Friday, September 27, 2013

First time E had solids:

Here is a video of the first time we gave E solids. She was 6 months old. We gave her blackberries. She is now 7 months old and eats like a champ. In fact, she almost always refuses purees and wants something she can chew. She only has 2 teeth (on the bottom). But she eats very well and is not picky!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Cater's Haul

I have  been shopping for Baby E since the weather has started to cool down. She really doesn't need much, but I definitely wanted to start preparing for the winter as well. Because she will need a lot when it comes if I don't start now. Carter's happens to have some sets on clearance right now, and they had doorbusters for their one pieces. Of course, I shopped the toddler side for Arianna because there was some things I wanted to get for her but couldn't convince myself to spend that kind of money on it since she is so rough on her clothes. Well, guess what... it was on clearance too. I thought I would share what I purchased.

For E:

For A:

I spent $65, and that included shipping :) Not too bad I would say.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breastfeeding in Public

As most of you know, I breastfed A until she was 13 months. She self weaned right as I found out I was pregnant again. Eva is 7 months old, and she is exclusively breastfed. Breastfeeding is an amazing experience and something (that I believe) every mom should at least try if they can.

This post isn't going to be about why you should breastfeed or to convince you to. That is your choice, and I will not judge anyone for their choice. With that said, I wish there were more people who respect others for their choice to breastfeed. A baby has to eat at all times of the day, and a Mom definitely should not have to lock herself away because she chose a natural way to feed her child.

I am very fortunate to live in a country that is very supportive of breastfeeding. In fact, I get more looks when I cover up than when I don't. I have had people come up to me and lift my nursing cover to see and play with Baby E. But even though I am here, I still get the American interactions that are either for or against me breastfeeding in public.

Here is what recently happened to me: While out at a dinner for Mr. man's work, there was a group of people sitting  with us and sitting behind us. All there for the same reason - to send off a great troop and friend to his next duty station. As Baby E started to get worked up, Mr Man asked if I needed my nursing cover. Of course I replied with a "yes, please". I proceeded to ask him if I should remove myself since it was a bunch of men. He said absolutely not. He handed me the cover. I put it on and underneath it Baby E went. No comments, no bad looks, no one seemed uncomfortable.

An hour or two later, I went to change E's diaper. When I got back, it was time to nurse again. So I did. As I was preparing... like putting on my cover and unsnapping my bra, some girls at the other table begin to say things. Things such as, "is she about to breastfeed?' "I hope not." "Yep. She is." "OMG, that is so gross!" "Not to mention, unacceptable." I continued about my business.

At that moment, I didn't care. I don't care. Mr. Man does not care either. But what I do care about is how it could affect a breastfeeding Mom who may be insecure about it or a new mom. This is what this post is about.

I want and hope that all breastfeeding Mom's know that what they are doing is NOT unacceptable, NOT gross, and NOT disrespectful to others around them. I'm not saying flaunt what you have, but as long as you don't have everything hanging out, be confident in what you are doing. Do not let people with a different perspective, opinion, or preference affect your choices and actions as a parent. Many who are completely against breastfeeding are either not parents, lesbians, stubborn, insecure, or something in that nature. Many cases than not, there is a reason behind their reactions towards it. But as a parent, ALWAYS be proud and confident in your choices and there will be more people who respect, appreciate, and admire you.

This is for anything in life and anything as a parent. Yes, even parents who choose to formula feed or anything else that others may take a different approach to.

Always remember you are their parent and you know them best. You know what they need and what makes them happy. So I hope that all you new Moms or Mom's who do worry about what other people think, DON'T. Don't go to the bathroom to feed your child. Don't hide in your super hot car to feed your child. Don't seclude yourself from a crowd to feed your child unless you feel it is unsuitable for your child. And lastly, do NOT let anyone make a change in your parenting because they are insecure or uneducated in being a parent or as a parent.

Always remember, you are an amazing person, an amazing parent for whatever choices you make for your children, short of abusing and/or neglecting them.

And, treat people as you want to be treated. Respect others' choices and embrace the differences of our world.

Here is a picture of me in Barcelona on one of our last days of our trip. Breastfeeding. Uncovered. Walking down the street and the beach. Not a single person took a second look. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

End of Summer Clear Out

We spent our latest weekend clearing out the house. I used the time to sort through the girls'clothes, gear, and toys. We sorted through every room and are donating so much stuff. With the holidays slowly (or quickly - however you look at it) approaching, we knew we wanted to clear out the old stuff before bringin in some new stuff.

