Thursday, October 31, 2013

Obesity Letter Over Candy Treats???!!!

Woman handing out obesity letters, not Halloween candy

Like seriously.... who does that?! Filling kid's Halloween buckets with letters calling them obese is definitely more 'trick' than 'treat'. I definitely do not agree with this way of addressing this important, yet very touchy, topic of childhood obesity.

In my opinion, this lady isn't doing anything for these kids. It is obvious that she feels that their parents are the ones responsible for the issue, but her words are so cruel and unkind. If she really wants to make a difference in childhood obesity, she needs to reach out in other ways and to the people she actually feels is responsible. This does absolutely nothing for those children other than belittle them. 

Also, it is the parent's choice on how they handle and parent their children. I definitely would not want someone telling me how to parent these children, let alone telling me what I can feed them. Of course, this is in the content that I am properly providing for them and not only giving them sugar to fuel their little desires. 

What about the older children who can read and understand such harsh words? The pre teens who are picked on daily for their weight, despite the fact that they eat fairly healthy and exercise. The ones who play sports, yet still carry some extra weight. That was me. 

Not to mention what drives these young teens to a level that no parent ever wants to endure.... suicide. Suicide over weight concerns and other physical attributes.... and the fact that others are judging them based on their outside and not getting to truly know them. You know... the silly stuff that this world has come to. 

Now to the real situation at hand.... This is one night for children to enjoy the extra candies, the fun of dressing up, and getting the surprise of the treats. Give them a break. 

If this woman was really concerned, maybe she could hand out some apples?? Or clementines that she sharpied to look like a Jack-o-lanterns?? That is actually a good idea. In fact, I wish more people did do this!

When it comes to ours girls and their candy, we let them gather one piece for 15 trunks or houses. We only trick or treat once, and we hand out for the remaining of the trick or treats that we are apart of. A is allowed a piece a day if she listens and has good behavior. Otherwise, she misses out on the candy. 

So how do you handle the candy afterwards? 1 piece a day? Free for all? For incentives?

Happy Halloween! 

Halloween Crayons: Pinterest Inspired

Most of my DIY ideas come from something from Pinterest. With Halloween here, I wanted to send my daughter to school with some fun goodie bags to give to her class. There are strict rules in the Italian schools. No chocolate, no hard candies, no small toys. With this in mind, I made a small full of surprises little bags to send home with the children.

The bags included Halloween shaped crayons, Halloween colored playdough, a small Halloween themed coloring book, and a medium size toy that can not fit in their mouths.

The playdough will be featured in the coming days, but today I wanted to share the crayons.

Melting crayons for art has been becoming very popular in the art and children's crafts world. My daughter is just now old enough to help with crafts, understand them, use them, and appreciate them. The concept of these crayons are easy.

Just use a silicone or metal pan/cup. Place broken crayons (with no paper) in the sections of the pan. Put in the over at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.

I used all colors just because i knew the kids would prefer that, but it would be awesome to really give each design a color that suit it. Like orange and black for jack-o-lantern, gray for gravestone, and so on.

A was able to help with and that was what was most important. She placed the crayons in the areas and in no order. She was so impressed with her creation. 

Linking to: The Weekly Creative

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Top Toys for 6-9 Months

With Christmas coming up, I thought I would start some posts of my favorite toys that we have had for the different ages. This post is for 6-9 month, which is where E is right now. I think for 3-6 months the list is simple. Rattles, teethers, soft blocks, play mats, and so forth for them to learn to grab. This is when they really start to play and figure out buttons and so on.

Both of my girls really loved the crib and floor mirror. When A went through a phase of hating her carseat, I velcroed it to the handle of her seat. Babies are always fascinated with looking at themselves, and my girls are no different!

This phone is probably one of our top used toys by both girls. In fact, it gets so much use that I have considered buying a second one. Baby E has already figured out how to press the buttons. The size is perfect for E to hold and play with and it looks realistic in the sense of size so A likes to carry it in her purse. 

