, please make sure that you have good balance. If you need to hold on to something like a chair, a baby sling can help keep your baby nice and snuggly while she enjoys the up-down motion.
2. Sitting “Wiggly-Worms”

If you have kids you are probably accustomed to the “Gotta-go” dance; this is the one they do when they “Gotta go!” but are too preoccupied to run to the toilet. Well, as odd as it might sound, I discovered that doing my daughter’s patented “Wiggly-worm” dance while sitting at my computer not only keeps my voyeuristic neighbors entertained (Note: Probably a good idea to close your blinds…) but it also helps keep my midsection looking not so pudgy. You can do your own version of the wiggly-worm; just use those abs to rock and sway away like you’ve just drunk a liter of coffee and there are no bathrooms in the entire world.
 

3. Wall Squats


These work well if your desk is located where there is a wall behind you. I have a “dining room office” myself, as this allows me to keep a close eye on everything that’s going on in my house, and since the room is small, the table is only two feet away from the wall on one side. Whenever I’m feeling like it, (i.e. when my bum is numb from sitting too long) I ditch my chair and “sit” with my back up against the wall. I can only do this for a minute or two, and the first time I tried it, I could only hold the position for a few seconds. This exercise really tones your thighs and leaves your quads feeling shaky after a minute.

These little bits of exercise can help you stay fit no matter how busy you are. Once you incorporate them into your daily routine, it will be easier to fit them in here and there and you may even find that with the extra energy keeping fit will give you, you will have more time to do the other things you need to do in your day, as well.

Stacey Cavalari is a corporate writer and blogger for Viamedic.com, a safe U.S. medication facilitator that has been facilitating medications for over 12 years. Customers can purchase safe medications online such as Propecia and Zyban in the convenience of their home or office.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Favorite Baby Items Introduction

Many people have asked me what I would buy for a new baby and what I would skip now that I have Baby A, so I thought I would write a few posts on my favorite baby items, which were helpful, and which were pointless for us. I will break it down from 0-3 months and 3-6 months. When she hits 9 months, I will do a 6-9 and so forth.

If you have any questions about any of the things I mention, feel free to ask. If you would like a review on any particular item, I can definitely do that also!

Stay tuned :)