I like to do my shopping early, and I shop throughout the year. I knew it was time to let go of some things and move on. The girls are growing through clothes so fast. A now wears a 2t or 3t. We are handing down most clothes to Baby E, so we went and bought fabric underbed stackable storage containers. Baby E wears a 3-6 month right now, so that means we have 9 months to 2-3t in storage for her. I have a whole tote of shoes as well.

Mr. Man and I also went through our things. There is just so much that we feel is inappropriate since having kids. We donated much of it. Now we are ready to get new stuff that we have real summers and pretty cold winters. With me also working in the schools, I like to wear business attire. I tried on things that I bought after having A that I never fit into and VOILA! I can fit into it! :)

We feel like we are always clearing out and rearranging as the girls grow. It seems like it happens over night. Many times it saddens me to see how big they are getting and the new things that interest them. But clearning out is always necessary.

I am hoping to do a fall haul soon once I gather all their items and start washing them!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Madrid, Spaid - Day 2

On our second day of our vacation, we did things for the girls. We brought them to the zoo and aquarium, which is all located in one general area. We knew A would love it because she loves animals and fish. But they also did pony rides, dolphin shows, had a pet zoo, and so much more. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon there. We let the girls play at the different playgrounds, and we had lunch there. After that, we went to a local park to relax. A fed some birds, and I got to photograph both girls. We, then, went walking to see more historical things and had dinner. It was an extremely laid back day, but it was totally worth it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: Puddle Jumper Life Jacket

When it was time to prepare for summer, I knew we needed to get some type of life jacket for A. Last summer, we were home in Louisiana and swam a lot. We tried a variety of life vests and A hated every single one. This year I asked around to friends, and many suggested the Puddle Jumper.

The weight range is from 30 to 50 pounds. A was 32 pounds when I bought it and now weighs 34.5 pounds. It is also Coast Guard approved.

This life jacket was and still is an absolute hit with her. She happily puts it on and wears it, even when we are around the house. She loves it that much.

I love the design of it. I love that there is nothing around the neck and nothing between the legs. That is what A disliked about the others. Even the different designs are adorable and stylish. She wore this swimming to swimming pools, beaches, and waterparks. We had no problem with it or getting her to wear it. She played as if she wasn't even wearing anything. It always held her upright. It never tilted her forward or backward. Even with waves and splashes and sudden moments.

We absolutely love this, and we give credit to this product for being the reason A loves the water as much as she does now. It gives her independence and safety. Two things that both a toddler and parent want when looking for an item like this.

It gave her lots of confidence to swim. In fact, she was scared to be in a pool or at the beach. This entire summer (once we received the Puddle Jumper) she wanted to swim by herself, and she let us know!

Here are some pictures of her wearing it:

The Puddle Jumper can be purchased from Walmart, Target, and that I personally know of. We bought her's from our local BX. We will definitely be getting a second one for Baby E next year. No questions asked. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Spain - Madrid Day 1

Our first day in Madrid was spent walking around and seeing the old historic town. The square of Peutra del Sol is a pedestrian only square that is always busy. We started our walk here that day and we saw many different characters and actors that were impersonating. I don't know about you, but when we travel we love to look at these. We even pay them for their picture if they are worth it. Our walk also ended here and there were even more characters and impersonators. I tried to get as many pictures as I could, but I did miss several. This square was definitely a top favorite for Madrid. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recipe: Italian Plum Crumble

This is what I am doing the next couple of days! Making lots of these.

Plum Crumble 
Time: 50 minutes 

12 purple Italian or prune plums, cut in half and pitted 
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 egg, well beaten 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 
Vanilla ice cream, optional. 

1. Place plums in medium bowl. Heat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in center. 
2. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground ginger and the candied ginger. Add to plums and mix well. Arrange plums skin side up in ungreased, deep 9-inch pie plate. 
3. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar, baking powder, remaining flour and cinnamon and the salt. Mix well. Stir in egg. Using hands, mix thoroughly to produce little particles. Sprinkle over plums. 
4. Drizzle butter evenly over crumb mixture and bake 30 to 35 minutes. Crumble is done when top is browned and plums yield easily when pricked with cake tester. Remove from oven and cool. 
5. Serve crumble warm or refrigerate for up to two days or freeze, well covered. If reheating, bring to room temperature, then warm at 300 degrees. If desired, serve with ice cream.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Prepare for Preschool Supply List

For us, grade school started today but Preschool doesn't start for another 4-5 weeks. A won't be going to Preschool this year, but I have been preparing for when her time comes. As a teacher, I have also been in many different classrooms, including a variety of preschool ones.