This ball was a hit with both girls. A received it for her first Christmas. It has not stopped being used since. I put it away for some time while I was pregnant just so it wouldn't get overused and A wouldn't get tired of seeing it. We brought it back out when E was about 3 or 4 months old, and they are both using it regularly! It encourages crawling, has lots of sounds, fun buttons, animals, and more. 

These balls are amazing. I wish I would have had them sooner. These were a gift to E on her first Easter this year. They have been a hit with both girls since. A really loves to make them make their nose for E. Now that E is old enough to figure it out herself, she does. 

This book is also a hit with both girls. It has a button that lights up and tells the story. It also asks for the reader to find things on each page. It also plays music. This is one of my favorites, and I plan to get more for E for Christmas and her birthday. 

This kitchen. Oh this kitchen. This was a gift for A's first Christmas at 8 months. This little guy has been a first favorite for both girls. E started playing with it constantly at 6 months. She still LOVES it. Our problem is that A still loves it, too. She now can do the shape sorting, so she hides it in her room. When E goes in there, it is the first thing she reaches for and sometimes A doesn't like that. 

This is another very very big favorite in our house. It has a couple of settings for learning and playing. When you push the head down, it zooms across the floor. The faster you push it, the faster the music plays. It also lights up. 

This is still a favorite for A. E is just now getting to where she will play with it. She really doesn't understand to press the top to make the balls move around, but she loves that it has a handle and she can carry it around. She will hold it and crawl around. Then she will sit and shake it. A likes to press the top for her, and E laughs her head off. 

My Mom got this for A's first Christmas. I had never saw it or knew anything about it. Once it became a favorite in our house, I did some research for reviews and found that it is a favorite amongst many parents and children. It tosses the balls and plays music. The balls go through the mouth, then you put them back in the tail to make it back in the middle to bounce and start the music. The shaker on the front also activates it to bounce the balls and play the music. 

The famous laptop. When A started seeing us use our laptop, she always wanted it. I knew we had to get her. Fair enough, she got one for her first birthday from a friend. She actually got a couple versions of laptops, but this was the first she could relate to and understand. She would discuss the pictures on it and press the buttons. The mouse also moves, and it has three settings. 

These are definitely a favorites in our house, and ones that will stay around for a while. In fact, I even told Mr. Man that they may be around for any future children because I really  love how they were favorites with both of the girls. It makes me feel like they are really great quality toys. 

If you are planning a Christmas for a baby around this age, I highly recommend these products!! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Now that A is in school for half a day, I have time to ran more errands during the week. This means I can now grocery shop once a week like I was doing before. I go once a week to the commissary for the basics and the American things, then I go once a week for the things off base that I prefer. 

I thought since I am grocery shopping once a week again and couponing that I would start back the weekly meal plans and include a recipe at the end of each week if anyone is interested. 

My plan for meals is that there is always 1 quick meal and 3 crockpot/slow cooker meals. With Mr. Man's new job, he gets home by 5pm and not it gets dark early. By planning crockpot/slow cooker meals, this allows us some family times in the afternoons once Mr. Man gets home from work and A wakes from her afternoon nap. 

Here are our meals for the week of October 28 - November 3, 2013: 

1. Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken
2. Crockpot Creamy Spinach Tortellini Soup
3. Crockpot Pineapple Glazed Chicken
4. Meatballs and Gravy over Rice
5. Red Beans and Sausage over Rice
6. Baked Chicken Thighs
7. Baked Trout

Of course, these are in particular order. They are never set to any particular day. Each morning I look at my list and decide what will be for dinner that night. Then I also decide for the next night that is the crockpot meal so the meat can be defrosting and I can prep for that as well. Makes life so much easier! 

As always, if there is a recipe you would like me to share, just comment with the name of the recipe and at the end of the week I will share the one with the most requests! :) 

Hope you enjoy!

Do you meal plan? What's your family's favorite meal? 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Baked Apples and Homemade Applesauce

This weekend was a fairly laid back weekend. We stayed around the house catching up on things from my family being in to visit and the big Halloween party we helped host. Last weekend was such a long weekend,that we just wanted to catch up this weekend. That is exactly what we did.

Besides the every day regular cleaning and washing clothes, I also wanted to pack away some baked apples and homemade applesauce. I had bought tons and tons of apples to do this with and we went and picked some more from the yard, so I thought it was the perfect time to take care of this.

Baking apples and making homemade applesauce is so easy. All you need is apples, apple juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon. This is what I like to put in our applesauce, but there is much more you can add to it as well.

I steamed the apples whole and then skinned them. After they were skinned, I pulled everything off the apple up to the core and tossed the core. I did this for the apples that I was using for the applesauce. For the baked apples, I sliced them. Then I steamed those as well. I find steaming them is much easier and quicker than actually baking them. It also doesn't alter the flavor if you are using them for these things.

Applesauce was then stirred with some apple juice, brown sugar and cinnamon to taste, and some lemon juice to help preserve it. Once it was complete, it was sent to my husband to be jarred.

For the baked apples, I added a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon with a splash of lemon juice. Then they were also sent to my husband to be jarred. For these, I saved some of the water from the steamer to add to keep them most in the jars.

Of course, I did give both a taste test and so did the girls. I can't wait to pop these open at some point and give them a nice taste!!

I'm hoping to jar some homemade apple pie filling as well. But that wil have to be saved for a later day and/or weekend.

Do you jar? Do you make homemade applesauce?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Christmas Haul: Part 2

For Christmas, the girls are getting their big outside toy which are bikes. You can see that post here.

The way we do it is we give them one large outside toy and one semi large inside toy. This year because of A's age and the amount we travel, we decided to get her an InnoTab. I really like for my girls to be outside and not rely on insides toys and get addicted to being indoors. I really hesitated with this because part of me feels like she is too young and I am afraid she will get addicted to it, but the other part of me feels like it is something she (and us parents) will appreciate on flights, train rides, and long distance drives. We love to travel and I hate seeing her getting bored and doing nothing during the travels. Not to mention, kids her age have already had them for a year or two so I felt like 1 - she was mature enough anyway and 2 - as I parent, I waited until she was ready and understood its use. This will be used for travels and something to preoccupy her when I have to tend to E and need her to be quiet and still, especially when Mr. Man is gone. So here is her "big" inside toy:

Innotab 3s in Pink

Carrying Case

Toy Story Game

For E, she is obviously too young and really won't understand any of it. But I really wanted to get her another large item to be fair. Even though she may not catch on, A may. So what I did was I picked something that I thought she would really like based on her interests of the toys we already have, something educational, and something that would grow with her. With that, I found this new toy by Vtech.

Vtech Alphabet Activity Cube

The rest of what I got them are basic filler items. Smaller toys - both educational based on their age and a couple of what actually interests them. Again, since E really doesn't have interests, I bought her things that I never had with A that I would have liked or things that I felt A enjoyed but it brought or got abused and didn't make it to her.

Let's start with what interests A. A is very much a tomboy. Her favorite things are dinosaurs, Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, the Hulk, and Iron Man. She has asked for a Jessie, Woody, and Buzz from Toy Story. But Buzz is by far her favorite. Mr. Man was set on getting her a Buzz, so we did.


Then, she recently started showing lots of interest in trains. We don't have space for a train table at this time, but she already had some magnetic trains. I thought I would go ahead and get her a figure eight wooden train track.

Melissa and Dog Figure 8 Train Track

For E, she doesn't have very many interests. She is starting to get more interested in A's puzzles. A does puzzles often right now, so I thought I would get more. We only have 2 right now. Even though I am using them as E's gifts, they will definitely both use them.