I thought I would share a list of a basic supply list for a child who is about to begin their first day of Preschool. The list is simple and basic. I will also share with you what I, as a teacher, do with most of the supplies for the classroom.

Preschool is a very basic introduction to school. Before you go wild on buying your child items for it, you should talk to the child's teacher or wait for a list from the school.

A great way to ease and excite a child about starting Preschool is to take them school supply shopping and allowing them the opportunity to help pick out their new gear and supplies.

1. The child will need a backpack to take things to and from school. At this age, they do not need anything large. I think the Skip Hop back packs are super adorable and perfectly sized. In fact, A already has one and uses it to carry her toys and craft store when we go on trips. She will put a book with some crayons, stickers, coloring book, small toys, DVDs, and snacks. AND she will carry it herself.

2. To go along with their adorably cute  backpack, you may want to pack them their very own lunch and snacks. At some Preschool's, this is only an option if the child has allergies or is a picky eater and completely refuses to eat. But there are also some that completely leave it up to the parents. We also like the Skip Hop lunch bags. 

3. The next few items on the list are for crafting and allowing your child to be creative in the classroom. The first one is washable glue. Most teachers will request Elmer's. Some will be even more specific in saying stick, gel, or the original. They serve basically the same purpose, but some teachers feel the stick may be less of a hassle and mess for young children. And some teachers find the children have more fun with the messier stuff and enjoy it more. It is all about preference. 

4. Next is washable markers. Crayola is known for the variety of children craft products for coloring and doodling. They have a kind that is called Kid's First Washable Markers. They come in a pack of 8. 

5. Of course, children between the ages of 2-4 love crayons. Again, some teachers have preference on this item. Some prefer the jumbo crayons because they do not break as easily.

6. Another top item is child safe scissors. Fiscars is a popular brand that makes scissors that are small enough for young children and have the rounded edges so they aren't so sharp. 

7. Most classrooms have an opportunity for the children to sit quietly in their areas and play. Many teachers will encourage Playdough because it builds their imagination and they can become little artists without having to drag out too many other materials. 

8. This next one is extremely important for germs. Classrooms go through these super quickly, so don't be surprised if a teacher requests 2-3 boxes per student. Germs are constantly being passed around among the many children. There is always runny noses and so forth that need attention. 

9. These last two are optional things for convenience. Mostly for pround parents. The first is labels. Even though the students won't need to label their items, they may need to label anything that goes to school with them, like medicines, cups, jackets, shoes, and so on. 

10. The last one is a planner/recorder for all of your child's memories through the school year. From events, to growth, to their first artwork of the year! I plan to make homemade ones from binders for the girls. 

Here is my basic list for starting preschool. Some classrooms may ask for additional things depending on the development and academic level of the school and classroom. However, I found these to be the most common. Also, these are the ones that I would request for sure as a teacher. 

Do you have a child that attends preschool? Or has attended preschool in the past? Or will be soon attending preschool? 

What is on your must-have list for that child?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! I hope you are having a fabulous and safe weekend!

Today is labor day, which means it is the last big weekend sale before Black Friday. I think, anyways. So... I thought I would share with you some of my favorite deals!

Check out these chalkboard stickers:

Very Jane has a lot of super cute boutique things.

Carter's is having a 50% off everything on site. My personal favorite (and I did take advantage of) is the 4 piece pajama set. They make 2 sets of PJ's. With the 50% off sale, they are $16 (which makes each pair $8). And we LOVE Carter's PJ's! Check out the sale here:

Then, the Children's Place is having their Labor Day Extravaganza! with an additional 15% off using code C4H827H at checkout. Graphic tees as low as $2.50, jeggings/denim/uniform pants as low as $7, back packs as low as $9, and long sleeve shirts as low as $5 each. Of course, I took advantage us this too. Who could pass up this qulaity clothing at these prices! Not to mention, for every $40 you spend, you earn $20 in Place Cash to redeem later. Shop here:

JCPenny's is having a Labor Day sale of 25-50% off! I love their Labor Day sale for myself and Mr. Man!! :)  Shop here:|Welcome&cmJCP_C=Feature&cmJCP_T=T1&id=dept20022370024&cm_re=S2-_-DEPT-_-SALE

Last but not least is Old Navy. They are having a 30% off sale by using the code SPREE. We love Old Navy for everyone in the family! They also allow you to earn cash back. For every $25 spent, you earn $10. But you can only earn up to $30 in one order. Shop here:

Hope you enjoy these deals and get a good start on your Fall shopping! :)