Melissa and Doug Wooden Puzzles

She is into putting things inside other things and digging things out. They had this cute hippo that you put shapes in its mouth and it tells you its shape and its color. It also plays music. The belly also lights up. I thought it was adorable and perfect for her.

Playskool Hippo Shape and Color Toy

I will do a separate post on the small toys and stocking stuffers.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Now on Facebook

I originally started a page on Facebook for this blog. I thought it would be a nice way to share the blogs and communicate with others. I don't do Twitter because I just don't understand Twitter... at all. I've tried. I get no where. Anyway, here is my link to Facebook if you would like to stay up to date there, too!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Family Visit

Over the last couple of weeks we had my Mom and Brother come to visit from the states. We did some sightseeing and traveling, so I thought I would share some photos from it. I'll do them by the day as I sort through them. This one is going to be from Congeliano Castle. This was not our first adventure, but it was the second. I chose this one because there is pictures of us and the family.

This is at the Congeliano Castle:

Eva standing in a window.

My Mom goes by Guh-Guh. 

Everyone says she is such a happy baby, and I really think she is. 

This is my brother, Uncle Bull.

Uncle Bull is playing with E. 

When we were going back to the car, we decided to take a walk since it was up on a hill. Mr. Man got a shot of us walking down the road. Rarely are there pictures of me.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Toddlers say the silliest things

I always thought it was incredibly adorable to hear parents talk about the silly things their toddlers say when they begin school or begin to talk more. Here I am with a toddler myself and I find myself replaying conversations and things A says and does that make me giggle. I see many other Mommy Bloggers share their stories, so I thought I would share a few of mine for these past couple of days. Maybe I will share them every so often when new things come about... who knows. But here are some for now.

Mr. Man and I were standing in the living room discussing some things. A was sitting on the couch watching a movie. As Mr. Man and I were about to part ways to do things around the house while we had a second, we kissed. Right as we kissed, A jumped off the couch and ran between us. She said, "That's my kisses!" She grabbed her Daddy's leg and hugged him tight... then started giggling. She is such a Daddy's girl. And of course those are things we say to them.

Today on our way home from school A told me that a friend pushed her on the ground. The kids hug on her and sometimes it knocks her over. I've seen this. I'm sure some kids do push and are more aggressive, but I also don't doubt that many times it is accidents or them being too friendly. I asked her if she asked her friend to please not push her. She said, "No, no, no Mommy. A say 'I don't want to have to give you a wittle spanking." Oh. my. gosh. I about died. So I told her that she doesn't give her friends spankings and she needs to just let them know that she doesn't appreciate them pushing her. When she told me, I was tossed between being in shock and thinking what have I done to laughing because the way she said it was too adorable.

Our adventures with her being school has been very interesting and has had such a great impact. Maybe I should do I post on that.... ?

Definitely. I think I should.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

E's Fall / Winter Wardrobe

Here is the start of E's Fall / Winter wardrobe. This was before I made the latest Carter's order.

Let me know if you like videos as well as written posts with pictures. I always have the kids with me, so background noise is almost always avoidable. Sometimes videos are faster and easier for me to do than posts. But if this is a no go (because I sound a tad "slow"), then please let me know and I will go back to how I was doing things before.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sibling Love

Just a video of the girls being silly after dinner time.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Legwarmers Stash / Collection

Here is our baby legs / my little legs collection as of now.

Both girls are able to wear these, and I use them for a variety of things!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Christmas Haul: Part 1

How soon do you start shopping for Christmas? I shop throughout the year. This year I started as soon as E's birthday was over. I always buy educational things first, then I will move on to their interests when it gets closer to Christmas. This way I can get some fun things that they enjoy.

The way we do it is they each get 1 big gift individually. Then they get 1 big gift to share. After that, they get 1 or 2 small gifts, a DVD, and the rest is educational.

Right now, A is 2.5 years old and E is 7 months old.

I knew A's big gift would be a bike. Since I wanted to get A a bike, I decided I would also get E one.

I did some research on bikes, and I decided that we would give the balance bikes a try. I knew A was too young for pedals, but I felt she was too big for the one she has now. She is tall for her age. I decided to go with the Kazam balance bike. I got an amazing deal. They had some deals for 60% off back in May because they had some paint differences. Nothing that altered the function of the bike or even the look. The bike looks perfectly fine but they had to pull all from the batch. Since her favorite color is green, I chose a green one for her. Here is a picture of the one I chose for her:

E is obviously too small for a lot of bikes, but I want to get her something that we can push her in when we take A for bike rides. That concluded to this bike:

It's a 4 in 1 trike that she can grow into. I wish I had one of these with A, so I knew I wanted to get one for E. Since E is our diva, I went with the pink option. 

We already bought these. They have been sitting in the garage since this summer. 

I will continue this series until I finish off what we have gotten them!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Time to Write

It has been a while since I just sat and wrote what was on my mind. Generally I have list of what I want to blog about, but lately I haven't really looked at the list because it seems that most of it happened so long ago. Then I came across some cute pictures and great video footage that I thought would be so nice to document, so I started there.

But now I am here. Exhausted. And wanting to just write.

The last couple of weeks have been tiring. Mr. Man went to nights to prepare for his leave for my family who is coming to visit. Once he returns to work, he is moving to a different shop. For us, this is a big change. He is going to a days only shop. He says it is much more laid back and less responsibilities. The chances of him coming home and talking about work would be slim because it will be... well, boring because of the differences. He is excited and ready to move on, but I know that he will miss what he has been doing for the last 3 years. As a family that never knew when he would be home or what shift he would be on, this is good news. Even though I know he will miss what he did and I will miss the people, I am ready for this change. I don't know that he will be home every day by 5pm, but I do know that he won't work swings or mids. He will be on call less often, too. So back to being tired...

He went to nights. The first week he went to nights A decided to get sick. I'm not sure where she caught it or what she had. The weather has been changing and the tempteratures have dropped quiet a bit, but I really don't want to believe that it was her sinuses considering we have never had sinus problems. Now that she is in school, she could have caught anything from anywhere. So she got sick. E is 7 months and still wakes fairly frequently in the night. This made for a super long night for me. The first two nights were ok. I say that because they alternated waking up, and E was ok with us all sleeping together long enough to get A back to sleep. The third night was bad. They alternated waking up so I never really got the chance to comfortably lay down. It was still ok. But the last night of the week was a disaster. I drank and drank and drank coffee in hopes of keeping myself sane and normal to care for the kids. A continued school. She never had a fever and she didn't have the cough that she now has.

The weekend came and gone. Our schedules were all messed up so we didn't do much and just went with the flow. Sunday night, when Mr. Man was to return to work, he received a text stating that he didn't have to report to work that night because the other shops weren't reporting for whatever reason. He only had to go in last night. In he went, the next day I sent A to school only to get a phone call that she was running fever and needed to be picked up. She hadn't ran fever all night or even that morning. All day she ran a low grade fever but seemed fine. That night, when Mr. Man returned to work, it was another disaster. She couldn't sleep because she was draining and it was basically drowning her. I had another LONG night. The longest of all.

The good news from all this is that Mr. Man is off for the next 2-3 weeks, and we have family coming in to town.

My Mom and my brother will be here for 2 weeks. They have not met Baby E yet. It should be fun! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

HP Elite Pad Giveaway:

HP Elite Pad Giveway sponsored by The Sippy Cup Mom!

Giveaway brought to you by Bepoz. Visit the giveaway page here.

Crazy 8 Haul

Another addition to shopping for Fall/Winter for A and E. Thesse are one of our first purchases. I didn't have many skirts for A, and most who know me knows that I like to have a variety of dresses, skirts, and pants. Of course long sleeve and short sleeve, as well as jackets. Here is my steal of a deal on skirts.

For A:

Anf for E for next summer: 

For $3, why not?

For all of this, I paid $35. This is also including the shipping.